Custom Weapons

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Sometimes, a mediocre G.I. Joe figure can be made a fan-favorite simply because of its accessories. The same is true of customs. With so many great weapons in the Joe line and 1/18 scale, there's a lot to choose from when making a custom character. But if you want to give your figure some extra pizzazz, custom accessories are a great way to go.

Contents

Tools to help

  • X-acto Knife
  • Hobby saw
  • Super Glue
  • Elmer's Glue (PVA / white glue)
  • Pins or stiff wire
  • Small drill/dremel
  • Spray Sealant
  • Vice Grip Pliers
  • Nail polish remover or any other paint remover
  • Q-tips
Tools of the trade


The Process

I'm going to illustrate how to customize a gun, blasters specifically, but the same directions could also be applied to backpacks and other accessories. Sometimes just seeing what parts from which weapons you want to combine will be enough. In other instances a sketch or a photo reference may be helpful to find exactly what you are looking for.

Original Battle Star Galactica blaster
Buck Rogers blaster


Parts

An alternate clip, the removal or addition of a scope, or a shoulder strap can make a boring gun look really unique. Parts are easy to come by - just find the one you want to add and cut it off of the donor gun with your xacto knife or a hobby saw. If going to scrap the donor, cut off a larger section than is needed. This will help in the next step or it can be sanded down if necessary.

Pinning or Tongue and Groove

To make the join more secure, the join can be pinned together using a small piece of wire (such as a paper clip or pin or neeedle). Start by drilling a small hole in one of the pieces. The size and depth will vary depending on the parts, and may not be possible for many weapons.

Alternatively, you can do the tongue and groove joint, well more of a mortise and tenon joint, but essentially you create a hole or notch in the body of the main weapon large enough to fit a piece of the new part. Once glued together it will be strong enough to hold up to rough play.

Test fit parts

There is a lot of trial and errror during this phase. You will need to test fit parts together at this point so you get an idea of the final product. That might mean tacking things together with a dab of glue or drilling holes/notches deeper to fit parts better.

Test the pin fits in the hole - it should be snug, but not too loose or too much of a struggle to fit. Take the pin out and insert a second, shorter, length of metal then test position the piece. By pressing the parts together you should have a mark so you will know where to drill the second hole.

No glue yet

This may also mean test fitting the weapon in an intended figure's hand. You'll want to make sure before you finish the weapon if the figure can even hold it right. If the figure cannot, you'll want to make any modifications now (thinning the handle, raising or shortening the stock, moving the scope closer or further away). Unhinder, whatever is preventing it from looking right in the figures hand.


Glue=

For pinning, put a small drop of super glue on the end of the pin and fix it in the hole of the weapon part. Once dry repeat for the other side, holding the pieces together tightly until the glue dry.

If you are not using a pin on the new part, give the glue a few minutes to get tacky, and you'll be able to fix the new part into any position you want.

Starting to glue

In either method you want to be able hold it and view it from different angles. Sometimes using vice grip pliers can help. You want to make sure the barrel, scope, body, and handle are all parallel forming straight lines with each other. If anything is wonky, angled off in a different direction, now is th time to fix it.

Straight top to bottom
Scope, barrel, and tip lined up

Once the glue for the joint has dried it's often good idea to apply an additional dab of super glue around the seams (and depending on the size of your weapon, filling any gaps with milliput or similar compounds).

Gap in seam gets filled in

Painting

Since you've gone through all the trouble to customize the weapon, go the extra mile and paint some of the details that were molded into the weapon, (when applicable).

You can spray a coat of paint sealant over the piece. Or look in the Detailing section for ways to bring the most out of your new weapon.

All painted
Reason for the transparent tips

Finished

That's it! Now you've got a cool custom weapon that's never been seen on any figure before.

MARS schmars
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