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25 February 2012 @ 08:32 pm
River Song's Blaster (or the project that ate Jan/Feb)  
A bit of luck and some nudging by others (you know who you are) had landed me in a pretty good position to do two of River Song's costumes for the GallifreyOne convention in February. (There will be Con pictures in a later post) By a few weeks into the new year I had finished a set of boot covers so that I could used the same boots for both, and my vortex manipuator of which I was pretty proud. Now I just needed to create her blaster, as River just wouldn't be River without it.

I started out the same way everyone else seems to, with a Nerf gun. In my case I used the Night Finder, which isn't as dead on in shape as some others, but can be bought at a reasonable price and comes in a two-pack so you have an extra if you really mess up!

Then I took a Dremel to it and removed all the parts that didn't match up to River's gun. I forgot to get pictures of this, but the major things that had to go were the Nerf logo, the pull handle used to cock it, the dart holders on the bottom, the center of the squared-off bit above it, and the section between the trigger and the dart holder. This last bit proved tricky, as I wanted to keep the light inside functional, and this turned out to be where the electronics were. I settled for removing most of it, and hoped I could cover the exposed wires and board later. I also removed the ridges on the grip, the flare on the barrel, and the little bitty flange on the sides of the top ridge. Lastly I removed as much of the bulge on the side above the orange stripe as I could without breaking though.

Next I added pieces until the shape was as close as I could get to my reference shots. In the end the proportions are off, but the shapes are mostly all there.

The pieces I added are made from a hodge-podge of bass wood, modeling clay, and rag mat board. I had the shapes as well as I could, but I was very worried at this point, because it looked a mess. However, nothing to do but paint it up.

I covered the entire thing with three coats of flat primer to get it all a uniform grey. The parts that weren't plastic needed a rub with steel wool between coats. At this point I started to get pretty excited, as it was looking much better for being one even color. Then I hit it with a light coat of metallic silver, getting a fair amount on top, and just a sprinkling of paint on the grip. Once that was dry I used a flat white to mostly cover all of what I had put on before, but let the grey and the silver show through at the base of the grip and in the creases. I then painted the barrel stripes and numbers on by hand, and roughed the whole thing up with some steel wool.

I threw a holster together out of the left over leather from my boot covers, and was ready for the convention.

And here it is being used to menace a Fez.

That all makes it sound like I knew what I was doing, or that it went smoothly, but I futzed about with what bits to take off and put on for nearly two months.  I had no idea what glue to use, and ended up using about 5 different ones.  The clay had to dry over night, so I could only do small bits at a time, and it had to be glued on after it dried, despite being sticky when wet.  I was convinced it was never going to come out at all, had no idea what I was doing, and began to be crunched for time.  I guess that is why I am so very happy with it in the end.
Current Mood: accomplished
roxymissrose: r-heart on fire stock-photo.pngroxymissrose on February 26th, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
That's *very* cool! I am impressed!
time_testudinemtime_testudinem on February 27th, 2012 11:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
ssshuntssshunt on February 27th, 2012 06:55 am (UTC)
Hey there. VERY good build. Am and was very impressed!
time_testudinemtime_testudinem on February 27th, 2012 11:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you! There are some very good ones out there, so I am so happy you thought it measured up in person.