Introduction: HALO MA5B Assault Rifle Prop - DJ Radio Gun of Righteousness
Another project that is going to my 10 year old nephew, same kid with the TARDIS, and of course a few shots of Caitlin doing the Patty Hearst thing testing it out. It's a jungle out there, be careful.
I don't play HALO, whatever versions there are, but just a shout out to instructables member DJ Radio who does post a few HALO ibles. If you want a HALO gun, you are just going to have to make it yourself. This is my first gun so go easy on me. Please rate and subscribe.
When my nephew asked for a HALO gun, I thought why not just give him a giant Angry Birds slingshot. But he is out of the Star Wars phase and on to HALO. Now, any non-working prop would probably work for a normal kid but I am the one making it. I originally got a Nerf machine gun to modify. Then when I was testing it out - there is no safety and you could take an eye out because the gun could be cocked and loaded without any indication. So when he is a little older, I may make a Nerf HALO minigun because I like the rotating turret mechanism. So then I checked out those ray-blaster guns with light and sound effects. I think that was a better choice to build upon. And besides, they are cheaper since I got a set of the ray-blaster pistol, small pistol and sword for about $30 US. I could use the small pistol and sword to make other props.
And any discussion on arming kids with guns, even play versions, you can refer to our elder statesman from Arkansas, proponent of 2nd Amendment Rights, the honorable ibler non grata NachoMahma. Teach the yungins well and they will act responsibly.
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Step 1: Base of Operations
This gun was made with papier mache, cardboard, wood scraps, a piece of plastic pipe, scraps of fiberboard mdf wainscot panelling and painted to look like faux metal.
You could use an Epilog laser cutter to make your parts but for now use the old method of a pair of scissors.
There are pepakura files to build your model but building it from something other than sheets of paper, layers upon layers of cardboard or styrofoam, will give it a realistic heft.
The pistol is from a True Heros Astro Blaster set.
For the lighting you will need an LED flickering candle and a small flashlight.
For the ammo magazine, you will need a set of magnets and a piece of steel to screw in to the magazine so it holds in place.
Minor woodworking skills are involved. Use of sharp implements needed. Be careful.
Use of various glues - regular school glue, carpenter's glue, polyurethane glue- needed to bond to plastic(use latex gloves and cover work area with newspaper to prevent the foam-over from sticking to anything valuable like carpet)
Paints - I used regular enamel paints and a spray can of olive color for the top part. Get flat black and flat white, you can mix to make various shades of gray to mimic the steel undercoat. I have seen various paint schemes of a grayish top cover and it doesn't look bad with an all black metal color scheme.
I wanted to retain the light and sound effects from the pistol and incorporate that into the magic of the final product. So the HALO rifle design does take some slight deviation to accomodate this.
CAUTION: Scissors, utility knives, saws and pointy things are sharp. Glue sticks stuff together. Paint is messy. Use with care.
Step 2: You Need a Plan
Troll the internet for a set of scale plans for the MA5B. Well, just google images for it.
You should be able to come up with some reference pics to use in your model. I did not find any dimensioned drawings out there but saw some specs that the rifle is about 34.6 inches long.
I had one pretty good profile pic and used GIMP to scale it up. GIMP will force fit your image to print on one page and I couldn't figure out how to get the large image to print spanning pages. I just cropped off a third of my image and printed each section on three separate pages. You don't need to be too accurate, I only needed a sample layout to follow. Tape the pages together for your layout.
Start getting pieces together to rough out the initial form.
I just used a hand saw to cut out some pine scrap pieces.
Layout the plastic pipe you will use for the barrel, position flashlight, and mock up the ammo magazine and magazine well in the butt stock.
Here you can start thinking about how you will mate all of the pieces together. Glue does not really stick well to some kinds of plastics. You need to build up gluing and bearing surfaces. Note that I will add side bolster pieces to help surround the plastic pistol so the wood will remain attached. Polyurethane glues(gorilla brand and the like) will foam up a bit when they are curing and fill in minor gaps.
I had removed the orange safety plug on the end of the pistol so I could insert and glue in the end the plastic tube. There is a light in there so if you peer down the barrel, it will simulate the flash when it fires.
