The additional complication with this build was that this was intended to be used as a costume piece but I would be unable to meet my client for a fitting. This meant that whatever I came up with was going to have to be to be flexible to some degree.
|One of the new reference images I was able to source.|
|The repeating pieces in yellow and the front and back in white.|
|Vertical hinges? No problem!|
|Planning the locations of the hinges.|
|I love the smell of plastic spaghetti in the morning|
|Repeat after me: Sand and fill, sand and fill...|
The mould was not without its challenges. Obviously there are some deep holes in place for the hinges to be inserted, and despite tipping the mould every which way as it was curing I did end up with one of the parts trapping some air.
|You can see the incomplete hinge recess on the lower left piece.|
Since I wasn't busy enough with all of this, for some reason I'd come to the conclusion I needed a really fancy box in which to present the crown. My initial plans involved creating a case inspired by the toothfairy box... which I soon realised was going to be unreasonably heavy to ship, but not before I had constructed the majority of it, inserted hinges, built a router jig for my Dremel and designed & prototyped a fancy latching mechanism.
|That's not the fancy latch by the way, they got far more complex than that...|
|The crest I inset in the top was originally part of the fancy latch I'd designed.|
|Blue tacking the pieces to my desk so I could double check the length.|
I've been chasing methods of reproducing a really convincing gold for some time and have been following a fantastic thread on the RPF about this subject. Based on information from this thread and filled with enthusiasm I acquired some Alclad Chrome and coloured candy coats. First step was to get everything glossy and black. So far so good. Next I airbrushed on the Chrome which went... OK I guess? It looked shiny but a little dark. Finally I gave it an orange candy coat... which blobbed and ran and created orange streaks. Overall not hugely successful, but time was ticking so I pressed on.
I'd been having doubts about the linkages and the possibility they would trap and pull hair. My solution was to revert back to the armature wire I'd originally intended to use... however once the crown was all constructed I encountered two problems:
Firstly, the wire was not strong enough to hold the crown straight. This meant it had a strange bowed shape when sat on my head.
The second, and more worrying problem, was that this crown fit me perfectly. Why would that be a problem you ask? Well, My client's head was a good 5cm larger than mine. Bugger.
So I went back to the beginning and measured the length of the parts, and the overall length was correct! What the?! After some frantic measuring I managed to work out where the problem lay. It turns out that if you measure the inside and the outside of this three dimensional shape there is a variance of almost 8cm! Basically, the thickness of the parts affects the final circumference of the crown. Double bugger. All of the parts had been made, finished, moulded, cast... there was no wiggle room!
There was only one thing I could do: make one link longer to compensate. The piece at the back of the crown seemed like the obvious candidate. I quickly printed a new piece, primed and sanded it and knocked out a casting. My first thought when I saw the piece in the crown was that a long straight section looked a little odd. Thankfully I discovered that heat can be used to deform this particular resin so I set to with a hot air gun and gently formed the piece over a mug to add a gentle curve.
|Comparing the length of the original back piece to the new one|
|A full set of finished pieces!|
|I loosened the standoffs by half a rotation before setting them in place.|
|Everything painted, hinged and ready for final assembly.|
|The wire twists I used to attach the front and back of the crown.|
A couple of evenings work and two tubes of contact adhesive later and the crown was complete and ready to ship!
If I'd had more time there are quite a few things I might have liked to do differently. Obviously I would like to have remade the crown slightly larger rather than extending the back piece and I was not 100% satisfied with the gold. Really I needed more time to experiment with different finishes. If there had been a bit more money in the job I might have considered a home plating kit as that would have been really fun. It would also have been really nice to bring my original plan for the box to life but at the end of the day I was being paid for the crown not a box. Overall I think things worked out and the client was happy with his crown. Hopefully when the costume is complete I'll get some pictures I can share with you.