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Maraís Blasters

In the comic books, Mara owns a collection of weapons that would make any pirate jealous. Some of the weapons she is seen with include a BlasTech DL-44, a BlasTech DL-18, a BlasTech E-11 Rifle, and a very small holdout pistol made to go in a sleeve holster. She also has a square-nosed blaster that seems to be a favorite for the various artists. This blaster goes in a holster on the back of her belt and I really like the look, so I selected that blaster for my second Mara costume. Many Mara Jade costumers use airsoft pistols for this costume prop, and I've seen some very close approximations to it. I like to make things from scratch, however, so I set about making a blaster of my own.


First, I looked for some good reference pictures. I found that the images of the squared nosed blaster changed from book to book, from page to page... and that same blaster even looked different in different panels on the same page! So, once again I had to make my own interpretation of how the various images could come together for one cohesive look.






Once I had settled on the design, I began building my blaster. The core is made of pieces of scrap melamine we had in the workshop. The details were then built on top of that with different thicknesses of scrap styrene. The large and small barrel pieces were made with wood dowels cut in half. The blaster muzzle was made by cutting a small piece off a piece of aluminum tubing. Everything was glued together with Superglue, and the process was sped up with a few drops of Superglue Accelerant. The tools I used were an exacto knife, a dremel, small files, the band saw, and a mouse sander. That's it!



Please note:  I offer this tutorial to help other costumers build their own prop blasters.  I do not mind at all when girls make a blaster that looks like mine, and I offer advice to them on a regular basis.  This is my personal design, though, so please do not copy it if you are just planning to mass produce blasters to sell online.  Iíve had that done with my design before, and I was surprised at how much it upset me.  The replica blaster was being sold for more than what I charge for mine, which I probably could have taken as a compliment... but still, it hurt, and I really donít want to go through that again.



In this picture the trigger guard is being held on with a piece of tape so that I could check the fitting. I didn't glue it on permanently until I'd added the trigger, so that I could have plenty of working room.






The small barrels were the hardest part to make. Filing the low areas between the sections to look even on both sides of the blaster was a real challenge. It also took several attempts to shape the trigger correctly and get it glued on in the right place. Then when I finally did manage to make it look exactly the way I wanted, my two year old nephew decided to pull the trigger... and snapped it right back off again!






Once I had finished adding details and sealing the last few gaps with green modeling putty, I gave the blaster two coats of primer, sanding it with a very fine grit sandpaper between coats. Then, I gave it a third coating of primer, spraying a very thick layer this time so that it would build up an interesting texture, which I felt looked better than the super-smooth plastic look the styrene had given it.






After finishing the blaster and giving it a few coats of sealant, I made a silicone rubber mold... and I was finally ready to begin casting resin copies of my blaster design.







If you would like to see a tutorial about how I created this silicone mold, it is on the Flagship Eclipse website, located here:


Making a Two-Part Silicone Mold




To finish a resin casting of the blaster, I started by filling in the little air bubbles and imperfections in the resin and sanded the repairs smooth. Then I washed the blaster to remove any traces of oil or dust on the surface, and gave it a coat of flat black. On top of the black I airbrushed a very light coating of gunmetal, which gives the blaster a more metallic look and really accents the details.


I am very happy with the way it came out!