It’s been about a year and a half since I completed the last site redesign, switching from the stock WordPress “Twenty Sixteen” theme to Anima, by Cryout Creations. Anima has worked well for the time I’ve used it, but it too is starting to feel a bit dated. Rather than keep fiddling with the theme and trying to twist it into something new, I’m jumping ship entirely and switching to a new theme: Hestia.
Every few months SparkFun does what they call a “Dumpster Dive”. In the course of doing business they amass a collection of excess electronics, ranging from “one-off items, to items that are a little broken or ugly, to items that aren’t worth individually listing and selling.” Rather than recycling these still-useful electronics, they decided to put together little 1 lb. grab-bag boxes to sell.
And I decided to buy one.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine introduced me to a new rhythm game. Unlike previous titles such as Guitar Hero or Rock Band that use multiple discrete buttons in order to match different notes, this game used a virtual wheel – an analog input to slide, spin, and tap along with the beat. To top it off the game featured an electronic music tracklist and was a blast to play.
The game is called Spin Rhythm XD, and it was designed to be played with a DJ MIDI controller. Having no such professional DJ-ing equipment handy I decided to do the next best thing: convert my old plastic Wii DJ Hero turntable into a controller for Spin Rhythm XD!
I decided to try my hand at building my own version of McCree’s belt buckle from Overwatch! I used references from the game in order to create a comprehensive digital model which I then 3D printed, smoothed, molded, cast, mounted to a buckle blank, painted, and weathered. Start to finish (and with lots of breaks in-between!), this entire process took me a little over three years to complete.
Phew. Three years (three years?!?) and a lot of sweat, sanding, and tears later, I finally have a finished belt buckle! To be honest it turned out much better than I expected. There are of course some issues with it and things I wish I could have done differently, but the final prop itself is fit, functional, and looks the part. I may be biased, but I really do think my version of McCree’s buckle is one of best I’ve seen.
It was quite a journey to get to this point, and there were lessons learned for every step along the way. The buckle is done! Now it’s time to sit back, relax, and figure out what worked well for this build – and what didn’t.
At this point the physical geometry of McCree’s buckle is done! I designed a 3D model based on the in-game buckle, built a physical ‘master’ prop, created a silicone mold, cast a version of the buckle out of solid plastic, and cleaned up the casting to fix the defects from the molding process. The buckle is so close to being complete! But before I can call it “finished, I need to attach a metal mounting plate so I can use it with a real belt and then give the buckle a shiny gold paint job.
In the previous posts of this series, I created a comprehensive 3D model and physical ‘master’ prop of McCree’s belt buckle based on references from Overwatch. Now that I have a polished physical version of the buckle in hand, the next step is to create a solid cast of the buckle from a silicone mold!