Buck Rogers, Jack Deth & Other Laser Blasters of Yore (A build thread!)

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Figured it would be better to create a collective thread with a few similarly themed projects I've been tackling lately. These hearken back to simpler, more "fun" times, I guess.

A few years ago I started thinking about making a Jack Deth pistol from the first Trancers movie. I loved that film when I was a kid, b-move cheesiness and all. It had some really neat ideas- like LA being underwater, now called "Lost Angeles". Yes, cheesy as hell, but awesome back in the 80s. I tried to get a junkyard thread going, but there wasn't much action, and so many other projects got in the way that it took until this spring for me to actually get going on it!

1595894339436.png


And after I made some progress on that, a fellow RPFer asked if I could replicate a couple other old-school blasters- A "Model S" Energy Weapon (mail order in the late 70s), which also led to me making the the small Derringer-like laser pistol from the Buck Rogers episode "To Kill a City", which I'' also post some progress photos of later. (My thinking with doing a collective thread was that just focusing on the Deth pistol would be pretty shallow.)




Since most folks think looking at 3d renders is about as exciting as watching someone fill their gas tank, I'll spare y'all that and just show the finished render!

1595893504941.png



Word is, the original was a heavily modified version of one of Richard Coyle's old props. (There was supposed to be photos on his facebook page of the base model, but none of them match. So, I was working mainly from screens off the bluray.

1595893640946.png


No doubt the original was solid resin with silver paint or tape, and some machined clear acrylic. I wanted to go a little further, since this wasn't a direct-cast copy anyway. The plan was to make the metallic part at least real metal, which presented a problem because the black ribs would have to be VERY thin- possibly 0.5mm! It would be a challenge to print, as taking off the supports ran the risk of cracking them. The trigger was going to be an electric pushbutton- partly because all RC lasers seemed to have them and the "Buck Rogers" ray-gun vibe fit.

I found some stainless steel stock and did a first print. Here are the main body parts, directly off the printer with the supports carefully removed. It took a while, but I got them off with all the ribs intact. (There's a little bit of flex in the engineering resin I use.)

1595893960197.png


(I previously posted the above photo in the junkyard run thread, which is still going, should anyone want a kit.)


Now, as you can see, there are some "dimples" on the parts from the supports. They are normally super-easy to sand off with 400 grit, BUT there are some on the INSIDE of the ribs too. Those are not easy to reach, so I had to get a little creative.

I printed out a cylinder that I could wrap in sandpaper and set in my drill, turning it slowly so that I got an even surface. (Note: I do this automatically if someone gets one of these, since it's a bit tricky.)

1595895226981.png


Aaaand here's the result:
1595895263532.png


It's late here now, so I gotta go. More on this soon, as I get to test assembly and painting!
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Krel

Sr Member
The "Trancers" pistol could be a modified Coyle pistol. The muzzle looks like the one he made for his pistols. I have to say, you have a clearer view of the "Trancers" pistol than he does.

Looking forward to seeing your progress.

David.
 

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The "Trancers" pistol could be a modified Coyle pistol. The muzzle looks like the one he made for his pistols. I have to say, you have a clearer view of the "Trancers" pistol than he does.

Looking forward to seeing your progress.

David.
I recall he mentioned making a base model, but that it was heavily modified by someone else on the production. He indicated a model present in a photo on the facebook page, but I didn't see a close resemblance. Easy enough to forget an exact model out of many in 30+ years if that's the case. (Since Coyle is a banned member, we're not really supposed to be discussing him in-depth, and I won't copy his photos here without permission, but the historical significance is still worth noting.) He used electric pushbuttons as triggers on many models, just like they did on Buck Rogers and on other "ray guns" of the 60s and 70s, so because we never see the trigger on the pistol in Trancers, I opted for a pushbutton.


And now for some Buck Rogers love!

This is the blaster I was asked to replicate.

1595935855367.png


Some research showed the original was made of Kydex, most likely heat-formed in to half-shells around a wooden buck. Normally, my instinct might be to go that route but the last time I formed Kydex (Judge Dredd 2012 holster and magazine holders) it wasn't a really pleasant experience, and I figured I could get very close (and end up with a more "practical" model) by printing.

Here's where it ended up:
1595937522971.png


Texture is a little small, so further tweaking was needed. And for printing, I had to raise the resolution so high that, by the time I was doing final edits, every single mouse click on the PC would take up to a minute to even register! (And things like cutting out the muzzle and trigger holes took hours to calculate, since I didn't want Kydex texture there.)

In the end, here's where it ended up:
1595937724776.png


1595937740314.png


1595937763061.png


A made a small battery plate that can be tapped for a screw, and had to do a little bit of guesswork on the inner grip but after looking at enough screens, turning and tweaking exposure levels to see things more clearly, I think it's OK.

More soon. Including this:
1595938033393.png
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Today, I put together a couple strobing led setups! First time ever working with 555 timer circuits... glad I had a good wiring diagram to follow, haha.

