ATTENTION! Please read this article carefully and obey the law.
Caution: Replica weapons are covered under law. BEFORE MAKING ONE, check with your own local authority.
I contacted the authority in my state and was provided advice on an individual basis, according to my circumstances. – IF YOU WISH TO DO SIMILAR, you need to check your own states legislation and regulations!
ACT (Canberra) residents go to firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any queries.
If one is to to build a life-size Viper, I suppose it’s fitting to make the pilot’s uniform, including accessories.
One of those accessories is a bit of a hairy that could land you in trouble if you rush in blindly. The sidearm.
I penned an email to my local authorities on the legalities of replica handguns and my particular case. Obviously it is different in other countries and even in different states within a country. (See warning above).
At the moment, replica pistols are prohibited, except in approved/special circumstances where a permit is required, but that only applies to certain weapons. (Check your own state authorities on this)
I asked about building a solid replica out of wood, (no moving parts), resin or cast aluminium, painted up to look the part.
I got the go-ahead and built one out of layers of plywood and body-filler. To make it compliant in all states, I am chopping the centre part out of it, then permanently fixing the back end of the pistol in the top of the holster, with only an inch of the muzzle end poking out of the other end of the holster. There is no need to draw this replica out of the holster and wave it around.
There are a couple of variants of the Viper Pilot’s standard pistol sidearm. One that looks futuristic and the other very similar to a modern automatic pistol.
I used layers of plywood and car-bog, (filler), wood glue and a couple of screws and nails. Finished with chrome silver spray paint with some coats of cheap mat black. Later I will, “Scuff” it up with sandpaper, exposing some of the silver on corners and give it some wear and tear.
The next job is to cut it neatly on the bandsaw and remove the central portion of the replica, so it is not a complete pistol. Then it will be glued/screwed into the top of the holster, giving the appearance of a complete sidearm.
Much as the hand made sidearm was fun, it’s s bit rough and a bit big. Today I had the opportunity to use a CNC router and some craftwood to see how a 3D stl file would turn out. Thanks Dean N for the file and Mark G, the CNC operator. The second side will be machined tomorrow hopefully.
To make this one legally compliant, I will not be fixing the two halves together permanently. They will reside on wall plaques in their two separate halves for storage, but clamp together with earth-magnets for events.
Below are some reference pictures, gleaned from a Google image search.