This instructable will go over the process of making a prop replica of Vash the Stampede's revolver. I plan to make molds of these pieces and cast them so I will make a second part that will go over that process later.

-Make to Learn Youth Contest

1.) I made Vash the Stampede's revolver from the anime Trigun. I made this using mostly MDF and styrene because they are cheap and easy to work with. To cut the pieces I used tools such as my band saw.

2.) I got the idea to make this because I've always liked the anime and I thought it would be an easy prop to start with. Most of my know how comes from seeing how other prop makers, like volpin or punished props, make their props.

3.) I made this in my workshop down in my basement where I have plenty of tools to work with. I often have a lot of time on my hands after school so this really didn't interfere with anything.

4.) I learned to think outside of the box when encountering a problem to help overcome it and move onto the next step. But more importantly  i learned to always keep a reference photo on hand when building or you might forget a few details like how I dint originally have the gaps in the front of the barrel or how the strips of styrene on my used to go to far back.

Step 1: Materials

Here is a list of materials and tools that I used to make this. However, you don't need all of them, some of the tools can be improvised from others and you can use different types or sizes of wood.

   - MDF (medium density fiberboard)
        - You can get MDF at places like Menards or Home Depot in a few different sizes, but i had some 3/4 inch (about19mm) laying around.                   
   - 1/16 inch styrene plastic
        - This can be bought from hobby stores or online in larger sheets.

   - 1/8 inch acrylic plastic
        - Another material i had lying around, but it can also be bought from places like Menards or Home Depot.

   - (optional) 1/4" Balsa wood sheet
        - I had some spare balsa wood laying around  that is fit for the trigger and the hammer (H4 & H5) but you can use anything.

   - Wooden dowels
        - 1/4", 1-1/8", 7/16", 1/2", 3/16"
   - Bondo Spot filler
        - This is nice for perfecting the smaller holes and gaps because its a bit easier to get it into the smaller cracks than normal bondo is.
        - You can buy this from most auto stores.

   - Filler Primer
        - You can buy this from most auto stores.

   - Misc. Machine scews
        - I ended up just using random sizes that I had.

   - Wood glue

I am fortunate enough to have some old tools in my basement from my grandpa to make things easier, but you can probably think of other ways to get the same use out of other tools.


   - Dremel
        - This is probably one of my favorite tools, you can buy attachments to make it do tons of different things. A nice Dremel set with sanding bits is great for this.

   - Drill Press
        - This can probably be replaced by a drill, a drill press is just nicer.

   - Band saw
        - I used this to cut out all of my pieces and instead of a planer. A scroll saw could work too.

   - A Miter box and saw
        - A handy thing I used to cut all of the dowels.
   - Drill bits
       - 1/4", 1-1/8", 7/16", 1/2", 3/16", 1/8"

   - Sand paper
        - You'll need 1000 grit and sheets from at least 400-700 grit. I ended up using 400 grit emery cloth that I had for sanding large imperfections and Bondo.

   - Router
        - I used a 45°, 3/4" roundover, and 1/4" round nose bit.

   - Clamps
        - You'll need clamps to hold pieces together as they dry.


   - Remember to always wear safety goggles when cutting pieces. I also highly recommend you wear a respirator while cutting or sanding MDF, it comes off in a fine powder that stays in the air for a while and isn't good to breath in.

Step 2: Research

Before actually starting the build I had to find some good reference pictures. Probably the best one out there is this one, however, I found a papercraft version that I used to get measurements from so mine is a bit different.

I got the papercraft files from this site here:

Step 3: Designs

After building the paper-craft version, I went about getting measurements from it. I then transferred those measurements into a student version of AutoCAD I have from a class I'm in. I've included the designs I made in .pdf form so you don't have to get the measurements yourself. Just download the .pdf files and print them on 8.5" x 11" paper at actual size.

After printing out the designs, cut out each section and organize them into groups that will use the same thickness of MDF (or whatever material you decide to use)

The pieces should be sorted like so:

29mm (unplaned + 10mm planed): H3

26mm (unplaned + 7mm planed): F1

19mm (unplaned): F7, F9, F10

16mm (planed): F3

15mm (planed): H1, H7, F2

13mm (planed): H2

10mm (planed): F9

8mm (planed): F2, H6

6mm (planed or 3/4" balsa): H5, H4

5mm (planed): F8, F4

1/8" acrylic: F5, F6

1/16" Styrene: F11, F12

Cutting out most of the pieces is pretty straight forward, so I won't go over how to make every piece.

Step 4: Preparing to Cut.

To get all of the MDF to the right sizes I used a band saw and a makeshift guide. The guide was a piece of wood clamped to the band saws table. After clamping the guide the right distance from the blade and making sure that it was parallel, I slowly fed the chunk of MDF along the guide. A planer would do a much better job at this but unfortunately I don't have access to one. This could also be done by layering thinner materials until they are the right size.

