I’ve been lurking around the forums for a while, but now I finally have something to post now that I’ve finished my first E11 build. This will be quite picture heavy and rather than speak volumes on my step by step I figure I’ll let the majority of the pics speak for themselves.
As a kid, like most of us I’d always had an attraction to the original Stormtroopers and in particular their E11 blasters. Years ago I’d gotten ahold of the Kenner toy blaster (since my parents wouldn’t buy it for me back in the day because it was so expensive) and that held me off as a display for a while, but once I got on board with the Anovos TK armor I used that as an excuse to construct something way more accurate.
Initially I’d considered buying a cheaper ready-made E11 but between lack of realism and to me, being overpriced, I decided to go the Doopy route. I’d have preferred getting a real Sterling and building that way, but between legalities and expense I had to take that off the table. However, I did decide I’d really wanted a folding stock. Even though the TKs aren’t seen on film with the stock unfolded it would bug me knowing that I couldn’t unfold it, especially given that my toy Kenner blaster had one, for God’s sake.
So I decided to look for a Sterling stock to add to the Doopy kit once I got it and it snowballed from there. In my search for the stock I found a deal on a chopped up Sterling with various parts, including the stock. I jumped and ordered it.
My goal upon starting the build was to use as many of the real Sterling parts in the construction of the E11 as I could, however impractical adding those parts may be. If it were possible for me to extract the Sterling part in some way, I’d try to add it, even if it meant a lot of extra time and trouble for a relatively small payoff. In the end I was able to use not only the real Sterling stock, but also the bayonet lug, the end cap, the front nose with front sight, the rear site, end cap lug, trigger assembly/grip/magazine intake port, and ejection port and front flash guards. All of which added significantly to the look and heft of the final product. Another thing I’d really wanted was a functional optic. Unfortunately, as you all know the ones used on the original props are hard to come by and pretty overpriced so I found an M38a2 and made the M38 modifications to it for the build. Also of issue was the counter. I’d really wanted a legit Hengstler counter but the asking price for those was just too unreasonable in the end, and considering how much things had added up to this point I couldn’t justify the added expense. So I opted to use the doopy counter and do some heavy mods to it, as you’ll see.
In the end, I think this project came out way better than I’d initially expected. It’s not 100% complete yet, there are a few touch ups and fixes I need to get to (like the hinge screws for the stock, for example), a flat clear protective coat, and I also have some electronics I will be adding for legit “pew, pew” E11 sounds, but cosmetically it’s pretty much done. So let’s start from the beginning:
Here’s how everything arrived. Doopy kit and the Sterling parts.
The first thing to do was to decide what Sterling parts would be usable and decide how to make everything fit together. The good news is that most of the parts would work pretty well with some modifications. The handle/trigger assembly, the end cap, stock, and the magazine port would go on pretty easily with minimal work. But other parts like the nose/front site would require more effort by cutting the resin nose off and carefully fitting them together like a jig-saw puzzle pieces.
Here’s a mock-up of the various parts I had in the beginning:
I decided to start off by working on fitting the grip/trigger assembly. Initially I was hoping to figure a way to incorporate the ejection port guard in to everything in one piece, but it just wasn’t possible. Instead, in order to preserve as much of the Sterling and add some stability to the build I cut out and grinded the grip and magazine intake to fit the resin barrel. In the end this was a good decision and fit very well after a few hours of grinding to get a nice fit. Then I drilled holes in the bottom to screw and secure it in place (I added E6000 glue as well right before the final attachment before painting. It’s not going anywhere). Before painting I’d smoothed out the seams with bondo and everything looked good.
After this, I decided to work on fitting the Sterling stock. I’d seen a few posts from others that attempted adding the folding stock to their Doopy builds and in my opinion they’d made the hinge modification more difficult than it needed to be by trying to replicate the way the Sterling actually worked. After removing the original hinge (no pics, sorry), I simply drilled pilot holes in the Doopy barrel and used heavy duty screws with washers to attach it. Of note, one of the few things left in this build will be to either find better matching rivet-like screws or to modify these to better match the original, but that’s not done yet in these pics as you can see.
