Today we welcome Steampunk author Seleste deLaney who’s going to talk about a subject near and dear to my heart.
Seleste deLaney started on her career path as a young child. Stories of talking animals soon gave way to a love of superheroes and science fiction. Her first foray into the world of romance came at age twelve when she envisioned a sweeping epic love story of two people thrust together and torn apart again and again by fate. As she recalls, the plan was for them to admit their love on his deathbed. But, as is often the case with pre-teen girls, a story of that depth gave way to other pursuits, and sadly it is completely lost other than vague memories. After that, she occupied herself with short stories for a while, and then poetry until after she had earned a degree in chemistry, spent time as a high school teacher, and became a mother of two. Then she delved into writing fiction once more. She never lost her love of the fantastic, and her stories now always reach into other realms. The worlds and people she creates occupy as much of her time as the real world, and she is most fortunate to have a family that understands her idiosyncrasies and loves her anyway.
Gun-Modding for the Artistically Challenged
by Seleste deLaney
For the Romantic Times convention, I dressed as a steampunk vampire hunter for one of the balls. I was supposed to have a crossbow, but that plan fell through at the last minute and I was in need of weapons. Since they had to fit in my suitcase (and I am bad at spending money), I bought a cute little derringer from Etsy. But it was so cute and so little (and didn’t fire darts like it should), I decided I should have a second one and set about modding it myself.
Now I’m preparing to dress as Ever, my heroine from Badlands, for FanExpo in a couple weeks and she’d probably laugh if someone handed her a derringer. I checked out Etsy and found a fabulous gun…for $70 plus shipping. Now this isn’t to say the gun isn’t worth that. The thing is gorgeous (and big). But there’s that thing about me not liking to spend money coupled with the fact that my son had the base weapon on his loft in our basement.
So yes, I decided to give it another go. Only this time, I’ve learned a few things.
1) The first thing I learned is practice weapons are good. Get some cheap ones and see what you’d do if you were just winging it.
2) Apparently the cheap guns (non-Nerf) don’t hold onto the paint as well, so don’t expect your practice ones to hold up well.
3) Basecoats are a beautiful thing. For the new one, I sprayed everything with a light brown Krylon to start. It’s a good color because even if it shows through, it kind of looks like it should be there.
4) Paintbrush variety if you’re hand painting is good. I don’t like to take the guns apart, so spraying only works as a basecoat for me.
5) I suck at detail work. When I mentioned artistically-challenged, I meant it. I don’t have the patience for detail work. What that means is:
- Embrace what I can do. I like adding a little bit of gold rubbing on places where more artsy people would do some detail work. It still adds interest without making me cry or pull my hair out.
- Work around what I can’t. The really nice lines between the raised pieces? I can’t do it in black because I will screw them up, but a slightly darker brown just for a bit of contrast will work.
- Strive for perfect imperfection. A lot of modded weapons have a “worn” look to them. Artsy people have to try to get that by doing extra steps. The artistically challenged people have it easier. If we try to make ours perfect, odds are it’ll have just enough imperfections to fall under this header. WIN!
6) Don’t forget a finish coat. After all the paint is very dry, spray it with clear coat. If you’re adding little baubles, I’d spray before AND after. (Might be wrong, but if the bauble pops off, hopefully that way it won’t take all the paint with it)
7) Don’t rush the drying process. For RT, I only had a couple days and things weren’t “finished”. For FanExpo, I’m getting it done well over a week in advance so I have time to let it sit before I touch it again.
Now, I won’t pretend that my homemade gun is going to rock as much as the one on Etsy, but I also didn’t spend $80 on something I may break or forget while I’m in Canada. Plus, my kids are going to want to play with it, so better it’s one of their toys in the first place.
Do any of you have advice for novice modders? Or horror stories? Or want to smack me over the head with a tesla because I’m being silly?