Welcome to my tutorial on how to build a Caitlyn gun! I didn’t follow any other tutorials for this weapon in particular, but would be happy to answer any questions you have! Feel free to leave them in the comments section.
I’ve included some recommendations for other techniques that you can use for certain parts of the gun, but I don’t have a whole lot of experience with some them. So, I apologize in advance if I can’t answer questions related to those techniques. If you do end up wanting to use other techniques I’ve mentioned here, though, remember to do your research before buying materials!
Let’s get started!
The size of this rifle is based on the in-game model. I used lolking.net to view a 3D model of Caitlyn with her rifle and took several screenshots for reference. I overlapped 3-4 images to create my best outline of the different shapes making up the rifle. I also used these images as a guide for creating all the shapes as close to scale as possible.
You can find my reference gallery on Imgur.com.
Rifle Dimensions (closest rounded measurement)
Total Weight: 3.8 lb.
Total Length: 53 in.
Main Barrel Length: 15 in.
Second Barrel Length: 8.75 in.
Total Action Length (including gears): 25 in.
Main Action Length: 15.5 in
Trigger: 7.25 in
Stock: 14 in.
- Large Sketch Pad – 24″ x 36″
- Insulation board – 2 panels
- X-Acto Knife (or a blade at least 1 inch long) + additional blades
- Sandpaper – Medium and Fine grit
- Bronze Studs
- Worbla (I had scraps from a previous project and used about 70% of a new sheet in the largest size they make)
- Heat gun (hair dyer might work, but it’d probably take a loooong time, would not recommend)
- Hot Glue Gun + Glue sticks
- Acrylic paint – Copper, brown, gold, teal, black, white, orange (for a dot on the barrel tip)
- Paper Mache – Newspaper, water + Elmer’s Glue
- Mask for mouth+nose & safety goggles for cutting/sanding insulation board (always use protection!)
Final cost: around $150
The Stock and Action
Using the large sketch pad, I sketched an outline of the stock and action of the rifle as one single piece. This enabled me to gauge the stock length in comparison to the action length.
I cut out the outline sketch and placed it onto the insulation board. I traced the outline of the paper pattern using a pencil very lightly (hard pressure can dent the board) onto the board. Wearing a mask and goggles**, I used an X-Acto knife to cut along the sketched lines on the insulation board. This took several cuts to get through the board. The idea is to move slowly and be patient so you get a clean cut. You don’t have to push down too hard. The sharper the blade, the better. Over time the blade will dull, and it will start to snag on the foam. This snagging can cause you to have some lumps on the inside of the foam. I did end up having a few of these. I’ll speak on what I did to help with that further down in the tutorial.
**Insulation foam is toxic and you do not want to breathe in the shavings. Wear protection!
The stock+action piece ran the FULL LENGTH of the insulation board. Once it was cut, I added another section to the front of it since it was not long enough to account for the entire action section based on the reference photos/guide sketch I was using. To get the length I wanted, I basically eye-balled the extra piece and then trimmed it until I was satisfied with the total length of the stock/action. In total, the main action length before adding in the triangle pieces (angled pieces mentioned below and shown in the photo below) near the stock is 15.5 in.
I cut out two additional pieces for the action (reusing the stencil, but not tracing the stock of the rifle) that were hot glued to both sides of the rifle. Insulation foam melts under high heat which means you will want to move quickly with the glue. Cover the surface of the foam with enough glue so that you won’t have to glue a second time. I lined up the secondary action pieces (securing one side at a time) and made sure to squeeze the pieces together to close the gap.
The back of the action near the stock is angled slightly. I cut some small triangle shapes and added them to the action. You can see them in the image above.
At this point, the action has a lot of right angles to it. Based on the reference photos, there is a subtle rounded edge on all sides of the action. I slowly trimmed the edges of the action at a 45 degree angle until it was close to the angle I wanted. I used a medium grit sandpaper to sand down and even out the edge as best as possible. I used a high grit sandpaper to make it as smooth as possible. This insulation foam breaks down to almost dust. Also, the friction from the sanding will cause most of the insulation foam to stick to your hands and clothes. I’m not sure if it being winter caused it to be as bad as it was, or if that’s just a thing that it does. It gets really messy, really fast so do this in an area that is easy to clean! Remember your face protection!
