I am making amends for my lack of posts with this little beauty that I finished just in time for my first sci-fi convention a couple of weeks ago. I have a homemade pirate captain costume that I have been modifying for three years now, and this time I decided to try my hand at the steampunk theme. (At this rate, next year I’ll be a ninja steampunk pirate captain, then a zombie ninja steampunk pirate captain, then…)
As always, spoilers…
I had assembled a plastic Lindburg model Miquelet flintlock last Halloween for the costume but never got around to finishing it. The prop had been hiding in the back of my closet, two feet long, stark white, and absurdly oversized for a 5’2” pirate such as myself (I mean, Captain Delarosa of the Airship Delirium). After a trip to the Scrap Exchange (or as a friend calls it, “The Den of Malignant Hoarding”), the bargain bins at Michael’s, and my dad’s garage, I was ready to make something shiny.
I dubbed the piece “The Magpie” because of its ability to purloin unprotected shiny objects. In my mind, her owner would be less likely to shoot someone and more likely to surreptitiously steal their stuff from around a corner. Claw machines are my favorite arcade games and I was a big fan of Johnny Five from Short Circuit as a kid, which combined to form the grappling hand of awesomeness.
The claw is mostly made of matte board, with gator board on the inside, scrapbooking paper details, and $0.99 metallic stick-on dots. The brass circles were a happy find at the Scrap Exchange. And now on to my second-favorite part!
My husband and I had a lot of fun coming up with the sayings on the gauge, because as a fanciful gun, real numbers aren’t required. I had stumbled across a round plastic container in my dad’s garage, and half of it became the base for the gauge. The “glass” front is a piece of clear plastic that I cut and sanded to fit, with the paper dial glued behind. The hand of the dial is made of sheet brass that I cut and painted black. The idea is you set the distance with the buttons on the top, aim, and fire the retractable claw for a nice three-fingered discount.
I really lucked out at the Scrap Exchange, because I also found the clear plastic tube that holds the claw’s cord (a laboratory or medical-grade filter), and the cover for the cord reel is the base of an old metal light fixture.
All of the painting was done in metallic acrylics (gold, copper, and silver) over a layer of black gesso and sealed with PYM II spray. The Magpie held up pretty well at the convention, and she’ll go really well with the brass and pleather light-up gauntlet I plan to make out of the fabrics you see in the backgrounds.
Arrr, mateys! I be comin’ for yer valuables!