Introduction: 1st Thunderball Watchdogs Build

Picture of 1st Thunderball Watchdogs Build

Welcome Dedsec newbies!

to win the fight againt ctOS in San Francisco, you gotta defend yourself sometimes. Here is a hands on tutorial on making your own thunderball! I was fotunated enough to be the firstone on the internet to make this replica i think, at least the first official retweeted by ubisoft during E3!! i am so thrilled and honored!! i was also the first one who photoshop the pins and print physical ones that Ubisoft retweeted!! I think i can call myself number 1 Fan hehe.

retweet here:

This is a high fidelity replica build instruction at a low budget with daily items.... I pretty much grab stuff around my craft bench and barely spend 10 usd in the process.

My thunder ball is 70+ gram in weight, when a real billiard ball weighs around 140+ gram.

We will cover modeling, painting, stickers making and knitting technique!

Wait no more and join Dedsec!

WARNING!! this is not a toy nor a weapon, this is meant to be a prop replica, be careful and responsible of your action! don't hurt yourself/others.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Picture of Materials and Tools


  • blue and green rope (i use cotton craft rope rather than paracord, cus it look more like the original)
  • christmas ornament ball
  • document rings
  • spare key chain
  • corn starch / baby powder(optional)
  • Office Document ring


  • cutter
  • scissors
  • superglue
  • silicon glue (optional)
  • Acrylic gel medium / Mod podge

Step 2: Reference

Picture of Reference

most of this build is referencing the Marcus Holloway cosplay guide released by the dev team on the official site. you may access them here:

so our goal is to...

  1. Attach a small ring to a sphere roughly the size of an billiard ball.
  2. Paint the ball in black with 3 stickers on top, finished by splatter coat of lacquer to achieve the reflectivity in the reference.
  3. Knit a simple cord to it, and
  4. Attach a bigger ring for grip.

I have recreated the stickers in photoshop, which you can download on my deviantart page (QR code):

While you are there, feel free to drop me a fav, or +watch. Supports of all kinds are appreciated!

Also a quick promotion, Me and my girlfriend has started a small business on Shapeways, We are M.G. your friendly 3D Modeler.

This support the craft supply on more demanding projects and help us alot in becoming professional 3D artists in the future! We have many ready to go cosplay items.

if you have a new cosplay, you need to print sth in 3d, or you want custom accessories,rings etc...

You need a modeler, WE are the guy! Thank you!!

On with the thunderball...

Step 3: Ball Construction

Picture of Ball Construction

for both budget and safety, we are Not gonna use real billiard ball!

Instead cheap plastic Christmas ornament are ideal! they come in all sizes, you can cut away excess part with hand tools! mine also split in half which is a plus!
if yours comes in a whole. you can cut your ornament ball in halves.

  1. Eyeball how much of the key chain you wanna insert into the ball.
  2. Mark down the intersection of the ring and the ball with a sharpie.
  3. Cut away holes for the ring to seat in the ball.
  4. Fill the ball with anything! You don want an empty shell. if it does, it would behave like a ping pong.
  5. Add super glue droplets to corn starch to make a paste, this is a cheap substitute of glue and putin.
  6. Glue the key chain hoop down to the ball with the superglue paste
  7. Glue the two half back into a sphere!


  1. Test fit part all the time, so you wont glue thing the wrong way by accident.
  2. I filled the balls with sillicone/rubber glue, since they give a better solid fill eliminating the pingpong effect. By pingpong effect, i mean you can tell it is a hallow shell from the feel it handles or the sound it makes on collision
  3. If there are gaps, fill them with the superglue paste as a putin, then sand away the extra!

Step 4: Painting

Picture of Painting

The painting process is very easy, it is fun for people who are starting to learn spray paint!

The principles of painting is: Sand, Prime, Paint, Clear Coat!

For any paint to stick, a slightly sanded surface is the best!

