This section will deal with the making of my inferno pistol. It's essentially a pistol version of a meltagun.
I started the inferno pistol by gathering what few reference images there are of one online. There are images in some artwork and also of so armed miniatures. With this reference in hand, I began to design it in CATIA as a 3-D model. Modeling it in 3-D can help with the scale of various details, since I try to use off-the-shelf parts and material for things like the barrel. Also, it allows me to see what may need changed; on this inferno pistol, I found that the egg-shaped tanks on the sides of the body, when scaled up, would look ridiculous, and would be difficult to make, since in "reality," they aren't hemispheres, as I've seen some pople do. I decided to remove them and add a hose to the bottom of the grip, like you can see in some of the artwork. Another thing I had to think about was the scale as compared to things like my boltgun. If I were to use miniatures as a reference for this, the inferno pistol would be as wide as my boltgun and bolt pistol, which would be far to large.
I started out by blocking the basic shape out of foamcore, much like my boltgun. At this point, I'm only concerned with getting the shape right and trying to keep things square and straight. To make the rounded portion in front of the grip, I used two methods. The straight part directly in front of the grip is pretty simple. I scored foamcore about every ⅛" and bent it to the curve I made on the formers in the main body. The angled curved edges are trickier. Instead of trying to do all the math and cut angles, I filled the bulk of the area with scrap foamcore. This will then be filled later on, but with much less material.
For the grip, I've found that cutting down and reworking the grip from Nerf Maverick works well. Here I've just modified one and am test fitting it to the inferno pistol base. The trick to using this method is to be sure the length of the top of the grip isn't too long, and that the height isn't too tall.
With this all settled, I needed to start cleaning up the body and getting things filled out. I filled the curved sections with putty and bondo and sanded them roughly to shape, and began to plate the body in plastic. I do this because foamcore doesn't hold up well, nor does it provide a nice finish. The sight is just plastic parts glued together, and left separate until final assembly. The barrel is a peice of PVC pipe with 2 rings cut from a PVC coupler, surrounded in a plastic shroud. I sized the barrel by referring to artwork and the miniature meltaguns, and noticed that the barrel shroud is just about as wide as the inferno pistol body. With the PVC options available, I could either go slightly smaller, or noticeably larger. With the larger choice, people can see all the way down inside to the face of the inferno pistol body, and I feel that ruins some of the suspension of disbelieve that it's actually a gun barrel, and I personally think it looks goofy. I went with the slightly smaller choice and elongated the barrel a little bit.
After getting the flat surfaces plated with plastic sheet, it came time to finesse the curves on the front. I sanded the bondo filler relatively smooth, and glued short strips of the same plastic on top, matching the curves as best as possible. Bodywork was then done to the entire inferno pistol. Details on the grip (from the Nerf Maverick) were trimmed down, and the entire thing was also spot-puttied. After sanding, the entire inferno pistol is very smooth, and you can see where I added the plastic strips to the front area. I also installed the male side of a pneumatic quick-release to the bottom of the grip. This makes transportation easir, and the quick-release adds some interesting detail.
The inferno pistol was painted a basic black and silver, with some simple silver highlights. I kept things simple and functional, since the Ordos Hereticus Inquisitor costume this is intended to be used with is farily complicated. I'm counting on the hose connected to the base to help make that transition from complex to simple, and the purity seal I added to the side gives a splash of color. I've found that the more filigree and greeblies and such that you add to a prop like this makes it look awesome by itself, but when combined with other such items, it becomes a cacophony of "stuff" that ultimately tends to detract from a costume.
The hose is pretty simple. I bought a trio of fittings from the local hardware store that would fit ½" hose, also from the hardware store. Two of the fittings are barbed on one end, with pipe threads on the other. These are the same size threads as those on the fitting in the base of the inferno pistol grip. The third part is the male half of the pneumatic quick-release fitting. I pressed a barbed fitting into each end of the hose, and screwed the female quick-release onto one of them. I purchased some woven sleeving meant to protect wire and hose bundles that has a caution striping. I thought this would add some nice detail to the overall costume, as mentioned above, and it was easy to do. With the sleeving over the hose, I used thick shrink-tubing to seal the ends. The end result is something that looks pretty clean and functional. After all, the hose is there to provide the inferno pistol with fuel, since I left off the fuel canister "eggs" on the gun's sides. The first time I brought this inferno pistol to a convention, DragonCon 2011, I had it hooked up to an actual canister on my back. I go more into this on my Ordo Hereticus - Witchhunter page.
You can see this inferno pistol with the entire costume here.