Aliens M41A Pulse Rifle - NERF repaint

I was lucky enough to snap up one of the Hasbro NERF M041-A Pulse Rifles when it came up for pre-order, and had mine delivered a few weeks ago.
M41A Pulse Rifle.jpg

Magazine.jpg

There's some conversation and reviews of the product HERE. I won't go too much into the pros and cons, aside from saying that it looks amazing, the overall functionality is great and its really only let down by having incorrect sounds - which are quiet and can't really be heard over the flywheel anyway's so not a big deal.

As soon as I got mine, I began the process of painting it.

Sanding off the logos wasn't too bad, less than an hour's work. There are a couple of NERF logos, an Aliens movie logo on the barrel and a few blocks of legalese text. All the other black markings were simply painted on. Everything sanded off pretty easily with 400 grit sandpaper. I removed the legalise text but didn't bother filling in the indented section where it sat, because I hate trying to fill and smooth a properly flat surface. I think it looks fine and just adds some surface greebling to the gun. I then ran over the entire thing with some 600 grit to rough up the surface, for paint adhesion. All up the paint adhered really well, except to the shoulder stock and the ammo release door. The white glossy plastic here didn't want to grab the paint and I had to sand it back and reprime it twice to get a final good coat.

I decided not to disassemble this for painting because I didn't want to mess with the electronics inside, and I know that I have a tendency to get distracted and leave projects unfinished if they take too long. There wasn't any real need to disassemble. I applied some filler to the screw holes, seams and anywhere that needed it, taped off the ammo counter and then hit with a lacquer-based automotive filler primer. Aside from the above-mentioned parts, the primer bit and held really well. The tricky parts took an extra hit with the sandpaper and I primed them with multiple very light powder coats to get the paint to stick.

For a paint scheme I decided to go with the brown look. I personally prefer the green look that I remember seeing on screen (I love the idea of screen accurate vs set accurate to distinguish between how it was created and how we saw it as an audience. Screen Accurate? ) However I've ordered one of the Hollywood Collectibles Motion Trackers and that's done in brown so I wanted this to match. I didn't bother chasing down Brown Bess, instead, I read up and found that Tamiya's TS-90 JGSDF Brown lacquer is a pretty good "close enough" match, plus it's cheap and easy to get for me. For the black, I used Tamiya TS-6 Matt Black. Both are lacquer-based paints so provide excellent toughness and durability and they come in 100ml spray cans.
base coating aliens pulse.jpg

I sprayed the black first, gave it a few days to fully cure and dry, then masked it off and hit it with the brown. It already looked awesome.
aliens pulse brown coat.jpg

aliens pulse all base coat.jpg

I also sanded, primed and painted the magazine at the same time. I gave everything a few days to cure then hit the whole thing with an Aclad lacquer gloss clear coat. I wanted the gloss for weathering purposes. I went through several rounds of weathering using various shades of brown, black, blue and purple oil paints... and wasn't thrilled with the result. The weathering wasn't quite strong enough, but it would do for now.
I then hit it with Tamiya's Matt Lacquer clear coat.
Next up was some silver rub'n'buff for edge-wear and scraping. It looked okay as I was doing it, but I overdid it a little and looking at it the next day, it was too much. So I decanted some of the TS-90 into my aribush, and touched up the more egregious spots. At that point I decided since I had the brush out, I might as well decant a little of the TS-6 black, mix up a slightly darker brown and added some post-shading in the cracks and seams. That worked a lot better and helped bring out the oil weathering. In hindsight, I should have pre-shaded the whole thing before applying the brown, but I thought the oil would be enough.
The final touch was to hit the exposed section of the barrel with Aclad Ultra Gloss black, then Alclad Air-Frame Aluminium. It's a little shiny but I think it will dull a bit over time.
Aliens pulse1.jpg

Magazine painted.jpg

All up I'm pretty happy with this and am calling it done... for now. I'm gradually paying off the HC Motion Tracker so when that arrives in about 6 months, I'll see how the two look together. Hopefully, the colours are a close enough match, that a little weathering on the motion tracker will tie them together nicely.

