Monday, December 31, 2012

Something PRECIOUS Came in the Mail Today!

In an unassuming bubble mailer came this circular object from some short guy named Bilbo.

This here is a pretty nice replica I got for dirt cheap of the One Ring of Sauron from The Lord Of The Rings. It's tungsten with gold finish and laser engraved elvish inscription:

"One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,
One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them."

Getting chills yet? Or are you under its power and can't stop glazing at it. Well, you can't haves it! It's MINE! My precious! It belongs to us! Gnnnnaaaaaaaagghhhh!!!!!!!

Sorry, don't know what came over me.

So I find out the ring size used for filming was a size 11, so naturally that's what I got. I have no intention of wearing it as I'll be putting this on display with the rest of my props. But interestingly, it fits! (Or did it resize itself, claiming me as its slave?)

Luke Skywalker Force Fx Lightsaber (Removable Blade) Review

Got this surprise gift from my wife for Christmas. Not being able to afford a "true" honest-to-goodness replica of Luke's iconic lightsaber from Episode IV, I've been eyeing the next best thing... the Force Fx version by Master Replicas. But, now that MR has regrettably gone belly up, I'm glad Hasbro has taken care of the Force Fx lines.

To my delight, Hasbro offers premium versions with easy-to-remove blades, allowing them to be displayed like pretty convincing replicas. This is the one I have here.

The craftsmanship could have been a little better, as there's evidence of tiny scratches near the screws, caused by an obvious slip of the hand from the assemblers. There are also a few minor scuffs and tiny traces of adhesive in a couple of areas. Again, quality control is the issue here. Which brings me to a long debated issue. Hasbro took over the Force Fx line of sabers first made famous by Master Replicas, the original distributor. Having learned that both lines are made in the same factory there shouldn't be any major difference in quality, though purists swear by the Master Replicas sabers, insisting the latter are of far superiors quality. This is difficult to prove definitively since there can be variances throughout any product line, even from the same manufacturer. If anything, it's possible Hasbro has somewhat looser quality control guidelines than Master Replicas did. Again, I can't be certain as I don't own identical Hasbro and Master Replicas samples to compare against each other.

Now on to this lovely item. First of all, yes, it is lovely to behold. Having seen many Force Fx sabers first hand, I can say with confidence that this is by far one of the most screen-accurate ones to date, and unlike most of the other sabers, this one does not seem to have been made larger and thicker to accommodate the internal electronics. The shape and form seems to be pretty spot on.

Most of the details are surprisingly faithful to the filming prop, which was fashioned out of an old fashioned Graflex camera flash handle. To the untrained eye, the hilt looks just like a Graflex handle, complete with all the screws and surface details you'd expect, with only a few minor details either simplified or removed. The metal is also a little thicker than it should be, but still pretty nice.

Having a miniature Luke saber replica on hand made by Master Replicas (made to the same specifications as their full-size limited edition replicas, except at 45% the original size) I decided to do a side-by side comparison. I can see where the Force Fx saber deviates in a few details (chrome where there should be brushed aluminum, a separate cast part when it should be one part, etc.) but none, in my opinion really detract from its overall presentation. In my opinion, it's a pretty convincing prop replica.

The blade is ridiculously easy to remove. Simply unscrew the top "button" and pull it out, releasing the blade.

You can then slide in the included insert which replicates the emitter. Plastic yes, but it does the trick.

The blade glows pretty nicely. Unfortunately I didn't have fresh batteries to test just how bright it gets, but it looks pretty great, especially in the dark, with only minor dim spots between the internal LED strips (should be less visible with new batteries).

The sound module is a topic of some controversy. Some say it's not as loud as what Master Replicas offered in the past. Again, I can't really prove this as I don't have two identical samples from both distributors, but I can say that my Empire Strikes Back Darth Vader Force Fx saber by Master Replicas is much louder and has a better quality speaker. Still, in my opinion, not bad at all.

Included are a display base and a belt clip so you can wear this thing to the mall and show all the chicks just what a catch you are.

Overal, this is a fine "toy". Yes, that what it is, an expensive toy for those of us who refuse to grow up. Seriously, every time I pick up one of these Force Fx sabers I'm suddenly seven years old. But it's also an impressibly accurate replica of Luke's iconic weapon as seen in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope and sure looks darn good on a shelf!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

What I've Been Up To This Christmas

Well as it's a little late to say "merry Christmas" at least I have an excuse. I've been meaning to set up our nativity scene figures outside for the past two years but I had to rig something so they don't topple over, and to avoid a quick and easy theft. How sad it is when you need to take some measures to avoid your Christmas decorations from getting stolen... baby Jesus being the most common target for kids who have nothing better to do than to steal it. Well, enough of that. This year I decided to finally put them up.

