Discussion Post for Darkened Heart, August 20th

It’s the beginning of the end for the first “Season” of Darkened Heart. The transition will prove an interesting challenge. I’ve managed to keep a weekly update schedule with only a few glitches thus far, but there’s a great deal of work waiting for me before I can run the next box.


  • Having seen the skillfully repurposed Nerf gun, I shuddered a little. Not at the work done on the dart gun (as aforementioned, skillfully done!) but at the presence of a dart gun at all.

    You see, I’m a gun nut. (The local gunshop turned out to be the best student employer I’ve had while struggling with my BA.) It would move me to tears to see a more authentic firearm in a project such as this one.

    I am also one of those gun nuts who gets a touch miffed when innapropriate terms or techniques are used regarding my hobby of choice.

    The comment that struck me like a physical blow was: “The gun’s label is hand-painted in gold lief.”

    I have yet to handle a firearm upon which painted gold was applied as the method of marking. Stamping? Certainly. Inlay? Absolutely, particularly for gold. (i.e. http://www.uberti.com/firearms/engraved_top_break.php)

    Please, for the sake of those of us holding firearms close to our hearts, bother one of us about guns with any questions you may have! We are universally happy to discuss our hobby, and educate those interested in learning.

    In closing, I have really enjoyed reading through the Darkened Heart. I am looking forward to more, and must congratulate you on creating a compelling and beautiful world. Thank you.


    • This is an excellent opportunity to talk about serendipity and unintended consequences.

      It’s funny to see modified Nerf weapons amongst the props for Darkened Heart. They stand out as completely out-of-place when compared to the rest of the props. I’m proud of their paint jobs, but I’ll be the first to admit they’re the weak link of the project. And that’s the funny part, because the nerf guns were originally the point of Darkened Heart. When I embarked on this project, I had absolutely no plans to publish. I wanted to build a themed set of steampunk nerf guns for myself and my siblings. We had a long history of nerf related violence in our family, it was a dear memory, and I wanted to present the set as a Christmas present.

      Follow me down a geek rabbit hole:

      1 – The paintjobs came out so well.
      2 – It’d be silly to just present the guns. They should have cases or holsters or something.
      3 – The cases look barren with just the guns and some velvet. I know! There should be props! Like fake gun oil and silver bullets.
      4 – It really feels like there should be a story here. Why all this elaborate stuff? What were the original owners doing?
      5 – I can age paper using Tea and patience. Fonts aren’t that expensive these days.
      6 – Christmas just technically started, seeing as its midnight. I don’t remember what sleep looks like anymore.

      When I finally presented The Darkened Heart to my siblings, it was clear I’d created something bigger than a Christmas present. It was my sister who first suggested that I should publish the result, and here we are. If I’d started the project from the top-down, with an intention to publish, I would’ve replaced these weapons with something more appropriate for the era. Replica handguns, for example.

      As for the gold lief. Believe it or not, that’s a plot point. These are not normal handguns. Their oddities will be discussed in much greater detail later in the plot. They weren’t built by a gunsmith or skilled weapons manufacturer, they were built by an inventor with no professional gunsmith training.

      If you’re pining for improved firearms, then you’ll probably want to pay attention to the final “Season” of Darkened Heart, which is quite a ways away. The final box will feature a weapon which, while still not a normal firearm, will be much more than a repainted nerf. My propmaking skills have improved dramatically over the course of this project, and I’m looking forward to applying them to a very dramatic finale.

  • Just a quick comment to say those fingers are brilliant … good work on that bottle in the vote incentive at present 🙂

  • Thanks for the glimpse into the motivation, and I’m looking forward to the big finish.

    It’s always the “little” “Side-projects” which seem to take over, and simultaneously yield the best results.



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