It’s all Halo Scot’s fault.
Scot started it, with Kyder, Rune, and all the other hideously brilliant characters in Scot’s indie book, Edge of the Breach.
We’re all looking for that “Oh, YES!” moment, which only happens with food, brilliant books, good news, and maybe a couple of other things. Scot was first-page five-star! From there it was ohhh baby, I’m a little scared, hold my hand, we’re goin’ allllll the way in!
So, there I was, my first 5 star indie looming. How to celebrate? First, capture those review feels while still in the horrendous book hangover stage. You can read the results of that here. Next, we post, right? WRONG! I was not ready! You couldn’t make me! It wasn’t yet time!
But what was I waiting for? Well, about that…
I’d never get my own stories written if I blog reviewed every book I read! Solution? Feature indie and small press books I truly value. What does that look like? I steer you once more, to the finished review for Edge of the Breach by Halo Scot. (Can you tell I love it?) A lot of words, hunted book quotes, plus the part which inadvertently hamstrung the release of that review—the book cover photo shoot.
I had an obstacle. That book was a work of creative skill. I couldn’t do the book justice until I’d made an appropriate creative celebratory *thing*.
What kind of thing? Well, I’m glad you asked.
I present, for your enjoyment:
CREATING A 5 STAR BOOK REVIEW PROP COG THING
(Or How To Fail Repeatedly For Sigh Worthy Reasons)
Firstly, I am a rookie.
At designing, at websites and blogs, at 3D printing, at casting—even reviewing—so let’s move quickly through some of the many fails that went into creating my now fabulous Riv Rains Raves 5 Star award prop, that literally no one asked for.
Rookie Mistake #1:
First stop, designing. How hard could that be? It’s just a thing, extruded into being more of a thing! What could possibly go wrong? Well. As it turns out, I can’t create 3D models correctly. They are littered with faults and take ridiculous amounts of time to print. All I can plead is; I’m learning, leave me be.
Rookie Mistake #2
Next stop, turns out the standard 3D printed skirt, sticking the model to the build plate is safer, but it causes far more work in removal and sanding.
But that’s fine, we’ll only need to roughly sand and detail the thing once, of course. Let’s move on and use it as a mould to cast the cog in bronze!
Rookie Mistake #3
Huh. I couldn’t angle the lettering to correctly release from a sand cast. We tried to get around it but the sand said no go. *sad* The bronze casting plan was a bust!
No amount of lifting, tapping, or jiggling could lift it from that sand seamlessly. No true metal gear for me! *dream in shatters* At least, not without spending a good deal of time learning how to redesign it. Did I want to do that? Ahhh no! Onwards!
Time to resort to painting the printed version. That would only take a few more hours of sanding, some scalpel work, some super glue, plus a few quick layers of paint, then finished product, right? WRONG.
Rookie Mistake #4
Hint. When drying primer, ensure you consider that the Aussie sun is far too hot for PLA 3D printer filament. BOO, HISS!
But that’s Ok. We’ll be utterly disheartened for a while then print a new one, next time with the ‘smooth finish’ ironing setting for the top layer. That’ll speed the painting up, surely? *sigh*
Rookie Mistake #5
Seems like a good time to note that for some projects, the final ironing function manages to erase half the details, rip up the surface, and smudge up the rest after hours of painstaking printing. For this project, it rendered the whole thing a useless, flightless frisbee. How thrilling. Try, try again?
Narrator: But she didn’t try again, not for months. She became disheartened with the entire process and shunned it in disgust.
***Far too many months later.***
Right. The rookie days are over. Back in black! *cracks knuckles*
Should we have dared to dream? Were we witnessing the one? Three’s the charm?
I wasn’t sure we’d make it, but YES! It was a bit of a rough finish but it was a workable cog! Straight on to prepping…
*keeps the damn thing out of the sun at all times*
Hmm. Heck, the copper was pretty, but not the right colour or look for the job. It photographed pasty and dull unless in direct sunshine. Always check your lighting and surfaces, Hearties! We named that one a character building layer and forged on.
*gets hopeful this might actually turn out…*
The brass coat was gorgeous! (Which I neglected to photograph before aging it, out of excitement to be moving on) But I’m a steampunk addict, which meant it was too damn pristine and shiny for my taste. Lucky, I knew just how to sand in some wear patterns to uncovered that lovely copper.
Help! We started to believe all over again! While terrified of ruining it, I braved transparent acrylic artist paint in burnt umber and a very tiny brush to make the grooves POP!
Well, that was easy! Not sure why it took so long. I’d like to thank my husband, my mum, Halo Scot for inspiring me… oh, where are you going? Don’t you want to hear more? Hey! Come back! I STILL LIKE YOU! WE STILL HAVE TIME!
*smug face* That’ll do, Riv. That’ll do.