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I make toys for kids who don't want to grow up. I'm on the lookout for new projects. If you're interested in commissioning me to build something ridiculous, shoot me an email.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Quick and Dirty Prop Build: Jawa Ion Blaster Replica

A while back I was suffering with a rare bit of free time and decided I needed to build myself a Jawa.  I figured it'd be a fun costume for one of my nephews to wear and pretty easy to throw together.

I also needed to make sure that the small child would be appropriately armed.  Because, shockingly enough, I'm the responsible adult in this situation.

Jawas in the original trilogy are seen carrying two different "ion blasters," and I decided to go with this version:
 This is the guy that took down R2-D2.  

The ion blaster he carries is a heavily modified Lee-Enfield rifle.  Since I don't have a Lee-Enfield rifle laying around and didn't feel like destroying an antique firearm for the purpose of making a simple prop replica, I settled on a Denix replica of the rifle as a starting point.

Denix is a Spanish company that makes all manner of replica weapons.  The parts are real wood and metal and at a glance they are all very convincing replicas.  Many of them have moving triggers and actions and removable magazines as you can see here on their Lee-Enfield replica:

You can find them in countless places online, but the best price I found was at replicaweaponry.com
Once I had the rifle in hand, the first thing I had to do was hack it up.  I started by removing as much of the furniture as I could, then took a reciprocating saw to the buttstock:
Ion Blaster Build

Since the barrel is mostly covered by the wooden furniture, Denix didn't bother making most of it.  All I had to cut off was this little nub that was visible behind the upper barrel shroud:

I also cut the foregrip down and whittled out a groove to receive the new custom barrel insert:
Ion Blaster Build

At that point, the rifle was reassembled and looked like so:
Ion Blaster Build

After a little love from the belt sander, the ends were smooth and presentable.  Not too shabby:

Since I'd cut through to the original wood color, I had to stain the cut ends to match the finish of the rest of the wood.  I used this stuff and applied it with a rag:

The final add-on was a replica grenade adaptor barrel replacements from blasterfactory.com.  They offer fully-finished blasters built on Denix replicas as well, but I saved a few dollars by doing the work myself and I was having too much fun mangling things in my shop.  Anyway, here's the finished thing:

Not that it matters, but the bolt action and trigger still function and the magazine is still removable.

Of course, the next thing I had to do was hand this clunky, heavy gun prop to a small child:

When I get a minute, I'm going to print up the powder flask power cell thingamabob.  In the meantime, this guy does a good enough job of filling the holster when I dress up my nephew:
Nephew as Jawa

Just a few more little details and I'll be completely done with this build.  Stay tuned...