Step 3: Custom Forming
You want to make a form fitting tube to fit your tactical flashlight. Find some solid cardstock. Use cardboard boxes that do not have the corrugated layer in between. Wrap around the flashlight and glue. I find that having some thin cardboard cover stock (65lb) is great for heavy duty papier mache. A layer of full strength glue soaks in well and it gets pliable enough so that you can shape it and tack pieces together.
If you have glossy cardboard, just scratch the surface with a utility knife to ensure the glue will bond better.
Cut up the box into strips to bridge the joints between pieces like forming a U-channel to go around the barrel.
Layer up pieces with the corrugated cardboard as filler. Heavy duty boxes will have a stiffer core so try to use that or else you will have a squishy end product. The final outer layers should be of the single layer compressed cardboard.
Step 4: Fancy Woodwork
Build up the butt stock. This will hold the removeable magazine.
You will need to whittle out or carve with a utility knife the portion where it rounds out on the back of the grip. This is to make it more ergonomically fitting when you use the weapon.
Glue the magnets to the top of the magazine well. I ended up using two layers of the round disc magnets to make sure it would hold the magazine in. Play with the magnets so they are not repelling each other and form a bigger single magnet.
For the foregrip, cut out pieces of 1/2 inch half round moulding. There are five rows spaced out evenly on the grip. A squarish U-shape for the grip will suffice but if you can get really detailed and round over the bottom of the grip. Build up the bottom grip to the thickness that feels comfortable. Glue up the pieces and sand off the excess to round over the corners.when dry. Fillet with glue and fill in any little gaps.
Step 5: Cover Up
Start layering the upper cowlings for the weapon.
Cover and papier mache all exposed edges with cardstock.
Also papier mache a layer around the plastic tube. It will make it easier to paint.
Build up the sides of the magazine well with scrap panelling. This panelling had integral ridges which will play nicely into the look of the butt stock.
Build up other pieces like the rest of the handle to form the closed loop grip.
Once you have the shape of the magazine well, cut the pieces to fit to build out the ammo magazine.
The original pistol has lights that come out of the front side. I formed a small thick paper tube to frame out that light. It is incorporated into a panelling strip that bridges the front stock to the pistiol body.
Layer on details with cut out cardboard.
Step 6: Ammo Counter
Well, I guess I could have incorporated an arduino into all of this and created a nifty ammo counter.
I will only print out a graphic of the display and have a flickering LED candle behind it to light it to simulate a flashing display.
Build up the rear cowling with panelling pieces.
It should have a lip like a picture frame so you can attach your graphic.
Use a forstner or auger bit to get a 1 1/2 inch diameter hole that will fit the LED candle.
Step 7: Details, Details...
You want to add detail to your prop so it will look realistic.
I used finishing washers in place of the big bolts.
I used a paper punch to get some round cardboard dots. Glue up two or three layers of dots to simulate a screw or bolt.
Cut out pieces of cardboard to simulate shapes on the body frame.
When it is all painted, it will look marvelous.
Step 8: Painting
Mix up a batch of flat gray paint.
Prime the gun with the paint. Try to avoid painting the plastic of the original pistol because it probably won't stick too well and wear off. That is why you try to build up the mating paper surfaces to paint.
Once you have a layer of gray, go over it with a dry brush of black. Just dip the wide brush lightly in black paint and brush it all around until the brush is really dry. The imperfections or parts that you do not cover with the black will show a little gray grain like you find on gun metal. Try to have a direction of grain or brushstroke going along the long direction of a part. Repeat the layering and drybrushing as necessary. It is fun to experiment with different shades of paint to get the right effect.
You can "weather" or "distress" the look by knocking off high points or simulate battle wear by passing over the weapon with sandpaper.
Step 9: Final Details
I printed out the display graphic and covered it with packaging tape to laminate it. It is taped in position.
I had a can of olive spray paint so I masked off the upper cowling and sprayed it green. Yeah, that might be the classic original color that I saw on one model. I think it appears gray or silver in later versions. So there, in honor of the 10th anniversary of the HALO franchise. I went back and drybrushed it black to feather out the edges and to put some shadow in the ridges.
I used some orange cardstock I had(notice it is NYC parking ticket orange - I like to slap fake tickets on my neighbors cars when they block me in) to glue a new orange safety tip on the end of the barrel. It indicates a toy gun. This is to make sure the po-po don't mistake you for a repeat offender holding up the corner convenience store again.
Anyway, go out and make your own. That was easy.