Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Replica Prop Gun [part1]

I have been following Adam Savage's exploits at and have become fascinated by the replica prop movement in America. So I decided to make myself a Replica movie prop gun. To do this I had to learn hard edge sculpture. I have no idea what I am doing, so if anybody have some tips, please leave a comment below.

I decided to replicate one of the revolvers used in Raiders of the lost Ark.  The weapon in question is a 1917 model Smith and Wesson 45 acp revolver. All the dimensions for the gun was taken off images from the internet, by scaling photos relative to the cylinder.

The process I used was to cast blank forms in a F16 plastic that I could then glue and machine to the required shapes. 

I started by making a base tile that formed the side of the cylinder. I made a silicon mold of this plasticine tile and casted six. 

The tiles I made was originally made for a 38 special, so it was too small for the 45. I taped the outside with packaging tape and filled the gaps with more F16

I then shaped the final drum on my makeshift lathe.

After some testing I found that it would be best to make the front and back of the cylinder from two separate discs. Using silicon molding was to expensive to cast the blanks, so I used plasticine clay for the molds.

I sanded the front and back and drilled the holes.

I casted 6 domes for the bullet points. I placed the machined front over these, formed a retaining wall with plasticine and poured F16 into the center hole. This set and solidified the unit.

I did the same with the back of the cylinder. I did not like the back of the bullets and later replaced them with washers of the correct size. With all the shaping and filling the groves and slots had to be re-machined. All that tile work for nothing...

I made the center shaft from a stainless steel rod.  All the fittings was cast in plasticine and machined on the lathe.

Assembled it looked pretty good against a scale cut out of the gun.

I poured a mold for the cylinder out of Mold max 20 silicon.

This method turned out to be a bad idea as bubbles trapped on the underside of the cast and formed an uneven texture.

I casted the cylinder out of F16 with aluminium filling. When sanded the finish looks exactly like metal.

Due to the bad quality of the mold, end result looks like a seriously worn piece of metal.  Not what I was looking for, but quite satisfactory on another level. I have subsequently made a new mold for the cylinder that works wonderfully.

Now that the cylinder is done it is time to move on to the body of the revolver. Stick around, and I'll show you how I did that in the next post.

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