Bill Doran of Punished Props is a foamsmithing genius and his latest book, Foamsmith 2: How to Forge Foam Weapons, will help you on the path to being a foamsmith in your own right.
I previously interviewed Doran and wrote about his first book, and took the lessons I learned from Foamsmith: How to Create Foam Armor Costumes to make a Hylian Shield for my toddler. I just got my hands on the new book and it is the perfect companion to the first Foamsmith book. I’ll be picking a project and using Doran’s techniques from the book and writing about it in detail in another post, but for now, here are my first impressions.
Doran’s writing style is very funny and approachable which makes learning what he has to teach not only engaging but fun. This book is organized a little differently than the last book, but it’s a really great flow and a great way to learn these techniques.
The first part of the book goes over just about everything you need to know about foam weapons and foamsmithing–tools of the trade, basic techniques on everything from cutting and sanding foam to sealing and painting, and even covers things like weapon handling and policies for conventions. It’s a lot of info to digest, especially if you’re just starting out at foamsmithing, but that’s exactly what makes it a great reference book!
Then Part 2 of the book dives right into a practical, hands-on application and tutorial using all of those techniques to build a bad @$$ axe! This is one of the downloadable templates that comes with your book and not only does the book walk you through how to make this exact axe, it also teaches you a ton of handy techniques for making just about any bladed weapon out of foam (with a little PVC thrown in).
Lastly, Part 3 does the same thing as Part 2 but for a “space” gun. Once again, not only does Doran give you a thoroughly detailed walk-through on how to make this exact gun (also an included downloadable template), but you will walk away with in-depth knowledge of the techniques needed to build just about any kind of gun you can think of. I’ve seen this gun (and the amazing armor in the photo) in person multiple times, and I can tell you that these techniques produce props that are so real you couldn’t tell it was made out of foam without actually touching it.
The eBook and free downloadable templates are available now for only $10, or, for $30, you can get the eBook, templates, and pre-order the print edition. If you have any interest in making foam props and weapons, this book, just like the first, is worth every penny. I highly recommend getting the print copies to have in hand as you work away at your project. Above all, Bill and Brittany Doran are amazing cosplayers and prop makers, and friendly, supportive people who love what they do and love helping others do the same.
If you’re at all interested in foamsmithing and prop making, even if you don’t grab the book right away, I also highly recommend checking out Punished Props abundance of free tutorial videos on YouTube. You’ll learn a lot, be entertained, and get a real feel for Doran’s humor and style that carries over to his books.
Note: I received a free copy of the eBook for review purposes but all thoughts and opinions above are my own.