I finished my Blade Runner Deckard blaster!

CHSIII

New Member
First off, I want to say thank you to everyone on here that has posted images of their builds, tips and tricks along the way. It was super helpful!

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I’ve been a Blade Runner fan since I first saw the film on VHS. Deckard’s pistol was one of those things that caught my attention. Seeing various versions of blaster kits over the years gave me that “I want one of those some day” feelings.

Mine is an Anders enhanced 3D resin printed kit I got from Tip Top Workshop on Etsy. I love the kit! I got the full resin one with electronics but no replacement metal parts.

The weight for the gun comes from the threaded rod I put into the barrel and .44 special snap caps I got on eBay.

I used Vallejo acrylic airbrush paint (Burnt Iron, White Aluminum and Glossy Black) with graphite powered buffed for some added specular metal shine.

Here are some tips and tricks I learned along the way while working on my blaster.

Test fit parts without screwing everything down.
  • See if parts are not fitting/moving well. Resin can bend when cooling or in shipping but there is an easy fix for this.
  • Heat up a pot of water on the stove and have a bowl of cool water to the side. Put the part into hot water for a few seconds (15 to 20 depending on the size/thickness). Flex the part some and dunk in the cool water to set. It’s better to repeat the process a little bit at a time than to force it all at once.
  • Doing this to the bolt handle rear post made the biggest difference for my build. It helped the movement of the bolt inside the receiver and on top of the pistol frame (one possible cause some have their bolt handle snap).
Pick your blaster style.
J.B. Weld is your friend.
  • Parts can break.
  • Two part J.B. Weld with metal in the mix works great. It can be sanded or tapped as needed. Just give it 24 hours to set for most smaller fixes.
  • My frame grip cracked when I tried to flex it without using the hot water method.
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  • The bolt handle post cracked when I was tapping it for threads.
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Bolt assembly pins.
  • The vinyl piece that came with the kit was too thick to fit into the holes. I trimmed it down but didn’t want it to possibly flex if the bolt movement was not 100% smooth.
  • I found small nails (with ridges on the shaft) for hanging pictures fit perfectly into the holes.
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Weaver knob or slotted screw?
  • There was a large slotted screw on the right side of the original prop.
  • At World Con, this slotted screw had been replaced with a knob from a Weaver scope.
  • The Weaver knob is used on many blaster builds as it matches the current state of the blaster, and it’s pretty cool looking.
  • For my build, I wanted the slotted screw look.
  • I modified a plastic pin from my son’s old IKEA bed to make one and left it unglued in case I wanted to switch it out for the Weaver knob later.
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Scope mount screws.
  • The original Steyr rifle had holes for mounting a scope on the top. 3 of these on the blaster had the original Steyr fill screws in place (the 4th hole is used for the front sight button head screw).
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  • Hex head grub screws came with the kit and the original screws were not easy to find.
  • I got out an eye loop, the Xacto knife, and went to town on some black vinyl screws.
  • I glued them in place with J.B. Weld so the paint would match with the receiver.
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  • I did the same for the screws on the left side of the clip housing but painted them before glueing into place during final assembly.
  • If I could make one change to the receiver model, it would be to mold those three screw heads into the part (just leaving the front sight screw to hold the end cap in place).
The front sight.
  • The kit came with a button head screw for the front sight. However, the hole on the receiver is counter sunk and allows the button head screw to sit “into” the space.
  • I used a larger screw to match closer to the original prop’s front sight that sits more on top of the receiver.
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The triggers.
  • The triggers worked well but the back one was just a “bit” too far forward.
  • I drilled a hole in the top and added a piece of a vinyl screw to make it line up more with the front trigger.
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Cylinder release switch.
  • This was one of the more tricky parts on the build for a couple of reasons.
    1. It comes in two parts.
    2. Aligning it with the hole in the frame to release the cylinder takes a bit of work.
  • I had to sand down the part where release glues into the switch so it would line up with the hole in the frame.
  • I drilled a hole into each piece and put a 1mm pin (cut from a 1mm drill bit) to strengthen the parts.
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  • I discovered the release pin and cylinder pin lined up but met flat to the inside of the frame. The cylinder would sometimes release and other times it would hang.
  • I added some J.B. weld to the end of the release pin and rounded it off. This allowed the cylinder pin to slide off of it and release the cylinder much easier.
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  • I replaced the flat screw in the kit to match the original blaster a bit more. I also placed a thin vinyl washer between it and the switch to reduce any friction and wear and added a drop of oil (from hair clippers) during final assembly.
The cylinder swing arm.