Another note: There are definitely areas of this build where I didn’t take any or enough pics to document, but I’ll try to explain at least. One of those areas I didn’t get to take a pic was modifying the resin barrel to accept the clip of the folding stock. As mentioned, the Sterling SMGs being steel, the outer barrel was much thinner than the resin can be, so I had to use my dremel to carefully thin out this front area to allow the stock to remain in place when in the folded position. If you go too thin it’ll split due to weakening, but if it’s too thick it won’t latch properly. It took some trial and error but at this time it’s perfect. Also, the rear end-cap from the Sterling fit perfectly on the rear of the Doopy barrel without modification. This was a nice surprise and allowed the stock to clip in to place for the open position with strength and security I wouldn’t have gotten as easily with the resin cap. Here’s some of the pics from this:
Once I had the stock squared away for the time being I focused on removing the various metal parts I’d be using from the Sterling to fit on to the build. After spending an entire afternoon using grinders and cutting wheels to remove and fit these various things appropriately I began to cut out the corresponding shapes in the Doopy barrel to fit and accept them. This was a bit time consuming and nerve-racking, especially the nose. Once the “jig-saw” puzzle parts were cut out as they should I began to glue them in place. These being the front nose/sight, the rear sight, clip for the barrel end-cap, ejection port guard, and the bayonet lug. When said and done I think it looked pretty good and the project was starting to take shape.
Resin dust is nasty stuff, so use protection! ;-)
All the while I’m working on this early part of the build I’m constantly thinking of how the next phases of the build would go and how I’d pull it off. There were a couple of areas I couldn’t quite think of how I’d pull it off. One area that was stumping me was the bolt and the detail. Being that I wanted to use as much of the Sterling as possible I really wanted to add the real bolt which goes inside the outer barrel of the Sterling. Unfortunately, the real sterling barrel housing being steel is MUCH thinner than the resin Doopy and try as I may to come up with a method, I simply couldn’t get it to work. I even used a 1-inch drill bit to try to thin out the barrel enough to fit it in. The plan was to make it thin enough to fit the bolt and then reinforce the now-very-thin resin with liquid resin to paint on the inside. This was quite scary and I would NOT recommend anyone try thinning out their build because I nearly destroyed my barrel in the process. Fortunately only a 1-inch chunk was ripped out and was an easy fix (sorry, again no pics of this mess up, but you can see the outline of the chunk in the below picture). The bad news was that eventually I resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn’t/shouldn’t use the real bolt, but the good news was that since I’d (barely) succeeded in hollowing out the barrel I could now at least use the real Sterling bolt spring and its metal plug that fit in to the real bolt. This was a nice detail and saved me the effort of fabricating a decent-looking spring by allowing me to use the real deal. Plus, the thinning of the barrel made for a more realistic look for the cocking channel. This is a pic of the process at this point. You can see the cracked area and an ugly looking channel. Eventually it all worked out and the channel is a more smooth/even thickness and that crack is completely undetectable in the finished build:
After this mock-up I took the spring out, cleaned out the channel and reinforced the inside with more liquid resin.
Continuing my issue with the bolt, you probably know that the casted resin bolt detail on the Doopy isn’t very good. It’s wrong in its detail and it’s not even complete. I’ve seen some people fabricate a fake bolt with PVC tubing which looked quite good when complete but I wanted to try something different.
The real bolt is also quite heavy, probably 1-1/2 lbs. While adding heft, the final product as-is is nearly 6lbs, so this would’ve nearly made the E11 completely impractical to carry. So after I’d decided using the real bolt wouldn’t work I even tried making a resin mold of the actual bolt so I could fake the look with a slightly smaller/lighter version, but in the end it just didn’t look/fit right. So in the end I opted to grind off the doopy bolt detail and use bondo to make the existing Doopy bolt ejection port “bolt” look more realistic, then sculpted the remainder at the rear with bondo which is visible through the cocking channel. I secured the weenie with a small wooden dowel and poured the bondo around it and did the sculpting. It took a while and a bit of trial and error, but I think it came out pretty decent.
Around this time I also started working on making an internal barrel to be visible through the vent holes of the outer barrel. This was a small pain to do because I did thing a bit out of order, and securing the barrel in place while the glue dried took some effort. After brain storming I got a short length of PVC the appropriate diameter of the real Sterling barrel, painted it black, and cut it to the appropriate length. Because I would be plugging the interior of the resin barrel with my fabricated bolt with bondo and because I needed a bit of space near the magazine port to stuff some electronics for the lights/sound boards this PVC barrel had to be the perfect length. Again, some pics are short for this part but you’ll get an idea of what I did. I’d ran a long wood dowel the exact diameter of the PVC (I think ¼ inch?) through the PVC. Then I wrapped duct tape around that dowel until it was just wide enough to fit in the inside of the resin barrel. Then I crammed the whole thing to glue the barrel in place. The dowel assembly allowed it to stay against the nose on the inside of the barrel while keeping the whole thing centered while it dried.
