MONROE — It’s referred to as the Gramophozooka: A mixture of PVC pipe, a gramophone horn, a security cone, air duct elements, fridge elements and different bits and items put collectively to resemble a rocket launcher.
Can it hearth projectiles? No, however hook it as much as an air pump, pull the set off and canopy your ears as a foghorn noise blares out.
The Gramophozooka is among the many creations of Joshamee “The Chief” Haazard, the nom de plume of Joshua Haas.
On his Business card, Haazard, 40, describes himself as an “arms dealer and crafter of fine props, mods, gimmicks & general mayhem.”
To put it merely, he’s an artist who builds fantasy weapons.
Some of Haazard’s props are replicas of weapons from cartoons, just like the Sword of Omens from “Thundercats” or Garnet’s Gauntlets from “Steven Universe.” Other items are unique designs Haazard cobbled collectively from junk. He assembles battle axes, swords and different armaments from discarded home equipment and scrap steel.
“It’s just a random bunch of assorted parts that I put together to make something fun,” Haazard stated. The follow known as “bodgering.”
But Haazard’s bread and butter are custom-made Nerf weapons he hand-paints to appear like sci-fi weaponry. These he sells for $50 to $200 Online on Etsy beneath the title Haazardous Laboratory, or HaazLab for brief.
Previously, Haazard labored in retail earlier than the COVID-19 pandemic. After the world went into lockdown, he determined to show his facet hustle right into a full-time job and work at home. He’s been happier ever since.
He now spends his time crafting contraptions in his workshop: a barn beforehand owned by a hoarder. A gravel highway leads as much as the 5-acre property surrounded by the woods outdoors Monroe.
The barn inside appears to be like like a superhero’s armory, brimming with devices and gizmos. Painted Nerf weapons line one of many partitions and a pirate-themed battle ax hangs from the ceiling. It’s quiet, aside from the sound of 40 clucking hens Haazard’s spouse, Nikki Haas, raises within the again yard.
Haazard sits at his work desk, distinguished by the blue-dyed streak down his burly beard and the phrases “imagination” and “science” tattooed throughout his arms. He’s quick sufficient to move beneath the prop weapons hanging from one of many barn’s overhanging beams. The identical couldn’t be stated of the marginally taller, bumbling Herald photographer and reporter throughout their go to.
The barn additionally homes Haazard’s many facet tasks, like a metallic gauntlet he made out of a hockey glove, an outdated mobility scooter dressed up as a riverboat and a helmet with a spinning propeller on high impressed by “Inspector Gadget.”
A selfmade scarecrow sits in a single nook. The model’s design is predicated on a recurring nightmare Haazard has the place he’s chased by cloaked, humanoid-like featherless owl-people. It didn’t shield his spouse’s backyard from the crows, but it surely certain did spook two Herald reporters.
About 60% of Haazard’s prop weapons are unique designs he hopes will catch the attention of a possible buyer shopping his Etsy store. The relaxation are commissioned items.
One of his favourite commissioned tasks was a prop he made for a horror clown working on the haunted home hosted at Stalker Farms. Haazard made her an enormous lollipop that had a round noticed blade. And sure, it spins.
“That was all kinds of stupid fun,” Haazard stated.
Haazard likes so as to add perform to his functionless weapons. If he could make a prop mild up, make noise or rotate, he’ll. A variety of his craft data comes from trial and error. He’s gotten fairly good at disassembling cordless drills.
This ardour for tinkering with home equipment and creating artwork has been with Haazard since he was a child.
“I would take things apart that were supposed to be garbage,” Haazard stated. “I would mash things together, and that’s what got me down on this road.”
It wasn’t till round 2014 that Haazard started focusing his effort on making costume equipment. At first, he made prop weapons to go together with the outfits he wore to conventions for Steampunk fans, which is a science fiction subgenre that imagines a world the place Victorian-era vogue persists and the primary driver of know-how wasn’t electrical energy, however steam. So it’s lots of people in high hats, goggles and waistcoats with clockwork-like instruments and tech.
Costume makers sometimes have a distinct segment, Haazard stated. So he determined to develop into proficient at crafting Steampunk weapons.
“I figured that there’s bound to be some leatherworker or tailor that has made themselves a really cool outfit, and all they’re missing is a gun or hammer, and they don’t have the ability to do that,” Haazard stated. “So I figured I could help out.”
Haazard’s props finally caught the eye of a vendor who provided to promote his stuff at conventions. He loved the work, and started making increasingly more. Today Haazard has his Online store and sells to people so far as Australia and Europe.
“Since I had my first sale overseas, I was able to introduce myself as an international arms dealer,” Haazard stated, “which is sweet.”
But for some purpose there’s one place the place Haazard has extra prospects than another.
“I send a lot of pieces to Pennsylvania. No idea why,” he stated. “Pennsylvania, for whatever reason, buys more stuff from me than almost anywhere else.”
What separates Haazard’s props from different individuals’s are two issues: filth and sturdiness. One of his pet peeves is seeing somebody in a sensible, weatherworn costume and holding a prop gun that appears model new.
“It has to look grosser than you,” Haazard stated. So he places effort into making his items look crushed, broken and used.
Haazard additionally works to make sure every part he builds is “me proof.” On many events he’d witness individuals at conventions with giant, elaborate props who’d stumble upon one thing, drop the prop and watch in horror because it shatters.
That’s why Haazard’s Business emblem is a fist, as a result of ”I must make everybody know that that is me proof. This goes to face the take a look at of time. This isn’t going to be a straightforward break.
“Because if anything’s going to happen to this thing, I’m going to happen to this thing,” he continued. “I don’t want to break my own stuff, especially when I’m making fun, cool stuff.”
Haazard likes being inventive. He likes being the man who could make the prop that’ll be the “cherry on top” to somebody’s costume. He loves what he does and hopes to do it for so long as he can.
“I’m having fun,” he stated.
For extra information on Haazard’s work, go to HaazLab.com.