So you want to alchemize a CROCKERCORP INDUSTRIES LIMBLIFTED PLANEHUCKER? Ingredients and recipe below the cut.
*Image heavy! Text heavy!*
right pic by: caffeinated-seobbie
*optional, i guess, it kept resin dust out of my clothes and hair which was cool
**included with the assumption that you’ll use epoxy resin to coat it like I did. This is not the only option. Other coating/strengtheining methods may require different safety gear. If you get a respirator, you do not also need a dust mask. Research the specific safety requirements of your materials even if listed here, especially regarding protective equipment and proper gloves, mixing ratios, curing times, and working temperatures.
DISCLAIMER: I choose my cosplays partially in order to familiarize myself with techniques and materials I don’t know how to use. Therefore, this whole thing is a document of MY FIRST TIME using many of these materials! There are more experienced resources elsewhere, just poke around on like cosplay.com or google.
the first thing i did was i found the exact image hussie put in the comic by putting my true problem sleuth skills to the test and running a single google search for ‘sniper rifle’ and finding this motherfucker in the fourth row down (hmm looks familiar)
so then i opened that in photoshop and made it REALLY BIG, i estimated it to be about 90in long and a foot or so in height. I used Posterazor to assemble it into a PDF. Then I printed that fucker out and taped it all together
(Fig. 1 printed out gun model)
Then I used a sharpie and pressed really hard on the paper to trace the general shape of my main body piece onto my pink foam, before hacking it out with the jigsaw (and leaving about a 5/8 border around the traced shape)
(Fig. 2 roughly cut out foam base, first sanding done on left, raw cut shape on right)
I then put on my dust mask, safety glasses and leather gloves and used my coarsest sandpaper to grind away a bunch of the excess. You could probably use nitrile gloves here too. I found that sanding by hand was much more pleasant with some thick gloves on. I’ve heard you can use a dremel on this stuff but mine just melted the foam, so I did it by hand. You can basically use whatever you want to shape it at this point. I did a bit of chiseling with a screwdriver in some places, which went okay.
Then I used my jigsaw and carefully hacked out the rectangle where I intended to embed the barrel of my rifle:
(Fig. 3 initial complete sanding, barrel insert cutout, featuring the wooden dowel I originally intended to use. Thank god i decided against that. )
Annnnd that’s just about where I stopped taking pictures, haha.
Fig. 3 only shows sanding around the edges. But I also sanded that bottom sticky outy part (magazine??? I DONT KNOW GUNS) and the thingy that the sight is mounted onto to give it more dimension. I sanded the grippy part to be narrower than the rest of the body, too. This is sort of visible in Fig. 4.
The white pieces in Fig. 3 on the table there were my initial tries of the piece in Fig. 4. I cut those out of foamcore, which I DO NOT recommend as that shit is a bitch to cut into any sort of curve. Instead, on my final gun I used 6mm craft foam sheets. I traced the pattern from my giant printout the same way I traced it onto my pink foam, with a series of firmly-placed sharpie dots connected to make an outline.
( Fig. 4 Final photo of side plate thingy? wtf should I call this bit? Also visible: screws, trigger & trigger guard thingy, sight, dots, fork, 3-d sculpting of magazine thingy, silver detailing)
Then I forgot about it for like two months until SHIIIIT ECCC IS IN THREE WEEKS FUCK FUCK
Glue the side panel piece over the barrel insert slot with hot glue. At this point, you have probably sanded your pink foam to its final shape with all grits of sandpaper, so it should be pretty smooth all over. When your pink foam is sanded and this foam piece is on, you can apply spackling with a gloved finger (or gently with a spatula) to fill in gaps between your white and pink foams and also any nicks or dings that you might have accumulated in your pink foam from sanding or shaping. I managed a couple of fantastic gashes even with my finest paper. Let the spackling dry white.
Do any other pink foam sculpting you could want. As always, wear gloves/mask/glasses when sanding.
The barrel of my rifle was not really secured into the foam base, but you could do so with some hot glue I guess. When I put decorative screws on, some of them penetrated the cardboard, holding it. But it was really just crammed in there from force of tension of the foam and then the epoxy over top helps hold it too.
The interior tube was a bit narrower than the body of the rifle, so to fair it I hot glued in two rectangles of thick craft foam on either side of it. These pieces also helped hold the barrel in (Fig. 5)
(Fig. 5: See that slightly uneven border around that rectangle suspiciously near where there should be a cutout from fig. 3? This is where the thick foam rectangles go)
My barrel is 4 layers: cardboard tube interior, thick craft foam ribs, thin craft foam interior shell, cardboard tube exterior shell. I do not consider the thin craft foam layer necessary, it was the failure of this layer to make the barrel smooth enough for me that prompted the second round of tubes. These layers are pictured in Fig. 6.
( Fig. 6: Layers of the barrel.)
The thick foam ribs did not go all the way around the gun as visible in Fig. 6, though they might as well. There was no reason for this beyond mismeasuring and having no reason to correct it. My strips were about 3/8 in thick and 1.5 in apart IIRC. Judge this based on your printout. All of these pieces are hot glued together. The length of the barrel was determined by holding it over my printout. It’s about 2 tubes long including the hidden part inside the pink foam.
