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Little Shop Newsletter - Issue 003

Issue 5.png

Josh Martin

28 Jul 2023

An update on Modern Stasers, Custom 14th Inspired Screwdrivers, and Grey Aztecs!


Hello everyone!

Welcome back to the weekly newsletter!

Its been a busy week here at Little Shop Props, with lots going on! In this issue we will be looking at the Modern Stasers, with an update and an interview with project lead, Josh Howe. We will have an update on the Custom Inspired 14th Screwdriver Replicas, and finally due to unforseen circumstances we've had to delay the interview with Jem Ward until next issue, but we have an update on the Grey Aztec Productions instead!

Production Update: Modern Stasers

These beauties are nearly ready to send out to their lucky new owners. Project Lead Josh Howe has been working hard on getting these made to the best possible standard. Each of these stasers are made with cast resin parts, 3D printed parts and turned metal parts for the barrels. They are painted and assembled to the highest quality in the same way the originals were.

Due to the nature of these and the complexity of their design they do take some time to put together. They will be heading out to their new owners soon!

We caught up with Josh Howe, in an interview:

You're fairly new to Little Shop Props. Tell us a bit about yourself!

"About me, well my name’s Josh Howe, I am a freelance prop maker working full-time, been in the industry for a few years now, I have worked on numerous project runs within the collectors community, and am one of the more recent recruits to the Little Shop Props team since the start of the year. Here at LSP I am a prop maker, specialising in paint. I have a hand in multiple projects across the company, from direct involvement, as well as a paintwork consultant. While I’ll have input on many of the projects here at LSP, you will recognise one of my more standalone projects being the Modern Staser."

You are in charge of the making of the Modern Stasers, How does that process go?

"So the Modern Stasers go through multiple stages, to start with the team produced a super accurate 3D model of the prop, that was split up into its numerous parts and pieces, which was then printed, and cleaned up, creating the master. Not to be confused with “The Master”, but one that moulds would get made around so that we could then cast copies from that for the run. Most core parts to the Staser are cast as two halves, of which is staying true to how the original prop was made for the show.

Once I have received the raw casts from the mould, they have to go through various stages of clean up in order to pair each half of the Staser. So each pair of parts gets glued together, and then the process begins, including sanding, filling, adding any repairs to the castings, more sanding, more filling, priming, then more sanding, and filling, making sure any bubbles or imperfections from the castings are patched up, and that seams are filled and sanded smooth, this is all followed by a final coat of primer. 

Now that all the parts have been prepped and are nice and smooth, it’s finally time to paint! The Staser parts get painted with their primary red colour, due to the nature of the paint used it will then be given time to properly cure overnight, the parts are then flipped over and a second coat is applied to cover areas that weren’t the first time, this will then be left to cure again. In this time the other parts to the Staser such as, the grips and other detail parts will get textured and or painted. 

After the main Staser parts have dried, the secondary silver colour gets painted on by hand, and then all the separate parts get attached and glued in place on the main body. 

The next stage of the process switches gears to a whole different form of making, this is of course the machining of the barrels, which are the stand out feature of the Modern Staser. Telescoping tubes of brass and aluminium get cut to precise measurements using the machining lathe. These parts are then cleaned and polished, before being installed onto the rest of the Staser.

Finally it’s onto my favourite part of any project… THE WEATHERING. Using a variety of paints and methods, the entire Staser gets aged down to match references of the original prop. This last part of the process is key to tying all the parts together, both resin and metal, making everything into a seamless, finished prop replica."

The Modern stasers use a few different materials, is there anything you've found challenging or anything you've learnt though the building process?

"When taking on any new project there’s always something I learn or take away from it, and the Modern Stasers are no exception. While for the most part I have applied a lot of what I already knew regarding painting techniques towards this project, other areas such as machining are where I feel I have learnt more. 

While I have owned a metal working lathe for about a year now, it’s through the Modern Staser project that I have really started to make more use out of it. Dialling in my tolerances, and utilising a new tool to more of its capabilities, provided me with much more refined results in metal working, which allowed for the production of the barrel parts for the Stasers."

You've been involved in a few other projects at Little Shop Props, what has been your favourite so far?

"While the Modern Staser is my first project that I have lead in it’s production here at LSP, I have also been involved in various others during my time so far, all of which I have enjoyed doing, but I must say that I particularly enjoy my involvement within some of the screwdriver prop releases, such as the Sladen Lipstick, getting to paint and finish all of the stands for that run, as well as my current involvement in the Grey Aztec run, developing a weathering process to resemble that of the original on-screen prop, and the upcoming release of the Burnt Aztec, which I am particularly excited about."

Little Shop Props is a hugely collaborative team, does this team differ from things you've been involved in in the past?

"Over the years I have been fortunate to work with a number of different teams and collaborate on various kinds of projects. Through LSP I have been exposed to a more diverse and sharing team of individuals, all of which have their own skills and techniques to offer, and are excellent in their areas of expertise. I have very much been well taken care of, and accepted into the team, being heavily involved on several projects, and having my voice heard. Altogether it has been an incredibly valuable experience for me so far here at Little Shop Props."

If theres one prop you could work on at Little Shop Props, from any franchise what would it be?

"I am really lucky to have worked on the projects I have so far here at LSP, and as much as we are actively expanding our reaches into other franchises that are extremely exciting, I do have a particular interest in working on both River Song’s Sonic Screwdriver, and the 13th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver. I would love to work on replicating the patina finish and weathering of River’s sonic, and I have always had an interest in the 13th Doctor’s sonic with its unique organic design."

You do a lot outside of Little Shop Props as well, where can people find you?

"The best place to keep up to date with my work would be over on Instagram @multiverseprops. I share updates on my current work, as well as personal projects, and the odd tips and tricks of the trade."

Production Update: Custom 14th Inspired Screwdrivers.

We've been working hard to get these out. We've unfortunately faced a lot of set backs with these, due to the complexity of each one. They are nearly entirely painted and will be heading up to Kasim for a final bit of electronics magic before heading out to their new owners.

Some final painting and assembly is left before they get their electronics installed by Kasim and we're working very hard to get them done as soon as possible!

Of course, the official design was released last week, but these have always been our own design and something we are incredibly proud of. We also really appreciate peoples kind words on our design, we look forward to getting these last ones out into the world!

Production Update: Grey Aztecs.

This week Josh Howe, when not working on the Modern Stasers has been working hard on the Grey Aztecs, specifically the Series 3 weathered versions. Josh Howe has been working on achieving the same finish for our production using pictures of the original screen used handle, which were kindly provided to us by it's owner, Prop collector Brian Uiga.

As per the update in the first issue, he's also been testing various different washes in order to achieve that grey look seen on the prop. This has now been tested and agreed upon by the team and the directors and we can continue our progress. While this has been going on Kasim has been prepping and organising the elecronics ready for when he recieves the painted bodies.

With this last step in the painting process now agreed upon we can really begin assembling soon, with the plan of having Greys start going out in August!

We are really looking forward to getting these out into the world.

With this run soon coming to an end, we've begun discussing our next screwdriver release, with the wheels set in motion already... More to come soon....

Next Issue:

A Look at our Lipstick Packaging and an update on them, as well as an update on Tri Sliders.

Josh Martin

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