This is my Nightfinder / Han Solo Blaster mod, inspired by the movie The Empire Strikes Back (the blaster is different from the one in Star Wars - A New Hope). The mod elements here are mostly cosmetic, but of course I ramped up the power so it will have respectable ranges.
I wasn't going to post the whole mod because its a 90% cosmetic job, but because it was requested...here it is. Enjoy.
½" CPVC pipe
¾" CPVC pipe
CPVC ½" to ¾" adapter
2 CPVC ½" bushings
Funnel (for automotive liquids)
Plumber's Putty, Squadron Green Putty, epoxy
I started with an empty shell; everything removed and set aside. The shell needed cuts with the saw and Dremel to remove the whole front end from the plunger tube-forward.
This opened up a rectangular hole in the front of the shell which I closed up with Plumber’s Putty. I also added putty next to the trigger guard to make the area all the same level and thickness. I added a lot of putty to the handle grip to adjust for all the contours that make up the stock NF design. I laid down putty in the most difficult fill-in areas first, and then after it hardened I came back and did a second layer for smoothness, covering the entire handle. I ran a razor knife down the seam of the shell to separate the two sides, BEFORE the putty hardened.
Once all the areas are covered, I took a Dremel sanding cylinder to the putty to smooth it out. This kind of work is always prime time to wear dust mask and glasses! I then put an orbit sander upside-down in a vice and worked over the handle again (I really need to get a table-top belt sander). This helped remove scarring caused by the Dremel and smooth out the roughness. I next coated all the putty areas with Squadron Green Putty and set it aside to dry.
When the green putty dried, I sanded it smooth. I using a fine grit, 220 I think. Do not use the Dremel or a tougher grit as the green putty is soft and will scrape away too quickly. The goal here is a soft smooth finish, not to take all the green off. These steps took about four days, most of which time spent waiting for putty to harden.
In addition, I covered over the Nerf symbol with putty. For the butt or bottom of the handle I needed to remove the covering for the battery compartment and somehow manufacture a rounded dome shape in its place.
First I took a wide piece of blue painter's tape, folded it over and clamped it between the two halves of the shell, leaving about two inches of it hanging out the bottom. This would keep the two halves of the shell separate from each other. I taped the shell closed and using two Stefan blanks I plugged up the battery compartment on each side of the blue tape. I stuck one end of the Stefan blank in one battery hole, bet the Stefan over and stuck the other end in the other hole then repeated the process on the other side. The idea behind the Stefan blanks was to start the shape and to cut back on the amount of putty needed. Putty is expensive and heavy. Using a ton of it will cause your blaster to be too heavily weighted in the back and very costly.
The next step was to take a ball of plumber's putty, split it in half and start packing it on like clay on the end of the handle, half on each side of the painter's tape. Using fingers and thumbs like a pottery guy, I worked and shaped the curve of the putty to form the butt as if it was clay and I was sculpting. I made sure it adhered to the shell, I followed the curve of the stefans and the form a dome shape began to emerge. The painter's tape right in the middle, separated the two halves of the dome.
The next day I used the Dremel to knock down protruding edges and heavier spots and smooth everything out to a more uniform, dome-like shape. This took a bit of time but in the end the I had a passable dome shape. I used an electric sander and some 100 grit sandpaper to further smooth and shape.
When ready, I started the finish work, using liberal amounts of the Squadron Green Putty on the dome shape. By this time I had removed the painter’s tape and I was working on the butt as if it were one piece. This is important because you want to compare each side to the other so you can make them look like mirror images of each other. I used more green putty to build up low areas and to feather the edges into the rest of the handle. From here there was more sanding with finer and finer grits of paper and the filling in of gaps with more green putty until I achieved the shape and smoothness that I was looking for. Keep in mind that my target, Han Solo's blaster, was originally modeled on, the Mauser "broom handle" automatic pistol and so the shape of the wood-grip handle was important to the project. Note the vast differences in this pic between stock and modded grips.
The scope was made the same way that the barrel was made. I glued ¾" CPVC onto a different piece from the same funnel.
I used Plumber's Putty to connect the pieces and Squadron Green Putty to smooth out the connection for a more finished look. It was mounted more putty and a half-tube of ½" CPVC. I cut it down the tube lengthwise then added putty inside it, attached it to the scope, then attached putty to the outside and attached it to the side of the rail on the NF. I taped it all in place and let it harden up. I then went back out the joints with hot glue. When the glue dried, I went over the joints again; this time with Squadron White Putty (ran out of green, the white does the same job).
The barrel itself is ½" CPVC tubing, but it's outfitted with extra parts that are purely cosmetic. The front part is made up of a CPVC ½" bushing, inside a ½" to ¾" CPVC adapter with a piece of funnel glued to its front. Owing to the length of the barrel and its forward accoutrements I decided to use a coupler set-up so the whole barrel can come out, be loaded from the rear and replaced.
The internal modifications were pretty standard. I removed the air-restrictor. I broke off the AR post and used the Dremel to clean out the AR ring. To this ring I attached a ½" CPVC bushing with plumber's putty. I had to Dremel one side of the bushing to get it around a screw.
I then took this piece, the spacer ring and the plunger tube and glued them together with epoxy and let them dry in a clamp to keep them all tight. I also added e-tape to secure it all together.
I added an industrial strength spring to the plunger and kept the stock one as well.
Ready for final assembly.
That is basically the entire mod, except for paint.
The paint for the handle was first sprayed brown. Then with a lighter color called "wood" (imagine that), I brushed-on the color lightly with a fan style bristle to create the appearance of wood-grain.
The grip grooves and the seam going down the back of the handle were painted on with the same metallic black as the rest of the gun. This took some delicate masking-tape work.
The overall gun-metal color of the body was achieved with a metallic black paint manufactured by Valspar. I primed the shell first and then laid down three coats of this metallic black. This paint smells like the dickens, do this outside! I repeat, Warning! This metallic paint by Valspar stinks horribly, use this stuff outside and away from people you like.
Finally, the muzzle break was painted with a silver metallic color. The grooves and other details were applied by-hand and brush. Warning, soft pliable plastics, like the funnel in this case, cause problems for the green putty. When the plastic flexes it cracks the putty. I hade to make some fixes during the process.
When the paint was all done, I came back to the scope and added a cross-hair piece that I swiped off a Titan. I just cut it to fit inside and wedged it in with my finger. Then I tacked it into place with a couple drops of superglue, nothing fancy.
Done. Still fires like a NF, just need to remove the barrel, rear-load a Stefan, replace the barrel, prime with the plunger and fire.
The ranges are typical for your standard NF mods with spring upgrades, nothing special.
Averages in the 50s+ with red stefans.
The other side, handle view-
Disclaimer: Modifying Nerf blasters is a dangerous business and should not be attempted by anyone with a maturity of an Ewok. This mod will not make you cool like Han Solo, you will not be able to take out Imperial Probe Droids with one shot and it will not allow you to kiss your friend’s sister. May the Nerf be with you!
"These aren't the stefans you're looking for."
-Obi Foam Kenobi
Edited by NerfDude1138, 06 January 2009 - 01:13 PM.