Step 6: Construction - Front Nose - Part 1

The front section of this particular gun is fairly complex and building it is going to involve more then a few different pieces.  I'm going to break this down into a few steps so there isn't too much information on a single page.  One of the details of this gun that I really like is the shape of the barrel.  Unlike almost every gun ever made, the Digger barrel in not round.  It is instead an oval shape, which I personally really like.  You can see this if you go back and look at some of the still images of the ingame gun.  The nose construction consists of two main pieces.  I'll label them, front and back. 

The trick to building complicated shapes like these is trying to break it down into as many smaller, less complex pieces as possible.  I always find that it is much easier to build this way, and add on each new piece as you go.  This has been working really well for me so far, and I recommend this as a good rule to follow.

Back Nose Core
I started with the back piece and traced out the pattern for half the barrel onto 1/2" MDF 'several' times, cut them all out, and glued them together.  Picture 1 shows the left and right sides.  The surfaces were sanded smooth on a belt sander.  To make painting a little easier,  I glued thin sheets of styrene onto the inside of each piece.  By doing this, I won't have to apply several coats of primer, sanding between each coat to get a smooth surface.  You can see that the inside of the barrel is white in picture 6.  This piece is now the main core that all other pieces will attach too for the complete nose.

Front Nose
The next step was to create the front portion of the nose.  Due to the grooves and beveled edges on this piece I decided to build only half of the nose and cast the 2 halves that I will glue together.  I started in the same way by cutting out various pieces of wood at the different sizes needed according to the blueprints, picture 2, and then glued them all together, picture 3.  I used Apoxie Sculpt to bevel the necessary edges.  The Apoxie Sculpt is red in picture 4.  Like the back part of the nose I also covered the inside of this piece with a thin sheet of styrene for the same reasons as before.  Pictures 5 and 6 show this half aligned to the back piece.  The next step was to coat it in layers of primer and sand it all smooth.  I then made a quick mold of this piece and cast the 2 halves from Smoothcast 300.  I glued these together with super glue, picture 10,  and will smooth out the edges with bondo and sandpaper.

Back Nose Builtup
Moving back to the back portion of the nose.  I needed to build the additional elements.  Using the blueprints as a guide I cut out more pieces from MDF to build up the base of the larger curved surfaces, picture 9.  Like before I glued them all together and sanded them smooth.  Now I did something a little differently here than what I've done in the past.  Once this nose is finished, it is going to have a lot of deep gashes and grooves cut into the surface, and to make it a little easier later on, I decided the best way for me to do this would be to cover these new pieces in thick styrene.  I would then be able to take out chunks, hopefully with good results and minimal cleanup.  My heat gun was the ideal tool for bending these pieces of plastic.  So I cut down several pieces of styrene and glued them to the first side of the pieces.  Using the heat gun I then slowly warmed up the plastic where it needed to be bent around the surface and glued them down as I went.  As a word of caution, it is very easy to overheat the plastic or unevenly heat it and end up with an ugly crease right in the middle of your bend.  I ended up doing a lot of tests before I found the sweet shot for bending these plastic pieces.  Picture 10 shows these all covered in their styrene sheets with the front edge beveled.  Next l added in the small details in picture 11 by drilling various sized holes in thinner sheets of styrene, and then layering them together to create the effect shown.  I continued along this process until all of the pieces were constructed and in place.

Since the casting for this project is minimal I'm not going to go into detail on how to do it here.  I buy all of my casting materials from Reynolds Advanced Materials.  They have a location right near where I live, which is extremely convenient.  Their website has a serious abundance of information on casting and mold making.  If your interested in learning more about these subjects, I highly recommend you check them out.  I also go into more detail about casting in my Portal Turret Instructable.

Materials Used for This Section
Wood Glue
Styrene Plastic
Apoxie Sculpt
Super Glue
Rebound 25
Smoothcast 300

Tools Used for This Section
Band Saw
Belt Sander
Drill Press