Following is an instructable on how I designed and made a 1/6 scale Krytponite Spear from the movie Batman v Superman. This spear serves as an accessory for any 1/6 scale figure but I have used it specifically for the Hot Toys Armored Batman.
This spear is composed primarily of a 3D printed body with a cast resin spear head and small plastic tubing used to form the spear head cage. It was then hand painted.
Step 1: Materials Needed
Google Sketchup (3D modeling program)
Shapeways Frosted Ultra Detail spear print
Smooth On OOMOO 30 two part silicone mold
1/4'' Foam board
Plebeo Gedeo Color Resin
Mixing vessels for the resin
Super Sculpey Firm clay
Acrylic paint (flat black, gloss back, silver, gunmetal, gold)
~2mm wire sheath (to form the spear cage)
Step 2: Reference Photos
The absolute hardest part about this project was the surprising lack of reference photos available. At the time I decided to do this Batman v. Superman was not yet out on home video. Despite the popularity of the film there was a surprising lack of photos of the spear proper (perhaps because it was considered a spoiler at the time?).
However through exhaustive Google searching I came up with the reference photos in this step. ALL work was based off these reference photos alone.
The real game changer occurred when Mezco released a 3D render of the spear for their upcoming 6 inch figure. This photo allowed me to get all portions of the spear to scale and was instrumental in how I decided to go about my 3D modeling as I will explain later.
Step 3: 3D Modeling With Google Sketchup
So I'm proud to say this was my very first ever foray into 3D modeling. After trying to (unsuccesfully) figure out a way to hand make a base model that I would then cast for copies, I decided to try my hand at 3D modeling. A friend introduced me to Google Sketchup as a free, easy to use 3D modeling program that could produce the proper STL files used by 3D printers.
I started by making simple shapes and just playing around with the program. As I came across something I couldn't figure out how to do myself I would Google search keywords and find videos online that helped me solve my problems. Within just about 1 week I had figured out the program enough to make my first attempt at the spear model itself.
Step 4: 3D Modeling With Google Sketchup; Using the "Follow Me" Tool
The entire spear body and all the main sections were modeled using an extremely simple tool in Google Sketchup called "Follow me".
The concept of "Follow me" is ideal for a circular object such as the body of the spear. The idea is that you can model only the OUTLINE, or face, of the object in question, after which you tell the program to pull the outline along a path (the extrusion path). In this case the "face" is 1/2 of the outline of the spear from top to bottom, with the extrusion path being a circle whose center is the center point of the spear from top to bottom.
To make this process even simpler I first took the image of the Mezco spear and cropped out the portions where the spear was oblique. I then cut and pasted the separated sections of the spear into one single, whole spear, and imported this image into Google Sketchup.
Once in Sketchup I then simply took the "line" tool and made an outline of the spear from top to bottom, starting midway through the top of the spear, down the side and along all the indentations and details (I left out any small details like bolts, etc.) all the way to the pointed end of the spear.
I then set an extrusion path as a circle, with the center of the spear being the center of the circle. A couple clicks to perform the extrusion and, voila, a base model with all segments ready to go and to be worked on.
Step 5: 3D Modeling With Google Sketchup: Model Details
Some details about the model parameters.
The circular extrusion path was set using 60 sides. This was done because 60 sides was enough to not end up with visible facets when printing was complete. 60 is also divisible by 12, 10, 5, and 3, all of which matter when it comes to the number of details located around the spear. By using these numbers and their divisibility it made adding in details much easier and eliminated a lot of extra busy work. I could still add details for less cleanly divisible numbers (such as 8) but I had to work with half facets for those sections.
The most extensive technique used to form many of the details was a simple tool called push/pull.
Step 6: 3D Printing With Shapeways
Once I was satisfied with the model size, details, etc. I uploaded the STL to the Shapeways website. This was my first foray into using Shapeways so I had a little bit to learn regarding automatic checks, manual checks, and the various materials available.
My biggest compliment to Shapeways is they make it very easy to determine what sort of materials your model is printable in or not. Furthermore they make available very detailed information about each material available including the pros and cons, design tips regarding wall thickness, strength, embossed and raised details, etc..
After submitting my STL I determined that Frosted Ultra Detail was perfect for my needs. It allowed printing of all the fine details of my model and the cost was reasonable.
Step 7: 3D Printing With Shapeways: Raw Model
The Frosted Ultra Detail plastic is a translucent, yellowish plastic when fully printed. In general printing lines are NOT easily visible, which is great news. However, due to the was the piece is printed within the machine, the final product will have a different surface finish on some parts compared to others. My piece was clearly printed laying flat on its side, and one half of the surface was smooth as can be, while the other half had very tiny but visible surface lines (due to the wax bed the piece lays in). This was NOT ideal for my project, as surface prepping a piece this detailed was not possible, but I was able to minimize the visible lines as I will mention later.
