The making of a Smack-o-Mallet
After a lot of searching, I found a foam croquet set (much safer for swinging wildly through the air than wood) at www.constplay.com and the proper squeakers at www.chatsco.com (they're even from Tokyo, they have "Tokyo Japan" molded into the front of them). The first try was some completely unworkable plastic squeaker hammers that I'll unload on Toys for Tots or something come Christmas. Here they are before I did anything:
I isolated the mallet from FredArt Sketchbook 112 and played with some color choices. I decided on pink for the main mallet and yellow squeakers early on, eventually chose red for the ball since big round decorative gem looking things do tend to be red in anime magic wands and staffs.
Paint tests. Got some pink spray paint, tested it on one end of the blue croquet wicket and a squeaker. Those are the ones on the right. Turns out spray paint doesn't stick all that much to the plastic of the squeaker. Got some white primer, that doesn't stick either but I decided the pink looks better with the white done on the dark colored foam first. Those are on the left. Then I reasoned that you can't scrape the paint off if it's on the inside of the squeaker. I scraped a bunch of the white off, pulled out the squeak mechanism and shot yellow spray paint in there. Didn't get full coverage, but it looked to be the right direction so I got different paint and mostly cleared off the pink one to try there. So that's why it looks like that. Also tested attaching the white/yellow spraypaint squeaker to the white-then-pink wicket end with hotmelt glue and decided that was workable. Then on the far right is testing how well a masking tape stencil works, which is really well as long as it stays down and you don't hold the spray paint too close.
Here's all the squeakers done and the paint I used. Rigged a hook on a paper clip to pull the squeaks out more easily. Pour the paint in, roll it around to get it all covered. I left them out to dry for several days but the paint was still moving around in there when I was ready to glue them onto the mallets, I poured out as much excess as I could first but I suspect it'll never really dry in there.
Would have done the mallet shafts pink too but they were plastic tubes, figured it would take too long to test enough paint to find one that would stay on there long term, decided the orange went okay with the rest of it after all and just covered them over for painting. White primer first.
Then the pink.
Pulled a protractor out of mothballs to work up the stencil for this. I was a little worried before I started but it worked quite well.
Cut off the little bit of foam under the mallet so the balls could go on the shaft easier, and cut off some of the handle for the decorative thingy at the bottom. After this photo I gave the bottom a quick shot of pink paint to make sure the little bit of color wouldn't show.
Test disassembly of a wicket. Figured a coping saw would do the foam with minimal damage and I was right. Those end things had a metal weight inside with the little black foam plug on the end and the purple foam tube between them. Once I knew the construction I pulled the other end apart without cutting and it worked fine, so I did that for the two yellow wickets to get four little end things. Tested the hole saw bits on the first one, it worked decently so I ran the holes through the balls.
I did the blue and green ones up in white and then yellow spots, made masking tape stars for them and the yellow ball, one for each side, then cut a slit on a radius between the stars and covered them in red spray paint. You can almost-sorta-not-really see the masking tape star on the one on the right there. Oh yes, for the stars I decided against the standard five straight line one, didn't look right. Did a google image search on "fat star", as expected it's mostly overweight celebrities but I did get one instance of what I wanted, essentially five equilateral triangles stuck together around a pentagon. Sized it in photoshop and it made a dandy stencil. The red paint leaked a little under the tape star on the yellow ball, had to pick the excess off with my pocketknife. Not ideal but with no second try it'll have to do.
For the red ball I made a reverse tape star stencil and covered the rest in more tape...
...but that turned out badly since the white got everywhere, and some of the tape stuck a little too well and pulled up some foam. Tried to use red to cover over the white but it didn't look uniform, so I had to start over with it and treat it like I did the blue and green balls, covered it in white, then yellow, then with a final set of tape stars on there I painted my red ball red.
Put it all together with hotmelt glue, copious amounts in the case of the balls and squeakers. After I put the balls on there I could see the original colors at the seam more than I expected, so I shot a piece of paper with the red spray paint and used a toothpick to scoop it up and apply it to the seam. the wicket ends just slipped on there, perfect fit, and the original foam handle end glued back on to secure them. Here's the finished lot.