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    In Brief: John Hughes's Original Vacation '58 Short Story

    originally a short storywhen I was a kid and Chevy Chase and company were getting laughs at the expense my dad, and it's even funnier now that I have a family of my own. What I didn't know is that Vacation was originally a short story that ran in National Lampoon, written by none other than John Hughes. The Hollywood Reporter just reprinted the original short, Vacation '58, which I'd highly recommend you read, if you have any affinity for the film.

    Will
    LEGO with Friends: Bonnie Burton, Part 1

    For this week's LEGO with Friends, we're joined by guest Bonnie Burton! Previously at LucasFilm, Bonnie has written several Star Wars craft books and is a regular contributor to CNET and Playboy.com. Together, we're going to assemble the massive Avengers Helicarrier set! Follow along with us by signing up for a Tested Premium Membership here! (The first episode is free for everyone, but the rest of the series will be for Premium Members.)

    Bowing Before The Masters - Episode 18 - 7/31/2015
    It's the season 2 finale of CreatureGeek and Boy Howdy, do we have a rock and roll guest to round off this season. This episode we welcome the incredible Todd Masters of MastersFX. Todd and his shop are responsible for effects in such shows as Fringe, Falling Skies, RoboCop, Tales from the Crypt, Slither, True Blood, Six Feet Under - the list goes on and on. He's a true FX artisan and we are more than proud to have him on the program. Along with that, listen in on how you can win a Smooth-On trial pack for your next makeup project by just listening and commenting on the show. It's a jam-packed program, so thanks for listening, thanks of supporting CreaturGeek on Tested and we'll see you in the fall!
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    Making a District 9 Alien Assault Rifle Prop Replica

    One of our favorite science fiction movies is District 9, which features beautiful props by Weta Workshop. Paying tribute to the film, we team up with prop maker Bill Doran and effects artist Frank Ippolito to replicate the movie's Alien Assault Rifle and accompanying alien hand. We walk through the process of building each, with the final cosplay pieces coming together at Comic-Con! (Thanks to Smooth-On for providing materials for this build!)

    I'm Fascinated By the Tree of 40 Fruit

    I've been into the idea of grafting, attaching a branch from one tree to another similar species, since I was introduced to the technique as a kid. Sam Van Aken grafts branches from 40 species of fruit tree to make a single gorgeous tree that bears 40 different kinds of fruit. Horticulture meets art! (via kottke)

    Tested Builds: DIY Arcade Cabinet Kit, Part 1

    Time to start more weeks of builds! This week, we're joined by Jeremy Williams to assemble his new Porta-Pi DIY Arcade Cabinet Kit. the Porta-Pi is a desktop-sized arcade emulator that runs on either a Raspberry Pi or mini computer. Jeremy had built an earlier version, but the new model has a larger screen and more powerful computer inside. Let's get to building! (Follow along the rest of the week by joining the Tested Premium member community!)

    Building the Star Wars Rancor Costume, Part 1

    At this year's Comic-Con, we unveiled The Rancor Project: a huge foam-fabricated costume built by effects artist Frank Ippolito. The project was inspired by a test suit made by LucasFilm for Return of the Jedi, which never made it to the film. To show you how the Rancor was created, we visit Frank's workshop and walk through the design process, starting with a maquette sculpture and patterning by foam fabricator Ben Bayouth. Using these techniques, you can build your own creature costume! (Thanks to Model-Space.com for sponsoring this project!)

    Ant-Man and the History of Miniaturization in Movies

    This story originally appeared on the Cinefex blog on 7/21/2015 and is republished here with permission. Learn more about Cinefex magazine here.

    Small is big. If you're in any doubt of that, check out Marvel's Ant-Man, the latest in a long line of movies in which ordinary human beings are reduced to the size of bugs.

    In Ant-Man, con-artist Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) dons a special suit charged with sub-atomic particles, which causes him to shrink to near-microscopic proportions. Drastically diminished, Rudd faces the considerable challenges posed by an ordinary world magnified to extraordinary proportions. Good job the side-effects of the miniaturization process imbued him with super-strength.

