When I made this my company, ThinkGeek, was working with Valve to develop a number of licensed products and toys related to the two Portal videogames, so I was already taking a close look at how to recreate these virtual objects in the real world, just not at such an ambitious scale. I had access to some behind the scenes assets, but they weren't nearly as helpful as you'd think - carefully examining screen-captures is best. The Turret proved to be a special challenge since it's so spindly and transforms in ways that leave no room for internal mechanisms.
This project took me a good 200 hours in my spare time after work over the course of several months and several hundred dollars worth of materials. The entire model is about 48" tall at the top of the egg, with another 10" of antenna above that. I'd guess that it weighs around 20 pounds, but it's such an odd shape that it's impossible to lift in one piece - the front legs tend to fall out.
I'd like to acknowledge some other builders who inspired me to this huge project:
- Citizen Snips, who started his Turret around the same time as I did, but managed to finish his in a more reasonable amount of time. His is at a different scale, uses other production methods, and contains more electronics. It is a thing of beauty.
- Voplin props made an amazing Portal gun and every other project on their page is mind-blowing as well.
- TJ Coffey - This flickr page shows an amazing working Turret with pop-out wings and airsoft guns. He uses a big CNC mill to make molds.
- Aphius - This flickr page chronicles a valiant effort to make a full scale Turret with papercraft.
* All photos were taken by me with an iPhone4 except for the hero shot on the blue background, which was done by the ThinkGeek staff photographer, Chris Hoyer.