Catching up on some more sharing here… first, just a couple examples of what sort of basic customization I sometimes do on existing props. Denix makes the double-barrel wood and cast-metal prop replica “coach gun” shotgun, and it’s a staple of sorts. Not perfect for every project, but nice to have on hand. Sometimes it’s close enough it can be modified to work, though. I had one rental late last year that wanted a “J. Purdy & Sons British side-by-side engraved full sidelock shotgun” for the show Book of Days. Those things can look pretty fancy, but the basic shape is the same, so I was able to spend some time with a Dremel and get one of my Denix props looking a bit more the part:
That’s actually a work-in-progress shot – it ended up with a bit more than that, but you get the idea.
Another drawback with the Denix models is that while the interior diameter of the barrels is right for putting dummy or spent 12ga shells in it, there isn’t the wider area at the chamber to accommodate the extra brass of the base, or the lip. On my sawed-off one I ground that out for a recent gig, to the point where it could fit dummy rounds and still close. Granted, it’s not perfect – being not designed to chamber anything, there’s also no extractor, so getting the rounds back out means getting a stick and poking them through from the other side, generally, but it’s still an improvement. I also dirtied it up a bit, as I’ve never heard of a mint-condition sawed-off. The barrel now looks a bit more like it was hacksawed, and there’s a bit more weathering on it.
One other area where I’ve been tinkering when I can is in prep for an upcoming Robin Hood gig at a high school. They’ll be using aluminum swords, and wanted a mace or axe for the villain, as well as some bows. While I have a bunch of swords that work well for this, build off old leftover blade blanks from the Prince of Persia movie and use previously for another Robin Hood and many youth classes, I didn’t have the other items yet. I’ve got nice wood longbows but I’m not going to rent those out for school kids to dry-fire repeatedly, so I made a few PVC bows that still go through the motions but are cheap, durable, safer (probably only a few pounds draw weight) and could even end up being used as a melee weapon against the aluminum swords perhaps.
I also didn’t have any aluminum axes or maces, so I made an aluminum head to put on a spare handle for one of the Cold Steel trench hawks. Might paint the handle if they want. Thinking we’ll pair this with a buckler perhaps, since blocking with a quillion-free weapon can get a bit dicey.
…and when I have more time, I’ll post a how-to and review of the DIY cloaks I made for the Beach Bash rapier & cloak workshop, for any sewers out there. They were a lot of fun to play with, and I only had one rip – not too surprising, as it was one made from fabric that had been sitting in my parents’ attic for about 37 years, having been bought at a customs auction some time in the mid-70s.