  • This took a bit of work as well. The part is really thin on one side and I was concerned tapping the screw holes without opening up the holes first would lead to them cracking or having the screw threads exposed.
  • I used a drill bit by hand to open the holes towards the thicker part of the material.
  • I also decided to insert a metal ring into the main pivot spot of the cylinder swing arm to reduce wear and tear on the resin against the screw that runs through it.
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  • During one of my test assemblies, I realized the cylinder swing arm was loose but on the Charter Arms Bulldog it’s more of a tight fit.
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  • To adjust for this, I sanded down a couple of vinyl washers and inserted them on each side of the cylinder swing arm to tighten it up.
  • I replaced the kit’s front trigger guard hex head screw with a button head screw to match the original prop.
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  • I also cut down the spring that goes inside the cylinder swing arm to reduce the tension and make it easier to release the cylinder.
The hammer spring.
  • The spring in the kit was a longer version of the springs used for the triggers and cylinder swing arm. I wanted something a little more sturdy and closer to the actual hammer spring mechanism.
  • I found a larger spring and screw that worked as a good replacement for the hammer spring.
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To wire or not to wire? That is the question!
  • On the original prop delivered to the set, the wire for the green LEDs was hidden within the cylinder housing.
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  • During the filming, the wire ended up on the outside of the cylinder housing. This actually shows up during a close up shot in the film.
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  • This is the only time I’ve seen the wire in the film. Based on the clean design of the prop and lack of other shots with the wire showing, I believe this was a continuity error. It’s possible the prop was being worked on to get the green LEDs to light up for the shot, or handled by an arms/prop master that accidentally left the wire outside the cylinder housing.
  • The prop showed up in later years with the wire exposed which many people match in their builds..
  • I wanted the wire hidden and carved a space in the cylinder housing for it.
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  • Like the Weaver knob, it’s a matter of choice in how you’d like your blaster to look. Tomato, tomato. ;)
  • I also used a black wire shrink cover instead of just the white wire for the laser sight. I glued it into the space to keep it from popping out when moving the cylinder.
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  • Using solder on the wires that go into the holes of the clip housing helps them make good contact with the magnets. Non-soldered wires could flatten out and possibly slip out of the holes later.
  • One last note on the wire. I left extra wire between the pistol frame and Steyr clip housing to allow for the movement of the cylinder when opening and closing.
Speaking of the laser sight.
  • Green LEDs pull more power than the red ones and barely lit up when wired in with them.
  • I added a second battery just for the green LEDs.
  • The power switch in the clip housing has 6 pins and normally only 2 are used.
  • I used 2 pins for the red LEDs (top or left side of the switch) and 2 for the green LEDs (bottom or right side of the switch).
  • This allowed both sets of LEDs to light up when the switch is turned on.
The big red LED.
  • The original prop had the large LED flush with the base of the clip.
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  • In later years, the large LED protruded below the clip.
  • To match the original prop, I added a couple of vinyl washers to the inside of the clip.
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The barrel post.
  • The barrel post was just a bit loose so I added a couple of vinyl washers to the bottom and ground a slight groove into the top to align with the barrel curve.
  • I know this isn’t “accurate” to the original prop but I wanted to tweak this one part for a better fit.
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The screws.
  • The kit came with a good set of screws.
  • However, the button head screws had letters stamped into them.
  • I replaced them to better match the original screws that were smooth on the top.
  • I also painted some of the screws to match the gun metal ones on the original prop.
The bolt handle screw…what the?!?
  • The one from the original Steyr rifle is specialized with a rounded edge and step down look.
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  • I wanted to match the look of the original and ground down the hex head screw that came with the kit. I added a couple of small washers so it would stick out a bit as well.
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Receiver assembly.
  • The receiver in my kit came in two parts.
  • The part was cut with a curve into a curve on different axis.
  • To give this attachment area more grip, I drilled small holes into the curves were the pieces touch.
  • Gluing them into place was a bit of a job. I found holding it into place one direction led to it getting out of alignment on the other axis.
  • I found the best option was to glue it together in place on the pistol frame.
  • I wrapped the section of pistol frame (where the receiver parts touched it) in a single layer of plastic wrap. It worked like a charm with the receiver aligned correctly along both curves.
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  • I also used a round rotary tool bit to carve some safety/fire pips into the receiver like the original Steyr gun.
