During my time working on the Chewbacca costume when I didn’t know the Rebel Legion existed I was happy to make a “bowcaster” that was a modified nerf gun toy. I thought I was doing something great and I was really happy to get the bow part from another toy and put it on the gun. However cool I thought I was making this toy (and it still fired darts!) it is a bit of a joke compared to the movie quality things required for the Rebel Legion. Chewy is an awesome costume and he commands so much love from people, but I really need a bowcaster that matches the quality of my wookie. So, it’s time to make a good bowcaster.
There are several kits and outright bowcaster casts that can be purchased (see Wookie Workshop) and they are spectacularly beautiful, and somewhat pricey. However, I enjoy making my own things as much as possible and I thought I could do the bowcaster. I downloaded a good line drawing of the bowcaster and modified it so only the stock was visible. I converted this to a jpg file and sent it to Office Depot with instructions to print it so the length was 28 inches (which is what I heard the real bowcaster was). A word of warning – make sure when they print this out that the depth of the bowcaster stays in the same proportion as the length. I didn’t notice on mine until I was well into the build, but I think the depth of my bowcaster is a little shallow and so the cutout holes in the stock are a little narrow. Not a big deal but not exactly accurate either.
Then I transferred the outline from the paper to a piece of wood. I don’t own a saw capable of cutting curves so I had my wife take it to the wood shop teacher at the high school she worked at (Papillion South – go Titans!). They cut it out for me and I sanded the corners and grip. I used aluminum to form the bow part and again, had the high school cut it to size for me. I bent the bow across my leg to get it in shape and I cut some aluminum tubing for the barrel. I added sections of wood for the scope attachment point. The great thing is that I used that old, crappy bowcaster toy that I had built for the single-point center scope and the scope attachment. I added two Tesco 7×35 scopes to the sides that I had purchased for $7 each from Walmart. I had to make a nose plate out of sculpy and then mold it and recast it in a stronger acrylic. The nose plate and two screws hold the bow on and secure a strap that holds a D-ring for the bowcaster strap. Too late now, but Chewy’s bowcaster seems to have an O-ring and not a D-ring. Oops.
I made the detailing on the sides of the bowcaster out of a wood plate and various sizes of washers stacked up and screwed into the stock. I also went to Guitar Center and got some guitar knobs that I used on the sides. I decided not to put a trigger on it because my gloves for Chewy are pretty bulky and would have trouble fitting in there. After putting it all together I put a coat of primer on everything and painted it black.
The last pieces to put on it were the pink bouncy balls ($1 at Toys R Us). I cut slits in the balls and tried hot glue to hold them on. That was a giant mistake! Hot glue does not work for this application. I then mixed up some JB Weld and tried that. The JB Weld held pretty good. I think this will work just fine. I added a second coat of JB Weld to the seams to reinforce the connection and it seems fairly stable.
Once the balls were secure it was time for a coat of black spray paint. Finally, I added the spiral wires (old cell phone car charger) and the last couple guitar knobs. I found these cool looking gold and clear guitar knobs at Guitar Center and got them for my bowcaster. They are not movie authentic but they look so neat I don’t mind. Gives the bowcaster a little pop of color.
I cast a second nose piece and cut the top off for use as the sight that goes on the end of the barrel. I molded craft foam around it to make the actual sights and used gorilla glue gel to attach it to the barrel. On the back, bottom of the stock I put a piece of webbing with a D-ring and wound some waxed string around it. The final bowcaster (minus the strap) turned out pretty well. I love this thing! It is awesome and I can’t wait to take some photos of my Chewy with the new bowcaster and with our Han Solo.
Also, use proper Bowcaster safety:
The total cost for my bowcaster was about $50.