I also 3D printed a Facehugger prop about a year ago, but I did it on my resin printer and it's a little too brittle - leg joints keep snapping. I'm going to reprint the legs on my FDM printer using ABS, and then maybe coat the whole thing in flesh-coloured latex to hide the joints and the paint and weather it. But it's an awesome articulated print.
Facehugger 2.jpg


My other Aliens project is a "pseudo-sentry-gun". I have no way to get an accurate Sentry Gun from the movie and I'm not accomplished enough to scratch build one, but I do have a NERF Vulcan, which is a "chain gun" that comes with an ammunition box, a Chain of Nerf Darts and an integrated tripod. I think it will make an awesome "close-enough" Sentry Gun, so I currently have it disassembled for painting.
1662516333460.png

The Nerf Dart chains are cool and all but not super realistic, and I wanted something recognisable as ammo, instead of the in-canon "careless rounds", so I 3D printed and painted up a short chain of ammo. The rounds are in two parts, the shell painted in Alclad Polished Brass and the bullet head in Alclad Chrome -I tried the Airframe Aluminium paint but it was too dark, I wanted something nice and shiny.
ammo1.jpg

ammo chain parts.jpg

The chain links are also rein printed and airbrushed with Vallejo black primer for the matt composite look. This was a short chain of about 30 rounds as a proof of concept, and I'll probably print off another 30 or so rounds to make it nice and long. I plan to have this hanging out of the Sentry guns ammo box and will drop a few empty shell cases on the ground underneath. Not even remotely accurate to the movie, but should look pretty awesome.

I'm very happy with this Pulse Rifle, it's an amazing piece of kit from Hasbro and NERF and makes a really beautiful piece when painted up. The functional Ammo counter is just fantastic and the magazine fitting 10 darts, and the counter counting down as you fire is really cool. I'd love to get a spare magazine if Nerf ever produces one, and if I can get my hands on one, I'll print up some rounds that can fit in the top of the magazine to make it look like it's full of real ammo.
ammo chain.jpg

Aliens Pulse 4.jpg


aliens pulse and chain.jpg
 
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Riceball

Master Member
Something to consider for the next time you do repaint like this is to paint all of the "metal" parts with a silver base coat and then lightly sand away at the parts that you want to look like the finish/paint has been rubbed away using 0000 steel wool. I've done this a few times and I've found that this does a very good job of simulating paint that's been rubbed off of metal over time.

Another little trick that I've found that works good for prop guns is painting any parts that are supposed to be blued is to, once again, paint a base coat of silver. Over the silver use the super cheap Home Depot semi-gloss black spray paint and then go over it with 0000 steel wool. This takes the sheen down quite nicely to a realistic looking finish. If you sand a bit more or doing when the paint isn't 100% dry, it creates a semi-glossy parkerized looking finish from either the steel wool dust embedding in the paint or from wearing the paint away just enough to where the silver begins to peak through.
 
Something to consider for the next time you do repaint like this is to paint all of the "metal" parts with a silver base coat and then lightly sand away at the parts that you want to look like the finish/paint has been rubbed away using 0000 steel wool. I've done this a few times and I've found that this does a very good job of simulating paint that's been rubbed off of metal over time.

Another little trick that I've found that works good for prop guns is painting any parts that are supposed to be blued is to, once again, paint a base coat of silver. Over the silver use the super cheap Home Depot semi-gloss black spray paint and then go over it with 0000 steel wool. This takes the sheen down quite nicely to a realistic looking finish. If you sand a bit more or doing when the paint isn't 100% dry, it creates a semi-glossy parkerized looking finish from either the steel wool dust embedding in the paint or from wearing the paint away just enough to where the silver begins to peak through.
Thanks mate, those are great ideas. I had considered the metal undercoat and sand away route but was worried I'd sand too far and strip away the silver basecoat. Steel wool is a great solution. The other thing I was thinking about was the salt/hairspray trick to get some wear and pitting.
I may end up re-doing this when my Motion Tracker arrives and will definitely try and incorporate some of these tips in V2.
I really like the idea for the Semi-gloss and wear it away to get a more realistic matt effect. I'll definitely try that on my next prop. These sorts of tips are exactly why I joined this community and shared my work.
Appreciate the advice.
 

