Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Interview with a Nerfenstein

For many Nerfers and Modders, this is a familiar image. For those that don't, please do click the link and prepare to be taken into a fabulous world of prop creation and Nerfaholics anonymous. The beauty of Nerf is it has no borders.  Strangers can sit down and speak till blue in the face about their common interest. A wonderful community you want to be part of, that is the feeling I got from this site.
When I first jumped into this world, it reminded me of Tim Burtons 2012 hit movie 'Alice in Wonderland'. A wacky world where creativity is the currency - and your only way to book an all expenses first-class ticket there. 

Tim Burtons 'Alice in Wonderland'
In what many might think is a man's world, move on over 'cause Girl Power is taking the throne - imagination is the law of this Queens land.
I wanted to get behind the .jpg. Get to know this prop creating, Nerf modding Mama from Alabama (she's not really from Alabama) - so what better way to do that, than to blitz a girl with a ton of questions!  
MyLastDart: For those that are not familiar with your work, can you give us a little introduction to yourself and where you're from?
Nerfenstein: My name is Angela and I'm from the Gold Coast in sunny Australia. I go by the name 'Nerfenstein' when it comes to Nerf modding and prop making :)

MLD: So living down under in the land of Oz, it must be hard to keep focused on a project when the weather is calling for bbq's and enjoying the sun?
Nfstn: You know what can be hard here in Queensland is the humidity and heat as it can play havoc with the paint drying. It's summer at the moment and I'm having to time paint jobs carefully, or not do them at all. It's all part of the fun. Having lived in the UK for 10+ years before moving back here I wouldn't change it.
Nerf Retaliator M8 Avenger poor mans Mass Effect mod
MLD: How long have you been Nerfing, and what do you get most out of the hobby?
Nfstn: I've been into Nerf since July / August 2011. There was essentially a huge sale on at Kmart and I went in and bought $100 worth of Nerf for some family fun. The things I get out of the hobby vary, but most importantly I've become part of a wonderful community of great people.

MLD: When did you start modding? , and how did you get into the scene?
Nfstn: I got into Nerfing around July / August 2011 and painted my first blaster (a Tek blaster) a few weeks later). I sort of stumbled into the scene really, I think I joined an Australian Nerf forum to ask a question. I just really enjoyed the feedback and the members were friendly and welcoming. Being a male heavy hobby I was quite surprised at how welcome I was, I've never once had a problem. Great, great people.

MLD: Do you have a pic of testsubject#1 ? and was it a work of genius of did you have a mad scientist *KaBoOm*?
Nfstn: Hereis a picture of that first blaster mod I finished, it was truly awful lol. I had essentially decided I would like a Mass Effect gun for my video game shelf and I set to it… oh dear haha. I think I did a Buzz Bee shotgun and that Tek Mass Effect in the same week.
Nfstn: "This is an image of my first mod to giggle at (for those who have no idea the top one is the mod LOL)"

MLD: What has been your most fun / worst / tricky blaster to mod?
Nfstn: The most fun mod changes, I still have a soft spot for my Mav2D2 mod, but my latest mod, the Scoutimus Prime Transformer / Gundam style Nerf mod was a lot of fun, I guess most of them are fun. The worst one was a 'Joker' mod I did to a Wii Nerf Switch Shot, this mod shows not all crazy mod ideas work, it had real fluffy green hair, a face including that creepy smudged elongated smile and a purple and green paint scheme, it looked like some ugly crazed clown. I left that mod in my workshop for months afterward to remind myself sometimes less is more. 
Scoutimus Prime Nerf mod & Mav2D2 mod

MLD: Your pieces of work are pretty mind blowing props. Have you always been artsy?
Nfstn: Many years ago in a galaxy far far away (i.e. my teens / 20's) I used to paint tabletop RPG miniatures (15mm and 25mm). Back then companies like Ral Partha, Citadel, TSR, RAFM and Grenadier were popular and had a fantastic range. That was about the depth of my 'artsy' self, I do draw a rather wicked stick man though!

MLD: Where do you stand on imitation blasters? Do they affect your work as a modder?
Nfstn: I like diversity in all things, so imitation blasters are fine with me, different designs, ideas etc. it's all good. Of course that doesn't mean the blaster itself has good performance, which is important too. The 'knock-off' blasters can be annoying, the exact same blaster but with worse performance, I'd rather pay the extra for the real deal.

MLD: Is any project ever too small for you to take on? anything too big?
Nfstn: Nothing is really too small, too big, well you need to work within your skill level, there's no point in taking on a commission you're incapable of delivering. I would really like to get into internal modding, but I just don't have the time, that's the dream, internally and externally modded blasters. That's too big at the moment.
Daedric Dagger Skyrim scratch build prop from mdf

MLD: What happens if you hit a brick wall with a project? Do you have mod geniuses you collaborate with or work on some Zen meditation?
Nfstn: If I hit a wall with a project I leave it and move onto something else. I think I have about 6 or 7 projects on the go at the moment, all in varying degrees of undress lol. I don't really collaborate with anyone re the design process, though my family will say "that looks cool" or "why did you do that there" from time to time, which helps. I am a member of The Prop Weapons Co-op, a co-operative of artists / modders, we put up hints and tips for other people on our website, so we work together in that sense and we support one another's efforts with commentary when we're finished a new project.

