Borderlands 2: Maliwan Lucid Venom SMG


Jr Member
Alright. Ok. Ready now. OK. Alright. Riiight. OK. Sure. OK. Good. Mmhmmm. Yep. Good. Yep.

Inspired by all of the amazing threads about Borderlands props here, particularly, BRDencklau's Sub-Malevolent Grace, Jonny's Maliwan Hellfire and DrJag's Maliwan Hellfire. All of them are doing/have done seriously cool work and if you haven't seen them yet, have a look. Also inspired by playing the game just for its art style and the depth to which gearbox went into making it a visual smorgasbord, I eventually got my stuff together and got started. If you want to be keeping an eye on the progress outside of here, I'll be posting ore photos on my Photobucket.

I've been working on this prop on-and-off for a little while now, first, ripping the borderlands 3D models, then designing the blueprints and then moving on to building the thing. I'll post progress in smaller installments just to give myself time to work in-between and to string it out a bit more for fun (or just get distracted doing something else and forget. There! I said it).

I'm planning on building a Maliwan Lucid Venom SMG, using methods learned from watching Volpin Props work very carefully and taking notes at each stage. The first stage was to figure out exactly what I was making. So, ONWARDS!!!!

I started off by gathering some references (most of them the usual suspects that lots of other people here have used), pulling details out and omitting some. Interestingly, there were a few little differences between the published concept art and the game models, and so I chose a compromise that I liked.


And made some of my own from the in-game viewer, I'm so glad this exists!!! This really helped with the fine details and specific ways that things fit together.


In my research I found a set of quite accurate blueprints HERE, but convinced that I wanted them to be more detailed, accurate, and decidedly more free, I went and ripped the game SMG model using the steam files from the game, umodel and the ACTORX import into Maya...

Untitled-3.jpgUntitled-1.jpg order to draw up this little fella. I noodled at this for weeks in-between uni and you can see on the middle one there, a strange hole, that is my mag hole in the body. I carefully scrutinized the game models and tried a few different ideas until that came to be the final. That surface will be tilted and the profile you can see there is the intersection of the mag and the body itself. I'll see if it works in real life. :p

Process 1.jpgSMG Small.jpgMaliwan SMG Blueprint Fitted.jpg

In the end, my Illustrator file was massive, with loads of orthographic screenshots from Maya imported in and then draw over. Several of them I assembled from 10 different screencaps in order to get the necessary amount of detail. Thanks Gearbox for making it relatively easy to access the models :)


Right now I'm off to go and unclamp the body of the SMG and I'll update again later when I have time.
See you soon!
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Hello again, this time I’ve actually got prop progress to show!

I made a pretty elaborate test piece to start with, just to make sure all of my sizing was right. First I made a few cardboard profiles just to test it roughly, then when I was pretty satisfied I hacked this baby out of a block of Extruded Polystyrene I had. In the end, I made it just a little bit smaller than this, but it really helped to figure out dimensions when I could hold it. Much less costly than doing the darn thing twice as well!


I had my blueprint printed out on an A0 page and got a few copies, so I can cut them up and abuse it as I like. They’re all carefully scaled and very detailed. And look pretty awesome when rolled out, even if I say so myself.


The real construction began with two big flat slabs of 6mm MDF glued with PVA and clamped together to make this really basic shape. I cut it roughly at first on my bandsaw (I bought it from ALDI for $100 – and it works very well) just to make it easier to handle once I got down to business. Lots of little lining up marks and outlines went into making sure I had two thicknesses of MDF under the blueprint at all points. I glued the Blueprint down with a glue stick, as unglamorous as that is, it works really well.


The next step was tag team cutting between the Bandsaw and the scroll saw to cut the beast out. I drilled small holes at the really sharp corners such as where the grip intersects with the body. You can see a whole bunch of my own drawing in blue on the blueprint, those are my joints between the pieces. I cut out a few little tongues into the separate bits so that when it is all made, I can insert magnets in there and have the gun hold itself together, but come apart into three pieces. I did this for ease of moulding when I’m done (I want to put LEDs, trigger rig and a motor for the magazine, all powered by Arduino – and it needs to be hollow!)

Anyway, the blue lines there are my little inserts so that the bits fit together. You can also see by the front grip there will be a cutout and tongue from the grip there, that’s just to provide strength, and if we’re being picky, the concept art had a connection between the two pieces anyway.


So now I have a solid MDF spine that will run down the middle of the gun, which I will use to attach everything to. At the front you can see it doesn’t extend all the way to the actual end of the gun, I’ll be building that out later in MDF.

So that’s my progress to date. I plan to cut small profiles and slot them in all the way along the body to create the rough shape, then fill in the gaps with foam and then body filler once they’re sealed. That will be a challenge though, to find some way to not make it all melt. If anyone has some tips, please chip in.

Be back soon!


