Monday, 24 April 2017

Nerfship Away!

Last weekend, I was at a steampunk event talking to a friend who makes models for a living. He explained how, in his free time, he made robots out of junk. The trick, he explained, was to find the pieces that were the right shape, no matter their original purpose. Thinking about this, I happened to look at one of the blogs I follow, called Mr Papafakis, where the writer had built a spaceship out of a water pistol, HERE. This idea sounded too good not to steal.

For the mighty sum of £5, I bought a Nerf gun called a Reflex IX-1 at the local supermarket. It looked like this:

I  removed the handle and trigger with a hacksaw and pulled back the cocking mechanism to elongate the gun. Then I glued it in place to form an interestingly-textured rectangular box. I turned this upside down and started gluing things to it.

Most of the rest of the model came from a very small-scale Revell model of a German tank that I bought for £2.99. It had a lot of interesting bumps that would look good on a spaceship. With a few extra bits (including the top of a milk carton) and some plasticard I was able to flesh out most of the shape of a spacecraft, like this:

At this point, it looked like the strange result of a Nerf gun mating with a bobsleigh. The "nose" at the front (well, the left on this picture) is the tank turret, on its side. The landing skids are the track guards, held up with bits of sprue. The antenna is the tank gun.

The moment of truth came and I sprayed it black. It's amazing how much a black undercoat unifies a model. It's like translating a set of words into the same language to make a sentence, except all the words are bits of plastic and the language is the universal language of the exciting rocket ship. I hope that makes it clear.

The paint scheme was a utilitarian grey (Vallejo Luftwaffe Uniform) highlighted up with a very pale blue-grey. A few smudges of brown and light grey were added for variety, and Strongtone was painted into some of the areas where dirt would accumulate. It's rather darker than I originally planned, but I like it anyway.

The detailing on the Nerf gun part of the ship lended itself to a red stripe. I added more red to the front end to show that it was indeed the front, and painted on yellow warning stripes to draw the eye in that direction.

And that's about it. I'm really pleased with this thing, especially since it came from such unlikely material. It's got a nice chunky feeling without obviously being a box. I missed a couple of bits of orange plastic, so I'll have to go back and repaint them. In the meantime, it needs a name. Any suggestions?

1 comment:

Mr Papafakis said...

At first I couldn't see how you were going to convert that odd shaped gun into a spaceship, but then you did! That's the true test of a kitybasher IMHO, seeing something in a shape that no one else can and then make it so.

For some reason, tank models are the most commonly used kits for kitbashing projects. I've heard about them being used back in the days of Star Wars, Blade runner and all other sorts of Sci-fi stuff. Well, if it works, why not hey?

Well done Toby! It looks ace man :)