Next up was the scope. As mentioned, I couldn’t get ahold of an M38, so I got the next best thing: An M38A2. Of course, this meant I had to modify it a bit to better match the M38, so I sanded the middle section, filled in the appropriate areas with bondo and began the sculpting process using the resin scope and internet pictures of actual M38s as a guide.
Eventually, I would use bronze metalflake to spray these bondo’d areas and repaint it black. The anticipated weathering would allow the bronze to shine through in places. In the end it came out a bit better than I’d expected.
Another area that was bugging me was the counter. I couldn’t justify spending more cash than I’d already blew on parts to this point, and considering real counters run upwards of another $150, it was clear that I’d have to make due with the resin one, but the Doopy counter leaves much to be desired. The bottom wasn’t cast properly, there was no reset button, and other detail, most obvious being the numbers. After some thought I decided to get a couple of pitch counters from a sporting goods store and dissected them for their number wheels to install in the resin counter. I hollowed the counter out as needed to fit the number wheel I’d made and covered with plexiglass that would be shaped and polished. I also dremel’ed out the missing channels on the bottom and fabricated a button. Then drilled holes for the requisite brass screws. A bunch of filling putty and/or bondo to smooth it all out and make it look somewhat correct was the finishing touch before painting.
During another gap in photo-taking, I managed to do some bondo and filler work on some parts of the blaster and did more metal-work to build the rail bracket for the scope and counter. At this point the time was ripe for a mock-up:
The last element to work on before final painting and construction was the power cylinders. Again, the Doopy cylinders as shipped aren’t too impressive, so using images from a few other’s builds as guides I added some details to mine. I started by grinding off the molded “nuts” on the ends of the cyliders and installed real metal nuts and the ends of bolts. They’re a bit larger than what you usually see, but I kinda liked it that way better, which is why I made it that way, although in the end I shortened the bolts quite a bit. Another advantage of adding the real nuts/bolts was that I could attach the final wiring to the cylinders from the counter as you’ll see in the end. I also added some fabric wiring to the rear of the cylinders and painted everything up.
I was finally nearing the home stretch and was ready to really go to work on filling in the various seams and other bondo work. When that was complete I started priming and painting. The biggest pain in the an impolite person was taping off the rails, but it was worth it to get that delineation between the gun metal/flat black and the glossiness of the rails.
Of course, between priming coats I was able to find and fix any glaring flubs with bondo/filler. From there I reprimed and started working on the color coats. I began by painting the entire thing steel-colored and gunmetal, as I would be doing some weathering afterwards to make this thing look quite used and a bit hodge-podge in its construction. I wanted the natural weathering of scratches, etc. to expose the metal color underneath.
Now, finally ready to spray the combination of flat black and just a bit of gun metal coloring:
All parts were now ready for assembly after painting the bolt steel/gunmetal. You’ll also notice the correct magazine painted in the back, since the Doopy one is terrible. Something I was trying to do was to keep as many of the real Sterling components unpainted and exposed as possible considering the authentic look was too good to cover, but I wanted it to match the rest of the blaster enough as to not look TOO out of place. After weathering the final product should look like it’s been around the block a few times and perhaps with a few replacement parts that were put on over the years.
And finally, the unveiling after full assembly and where we are today. I still plan on putting a flat clear coating over appropriate areas, fixing those stock hinge bolts, and finish adding the electronics and perhaps I’ll do a follow up post then.
Finally, some of you may be wondering what this thing feels like. Well, it’s quite solid, and as you might expect, kind of heavy. …Nearly 6lbs heavy! It’d be closer to 7-8lbs with a real steel barrel or if I were able to add that Sterling bolt as initially planned, so I’m happy with it where it’s at. And no, I’m not really intimidated about carrying this around trooping (that’s what the holster will be for if my arm gets tired) and if those real soldiers could walk around with an 8lb SMG then I suppose I can try to suck it up. But worse case, I’ve got a vintage Kenner Stormtrooper blaster I can use if need be. But after all this time, effort, and money I’ve put in to this build I’m not likely to just let it collect dust on a shelf somewhere! ;-)
So, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this write up as much as I dug doing it. Many thanks to the many folks that have contributed their own builds on FISD that I looked to for suggestions and advice while doing this, my very first build. Hopefully this post of my build will be of some use to others doing their own. Now, to get back to waiting for my first set of armor to arrive so that I can start on THAT build and hopefully get admitted to the 501st with this blaster at my side!