Alien Gun

Materials: Plastic dart gun, sculpting epoxy, EVA foam, thermoplastic, electrical wires, glue, acrylic paint.

At least 15 years ago, I found some online videos of people painting and customizing Nerf guns, to make them look more interesting. That seemed like a fun thing to try, but for one reason or another, I just kept not doing it.

Fast forward to 2023, and I had made a lot of masks and sculptures, and wanted to do something new. I also had various bits of epoxy, foam, wires, and thermoplastic from other projects that I could use up.

This isn’t technically a Nerf gun, but an off-brand dart gun, that I bought from a pharmacy a few blocks from where I live.

The gun was pretty chunky to start out, so I began by cutting off various bits, to streamline it. As this is still too big to reasonably fit into a holster, I glued a magnet to the left side—from the user’s perspective—so someone could attach this magnetically to a costume.

I added thermoplastic to extend the gun’s profile in front, sculpted various elements using epoxy, and glued on wires and sheets of EVA foam. I textured the foam with a wood-burning tool. This is the first time I’ve made a scale pattern out of EVA foam.

For painting, I sprayed this with two layers of grey primer, and then painted it with a combination of white and yellow, before darkening it with progressive layers of brown, grey, and black. I wanted to go for a bony, organic look. I painted the wires to make them stand out, and sealed everything with a couple coats of varnish. The darts got two layers of bronze and copper paint, and then some browns to make them less shiny.

This can still shoot darts, although some of them don’t fly out the barrel very fast, because of the added friction from paint.