wayouteast

Sr Member
That looks very nice indeed. The brown looks fine to me. It's always a difficult decision between prop-accurate' and 'screen look' - I'm planning on using Revell 46 Nato Olive Matt on mine when it arrives (hopefully next month), which I think should be a pretty good compromise between the accurate Brown Bess and the Olive Green screen appearance. Fingers crossed. Your weathering is just right for the look, I think, especially in pics 6 and 7. Another vote here for steel wool as a weathering 'tool' - both for exposing previous layers of paint for subtle wear and tear and for realistically dulling finishes. I use it on almost everything to some extent! It's particularly good for brushed metal effects if you use it in one direction, especially on cylindrical or round parts.

The ammo belt for the sentry gun looks great too. Very nice modelling! Look forward to seeing your repaint on the gun itself.
 

Riceball

Master Member
Thanks mate, those are great ideas. I had considered the metal undercoat and sand away route but was worried I'd sand too far and strip away the silver basecoat. Steel wool is a great solution. The other thing I was thinking about was the salt/hairspray trick to get some wear and pitting.
I may end up re-doing this when my Motion Tracker arrives and will definitely try and incorporate some of these tips in V2.
I really like the idea for the Semi-gloss and wear it away to get a more realistic matt effect. I'll definitely try that on my next prop. These sorts of tips are exactly why I joined this community and shared my work.
Appreciate the advice.
Glad to be of help. Ever since I discovered these two tricks I've tried to share it as much as I can. The nice thing about using the steel wool is that it takes off so little at a time it's very controllable. You'll just want to make sure that you have a solid base coast of silver is all and be sure that it's fully dried before applying the top coat and you'll be fine. It's also important that you use 0000 steel wool and not the steel wool that you'd use to clean your dishes with. It's a much finer grade of steel wool and can be found in the hardware store.
 

jheilman

Sr Member
I just ordered one of these and it still says pre-order, which looks like it won't be available until November. How'd you get one weeks ago? I plan to follow your plan on repainting and I'll finally add a pulse rifle to my collection.
 
I just ordered one of these and it still says pre-order, which looks like it won't be available until November. How'd you get one weeks ago? I plan to follow your plan on repainting and I'll finally add a pulse rifle to my collection.
I pre-ordered mine about a year ago. I live in Aus and HasbroPulse doesn’t ship here. So there’s a couple of gaming and collectables stores locally that end up selling the pre-order to locals. Mine was through Zing Pop Culture. For whatever reason, Nerf/Hasbro sent out a bunch of the pre-orders a bit early and Aust was one of the first places to get it. Surprising because we are normally one of the last.
It’s a great replica and a fairly easy repaint. Keen to see how you go with yours.
 

Onkelpsycho

Sr Member
Very nice. I will get mine next week, but I'm a little bit unsure about a repaint project. I don't want any negative effects on the electronics or the reload mechanics, so my plan was to take out everything before painting it and hope to get everything inside again and it's still working.

Also I often had problems with the prime coat in the past, sometimes toy companies use strange kind of plastics and it doesn't dry really good.

But I will decide what to do, as soon as the rifle arrives.

Anyway, again: great job, looks really awesome...
 
Very nice. I will get mine next week, but I'm a little bit unsure about a repaint project. I don't want any negative effects on the electronics or the reload mechanics, so my plan was to take out everything before painting it and hope to get everything inside again and it's still working.

Also I often had problems with the prime coat in the past, sometimes toy companies use strange kind of plastics and it doesn't dry really good.

But I will decide what to do, as soon as the rifle arrives.