There are two gears in the middle of the rifle, one slightly smaller than the other. They are octagon in shape (8 sided). The largest octagon had an intended 1.5 inch length per side (8 total sides) and the smallest gear would have 1 inch in length per side. When I measured it all out and started drawing the shape, things got a little wonky and some sides didn’t quite end up the right length. I probably should have used a protractor to measure out the angles properly, and then continued to extend the lines out until I got the intended equal length.
I made two of the large octagons, glued them together, and then sanded just as I had with the butt and body. I did the same thing for the small octagon.
Between the two gears is a small section of the action and then even more action after the smallest gear. If you look closely, it appears that the action tapers down in size; starting from the main action, to the section between the gears, to the end where the barrels are connected. It is a very slight and gradual size change.
I made 5 equally sized ovals and followed the same pattern as before: sketching the initial shape, cutting it out of the insulation foam, trimming to the desired size and shape and repeating 4 times. The section between the gears is 1 piece, and the end of the rifle is 4 pieces hot glued together. I trimmed the 4 ovals down individually before gluing them together. To maintain consistency, I used one piece as the reference shape for all the remaining shapes. Once I finally felt they were close enough in shape, I glued them together for sanding. Ultimately, I didn’t trim down the end piece (i.e. the 4 ovals glued together) to make the size difference apparent, because I felt that if had trimmed it down more, the end of the rifle would have been too small. I made a judgement call to keep them close in size as I was looking at all of the pieces I had made up to this point as a whole.
Yes, the barrels are also made of foam. I could have used a wooden dowel or copper tubing or anything that was already a tube shape, BUT the insulation foam is very very light. The dilemma I had was that I had already glued the main body together so there was no way to just carved out a hole for the dowel to go into. I had originally planned to do paper mache for a hard coat because I wanted to be as frugal as I could, but I was pretty sure the weight of 2 wooden dowels would have caused the handle of the rifle to break off when I held it if I had used paper mache to hold it all together. I think wooden dowels could work and would cut down on the amount of trimming and sanding that was required to make the two barrels as round and smooth as possible. Each piece, however, would need a groove for the dowel to run the length of the rifle to ensure the weight of the dowel is semi-evenly distributed along the rest of the gun. Another notable (and probably obvious) difference with using a dowel vs foam is that the total weight of the rifle will be greater. If you want to make it break down for easy transporting, then I’d go with the dowels no matter what.
Each barrel is composed of two 15 inch long pieces of insulation foam glued together, trimmed into cylinder shapes, and sanded down. The second barrel underneath was trimmed down to be slightly shorter than the top one once the initial cylinder shape was created. It was a very slow and tedious process. I drew circles on the ends of each barrel as a guide of how much I should trim off. I checked and rechecked the cylinders for any raised areas that needed trimming before moving on to sanding.
The bottom barrel has an angled fat tip. I can’t give a good explanation on how to carve this shape other than an angled oval that is slightly larger than the diameter of the barrel. I carved the shape directly out of the 2 glued together pieces and did not add any additional foam to create the shape.
Based on the model viewer, the main barrel has a bit of a cone shaped end. I planned to make this as an attachment. The reason for this is because a lot of conventions require guns to have an orange tip. Now, this gun is obviously ridiculously huge, cartoony looking, and doesn’t have a trigger to make it more apparent it doesn’t fire, but I want to play by the rules. I planned to leave the cap off as I walked around conventions and if I ever did a legit shot with Caitlyn, I would put the cap on to cover the orange.
The Hammer and Rear Sight
For the hammer, I started by tracing the outline shape onto the foam and then cut a square shape out around the outline. Once I carved out the basic shape, I carved at as close to 45 degree angles making sure they meet as close to the middle of the square as possible to give it a 3D shape for the main hammer. The hammer sits on top of a half circle. I cut out a 1″ in diameter semi circle and then followed the same techniques used up to this point of trimming to get the shape cleaner. I did not round the edges of the semi-circle. The bottom of the hammer (the stick) was carved down to a cylinder with the very bottom of the cylinder being slightly smaller than the width of the semi circle. I had to do some small adjustments to get them to be flush against one another.
The rear sight is just a triangle with around a 65 degree angle. That was easy!
Everything was sanded as needed.
The Bolt Cover and Bolt Handle
The bolt handle is the lever on the right top side of the rifle. I created 2 pyramid shapes and glued them together. I added a tapered cylinder about 3 inches in length to one side. If you notice in my final images, I painted on the bolt cover. This wasn’t my original plan. I had cut out some pieces from thinner sheets of craft foam that I had planned to attach as the bolt cover since they were bendable unlike the insulation boards. Once I glued everything together and got to a point where I needed to paint and apply the foam, I was very pressed for time (less than 24 hours til attending). I needed to paint the gun and the foam, let it all try and then attach. It was very apparent that wasn’t going to work in time, so I made the decision to simply paint the bolt cover instead of adding extra craft foam.
