For those of you that have been following me from the very beginning, you may remember that my M8 Avenger build has taken on a couple different iterations. First, there was the super quick 3 day build one I made, Version 1:
I loved it, and I loved that I had made it so quickly, but I knew it wasn't pretty, and it was anything but perfect. So, when I remade the N7 armor, I remade the M8 to go with it. Never did a write-up, but it was basically the same as the last one, just with layers of foam all glued together and cut out with the band saw. This ended up as Version 2, which has pretty much been the face of Ascension Props to this day.
Even then, though, I knew I wanted to try to make it even more correct. A lot of the etched lines were supposed to be bevels, which was hard to do with foam that was a single piece. Recently, I decided to try and make it more correct, and have the proper look of the in-game model. After the success of the quick-built M-99 Saber, I decided to give it a proper shot.
I started by making my own set of blueprints, making some small adjustments where I knew I had problems with the previous ones I had made. Then I got to work, cutting out the core with the 1" thick foam.
I prepped 5 of them, in case the build was a success (and to finally get ahead of the orders). Still treated the core like the puzzle I usually did with the previous version, since those fit into the band saw better.
I also tried something new here, gluing all the pieces together with contact cement rather than super glue. Much better bond - those pieces will never separate!
Once that was all together, I cut apart the blueprint even more, for the layered 1/2" foam.
Already it's looking better, and closer! I left a bit of overlap on the top and bottom, to account for the barrels. Once the blueprint was cut out to my liking, it was a simple job of getting it to the 1/2" foam, cutting it out with the band saw, and using the disc attachment on my belt sander to get the bevels done.
I still curved the top pieces with the router, though that was quite a bit scarier as I had to do them a piece at a time with a guide stick. In the previous one I had plenty of protection from the router bit with the 4 layers of foam, but with this I was a lot closer to it.
I survived though, and this was the result:
So super stoked to see this. I used my new drill press to punch in the rivet holes, then the xacto knife/heat gun trick for the etched details. Still used the wood burning tool for the air vents and such, though.
After that I threw on the barrels, sight, and craft foam raised details, and off to the Plasti Dip it went!
Holy. Crap. I almost stopped right there, it was exactly how I wanted it to turn out. Can't finish it there, though, so I pulled out my acrylics and started painting.
I used some excess vinyl stencils that once held the stickers I used in the previous Avenger builds, which I was now out of (yes, that popular of a prop - at least 20-25 M8s worth). After that came weathering and a clear coat or three to seal it all.
I am so happy with this new version that it will now be my regular build. I'll most likely use this same method and make a master out of MDF, mold a few, see how that turns out, but for now this right here is the version I have been trying to get to.
It's really nice seeing the progression of skill level, from the first, to the one that really put me out there, to this newest one that is the most correct version I've made. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I have! Here's some final pictures to show it off some more. ;)