So, for the past little while a lot of people have been asking me about how I practice the sorcery of foam. As a rank and file newbie I will show all you fine folks out there just how I work a little foam magic, through a metric tonne of pictures. I’m doing this as a how to esque sort of deal. So sit back and relax, this is gonna be another long one. Above all else though before we begin, change blades often. Sharp is best.
80/150/220/600 grit sand paper
ON TO THE SHOW!
I began this build by making a set of templates using a computer illustrating program and then printing them out onto 110lb card stock. This process is not being shown for the reason that I forgot to document it… woops. I then opened a bunch of reference images to map how thick and such this build would need to be in order for me to get the best feel for it. Having built a magnum just prior I was able to guess based on that information what I would like this new pistol to look like. From there I cut out this shape. (As a note I will be posting multiple images as I work my way through the steps.)
I started construction with the larger 12mm foam. I traced out this template twice, and then cut it out using the Olfa knife.. Using my hot glue gun I secured the 2 pieces together, and used the hot tip to smooth down the excess glue.
Using a pencil, the conduit cutter and the olfa knife I began by measuring the barrel. Using the conduit cutter, I cut it to the desired length.
From here I used the slide of the template, drew down the notches and details along the side and cut out the notches. Next I drew out where the barrel goes. Using the olfa knife again I cut out the hole for the barrel and then secured it with hot glue. Don’t worry about a glue seam here, it will get covered up later.
Next up I began to draw out the mag well and work on layering the magnum. I cut out the template for the magazine and then positioned it. Drawing out the position that it would rest in I made sure to leave space on either side. From here I started to plot out the layers on the pistol. I then traced out the lower body onto 2mm foam and cut it out. After that I set to cutting out the mag well. Not shown is the mag well post removing what I will refer to now as the blank. I used fresh blades for this and I did not document this as it was very unstable and chose to immediately prevent damage to the build thus far by attaching the craft foam. It’s a matter of rinse repeat for both sides. For all craft foam cuts I used the hobby knife. It’s crazy sharp.
After attaching some of the craft foam using the contact cement to keep the build flush at this point I set out to make the pistol more stable. In it’s current state it was very squishy with the blank removed and was not sound enough structurally for my liking. I used the plasticard to make the rear of the grip a point of solid structure. I also secured this into the grip using contact cement. to keep pressure on as it dried I set the blank back into the well. In the back there, the ever illusive tiny scissors.
Once the mag well rear wall was secured in place I used a piece of craft foam to help brace a thin spot in the front of the grip where the trigger will eventually go.
Up next was finalizing detail on the grip. Swapping foam colours I kept to the 2mm craft foam and layered on a the grip contouring. I used lepage to glue this down again. Also a fresh blade. Cutting apart the template further on this one. I used the rear slot template to also pencil down some details.
Next up I started on the slide. Hot glue for this one again. I began by cutting out the templates and removing some negative areas. Paying attention you’ll see in the dry fit below that since I wasn’t as careful as I should have been, I developed a slight warp. Using the bevel cutter I trimmed and fit the sides of the slide.
From here I used reference images and began to tune the body. It has a long gentle slope. Measuring out what I could see as the correct thickness of the pistols bottom I then took my olfa knife (Fresh blade, always a fresh blade) and scored the slopes. Once satisfied, I trimmed them down. It didn’t come out quite as clean as I wanted but it worked for what it was.
Using some sand paper and my dremel I cleaned it up a little. Yes…you can sand EVA. No I don’t recommend it. Yes a dremel is faster. NO I didn’t do this as clean as I would have liked and YES if I had it would not have needed clean up… my bad. Moving right along. If it’s not super clean don’t fret. We’ll be covering it up shortly.
So next up I dug back into the template and began on the next section. Keeping with the craft foam I cut out the cover parts for the front of this little guy. It’s another rinse repeat step. Using contact cement as always.
From there, let’s clean up that grip! Change the blade on your bevel cutter or knife. Seriously guys. Keep swapping. I beveled the lead and trail edge of the grip.
Much nicer. Actually fit in my hand now.
From here I added in the trigger. I just used craft foam and 12mm eva to make it smooth on both sides. A nice even width big ol squishy trigger. I did craft foam on both sides because I’m a stickler for symmetry. feels good on the hand and is non threatening to the eye. Looks kinda derpy. On my battle rifles I didn’t include a trigger for extra con safe-ness. you can choose to opt in or out. I used hot glue to glue it down.
Next I did some detail work. Using the pen I pressed really REALLY hard into those little pencil circles to indent my craft foam without creating a crevice. Just needed that nice little crease.
