Let’s Talk About Cardboard Core Props – Plasma Defender (part 1)

This post originally appeared on the GlitzParty Cosplay tumblr in 2012. It has been preserved for posterity to aid other cosplayers here!

so, i was talking with a friend about building prop weapons and thought it might be worthwhile to show you guys how i get started.
for those who don’t know weapons on sight (read: me), this is a new vegas style plasma defender in the making.
first...


so, i was talking with a friend about building prop weapons and thought it might be worthwhile to show you guys how i get started.

for those who don’t know weapons on sight (read: me), this is a new vegas style plasma defender in the making.  

first things first, you’ll need to get together your references.  i do this here and there when i ask people to get me particular caps of things in certain positions if i cannot do so myself.  being as i don’t currently have a way to play FNV myself, i have to ask others to help.  at very least, there is usually a decent shot on the wiki to start with.  don’t go through the whole thing without your refs though!

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after you have your base, make some decisions.  am i going to have it light up?  do i want it to have moving parts? do i want to build it from scratch?  in my case, the answers are yes, no and yes, so we move on.

first thing i start with is the grip.  it’s a good way to get things sized to fit you proportionally.  you’ll want it to fit your hand easily, so plot out the width of your palm and adjust your pattern accordingly.  sketch out the grip around it and once you’re satisfied, trim it out and hold it to judge your work.

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this is not quite accurate due to not being able to properly wrap a hand around a single flimsy piece of paper, but you’ll know whether or not you’re on the right track.  i’m satisfied and move on.

the next piece i did was the trigger.  that’s pretty simple.  always check your pieces against themselves to keep your scale and proportions right.  fudging a little here and there is okay but you don’t want to get too off-base.  find a good unit of measurement and stick to it as much as you can.

once you have all the pieces of your pattern laid out, figure out how you plan to put together your gun.  this is where the ‘lights and moving parts’ comes into play.  is there an easy place to hide a battery pack?  where are you threading the wires?  can you easily change the battery?  will you have a switch on the outside?  where are you going to put it?  are you allowing for sliding on moving parts?  how are you keeping them secured?

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in this case, what i have to worry the most about is the lights.  i will be needing 4-5 LEDs for this project, so that’s a decent amount of wires i need to conceal.  1-2 will be in the box at the bottom, which will have plexiglass windows cut in on either side.  threaded up from there, they will follow to the end were there is one on either side and then one in the centre.  since there is no good place to slip them on the surface, i will be sandwiching them into place between the middle layers and outer.  to facilitate this, i’ve cut a channel into each side that the wires will lay in.

to get the raised, rounded bits, i’ve placed PVC pipe as a base.  if you plan to blend it in with bondo or something similar, it’s worth getting a bit smaller than you want it, so you can add to the outside and not get too bulky or too thin and have it crack.

when adding these extra pieces, you have to remember that they will stay in place best if you can sink them into your main body.  you can see where i’ve taken off a layer of cardboard to further sink them into this middle layer and the layer above will be an even tighter fit, making it hard to break off.

that’s it for this installment, but if you guys want, i can detail it whenever i make decent progress for those interested in making props the jay way.

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