My ray effect on the US Senate building. It came out a lot better than I expected if I do say so myself.
The House's front entrance area was easy to cast but I had to make the Capitol dome pretty thin so that I could break it up easily and still maintain a thin profile if this part was to be seen from the side.
I accomplished this by finding a rubber
ball of a slightly less diameter that would be later placed inside the dome's negative mold. After I filled the dome mold by roughly one third with the Hydrocal, I pushed the ball into the soupy plaster, raising the plaster level so the negative surface of
the mold was coated with a layer roughly 1/16 “ (2mm) thick (think Achemedies getting into his bath tub and yelling “Eureka!”). This method took about four attempts before I ended up with a usable plaster dome I could wreck that had a uniform
After I painted the plaster dome to match the color of the whole structure, I broke up and then reassembled the dome with CA glue to about 60% completion leaving a large hole in the side to accommodate a saucer. In the film, the dome
is totally destroyed because the saucer explodes but I wanted a more dramatic scene so I placed the saucer in the dome gap along with a plume of smoke made from cotton that I had painted with blotches of black and various shades of gray craft paint.
should mention that I made the four saucers on my good old 3D printer from a recipe I downloaded from Thingaverse. In my scene, one of the saucers is in flight zapping the roof of the Senate building which is exploding colorfully from its deadly ray. I fashioned
a ray gun from a small nail bent 45 o, using the head as parabolic cup from which the ray came, I built it up slightly with molding paste to make a parabolic cup. Once the molding paste cured, I cleaned it up with a small file and CA glued the whole
assembly into a hole that I had drilled in the underside of the saucer. For the ray effect, I got a short length of coat hanger wire (6”) that I painted with florescent orange paint and CA glued this part to the ray gun cup described earlier. I then
drilled a same diameter hole at an angle in the Senate roof into which I could insert my ray. I made the explosion out of a small burst of insulating foam from a spray can (this took a number of tries before I ended up with an explosion shape I was happy with)
and made several passes of clear yellow and clear red paint from a rattle cans to complete the fiery blast. Fortunately, the coat hanger wire was stiff enough so I didn't get any sagging when I attached the saucer.