And viola. We’re cookin with gas. You can really see it coming together.
Next up was the guard. To do so I took some 12 mm and like the trigger just double sided it. Lepage cement for the thin foam. And then secured it in place with some hot glue for extra sturdiness. Freshen that blade as always folks.
Next up was a little choice detailing. Adding the center dot to that circular recess. I used the other side of the template and cut out the very middle dot, from there I just 2mm foamed it up. It’s all in the details folks. Also by now you’ll start to notice some funky lookin white junk. That’s the dap slowly creeping into the build. I’ll cover it in greater depth in a little bit. Essentially I use it to hide seams and try to round out bad edges.
Stepping up, time to get rid of that ugly magazine blank. Taking the mag template and drawing it out on 12mm foam, I took serious care and compensated for the plastic backing. I then cut it out twice, and used hot glue to affix it together. Using the hot nozzle to smooth excess glue again. Do what I forgot to do. Freshen that blade. Either snap or swap.
She aint too pretty, but she’ll do for now.
Keeping the pace I decided to craft foam the top of the magnum to cover up that huge ugly seam. Lepage and 2mm again. Once dry I applied some dap along the seams to help hide them. This is what I use dap for. Hiding seams, and helping smooth over some messy areas. It can also spot fill low areas and crevices, but is not structural. It is still squishy so use with care. Taking my pen knife I scored in the details and waited for the dap to fully cure. Once that was done I took my heat gun and used it on the score lines. As eva is what’s known as a closed cell foam, it pulled away from all the cut lines and ended up creating these nice recesses. This is good for adding any panel lines or small detail.
This next step is to make the little angle side vents on the back. Measuring and cutting out a rectangle of foam, I used my bevel cutter for those nice 45 degree angles that it has. A lot of geometry on this stuff is 45 degree angles and bevels. Gives it a more sleek look. Trimming the edges I then hot glued it into place. Then I used craft foam to make the rear sight of the pistol.
Next I did the back cap to cover up all the ugly seams by simply cutting out and gluing down a square of craft foam, then trimming it with scissors. To detail it I drew on the lines with that handy dandy mechanical pencil, then scored them with the hobby knife. I later hit this with a heat gun to have the foam pull open the score lines. Using a sphereical dremel grinding bit, I dug out the small circular details by the sight.
I get a little excited here as I get closer to finishing the build. It all starts to come together so I sort of sped up and took less images. From here I take one of the templates and cut out every other slat on the back vent section. Following that up I took my dremel and used it with a thin grinding bit to carve out the rear vents.
Changing directions again I began to finish the chassis of the pistol by covering all the seams in a thin strip of foam. I measured the width of the pistol and began to apply craft foam all around it. Contact cement here again with the thinner foam. I also added a small detail to the magazine to bring out the base just a bit more. From there I used dap on all the seam lines and covered as much as I could to try and blend it all together. This first big apply of dap will get covered by plastidip, and from there I use it about twice more.
Next up comes the…mag release? I’m not gonna lie. This weapon has a lot of neat stuff on it. Some of which I just straight forgot (Woopsie). Like a slide lock(Oops) and a safety(mega oops). BUT HEY! I remembered the mag…release? I think.
I can only confirm that the it’s not either of the other 2 things. ANYWAY! So first I cut out a small rectangle of craft foam, and rounded 2 corners on the long side. I used contact cement, glued it in place, then I took my hobby knife and just cut some score lines it and heat gunned it. Quick, easy, and effective. The last thing I do is I reat gun the whole pistol and magazine to seal and heat treat the foam. It should look slightly wet at this stage.
After everything was all done I hit it with plastidip. 3 Coats. Thorough. Then…DAP! You’ll get why later.
From there It’s the first primer coat.
After this is done, I used the varying grits of sand paper to smooth down a lot of the rough garbage. It also helps to shape the DAP. Yes you can sand dap, No I don’t recommend it. Dap is a last resort. I use it like it’s going out of style. Learn from my mistakes.
Then Prime and Paint…. woah. Done already? Oh yeah. Nice. I seem to have forgotten one last image of this pistol primed, sorry about that. I kind of forgot. Next time I think I’ll show off a wip of painting stuff. I do not know much, but I do know just enough. the paint scheme for this little guy for instance took me about 10 different colours of paint in various combinations. I hope that you all found this helpful, I’ll be posting the templates of this online so you can take a crack at fabricating your own. So for now, SO LONG FOLKS! Enjoy some gratuitous pistol images.