Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mal Reynold's Pistol Version 3

While making my Mal Raynold's pistol Version 2 (seen here), I had created an illustration of all the components of his pistol.

I made it nice and colorful too!

I had tried to use that illustration to finish up my Mal Pistol v2, but the sizes were not correct.  I eye balled the v2 pistol, and I think it came out pretty well despite not being totally the correct size.

Oh la la

So one day I started cutting out the correct shapes from my file.  I decided to make this gun entirely out of crafting foam.

A few people have asked me about the crafting foam I use.
I primarily use 2 kinds of crafting foam.

The first kind is 1/4" thick foam sheet by a company called Creatology.  I buy these sheets at Michael's Art stores and so far I have only seen them sold in black or white sheets.  They are usually $.99 a sheet, and the size is 9" x 12".

The second kind of foam sheet is about 2mm thick, also by Creatology.  These I buy at the same store - Michael's - and they come in a variety of colors.  These sheets are about $.79 a sheet, and the size is 12" x 18".

Also, while I'm on the topic of Foam - I use other foams for different projects.  You may have heard me mention Foam Core, Styrofoam, Insulation Foam, Furniture Foam and Expanding Foam.   Although I may call them all "Foam", these are all different things.  I try to provide images of each of these to clarify the differences so for this project I plan on primarily using the crafting foam seen above.

Back to the pistol....

I printed out my illustration to scale on card stock and cut out all the pieces to use as templates.

The first pieces cut were on the thick foam to the overall shape of the pistol, not including the barrel.

Next, I added a thin strip of foam around the width of the pistol.  This was to give it a cleaner look and make it feel more solid.

Then I started cutting out all the other pieces.

But I'm not assembling it yet.  For once I am going to make all the individual elements first before putting it all together.

For the barrel I cut strips and more or less glued them together.  I had something different in mind, but it didn't work, so this is what I wound up doing.

I took some thin foam to create the octangular shape at the end of the barrel - closest to the center of the gun.  At the moment there is no hole to the barrel.  I will figure that one out later.

Above we see most of the pieces all cut out.  And below I added wood filler to all the layers to give the sloping beveled edges and to fill in small gaps.

Next I worked on those 2 small barrels or tubes near the front of the gun.
To make these I used 2 Popsicle sticks.

The red arrows in the image below shows what piece of the gun I am speaking of.

Since the popsicle sticks were not as thick as my lined artwork, I wrapped a sheet of paper around them and glued them in place to get the correct thickness.

Then I trimmed them and used small pieces of thin foam to make the connectors that connect the end of the barrels to the main part of the gun.

When the filler dried, I gave everything a good sanding.

Looking great!  Next step - Primer!
Below you see the pieces drying along with one of my batarangs.

When all the pieces dried I glued the whole thing together.

Below is an image of versions 2 & 3 of my Mal Pistols.

Next I started to fill in a lot of the gaps using white glue.  I also used some furniture tacks in a few areas to enhance the look.  

Crafting foam is fun and easy to use, but it does have it's downsides.  I was unable to get the turning screws in the front under the barrel and thus I just stuck in some tacks.  The other thing is that while it is easy to drill through foam, it does not make clean holes.  These holes were needed at the bottom of the handle and the bottom of the gun near the Popsicle sticks.  Since the holes were not good looking I just added more tacks.  This problem also reared it's ugly head when trying to drill a hole in the barrel.  Since this did not work I opted to glue on the bottom of a Krazy glue bottle to give it the hole.

This does not match the original look of the pistol at all, but I am ok with it.
Also, the top of the gun was looking a little barren...

So I added a few strips of foam to make it look slightly better.

And also added a sight.

Next I applied a coating of acrylic paint to seal the foam better.

And then some copper paint.

When it dried I added brown to the handle.

and when that dried I added some black to weather the pistol.

When that dried I took the pistol outside and gave it a coat of glossy enamel.

And I'm done!

Like my other Mal pistols, this one is not entirely screen-accurate, but it's the closest so far.

Maybe once I start wood working I'll come back and make the real deal.  But for now I am pretty happy with it.  Below is a picture of my 2 finished Mal pistols together.

Thanks for reading!!


  1. Great work, Timbo. Will have to try some of this crafting foam, but I don't think it'll be nearly as cheap as your stuff in the States. Generally we pay about twice as much for most stuff. Still, it should translate well to thin sheets of MDF - at least we have plenty of that here. Regards, Phil

  2. Thanks Phil. I tend to use foam a lot mainly because I cant use fiberglass and bondo and the such. It's also pretty easy to manipulate.

  3. Hi Timbo, I have just pulled together everything I need for a Mal Reynolds cosplay. I just need the pistol, im so glad i spotted your blog, i am going to give it a try.
    One question, i looked at your picture of all the parts, do you have any indications to sizes? either the main part and i can guess the rest of if you have sizes for each that would be awesome.



    1. Hey mark. I'm glad you found my blog! If you give me your email address I can send you my template.

  4. Timbo, thanks for getting back to me. email:

    i would really love the template for your version 2 and version 3 guns as I am going to try a few techniques from each one.

    thanks, if it works i will post a pic for you to see, but its only the third thing i have tried. I did a buzz axe for a psycho out of borderlands and a climbing axe for a lara croft cosplay, both for my kids. This gun is for me.

  5. Hi
    I'm working on a Mal cosplay and I found your blog, just like Mark. Thanks so much for sharing this !
    It would be awesome if you could send me your templates too ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Hi
    I'm working on a Mal cosplay and I found your blog, just like Mark. Thanks so much for sharing this !
    It would be awesome if you could send me your templates too ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Hi
    I'm working on a Mal cosplay and I found your blog, just like Mark. Thanks so much for sharing this !
    It would be awesome if you could send me your templates too ��

  8. Hi
    I'm working on a Mal cosplay and I need to make the gun. I found your blog, just like Mark.
    Thank you so much for sharing !
    If you could send me the templates, it would be awesome !