When I started putting together my Poe Dameron cosplay early last year, I searched everywhere for a way to make his EL-16HFE blaster, or for someone whom I could commission to make one. I found nothing. Granted, at that time not many people were even attempting to put together this particular costume, but I wasn’t able to find anyone who could track down a blaster, either. That’s why when I’ve worn the costume previously, I’d either go for “post-interrogation/pre-crash on Jakku” Poe with the bloodied-up face, or I’d drag around my little BB-8 with me. But, really…I just wanted to have the blaster so badly.
The search never stopped, and I did find someone on Etsy who was selling 3D printed blasters, but they didn’t have photos of a finished product, and that left me pretty wary. I found a couple of other people who made blasters but they weren’t quite what I wanted, so I passed those up. Finally, I found that Do3D started selling 3D print files of the EL-16 and EL-16HFE blasters (sold together) so I bought the files and commissioned JGPenland Props to print out the blaster for me. He was awesome and sent me update photos all the time showing the progress of the printing (which, for a blaster of this size, took about a week) I picked it up a couple of weeks ago, and I was like a little kid on Christmas. I was so excited to finish it!
Since this was my first major 3D print finishing project, I took the advice from some of the more seasoned prop-finishers in the Minnesota Force and they recommended Bondo Glazing & Spot Putty and Rust-Oleum Filler Primer to smooth out the printing ridges and fill in gaps. I also bought sandpaper in several different grits, and used a couple of metal files I had.
This is how my blaster looked when I brought it home:
Pretty straightforward. Gray. 33″ in length. (I told you it was giant.)
I picked out any pieces of flash that were remaining (not much, though, since Jonathan did a great job of prepping it already) and used Bondo to fill in small gaps and areas where the printing ridges were a bit more severe. I sanded off the extra Bondo and this was how it looked:
Over the next couple of days, I sprayed several coats of filler primer on the blaster. Since I live in a rental unit, I don’t have a garage and I can’t really leave things unattended outside because of the neighborhood kids, so once the blaster was no longer tacky, I brought it inside to fully set. Let me just say that even with the windows wide open, the fumes were terrible and I got really nauseated from it. I really should have done a couple more coats, but I just couldn’t deal with the fumes anymore. I used a little wood putty to do a few more touch-ups after the filler primer dried. This is what it looked like after the filler primer and wood putty applications:
All ready for painting!
So…painting! I wasn’t quite sure what colors of paint I’d end up using since the blaster is kind of a mix of various metallic hues, so I went to Michael’s and bought pretty much everything. I’m not kidding:
Heh. Well, at least they’re pretty inexpensive. The first thing I did was paint the entire blaster with a coat of DecoArt Dazzling Metallics in Shimmering Silver, since that seemed to be kind of the “base” color of the blaster.
Then, I basically just used a few of the colors I bought:
- DecoArt Dazzling Metallics – Rich Espresso
- DecoArt Dazzling Metallics – Zinc
- Plaid Folk Art Metallic – Sequin Black
- Liquitex Basics – Titanium White
I thought I’d use more, but those three seemed to do the trick.
I used various sizes of paintbrushes, and watered down some of the applications depending on the look I was going for. I used paper towels to wipe off excess paint and to help create a weathered look. I used Q-Tips for adding some highlights. Basically, I just took it one section at a time and looked at the few reference photos I had to try and make it look as accurate as possible. It took me about four or five days to paint, but every moment was so much fun!
After the painting was complete, I sprayed the blaster with a couple of coats of matte clear acrylic spray and a coat of matte Mod Podge to help protect the paint. Hopefully that will do the trick.
I now present to you my finished masterpiece!
I’m really, really happy with how it turned out. I didn’t expect it to turn out so well, so I’m kind of giddy over the whole thing.
Here are a bunch of photos of the finished project:
I also made a strap for the blaster. I bought some 1 1/4″ cotton webbing in “Moss Green,” a 1 1/4″ gunmetal slide buckle, and two 1 1/4″ gunmetal swivel hooks and made a basic strap. To give it an aged look, I soaked it in a tea dye bath, and when it dried I used small ink pads (like the kind used for rubber stamps) in dark brown and black to dirty it up a little. Then I washed it by hand with some dish soap to soften the look a little.
I actually made two straps – one in Moss Green and one in Khaki because I wasn’t sure which one I’d end up using. I used the Moss Green one, and the photo on the right is what it looks like after “aging” it.
Here it all is together:
Well, there you have it! My labor of love, my pride and joy…my very own EL-16HFE blaster!