Frosted Ultra Detail plastic also comes with a residue on it, again from the printing process, that can make paint and other surface applied materials such as laquers and finishes not stick. With this in mind you will need to remove this prior to any painting.
To remove the surface residue I simply placed my print in a shallow metal tray filled with Acetone. I then used a stiff brush to to work the surface of the print to get any residue off of it. I then removed the print from the Acetone and let it air dry.
*** ACETONE EATS AWAY CERTAIN PLASTICS AND LATEX. Please be aware of this when surface prepping. Acetone did not have ANY impact on the plastic of the spear print itself but it can eat away at your latex gloves or a plastic container if you try to use that.
Step 8: Priming the Raw Model
The easiest way to start minimizing the visible surface lines is to prime the piece. This first and foremost gives a better surface for the final paint to stick to. The primer itself also fills in some of the smallest surface imperfections and leaves an overall smooth surface.
In order to prime the piece without having to touch any portion of the finished surface you can drill a hole into the top of the spear where the tip will eventually go. This allows you to place a small metal rod into the end. The spear can be turned upside down and the rod inserted into a piece of styrofoam to allow the spear to be free standing. You can now prime hands free!
This piece is very detailed so you have to make sure to do light coats multiple times. This helps smooth out the surface imperfections but does not allow the primer to drip or obscure wanted details.
Step 9: Sculpting the Spear Tip to Be Molded
To make a spear tip I decided the easiest method would be to end up with a negative silicone mold that I could pour translucent green resin into. To make the mold you first have to make a positive spear tip.
This is done using Super Sculpey Firm. This version of Sculpey is a little dryer and firmer, and holds detail very well, which I though was perfect for all the surface details of the spear tip.
I sculpted the tip based off the images posted earlier.
Step 10: Molding the Spear With a Simple Mold Box
In order to get a negative mold to pour resin into you will need to build a simple mold box. I use foam board for my mold boxes.
To build a mold box I measured the spear's greatest length and greatest width, and then added 1cm to the height and 2cm to both the width and the thickness. Adding extra dimension around the tip itself increases the wall thickness of the silicone, making for a stronger mold that won't break or crack as easily. You don't want to add TOO much extra as this only increases the volume of the silicone you need to make the mold.
The spear tip measures 7.6cm x 2.5cm, approximately, and was ~1/2cm thick at most. This means the inner dimensions of the mold box needed to be ~9cm x 4.5cm x 3cm.
Step 11: Making the Mold Box
A VERY simply way to form this box is to cut a section of foam board (1/4" thick board) that is 9cm tall and at least 20cm wide. Now, starting from one end, measure 4.5cm, then 3cm, then 4.5cm, then 3cm again, and draw a line the height of the board. Now, score the board at these lines but do NOT cut all the way through. By leaving the inner paper intact you can just fold the foam board at these scored lines and form your box!
Use hot glue to close the one wall opening you have and to securely form your box. I also recommend taking hot glue to the outer corners of the box to seal any weakness and to ensure silicone mold does not leak out.
Step 12: Completing the Mold Box
To complete the mold box one end of the box must be sealed with styrofoam while the other end remains open to pour silicone into. However, before you do this you must attach the spear tip to the foam that will form the bottom of the mold box.
Remember that the surface of the spear tip that is glued to the foam board will be the area where resin is poured into eventually to form the spear tip. Once the spear tip is glued doen you can then apply mold release if you desire.
Mold release helps ensure the spear sculpt does not stick to the silicone when unmolding. In actuality I did NOT used mold release and the spear tip came out just fine, but I would consider it nonetheless.
Once the spear tip is attached to the foam board it can then be inserted into the previously made box and glued into place using hot glue.
Step 13: Molding the Spear Tip
To make the silicone mold I used Smooth On OOMOO 30 two part silicone. With this product you simply mix equal parts by volume of A and B, mix thoroughly, and pour. After the appropriate cure time you can demold.
Step 14: Demolding the Spear Tip
After the appropriate cure time the spear tip can be demolded. I decided to turn this single mold into a simple two part mold.
To do so I took an x-acto knife and cut along the lateral sides of the spear tip all the way around. This allowed me to separate the silicon around each half of the spear tip. In the end this will make removal of the spear tip as well as ensuring the spear tip is molded fully much easier.
Step 15: Casting Spear Tips in Resin
The spear tips are made from a two part, colored resin call Pebeo Gedeo Color Resin. This stuff is AMAZING. It is easy to mix, emits essentially no chemical smell, and has essentially NO problems with bubble formation.
Before mixing you will want to determine the volume of the spear tip to avoid waste. To do so, put your mold together and, using a graduate syringe, inject water into the mold until it is full to the top. The amount of water injected is the volume you will need to mix. The spear tip I made was approximately 15ml in volume.