Anyway, again: great job, looks really awesome...
I didn’t disassemble mine at all for the same reason. I taped off the ammo counter, I removed the magazine and stuffed paper inside the cavity to prevent paint getting inside and I was careful with the hatch on top, but otherwise it was nice and easy and seamless.
Still fires great, batteries are easily changed out, the magazine is fully painted but still slots in place and the ammo count still works. It’s a pretty robust design.
I sanded all the surfaces to help paint adhesion. The only parts that were stubborn about paint sticking were the shoulder stock and the breach door on the top. They seemed to be a slicker plastic than the rest and needed extra sanding and several light coats of primer to get the paint to stick.
Otherwise it was easy.
 

achilles

New Member
A Nerf Pulse Rifle has been laying around my home for a few weeks now. Unopened. It will be a X-mas present for my best buddy. At the time of ordering they were gone pretty quickly, but this week they turned up again in a few stores and I got one for myself. Some are still available (I ordered through an online store in Germany).

As with your repaint, Starganderfish, I want to use Tamiya spray cans. Can you give me a pointer as how many are needed? It has been a long time since my starship model building days and I did use mainly brushes. 100 ml does not sound like much to me.

Maybe I will even try the suggested silver metallic paint and steel wool approach. This would mean I have to buy the following paints and apply them in that order:
  • Fine Surface Primer L Light Grey 180 ml
  • TS-83 Metallic Silver
  • TS-13 Clear Gloss (is gloss advisable?)
  • TS-90 Brown
  • TS-6 Matt Black
  • A clear finishing coat after weathering?
The hobby store I am currently browsing also has Revell and Mr.Hobby spray paints. Pricewise there is no big difference. So if their silver paints have a better metallic effect I can get them, too.
 

j_holtslander

Well-Known Member
Maybe I will even try the suggested silver metallic paint and steel wool approach. This would mean I have to buy the following paints and apply them in that order:
  • Fine Surface Primer L Light Grey 180 ml
  • TS-83 Metallic Silver
  • TS-13 Clear Gloss (is gloss advisable?)
  • TS-90 Brown
  • TS-6 Matt Black
  • A clear finishing coat after weathering?
I think AS-6 and TS-42 would be better for the main colors. Just my opinion. I might be wrong.
 
A Nerf Pulse Rifle has been laying around my home for a few weeks now. Unopened. It will be a X-mas present for my best buddy. At the time of ordering they were gone pretty quickly, but this week they turned up again in a few stores and I got one for myself. Some are still available (I ordered through an online store in Germany).

As with your repaint, Starganderfish, I want to use Tamiya spray cans. Can you give me a pointer as how many are needed? It has been a long time since my starship model building days and I did use mainly brushes. 100 ml does not sound like much to me.

Maybe I will even try the suggested silver metallic paint and steel wool approach. This would mean I have to buy the following paints and apply them in that order:
  • Fine Surface Primer L Light Grey 180 ml
  • TS-83 Metallic Silver
  • TS-13 Clear Gloss (is gloss advisable?)
  • TS-90 Brown
  • TS-6 Matt Black
  • A clear finishing coat after weathering?
The hobby store I am currently browsing also has Revell and Mr.Hobby spray paints. Pricewise there is no big difference. So if their silver paints have a better metallic effect I can get them, too.
I bought two cans each of the brown and black.
Depending how many coats you do and how heavy, you can easily get away with a single can of black because it's applied to less area.
I think I went through a whole can of the brown.
I also decanted some of each into jars so I could use them in my airbrush for more precise touch-ups and detailing.
I used an Automotive Spray Primer which comes in much larger 400g cans so that wasn't an issue.
I final clear coated with Tamiya's TS-80 their flat clear coat, I didn't want a glossy shiny coat because it's military hardware. Went through most of a single can for that.
I used Aclad for my metallic coats because they are unbeatable for metallic effect, but they're a little fragile so the paint over and sand back trick. might not work well. I'd probably go with Tamiya TS for that.