Had I done things differently knowing Worbla would be used, I would have created the bolt cover piece, wrapped it in Worbla and then applied it before I even started painting. I plan to try and add this at a later date.
The Trigger Guard
The trigger guard was carved as one whole piece. I traced the shape onto foam and then cut it out. I cut out the middle as carefully as possible. Once removed, I began to carve down the base of the trigger guard so it was thinner than the top portion of the guard that would be glued to the underside of the rife. I kept it relatively boxy and did not do huge rounded corners. The only place that I did a rounded edge was on the top edges that attach to the underside of the rifle.
For the magazine, I sketched the magazine shape directly on the foam board (since I mostly eyeballed it) and then cut it out. The magazine is wider on the bottom than it is at the top. I had already sanded down the action of the gun, so I needed to remove some of the inside of the top of the magazine in order to get the two to fit together a little better.
I created the outer casing for the magazine AFTER Worbla was applied to the rifle. This is because Worbla adds thickness and needed to be considered in my measurements. I’ll explain this part of creating the magazine later in the process so that it follows the order in which I created everything.
Glue all the foam together
Hot glued, one section at a time, all of the insulation foam that I’d carved out. At this point, I had 80% of the rifle form. I decided not to add the scopes yet because I knew one scope laid down a bit. Having that scope attached to the rest of the gun would prevent me from being able to paint the pieces properly.
Make it smoooooooth and heat resistant!
Insulation foam melts under a heat gun, just as it does with hot glue. Since Worbla requires heat to become malleable, I decided to cover the entire foam base of the rifle in paper mache. This acted as a buffer between the Worbla outer layer and the foam inner layer and helped prevent any damage to the inner core as I worked the Worbla on the outside with the heat gun.
I had acquired some cardboard tubes from a large format printer at work. I cut rings that were about an inch wide from the largest tube I had.
Before the Worbla…
On the stock of the gun, there appears to be a small raised area. I’m guessing it’s raised since it felt like it should be! So, I used the 3mm foam sheet and laid it on the stock of the gun (just as I mentioned I did for the magazine) to measure the length of the piece. Once I got the general shape, I refined it little by little until I got the shape I wanted. I took the first shape I created, traced it on the foam, and cut out a second one for the other side of the gun. Finally, laying one of the shapes on the stock and pressing the foam sheet to the underside of the stock, I measured the piece needed to connect the two.
Once all three pieces matched up, I hot glued them to the stock.
What more can I say. I cut out pieces of Worbla, laid it on the gun and heated it up, then molded it where I needed it to go. The largest pieces were the stock of the gun and the barrels. These I cut from a large sheet of Worbla. Everything else was in smaller sections using leftover Worbla or smaller pieces cut out from the large sheet. I used a lot of medium size scrap pieces that I would trim to different shapes. I can’t give you details on sizes I cut out or anything, because it was all based on me trying to use the scraps that I had before using my larger sheet.
Due to my time crunch, I wasn’t able to Dremel down a lot of my bumpy mess ups nor was I able to use wood glue to fill in some of my lines. This is technically my second project with Worbla so I’m still learning how to make this work for me. I’m also learning Worbla isn’t something you should try and throw together. It needs love, attention, and patience to do it well.
For the scopes, I used scraps to create small cube shapes that I attached to the bottom of each scope. One cube I made it more curved on the top to mimic the bend that occurs at hinges when you fold them. For the scope that folded down, I added an extra ring to the middle on the outside to give it a little extra something from the other scope. I did not attach the scopes at this point in creating the rifle. They were the LAST things I put on the rifle.
Also, I had cut out 3 rings, but I looked at a few images and was like “oh, she only has two scopes”, so when I packed my stuff up to head to the hotel, I left the third uncovered ring at home, only to realize as I was applying them to the gun that there were in fact… 3 scopes. /facepalm
I had considered adding plastic to the middle or even using real magnifying glasses, but again, I was trying to be frugal. That would have required me to buy more stuff!
Make it pretty with paint!
If you noticed my materials list, I made a comment about using spray paint and then changing my mind about how it looked and painting over it. This is where that happened. I started painting Thursday night BEFORE the convention. I was scheduled to check into my hotel Friday evening, and my goal was to arrive around 6pm so I could eat dinner and meet up with a few friends.
