Hi to everybody, dear friends! :)
I'm Filippo, I'm italian (from Bologna), so I apologize for my bad english XD It's a long time since follow Instructables, but I've never made one of my own. This is my first one!
I love Borderlands and Nerf Guns, so... the result is simple! I made a replica out of a Nerf Strongarm, one of the most common and cheap guns of the N-Strike Elite series. It's a beautiful toy, like all of the other Nerf Gun. But obviously, it looks like a toy (and for a good reason!). Our aim is to turn this little guy in a Borderlands weapon, and this time I took my inspiration from Hyperion guns: yellow is the main color, and there are always some white stripes on the chassis. The name of our creation will be HYPERION STRONGARM! :D Not very clever... but effective. So, let's start with a shopping list!
Remember that I'm writing down italian prices for everything. I know for sure that in America Nerf Guns are cheaper. Sigh.
- Nerf Strongarm (17€ on amazon Italy)
- Sand paper grit 80 + grit 240 (5€ total)
- Masking tape (in Italy we call it "nastro carta": paper tape), several sizes (3€)
- Spray paint: white, yellow, black (15€ tot)
H20 Spray paint is always good, but I have used a more generic paint for hobbies and decoration. Luxen is a very good quality and cheap brand here in Italy. Avoid spray paint that make an extremely thick layer or are to glossy. Matte paint are the best for this kind of plastics.
- Primer spray for plastic (4€)
- Good quality acrilic paint, chrome-silver effect (9€)
- Little brush, good quality (2-3€)
- X acto Knife, or a similar pen cutter (5€)
Tot: circa 50€
You will also need:
- a philips screwdriver
- mask for painting if you are making the project inside
- paper, water
ATTENTION: as always, if you are using spray paint (even H2O based) the best choice is to work outside, in a well ventilated area. We don't want to paint our lungs! :) Pay attention to the cutter too.
NOTE: A lot of this material (almost everything except for the gun) will not be used entirely for the project. In fact, the "real" usage of the paint and other things will cost you 30€ circa, Nerf included. :)
Step 1: Disassembling
First of all, we nedd to disassemble the gun.
Pick your little philips screwdriver and take out all the screws. Take several photos of the inside, or use an image like this (http://i.imgur.com/DUwyPl.jpg) to know how to put everything back at the end. Don't worry friends, Strongarm is a simple gun. :)
All of the interal parts that we won't paint are best to be put in a closed place like a tupperware.
Don't put everything on the table. If you lost a spring or a little screw, it could be hard to replace with one of a different misure.
Step 2: Sanding Time
Now, the sandpaper work! Is, in my opinion, the most boring part. But we have to do it very good.
DON'T SPRAY PANT DIRECTLY ON THE GUN WITHOUT SANDING IT FIRST. If you don't sand the Nerf, new paint will come off quickly and the final effect won't be satisfying. Use the 80 grit paper to sand off logos or other text, if you desire. Then use the 240 grit on all of the surface.
We don't need to sand off all of the existent paint of the gun, is nearly impossibile. At the end of the work, the surface should be uniform and slightly slightly rough. New paint will hold better on a rough surface.
Use a wet tissue to take off all the dust of the sanding.
Step 3: Primer Is Your Best Friend
Put the parts on something like a large piece of cardboard, to begin the paint job.
Spray 1-2 (2 is better) layer of plastic primer.
I use the Luxen PVC primer, which works very good with this toy plastics.
Also, it's transparent and I use it also for a protective layer at the end. It's incredibly anti-scratch!
Let it dry for 30-40 minutes between each layer.
Step 4: Black Paint All the Way
Then, I suggest to spray a layer or two of black paint on EVERYTHING. Black paint is very useful to create a neutral base for next colors. Trust me :)
Remember to let it dry and not to touch it during the drying process!
Otherwise, you'll get digital prints on the surface, which are very hard to eliminate. If you want to work fast, use fast-dry sprays and work in a well ventilated area: fresh air will help the colors to dry quickly!
On the main chassis, put also a third layer of black paint.
The handle will remain black, and an additional layer will help the color and the resistance of the paint. The "wet effect" will disappear after the drying.
Black Nerfs are beatiful! I love them. But they look more Hellboy than Borderlands ;)
For our project, we need to make them more...crazy!
Step 5: A Good Masking
Now a delicate part.
Use the masking tape to cover the zone that you want to remain black, in our case the handle.
Take off the extra tape with the x acto knife! I use an alternative of the knife, called CUTTER GRAFICO: it's a special cutter shaped like a pen for typograph work, and it's even more precise of the x acto.
Obviously, the better you mask the better the final result.
You can use normal masking tape, but here in Italy in our hobby stores we have a different version specific for little paint jobs, and it has a weaker adhesive to preseve the colors.
Step 6: Yellow Body
Now, we put two layers of yellow on the main chassis!
It's fundamental to apply two layer, because the first one will look a little "greeny" on the borders. Nasty. With the second layer everything will be solved.
The masking operation is good also for other parts.
This, for example, it's the handle to charge the air in the gun, firs painted black, thenk masked and painted white in some parts. More colored stripes means more life to our replica! :D
Step 7: Be Ready for the Trick
After, we take all the parts that we have left black: the charger, the barrel and other little pipes.
Take out the chrome paint.
We call it "perlata" (pearly). It's similar to silver paint, but it's darker, it looks like anthracite.
Step 8: The Magical DRY-BRUSH
This is the KEY PASSAGE.
It will turn your work from a "painted toy gun" to an "high-quality replica". Believe me!
This technique is called DRY-BRUSH. It's a very simple but extremely effective technique. Take your little brush, completely dry, and put it in the acrilic. Then, with some papers, take off the paint excess.
Finally, pass it quickly with strong movement, back and forth, all over the piece.
Eventually, the color will accumulate mainly on embossed details, and will create a "scratch-effect" on plain parts. This will create a fantastic effect of depth, taking your prop to life.
Look at the difference: from plain and anonymous, to original with a complex texture.
Complete this operation on all the black pieces. Finally, put a layer of transparent primer for an anti scratch finish.
Step 9: White Stripes
Now, after we are sure that the yellow paint in COMPLETELY DRY, we mask the surface with the tape leaving two stripes at the center.
Follow the scanlines on the surface on the gun to help yourselves. These will be useful to create the typical white stripes of the Hyperion weapons of Borderlands.
Spray paint with the white, but a single layer this time.
If the yellow will come out a little under the white, the effect will be fantastic ;)
Don't worry about smears of paint on the borders, the dry-brush effect will help to cover everything.
The good thing about Borderlands weapons is... they are crazy, like the game!
Everything is rotten, war-damage or extremely unusual, so we don't have to worry about little imperfections.
The great Bob Ross used to say: we don't have mistakes, only happy accidents :)
Step 10: Take Off the Mask!
Now, like we have the Mona Lisa in our hands, take off the masking tape.
And there it is! Not bad. A little boring, don't you think?
The dry-brush will do the magic.
Use the trick on the entire gun, avoid the main white stripe. Bottom: the normal gun.
I was impatient, so I put the main part togheter to test the look!
A layer of transparent primer to cover and protect everything.
Step 11: The Finished Baby! :D
The last part is to put everything togheter again. Don't worry if you can't make it work again the first time, I have to build it back for three times XD
The little guy is ready. It's a great result and not too difficult to obtain.
Try yourself my friends, make your origianl high-quality Borderlands replica for less than 30€!
From Italy, this is Filippo.
Ciao a tutti!
P.S. My next project will be the Nerf Barricade! :D