    You'll be able to read the complete story of the visual effects of Ant-Man in the next issue of Cinefex magazine, available to preorder now. To whet your appetite, this article includes exclusive insights from Jake Morrison, Ant-Man's visual effects supervisor, about the challenges involved in creating Marvel's latest – and littlest – screen hero.

    Before hearing from Jake, however, we're going to take out our magnifying glasses and examine some of the other movies which have delighted in pitting pocket-sized heroes against teeny-tiny villains.

    Tested Mailbag: 1:220 Scale Models Kits

    Woot! This week's reader mailbag is super cool, and a callback to one of our week of build projects from last year. Ben Jean from Montreal designs small-scale models made of laser-cut wood and liner board. His care package included unassembled kits as well as completed versions, one of which is inspired by the upcoming game Firewatch!

    Building a District 9 Alien Rifle Replica, Part 4

    Over the past month, Punished Props' Bill Doran built a 1:1 scale replica of the alien assault rifle from District 9 to unveil with us at Comic-Con. Bill's build logs and videos will walk through his design and fabrication process, and his finished piece was unviled with a surprise at SDCC. Place your questions for Bill in the comments below! Here are parts 1, 2, and 3.

    Here it is: the final part of the District 9 Gun Prop build! Fortunately, the molding process was fairly painless and yielded some very useful molds. When it comes to casting, having good molds can make or break a project, especially when you need 24 of something, as we did for this whacky alien gun.

    Dump Molds

    Most of the pieces for the gun were done with simple dump molds. This means all I had to do was mix up some Smooth-Cast 300 resin, tint it with a little SO-Strong black, and pour it into the molds we made. The only fancy business we did was to tap the mold around a bit to make sure no bubbles were trapped.

    This process was used for the top scope pieces, the barrel pieces, some of the side greeblies, and all 24 of the tubes that stick out the sides of the barrel length.

    In Brief: Five Interesting Things Today

    After a week-long exhale from Comic-Con, we're back to a regular schedule and looking forward to upcoming events, product testing, and more projects! Here are some stories currently sitting my browser tabs that I thought were worth sharing. First, Russian billionaire Yuri Milner announced that he would be spending $100 million over the next ten years to amp out the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence. Steven Hawking's on board. I also enjoyed this NPR story about the research into the curious sound of screaming. Windows 10 comes out in a week, and Microsoft has released an invite-only beta of its Cortana app for Android--Arstechnica has tested it. Boingboing's exploration of vintage Star Wars clothing collecting strikes a chord. And the best custom LEGO build in recent memory may be David Szmandra's enormous RC construction crane. "Massive erection" indeed.

    Norman 1
    Show and Tell: TinyCircuits Micro Arcade Cabinet

    This week, Norm shares a microcontroller system that's designed to run truly tiny electronics projects. Tinycircuits is an Arduino-compatible hardware platform with stackable expansion boards that allow you to make wearable lights, a simple smartwatch, or even a tiny arcade cabinet. It's really neat!

    Adam Savage Incognito in Judge Dredd Cosplay

    For his final cosplay incognito walk through this year's Comic-Con, Adam suits up as a Judge from the 2012 Dredd film. His helmet, tactical vest, Lawgiver pistol, and all the other pieces of the uniform are painstaking reproductions, weathered to look like they've seen some combat. Watch as Judge Savage meets up with a group of other Dredd cosplayers to patrol Comic-Con!

    SDCC 2015: Chronicle Collectibles' Movie Prop Replicas

    We stop by the Chronicle Collectibles booth at Comic-Con to check out their upcoming maquettes and prop replicas from franchises like Terminator and Ghostbusters. We learn about new molding and casting techniques that allow for them to easily scale their models, as well as get our hands on a prototype Syd Mead-designed concept blaster from Blade Runner!

    50 Bucks A Poke With Christoper Warren - Episode 17 - 7/17/2015
    On this episode of CreatureGeek, Frank and I welcome SFX designer, miniature wizard and camera king Christopher Warren. Chris is part of the Warren family that has over 70 years of SFX history under their belts with movies like T2, Moonrise Kingdom, the Underworld Series and of course, The Pillsbury Doughboy. We only scratch the surface in this interview and we hope you'll agree, he is must return for season 3. Let us know what you think! How are you enjoying the shows? Sound off in the comments! Enjoy!
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