Sunday, 27 June 2010

Guns, Guns, GUNS!

Let's talk guns.

Typically LARP weapons are fairly easy to get hold of, because they're usually swords and you can buy lots of those. But sometimes what you need is a large piece to go off in your hand (fnar).

So...guns. They're harder to rule for in LARPS, but that's not the point of this piece - it's to show how to bring the pretty from a limited budget. So let's go. I have two words for anyone wanting to physrep guns: Children's Toys. All of the weapons shown below are children's toy weapons. Nerf weapons comes later, i.e. when I've disassembled and painted them.

What makes children's toy gunes awesome? Well, let me show the ways:
  • They don't look like real guns. I swear most of the designers are frustrated sci-fi fans - amongst my collection I have a not-PPG and a not-Robocop gun, as well as other futuristic designs. This is important because no-one wants to get mistaken, not with the police's twitchy trigger fingers. It also brings me to point two:

  • They also look like sci-fi weapons. And that's awesome because it saves you lots of trouble.

  • They're cheap. None of them cost more than £3 each. Not essential, but always a cheeky bonus, especially for a student like me.
So, let's have a look (click through to see larger versions of the images):

I think I got this from the Wilkinsons chain for a couple of quid. One quick paint job later, it looks good.

I love this design. Again, only a couple of quid (plus paints). It has light and sound, but I hate that stuff.

A not-PPG from a remainder store. It was originally suposed to fire pellets (they didn't hurt though, which would be useful if I knew where the pellets went), but I turned the pellet cap into a plasma fuel cell.

There two are a pair of water pistols from Poundland. They have a wonderfully exotic shape. As you can see, the first one has a streaky turquise area to it, similar to the cap for the not-PPG.

This was a deliberate choice on my part to paint all exposed parts of plasma engines in this stylised way. Specifically I decided that plasma should look like a stylised watercolour, streaked with energised particles. Now, everyone who knows anything about plasma knows that it looks like a star within a cloud (see Gizmodo's interesting piece), but Fading Suns has always been stylised and I wanted to keep that style.


I started off by getting some black undercoat, laying out the weapons and spraying them, letting them dry then turning them over.

For actual paints, I decided not to carry on spraypainting and do it by hand. I used a mix of MP, GW and Game Color paints, depending on what I could get.

The plasma effect was achieved by daubing on a thick layer of the ordinary colour. Then, while it was still wet, I daubed on a ligher more of the same colour. Then, while that was still wet, I took a very thin brush and some white paint and swiftly marked out delicate lines, to give the impression of particle trails. That was it.

Where to look:

Obviously these may not apply across national boundries, but I went to:
  • Poundland - a cheapo chain that's sprung up lately. Everything is, as it says, a pound each.
  • Wilkinsons - a home goods chain (everything from house plants to toothpaste).
  • Remainder shops (I think the big UK chain is The Works).
  • Supermarkets.
  • Anywhere with a kids' toy section, basically.
  • The local street market. They're great for toy guns.
Well, that's that. Enjoy.

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