The cardboard overtop is another couple tubes that have been slit straight down the side and pressed/glued to grab the top of the barrel.
DO NOT GLUE THE TWO TUBES OF THE BARREL TOGETHER! I’ll show you how I attached mine later. But the detatchable nature of most of the barrel is how I transport my weapon
and how i’ll lengthen it if someone one-ups me
At this point the base of the barrel should feel pretty securely wedged in the foam, and the foam ribs should be secured, and the cardboard top should be secured too.
The end of the barrel is just a cylinder I made by making a tube out of my thick craft foam and hacking out some ovals. You could potentially use like, a soda can? idk. hot glue that fucker.
Refer to Fig. 4. The trigger and trigger guard are just slices of thick craft foam glued to the pink foam. The trigger was curved by spreading a little lower temperature hot glue on one side and held in place until it set in the curve shape.
(Fig. 7: One of 2 pieces of PVC on this whole thing. This is a connector that was cut in half with a bandsaw for length. Use what you can.)
The sight of my rifle was a piece of giftwrap tube (you can take some off of the narrower one that hasn’t been used in the barrel, or maybe you have an extra piece that you trimmed off) with 2 PVC fittings hot glued to the ends. The fittings are made for a slightly wider tube, so I glued thin craft foam around the ends of the cardboard to ensure a snug, even fit and then put the PVC over top of that.
Refer to Fig. 4. The bits that connect the sight to the pink foam body are more thick craft foam, hot glued in place.
Get some short and thick ones and jam them right into the foam. Get some thinner pointier ones and jam them in too. Refer to your printout for placement. Consider poking/drilling a hole in the foam before putting a screw in, especially if it’s a big one. I did this with a pencil.
Remember the narrower giftwrap tube? Wrap it in some thin craft foam scraps and securely hot glue them in place. You can jam one end of this into each half of your barrel to hold them secure.
(Fig. 8: Connector tube. The red makes the seam less visible where the white foam might show.)
At this point, your rile should consist of 3 parts: barrel part, body part, and connector.
Paint all of it in a couple coats of Gesso to seal it. Sealing the cardboard and sealing the foam ensure you use less product of the expensive resin. On the other hand, I did not seal my cardboard (only the foam) with Gesso and my resin soaked in, which may have increased the strength. I don’t really know. Do it how you like, but seal everything that’s pink, at least. ESPECIALLY IF YOU WILL BE USING SOMETHING OTHER THAN EPOXY RESIN TO COAT IT.
A WORD ON THE CHEMISTRY OF THIS PROJECT:
Pink insulation foam is extruded polystyrene, similar to white styrofoam that looks like a bunch of compressed white balls.. It is melted by heat, excessive friction, some glues, a great many aerosols INCLUDING SPRAY PAINT AND GLOSS, and some components of things like polyester resin and Bondo. You will likely be spray painting this object. You do not want it to end up like this paint test here:
(Fig. 9 spray paint test on craft foam and insulation foam. Craft foam is absorbent, insulation foam is solvent. )
So as with many other elements of homestuck cosplay, seal your shit! Seal it again if you are like me and accidentally sand right through your resin!
I got a West System epoxy resin fiberglass kit for Christmas.
I am not your best resource for learning how to work with epoxy resin safely. What I can share is:
Sanding the resin:
I ended up with lots of drips once it was cured. Hopefully you will end up with fewer.
(Fig. 10: Most of my safety gear for sanding epoxy)
Resin dust is very fine. Don’t breathe this.
I wore nitrile gloves to keep it off of my hands (and to better hold the paper, dremel, and quarter sheet sander that I used) and the painter’s coveralls to keep it out of my clothes. The safety glasses with side shields keep it out of my eyes and the respirator keeps it out of my lungs.
I used my dremel with the sanding attachment to level the worst of the drips, and then sanded by hand and with the quarter sheet sander (grit about 600) to get it as smooth as I cared for.
If you go through the resin and gesso entirely, re-coat the area a few times with gesso. Don’t worry too much unless it’s really a terrible gash. Then you could try filling it with spackling and i dunno doing a 5min epoxy layer over the spot?
Or you could keep the terrible gash and call it ‘weathering’. But seal it.
Your resin is sanded and cured.
Spray the whole thing in a couple coats of primer. Spray the whole thing in a couple coats of red. Stencil your forks on and affix black dots, I did this by cutting out circles of index card that I had painted black. Spray a light coat of gloss. Let dry.
I did this with 2 things: black paint and a silver sharpie. I recommend silver paint.
I smudged the sharpie around with my finger before it had the chance to dry to make it look worn.
(Fig. 11: Weathering detail.)
Silver should go in places you think would have paint work off of them, like on top of screws and corners and along edges. Try not to make it look symmetrical. I used my sharpie to accent the tops and edges of the screws.
Black or dark brown should go where dirt or grime might accumulate, like in concave corners and around the rims of stuff and under ridges. You can accent dings and scratches with silver to make them look intentional, haha.
Let dry, plug in your connector and go traverse the Medium!