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Test assembly and part movement.
  • It’s a good idea later in the build to assemble parts loosely with the screws to see how smoothly they move (or not).
  • Do NOT force parts to move if they are not moving. If you can move them slightly, do so just enough to allow the parts to scrub against one another. The 3D printed resin is easily marked to show where contact is being made.
  • Find areas of contact and sand them smooth.
  • Lather, rinse, repeat with assembly and sanding until the parts move smoothly.
  • Be sure to remove enough material so the added layers of paint will not block the movement later.
  • While working on my blaster at this stage, I found the bolt was rubbing on the inside of the receiver and on the pistol frame.
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  • The bolt handle was also scraping along the receiver.
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  • I did a good bit of extra sanding to smooth the inside corners and areas where the parts make contact.
The grips.
  • Lay sand paper on a raised flat surface (like a board on a table) and put the inside of the grip on top of it.
  • Sand it until the edges are flat and match up to the grip frame.
  • Some areas may need more sanding than others. Just let those touch the paper while the rest of the grip hangs over the raised surface.
  • Be sure to check the grips often so you don’t remove too much material. This can result in the grips sitting flat on the grip frame but end up too narrow around the edges of the grip frame.
  • You may need to polish the inside of the grips to remove sanding marks. I used the 1200, 1500 and 2000 grit sandpaper to even out the scratches. I followed that up with a polishing wheel on my rotary tool to buff it them out.
Sand, sand and then sand some more!
  • I used 400 and then 600 grit sand paper on most of the parts during the build.
  • I made sandpaper sticks by laying down a piece of sandpaper, coating the back w/rubber cement and one side of the popsicle sticks. When the glue was good and tacky, I placed the sticks on the paper and let them dry. I cut them apart and tada, sanding sticks.
  • I upped the ante with the finer grit 1200, 1500 and 2000 paper that I glued to some thin EVA foam. This helped to get the paper into areas without sharp edges of the paper making marks on the parts.
  • Wet sanding with the finer grit papers helps to smooth things out really well. It can also show the print layers that may be smooth to the touch but would still show up when painted.
Prime time!
  • Wipe down the parts with alcohol on a soft sponge to clean off any oils/etc.
  • An airbrush works best for layering on primer.
  • I used wooden shish kabob sticks, stuck into a foam block, to put the parts on for painting and drying.
  • Using a gloss black primer will typically help metallic paints look better.
  • It’s also helpful to do another test assembly after the parts are primed. This can identify any areas that may need more material removed if they are still touching (i.e. scraping off the primer).
  • If you notice a part that is not 100% after being primed, take that step back and work on it some more. It’s better to do it at this point than to have taken the time to paint it and then having to backtrack.
Paint, the scary step!
  • All of the previous steps have led to this point.
  • Take your time with the paint. Don’t rush to add extra layers before the previous ones have had time to really dry and cure on the surface.
  • For metallic areas that have dried, rubbing them down with graphite power and buffing them is a great way to get more of a metallic specularity to the paint. You can check out YouTube for examples of how to do it.
  • Using rub and buff is another way of helping get a metallic look on highlight or edged scratched areas.
  • Be sure to seal your paint with a clear gloss or matte layer. This will help to keep the paint from coming off when the prop is handled.
Final assembly.
  • This is one of the most fun, but also stressful, parts.
  • I recommend adding drops of oil to some of the moving parts. I used oil that came with a pair of hair clippers. It helps to reduce the friction and keep parts from binding. Hey, if oil is good enough for a real firearm, then it’s good enough for a prop blaster!
  • You now get to see all the work you have done come together (and hopefully work).
  • If something isn’t working 100%, slow down and take your time to figure it out. Don’t try to force things and end up with some broken parts that have to be repaired or replaced.
 

JamesM242

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
CHSIII - great looking blaster and fantastic build process! Thank you for sharing. Quick question - did you seal your paint and graphite powder, or add the graphite AFTER you had sealed the paint?
 

CHSIII

New Member
CHSIII - great looking blaster and fantastic build process! Thank you for sharing. Quick question - did you seal your paint and graphite powder, or add the graphite AFTER you had sealed the paint?
Thanks. I played around with different methods on some PVC pipes. I used a black base coat (primer), then Burnt Iron Vallejo acrylic airbrush paint, then applying the graphite (two times…apply, buff, apply, buff), and then sealed with clear coat.

I did not apply graphite again. I have seen that done. But with the Burnt Iron paint, it was already dark enough to not need another coat of graphite (and doing so made it darker than I wanted). I did try that on the PVC…along with multiple other methods/layers to get the look I wanted. When there are too many layers, it tended to ripple and/or get really darkened down too much.
 

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