I'm not gonna lie - making prop guns make me feel so bad ass! Well, at least all the progress selfies I took did. Before this, my prop list includes a giant spear for Nidalee, a cupcake bomb for Harley Quinn, and a sword for Red Sonja. None of these are fancy, none of these are screen replicas, exact copies, etc. I took a lot of pride in this prop, even though it is a little bit lopsided and twisted.
Did I mention I made this entire gun for free?
I used only materials I had at home leftover from old cosplays or other crafts. Here's a quick list of materials for this project:
Pink Insulation Board
Wooden Dowels and PVC Pipe in varying thickness
Model Magic Clay
Hot Glue Sticks
Hot Glue Gun
Pet Laser Toy
Exacto Knife with extra blades
Various Acrylic Paints
Sprayable Clear Coat Finish
Black and Silver Sharpies
This project could not be possible without the amazingly helpful documentation by Joe F during his creation of "Alice," an all metal replica of the beloved Callahan Fullbore Autolock, "Vera." Please go check out his site. It's extremely helpful and amazing.
The first thing I had to do was draw out my blueprint. I read through Joe's website up and down, referencing photos and measurements until I had a sketch I was happy with. I made it into three parts for cool unique features, err, I mean, for easy transport. I traced it neatly with permanent marker, and I had a template to use for each part.
The first thing I actually did was randomly build the ammunition shelf for the back of the gun. I quickly cut up some scraps of EVA foam and sandwiched them together, without a plan, without a scale to reference. I just went for it.
I also spent hours trying to make the weird shaped bullets. In the end, I still couldn't figure it out. I ended up rolling some paper, and adding model magic clay to the tops for shape. Not the best detail on the prop.
I traced the main body that I would be using as the base. I cut this out of 1.5" thick insulation foam in two parts - one for the main body, and one for the detachable barrel and suppressor piece. I had to sand it down to 1.25" because I felt that 1.5" was too thick, and then I dremeled details into the top of the gun, rounded out the handle, and added grooves to the sides as details.
The next thing I had to do was add all the details to the base. I am apologizing in advance; I was really excited about this prop and I did not take as many progress pics as I should.
I started with the front detachable piece. The suppressor is made from a cardboard tube with holes cut in. I added EVA foam, cut at an angle to the front and back of the tube. I cut the little holes out with an exacto knife. They're not perfect, but I think I got the point across.
For the smaller attached tube, I had to make the cardboard tube smaller so I cut a slit and rolled it up tighter and taped it with duct tape. I glued one end to the suppressor, and one to the pink foam base.
I built up the little cage detail thing with bits of black EVA foam. a square chunk for the bottom and squares, with holes cut out to go around the tube, for the top.
I glued a small dowel onto the detachable barrel part and drilled a hole in the main body for it to fit into. This is how I keep the gun detachable, and I can still use the main body of the gun without the barrel and supressor if I wanted.
For the main body, I used the same build concept for the round part on top with the cage, except I used a small dowel because it was a smaller size.
I added cut outs of craft foam to build up other details on the main body.
Now this will be the hardest part to explain without progress photos. I made a 3D layered photo of the mag, so I'm going to use this as my descrition guide.
Starting with 3, I used two pieces of EVA foam squished together with a hole cut out. I used ONE of the hole cut outs (5) and fit it back in the hole so it was centered between the two pieces and glued it in place. This creates a little layered shelf for my fake bullets to sit on. *Not shown in the 3D model* I used my exacto knife to carve some details into the side, the long line and the rounded square details. I used my heat gun to really open them up. Heat gun is magic.
The fake bullets (4) are the same as the ones i made from the ammunition shelf, except that I rolled them in smaller circles and flattened them down on the EVA foam shelf (5). I had to do this weird contraption thing because the original bullets were too small to fill the little window alone, and then they were too big after I added the shelf.
I glued the craft foam details (2) over the bullets and the window, and then glued the top EVA details (1) to finish. This all together, produced the full mag as you see below!
The next part was the long and tedious task of priming and smoothing the gun. I primed with 2 layers of wood glue as a base, and then used spackling to fill in all the "oops" holes from the dremel, and any other details that needed to be filled. I sanded it smooth and checked one more time.
