Girl Genius Hetrodyne Power Unit

This project came about thanks to the Girl Genius Message Boards. A few of the members were talking about how they'd make a replica of Gil's Heterodyne artifact. If you don't know about Girl Genius go read it, I'll wait. It first shows up in the story here and then features prominently in the story here. I hadn't planned on making one but then someone proposed a contest and I couldn't *not* enter. The deadline would be January 12th, the birthday of one of the comics creators. That gave me about 20 days, plenty of time. After a day of running around to local stores trying to find a 10 inch plastic sphere I settled for a 4 1/2 inch one I had on hand, making the prop a little under half size by my estimation. I wanted to keep the surface glossy but needed to diffuse the interior since I intended to light it. I sprayed the interior with a matte clear spray.

Plastic Sphere

To light it, I got 4 high intensity blue LED's from Radio Shack and soldered them to a breadboard, powered them with a 9V battery and used a potentiometer so I could adjust the brightness.

Circuit In Sphere Setup Diffused LEDs

The Heterodyne trilobite symbol was made by bending a piece of plastic to the curvature of the sphere and sculpting the shape using Milliput.

Sculpted Trilobite

I glued a strip of plastic to one of the domes of the sphere, leaving the other side removable for when I'd need to change the battery. For the plugs I used various bits from my bits box and some more putty. The screw heads were made by casting an actual screw in hot glue and making putty castings.

Center Strip Upper Plug Plugs Screw Heads

For the base I cut two circles out of thick plastic and made a wire form for the statue.

Wireform Scaling

The base and statue were then built up with putty over a few days. The trick to sculpting something like this is to know when to stop and let it dry. If you try and do it all at once you'll invariably mess up something you already worked on.

Base Forming Sculpting Body Detail Work Base Plate Fingers Finished Statue

I gave the interior of the domes a few lite coats of transparent blue paint. This deepened the color of the light and made the prop look good even when the light isn't on.

Blue Spray Both Halves Light Diffusion

Everything was given a coat of gold spraypaint. I hooked up a pushbutton so the light could be turned on and off by pushing the trilobite.

Gold Paint 1 Gold Paint 2 Pushbutton

I've left the orb unattached to the base as I don't intend to carry it anywhere and I'd like to be able to change the battery without breaking the statue. In all I think it turned out acceptable, there are a few things I'd do differently if I had to do it again. I really need to work on sculpting hands and faces.

Finished 1 Finished 2 Finished 3 Finished 4 Finished 5 Finished 6 Finished 7 Finished 8

After happily living on my desk for a few months an opportunity I couldn't refuse came up. I went to NY Comicon 2006 where I met Phil Foglio and Cheyenne Wright. I gave the HPU to Phil along with my last two dingbots.

Cheyenne Phil Table Display

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