The Two Towers
The Two Towers Uruk-Hai Crossbow Brass Barrel Mod:
To be perfectly honest, I didn't think there was a chance in the world this gun would have any potential. Nerf-like offerings based on popular movie franchises haven't had much success historically. Made by a company called Toy Biz (a subsidiary of Marvel Enterprises, Inc) this product's packaging proudly claims that it "shoots over 30 feet / 9 M with 3 power settings!". Sadly for the typical consumer, this is a bit of advertising fiction. Fortunately for us, it can be upgraded considerably. Out of the box, the crossbow (shown in all pictures without the actual crossbow arms which are purely cosmetic) fires the included quarrels about 9 feet flat.
To appreciate the size of this beast I pulled an at3k and a splitfire from my arsenal for a group photo. It's holsterable but very bulky - most people won't find it very comfortable to use one-handed. Don't let the relative similarity in size with the SF fool you, this gun is slightly bigger in all dimensions and more than twice as heavy.
Opening it up was fairly trivial. There were plastic rings to be pried off at the front and back and half a dozen screws to remove. The gun is pretty straightforward in function, though different from a typical compression spring setup. The elastic tubing stretched between the two light gray collars is the only power source. The plunger tube extends from the rightmost end of the elastic tubing all the way back to the cocking handle. The left end of the elastic tubing is attached to the front of the barrel which extends about 7 inches into the plunger tube. The barrel is secured in the plunger tube by a reducer attached to the front of the plunger tube and by a rubber flange attached to the back of the barrel. If you've followed me so far then you can see by now that cocking the gun involves pulling the plunger tube back and firing it causes the plunger tube to slam forward nearly enclosing the barrel. The (relatively) airtight flange at the rear of the barrel keeps the system efficient.
My barrel consists of an extremely straightforward foot of 9/16" K&S brass fitted in about 8" of 1/2" PVC. A single layer of electrical tape secured the PVC in the existing barrel and a little hot glue locked it in place. Note that you DO NOT want the PVC/brass to go all the way to the end of the barrel. There is a valve there which opens into the barrel to let air through. I left a 1/2" gap between the back of my barrel and the back of the existing barrel.
In a concession to time constraints, I finished up by attaching two lightweight elastic cords (not in the picture, sorry) to the top and bottom of the cocking handle to increase the power. I can think of at least three good ways to accomplish this internally but will leave it as an exercise for the reader until I have time to return to this mod. There are a number of other things I'd like to try on this gun so hopefully that will be soon. I don't think it's excessively presumptuous of me to say that this gun has the potential to out-distance everything but the sm5k.
Done! I loaded up with micro stefans and range tested it. Since there's no barrel constriction a ramrod is not necessary, just blow the darts down the barrel before cocking it. Average dart skip on concrete was approximately 4-5'. Here's the Modalizer screencap chock full of statistical analysis goodness.
|All images and content © Kevin Davis 2002, 2003 - Hail Eris! All hail Discordia!|