Slothfurnace's Tomenosuke Pro Bladerunner Pistol Conversion

slothfurnace

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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Hello everyone!

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It's been a while since I posted any work, I've been wrapped up with the day job and family. But I wanted to take some time to post my more-or-less finished Tomenosuke Pro Bladerunner pistol conversion.

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This is a special project for me, that almost wasn't a project. At the 2019 North Texas Prop Party, I acquired this Tomenosuke Pro Bladerunner blaster from our host, Philip Wise.

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I had just remarked how I'd love to build one, but probably wouldn't ever, as the parts are hard to come by. Philip had an extra, and I came away with this beautiful prop. Many, many thanks to Philip.

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At first, I didn't want to touch it, it was pristine, new in box, and one of the nicest prop blasters I'd ever owned. After a bit of research, however, I decided to weather it slightly, as the whole thing had a bit of a plastic look, and didn't resemble the screen used prop finish-wise.

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A slight amount of weathering on the trigger and the Steyr receiver, and I began to dig around on the internet for examples of other Tomenosuke blasters that had been either converted for electronics, or weathered, or upgraded. I found several examples of great work online, and decided to delve into upgrading this one as much as I dared. I was very hesitant, as this prop isn't easy to come by, and there are no spare parts available.

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One of the first results I came across for upgrades on this blaster was a steel barrel upgrade. This was the first part I picked up for the blaster.

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I also picked up an original Charter Arms bulldog 44 sp. trigger and hammer, which I plan to eventually install and remove the metal/resin originals.

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First things first, disassembly. I found the cause of a slight rattle that I noticed when I first picked up the blaster, an extra screw bouncing around inside the grip cavity. Then I separated everything out carefully and noted what part / screw went where.

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The steel barrel here is test fit into the Steyr receiver. Fit is beautifully snug and about perfect.

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I do love the look of the steel barrel. It has a machined / turned finish that can't be achieved in the resin original.

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And here is the point of no return. If I mess this up, I've ruined a very special thing. So I go carefully. I first begin the barrel cut well away from the receiver, on the bandsaw, but hit the metal insert in the core of the barrel. So I transition over to the milling machine vise and finish the job with a hacksaw. Again, very, very carefully. The blue tape is to keep the hammer pivot pin from falling out as I work.

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Barrel removed! That was nerve wracking to say the least. Now I have to clean up the receiver end on the belt sander, and make sure that surface is clean and square.

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While I am out here in the garage, I clean and prep the steel barrel for some cold bluing via Birchwood Casey Super Blue. My rain gauge is just the right size to fit the barrel while it's being blued.

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Bluing done, excess cleaned off and oiled, I am pretty happy with the result. I may want to peel a touch of that surface black off when I am done with everything to more accurately match the screen used prop as it appears in the World Con photos.

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The metal insert in the receiver fits into the groove in the steel barrel replacement. It's a snug fit, and mates well.

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This is the blaster re-assembled with the steel barrel. I also in the meantime found and bought a beat up vintage Weaver scope for the correct scope knob, to replace the slightly inaccurate resin original part. I also found a correct WW2 era field radio binding post for that part replacement.


- end of part 1 of 3 (for now)
 
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slothfurnace

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
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I have one extra scope knob if I ruin one, but I only have one binding post. I believe it's plated brass, as it's not magnetic, so I'll have to figure out a way to darken it that will hold. I would rather not paint it, I prefer a chemical blackening/darkening method for this.

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Noting that the vintage Weaver scope knob will not directly drop in to the side plate, I rummaged around my desk and found some brass 6-32 x .25 inch standoffs. The original part sits in a 0.241" diameter hole, with a half cut across the end as a keyway fit. I turned down one of the standoffs to 0.241, and drilled out the 6-32 threads. The Weaver scope knob threads are 8-40, so I have plenty of room to hollow the standoff out and re tap this part to accept the scope knob.

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The last bit of machining on the scope knob adapter is to mill a slot on the side so the lip of the magazine housing can slot in like the original part did. Now that's done, all I need to do for this part is dip it in some brass black to darken it so it blends in better. I should also turn the scope knob about a quarter turn clockwise.

