Avengers: Agent Coulson's Destroyer Gun build

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IronManiac

Sr Member
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I've been working on this one for a while, but the build has only been going on for about a week. First I started with all the reference pics i could find. There are some decent photos of the actual gun prop from the film.

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Also, Hot Toys created an Agent Coulson 1:6 scale model that included the Destroyer gun, so pics of that have been invaluable for detail and scaling.

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After I had gathered photo references, i set about drawing a good profile in Adobe Illustrator. From there, i took the vector file and brought it into Autodesk to attempt a model of the gun in 3D. Eventually, i'll turn the 3D model into a real build or a 3D printer build, but for now, i used the 3d file to create 'blueprints' for myself to build it out of EVA foam.

Like this:

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I was able to get front, side, top and bottom views that i could print out at full scale and use as my foam cutting templates.
 

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IronManiac

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On to the build. I haven't been taking as many pictures as I should have during the build, but it's been pretty straightforward. Bill Doran from Punished Props has some great tutorial videos on Youtube that show you how to build foam weapons. I took many of his techniques and applied them to this build.

I chose foam because it's easy to work with, very cheap, and because my wife will be carrying the gun around DragonCon, it needed to be very light, in spite of it's bulk.

I started with my template all printed out. It's....BIG.

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How big? Right about 40 inches long. To the foam cutting studio!

I started with the sides. The middle of the gun doesnt have alot of details, so i figured i could build the profiles, adding details, and then eventually connect the two halves, like building a box. The destroyer is hollow inside to save on weight and bulk.

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It may look complex, but it's actually a pretty straightforward process. I cut the details out of paper templates and transfered those shapes onto foam. Using 4 different thicknesses of foam (10mm floormat, 6mm, 3mm and 2mm craft foam), I used my photo reference as a guide for choosing which thickness of foam to cut each shape from. I started with big large shapes cut from 10mm foam, then stacked the details on top. I would apply contact cement to both surfaces, allow the cement to dry, then carefully position the piece before pressing it into it's final spot. Once it's down, it's down for good. It's actually alot cleaner than hot glue, and provides a much stronger bond.
 

IronManiac

Sr Member
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Here's an edge detail, you can see the 10mm, stacked with 5mm, and 3mm. This was actually alot of fun, seeing it come together.

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Once the sides were built, I moved to the pieces that would connect the two side and build the shape. This is much more labor intensive, as it requires lots of measuring, gluing edges, and cutting angles to get sharp corners. You can see the lines aren't perfect everywhere, but foam is very forgiving, and i'll either go back with a dremel and sand those rough edges smooth, or paint over them and add weathering later to give the gun some battle damage.

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The cylinder in the front there is actually a pvc pipe. I cut it laterally in two halves. I glued foam strips to give it detail, then cemented the whole thing into the hole i cut for it in the foam.
 

IronManiac

Sr Member
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More building. The barrel is tricky. In the film, the barrel has 'fins' that open and appear to let heat and light out. I wanted to replicate that look, without a bunch of outer struts holding the barrel together. I started with the idea of long strips of foam, wrapped at a curved angle to get this look, and attaching them to arms that run the length of the barrel. The results were not ideal.

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Here you can see my paper template, a 3d printed prototype we produced to see how it would look, and my first barrel attempt. It's not great. the rings are uneven, and the whole thing is pretty flimsy. It really wasn't going to work. So i went back to the drawing board.

Since the inside of the barrel will contain lights, the barrel needed structure, but also needed to be nearly invisible. I bought some transparent plastic sheets that would become the basis of my barrel. First i sprayed the transparency with some frosted glass spray paint to help diffuse the LEDs that will be inside. Then i discovered a pringles can is the perfect shape for my barrel, so i used it as my template. I wrapped the transparency around, and glued it to itself, so i could slide it off the can.

Next, i had to figure out the fins. My first version was a sound idea, but executed wrong, after experimenting with some paper templates, i came up with a solution. A half circle, wtih a curve, when glued to the transparent barrel, would give me that flared out appearance. So i sprayed these, and applied glue to the front edge of each piece.

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Once they were ready, i applied glue to the barrel, evenly spaced, then i carefully applied the barrel fins to the cylinder.

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IronManiac

Sr Member
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So after alot more measuring, gluing, and combining parts, here's where it sits right now. The scope is actually from a toy gun i got at walmart, it's the right size and shape. I still need to create the optical scope, as well as the butt stock, but i'm nearing the end of the build. Next after that will be a little finish sanding with the dremel, paint, and weathering, and lights. Stay tuned.

