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Writer, soldier, thinker, and science fiction lover. I just can't seem to find a way to divide my adventurous self of constant outdoor activity and exercise from my nerdy self playing games and going to conventions. So why not just be both?

 I am a young professional living out of Tallahassee, Florida for the past five years. I have been on a deployment with the United States Army and continue to work outside of my other occupations to better myself mentally and physically. My passion for writing is driven by my passion for everything I find entertaining in life, and of course by my friends and family.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Cosplay piece for "Aliens"

One of the most memorable pieces to the motion picture film Aliens (the sequel to the scifi master piece Alien from 1979) is the M41A1 Pulse rifle. So of course no cosplay is complete without it. And any dedicated fan will tell you, one of the best parts is making the piece 'yours' so that it is you and unique to how you want to fit into the universe.

 Below is my airsoft conversion of a Thompson sub machinegun into the iconic weapon. The first piece of customization is the serial number base plate. While not movie accurate, is a more realistic touch to the weapon and a piece that allows it to stand out among others.

 I chose realism over convention by placing the plate on the left side of the weapon similar to how modern weapons are serialized. 

The next piece is completely non-canon. It is based off the idea of the M41A1 Pulse Rifle from the movie. It's what I refer to as the Pulse Carbine. There have been video game adaptations of this idea but nothing canon.

My starting base was a Nerf CS-18 with the 18 round count magazine. 

Step 1 was to grind off the Nerf logo on the sides. I used a dremel with a sanding wheel. I then touched up by hand sanding it smooth. Once this was complete I blasted the back of the butt-stock with rubberizing paint for cars. 
Step 2 was to add a metallic coat of paint for the base of the gun. In all honesty I thought this looked cool enough alone, but I had a goal. The reason I chose this color is because as I use the gun at conventions if wear and tear happens, it'll look more natural as if real wear is happening to a real weapon. 
Step 3 and 4, I painted the small parts which in the picture are covered in paint. I used a flat matt black model paint except for the "jam cover" which again was the rubberizing paint for cars. I then covered these parts with painter tape.

Step 5 was to cover the main body with a green paint. I used a spray paint marked as camouflage foliage paint. It was much lighter than I expected.

Step 6 was to begin to add some custom wear and tear to the weapon. This was done by simply sanding it with a fine sand paper on the the edges. This is where the the metallic base was important. But, this is also when I decided I'd put a different color of green on the body.

Step 7 was to add the first pieces of customization which I did with an engraving tool. I did a dead smiling face, and "Bug Hunter" on one side, a direct nod to the phrases and little details from the movie.

Step 7 (part 2) On the other side the face returns, but I also added a kill count with tally marks.

Step 8 I added a darker green from a model building kit. The Oliver Drab (OD) green matches better to the "Brown Bess" color used in the film (see M41A1 Pulse Rifle for reference). I left the light green on the padded parts where face and forward hands would touch. Once the paint was dry I went over the engravings again with the engraving tool to make them more pronounced. You can also see the magazine here (which was clear) painted black with the rubberized car paint again. 

Step 9 was to add fine detail. I covered all the black parts with another coat. Then the safety and magazine release got a red coat to stand out.

Step 10 was to go over the engravings one last time to stand out again.

Step 11 was to add more fine details. I never ground off the Nerf warning sign, so I took a red sharpie to the warning exclamation mark. I think it looks nice with the rest of the gun.

Step 12 I thought something was missing and since it is not as cool as the Pulse Rifle since it lacks the electronic ammo counter, I added a metal skull and cross bones to it. Once it was all dry, I blasted the whole gun with two coats of clear protector.

Close of skull and engravings.

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