Sunday, 31 July 2016

How To Paint A Steampunk Gun.

One of the easiest “Steampunk makes” is a gun modification, or even simpler a makeover paint job. Nerf guns are a firm favourite to work with but if it’s your first attempt then use something cheap like a water pistol. There are some great ray guns around. Have a look in discount shops for water pistols and charity shops or Thrift shops for old Nerf guns and other interesting toy guns, pirate flintlocks for instance.

This is the sort of gun I like, it's a Huntsman Boomstick. You can get them on amazon as well as other stores

Step one, remove all of the seams and the “made in china” and any other logos you don't want. Use a sharp knife blade or a files or fine abrasive paper. It’s not really necessary to dismantle the gun if it’s a simple one like a water pistol. If it's got lots of detailed areas it's probably best to disassemble it, take care especially with Nerf type guns, springs can shoot out and get lost. I take photos to make sure I can reassemble it correctly.

Next rub down the whole gun with fine steel wool. Now remove all of the dust and give the gun a coat of primer, I use acrylic primer in a spray can, when that's dry I give it a coat of matt black acrylic spray paint. Nothing expensive, look around the discount shops. Not everyone bothers with the primer.
If you haven’t got a garage or shed to paint in you’ll have to wait for a dry day and work outside. You should wear wear a face mask.  See the instructions on the can for drying times; it’s usually pretty quick for acrylic paint.

Now you can start painting the details in the colours of your choice. Acrylic paints are best for this, It's best to get some quality paints, the ones from Games Workshop are good but I don't like the snap tops they use these days, they're not good and the paints dry up quite quickly if not used. This is one time when cheap paints are usually not good enough, but I have found one or two cheap craft store paints which are good for some jobs. You'll have to try them to find out but if it's your first attempt at gun painting do yourself a favour and get good paints or it may not work as well as you'd like and you will be very sad.

Paints from Games Workshop and similar places may seem expensive for such small pots but as you’ll see you’ll have enough to paint a few guns. We’re going to use the “dry brush” technique for this part, if you’re painting large areas of a big gun then use a big soft brush about an inch across. Obviously for smaller details you’ll need smaller brushes, again not expensive ones; you’ll quickly ruin your best water colour brushes.

Take the colour of choice and stir it up, cocktail sticks are handy, put a very small amount of paint on the tip of the brush bristles, what you remove from the cocktail stick is more than enough, now brush it across a sheet of newspaper, remove almost all of the paint then carefully and gently brush the part of the gun you’re working on. If you see brush marks appear then you have too much paint on the brush. You want to see barely any paint appear on the gun, keep repeating until you have the effect you like, build up the paint slowly. It’s amazing how it makes the texture of the plastic pop out even though it looked smooth before. It can really look like metal rather than plastic.

Repeat the process on all the parts of the gun. That’s it; it’s simple but very effective. You can always add stuff to the gun, bits of wire, switches, anything you find that looks good. You can give the finished gun a spray coat of clear lacquer to help protect the paint from wear and tear. Matt lacquer looks best

This is the finished gun.


Steampunk Sawed Off Gun

Here's a recently finished gun, a slightly modified toy. I removed the small stock so it looks more like a hand held, and changed the clunky looking plastic cocking mechanism for a brass ring. The gun was de-seamed where necessary then primed with acrylic spray paint then sprayed with acrylic matt black then hand painted with acrylic paints. Finally it was given two coats of matt lacquer for protection. I used a Huntsman Boomstick as the starting point, they're available on Amazon as well as other stores.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Steampunk Pistol Design Exercise.

My latest project has been a design exercise with a long term view to make a set of moulds to cast a steampunk pistol in resin. I had a vague idea of the pistol design and wasn't able to produce acceptable drawings of the idea so I set about making a prototype. I resorted to my usual practice of using whatever came to hand, scraps of MDF, plumbing pipe, modelling clay etc. The quilted leather effect grips were made using DAS air drying clay, I found this very useful on a number of projects, the grips were outlined with copper wire. This was the first attempt or Mkl. I love the triple barrel idea and the grip section, the scroll was along the right lines but a bit clunky.

steampunk pistol triple barrel

This was the Mkll version.
Using the same grip section but with a single large bore barrel and a different scroll which is beginning  to look more like part of a mechanism. I love the barrel, scroll not so much. The new barrel idea set me thinking about a pistol with interchangeable barrels.

steampunk pistol large bore barrel


Using the same barrel as the Mkll , same grip idea as all the others but with a different trigger and with the scrolls on either side looking as if they are part of a barrel break mechanism.

steampunk pistol large bore barrel leather grips

Mklll a.

A refined version of  the Mklll made from hardwood with brass screws and copper barrels. I've gone back to the original Mkl triple barrel idea, the trigger is a slight variation on the theme and of course the grip section remains the same.

steampunk pistol mahogany brass and copper


Back to the single large barrel, the grip section unchanged, new style brass trigger and an actual functioning barrel break mechanism. I'm happy with it on the whole, the embellishment on the grip/stock section was just to fill a space, doesn't look great. The single scroll/barrel support isn't right, I don't like it, I like it being enclosed within the body section.
steampunk pistol

That's it so far. You've probably noticed that I really like the grip section as I've stuck with it throughout. I also like both of the barrel designs, I'd like to make the large bore barrel in either copper or brass.
If I find the time to take it any further I have two favourite options.
1. A pistol with a large bore barrel and a pistol with triple barrels.
2. A pistol with two interchangeable barrels.

I would welcome your thoughts.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Welcome to my new Blog. For a variety of reasons I haven't had a blog for sometime, today I've rectified the situation. Although I use Facebook for showing and discussing my creations and ideas it has it's limitations. I prefer forums and blogs in general.

Who am I? Kevin C Cooper, lifelong artist, designer, crafter and maker. Drawn irresistibly to most forms of creativity and with a constant urge to make things. I shall use this blog to document my exploits in the world of Steampunk.
If you follow my writings I hope you'll join in with comments.

Kevin C Cooper Esq
Steampunk and Gentleman Artificer.