This past year, I cosplayed as Jack sparrow and in the early stages I only had a cheap toy flintlock. Through experimenting, I ended up with a quality, yet affordable piece and it worked excellently.
Step 1: Materials
Skills and Materials needed:
1/2 PVC pipe
Thick plastic or Plexigas
Plastic coated wire
Spray paint (silver and polyurethane coating)
Expanding wood glue (Gorilla Glue)
You will be using a dremel, so the skills running parallel are required. The expanding glue is pretty rough as well, as it sticks to everything. Understanding firearms isn't exactly necessary, but the respect for their use and the knowledge of pieces is important. Reference pictures of the actual gun or one of the modified Disney toy guns really helps too, screen grabs are available all about Google.
Step 2: The "Wooden" Bit
This is the grip,handle or stock of the pistol. You'll need to cut 2 or 3 identical shapes out of foam. You'll only need the wooden part, don't draw out the barrel or lock yet. Cut and glue these pieces together with expanding glue. The foam I use has a diamond pleated side and won't rest again the flat foam, but the expanding glue with fill the gaps and make it all even. It also strengthens it massively. After drying you'll be able to dremel it rounded to fit your hand and to smooth the lines and shape. There should be a raised part on the left and right side of the grip, one for the lock and the other for the lock plate. The lock plate side will be a tad smaller. You'll need to inlet it in order to fit the barrel in place also, going back just to the far end of the lock area. A hole underneath the barrel should be dremeled for the ramrod or at least a section of one.
Step 3: Lock, Stock and One Smoking Barrel
A half Hexagonally faceted piece should be glue on top of the grip with a length of pvc on the far end. This creates a fancy looking barrel. A piece of wire should be glued around the barrel where the foam and PVC come together. This is also just for looks. A piece of dowel or small PVC is glued into the ramrod keeper. The lock is cut from a piece of plexiglass as a base, the Frizzen, Cock and Flint are all made from foam, dremeled and glued on. Add a decorative tack on either end of the lock for looks. On the corresponding side, dremel out a small vine looking design for the lock plate and apply hot glue to make a raised, although, inlet design.
Step 4: Details (optional)
I first added a tang piece to the back of the barrel to give it a realistic touch. A trigger guard is a nice effect, even without a trigger it is still a danger in public as it is a nice portrayal. Add a tip to the ramrod by drilling into the dowel and screwing a button on the end. Some fancy steel pieces adorn this pistol including the ramrod keeper, the cover for the ramrod hole and the butt of the pistol with is a face. All of which I made from foam pretty easily. Detail pics are from post painting.
Step 5: Painting
A few coats of mod podge is required to seal the foam to allow the paint to coat and not absorb. A nice coat of silver spray paint is now needed. The wood should be painted afterwards with acrylic. Different shades of brown make a really niced woodgrain effect (covered in previous instructable). The branding and things can be painted on in black now on the lock and barrel. A dark wash should be mixed up with water, mod podge, a little black paint and some brown. Apply liberally and wipe from high places. That darkens cracks and makes the "wood" and "steel" look aged.
Step 6: You Are All Done
It looks pretty good, it feels real, but the weight or lack of is the shocker. I finished this in 3 evenings and spent less than $10. Just remember to comply with local laws and don't do stupid things with it, Savvy?