I absolutely love campy over the top horror movies. For those of you that haven’t heard about the indie film Turbo Kid let me be the first to say it’s a blood and guts, 80s throwback, Mad Max on BMX bikes good time!!!
Anyways I saw a preview for the movie months ago and knew that I had to build one of the main bad guys Skeletron. Skeletron is a mute psychopath who wears wasteland like apparel in their post apocalyptic world. He sports a metal mask, spiked shoulder pads, and a killer buzz saw spinning/throwing weapon.
You all have seen me build several masks and helmets. So, this build will be focused on how I constructed his saw weapon out of EVA foam. That way it is con safe but still looks awesome….and YES, THE SAW BLADE SPINS!!!!! AAHAHAHA!!
I will still include the construction of his mask too but in an abridged version please see my other Instructables on in-depth mask making.
Before we begin let me say some of the products that are used in prop building can be bad for you
So be safe!!! Always wear eye protection, wear gloves, and use a respirator when needed.
Lets get started!!!!
Task 1: Reference and Materials
As with all of my prop builds reference material is key. When you start to think about making a prop from a video game, movie, etc. Always try and find as many reference images as you can. For this build it was pretty tough since I started the mask and weapon 3 weeks before the movie even debuted in the US. I had to find small screen shots and pause the movie trailer to get what I needed for the base sculpts. Once the movie came out On Demand I watched it several times and was able to get the final details to bring the costume together. My deadline was tight because the movie came out on a Friday and the following week I took the finished costume to DragonCon!!!
Head Form from CFX
Smooth-On Rebound 25
EVA foam 1/2″ and 1/4″
Craft foam 1mm-3mm
Loctite Super Glue
Rattle can Primmer and Colors
Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylics
Plasti Dip Rattle
Random odds and ends
Task 2: Templates
So to begin the weapon I decided that I would make a mock version out of cardboard. This helped me figure out scale and size without wasting additional materials. Again because of the limited images on the internet this was a little tough to put together. Once I had the aprox shape of the saw weapon. I cut up the cardboard version and used the pieces to make templates that I transferred to my 1/2″ foam.
I decided to make the bulk of this weapon out of EVA foam because it is cost effective, light, and is con friendly.
Task 3: Constructing Large Shapes
I prefer to use my band-saw to cut 1/2″ and1/4″ foam since it will leave a nice clean edge with minimal cleanup, but a box knife will work as well. Once the main box pieces were cut out I attached them together using Barge cement.
This is a contact adhesive designed for leather work so it is outstanding for foam. ( wear a respirator ) Paint a thin layer of cement on each piece of foam let it air dry until it becomes tacky. Very carefully place the sides together, once they adhere you will rip the foam before the seam fails. With the box constructed I start adding on other pieces of foam to get the general shape of the weapon.
Task 4: Blocking out the Details
Since the main box is made out of 4 individual pieces I decided to wrap the box in a 1mm white Foamies sheet. This gave the box a solid look instead of seeing all of the seams where the foam connects. The upper round section was cut out of 1/2″ foam and the textured back was removed using my belt sander. By removing this texture the foam with stick better and it just looks nicer. The bevel was made using the belt sander and a Dremel sanding drum.
The upper plate was templated out of newsprint paper and cut out of 1/4″ foam also detailed using the Dremel and sending drum. I used the back texture on the very top piece to my advantage, since the film version also shows a hex pattern detail.
Task 5: Greeblies
Greeble or nurnie is a fine detailing added to the surface of a larger object that makes it appear more complex, and therefore more visually interesting. It usually gives the audience an impression of increased scale. The detail can be made from simple geometric primitives (such as cylinders, cubes, and rectangles), or more complex shapes, such as pieces of machinery (cables, tanks, sprockets). Greebles are often present on models or drawings of fictional spacecraft or architectural constructs in science fiction and are used in the movie industry (special effects).
Here is where being a prop maker / hoarder comes into play. I have totes full of odds and ends that look neat and act as additional details on projects like this. You can tell from the pictures I use PVC pipe, furniture tacks, wooden dowels, washers, buttons, and push pins to replicate the movies version.
Task 6: Handle and Spinning Blade…….YES SPINNING BLADE!!!
The weapon has a handle that he grabs onto to position the saw. I knew that the foam wouldn’t stand up to the wear and tear so I cut out some strips of 1/4″ styrene to simulate the handle. The styrene is thick enough to have some durability but still very light. Using a heat gun I was able to bend the styrene to the desired shape and contour and glued the parts together with Loctite professional grade superglue.
