Friday, September 24, 2010


Due to Anime Central IRT(ACen's personal volunteer-driven security team) telling me my XM16E1 wasn't con-legal about a week before ACen, I scrambled like mad to throw together a mock rocket-propelled grenade, or simply RPG, as apparently a freaking rocket launcher often seen in use by terrorists is A-OK.  I didn't find out until at the convention that they deemed all cardboard weapons con-friendly.  *fist shake*

Anyway, this is what I'm building:

Just a simple series of tubes, right?  Well, yes and no.  This project gave me more grief than it should have, mostly regarding that accursed wooden...thing.

I started this out by building the rocket itself.  This was done with 1" diameter PVC and topped with two of those foam cones you find at hobby/craft stores(I think Wal-Mart even has them somewhere), and mounting them end-to-end(after shaving off the bottom to get it to proper length, of course.  I then secured the cone onto the PVC pipe by ramming it in and using hot glue.  The end was topped off with a water bottle cap.  Cardboard fins were cut out and glued around the pipe.  Afterwards, I used a spoon, I believe, to scrape in the four channels on the top cone.  The whole shebang was then painted olive drab:

For kicks and giggles, I even painted the base of the rocket a different color, even though it'd spend its life in the tube.  It made it all purdy like:

On to the launcher.  One tube wasn't long enough, so I needed two 1.25"(or possibly 1.5", I can't remember) PVC and used PVC cement to seal them together with a connector.  Over one end, I cut out a 20-oz bottle and did the same to the other end to form the base of the wooden shoulder rest.  This was covered with more plastic and melted slightly with a hair dryer to make sure it was tight.  I ran duct tape over this, made a makeshift gasket out of layers of duct tape on the inside of the front of the tube to hold the rocket in place if the launcher tipped down, and used a chunk of leftover foam for the blast cone.  This was is result:

That cursed duct tape presented me with quite the dilemma.  While it was great for forming the shape of the wooden piece, it was about the worst possible medium for holding paint.  I got around this by breaking down a cardboard wrapping paper tube and gluing three different sections(so as to retain the modular shape) of it to the tape.  When that dried, I sanded down the finish on the PVC pipe, and painted away:
Lastly, I cut rectangular holes into the bottom of the tube for the grips, which consisted of layers of cardboard sealed with paper.  I really didn't like the way the cone looked, and by complete happenstance, I was drinking out of a cup that I looked at and realized was the same diameter on the base as the PVC tube.  The result was me papier-mâchéing the cup, attaching a cardboard ring, and gluing that onto the end of the pipe.  Then, literally last minute, I built a crude scope and front sight, painted 'em up, and hopped in the car to get to the convention.  Here's the finished product:

At the convention, I had a little mishap when(I blame the lack of depth perception(eye patch), I was holding it on my shoulder, and Nick stopped in front of me.  I essentially poked him with the rocket, and the foam cone snapped.  What you see in the following pictures is actually a quick patch job with packaging tape(thank you, noble booth strangers), which I later upgraded to hot glue when I had the proper amenities in the hotel room.

With my Snake stuff:

That's my lovely girlfriend Jenn as Eva next to me.
image © Alan Hufana
It looks better with her than me. :P

I also loaned it to my friend Nick for his Chris Redfield costume from Resident Evil 5 while I lurked about as Wesker, something relevant to one of the later fights in the game:


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