Wednesday, March 6, 2013

M1 Garand Marshmallow Shooter

The M1 Garand was the first semi-automatic rifle to be generally issued to the infantry of any nation.  Called "the greatest battle implement ever devised" by General George Patton, the Garand officially replaced the bolt-action M1903 Springfield as the standard service rifle of the United States Armed Forces in 1936 and was subsequently replaced by the selective fire M14 in 1957. However, the M1 continued to be used in large numbers until 1963 and to a lesser degree until 1966.

I got all that from Wikipedia.

I've made a few Marshmallow Guns in my time too.  For the most part they looked like this:
I usually painted mine up.  Sometimes made crazy designs, but for the most part they were similar.

This time I am going to try and make my marshmallow gun look like an M1.
To start, I made a scale template of the wooden areas of the M1.  The wikipedia page for this has the lengths and proper images of the rifle.  I drew the silhouetted areas in Adobe Illustrator,

and then printed them out on card stock.

The barrels will be 1/2 inch PVC pipe.  The 'wood' areas will be styrofoam.

I made the cuts using a styrofoam cutter.  Best $6 ever.
Cutting the styrofoam was fun, but I need A LOT more practice with it.  The cuts are rough, but hopefully once I wrap it in plaster cloth and add wood filler they will even out....hopefully.

I held the 2 PVC pipes together with a few zip ties.  This should keep it in place until I glue it together.

Above are the 3 pieces of the main body glued together.  The middle pieces has a space for the PVC tubes as shown below.

I used the styrofoam cutter to soften the edges a bit.  

I inserted the PVC to check the fit.  Fit's well.

Next step was to wrap with plaster cloth.  There is no cardboard here - hopefully the plaster cloth works well enough when it dries.

Once it dried, I added wood filler.

And then sanded a little.
Here is where I found out that styrofoam and plaster cloth alone are not sufficient. While sanding, I noticed the plaster & styrofoam cracked a little.  Perhaps some more plaster wrap will fix it.  If not, this gun might not survive further sanding.  But as always, my projects are leaning experiences.  If it breaks, I'll just make a new one, and make it better!

It broke.
Styrofoam is definitely not good enough, especially on something this large.
Recently I began working with Insulation foam which is far denser. So, it's time to start anew!
I followed the same template as before and cut it out of insulation foam.

The 3 main pieces of the stock and body of the gun were glued together with white glue and left alone to dry for 24 hours.  They were held together with rubberbands and I put weights on top of it.

I cut out the other pieces of foam and assembled them with hot glue.  I beveled the edges with a razor and rounded the corners with sandpaper.

The next day I took the main section of the gun and beveled the edges with a razor.

And then sanded everything smooth.

Looking at some reference photos I noticed that my gun is too blocky, so I grabbed my knife and sandpaper and rounded it out some more.

Then I sanded the inner track where the barrel will go so that it fit it nicely.

Next I started making parts of the rifle out of more foam and some cardboard.  These will have no functionality, they are just for appearance. 

Next I gave everything a coat of black acrylic paint.  This will seal the porous surface and it will also make it easier to apply spackling paste.

Once the pieces dried I decided to glue the main components of the rifle together.

Next came the spackling paste.

Once the paste dried I started to glue on some elements such as the trigger and various other shapes made out of thick crafting foam.

Next I marked off areas on the body to better fit a 45 degree elbow.  This will connect to the barrel and lead outwards from the gun so that I can load marshmallows.

Then I started shaping the element on the back - which sort of looks like a sight - to better fit the trimmed rifle body and to fit the 45 degree elbow.

Next I attached the elbow to the back-end of the barrel and then glued the whole barrel in place.

Then I glued the rear sight onto the body, letting the elbow show through.

Next, I glued on the lower barrel.

And using some insulation foam, I started making the forward 'wood' grip that is found close to the front of the rifle.

Using a knife and sandpaper, I shaped the grip to match the rest of the rifle.

Then I used a few strips of crafting foam to form the shapes in front of the grip and a strip which connected the 2 barrels at the front.

Next I added a small 1/2" pvc pipe with a coupling to the elbow.  This will make it easier for me to load marshmallows and more importantly to fire them.

I gave the whole rifle another coat of spackling paste and set up against the wall to dry.

When the spackling paste dried I used a little wood filler to fill in some gaps.

When everything was dry I sanded the body of the rifle and cleaned it.  Then I gave it a coat of black acrylic paint.

Below the M1 and my Buffy the Vampire Slayer's Scythe (entry coming soon) dry side by side.

Next I started painting the 'wood' parts with brown paint.

When that dried I mixed a little silver paint with black paint to make a dark gun metal, which I used to paint the 'metal' parts of the rile.

When that dried I sponged on a lighter brown to give the 'wood' some grain.

And then added some silver paint to the 'metal' to make it look a little worn.

When the paint dried I applied Mod Podge to the areas that were made of foam.  This will protect it when I spray on some clear enamel spray paint.

When the Mod Podge dried it was ready for some spray enamel.

I'd also like to say that the brush strokes of mod podge was excellent in further adding some texture to make the wood grain look authentic.  Below is the best picture I could take showing the effect.

When the weather warmed up I took the rifle outside and sprayed some matte clear coat on the PVC parts.

and I'm done!!!

Now all that needs to get done is buying some mini marshmallows...

....load them in the back and fire them!

This was another fun project to work on.  Thanks for reading!