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Hardware DH-17, aka Rebel Fleet Trooper Blaster

First off the disclaimer... this is not totally screen accurate. It has the feel of the DH-17, is the right size, and has the major features that make the gun recognizable. There are a lot of details it does not have. I encourage you to use this as a guideline to crafting your own prop.

Parts List, Scope

  • 6" 3/4" PVC pipe
  • 3" 3/4" Dowel
  • 1 x 3/4" PVC endcap
  • 1 x 3/4" PVC coupler
  • 2 x 1" Copper pipe hangers
  • plastic cap from a spray bottle

Parts List, Body

  • 15.5" of 1 1/4" PVC pipe
  • 15.5" of 1" PVC pipe
  • 1 x 1 1/4" PVC endcap
  • 6" 3/4" Dowel
  • 1 d-ring / strap holder
  • 3/4" wide, 1/2" thick, ~10" strip of plywood
  • appropriately sized funnel (see below)
  • 1 Nintento Zapper

Misc

  • Rustoleum Plastic spray primer
  • Rustoleum Hammer Finish Silver spray paint
  • Flat black spray paint
  • Bondo
  • Assorted screws/rivets/washers/snaps
  • Assorted scrap plastic (no parking signs from hardware stores work well)
  • Various grits of sandpaper

Making the scope


Take your 3/4" PVC coupler and cut it roughly in half. Right at the middle point there should be a small ridge on the inside of it. Cut just to one side of that line. Take the part that does NOT have the ridge and slide that down to roughly the middle of the 3/4" PVC pipe.

Drill out the end of the 3/4" endcap as shown with a 3/4" bit. Cut a piece of plastic to fit inside the new hole from the inside. You could use clear, but I opted to just go for solid and paint over it.

Depending on which version of the DH-17 you're going for (ANH or RotJ), the scope is pretty different. I went for the look in the Visual Dictionary, that being a black front end. If you want the clear version you'll have to do things differently.

To attach the spray bottle cap to the end of the tube, I filled about 1/2" of the cap with glue, then stuck the 3/4" dowel into it, making sure to keep it centered. That gave me a good solid connection to mount the cap on the scope. Put some glue on the dowel and slide it into the PVC tube. It should at this point be a fairly snug fit.

Assemble the end cap, pipe with coupler, and dowel/bottle cap then use your Bondo / filler of choice to smooth out the lines:


It took me a few layers of sanding/filling to get it "right". This photo is the first coat. The siver bits are a couple of snaps and 2 part rivets that I glued on to make the details on the scope. Drill small holes in the pvc, cover the post on the snap with glue and fit it in.

It's shown here sitting in the clamps that will be used to mount the scope. You could use scope mounts for the scope, rather than pipe clamps, but that felt like cheating to me. Well, that and I would have had to go to a second store if I wanted to get said clamps.

Making the barrel

Finding the right sized funnel to use was basically trial and error. Bring a measuring tape / bit of pipe with you, and just look for a big funnel with a good taper to the end.


Cut the end off of the funnel, and use that for the nozzle. Slightly smaller is better than slightly bigger - putty will smooth it out in the end. I connected the funnel similarly to how I did the end of the scope. I put the dowel into the nozzle as far as it would go - about 1/2" from the end. I then filled the area around the inside of the nozzle with glue and let it dry (again, making sure to keep the dowel centered)

I carved out an opening on the side of the barrel with my dremmel. It's a bit undersized, but I'll live. I slid the 1" PVC inside the 1 1/4" to fill the opening, and give it some extra weight. This can be tricky, as the PVC pipe varies slightly in diameter, and sometimes doesn't fit quite right. In this case it did.


For the scope rail, I drilled out countersink holes in the plywood strip and screwed it down to the barrel. I opted to bevel the corners of the pvc, and notch out the front slightly, just to give it a more interesting look. You could do as much or as little as you want to make it movie-like. Once it was on, out came the putty to smooth it into the barrel, to smooth the connection of the nozzle, and to fill the screw holes on top.

I sanded out the writing on the end of the 1 1/4" endcap, and attached a strap keeper that I had already with a little tab of plastic and a couple of pop rivets.


Next up was mounting the scope. I screwed the copper pipe hangers down to the plywood (and through the PVC as well), and then put the scope on. Hey, it's starting to look like something!

For the ridges on the nozzle, I cut strips of plastic 3/16" wide by 4.5" long, and glued them around the end of the barrel. I made 12, and spaced them out evenly around. I held these down with superglue.


I was going to make the handle out of wood, but then I remembered that I had a Nintendo Zapper in the "cool looking stuff to do something with some day" box. I took it apart to see what was inside. The trigger mechanism was in it's own plastic case that was screwed to the inside of the handle. I took this out, and screwed / riveted it to the barrel in the position that I wanted the handle to be. This took some test fitting and shaping of the case with the dremel.

Once the trigger housing was connected, I cut away the parts of the gun that I didn't need, leaving just the handle. It didn't fit all that well, but in comes the bondo! I filled the handle with it, and used it to fill in the space between the handle and barrel. I really ought to have sanded it out better, but I didn't. So there.


The trigger guard in just a strip of plastic that I heated up and bent into shape, then riveted on.


I skipped taking a picture of the primer, since, well, it was primer. Not so exciting. The hammer finish silver is cool though. It really starts to make it look like metal, and it covers up some imperfections in the surface.

I carefully taped off the border between the silver and the upcoming black paint, so that I'd have a nice clean line. That's the little ring in the photo. After that, I wrapped the end in a plastic bag, taped it up, and started spraying the black, which brings us to the end:


All that is left now is detail painting and weathering. The total materials cost for this project was around $30, and it took about a week of evenings after work to finish it. Not bad at all.

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