The one reason I used Tamiya TS paints over other brands is that they are synthetic lacquer rather than regular acrylic. Revel and Mr Hobby are both Acrylic (I think Mr Color is their Lacquer line of paints). Lacquer paints dry super quick and cure really strong and tough, with superior adhesion. I've had no paint scratching or scraping, even on the magazine that is forcibly inserted and removed.
For large pieces that are going to be handled a bit, I always prefer lacquers. You can mix and match acrylic and lacquer but you have to be really careful because the lacquer will strip the acrylic paint away. You either do lacquer first, then acrylic on top, or you do acrylic, let it fully dry, and do thin dust coats of lacquer and let them cure before going with heavier coats. The key is not to disturb the acrylic surface.
But if you can get everything you need in the Tamiya Lacquer line, that's probably best.
I think AS-6 and TS-42 would be better for the main colors. Just my opinion. I might be wrong.
AS-6 is their Aircraft colour line, specifically to provide a range of military aircraft colours.
AFAIK, it's also synthetic lacquer so should be interchangeable with TS paints. I don't see it very often at hobby store around me though, while TS is easy to get.
AS-6 is Olive Drab, while TS-90 is basically a Brown Bess equivalent. TS-5 is the Olive Drab in the regular TS line, I think they're pretty close to identical.
It all comes down to personal preference of whether you want the gun green or brown. On the screen, the colours vary a lot because of lighting and post-production so there's no "right answer". I always remember them being a brownish color, although recent re-watches definitely look more olive green. But brown ticks the nostalgia/memory button better for me, so it's what I went with.
Additionally a gun painted in military green looks a little too "real military" for me, and I prefer something that's a little more obviously "sci-fi movie prop" just for display purposes.
 

achilles

New Member
I bought two cans each of the brown and black.
Depending how many coats you do and how heavy, you can easily get away with a single can of black because it's applied to less area.
I think I went through a whole can of the brown.
I also decanted some of each into jars so I could use them in my airbrush for more precise touch-ups and detailing.
I used an Automotive Spray Primer which comes in much larger 400g cans so that wasn't an issue.
I final clear coated with Tamiya's TS-80 their flat clear coat, I didn't want a glossy shiny coat because it's military hardware. Went through most of a single can for that.
I used Aclad for my metallic coats because they are unbeatable for metallic effect, but they're a little fragile so the paint over and sand back trick. might not work well. I'd probably go with Tamiya TS for that.

The one reason I used Tamiya TS paints over other brands is that they are synthetic lacquer rather than regular acrylic. Revel and Mr Hobby are both Acrylic (I think Mr Color is their Lacquer line of paints). Lacquer paints dry super quick and cure really strong and tough, with superior adhesion. I've had no paint scratching or scraping, even on the magazine that is forcibly inserted and removed.
For large pieces that are going to be handled a bit, I always prefer lacquers. You can mix and match acrylic and lacquer but you have to be really careful because the lacquer will strip the acrylic paint away. You either do lacquer first, then acrylic on top, or you do acrylic, let it fully dry, and do thin dust coats of lacquer and let them cure before going with heavier coats. The key is not to disturb the acrylic surface.
But if you can get everything you need in the Tamiya Lacquer line, that's probably best.

Hey, thanks for the detailed answer. Very helpful.

Thought so about the flat clear finishing coat. The other clear coat after the metallic silver one is an idea that I read about in another Nerf repaint thread. It is a safety, so you have an additional layer when scratching away the black paint and not accidentally remove the silver. Since you confirmed that all TS Tamiya paints are compatible and durable, it is an option I might choose.
 

achilles

New Member
I think AS-6 and TS-42 would be better for the main colors. Just my opinion. I might be wrong.

The Olive Drab for the shroud is not wrong and could be the color I am going to use in the end. When my friend opens his present in a month he will be very happy but he will also most certainly make a comment about how it would have been so much cooler if Nerf went with the correct colors. That is the moment when I will offer him to repaint his rifle along with mine. If he likes the OD green more, I will use it.

The project could be delayed, though, because I need a place to actually do the paint job. There is no dedicated workplace for this in my apartment. The garage would be the logical place ventilation-wise. But it is too cold, damp and windy at the moment. I could convert the bathtub into a spray booth and rip open the windows, ha ha. I will find a solution…
 

zgr1313

New Member
Question: I just bought the Pulse Rifle but completely lack the painting skills all of you have. Does anyone know of a "toy painter" in the Los Angeles area who can custom paint mine for me? I'll obviously pay. Help!
 

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