Dry the mold thoroughly. To ensure the resin cast does not stick you MUST apply mold release. The easiest, cheapest mold release is simple Petroleum Jelly, which is what I used. You simply want to take a small amount on your fingers and rub it all along the inside of the mold. I also recommend rubbing it lightly along the flat portions of the mold that touch. This helps reduce the chances that the mold will stick to itself.
The Gedeo resin is a two part resin + catalyst, mixed by adding two parts resin to 1 part catalyst. The approximate 15ml volume made this very simply as I was able to mix 2 tsp resin with 1 tspn catalyst. Mix thoroughly until the resin texture is smooth and uniform. This resin has an EXTREMELY long cure time (24 hours) so you do NOT have to work quickly at all.
Now the trick to reduce problems with incomplete casting... open the mold and apply a small dab of resin into each side at the time. Hold the mold so this resin flows into the very end, then put the two halves of the mold together. This essentially fills the spear tip with resin and ensures a large bubble does not form deep in the mold where it could not release.
Once the mold halves are together place to pieces of scrap foam around the mold to provide support and the place either elastic bands or, in my case, Painters tape, to secure the two halves together. You can now pour resin slowly into the opening at the top until the mold has been filled. This resins shrinks a reasonable bit so overpour until you have a raised bead of resin resting at the top.
Step 16: Demold the Spear Tip and Remove the Mold Release (petroleum Jelly)
Demolding is simple. After at least a 24 hours cure remove the painter's tape/elastic bands and the supporting foam board and gently separate the two mold halves. The spear tip can now be removed.
Once demolded you have to remove the petroleum jelly so the spear tip can be finished later. Simple alcohol will NOT do the trick and something like Acetone, though stronger, may soften or damage the resin.
Petroleum jelly is dissolvable in lower molecular weight oils such as olive oil, which is readily found around the house. SO... take your spear tip, pour a little olive oil in it, and let it sit. After letting it sit take a stiff brush and brush away, getting that oil into all the cracks and crevices of the spear. Once the spear tip has been thoroughly worked over use regular dish soap and warm (NOT HOT) water to finish the cleanup.
The spear tip is now ready for finishing!
Step 17: Painting the Spear Body
The painting of the spear body is all done by hand. All the main sections of the spear are simply painted with a paint brush. To fill in all the small portions of the spear to showcase details a wet painting technique is done, explained in the next step.
Only 5 colors are used for the whole spear; black, gloss black (licorice), silver, gunmetal, and gold.
The top, metallic portion of the spear is gunmetal.
All other metallic portions of the spear are silver.
The spaces in between the metallic portions are a mixture of regular black and gold.
The technical "handle" of the spear is glood black (licorice).
The metal plates near the top and the bottom are gloss black mixed with a small amount of gold.
Step 18: Wet Washing the Details
To fill in the details of the spear and show off all the intricacies of the model a wet washing technique is used.
First a small dab of black paint is mixed with a few mls of water. This is thoroughly mixed to make a thin, watery black pigment.
Next a very fine brush is used to absorb as much of the watery paint mixture as it can hold. The very tip of the brush is then placed into any of the sections of the model that require a darker color and the watery mixture will wick right off the brush into the crevices. This is repeated for all the relevant portions of the model.
Step 19: Attach the Spear Head to the Body
The spear head that was cast previously was cast with a round insert at the bottom that fits snugly into the top of the spear body. Place a small amount of superglue around this insert and on the flat, embossed area that matches up with the spear and seat firmly into place.
Step 20: Fabricating the "cage" for the Spear Tip
The spear has an ovoid cage around the base of the tip that needs to be fabricated. I decided not to have this part 3D printed as I was concerned about fragility.
The cage is made out of some spary wire parts I had lying around meant for circuit board hobbying.
Before applying them to the spear tip you must prepare them for painting. The wires are attached to a styrofoam board and then quickly primed. After priming they are painted with an initial coat of silver paint. They will be painted again once applied so this is just to get a base coat.
Two wires are needed, one of 35mm and the other of 40mm in length. Prior to measuring and cutting the wires the wire itself is removed and the plastic sheath is actually the only portion used.
Once cut to length each sheath is secured to the spear tip hilt portion of the print. Once the glue is dried the wires are wrapped around the speat base and secured on the other side of the hilt.
Step 21: Applying the Gloss Coat to the Spear Tip
To finish the spear an acrylic clear coat is applied. I used a water based clear coat and simply brushed into onto the spear tip and the cage at the base of the spear tip.
Doing this helps give the spear tip a very shiny appearance as well as increasing its translucent appearance. 3 or more coats produced the best results.
Step 22: Enjoy Your Finished Spear!
The spear tip is finished and ready for display with your favorite 1/6 scale figure!