Very simple and cheap cosmetic modification of commercial "space" gun - from Flash Trash to Bad Ass! Made for Belladrum 2011.. wish I was there.
You will need:
1 "space" or similar toy gun (to modify)
Small Phillips head screwdriver
Light weight Wire cutters (optional)
Plastic primer (optional)
Metal finish spray paint
'Stained glass' spray paint -several colors
ModgePodge or similar product
Step 1: Take the Gun Apart
The original "space" gun is held together by 13 small recessed phillips head screws... unscrew them all. This is where I needed to use pliers - some of the screws were in pretty tight, but by using the pliers to grab the screwdriver, I was able to get them started.
Step 2: Take Off Clear Plastic Pieces
Remove the batteries and the clear plastic pieces - the two rows of lights at the rear of the gun are held on with screws, everything else just slides off. Set these aside, along with all the screws - you have been saving them, right?
Note: There were two types of tiny screws used in my gun - a longer flatended screw for holding the two halves together; and a shorter, pointed tip screw used for attaching the interior bits and holding on the battery case cover. Don't use one if you want the other!
Step 3: Detach Electronic Stuff & Wrap
You'll now have one side of the gun with all the electronics in it, and the other side reduced to the plastic shell. Unscrew all the remaining screws holding the main electronic stuff* together, and pop off the plastic trigger part. The laser target light at the front of the gun may come off now - don't worry about it if it does.
Because I was making these for a music festival, I decided that snipping the wires to the speaker would be a Good Idea... even if I hadn't been I might have done it anyway -that noise gets annoying fast.
Then put all the electronic bits - still attached to the gun - into plastic bags and secure with twist ties and/or tape. If the "laser light" has come loose, you should be able to pop it into a bag with the spindle piece - if it hasn't, you'll have to cover with a wee bit of tape.
* by which I mean: metal trigger bit, control board, spindle with lights, and LED 'target' light. I figured the rest would be pretty safe from spray drift.
Step 4: Spray Away!
Take the two halves and the trigger piece outside and spray paint the bejesus out of them. Expect it to take several coats for good coverage, and check in between coats for spots you might be missing - in this shot you can see that the paint is having trouble covering the blue areas. I used 'hammered metal' finish spray paints - they come in a variety of metallic colors, you don't need to stick to silvertones.
If you want better coverage with less effort, using plastic primer before the metallic paint would probably work like a champ - I wasn't quite up for it.
Step 5: Reassemble Gun
Ok, forty coats later, you have adequate coverage or you've run out of paint - time to start putting it back together. Unwrap your electronics from their raincoats, and screw them back into position. If the "target laser" light came off, superglue that sucker back where it belongs. Put the trigger back together.
Do NOT put your clear plastic bits back on yet.
Slap one side over the other and screw it down - you'll be taking it apart again, so only use enough screws to ensure the sides fit together tightly. NOTE: be careful not to pinch the wires between the plastic bits when reassembling the gun - it's easy to do.
Step 6: "Patina" the Gun
In fact, a bit too shiny and new looking - you don't want to look like it's never seen action!
So, mix up some ModgePodge with tempera paint until you get a greyish/purplish/bluish sort of color- or whatever you prefer - and paint it on. Do a section at a time - paint on the mixture, making sure to get into the recesses where grime would accumulate, and then using a crumpled paper towel, blot it off.
HINT: to eliminate clear edges when applying patina start blotting at the edges of your painted area and work your way into the center. Avoid using a paper towel with a clearly visible embossed pattern, unless you're going for that look.
As the towel becomes saturated you can also use it to blend in and over raised areas - especially seams. You can go back over areas several times to darken and emphasize them if you want.
Step 7: Back to the Plastic Bits....
Remember those? You want to use spraypaint designed to be transparent or translucent on these, or your pretty lights won't show through - I picked up several cans of 'stained glass' paint from the local dollar store, and set the parts up in an egg carton to make my life easier. You'll be spraying the inside surfaces here, so if there's any rough handling, the paint won't scratch off. It also keeps a nice shiny surface on the exterior.
I started with a base coat of yellow, and then added in the other colors on top while still wet, to let them blend a bit. For the nose cone and the 'firing chamber' globe, I decided to texture the paint, so I sprayed them and then - while the paint was still wet - used scrunched up paper towels to create a textured surface. Because there's a limited time span to do this in, I did the 'firing chamber' globe halves in one go, and then the nose cone in another.
If you don't like the scrunched texture, don't do it. If you don't like your first attempt at the texture, you can spray it again, and try again... you want to press down once and then lift without dragging the paint as much as possible for best results. Again, choose a cheaper paper towel without a visible embossed pattern.
The other bits I just sprayed slightly randomly, so they more or less matched tone-wise.
Step 8: Put It All Back Together, and Fire at Will!
Unscrew the patinaed gun, and pry it apart. Starting with the chaser light pieces on the back - the only bits with screws - add in the plastic bits. HINT: the chaser light pieces have a definite 'right' and 'left' - if you put in the one on the empty side of the gun first, your life will be easier.
Before you close the gun up and screw everything down tight, test it. If it works*, you're golden - put the halves back together, screw everything in, and have at it!
*If it doesn't, best figure out where you buggered it up, because the instructions were perfect!