When I got my Gwenpool cosplay and fell in love with it, I knew I needed a fun prop that stood out and fit Gwenpool's personality. I figured hey, Gwenpool likes exploding things, maybe I can make a giant rocket launcher! After a LOT of research and frustration, this is the process I came up with.
First of all, you might think this is a really heavy prop - it's not! After carrying it around on the same arm for 2 full days of a convention, my arm was very sore, but it was still manageable. The materials I used make it very easy to pick up with one arm and carry around with ease.
The build took a month from start to finish, with the majority of the actual work happening in the week before the convention I was bringing it to. I am still very much a beginner when it comes to cosplay, especially prop building, so I was actually very unhappy with how it ended up. However, all the support from my community and followers was extremely encouraging, and now it's one of my favorite props and the build I am most proud of!
If you're considering making a rocket launcher prop for Gwenpool (or any other cosplay!), I would DEFINITELY recommend at least giving it a try! Big props are always super fun for conventions, and will really make your cosplay stand out while walking around and taking pictures (:
Please be aware that I made this prop with very limited knowledge of prop building, and on a time crunch. A lot of my decisions about building this were made based on these facts.
Step 1: Materials
I'm very impatient and built this prop on a time crunch, so everything I got was available from my local stores!
Main body of the launcher:
I believe I used the equivalent of one entire large sheet from Home Depot. Trust me, it is MUCH more cost effective to invest in buying large sheets instead of the small squares. The large sheets have score marks which make them a little less sturdy, but that wasn't a problem for me with this prop.
My handle is not structurally sound, it is just there for looks. My original idea was to use the handle from a cheap nerf gun, but I wasn't able to find a good enough one in time. So I used a $1 spray bottle from Big Lots!
I definitely didn't use anywhere close to this entire container, but I use wood glue for a lot of cosplay stuff, and really wanted to make sure I would have enough.
Black acrylic paint
Pink Fuzzy Dice
I used hot glue for the entire thing. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU CAN HELP IT. Hot glue melts through the XPS foam while bonding it, so it's ultimately not very secure and really easy to mess up.
Masking tape (I used it for marking off spots for spray paint and designs)
I am fortunate enough to have access to a full woodshop full of tools and space for my prop building. Becuase of this, I was able to use a lot of power tools and saws for this project, which makes working with XPS foam way easier. If you don't look into getting a hot wire (with ventilation), or good sharp blades!
Step 2: Reference Images
When building this prop, these were basically the only reference images I could find! I am a fan of Gwenpool from the comics, not the Marvel: Contest of Champions game, but I ended up using her launcher from the game as my reference for this prop. I would have liked to add more detail to my launcher, but I ended up con crunching to finish it (and by con crunch I mean spray painting it at 3 am the night before the convention), so mine doesn't have everything I wanted it to.
Step 3: Finished Measurements
Here's the basic distances and measurements of my finished launcher. For reference, I'm 5'4" and I think it was the perfect size for me!
Concrete tube: 48"
3: 9 1/2"
5: 20 1/2"
7: 8 1/2"
Step 4: Attaching the Handle
I used a box cutter to cut a hole into the cardboard tube, and glued it in with hot glue. My handle is there purely for looks and is not structurally sound in any way, but after a convention and heavy use for photoshoots, it's still soundly attached to the launcher!
Step 5: Middle Foam
I drew out my pattern on the 1" XPS foam and cut out 2 identical pieces. I hot glued them to each other, then to the cardboard tube.
Step 6: Back Foam Piece
I glued 12 1" foam squares together, and cut the hole in the middle for the cardboard tube. I cut the outside into a circle (3" wide), and sanded it to shape! Finally, I hot glued it to the end of the cardboard tube. My pieces don't extend past the cardboard at all, but gluing it halfway off would be a good way to make it longer.
Step 7: Front Foam Piece
Just like the back piece, I glued 4 1" foam squares together, cut them to shape, sanded, and glued them to the front of the tube!
Step 8: Rocket Holder
I cut 2 pieces approximately 8"x9.5" with a small slit to go over the middle piece. Not pictured, I cut a straight rectangle to act as the back piece. I cut the pattern into the cardboard tube and glued all the pieces in! They stick into the cardboard tube to stay sturdy.
Step 9: Appreciate Your Hard Work
Everything is attached and it's awesome! Be proud of yourself <3
Step 10: Patching & Sealing
As stated previously, I am an impatient amateur prop builder. So there were more than a few defects in the foam. I used Bondo and spot putty to fill in a few gaps.
I used wood glue over the entire thing to seal it for spray paint and to add some sturdiness! If you have time, using paper mache and taking a lot of time to sand would end up with a much smoother finished product. Mine ended up pretty rough, but for me, that added to the personality! After all, would Gwenpool's rocket launcher really be pristine?
Step 11: Painting!
I started by spraying the entire thing with a few layers of white paint.
Next, I used 2" masking tape for the checkered part, and taped saran wrap to the body, and used a couple layers of pink spray paint for the pink parts.
Finally, I used black acrylic and a lot of water, and applied a black wash to the entire thing for some grime and weathering.
I was painting this prop at 3am the night before the convention and it looked really empty. After a little deliberation, I decided to paint on some words and hearts that I thought worked for Gwenpool and brought a little life to the prop!
And don't forget to attach the fuzzy dice!!