  1. Sand the surface to a matte surface, even the metallic ring.
  2. Wash and Dry the ball.
  3. Set the ball on the lid of the spray paint, this way we can paint the ball half at a time. Apply thin multiple layers.
  4. Spray Primer (Surface) on the ball. I did 2 layers half a sphere a time.
  5. Wait 15 to 20 minutes between coats. well i was photoshop-ing the stickers.
  6. Spray Black matte Paint in the same manner.

Clearcoat will have to wait after the stickers.

Step 5: Sticker Application

Picture of Sticker Application

I did thought about the sticker idea since the beginning of the project in the limbo of my mind. This doesn't bother me at all. All i mean is, unlike painting & modeling. i wasn't sure how i would do it until the moment i did it. A a matter of safety, i waited a full 24 hour for the paint to dry before applying stickers.

The 4 key things to keep in minds are:

  • Weathering
  • Scale
  • Position
  • Orientation

I did The weathering part for you in the digital design already!

  1. Draw a rough mock up of your stickers, this help determine the Scale, Position, Orientation!! Compare it with the reference constantly! Draw new iterations until it looks right. i stick them on with blutack temporarily.
  2. Measure the rough dimensions of each sticker mock up.
  3. Frame the Mock up with thin Masking tape.
  4. Print the the stickers in your desire dimension, Or print the attached .pdf with friendly sizing.
  5. Cut them out with a nice white border.
  6. Brush a thin coat of gel medium on the BACK of the sticker.
  7. Place the stickers in the previously made frame.
  8. Smooth the sticker on the surface gently eliminating wrinkle without ripping.
  9. Brush a thin coat of Gel medium on the top of the sticker.
  10. Keep brushing the layer of gel medium non-stop, you will see the brushstroke disappear as it is drying.
  11. Seal everything with 2 coats of splattered Lacquer to achieve the gloss look in the reference.


Even with careful planning, scaling is hard to nail. Even i removed the bomb sticker with a smaller one. It proves that the Acrylic gel medium can still be clean completely with water, since the gel stick permanently on the paper, and the paper can "dissolve" with water, you can for sure clean the paint surface clean!!

Step 6: Knitting

Picture of Knitting

i know paracord knitting a a big part of the maker culture! it is particularly popular among hikers and survivalist.

However, I have been refrain to try this craft, since paracord is not that accessible in Hong Kong. i do love knitting bracelet. i am learning this with some knitting background, so its not all that difficult for me. I wanna thank Paracord guild from their resource on this braiding. This is the braid i found matches the reference the best!

I do have some tips on dying the rope. Getting the perfect shade of blue in store is not easy. Dying them a little bit would be great remedy. Just pipe a bit of acrylic in some water, dilute it well. Use thin colors, cause you can dye again for darker shade. It is way harder to un-dye. just soak the rope in thoroughly, let it dry, dye again if necessary.

Also, start the knot at the rotating bit of the office document ring, so you can hide the ugly part. I used one with 1 1/4" diameter.

Step 7: Assembly!

Picture of Assembly!

Tie the Rope on the Ball itself!! Then you are done!!

I hope this instructable made sense to you, feel free to ask me anything you wanna know about my works... i will try my best to reply ASAP. Any suggestions are appreciated! just let me know... This is an early build i did without much reference, nut Me and my Girlfriend really love Watchdogs and ubisoft in general! I hope you picked up a few tricks along the way!

