Making a Life Sized OPERATION Game - Part Two

When we last left off, the character board was done. It needed to be secured into a frame, which would not only make it stable, but act as a blind to hide all the electronics and body part boxes  to come underneath it.

Pretty simple build, the main part was 1"x 6" pine, I spent a little extra money on pre-primed board to speed my painting up ( I'm under a tight deadline). Next I added a second 1"x4" board frame on the inside ( I went cheap on that wood, no one will see it). It added stability, and by recessing it created a shelf for the game board to rest on. By the way, if you like making things out of wood, treat yourself to a brad nail gun and a compressor. It'll change your creative life for the better.

After a successful test fit, it was painted a nice aqua green to match the character board, and a color that felt surgical to me.

With the main board completed, it was now time to make it the actual Operation game. It needs holes filled with body parts to remove. This took careful planning. I had one shot at cutting into the pristine finished board. I was going to create a large trace paper cover to layout, sketch, and plot hole patterns on, but lucky for me, the nice guy at Kinko's gave me their first "oops" printing for free. Made life easy, and much more accurate using as a mock up.

Next in Part Three - cutting holes, and making bones and organs.

Making a Life Sized OPERATION Game - Part One

 You remember the classic board game Operation right?

For years, I've quietly always wanted to build a life sized version. The thought hit me having a couple of beers in a Cleveland bar long ago. No offense to pool table or shuffleboard fans, but if I owned a gin joint, a giant Operation board would be the game of choice.

Well, guess what Home and Family producers (planning a game segment later this week) asked for? I jumped at the chance to finally create one!

Going to do my best to post about the process over the next couple of days. Time is short and I'm literally making it up as I go, so don't expect a sure proof "how-to".

First thing yesterday I sat with pencil and paper, designing and laying out the board. Because it's our show's version, producer's have come up with original body parts to remove (more about later).

Next I cartooned finished art of my own goofy looking patient character. Where's his nose you ask? Like the original game it will be a red bulb that lights up. Where are his nipples you ask? Design choice, keeping the space clean for body parts (kept the belly button though).

I sent the art to Kinkos to be enlarged, printed, and mounted on foamcore. Picked it up this morning. I thank the prop gods we have a company van. It would not have held up well strapped to the top of my Corolla.

Next in Part 2 - building a frame, figuring out body organ removal, and making them. That's what I'm doing today.

Propmaking Ego

The difference between being an egotistical propmaker and a professional? When a tin can telephone is needed. The egotistical propmaker asks "Seriously?" The professional propmaker asks "Ya need it to work?"

The one I was asked to make worked.

Easter Bunny Door 2.0

Through this door, and a 100 feet down, there is a rabbit's vast workshop/warehouse in which a billion eggs are painted ready to be hidden on Easter morning.

A few years back I wrote about an Easter Bunny Door display I created for my front lawn tree. I offered up that idea to Home and Family producers and it became a DIY on the show last week. The project also marked the return of the fake tree I created for the maple syrup tapping segment a couple of months ago. 

Here's the How-To segment from the show.

Three Cartoon Characters

Sometimes on the show I get to flex my cartooning muscles. Recently I got to illustrate some characters so our hosts could try and do cartoon voices for them. Here's what I came up with.

I should note the goldfish idea came from the meeting the night before when Mike Hinkley our editor pitched this idea saying "What if Dave drew some characters, like a fish playing tennis?" That's how fast things happen on this show sometimes.

 If you'd like the see the segment these were drawn for, click HERE.

Creative Inspiration: Jackson Shrub Supply

I've rented from these guys often over the years for various projects. Every time I go there and wander around their lot I get inspired. This company has been around since Gone With The Wind. Here's a (oddly edited) video of Huell Howser touring the shop from several years back.

This is the story, of a prop for a Brady.

Awhile back Florence Henderson was a guest on Home and Family. On the same episode producer's planned a game segment to play. It's become the norm that I create some kind of fun themed trophy prop for the winner. That day's game, with Ms. Henderson playing and The Brady Bunch in mind, was to guess old TV show themes.

As someone who grew up watching the Brady's, I couldn't think of a better trophy than the evil taboo tiki from their classic trip to Hawaii episodes. You remember those right? When the kids found the tiki at Mr. Brady's construction site and it cursed all who wore it? Then Vincent Price showed up to tell them how to end the curse?

I decided to custom make one for the challenge and fun of it. It's far from screen accurate, but I knew it wouldn't be, not having a whole lot of time to create. I was just going for a recognizable nostalgic facsimile to sell it.

Here's how I made it.

First, after pulling lots of reference from the web, I roughly sketched the idol onto a piece of random craft foam (from the prop stash).

Next I began sculpting it. Best part about craft foam, it doesn't really require special tools. I literally used a kitchen parring knife to roughly cut out it and whittle it, then with my own fingers, I pressed and mushed the foam until it had the basic shape and form.

I then added the smaller details onto it with Model Magic.

Once the Model Magic set up, I coated the whole thing a coat of Fix-It-All patching compound. Once dry, I sanded globby spots and carved in the finer details like nostrils, defined lines, grain, etc.

It was finished with a base coat of grey acrylic, then a wash of watered down black-brown acrylic, and a dry brushing of light grey.

Was this the story of a prop that represents my best work? No.
Was this the story of a prop that I'll never forget making and glad I did? YES!

Oh, and yes, if you're wondering, when the trophy tiki was presented, our fantastic soundman added the famous evil music sting from those episodes.