For the background I carved 2 pieces of insulation foam and painted to look like an old plaster wall that has been crumbling in the elements, exposing the stone underneath.

I'm pretty happy with the way it came out.

I decided to do a simple base out of a solid wood panel to which I can easily affix the figures with screws and mending brackets. Worked like a charm. The wood base was very loosely painted to give the illusion of stone.

Hope you had a very merry Christmas, and have a happy new year. Be back in 2013!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New Art Print Available

"Dance Macabre"

Click HERE for a higher resolution preview. 

This Victorian era engraving features a group of skeletal musicians engaged in musical celebration. This print is available various sizes.

Close up detail

Close up detail

Click HERE for more info.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Idol Artifact Pedestal - Painting Time-lapse Video

Here's a short video of an Idol Artifact Pedestal casting undergoing its painting process, from base coat, to final piece. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Art Prints Available in New Sizes

The Art Prints page has been updated with new available print sizes and price ranges for all listed art, from 11" x 17" economy print sizes, to large 23" x 35" poster sizes. The initially listed 11" x 17" photochemical prints are still available and are made-to-order and are the highest quality reproductions. The other prints, where noted, are handled via an external site using on-demand printing methods.

New art is added frequently so click HERE and keep coming back and see what can grace your walls!

$10-$15 off select Models & Replicas! Limited Time Only!

Having a little sale here at Landron Artifacts. If you've been on the fence about getting your hands on an Idol Artifact Pedestal, a Siva Linga Stone Replica, or a Medallion Display Stand, they are now between $10 to $15 off each, effective immediately for a limited time! Pricing as always is shipping inclusive (domestic addresses only).

Click HERE to visit the Models & Replicas page.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Back In Stock!

I have a handful of brand new Siva Linga Stone replicas boxed up and ready to ship! Click HERE to order yours!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Freshly Painted Siva Linga Stones

Here's a pic of this last batch of Siva Linga Stones with a fresh coat of paint. I've been working on these all day simultaneously. These six came out great. The seventh is still by my paint booth needing a touchup. As stated before, this batch will be available to order sometime soon this week.

Siva Linga Stones Back in Stock Soon

Got a few leftover castings. Here they are with their basecoats on, now painting as I type this. They'll be available again sometime this week. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mayan Themed Wall Relief W.I.P.

I've decided to work on one of my Mayan themed wall relief designs. I'm particularly fond of this one.

The basic shape is drawn onto a piece of styrofoam and carved. Later this rough carving will be layered with a clay-like air-drying modeling compound, refining the shapes as it's being applied. Once dry, it will be rotary tooled to add in the final intricate details. The final piece will measure roughly 8" x 12".

To be continued...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Workbench Makeover

I finally decided to clean up my messy workbench and gave it a little makeover. I had this carved foam brick wall with arched window forever and I got sick of looking at it sitting in the corner unfinished and unused. I took some time today to paint it and mount it on the back of my table top.

Eventually I might add some dungeon bars to the window to give it more character.

Monday, November 5, 2012

3 New Art Prints Available

I just added a few more pieces in the prints section that are additions to the growing Victorian era collection. I've come to like some of these so much I think I want them for my own place.

"Giant Squid"

Click HERE for a higher resolution preview.

Here is a reproduction of a beautiful engraving depicting an old steam ship who's crew had just captured a real-life sea monster, the legendary giant squid!

(Close up detail)

(Close up detail)
Click HERE for more info.

Jules Verne's "Clipper of the Clouds"

Click HERE for a higher resolution preview.

Here is a reproduction of a beautiful engraving from an early edition of Jules Verne's "Clipper of the Clouds" where we see fantastic futuristic vessels ruling the skies.

(Close up detail)

(Close up detail)

Click HERE for more info.

"Ship's Cannon"

Click HERE for a higher resolution preview.

Here is a reproduction of a beautiful engraving depicting a seaman posing with what is presumably just one of his ship's heavy guns.

(Close up detail)

(Close up detail)

While many 18th-19th century illustrations such as these are under the public domain, these are specially reproduced here in an atmospheric and aged quality and with gritty color tones. These prints are a perfect addition to any "steampunk" or maritime collection and will look stunning in a suitable frame.

Click HERE for more info.