The saw blade was cut out of 5mm thick craft foam and attached to a small blower fan with a batter pack. Yes the blade spins!!!! My daughter had a small blow up castle that was used for a center piece at her birthday party. After the party I decided that it would be turned into blood letting spinning wheel of death. Unfortunately the pics I took of the conversion process corrupted but I will try and explain it. So I dismantled the upper section of the fan housing and used a Dremel to profile all of the nubs that held it together. That way the blade would spin obstruction free. I glued the foam blade directly to the top of the fan and because of the blades light weight, it barely slowed the rpm. The bottom of the fan was attached to a foam block and glued to the inside wall and handle of the weapon. The AA battery pack was attached on the inside using commercial grade velcro so that it could be taken out when the batteries needed to be replaced.
Task 7: Priming
Once the entire weapon was built I hit it with a heat gun (very carefully) to close the pores and seal the foam. Then I taped off the fan and sprayed the piece with rattle can Pasti Dip in several thin layers. The Plasti Dip is rubber based and will help seal and protect the foam. When that had completely dried I coated the prop with Krylon Black primer being mindful not to over spray the fan mechanism.
Task 8: Base Coat
Once the primer had dried I used Krylon Antique Nickel and Bright Silver to give the prop a shiny base coat of color. Then using blue painters tape I laid out the caution stripes and sprayed them with Krylon Caution Yellow.
Task 9: Painting and Weathering Details
With the base coats dry I apply a wash of Liquitex Mars Black over the entire prop and wipe off the excess. This will keep the paint in the recesses and make all of those little details stand out more. I use a hair dryer to speed up the process and once dry a thin wash of Raw Sienna is added in spots that mimic the movie. This dulls down the yellow so I go back and touch it up with Liquitex Cadmium Yellow. Liquitex Rich and Bright Silver are dry brushed over highlight metal areas and a final pass of Raw Sienna is dabbed into recesses that need more rust / dirt buildup.
Blood is added to the saw blade by overloading a mop brush with a mix of Mars Black and Cadmium Red and flinging the paint onto the blade.
Task 10: Spinning Blade
Task 11: Finished Pics
Finished pictures are taken out in natural light to show true colors.
Task 12: Blocking out the Mask
I use my head form from CFX to get my base shape and apply Monster Clay. Since reference photos were limited I did something I tell people not to do. I had more photos showing his left side than his right. So I pretty much finished the left and then had to mirror the right (not an easy task). The other tricky part of this mask was making sure the teeth were correct size and spacing. I screen matched them and made a cardboard template so that they would all be uniform.
Task 13: Mask Details
Once the Turbo Kid Skeletron mask is smoothed out and scaled to fit I start adding the details. For the metal plates I rolled out some Monster Clay in a uniform thickness and trimmed it with a knife. The sides are rounded to give it more of an organic feel. To make all of the pits and dimples in the metal I spent quite some time stippling the mask with various pens, dowels, and wire brushes. It took forever but I got the texture I wanted. After the pits are complete I use a heat gun and very carefully melt the clay just a little bit. Being mindful to not overdo it and melt off part of his face. The “rivets” are made by sinking copper BBs into the clay.
Task 14: Molding and Casting
Like I mentioned earlier I have gone over how to mold and cast masks in my other Instructables so this will be a pretty quick overview. With the sculpt complete I make a jacket mold using Smooth-On Rebound 25, a mother mold using Pasti Paste, and I cast the mask in Smooth-Cast 65D a two part roto cast resin.
Task 15: Painting the Mask
For the paint process I use automotive self etching primer for the first coat. Then I use Rustoleum rattle can Antique nickel and apply a black wash with Liquitex Mars Black heavy body acrylics. The “rust” effect is painted on using a mix of iridescent rich copper and Raw sienna. Mask is highlighted using a dry brush technique with Liquitex iridescent right and bright silver and a final pass on the rivers and high points with silver rub and buff.
Task 16: Finished Mask
Photos of the finished mask minus the wig.
Task 17: Glamour Shots
Finished pictures of my Turbo Kid Skeletron cosplay costume taken by Matthew Sperzel and Eddie Bonneau
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weapons-and-armor – Turbo Kid Skeletron Cosplay Prop Weapon and Mask – SKS Props, in category: costumes