Introduction: Heavy Nerf Conversion to Tactical Shotgun

About: Untidy, disorganised and a bit silly. I am a photographer, artist, body artist, sculptor, prosthetic maker, model engineer, and general idiot who likes making stuff and messing about. I give hands on workshops…

Nerf guns make excellent subjects for re-working or converting to prop weapons.

There are a huge number of projects and paint jobs on the internet. Sometimes just a good paint job will transform these toy weapons into great looking props for photo-shoots, cosplay, costume or role play.

I often get given broken or junked ones by people who know what I do - to see if something can be made from them. I like heavily converting them into something totally different from the original, so here is the first of the conversions with a big scratch building element.

Hail Fire to Tactical Shotgun. It's a sci-fi / fantasy weapon for a photo shoot and isn't supposed to represent any kind of real weapon, just a bit of fun. Oh, and before anybody tells me that the barrel end should be luminous orange for safety, it's not a legal requirement in the UK, and I don't see many prop weapons in films or videos that have an orange tip. This isn't a toy, it's a prop.

Step 1: The Starting Point

We are going to take the Hail Fire Nerf gun and convert it to a tactical shotgun.

The original toy was donated to me by a friends son who no longer wanted it. Most of the magazines were missing, the front handle was broken and the internal mechanism no longer worked. No problem we can use what we have. One of the great things about Nerf guns is the detail and moulding, the grips are excellent and the bodies have nice details moulded in.

We are going to need some tools and materials.

Tools required are some sharp craft knives, a hole cutter, a razor saw, a tenon saw, a Dremel or rotary tool with some bits, some car body filler, various glues, some odd bits of scrap plastic pipe, sanding materials, a couple of scrap EVA foam play mats, some imagination and some paints.

First I cut off the side skirts of the original rotating magazine rack and then sawed through the entire body just behind the the front handle. Everything was discarded with the exception of the muzzle break (flash retarder) and one magazine.

In the second image you can see what I started out with. I have cut the magazine in half and glued it over the gaping hole in the bottom of the body where the original rotating parts had been. I found some old trunking plastic pipe and fitted the muzzle break to it using epoxy glue. I've also used the hole cutter to make 7 or 8 round bits of foam mat for the front grip. I think they are 2 1/2" diameter.

Step 2: Offering Up and Filling

First I offered up the barrel and the ammo grip to test the fit. In the first image I have drilled out the grip circles to accept the pipe and slid them on to asses the positioning.

In the second image the disks have been glued onto the ammo grip and the main barrel has been glued into place. I won't glue the ammo grip into place until later in the build.

Now we need to fill all the rough bits and taper the body into the barrel. In the third image I have started adding the car body filler. This can be done roughly at this stage.

In the fourth and fifth images I have sanded back the filler using the Dremel and sandpaper. I had to add some more filler to the low spots and sand again until everything is smooth and the holes are filled.

Step 3: Preparing for the Grip

Next we need to add the grip, but it needs to taper into the upper body or it would look odd. In the first image I have glued two blocks of the EVA mat to the underside of the body where I had filled the hole with half a magazine. I have also roughed out the grip by sanding it with the Dremel. I added an end cap with some cap I found in the bottom of the scrap box.

In the second image I have started to taper the blocks using the Dremel and some sandpaper.

In the third image the grip has been glued in place using a hot melt glue gun.

In the final image the construction phase is completed.

Step 4: Painting the Base Coats

The next stage is to add the base coats of paint. In the first image I have given the entire weapon a coat of grey car body primer using a spray can

In the second image one side has had a first coat of matt black car body paint from a can.

The third image shows the completed base coats. Two coats of matt black all over and 24 hours to dry.

Step 5: Finishing the Paint and Patina

Arm yourself with some metallic hobby acrylics and or some artists metallic acrylic, some very soft 'blusher' brushes and some clean card to use as a palette.

In the second image I have started working on the metallic sections of the ammo tube. A very light 'dusting' of paint is all that is required. Use the 'Dry Brush' technique. There's a link to one of my Youtube videos that shows how this is done at the end of this step.

In the third image I have started to 'metalise' the main body using the same technique. Take your time to get nice results.

The fourth image shows me adding some shadows and weathering using the air brush with subtle browns and blacks. If you don't have an airbrush you can get the same effect using an old soft bath sponge cut into small pieces.

The final image shows the completed paint job.

The video for drybrushing is HERE

Step 6: Completed

Here's the finished conversion.

Hope you enjoyed it :-)