Scope: it's worth noting here, that again, I do not have progress pics, and a 3D model wouldn't be super helpful for this description. BUT, for construction, I used a chunk of PVC pipe, with EVA foam wrapped around both ends. I wasn't going for a specific look or anything, it just looked good. Then I added a little craft foam range finder to the side and boom, I had a neat little scope.
Only problem was, because of the PVC pipe, the scope was actually too heavy for the EVA foam base I made. So I decided to prime the EVA foam base first, and spackle it smooth before assembling it all together. You can see a pic of it assembled below.
After the spackling, I did another layer of wood glue over those spots to seal and finish.
For the little laser sight on the front, I decided I wanted to use a real laser, so I stole the pet toy from the dog and cat (I am a terrible pet mom) and formed a little craft foam house around it. I primed and spackled it as well, and everything was ready for assembly.
When all the pieces were dry, I took my black puffy paint and added little dots in places as rivets, screws, and other tiny details, like some knobs and designs on the range finder and laser sight.
I actually have some progress pics now!!
I assembled everything together, and once I was completely satisfied with everything I had, I primed it! Since this was a budget cosplay, I just used the stuff I had at home that I bought for Red Sonja.
And now for the fun part: painting! I had to do lots of referencing to Joe's photos to see what should be painted what color, and what I had to mix etc.
I started with the barrel assembly, taped off the small end, painted the supressor with chrome spray paint, painted the barrel with black acrylic paint, and mixed black and white acrylic paint to make a light grey color and painted the rest of the assembly.
On the main body, I started with gold acrylic paint. I painted the bullets, the cage at the front, and the edges of the grip. I did the light grey next, and then the black on one side. When I flipped the gun, it took me a little while to mix a light grey that matched the other side. It isn't perfect, but I blended it well. Then I went over the rivets and screws again with puffy paint because a few of them lost their depth in the priming stage.
I was really nervous about doing the brownish red parts - they're supposed to be woodgrain, and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to pull that off. So I mixed a bunch of colors together of what I had - red fabric paint, yellow fabric paint, and gold acrylic paint. I painted one side in two coats and I was really happy with it, so I flipped it and did the other side quickly so I wouldn't have to worry about color matching the paint later.
I was really scared about adding accent details and making it pop. I grabbed a bunch of reference photos and just hopped to it. I outlined the edges in silver and black sharpie to really make some details pop. I stopped before I went to far and I was pretty happy with the outcome.
The last detail to add was a clear coat! I was so excited about it. I did 2-3 thin coats of clear coat spray paint to avoid paint runs, and to ensure an even and secure coat.
To finish the whole thing I needed to add a few strips of velcro to hold the stock on to the back of the gun. It seems really wobbly in person and I made the stock too small (because it was the first thing I made) so it doesn't seem to hold well, but it's surprisingly durable.
And that's it! I finished Vera! This is totally surreal to me!
I am very proud of this prop. It's wobbly and crooked and uneven and fairly inaccurate, but I love it. I believe it's one of the most accurate prop replica's of Vera I've seen. It's my third prop ever. So with that in mind, I am genuinely pleased with my progress as a cosplayer and prop maker.
Here is the breakdown on Cosplanner.
The rest of the costume was really easy to put together. I bought the hat at the Edmonton Expo last year from the Browcoats Society and that started everything. I only decided coming back from my Regina trip at the end of March that I would actually start this project. So I looked at my resources and made a plan.
I borrowed a Scouts Canada shirt from my brother because I didn't want to buy anything for this. It fits his graphic shirt and color scheme. It works. I also had to borrow a belt from my boyfriend.
The shorts were originally white, given to me by Kristen, and after seeing a post from another cosplayer about dying material with tea for a Rey cosplay, I was inspired. I had a plethora of tea saved up for whatever reason, so I put it to good use and dyed my shorts. I had to soak it twice to get a closer color that I wanted. There's tons of tutorials online for dying with tea, so I won't get into that here.
And that wraps up my Vera tutorial, plus bonus costume build. Thanks so much for reading! If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below! I know my pictures and descriptions aren't the best, so if you have any questions, please do ask!!