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While I have the grip apart, I decided to add the scratches and peeled finish that's evident on the movie prop. the original with intact finish doesn't quite match the screen used prop.

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A bit of scraping and filing and polishing to both the grip frame ends and the grip bottom plate to more match the weathering on the real prop.

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Done enough for now with this bit...

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At this point, another steel Charter Arms Bulldog 44special part came in. An all steel cylinder along with the arm and ejector, which was a bonus I didn't order, but it came with it anyway.

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The plastic original Tomenosuke cylinder on the left, the steel Charter Arms cylinder on the right. Difference in feel, weight and visuals is pretty drastic. At first I thought I'd use the ejector, arm and cylinder and get rid of all that plastic. I figured I could drill and tap the arm for the sideplate.

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However, getting into this part of the Tomenosuke, I realized the arm is very difficult to get out and a good bit different fit than the Charter Arms, and also the hand might not interface correctly with the Charter Arms ejector, so I decided just to modify the Charter Arms cylinder to mate with the rest of the Tomenosuke.

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The first step in making the steel cylinder fit the Tomenosuke, was to drill out the indexing flat that keeps the steel ejector from rotating.

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Once that's done, I flip the cylinder around and drill out the back face of the cylinder to accept the Tomenosuke ejector. I'll also have to bore out the ejector face a bit, as the Tomenosuke ejector is thicker than the original. I will also turn down those indexing nubs while I am doing that.

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One of the more tricky parts to get right: milling some recesses for the indexing lobes on the Tomenosuke ejector. I more or less eyeballed these, and they fit fine, though they're a touch wide. Once the prop rounds are in the chambers, there won't be any wiggle.

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Success! Sort of. I had to do a lot of work on the cylinder release latch, as it started sticking and I couldn't open the cylinder. A lot of filing, checking, oiling, and testing later, it's working fine. I had to file the leading edge of the latch so it wouldn't catch on the frame, and I removed a couple turns from the latch pin spring that sits in the ejector, but all is fine now. I also machined an aluminum bushing to go along the inside of the Tomenosuke arm/ejector pin section to eliminate some wiggle. The steel cylinder is a vast improvement I think.

-end of part 2 of 3 (for now)
 

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slothfurnace

Sr Member
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After spending all evening getting the steel cylinder in, and getting the cylinder latch to function properly with the change, the next morning I wanted to get the Steyr receiver back on, but wanted to go ahead and strip the stock finish off and refinish to a dull/dark gray instead of the gloss black it came with.

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I let the two receiver parts sit in a bath of white vinegar for a few hours, and periodically pulled them, washed them and buffed them with #000 and #0000 steel wool to help break up the finish. Once I got it most of the way down to bare metal, I bathed them in a 25% Birchwood casey Super Blue to 75% water solution to bring some darkening back to the surface. A final polish and buff of the sharp edges with #0000 steel wool and I am happy with these parts.

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All back together, and the steel cylinder really seats well and fits the look I was going for.

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At some point I will pull it all apart to install speaker and sound module, but for now I am really happy with how this has turned out. The last thing I did before assembling the whole thing back together was to tap some 6-32 threads into the right sideplate for the WW2 EE-8 field radio binding post. Which is shown below...

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For a prop I really didn't want to touch, and was honestly very hesitant to get into, I am really happy with the improvements. Sometimes you just have to jump feet first into something and follow your gut. Thanks again to Philip Wise for the opportunity to work on this thing. It's been a blast.
 

slothfurnace

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks much, I appreciate that! Yeah I was very hesitant to touch this thing, but the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to tweak it. And the further I went, the easier it got to just go ahead and make changes.
 

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
that's an amazing job! congrats! you even are the first one I see that finally removes those casting circles on the revolver frame, finally! (y)
 

slothfurnace

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks everyone, means a lot, as I really didn't know what I was doing when I jumped into this one. Do you guys think the revolver grip frame should be silvered as it looks like the real prop is so the silver metal shows through the amber grips?
 

DarkKnight

Sr Member
sooo, essentially changing to a real steel barrel requires significant modifications? beautiful work! Im sure you've heard it already...youve done a mans job sir!
 
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