Sunday, 23 August 2009

Making a Wormhole Stargate


Last year I scratch built a 28mm scale Wormhole portal based on the gate from Stargate Atlantis, the piece was then used as the main scenic focal point in a diorama I made for the Diorama of Doom competition 2008 held on the forum of doom. Many people asked “How did you do it?” so I thought it was a good idea to try and show you all.…….now, this may have not been the best way to make it and in hindsight I would have probably made it differently, but, This is how I made my Wormhole portal.

Main Materials used to make the gate
- 1x sheet of Balsa Foam II 6 x 9 x ½ in - 12lb density from Antenocitis workshop

- a two part epoxy putty…some green stuff…… buy a ribbon to be safe ….. Available from Heresy miniatures, you can use pro-create, brown stuff, miliput, whatever floats your boat, just not fimo or sculpy because these need to be put into the oven, and balsa foam and oven = toxic death and a possible mini bonfire

- sticky backed cork sheet, available from craft shops
- superglue
- a blank CD
- fine wet and dry sand paper
- sculpting tools, clay shapers, craft knife/scalpel, Vaseline
- Health and safety stuff, mask, gloves, night vision goggles

ok… so I think that’s the main materials and bits used, I’ve probably forgotten something, but I’ll remember it later….. lets go


Before you start any project research it, luckily for you, I’ve already done all the stuff you need to build my wormhole gate….. Note that my gate is not an exact replica of the Stargate, but it is a representation based on the Stargate as seen in Stargate Atlantis….. It is a wormhole portal and its main purpose is, to be used as a scenery piece in miniature wargames.

The gate has been made for use with 28mm miniature figurines but has been built to 30mm scale or 5mm = 1 foot, given the broad size range in 28mm figurines available.

The Stargate prop used for the TV show measures 22 ft in diameter and about 2 feet deep, The inner ring is about 3ft ft wide and the puddle area is about 19 feet...... sounds strange but these are measurements of the original prop they built for the show.
So, using the diagram below, we can see the measurements that the gate needed to be.

Roughly the gate is about the size of a standard cd.


By now your at your work surface with your health and safety armour on and itching to go….. Seriously wear gloves, face mask and eye protection, balsa foam irritates your eyes, throat and hands…. It’s not nice, I’ve had a red sore eye for 4 weeks now, which I’m sure was caused by a reaction to the balsa foam dust….. So you’ve been warned.

Take the sheet of balsa foam and the cd. Place the cd onto the sheet and draw around it with a marker pen in order to get a perfect size circle…. Right done that, then throw the cd across the room, you don’t need it now. Now carefully using a craft knife and cut the circle out from the sheet of balsa foam. Be slow, careful and try to be neat. You may have wanted to do this outside….. balsa foam dust is very fine and messy, it gets everywhere.

So you get a solid cd size piece and bit with a hole.

Take the solid CD size bit and sand it and smooth so that the edge is perfectly round and circular.

next we need to Cut out the puddle hole out of the solid round bit. So carfully measure and mark out where you need to make the cut. It needs to be about 15mm in from the edge and about 96mm in diameter…. See size diagram above.

you should now have a hula hoop type piece, Take your hula hoop stargate ring shape and Sand and smooth the inside edge of the puddle ring.

Right... I forgot to take pictures of the above process and gate before carving the inner ring and adding the green stuff….. it’s kind of like the missing reel in a B movie, you know the one, the section that explains everything but it’s missing. So you know it’s happened but don’t know how, so you’ll just have to try and follow me.

Carving the inner ring….. so now you have a solid yellow brown balsa foam ring. Yes… do….. if your lost then just nod yes and pretend to follow.

The wormhole gates inner ring, which has the symbols on it, is slightly sunken with the smaller outer patterned ring slightly raised.

So we need to carve inner ring and sand and smooth it. The inner ring needs to be about 3mm deep, when finished your gate should look like the picture below…. Without the green stuff, yours should just be yellow and made of balsa foam.

Ok now we put on the green stuff……

This is a long tiring process, which was done in steps and nearly had me in tears.

The first step is to put a very smooth thin layer over the sunken inner ring, this should be smooth and level, when dry sand file… do whatever to get it smooth. Be warned thin bits of green stuff don’t stick very easily to balsa foam, but they will.

Ok so the inner ring now has a smooth hard green stuff service. See above picture and look at the inner sunken ring.

The next bit is the patterned outer ring, this needs to be done in small sections, and you need to do detailed pattern work, which needs to be done whilst the putty is still useable. So smooth on small amounts of green stuff and press in the patterned shape. I smoothed it on with a clay shaper and did the simple pattern with a scalpel blade.

putty was also rolled into a long thin sausage shape and pressed along the inside of the puddle ring, a simple pattern was pressed into it with a scalpel…. Here’s how mine looked at this stage… when dry

Right…so once the above has been done all of the way round we should be at this stage

Next step is to do the areas where the gate symbols go, the symbol areas are each about 1cm wide. the centre of the inner ring at the top of the gate is located, this is to be where the first symbol area will be. Thin strips of green stuff are spaced every 1cm around the gate and placed onto the inner ring surface as seen in the pictures below.
Now the final sculpting step… when the symbol areas are dry the chevrons are created by pressing and shaping putty in the right place, one every three symbol spaces… if that makes sense. The putty is just pushed and shaped using a clay shaper and scalpel until it looks like a chevron. Let them dry….. it’s almost finished….

Final step…. The outer bit above the chevrons. This is just sticky backed corked sheet, that has been cut to size and super glued to the outer side of the wormhole gate.

If you do it right you should have this

And this is the whole finished gate before painting

i hope that answers some questions..... i know it's not the best how to in the world, but it's the best i can explain without having to remake the stargate and doing an indepth step by step instruction manual

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe no one has bothered to comment on this. The sheer amount of work involved here is impressive! Plus the result is obviously great.