MLD: What has been your proudest project to date? Or is the piéce de résistance still eluding you?
Nfstn: Wow, tough call, I don't really think about it in terms of proud, I really love a few mods and think "where the heck did that idea come from" when I've finished them. There are some I have kept because they make me smile, like Mav2D2 mod, Rayven Rail, Scoutopus and the new one I just completed Scoutimus Prime. Hopefully the piéce de résistance will always elude me.
Nerf RailRayven mod
Nerf Scout Octo mod Scoutopus, err OctoScout

 MLD: Anything you are working on right now? What inspires your creations? What sources of reference make your life easier? (TV shows - The Walking Dead? Sci-fi games? Movies?)
Nfstn: So many things, do you want me to list them lol. Non Nerf: Scratch build Doctor Who blaster resin casting, Loki Sceptre prop, jewellery and a few others. Nerf: A Maverick, Alpha Trooper, Rayven, Scout and a couple of others. Essentially I have a pile of things I'm working on right now. Inspiration comes in many forms, I might be watching a TV show and boom! Reading a comic.. boom! Playing a game, reading a book etc. I don't use a lot of reference material unless I'm trying to do a replica of sorts, at the moment I'm using video game screenshots for one of my builds. I'm a big geek, so all my geek loves form reference material.

MLD: How much time do you spend working on concept with clients or do they commission you to run wild in a set budget? (How important is this phase to the overall project?)
Nfstn: Both. However a client works is fine by me, some like a lot of email updates, some like the final product update. I do like to make sure I have a clear idea of what the client wants before I start though because it all costs me money and time, so if you're way off track, there's going to be a problem.
Battlestar Galactica prop pistol homage to young Adama as 'Husker'

MLD: Which project has really pushed your talent and skills? I remember you recently turning your hand to a Router? (Sounds like you are forever developing skillsets)
Nfstn: Yes, that one pushed me as I have a fear of all things loud and sharp that can remove fingers lol. I have a few of those things in my workshop and I'm still quite trepidatious around them, hopefully practice will curb that fear.

MLD: The new 2012+ ranges have been pretty awesome - how have they affected your work as a modder? Do the new shells make your life easier? Or harder?
Nfstn: Six of one, half a dozen of the other really. Certain blasters 'feel' easier to work with than others, also I love the design of some and loathe the design of others. I do love seeing each new blaster as they are released.
Warhammer 40K Bolter pistol ‘foamidable’ prop build

MLD: There is a popular Zombie series coming back to TV - The Walking Dead - Season 3 Have you been following it?
Nfstn: Oh dear here we go, don't get me started on "The Walking Dead", a show I both love and loathe. I haven't read the comics, so have no knowledge of how things are likely to play out (though I am told it has strayed quite far from the comic in various respects). At the moment I am intrigued by Michonne. The Walking Dead isn't known for it's strong female characters, they're all a bit whiny and annoying (this is the loathe part I mentioned), the story arc even suggests leaving a pre-teen boy in charge is better than leaving adult women in charge, it's quite frustrating to watch at times with 'gender roles' seemingly from years back being thrust forth. Michonne though has brought this kick ass freshness to things, she's a sort of anti-Andrea lol. I'm really looking forward to what her and Maggie do in the next batch of episodes and also how the newcomers will enter into things, if at all. It's so sad Laurie Holden (Andrea) hasn't been given more to do than be this whiny little bitch and Governors plaything. I just remember how awesome her character in the first Silent Hill movie was, the woman can kick ass and take numbers! … Yes.. I'm looking forward to the shenanigans when it returns next month.

MLD: What advice can you give to someone reading this and thinking "wow, maybe I will do that project I've been thinking of... but I have no idea where to start??" /sadpandaface
Nfstn: High numbered sand paper ;p Seriously, start with the things you HAVE to do (sand the whole thing down, clean it). Think about the scheme / theme / genre you want to try and just do it. /JustStartHappyPanda
MLD: I'm dying (no pun intended - ok I lied) to find out where I can get a Nerfenstein tshirt?? Please say they exist.
Nfstn: Hahaha you know I actually have two Nerfenstein tees that a dear friend had made for me, but I never wear them as it feels weird being all self promotional LOL They are very cool though. If ever I do them I'll add them to the store at my blog page (GirlyGamer.com.au) , but don't hold your breath ;p

Uhm whaaaaaat? Is she kidding us? Not happy about that are we folks - time to lobby for some 'Nerfenstein' Tshirts - right? You know her site, go get her!
No Nerfenstein tshirts?  /stillsadpanda
* All images used with full permission of Nerfenstein


  1. Great interview, now the world knows a little bit more about this awesome artist!


  2. *Slow Clap*

    Awesome interview buddy.

  3. I just found this post... why does it not have more comments?