Step 5: How I Use Spot Filler

For anyone new to spot filler, here's a quick lesson on how I use spot filler.

Start with about a 10mm glob of the putty. Then use the paperclip to get a little bit of the hardener, it should be less than the amount of putty you used. Use the paper clip to mix the two together until it is a pink color with no dark red spots or grey spots. You can't take long to mix it because you won't have a lot of time to apply it. Once it's mixed, just use the paper clip to apply it and wait for it to dry.

Step 6: The Handle - Part 1

Unfortunately I don't have many actual pictures from each piece, however I will use some pictures of the master to help describe how to build some of the trickier pieces.

After getting all of the pieces cut out you can start putting some of the details into them. First I'll focus on the handles pieces. (H1-H6)

H1 needs some machine screws in it, I ended up putting these in after I had it glued together but it can be done beforehand too. The heads of the screws should be flush with the surface of H1. To do this, first drill a hole the size of the screws threads, then go back through that hole with a bigger drill the size of the screws head. The bigger hole should only go far enough to allow the head of the screw to be even with the surface on H1. The two screws closer to the handle should be smaller than the others.

There is a 10mm gap at the top of H1 that needs  to be sanded into it. I used a file to sand it away. It should end up around
1.5mm - 2mm deep.

H2 is glued to the end of H1, centered with a 1mm drop from H1 to H2 on each side. Once you have them glued together you can fill any gaps with bondo or spot filler. Then round the edge off of the area where H1 drops to H2.

Step 7: The Handle - Part 2 - the Grip

The Handle

This is where you'll need to break out the sanding drums for your dremel. Start by sanding the angles out of the sides. The divots where your fingers will sit need to be sanded to a nice fit to your hand. You also need to sand indents into the handle, a curve on the top, and a curve with a little ridge on the bottom. You can see what those look like in the pictures above.

The screw doesn't have to be specific, mine was one that I thought would look nice. I eyeballed its spot on the flattest part of the handle near the center. Drill a hole through the handle the size of your screws threads so it slides nicely through. Then take a drill bit the size of the screws head and drill it in just enough so that your screw will be sunken in flush with your handle.

On the other side take a hex nut that will fit your screw and a drill bit that will drill a hole it can fit in. Then drill a hole into the thread sized hole you drilled from the other side so your hex nut will fit in it and won't be sticking out. Fill the gaps left around the hex nut with spot filler to make it look nice and screw the screw in from the other side.
Now the grip is finished.

Step 8: The Handle - Part 3 - Finishing Up

Now that you have the major details of the handle finished you can start gluing the rest of the pieces together.

First glue the trigger (H4) onto H1you can then round all of the angles out of the area around the trigger. You also have to round the edges of H1 and H2 into the trigger area.

Now you can glue the grip onto H1. Make sure it is perfectly centered and perfectly straight.

Then you can attach the hammer (H5) centered above H1.

Next glue the trigger guard on (H6) centered to the bottom of H2 and going to the grip.

Finally, use bondo or spot filler to fill any of the gaps and sand any unwanted angles out.

Step 9: The Barrel - Part 1 - the Bottom

Now onto the barrel of the gun

I'll start with the bottom of the barrel piece (F1). Use the 3/4" round over to rout the bottom of F1 to the right size. Then rout the top edges with the 45 degree router bit at 5.5mm from the edge. Next you can glue on the front and back styrene pieces (F11 &F12).

Once the glue is dry you can cut the gaps on both sides of the barrel. Before cutting the gap out, draw a line 25mm back from the front of the barrel where the gap will be. For cutting the gap I used the 1/4" round nose router bit in the drill press. I cut a right angle into a piece of foam I had to hold F1 at the correct angle to cut the gap at. I position the head of the bit to make about a 2mm deep gap.  Then I slowly fed F1 through, cutting up to the 25mm line.

Step 10: The Barrel - Part 2 - the Middle Piece

The middle piece (F2) needs to have thin 1mm thick pieces of styrene going down its side. I cut these on my band saw using the makeshift guide from earlier. You should cut 6 of them at 123mm long and 3 of them at 15mm long. To make sure these were glued in the right place I drew lines going along F2 every 2 mm (there should be 3 lines). I then glued the three 15mm ones to the front of F2 and then the 123mm ones on the sides aligned with the 3 front ones.

Step 11: The Barrel - Part 3 - the Top

The top piece of the barrel (F3) needs F4 glued to its front and F5 & F6 glued to its sides. F5 & F6 also need all of their sided routed at 45 degrees.

The top of F3 needs a ridge sanded into it. I did this using a round file and a dremel sanding drum. It will take a bit to perfect but if you mess up you can always fix it with bondo.

