Gold Squad, Motherfucker!

The Gold Squad Pin from BFBC2

This was a birthday gift for a friend.  We were both big Battlefield: Bad Company 2 players, as were several of our friends.  There’s an end-of-match award in the game for being the best squad of 2-4 players out of all players in the round.  It’s called the “Gold Squad” pin.  Every time we were awarded it a particular member of the party would reinforce this by saying “Gold Squad, Motherfucker!”.  It became that pin everybody was most proud of.  So, as a birthday gift, I decided to try to get a decent facsimile made.  I understand that in the real world pins are quite small things, but I wanted something a bit heftier, so I reimagined it as a medal.

 I decided to see if an engraver would be able to engrave the design on something with the appropriate weight.  I went to a local Timpson where a man named Ricky was extremely helpful.  He said he’d have to make sure that the program they use for laser engraving produced an adequate image based on the one above.  The image has to be “binary”, as in, “does the laser make a mark or not make a mark?”.  The first news was not good.  He said the program was having difficulty with the shaded areas of the image and definition was being lost in those areas.  I told him to leave it with me and I’d see what I could do.

I opened the image in Photoshop and jacked the contrast all the way up.  I then set about fine tuning with the eraser tool and ended up with this image:

I took this back and he said he couldn’t foresee any problems.  He suggested engraving it on a brass plaque, the kind of thing you put on a trophy base and that he could then cut it into the appropriate shape.  He said he would engrave it first on a piece of cheap metal so I could approve it and then he’d go about doing the final article.  The preview looked perfect, so I gave him the go ahead.  I also had “Gold Squad, Motherfucker” engraved on the back.  It’s not the first time I’ve gone to an engraver’s asking for swear words to be engraved on a piece of metal.  Every time the professional is tickled.

The final piece turned out beautifully:

But that’s not a picture of the pin I handed my friend.  In response, he had one made for me for my own birthday that year and that is what’s pictured above.  But he had none of the information about where or how I’d had the piece made.  So he basically had to track down Ricky in order to get this done.  And it turned out that Ricky had been talking to his peers about the project, which delighted me.  He added a little something to it as well, having the Ace Pin, which is awarded to the highest-scoring individual player, engraved on the reverse:

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