I’m a lifelong artist who studied creative arts throughout college. But painting and prop making are a new challenge for me.
I’d always liked rebuilds and I’ve been making accessories and weapons for my kids Halloween costumes for years, but I don’t have a ton of time, a garage full of tools, or a lot of cash to make the custom Star Wars props I admired.
To celebrate the 40 anniversary of my favorite Star Wars film “The Empire Strikes Back” I decided to modify and repaint a Star Wars Han Solo toy blaster. I stumbled upon a video from Punished Props and decided to give it a shot!
I started sculpting and making models as a child, with different compounds, “kitbashing” — a term for creating a model out of pieces from several commercial kits — just bit by bit, trial and error.
That experience all came back and served me well when I ran into unexpected snags.
But they do a really terrific breakdown at Punished Props for this build I think any craft enthusiast could tackle!
Here is the Punished Props YouTube I used to follow –
Disclaimer: This build is not recommended to be used outside of a Star Wars Convention or Cosplay venue.
It’s “inappropriate “ and “Police often mistake toy guns as real” As my own very astute kids pointed out.
So let’s get started!
Equipment List –
There is a full list in the Punished Props video which I modified a wee bit.
- Krylon Spray paint
- Paper towels
- Silver Sharpie
- filler compound / Bondo
- Air Dry Clay
- Dremel tool
- Sandpaper block
- Acrylic paints
- Washers 1/2 & 3/4 steel
- 3/4 inch screw about 4-5 inches
- mustard (yes, plain old hot dog condiment)
Most of these things I already had in my garage or found raiding my daughter’s art supplies.
I pretty much followed Punished Props video.
The folks at Punished Props Academy also have a new book on making foam weapons from scratch! Foamsmith 2:How to forge foam weapons! Foamsmith 2 is a deep look into the tools, materials, and techniques you’ll need to know to make your own incredible foam prop weapons! I hope to review and make good use out of it!
I’m super proud of this hack. Punished Props suggested cutting steel plates to add weight. Well, I don’t own a saw to do that job, so I stumbled upon some old washers and steel screws in my toolboxes.
I used larger steel washers in the base and the steel screw in the long sight at the top. Then packed all available space with the air dry clay.
All that clay & steel gave the blaster a good amount of heft and the clay held everything in place so I didn’t need a drop of glue!
Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side kid. -Han Solo
I didn’t have bon-do so I used color changing wood filler to fill the screw holes so I could sand them down flush.
I cut the sight and barrel out with the Dremel tool as directed (Super fast and easy).
Then filled the scope sight with more washers and a long steel screw surrounded by more clay. It’s got a properly balanced weight now!
Let it dry then on to sanding the surface, smoothing the barrel out, and prepping for painting.
Paint it black.
I used several coats of paint. To make a plastic prop look more authentic, it has to look “lived in” the “chipped paint” effect is simple to pull off. After the base coat, you spray the whole thing silver or grey.
Here’s where that mustard comes in!
Wherever you want the abrasions to be, typically along edges you’d think would be worn over years of use protruding knobs and such, you use mustard, that’s right the condiment. You brush it on the edges you want to peek through.
Tinkering with the fading paint, I went a bit overboard because it’s kinda fun! I spent time toning some of it down. The best thing is it’s super forgiving.
I dabbed silver sharpie in some places, dabbed black to cover up other spots. Gives it an organic look. Gotta “Bob Ross” it. Next. Dry brushing!
Dry brushing is a technique where you load your brush with paint rub it over your project, then wipe it most away with a paper towel. The effect is it gives the piece age.
It looks grimy, gritty, not factory new, which lends to the illusion of metal wear and age. Look at the flash suppressor before (top) & after (bottom)-
The Flash Suppressor on the original movie props were more silver and the repaint I was following was more bronze.
I had copper spray paint on hand, and I liked the look, I knew once I dry brushed some age on it it would be more muted and I was right.
All in all, not a bad first-time project! This was a project soup to nuts under $50 bucks* (*my Dremel was an editorial sample) I HIGHLY recommend this as a first-time project!
I’m very pleased with the end result which only took a couple of days. I thank the folks at Dremel whom I owe a review of their powerful little crafting tool perfect for any prop or model making projects!
Punished Props Academy, whose build video I used as a primary reference.
The folks at Rubies who’s Star Wars Han Solo Blaster I modified.
And my loving wife, whom I owe a guest room towel rack and my eternal gratitude for putting up with my hi-jinks!
I’ll keep you posted on more prop-making and other Geeky pursuits in an upcoming All Things Geek!
Amazon Prime links are included below! You’re welcome!
Photo credit -author video credit – Punished Props