The side panels have 5 screws through them in an alternating pattern. I did these the same as the ones in the ones in the handle except the screws I used were a bit smaller. I spaced them on a line 5mm from the top edge for the top row and 5mm from the bottom edge for the bottom row. The top middle screw is centered on the whole piece and the ones to its left and right are 72mm away. The bottom two screws are each 39mm from the edges.

Step 12: The Barrel - Part 4 - the Sights

I used an easy method to make the back sights. They are supposed to have a 5mm gap in between the two sides, so I split it into three 5mm parts. The two side pieces need a divot in the back of them so I used a 1/4" drill bit to make a small indent. All three pieces were then glued together and F9 was centered and glued under them.

Step 13: The Barrel - Part 5 - Putting It Together

Start by drawing a center-line down the top of F1 and a center-line on F7. Line F7 up on the back of F1 and glue it down. Then you can glue F2 on centered on top of F1, make sure to clamp it down as it dries. Next you can glue F3 on centered on top of F2 and clamp it down as it dries. Now glue F8 to the top of F7 lined up with F3. Finally glue F10 centered on the bottom of F1.

Once all of the glue is dried you need to drill a 1/4" hole in the back of F7. The hole should be 1.5mm above the center of the bottom of F7 and it should be 13mm deep. 

Step 14: The Hinge

Cut three 9mm pieces off of your 1-1/8" dowel. These will be used to make the hinge. Glue one in the center of the curve on the front of F2. The other two get glued to the the curve on F10 with a 9mm gap in between them. Getting these in the right spots is essential, if they are off to much the hinge wont work.

Step 15: The Cylinder - Part 1

This is where you'll have to think of a specific way to make the piece. The cylinder I made is from a 3D printer from my school, unfortunately I don't have a lathe or I would have made it myself. If you have a lathe it will probably work well for making this piece, if not you will have to think of a different way to make it.

I have seen the cylinder done by using a PVC pipe the size of the overall cylinder with six smaller pipes in it the size of the slots for the bullets and then two end caps to cover the gaps. This was what Weaselhammer Props did for his revolver.

You will also need to cut a 77mm piece off of the 1/4" dowel for the cylinder to fit on. This piece should get glued into the hole in the back of the barrel, be sure to make sure it's straight though.

Step 16: The Cylinder - Part 2 - the Cover

You should have two cylinder covers (H7) cut out. Use a dremel to sand them to the right shape. Then attach E3 and E4 to the bottom of each, they should be mirrored between the two (see picture for reference). After that you will need to use some bondo to fix any gaps or seam and sand it to look nice.

Step 17: The Cylinder - Part 3 - the Lever

To make the lever, use a heat gun to heat the styrene at the seam where it should bend and then bend it over a right angle as it cools. Once you have both bends in it it should fit nicely over H1. Glue the two pieces of MDF to the sides of the lever and when the glue is dry sand them to be half circles. you should also sand the styrene a little by where the MDF pieces are.

Once that is done, cut and glue two 4mm pieces of 3/16" dowel to the sides to match up with the 3/16" hole in H1.

Step 18: The Bullet

Start by cutting off a 50mm piece of the 1/4" dowel. You also need to cut 1mm piece off of the 1/2" dowel which might be a bit tricky. Glue a small chunk of styrene to one side of the 1/4" piece you have then glue the 1mm piece of 1/2" over that. Fill the crack in between the two dowel pieces with bondo and sand it to a small curve.

For the other end of the bullet I put a piece of the 1/4" dowel in my drill press and used it as a lathe. When I was happy with the look of the shape I sanded, I cut it off at 10mm and glued it to the top of the bullet. Then I rounded the edge around it.

Step 19: Primer Paint

Now that you have all of your pieces assembled you can start priming them. Start with a few even coats of Automotive Primer, allowing it to dry in between each coat. These first coats are meant to fill and scratches in your gun.

Once the paint is dry you can start sanding it off, I started with my 400 grit emery cloth. Sand the primer off until you start seeing the MDF or plastic show through. You will need to continue priming it and sanding it until any impurities are gone.

After all of the scratches are filled you can spray on your last few coats of primer. Once they are dry, use the 1000 grit sandpaper to sand all of the areas that should be metal (everywhere but the grip). Don't forget that the little piece at the bottom of the grip is metal too. Sand those pieces until they are smooth and reflect light.

Step 20: Finished

Once you have sanded everything to your liking, you should be finished. I will be making molds of these pieces so this is where I would start those. If you aren't going to make molds you can paint the pieces and glue them together and you're done.

Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps people get inspiration to build something.
Also, any feedback is greatly appreciated.

- I will be entering this instructable in a few contests so I hope you'll vote for it.
This is cool I think I'll add it to the list of things I want to make :D
<p>Amazing, great job</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm a PC gamer hoping to improve my skills as a prop maker.
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