“This is called a ‘neuralyzer’. A gift from some friends from out of town. The red eye here isolates and measures the electronic impulses in your brain. More specifically, the ones for memory.” – Agent K
Dragon*Con is rapidly approaching, and while costuming is always fun, it’s even more fun to go as a group, so I was looking for one more quick and easy way this year’s gang could theme up. I’d picked up the MiB III old style Neuralyzer and Noisy Cricket at Toys R Us on clearance, and MiB III was a pretty fun movie, so why not grab some knockoff sunglasses off the internet for cheap, toss on the black suits, and be Dragon*Con’s first, last and only line of defense from alien activity?
With only a few weeks before the show, I didn’t have a ton of time to make any super screen accurate props, but the Neuarlyzers have changed from movie to movie, and there’s a 15 year gap between 2 and 3, so I figured it’d be cool to make my own take on it. So first, I broke out the toy, compared it to some screen shots, and took a look at what could work, and what would need to be redone.
While the diameter looked close, the toy was way too short. Agent Jay there is only about 3.75 inches tall, and the closed toy was about that size. The top and bottom pieces would be useable though, so those were taken apart, molded, and cast. They were hollow, and wanted to float, so I shoved some pennies in, and filled them with resin first to give them a little weight.
After casting, I Dremmled out the red area, and drilled holes for the mini-LEDs and wiring. Then, I sprayed them a metallic silver, using Dupli-Color Chrome, available at most auto parts stores.
Now for the body casing. I liked the ridged look, and wanted to keep that, so I was pretty pleased to find this at Walmart for $12. It telescopes, and the outer piece was perfectly sized to match up with the cast heads. I took it home, got it apart, and got to cutting with the Dremmel. I could have probably gotten 4 Neuralyzers out of it with careful measuring, but since I was eyeballing this one, I originally cut the pieces too long, and wasted a bunch, resulting in only enough for 3. Oh well.
With the outer shell in hand, I headed to the hardware store. I wanted something that was still metallic, but a little different than the soft silver of the handle to act as the inner piece. A silver shower current rod was cheap and fit perfectly. Home again, and more Dremmeling. I dry fitted it, and cut the notch where switches and dials will go. I did a bad job of documenting this part, so here’s a crappy MSPaint sketch of what I mean – I marked the halfway point on each side of the tube off with electrical tape, and cut it with a Dremmel, capped it with a rubber stopper, and shaved the stopper almost flush with the top, leaving just enough of the stopper to loop an O-ring around for effect.
Next, I put in a pair of red mini-LEDs, whose leads I extended with wires to be long enough to stick out the bottom of the tube, sealed around them with Stop Gap, and filled the reservoir with clear resin mixed with a bit of red resin dye. I eyeballed where on the top the wires extended from, and drilled a hole through the rubber stopped, and super glued the top to it, with the lens facing away from the cut portion of the tube.
Next was the face cover. I used a piece of sheet PVC, but any thin, sturdy plastic or wood would probably work. I cut it to lay flat in the tube notch, using the edges of the tube for support, and drilled two holes in it, one for a decorative bit I found ar Radio Shack, and one for the switch, also from Radio Shack.
Here’s a WIP shot, with one hole drilled.
At this point, I cast and molded two quarters, as they’re the perfect diameter to fit the inner tube, cut notches in the back for wiring to slide through, and painted both of those and the flat piece black. I then mounted the black “quarter,” with super glue, flat side facing the notch, to kind of plug that hole. Once the flat panel is in place, all you’re see is a half moon shape bit of it, but it keeps you from being able to look up into the guts of the device. I did a bad job of documenting this part too. Sorry.
The two LEDs want about 3 volts, which a pair of AAA happily provide. Radio Shack carries a side by side AAA harness that, with just a bit of trimming, slid nicely into the bottom of the tube. So, making sure the top was where it should be, and the wires were in the tube, I wired things up like this.
Next, I used this thing to cap the bottom of the outer shell. A rubber stopper would have worked here too, but I wanted more O-rings to keep the look, and this thing had just a little lip. I super glued it into the tube, and super glued the bottom cast piece to it.
Once that was done, I slid the O-rings down the tube and onto the lip.
All that was left at this stage was to drop the inner tube into the outer tube. I’m pretty happy with it for a “no measure, toss stuff together” sort of prop.