District 9 Inspired Nerf Mod

Introduction: District 9 Inspired Nerf Mod

About: I'm an actor/tech/IT/graphics/editor/writer kind of guy. I do a fair share of voice over work and have the full time gig at Bard College at Simon's Rock. While waiting for machines to do things, I hit the ...

I'm a fan of the movie District 9, the guys at Weta really know how to create.  AND so do the guys at NERF!

I've seen a couple Nerf repaints and I got inspired.  I went down to the local KMart and scored a Nerf Stampede on sale after Christmas for $12.97.  Brought it to the workbench and got busy!

Step 1:

The goal of this build was to keep the Nerf fully functional, without any internal mods.  It's a prop for goodness sake, I don't want to put an eye out!

The Stampede is just begging for this look.  Here's a list of materials and tools used:

Nerf Stampede, although so many of the Nerfs are perfect for mods.
Random bottles or can
E6000 glue
Random bits
feet from a dryer
masking tape
terry cloth rag
razor knife
sand paper

The first thing we did was play around with bits on the workbench and see how things shaped up.

Step 2:

From there we filled in the screw holes, (no internal mods now!) and started gluing bits and pieces to the Nerf.  I do use inspiration from actual Weta District 9 weapons, mainly this one.

Step 3:

Here we go with a few things glued on.

Step 4:

As I mentioned, I'm not a big fan of sanding.  But this detail sander did save some time scuffing up the main body for paint and cleaning up where I put Magic-Sculpt into the screw holes.  It's noisy!  wear ear protection!

Step 5:

One of the big things about District 9 weapons was the use of bottles and cans.  I had an empty rubbing alcohol bottle and mated that up with the bottom of a soda bottle to create a gas bottle look.

Step 6:

Then I used some Magic-Sculpt to create some detail on the bottom of the 'canister'.  Basically so it didn't look so much like the bottom of a Dr. Pepper bottle. (I don't get paid for product placement...yet.)

Step 7:

On the Nerf, I glued the bottle's cap into a piece of ABS plastic that was glued to the front. I then added the nozzle from an air pump and used more Magic Sculpt to futz it altogether.  Basically sculpting in greebles to add interest to the front of the Nerf.  To get the texture of the ring around the ABS piece, I rolled it over a floor mat.  Gave it that knurled look.

Step 8:

The canister needed armor, must be some high pressure in there. I had a cardboard tube that fit over the bottles. So I cut it with a hacksaw to the shape I wanted.  Again, following the design cues of the Weta piece.  I sanded the edges to give it a taped and create visual interest.

Step 9:

The other can, the former ABS cleaner, was cleaned off, and I glued a speaker that was from an old iMac to the top.  My glue of choice is E6000.  It's stinky stuff, but holds all sorts of material together.  I don't have a picture of it, but then I cut and glued some cardstock around the can, to mimic the other canister. The screw top of the can was glued to the back of the Nerf.  Both canisters can be removed if needed.

Step 10:

While all that was drying, I glued the dryer feet to the barrel, creating the energy accumulators or whatever they are on top of the Nerf. Again using Magic Sculpt t fill the gaps.  I love that stuff.  It's two part clay that hardens overnight.  Very cool stuff for prop and model making.

Step 11:

So here is the basic assembly after a coat of black satin. Nice right?!

Step 12:

I did add some more detail to the big canister in the way of a couple pieces of card stock paper riveted to the bottle.  Stealing more ideas from the Weta piece.

Step 13:

Now it's time to mask off and paint the canisters.  First a coat of white.  Then mask off for the orange.

Step 14:

The aliens of District 9 had their own language of course, and some of their weapons had inscription.  I used the Chinese symbol for peace, printed it out on a sheet of paper, cut it out with a razor knife and used it as a stencil over the canister.

Step 15:

The next step is to mask off the Nerf for a coat of white. I followed the lines that Nerf created.  And taped away.  As a word of warning, don't use old masking tape.  Get fresh tape, that way it won't leave a lot of glue behind and won't peel off your paint.  Do let each coat of paint dry as per the label.  If you rush, you'll be doing it again.

Step 16:

After the white dried, I masked off for the orange, just like the canisters.  Here it is all painted and clean. Too clean!  The District 9 devices were grimy, time to muck it up a bit.

Step 17:

The first thing I did was "scuff" it up.  I did this by using metalic silver spray paint, sprayed into a plastic lid then using a terry cloth rag, I hit all the high spots, just as it would in real life if this thing was getting knocked around in a locker. I do this to everything, all over the entire Nerf.

Step 18:

The next step is dirt and grime. I create a wash of water, black enamel, with a drop of red and a shot of orange.  Basically a mess.

Step 19:

From there, using a paper towel, I coat everything with it.  Let it get into all the cracks and lines.  Give it a few minutes to start to dry, then blot off the big drips and high spots.  Let it sit and settle into the low spots.

Step 20:

Let the whole thing dry, maybe add another coat of grime with just the black enamel and water... and it's showtime!

Step 21:

And here's the final product. It still fires just fine, and really looks the part!  WOO!

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    11 Discussions


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I'm tempted to go out and find another Nerf at the Goodwill store and see what I can do next.

    there are a lot of people that make props and still get mulah .did you know most weapons in fantasy films are mainly nerf and water guns and all the artist does is paint it to look real and he gets paid lots of $$$$$.thats how easy it is,but i think YOU have a awsm talent.

    OH MY GLOB,this is the best movie inspired paint mod i have ever seen.You should do s.f.x coz this gun seems legit.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! I don't know, does anyone make a living building props? ;)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Oh my Glob...

    Well done sir, an internet to you.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    No problem, this thing is of movie quality. You should do some photo shoots with it, it would turn out great!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    At first, I thought the first (and last) photo was a screen shot from the movie.

    Very well done! Thanks for sharing.



    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you, it really did come out better than expected. If I could have found a lobster claw oven mitt this morning, I would have added that to the shot.