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  • Maliwan SMG Blueprint Fitted.jpg
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Okay! Sorry for the wait, but I had a lot of other fun things to be doing. Working hard, Christmasing, getting started on a Zer0 outfit and most importantly, buying and calibrating a 3d printer have taken up a lot of time.
I thought I’d give a quick overview of what I’m using and where I’m doing it. I’ve printed out a huge version of my blueprint that I have on my wall as well as a few other copies that I’ve butchered and used as templates and things.


My bandsaw, Dremel and Scroll saw do all of the heavy lifting on my props, depending on what materials I’m using.


Super small, but with good ventilation and enough space to do what I need.


My first step was to test out the resilience of the foam I was using to shape the body I painted it with acrylic paint (because I read somewhere on here that that is enough to seal it from body filler). Apparently, that is not so and I was very, very happy that I tested it out after the foam melted impressively.


While I waited for the paint to dry to test it, I finished shaping the body of the SMG with knives first, then sandpaper, eventually ending up with the less blocky and much more recognisable form of a Maliwan SMG. The left side was a lot easier for some reason and ended up a lot smoother. The curved handle was cut down significantly, to give it a slightly elliptical cross section. The stock end has a few carefully separated planes and the main body has a series of smooth, curving shapes.


After that was done I went down to my local casting supplies store to buy some urethane casting resin to coat the foam in order to stop it melting into a puddle of my tears. This stuff was about $40 for a kilo and well worth it. Easy to use and it had a good working time before it hardened or turned into the weird honey-coloured-jelly consistency that it does as it cures. From memory it took about 15-20 mins to cure. After I was done I popped the cured plastic out of the cups, pretty fun J


I painted it on the pieces separately and flipped them over to paint the other side when the first one had hardened. I ended up with a lot of drips, but I was more worried about a thick sealing coat, and I learned a whole lot, so it was worth it. I did learn that it works rather well to pour your cup of freshly mixed resin onto the piece and spread it with the brush so you get a nice, smooth, thick coat of plastic over the piece.


I cleaned up the messy drips with a Stanley knife while it was still a bit tacky to minimize the sanding afterwards.


Also, this was watching me from the other end of my workshop, which has been a major pain in th’ butt for a long time. Pepakura is awesome, but sometimes it just makes life so hard!!!! That will be for another day though, so enough of that. I mixed the brands of paint while I was undercoating and managed to ruin about 8 layers of paint by melting the ones on top and underneath!! Always test your paints!


Next update coming soon when my internet is up for it!
Thanks for reading.
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Nice work!

Thanks! It's fun watching it come to life :)

Progress! :D

So! The next stage was to give the whole thing a lick of paint to see all of the bad bits that I need to fill in. Also, it’s a bit of a phsychological thing that makes me feel like I’m accomplishing more :p because painting is what you do at the end.
Next (slightly out of order), I realized that the groove down the top was far too thin! Which was sad because it meant that first I needed to hack up my nice surfaces and then redo some of the resin sealing since it exposed raw foam. Regardless, it needed to be done to make it accurate, so I used my Dremel to cut through the hard resin coat and the MDF spines, then the power saw to roughly hack out the groove, which I will fill with Apoxie Sculpt later to smooth the surface down.
Then (in a strange moment of time travel, just ignore the out of sync pictures :p) I covered the pieces in car body filler, filling gaps and smoothing put surfaces. After a thin layer and a thicker one I got the desired surfaces, then began sanding!
Many passes later it was smoother and ready for more refinement in Apoxie Sculpt. My Apoxie skills were Zer0 (hehehe) at the start of this, and now they’re less bad. I used it to build up several surfaces and to take the top curve back to its proper shape since a whole bunch had been cut down with the power saw business. The bottom surface was widened out and the little triangles that taper into the stock areas from the body were sculpted roughly too. Also the grip was refined to be more game accurate.
Aaaaand I took apart this little beauty. It was the motor for a bread mixer that died, so I opened it and found this! Of course instead of using it for something practical, I thought “This would look awesome in the electronics of my Maliwan!!!”
In the ensuing time, I’ve been CAD modelling a replacement for the housing for all of that copper because it’s way too heavy to practically go in the gun. My plan is to use my 3D printer (see below) to print the pieces. On the image below you can see a series of spheres, which hopefully will work as a set of bearings to help an internal piece spin with a stepper motor and thus drive the spinning mag at a series of different speeds :D I’m so excited!!!!!! Unfortunately it’s taken three weeks to even start calibrating the darn thing, since one of my stepper drivers fried itself and I had to figure that out and then deal with it, so that was a lot of fun.

Until next time!
Thanks for your interest!
you guys with your fancy computers and CAD and mocking up electronics and stuff. damn fine work. i am envious of all your tools.
you guys with your fancy computers and CAD and mocking up electronics and stuff. damn fine work. i am envious of all your tools.

Hahaha, Thanks. Perks of learning CAD at University.

I've got the files exported into .stl now, so hopefully I can start test printing them next week! I've done more sanding and shaping (of course) so get ready for another update :)
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