That being said, I have officially entered the world of costume accessories. What exactly are costume accessories? I'll explain. When your average geek wants to dress up as their favorite character or style, second-hand clothes from the local thrift outlet and some pins will only go so far. There needs to be an extra pop, something that really sells the costume. Most of the time this comes in the form of accessories, or doodads. For instance, a gangly teenager in a brown robe is just a sad, sad person, but, as soon as you add that homemade lightsaber hilt at his utility belt, he becomes something more, a Jedi Knight, guardian of the galaxy. A girl in a corset and top hat is just a goth, until you add the brass and leather goggles. Then she transforms into a swashbuckling steampunk princess.
Sometimes the process goes the opposite direction (the accessory comes first), and this is where the purpose of this post comes in. For years and years I've looked at the Nerf brand Maverick NEV-6 hand gun, a surprisingly well-designed toy, despite a horrid color palette. It's like some corporate stuffed shirt dropped the ball and accidentally let a good design go to production, despite their best efforts to keep the good life from 10 year-olds everywhere. (Seriously, what's up with some of the crap toys they make now?) Anyway, I've always wanted to buy one of the Mavericks, if for no other reason than my inner 10 year-old would have loved it back in the day. They just didn't have such things back then. (On a side note, have you ever seen the Nerf battle axes and maces they carry now? I would have killed for one.)
Even though the Maverick goes for only $9.99, I've somehow never been able to justify the money spent on it, so I sigh, then put it back on the shelf. Until this last week, that is. I am proud to announce, I am the new owner of a pink and rosy, bouncing baby Maverick NEV-6. We're so happy.
Okay, I realize that this post has meandered quite a lot, and you have yet to find out what my obsession over a child's toy has to do with anything. I hear that. So here we go, this is what it's all about:
|Bam. Nerf. Steampunk. Accessories. Geek. It all ties in.|
That there is a heavily modified Nerf Maverick SEV-6, bought for $9.99. It's been sanded, painted, and given an overall ridiculous amount of love. I don't usually indulge in--erm--harsh language on my blog, but there's only one word for that: badass. I dare you, think of another word that better describes the above. Now, before I go any further, I need to say that the photo is not mine, the gun is not mine, and the skill is definitely not mine. This was borrowed from Google, and all credit goes to the maker, not me.
So how does one make such an amazing steampunk accessory? I'll show you. First, you start with a healthy dose of self confidence. Yeah. You gotta be okay that you're taking your first steps into the murky waters of geekdom. Then, you go buy a Nerf Maverick NEV-6. Hunt through your couch cushions for change, go ahead, I'll wait.
Good, now you have your pistols, lay them out on the table and gaze upon your precious diamonds in the rough.
|These are mine. Fresh from the box.|
Then put them aside and head out to your local hardware store. This is where you need more money, so go to work or something. Go to the hardware aisle and start browsing. You want to find bits and bobs, doodads and oddments. Nuts, bolts, cogs, plastic/copper tubing, buttons, dials, anything else of the like. Put them in your cart and pretend you're doing some kind of real home improvement project so no one bothers you. Grab some sandpaper (80 coarseness worked well for me), and a bottle of spray paint. Make sure it's paint that can bond to plastic. Preferably something cool like metallic bronze, copper, or silver. You'll also need a utility knife. A sharp one. I mean, really sharp. Don't use the rusty one that's been in your toolbox forever. Get some new blades. You will be using this to cut some plastic nibs later on.
Then head out to your local hobby or craft store. Get some super glue and a small bottle of acrylic paint, probably something a little darker and less metallic than the can you bought at the hardware store. This will be used for detail and weathering work. Buy all the things with the money you earned doing whatever it is you do for a job.
When you get home, contain your excitement. Really, calm down before you drop something. Lay everything out on the table again.
|Yes, I got too excited, and stuff flew everywhere.|
This next step is kind of hard. You have to visualize what you want your gun to look like. It's called creativity. Take all the doodads and begin setting them out on the gun. Change them around; scoot them, slide them, place them. Find a configuration of tubing and cogs, nuts and bolts, then remember it.
Now, take the baby--er--gun apart. It's okay, really, just do it. However, make sure you keep track of all the screws. You will need a pretty small screwdriver. If you're smart, you'll take a picture of the innards before you dismantle them. That way you can put them back together easily.
|Only the cover has been removed in this picture.|
You want to lay both sides out flat and begin gluing the details you bought at the hardware store onto the gun. Make sure you are very careful with the super glue. Seriously, it's strong stuff. Read the warnings on the tube. Once that's done, let the pieces dry; it should only take a minute or so.
Next up is painting. There are a lot of considerations involved in this step, so I won't go over them all. Just be smart and make sure you're following the instructions on the can of paint you purchased. Consider ventilation, the wind, surrounding objects, your clothing, etc. I used a garbage bag under the gun and just painted the crap outta it. Keep in mind there are moving parts inside. If you spray the inside of the pieces, or just get too enthusiastic, you risk gumming things up. Spray the dart cartridge separately, as well as the trigger. Once again, follow the instructions for letting the paint dry.
|Get every nook and cranny.|
That's as far as I've gotten so far. Tonight I'll continue with the rest of the steps, and post the results. Stay tuned!