 

Bad Wolf

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
the Isher site is still there but i think it's a ghost.
i've tried to contact them numerous times over the years and never heard back.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Krel

Sr Member
the Isher site is still there but i think it's a ghost.
i've tried to contact them numerous times over the years and never heard back.
I think when the conventions started getting fascist about weapons and the carry/displaying of them, that cut down on their sales.

At the 1986 Word Con, there were a couple of men that had a different costume everyday. They had a fabricating business, and the costumes showed off their work. One day they were wearing "Ghostbusters" costumes, minus the proton packs. I asked about the packs, and they told me that they convention would not let them wear them, as they were weapons and might cause "public distress". :lol:

David.
 

Krel

Sr Member
Universal's prop department had a strange way of making their raygun props. The BSG Colonial pistol was cast, but the rest of their guns, the Colonial rifle, the Cylon rifle, the two main Buck Rogers pistols were all vacuum formed shells literally held together with electrical tape! You can really see that in a first season episode of B.R.s where they took the large gold pistol apart and you could see it's guts.

An interesting thing they did to the clear emitters, was to drill holes in them so the light from the flash tube would transmit better.

David.
 

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Universal's prop department had a strange way of making their raygun props. The BSG Colonial pistol was cast, but the rest of their guns, the Colonial rifle, the Cylon rifle, the two main Buck Rogers pistols were all vacuum formed shells literally held together with electrical tape! You can really see that in a first season episode of B.R.s where they took the large gold pistol apart and you could see it's guts.

An interesting thing they did to the clear emitters, was to drill holes in them so the light from the flash tube would transmit better.

David.

I have to go back and revisit that episode. Whenever I do clear emitters, I usually model (or drill) a hold for the LED and it usually stays diffused. I usually make sure the back of the emitter is matte or slightly opaque to catch more light. (In the instance of the 25th century Derringer, I'll have the entire emitter sprayed matte instead of glossy clear.)

Been working on the various blasters over the last few days... will have and update and pics soon!
 

Krel

Sr Member
Looking at the photos I have of the props, they drilled 4 holes into the emitters. Thinking on it, the BSG Colonial pistol used an aircraft strobe, which was powered by a jack in the heel of the grip from a cord run through their sleeve. They used either a batter pack on the belt, or a larger source if it was a close shot. By making the Buck Rogers pistols in two pieces, they could put capacitors in the prop, without needing an external power cord. Although one of the photos I have of the large gold pistol also shows a jack in the grip heel. The photo from the show, showing the large gold pistol taken apart, shows five large capacitors. So, one flash per capacitor?

With the super bright xenon flashlight bulbs and LEDs they have now, they probably wouldn't need the strobes.

David.
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Updates!

Deth Pistol
All parts, cleaned and ready for paint.
1596983387701.png


Test assembly.
1596983458379.png


First layer of paint over a black undercoat.
1596983516904.png


1596983540387.png


1596983575561.png


Emitter coated with a clear coat to remove the "frosted" look of the raw print. (I could also have polished it instead, but a clear coat is faster.)
1596983625267.png


Trigger seat inside the grip.
1596983679389.png


1596983699786.png


Another test assembly.
1596983725941.png
 

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Buck Rogers Derringer

Testing the decals and power slider.
1596984007857.png


Model S

First set of printed parts.

1596984102581.png


I had to search for a few hours, but I finally got hold of some holographic film that will work!
1596984153798.png



Gloss coat over the emitter barrel.
1596984402273.png


Black high gloss takes a bit of polishing.... (also, inserting electronics into the Model S and the BR derringer)
1596984461240.png


Battery insert, with a tapped hold to hold the cover in place. (From what I've been told, the originals just had the battery kinda "stuffed" into the grip.)
1596984824501.png
 

JOATRASH FX

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Deth Pistol

The brown layer was sprayed with satin clear from a rattle can. Then satin black Tamiya acrylic was sprayed with an airbrush. Some of the black was weathered off using isopropyl alcohol mixed with water and rough tissue paper. Cotton swabs were used on the grip ribs.
1596985123458.png


Now, here's an interesting bit.

The ribs over the steel barrel were VERY delicate before assembly. I needed to glue them down onto the steel (filling the small gap between the metal and the resin), which would make them much stronger. But how to do it without getting a mess of glue everywhere?

Like so...
The metal barrel was held in place, with Tamiya masking tape put right behind each one. This will mark where the rib begins AND serve to keep epoxy glue off the metal where I didn't want it.
1596985343129.png


Next, I slid back the barrel a few mm, just under the width of the ribs, to expose the metal that will later be under them.
1596985394048.png


Using a toothpick, I spread a small line of SLOW SET clear 2-part epoxy glue on the barrel, in the space between the tape and the rib. Once each rib had glue, the barrel was pushed forward so that the glue went under the ribs and filled in the gap. Excess glue was pushed back onto the tape, which I carefully pulled off which the glue was setting, leaving the metal clean. In a couple spots, there was still a little visible glue, and that was taken off with a modeling swab (i.e. a Tamiya pointy q-tip).
 

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Don't want to see this ad? Sign up for anRPF Premium Membershiptoday. Support the community. Stop the ads.

Top