Wasteland Scavenger Hat Build Diary

This was a hat the grew in the making.

After building the glowing goggles I decided I wanted to put together some sort of costume.  I had just created a new LARP character and had been engaging in one of my favorite exercises - converting the same character into different genres.  So this would be Elmer Dunch - Wasteland Scavenger.  The original Elmer is a vampire who is cursed to be constantly followed by a swarm of rats.  Wasteland Elmer uses a horde of small robots to explore the ruins and pick the last succulent pieces from the bones of the old world.  The hat combined with the goggles would be his control for the bot swarm.

I had already bought a hat for the LARP so I got another on of those. I cut a bunch of sheets of foam into triangles and squares and rectangles and glued them to the hat.  I knew I wanted it to be two toned, steel and copper, and decided try and layer the design a bit to make it easier to split it up visually.  I started at the crown with the triangles, just laying them out geometrically to cover as much as I could.   The next layer is all squares and small rectangles to cover mostly the sides and a bit of the crown.  Finally, long strips to make the band.  I left a small gap on one side so I could put something in place of the bow/knot later.  Then I poured a bunch of googlie eyes and carefully glued them in place until the whole thing looked like a manic pink and green monstrosity.

For the side piece I ended up going with a couple pieces from a Nerf gun I had disassembled a while back and a straw from promotional R2D2 cup I got at the convenience store.  It's a crappy cup and really only worth looking at so using the straw was no great loss.  Now I had an antenna.   I thought I might want some sort of earpiece and microphone setup but that could wait.  It was time to paint.

Foam tends to suck up paint and not look right so I was going to try using PlastiDip for the first time.  It went...ok.  I was a little over eager to get it covered in once coat and it ended up being a bit uneven.  At any rate, I may find some other way to seal my foam in the future and I'm absolutely going to get a respirator before I use that stuff again.  It is nasty.

Now that the foam was sealed I primed it with a matte black.  Once that was dry it was time to metal it up.  The hat looked more steampunk than I wanted it to be once it was covered with silver and copper.  Some weathering was definitely in order.  I started off with a wash.  I used a slightly thinned black acrylic paint and made sure to get it down into all the recesses then wiped most of off.  This helped to dull the shine but also really bring out all the little crevices and give it a generally dirty look.  Then a light touch with the silver and copper to bring out some highlights.  Finally I dry brushed the silver parts with a burnt sienna and ocher to make them a bit rusty.  Then I did the same with a darkish green to tarnish up the copper a bit.

This picture was taken after I had decided to attach the goggles.  You can see the foam and googlie eyes ready for paint.

It didn't work.  The goggles were so big that they pushed the brim of the hat up high on my forehead and it just didn't look right.   What to do? The answer was to remove the strap from the googles.  The strap I had made myself.  Ah well, it will find another use.  The idea now was to glue the goggles directly to the brim of the hat.  I added some more foam and googlie eyes to the front to make a mounting point for them.

Goggoles attached to hat.  Lookin' good.

Once I had the goggles in place everything was starting to come together.  I could now easily wear my glasses while with the goggles and the hat.  I also knew that I absolutely had to add an earpiece and microphone.

This took a while to think trough and get built and I, sadly, don't have any pictures of the process.  Being a wasteland scavenger hat it is made from various bits and pieces cobbled together.  I decided that the earpiece/antenna assembly had been scavenged military equipment.  The base of the whole thing is a spray can cap.  I then covered the cap with some foam to give it a plated look.  Fallout is a big insipiration for this project so I wanted to make it look like something from that imagined 1950s future.  Since I now have more googlie eyes than I know what to do with I threw a few on here too.  These ones, however, I did a little something different.  I discovered you can crimp the center of the eyes with a screwdriver or fingernail and when it's painted it will suggest a slot headed bolt or screw.  The microphone is made from a wire hanger and some foam core.  I primed and painted the whole thing green.  Then took the silver to it to bring out the bolts and give the paint a worn look.  I weathered it, added a corrugated tubing 'ear pad' and glued it to the hat.

To give it that little bit of extra wasteland flair I decided to add some exposed wires.  I delved into my random wires box and pulled the tiny wires out of an Ethernet cable.  I also added a length of phone cord to the antenna.  There you have it - The Wasteland Scavenger Hat.

When you shake it you can hear the googlie eyes rattle.

This build was a lot of fun and really did take on a life of it's own.  I feel like learned a thing or two along the way which is always good.  Next up I'm going to need and armored jacked of some sort and a holster for the Captain's Sidearm.

-Sean