Cheap Ghostbusters Toys Became Convincing Prop

As you might expect, last year’s release of Ghostbusters: Afterlife has not only sparked a revival of interest in the old toys and bound merchandise of the ’80s, but also spawned a whole new generation of flashing plastic gadgets for kids of all ages. to please all ages. Of course, for people like us, that means more hardware to hack into.

In a recent post on the official Ghostbusters YouTube channel, professional prop maker [Ben Eadie] shows off some tricks of the trade when he grabs a $15 USD “PKE Meter” toy from Hasbro and turns it into a screen-quality wad. Even if you don’t want to start your Halloween costume early, the techniques demonstrated in this video can easily be adapted to other projects. For those whose next ideal home improvement is a fireman’s pole and an ectoplasmic laser confinement grid, you may want to grab a few of these toys while they’re still cheap for eventual conversion.

Exposing the silver will make the piece look worn.

The biggest advantage of the video is probably the finishing techniques as they can be used for any kind of realistic prop build. [Ben] starts by using a cabinet scraper to smooth out the lines on the plastic toy, filling any gaps with the familiar baking soda and cyanoacrylate glue trick. After the surfaces are prepared, all major parts are sprayed with an adhesion promoter, followed by a coat of silver and then the final black.

This allows it to create a convincing chipped paint effect by strategically sanding or scraping through the topcoat. Dabbing some toothpaste where you want the device to look worn before spraying the final coat will make the process even faster as it will prevent the top coat from sticking to the silver in the first place.

Unfortunately [Ben] doesn’t spend a lot of time explaining the electronic side of things, but it doesn’t look like there’s anything too complicated going on. All original equipment has been stripped and replaced with a microcontroller that we believe is an Adafruit ItsyBitsy nRF52840 Express. This is connected to two arrays of small APA102 addressable LEDs running along the “wings” (we especially like the 3D printed lenses used to replace the original fixed pips), and one used to provide the icon sine wave display .

Although the last PKE meter we saw detected radiation, we have to admit that it ranks first in appearance. Especially when you consider how cheap the thing was. All you need now is a Proton Pack, and you’re ready for Halloween.

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