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The crazy part...this monster only weighs 1.5lbs. it's big but incredibly light.
 

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IronManiac

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Thanks!

Update...build is complete.

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The painting begins! I'm starting with many lights coats of Krylon Fusion Flat Black paint. Once that dries, i'm going to decide if i want to add a coat of metallic or not.

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IronManiac

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Painting part 2. After I painted everything with flat black, I felt like it looked a little too monochromatic. I decided a mix of flat and gloss paint would help to break things up, so i selected a few pieces to paint and did some masking. I wrapped the grips and butt stock with plastic bags, much faster than taping it all by hand.

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Once masked, I resprayed with Rustoleum Gloss Black paint. When painting, remember LIGHT COATS. Keep your spray can moving while spraying, don't keep it pointed at one spot or you'll get a wet spot that could run or drip. Wet spots will take much longer to dry, too. Lighter coats will dry much faster, often in as little as 10 minutes if it's hot outside, then you can recoat. I like to start spraying with my can pointed slightly away from the gun, sweep the spray across the gun, then release the button when i'm no longer pointing directly at the gun. This technique will give you a smooth even coat without drips or runs.

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After applying a few coats of gloss black, i let it cure for a few hours then peeled the tape away. It left a subtle contrast that brought some of the features out and gave me more depth. Now to weathering.
 

brutuswayne

Active Member
Man I'm really glad you included pics of taping off, to me a good taping job on a complex piece is just as satisfying to look at as the finished painting haha
 

IronManiac

Sr Member
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Paint completion:

Next i applied some satin clear coat. I waited a day or two before spraying clear. Low humidity is important, beacause high humidity can cause the clear to haze over and turn milky white. No pics here, i just hung it from above and did a few light coats of satin clear. In a perfect world, you should lightly sand between coats of clear, to get a super smooth finish. I was too impatient, so i just put a few coats on and let it cure. Later I'll lightly wetsand it with some 800 grit sandpaper to take the slightly rough texture off.

The last step was weathering. I purchased a bunch of different metallic Testor model paints from Michaels. I wanted to make sure i had a silver I liked for weathering. When weathering, it's good to think about how the gun would get weathered over time. If it got dropped on the ground, and dragged through gravel, where would paint get chipped off? I also wanted to really bring out the details i spent so much time carving out of foam.

Using a small brush, i would dab it in paint, wipe most of the paint off the brush, and then lightly graze the edges of the gun. Not every single edge, you don't want to outline every surface, but just touch the brush lightly at random intervals. I found if you had an edge corner, a little extra paint really sells the look. I avoided just brushing straight onto flat surfaces, as that looks too much like a brush stroke.

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The gun's design is sort of built around what looks like stone. Maybe it's chunks of the Destroyer from Asgard. ;) For these sections, i took a chip brush, which has very uneven bristles, and dabbed on silver and metallic black paints. I built it up, dabbing silver, then black, letting it dry. I tried not to dab too much in one place, because that brushed away the mottling. I did a little bit of masking during this step, but mostly i was just cautious not to get silver on the surrounding pieces. It makes for a really nice contrast against the smooth surfaces of the gun and helps break up all the black.
 
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IronManiac

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Man I'm really glad you included pics of taping off, to me a good taping job on a complex piece is just as satisfying to look at as the finished painting haha
Ha, yes! I spent about 2 hours doing that masking job. I just stared at it for about 20 minutes when I finished.. Tedious work, but it always looks cool afterwards.
 
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IronManiac

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Update. I need some help from you geniuses. Does anyone have any expertise in programming? Check out the vid:

[video]https://youtu.be/zzd8dHhzN4c[/video]

I am using two Neopixel rings, a 24ct and 12ct, and an Adafruit FLORA. I've got the code available for anyone who wants to take a look at it.

I'm looking for help with an effect for when the LEDs are turned on and off. In my mind, I picture that when they are powered on via a momentary switch (this one: https://www.adafruit.com/products/1441), all the neopixels will glow yellow for about 2 seconds, then fade down and settle into the flame sequence you see in the video.

When they are powered off, I'd like to see them fade down slowly, rather than just OFF like a light switch.

I am a total noob when it comes to coding, I had a friend help me get this code organized so I could noodle around with the colors and timing to get the effect i want. Can anyone help me with the code to do effects like i've described above? And help me plug it into my existing program?

Any help would be appreciated!!
 

shellshockpt

New Member
This is simply mesmerizing, i have read this thread several times already, such a great job!
Mind if i ask how long it took to fully build? do you have any idea of the number of hours/days?
 

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