Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Herding Nerfs

I bet y'all have been wondering what I've been up to. You haven't? Oh well. Anyway, I am STILL trying to find the time to edit version two of the lightsabre tutorial. I intend to have it done by Comic Con. However, this has not meant I haven't been busy with prop and costume projects. Why look! Here's a couple now!

These are both Nerf guns I've modified and re-painted. Yes, they both are still "fully functional." They can and will shoot Nerf darts. Both also have cute LED lights that give the effect of a laser "target painter" sight. The surprisingly faithful rendering of the Rebel Fleet Trooper blaster has a fairly weak light that nevertheless looks impressive if you are looking right at the gun. The pistol, a modified Nerf Nitefinder, has a fairly strong light that you really don't want to look at directly, and can throw light as far as it can throw a Nerf dart.

Note well that neither of these guns have been modified for distance or velocity. There are people out there who basically are out to make Nerf guns into dealers of pain similar to paintball guns. "Oww! Those paintball thingies HURT!" as a few people in this one Daria episode would say. My goal with these prop projects was to come up with attractive props that also could participate in the good-natured Nerf wars which spring up at events where Sunrider Base, Rebel Legion and Southern California Garrison, 501st Legion members troop together. We love each other, we are most emphatically FAMILY, but we have a friendly rivalry. Emphasis on FRIENDLY. With some of the mods people come up with for the Nerf guns the FRIENDLY aspect might get a little bit lost, if you know what I mean.

Both of these Nerf guns come well-recommended by me. The Rebel Legion accepts an accurately painted Nerf RFT gun as a sidearm for an acceptable Rebel Fleet Trooper costume. Or at least accurately painted *enough*. My paint job isn't 100% perfect, but it is probably acceptable. The Nitefinder is a good "first project" because the gun is cheap ($6) enough to buy spares in case you screw up. It seems to be a current model, because you can still get it on the Hasbro site.

For both guns, I used a little Wen rotary tool, a special Dremel bit designed for cutting plastic which fit perfectly in my rotary tool, and some 320 grit automotive sandpaper for sanding down the Bondo and roughing up the plastic to prepare it for paint. I also used a model paint brush for final touch-ups. The paint consisted of grey spray primer, flat black, matte finish clear coat, and flat black and "steel" Testor's model paint for final touch-ups and adding "distressing" to the finish of the gun. I used the Bondo that comes in the small tube that is pre-mixed...it's more than enough for both projects. I made a trip to Luky's for a few little nurnies, and wound up only using the split loom tubing and four aluminum nipple connectors. I think the tubing could be found at a Radio Shack if you were interested specifically in what I did with it on mine.

For the full scoop on what I did, follow this link: