Long term listener, first time poster - M41A Aliens Pulse Rifle


New Member
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Well-Known Member
The Devil is in the Details.

Thankfully, Thompson SMG drawings and spec sheets are easy to find, and in all honesty the reference materials were pretty thick on the ground so research was fairly straightforward.

Of course the key is how you put all that information together.

I won't go into all the nitty gritty here, but here's my 'Top Tips' for newbie replica prop makers like me:

1. Design weapons around steel or aluminium tubes.
Not only does this keep everything straight and locked in, but it adds some weight too which adds to the realism.

2. Use real bolts and screws.
No point 3D printing them, avoid it if you can. The real thing always looks better and is just plain easier.

3. Don't 3D print anything cylindrical or tubular.
Use the equivalent size in some sort of metal, where it be toggle switches, mounting pins, pivots, etc. They're stronger, better, and require less finishing.

4. Use 2 part epoxy adhesives where you can.
They're just so much better and tougher than CA (Superglue). Get the 5min curing one if you don't want to wait.

5. Add weight.
Weight means realism and adds to the experience when someone picks up your prop. Use metal tubes, add ballast where you can, do what you can to make your prop feel less plastic-y.

6. It's your prop, do what you want.
My M41A is really an amalgam of a few different versions, and I made some finishing decisions for my own aesthetic reasons that aren't canon. It really does bridge the gap between the 80's actual prop, and a slicker, modern version and I'm okay with that. And you should be okay with your decisions, too. It's your prop, so just have fun and roll with it, and let others make of it what they may.

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Hmm interesting points ... particularly 6


New Member
Hmm interesting points ... particularly 6
Yeah I think fun is the ultimate goal. I noticed with this project in particular my finishing standards were actually higher than the actual real prop, and being legally stymied here in Australia from making a metal replica closed that avenue, too. Being that there were just so many versions of the pulse rifle - stunt props, non-hero props, hero props etc.- I felt some artistic license was something I could live with.

These replica props are just such a nice thing to have and to hold, at this juncture I'm more keen to see people have a go and have fun making what they can rather than get all OCD and weird and devoting their entire life to one prop.

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