Saturday, October 09, 2010

This Week's Project: Golgo 13's Rifle Case

I've actually had this project completed last week. I've just been apathetic to finish up the M16A2 first.

Anyways, each Golgo 13 figure has had the M16 rifle stored in a case. I opted to replicate the Hot Toys version since it best fit the layout for the M16A2. Skynet's version is smaller, but I didn't like how the inside was arranged.
Figure 1: Hot Toys' case (top), Skynet's case (bottom)

I like my cases laid out orderly, with none of this "diagonal part orientation" business. 

There's no point posting the sketches I used to build this case, since they're useless and indecipherable to you; not to mention you're totally not going to build this out of Magic: the Gathering cards.

First, we need to construct the two halves of the case. I did my best to size up the Hot Toys' case to my rifle dimensions, and ended up with a 100mmx50mm case interior with an interior depth of about 22mm. I made the bottom half 13mm deep and the top 9mm deep. Since the footpath of the case is larger than the face of one Magic card, I had to make some extended sheets, featured on the left. This does leave a crease in the face where the two cards join, so we'll need to fix that later. For now, I made both sides 4 cards thick.

To make the walls, I did the same technique as I did with the guitar. I laminated strips around the case backs and taped them down as the glue dried. Since there's a lip where the two case halves meet (it's there to help hold the case together when closed), I made the interior wall 2 cards thick and 1mm off from the remaining 2 outer layers. This gave me a 12mm interior wall height and a 13mm outer wall height for the lower case, and a 10mm inner/9mm outer for the top. After these dried, I glued them to the case backs. I added another sheet to the case backs to overlap the wall edges to help hold the two sides together and to hide the edges.

I did a layout check with the parts to see how they'd look inside. I had determined the layout before drafting the case dimensions, because the reverse order is just a bad idea.

For hinges, I used some Loc-Tite bonded printer paper rolls, made around a paper clip. Each half would be glued to the flat sloped pieces, forming the hinge attachment points. The hinges aren't very strong, but with enough Loc-Tite, they can become stronger. I had some issues getting them to stay on securely, even with notching a groove into the cylinders to better mate with the hinge plates.

For the handle, I stacked 12 cards together and hacked away until they formed a decent looking handle. I used more Loc-Tite to roll up the hinge parts (if you use Elmer's or anything that doesn't form a more solid, plastic bond, the hinges will slowly decay over use). The attachment points were some small wedges of 12 Magic cards with a slight groove cut into them to better stick with the hinge parts.

To handle the seams that resulted from gluing two cards together to make one larger surface, I covered the entire case with a single sheet of 110lb cardstock. I tried printer paper, but I had quality problems with the glue not spreading evenly, resulting in air pockets. 110lb cardstock was more forgiving in spreading the glue without tearing. I cut out sections in the side sheets to allow the hinges to be glued directly onto the case walls without fear of the lower strength paper cover tearing off first.

For the feet, I just cut some 3.175mm diameter (1/8") bamboo sticks about 3mm tall.

Naturally, the rifle case has latches or something to hold it together. Since I'm not happy unless there's some absurd detail added to my stuff, I opted for working latches. Bit of a problem due to the small design space. I made some 2mm diameter hinges around a paper clip, attached to a plate made of two Magic cards bonded with Loc-Tite. This is important, since it'll deform and bend quicker if any other glue was used. Practically makes the hinge plastic.

The hinges swing open enough to clear the pin holes I made to secure the latches together. To lock the latches in, I drilled a 1/16" diameter hole into the latch and the latch plate, and glued a 2mm long paper clip into the latch. The paper clip fits securely into the bottom case plate, and doesn't move easily. It only needs to hold the case shut, not support a massive load, so this solution worked fine.

Here's a better view of the latch. I used a Dremel to sand down the paper clip tip to make it flush with the latch.

To fit all the parts into the rifle case, I needed some foam. I bought a sheet from a craft store for $0.99, which was enough to line about 5 cases. I chose black instead of red since I liked a black lining better. The deep red from the Hot Toys case wasn't a color I could easily get at the craft store anyways. I can use the black foam for other things too. I traced out each part onto the foam, and cut them away with an X-Acto knife. There was a few rough edges after cutting, but they're only noticeable with all the parts extracted. I did my best to smoothen it out by trimming. Didn't work that well, but it was acceptable.

For the M16A2, I finally painted the rifle and all the components. I also finished up the two magazines and added a bullet to the top of each mag. The bullets were made by carving a bamboo stick until it somewhat resembled a 5.56 round. I replicated the 20 round mags from the Skynet rifle, since that was the only one I had a decent photo of for a size comparison. The magazine grip grooves were done by cutting V shaped grooves with a knife, and run about 75% of a Magic card's thickness deep.

Instead of choosing to do what Hot Toys did and make Golgo 13 have the option of assembling the rounder triangular M16A1 grip along with the M16A2 grip, I went for a silencer/suppressor. The second grip option made no sense to me since it would just be a M16A2 receiver with a different hand guard. I'd still know that it wasn't truly what it was supposed to look like and it would annoy me. I also found it odd how neither set gave him a suppressor, even though I would assume he'd have one for the more covert jobs. He clearly used them in numerous occasions, so there should have been one in his case. I reworked the integrated flash suppressor to have slots all around instead of just 2 like the ones the Furuta/Soldiers of the World rifles had. This gave me the opportunity to clean up the dimensions to allow the suppressor to be universal with the Soldiers of the World M4 that I used as a reference. Hooray for interchangeability!

Added costs to the "Golgo 13 for Under $130" project: ~$3 (Matte Black paint and foam sheet)
Total costs so far: $66 (body) + $2 sculpey III head + $3 (XM-177 rifle) + $3 (paint and foam) = $74

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