Team Fortress 2 – Grenade Launcher
For a couple of years I’ve been following the work of a couple different propmakers, and now I finally decided to try my hand at making one myself. Compared to other established propmakers, I don’t have access to any kind of heavy machinery or even a garage to work in. That’s why everything in this project was made with pretty much nothing but hand tools and a Dremel, in the storage basement of my building. The project took me about a month and a half, with a lot of breaks in between.
Also right off the bat, I’d like to apologize for the quality of the photos, but all I have at my disposal is an iPhone. I hope the final product doesn’t suffer too much because of this.
Anyway, here goes, my first forray into replica propmaking.
To skip the build and to go straight to the finished pictures of the thing —-> Click Here <—-
Having played Team Fortress 2 since it came in 2009 out as part of The Orange Box, I’ve always liked the style and feel of the weapons. Especially the Demoman’s Grenade Launcher struck a nerve with me, and I kept thinking about how fun it would be to hold one in my hands.
I wanted it to be as close to the real thing as possible, so it would have to have a movable trigger, spinning chambers and a working latch system. I had my work cut out for me…
So, I started drawing up some vectors in Illustrator, but a third of the way through I found some already finished plans on Volpin Props’ flickr, so huge thanks go out to him.
I don’t have access to a proper printer, so I had to tape the plans together, still works though.
Measured and calculated a couple of things from the plans and went to the hardware store nearby to buy some 6mm, 12mm, 19mm and 22mm MDF sheetscraps and a 75mm PVC pipe, and later on a 50mm PVC pipe as well.
I cut out most of the rough shapes with a jigsaw.
The stock and trigger was made from 5 pieces of MDF so I could hide a movable trigger system inside the stock. More on that later.
I decided to start working on the chamberplate first.
As I wanted it to be able to spin, I first used a holesaw to make a hole in the middle for a couple of bearings I had left over from a skateboard.
Then I measured out the spots for the 6 chambers, and made 6 50mm holes for the PVC pipe.
Cut the pipes at the right lengths and glued them into the holes.
Second picture shows the inside of the chamberplate, showing the bearings and aluminum rod that screws on to the front plate.
The plate that the chamberplate attaches to is made up of 3 x 12mm MDF glued together.
Also, to have something for the chamberplate rod to attach to, I cut off the head of a bolt and glued the threaded rod into a hole.
Glued 3 pieces of MDF together and shaped to make the front grip.
To make it fit snugly with the barrel, I roughly shaped the concave part with my dremel and then used the pipe to sand the until all sides were hitting. Did more sanding and shaping after this, and added a threaded rod to stick through the barrel and attach with a nut inside the barrel.
A clearer shot of the 5 layers that make up the stock and triggerguard.
I then clamped the stock and triggerguard together to make sure everything lined up and then used a holesaw to create the triggerguard.
Time for the triggermechanism. As i made the trigger guard in 3 layers, it meant that I could hide everything in the middle.
I cut out the trigger and screwed it loosely to the the “outer” layer of the triggerguard, to work as my pivot point.
Then I attached a spring I harvested from a cheap soap dispenser, which unfortunately turned out to be too tight, so I had to come up with something else.
Being in the scavenging mood i found an old broken batteryholder from a light-up t-shirt (Ugh, i know). Turned out the tiny spring that hold the batteries in place fit perfectly instead of the soap dispenser spring, and had about the right strength. Not perfect, but close enough.
Progress so far.
Shaping the stock after gluing.
Test-fitting the chambers.
The bottom hinge was made from 3 layers of MDF.
Test-fitting the rear plate after adding the top latch rod and front detail.. Also, added a washer to the front plate to make it easier to get the chambers spinning smoothly.
Nailed and glued the top latch rod to the front plate , and added front plate detail.
To finish the front plate detail, I glued a couple of scraps to the front plate, sanded them to shape and used putty to fill out the gaps that were missing.
The stock was attached to the rear plate with a couple of wooden dowels and wood glue.
Test-fitting everything so far together. Don’t mind the dusty bike, that’s what you have to work around when your workspace is a storage basement.
Time to add the barrel.
Traced the 75mm pipe at the right spot and used a a holesaw to create a ring halfway through the front plate, that the pipe would fit snugly into.
Made some screwheads for the front detail by using a dremel on some 6mm MDF. These were glued into holes in the front plate. Also painted the inside of the barrel, as I wouldn’t be able to do so easily after gluing it in place.
My first take on the latch system. At this point i was going to use magnets to hold the latchpoint together, which is why this was made to purely be decorative. This was a mistake though.
A look at the, admittedly, not pretty and failed magnet idea.
I took some magnets from a paperclip holder which seemed fairly strong. Spent a lot of time hammering tiny chunks off of one magnet so it would fit in the rear plate. When test-fitting the magnets before gluing, it seemed to work fine, but after gluing everything was too far apart and not strong enough to hold the weight of the front plate.
So that didn’t work…
So I had to rethink the latch system. I tried to come up with how I think the grenade launcher would work in real life, and this is what I came up with.
The bottom peg slides back and forth in the small recess in the stock. When pushed forward, it pushes the peg inside the rear plate up into a hole in the top latch rod. The nail in the stock makes sure the bottom peg doesn’t go through far back or forwards.
With the means I had at my disposal, it works out pretty well. The top peg was made shorter later on, this was just to make sure it worked.
Test-fitting again. What can I say, I like seeing things slowly take shape.
Glued two pieces together for the metal front sight holders. Shaped and sanded with my dremel until they looked about right. The indentations on the sides were a byproduct of using an orbit sander at first but I repaired those with putty. Drilled holes for the aluminum rod that holds the front sight.
Painted the slider before gluing the shell that hides the latching system onto the stock.
For the metal that joins the stock and the rear plate together I sanded down some 6mm MDF to around 3mm and glued them to the flat sides of the stock. The rounded corners were made from putty, hardened, shaped and sanded.
The small details on the rear sight and everywhere where an aluminum rod would be visible were made with furniture tacks. They had the right size and look to them, so I cut off the nail part and epoxied the heads onto the 4 places that needed them.
A little late in the process i figured out that the bottom hinges of the rear plate were far too weak to be able to hold the weight of the front part of the gun when it’s been opened.
So I had to figure something out to displace the pressure. I cut out two strips from an aluminum can and glued them to the outside of the hinge areas, distributing the pull it has to deal with over a bigger area, instead of just at the tip. Sorta ghetto, but it works.
While we’re at noticing things I forgot, the stock butt plate was missing!
Luckily, it wasn’t that big of a deal to glue, shape and paint another piece of MDF at the end of the stock.
Please leave me a comment if you have something to say, I’d love to hear what you think, good or bad.
Also here’s a sneak peek at something else I’ve been working on for a while too, which should be finished very soon! Take a guess at what it might be (Psst, it’s from Majora’s Mask).