Go ahead and build your very own Thunderball... share with me i would love to know... Hope you like my instrutable, if you do pls vote.... Share it with your friends!! I enter contest with this piece... THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND SUPPORT... pls comment and give suggestion below, constructive criticism is most welcome...


akshayv28 (author)2018-01-14

this build is so dope. just wanted to ask if you you would be able to make a few for me? we can talk about it? maybe

pailridershot (author)2017-02-22

it looks short

mchau2 (author)pailridershot2017-02-22

Its 17inch rest length. It can get to 19inch when stretch/swing... This length feels dangerous when I swing it already! Haha how long do you prefer it to be?

mdean999 (author)2017-02-08

Hey there! I love this build! But I was wondering what size ball you used in the project.

mchau2 (author)mdean9992017-02-09

Slightly less than 6cm in diameter... Real billiard (pool) ball are 5.715 cm in diameter

mdean999 (author)mchau22017-02-10

Thanks for that :) I just really want to make one myself, and want to make it as similar as possible to yours! If you know this, I would like to know how much silicone glue you used, when filling the ball; and how long the rope was after knotting/ braiding it (I don't know what it's called). Thanks!

mchau2 (author)mdean9992017-02-12

You are very welcome! As a inner circle member (approved by ubisoft!, They are so kind to flew me to San Francisco!) I would love to answer your questions!

I filled about 85 % of the total volume of the ball with silicone. As you may have saw, the silicone with the ball weighs 77g around half of a real billiard ball. I keep it lighter so it's safer, and less loading on the rope.

After braiding the rope and connecting it to the ball, the rope is slightly stretchy. The rest length is 17 inches, when pulled 19 inches...

Again, I hope this helps! I would love to see you Thunderball! Feel free to post it here or tweet/Instagram me @twitte_king !

mdean999 (author)mchau22017-02-16

Awesome, thanks!

FifekP (author)2016-12-29

Will it survive the impact with someone (self-defence reasons)

mchau2 (author)FifekP2017-02-12

Dont hit anyone with this! But Absolutely, the plastic casing is fragile alone, but with the filling, they absorb the impact!

HeinG3 (author)FifekP2017-01-25

it'll probably break then, but try using a pool/billiard ball, or buy this from me (i live in the netherlands so shipping will probably be expensive...)

gabeoxa (author)2016-11-19

so can I use this to make a real version using a pool ball?

nhuffman67 (author)gabeoxa2016-12-19

__retr0__ (author)gabeoxa2016-11-29

a pool ball is a billiard ball

Urmumlad (author)2016-09-04

Really impressive, looks just like the original one. Ill try to make one out of a pool ball.

Urmumlad if you used a pool ball did you cut the ball or drill the ball? thanks

I drilled mine.

mchau2 (author)Urmumlad2016-10-06

means alot men!! hope the stickers are useful!!

mollisgu (author)2016-11-24

DO you sell them already made I don't have time to make one and I really want one?ANYONE!? PLEASE.

nhuffman67 (author)mollisgu2016-12-19

I make these.

AllanP30 (author)2016-07-08

Hey, nice project you got there! It really is impressive to see such an replica months away from the game's release.

I just have doubt about the stickers, can i print them in average A4 office paper using an InkJet printer? Or do i have to use some different sort of paper on a laser printer?

mchau2 (author)AllanP302016-07-10

thank you for your interest! i actually did this during e3, anyway, i used normal a4 paper and printed with laser print.

either laser or inkjet should be good, since the acrylic medium/ modpodge are not water base and won't dissolve the ink. if your glue is water-based, laser print on normal paper just so be safe.

Feel free to keep me posted on your build! love to see it soon!!

seamster (author)2016-06-22

This is a great looking project. Well done with excellent details!!

mchau2 (author)seamster2016-06-22

thank you very much!! i got a bit inconfident at first. Cus i was worried that the automation and CNC project is the only thing the commmunity cares about, i am not fimiliar with Arduino in Hong Kong. while worrying my hand craft are out of date!

marikosusie (author)2016-06-22

I am very impressed by how you've handled this build, the accuracy is fantastic! And so is the timing, just immediately after seeing the first info on the game. I love the attention to detail in the stickers, form and cord! This craft being totally appreciated and highly view on by Ubisoft and Watch Dogs team proves just how awesome of a fine craftsmanship it is!

About This Instructable




Bio: i am now a college kid, constantly believe i can be a better man, Just be the change you wanna see in the world, thats ... More »
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