Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chairs made and stickers up!

Peg warmer Duke is now warming the security
desk chair in my soon to be completed GI Joe
Lobby and Tactical Operations Center model.
Well, its been a busy past few days in Lake Woebegone.  Got the chairs made and am starting to work on the computers.  I got some sticker project paper from Office Max nearby, both the clear sticker paper and the white stuff for the decals, and have started putting it all together.  So far, so good.  Its a slow slog, especially with the computers.  Each computer screen is three pieces, and there are going to be a total of 12 computers and four keyboards.  It'll take some time to get all that cut and ready, but its looking good in the mean time.

The chairs were super easy.  I was not sure if I'd be able to bend the styrene well, but all it took was a little exposure to a small flame, as discussed in the project instructions. I used a candle lighter we had in our junk drawer, and I did it outside and with a mask on, because I figure styrene fumes are probably not the best for my health.  Turns out that a few  seconds of flame exposure makes styrene super flexible.  Just to be safe, I marked the parts of the plastic where I wanted things to bend, and put the flame on each face in the zone where I wanted it to bend- front, back, and both sides.  I was not sure if the heat would be conducted through the plastic, and I'd rather not snap good material.  I probably held the plastic just above the tip of the flame for about seven or eight seconds per side for a single round- I didn't need to heat sides again after I cooked them the first time.  It worked so well on the back of the first chair that I kept doing it for the remaining four, and had no problems with any of them.

Chair in place, stickers coming along, and all I really have
left are the computer screens.  I hope to have this thing done
in the next few days.
I printed the decals from page three of the decals website at Vexar Designs (again, thanks very much Vexar).  They printed out a little small. It seems to me that they should be between 50%-100% bigger to be the same size as they look at on the Vexar Designs site pictures, but I'll manage.  If I do this again, I'd try using an image editing program to increase the size of the stickers by 50% and see how that works, but the moment is passed.  Nothing looks really bad, and actually, the stickers make things look much, much cooler, as they always do when it comes to GI Joe related stuff.

I also noticed (learning tip!) that any stickers that are going to end up on black styrene really need to be printed on white paper, because if it is on clear, it vanishes when it is put over the black background.  Made that mistake with the world map on the back war of the Tac Ops center, but it isn't too bad.  There are plenty of decals that will be stuck on white styrene that clear stickers will find a home someplace.

Other big learning point: I was hoping this item would be strong enough to actually handle play like a playset would.  Well, not so much.  The desks themselves are very fragile.  Not the entire structures, but if you put more than a little pressure on the desk surfaces, they pop right off whatever they are glued to.  This styrene set is going to be more of a diorama than a playset, but that's cool. It looks pretty sweet.

I need to get back to cutting black styrene for the computer screens, so I'll end this update here.

Until next time,

David D.

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