This is my attempt at making a toy Van Helsing Style crossbow.
Step 1: Steampunk-Inspired Functional Toy Crossbow Made From Parts of Toy Bows and Arrows Sets.
My inspiration for this project was the crossbow used in the movie "Van Helsing" ... I was at a dollar store and I saw they had both toy crossbow pistols and toy bow and arrows sets in the toy section. I bought several of both to try and craft them into a Van Hellsing-style crossbow prop. This is the initial result.
Step 2: Parts Preparation.
BOTH of these toy bows work by using a length of elastic as the "Bowstring"... I removed and saved the bowstrings and took both of the toys apart: Since they were both about a dollar each, the parts were cheap and relatively sturdy.
The first pic shows the bows I took apart. I then mounted the two curved arms onto sections of a no name erector set miniset that was also sold at the store: The arms had a hole at the base so they fit easily onto the bolts that were part of the set. I used the Bolts and nuts to secure the arms to a short section of metal sections... Then I used other pieces of the same set to make a mounting frame for the bow.
The second pic shows the crossbow pistol: It had a tiny bow in front and a very good trigger mechanism. I removed the bow and kept the body of it: I then cut a tiny hole in the bottom of the pistol in order to mount a wood dowel(Which came 20 to a package at the same store.) to make the stock. I then mounted wood dowels into the holes two different ways, just to see what would work or not.
The reason there are two of everything is because I intended to make one first, making mistakes along the way, then make the second one minus the mistakes I made on the first one.
Step 3: Modifying the Pistol.
I used tape to hold two of the wood dowels onto the sides of the pistol. There was a molded-in line along it so it was easy to line them up. I then used my moto-tool to drill all the way through the wood dowel, through the body of the pistol, and out through the wood dowel on the other side. I then widened the hole and glued a bamboo skewer through the holes to hold everything together. After that I used a smaller precut craft stick, also sold at the store, to bridge across the far ends of the wood dowels: I used tiny screws to hold them on, then I drilled a hole through the bridge to mount the bow onto it. The metal bridge mounted just in front of the bowstring is a bracket from the knock off erector set... I drilled a hole in each wood dowel and simply wired it into place.
Step 4: Making the Stock.
I used two sections of wood dowels glued together to make the spine of the stock. Another section of wood dowel and a bamboo skewer made the initial triangular stock shape.
Step 5: Finishing Off the Top.
I then glued two craft sticks together and used that to fill in the open space between the body of the pistol and the back of the bow arms. I cut them to fit and glued them into place.
Step 6: Finishing Off the Stock.
I then decided to try something... I had a plastic "Diamond Egg" left over from last Easter: So I drilled out the two holes that were in the shell to begin with, and threaded bamboo skewers through them. I drilled two holes through the back piece of the stock, then glued the skewers-and-egg into the stock. I glued down craft sticks onto the stock for a more finished look.
After that I spray painted the whole thing silver.
Step 7: Painting.
After the silver base coat dried, I used a darker metallic acrylic paint to accent details on it. And that is as far as I will go on this one... My Second one will be better because I have learned from the mistakes I made making the first one. The original elastic cord still fits on the crossbow and it can still shoot arrows: The arrows are too weak to penetrate even a sheet of paper, nonetheless they can still fly a good distance.
As it sits now, this is a great steampunk-style prop weapon for use with a costume. The elastic cord easily comes off and can be replaced with a string for contests or places that ban "Functional" cosplay weapons.