First, I covered everything in Gesso and did some sanding to give myself a smooth coat and something for the paint to grip to. I spray painted the entire rifle in brown. As a general rule of thumb, you want to paint your darkest color first. I waited an hour and then spray painted some metallic copper very lightly then waited another hour. This is where I began to rethink my entire plan. I knew I had to wait a full 24 hours for the spray paint to dry, but I was putting myself in a position that it was clear I would not finish it in time with such a large wait time. So, I grabbed my white acrylic paint and began to paint the action.
Once complete, I took my black acrylic and painted the solid dark black line down the sides of the gun. Then, made a light grey and began to paint the shadows on the action – near the barrels on the front and the sides of the actions. I slowly spread the grey out and began to add a little more black creating a gradient shadow. Again, I simply referenced the photos I had.
I noticed the white had started to crack a little. I didn’t try to repaint over it, because it had a wood texture. This probably happened because of the spray paint underneath and my constant handling of it before it was dry.
Next, I applied the bronze studs started with the gears. I used the heat gun and applied heat to the middle of one side of a gear until I got a slight bubble of the paint. I pressed the stud into the heated area. I did this for all sides of the gears, the stock, and the action of the rifle.
At this point, I wasn’t liking the light copper that I had spray painted. It was just too light and looked a bit grey. I couldn’t respray since I already had painted on the white. So, I ran to grabbed some metallic copper acrylic paint and repainted over most of the original brown/copper paint.
For the magazine light, I painted a solid teal blue in the middle. Then, dabbed some white into the brushed and pulled it through the middle, basically trying to mix the blue that was already on the magazine with the paint on my brush. I did this a couple of times until I got the highlight I wanted. I then mixed in a little black into my teal and white on my mixing board and added a darker blue border to the inside of the teal box. Finally, I mixed copper and teal to create the glow highlight around the entire teal box.
This is where I then added the outer casing on the magazine. I used the 6mm thick craft foam sheet to craft the outer casing. When looking at the rifle from the side, you’ll notice the left side of the outer casing isn’t as wide as the right. This was 2 large curved rectangles and 2 normal shaped rectangles. In order to get the correct measurements, I had to lay the foam on the magazine and measure the length and width. Because the magazine is larger on the bottom than the top and it is curved, this method allowed me to see what I needed to do to make the outer casing match the curve properly.
Once cut out, I glued 3 of the four sides together leaving one side open so I could slide it on once everything had been painted. I covered the 3 piece section in Worbla, not lining the entire inside. Adding Worbla to the inside edges helped when it came time to add it to the magazine, but I did try to make sure it was as thin as possible. The inside of the casing was a little thicker than I thought when it came time to attach, but while it was still hot, I was able to squeeze it tight enough to make it work. I painted the entire outer casing in the acrylic metallic copper only.
The studs on the magazine were one of the last things I added. They were created using scrap pieces of Worbla that I had cut off from making Caitlyn’s belt buckles. Again, I guessed at the size based on each piece that was created before it, essentially just building on top of what you already have instead of creating all of the pieces upfront and putting it together. I find it is easier make adjustments to my work this way.
I grabbed some scraps, heated them up, rolled them into a ball and then pressed each ball onto the table to create one flat side. I continuously kept pushing the sides up to ensure the round shape stayed while getting a flat edge. These were also painted with the acrylic metallic copper only.
Again, I had planned to add some foam pieces around the top of the magazine where the magazine connects to the gun as the model viewer showed, but just as I had realized with the bolt, this method wasn’t going to work. Doing things differently, I would have wrapped foam in Worbla and attached it to the rifle before I started painting.
Next, I touched up the areas that I had planned to use foam on (the bolt and top of the magazine) using the same methods as I just mentioned – base of metallic copper and a mix of copper and black for shadows.
Finally, I painted the scopes except for the very base of the cubes I had attached in the acrylic metallic paint. Once dried, I used the head gun to heat up the base of the cubes as well as the section of the gun I was applying the scope to, added some hot glue AND super glue and pressed them together. I really wanted to make sure it stayed since it wasn’t technically Worbla sticking to Worbla due to the paint on the rifle. I did have one scope come off; it was the one scope I didn’t use super glue on. Thankfully, I was carrying my hot glue gun around at the convention as a just in case measure that came in handy!!
And THAT is my Caitlyn gun! I’m in the middle of adding in some of the pieces I forgot at home since I finished the painting and assembly in a hotel. I will update with a final image once that is complete!