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How to: T-21 Blaster scratch build

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Here’s my T-21 blaster tutorial. There hasn’t really been many clear T-21 tutorials, so I thought I would document my build and share it with the Empire!


Keep in mind that this is not a “millimeter” exact replica, it’s the best I could make using many reference photos of actual Lewis guns, screenshots from ANH, and scaling all of the photos in Photoshop to create a template. I preferred not to use photos of T-21’s since most are interpretations, or cast copies of a real Lewis anyways. For any given part, I would gather at least 3 images, and then scale them in Photoshop to the same scale, and take the measurements from inside the software.


Don’t worry about getting every measurement and detail exact. The fact is, only real enthusiasts will know you’re “an eighth of an inch off here”, the average person will know it’s a BFG blaster, so just get on with it. That being said, if you want to go all the way and add every wire and greeblie, go for it. Interpret this template and tutorial as you wish and modify your build to suit your needs. Enjoy the build!


I had to make substitutions for many materials, since not everything is available locally. Always look around the house and see what you can find. The fact is, if we all had machine shops with lathes and CNC machines, making props would be much easier. But part of the fun is sourcing “found” parts and supplies you can use, that’s the SW tradition!


I feel that this is a fairly accurate trooping blaster. If anyone has any more detailed measurements, please feel free to share them so that we can develop a more detailed resource for the T-21 blaster.


With that out of the way, let’s get started! First off is a materials list.



3/4 “ inch thick wood (I used pine shelving)for the main body / receiver

3/8” inch thick wood for the stock (I couldn’t find any, so I used ¼”)

3.5” diameter PVC pipe for the main barrel (I used 3” “Cell core” ABS pipe, which has an outer diameter of approx 3.5”)

3.5” connector (you will cut rings from this)

2.5” diameter PVC pipe for the barrel tip (I couldn’t find any locally, so I took some 3” PVC and cut it down to 2 7/8” diameter)

4” corrugated drain tubing for the barrel (you can use D profile adhesive rubber trim for car doors for more accuracy)

Sheet styrene for details (I used 2mm and 1.5mm a lot)

1.25” piping (small section for the sight)

2” PVC piping (for the chamber or whatever you call it that holds the bullets in the main body / receiver )



Jig saw / scroll saw

Saw for cutting large sections / straight lines




Clamps (spring clamps like you used for armor)

Rivet gun / rivets (1/8”)

Craft / exacto knife


Adhesives, etc.


Wood glue

Plastic weld (styrene glue)


Various screws / bolts (use what you have around the house)

Krylon primer

Krylon satin black

Dark brown for the stock

Gold or silver for the cooling vents

Any other paints you want to weather the blaster (silver, gunmetal, bronze, etc..)



To start, you can use this T-21 template I've created here:




Print it out full size (spread them over several sheets if you need to).


My first issue was creating the front part of the barrel tip. Based on some measurements, it's approx 2.75" to 2 and 7/8" in diameter. i couldn't find anything, so I took some 3" PVC, cut about and inch from the length, and glued it back together.



I've glued, clamped and even rivetted the pipe along the seam to hold the right shape. The rivets are countersunk so bondo will hide them.



Here, I've transferred the template drawing to my 3/4" thick wood



20 mins later with a jig saw yielded this



I cut the wood to proper inner diameter to fit snug inside the ABS barrel pipe



Rough layout of the current parts, use the measurements from the template to cut the drain tube and barrel to size



Cutting the 2 sides for the butt stock from the 3/8" or 1/4" wood



see how they line up, if it's not right - trim them



Glue and clamp the stock halves to the main wood piece




Transfer the template to the wood for the feed plate thing (top part - sorry, I'm not a gunsmith so I don't know the names)



This extra layer stacks on top of the first piece



This last part stacks on top of the previous 2. The rear sight will mount to this



Use some good old wood glue and clamp it shut





Here, I've transferred the feed plate details to sheet styrene. these will be cut out and glued on top



Test it. the part I'm pointing to (curved flipping thing) will be painted separately and glued later



The middle post thing is what the ammo drum sits on. I've just used a PVC end cap



Glueing the styrene to the wood with E6000


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I've used 2" PVC for the main receiver section where the chamber is.



I've drawn some parallel lines down the length of the 2" pipe. I'll glue the sides of the pipe onto the receiver so that it looks like the chamber is really "part" of the wood.



To draw the lines, simply lay the pipe on a flat surface and hold it up against a piece of wood to draw the lines



Discard the scraps



This is where the pipe will be glued. You can see that the pipe meets the surface of the stock almost perfectly.



I've cut a small section of the pipe at the front so that it will be easier to assemble the cooling fins



I've cut out the ejection port. I simply glued a section of pipe inside the port, and elevated it slightly with scrap plastic. I'll paint this silver later.



Here's the cooling fin section, I've drawn a circle using the barrel profile. Cut it out and glue it to the pipe section




I've cut out 10 cooling fins from sheet styrene, 5 fins per side. Glue them in place with Plastic weld





Just a dry mockup (not glued / screwed in place yet)



I forgot to cut out the trigger hole, so a little jig saw action and Dremel action will clean it up



I started rounding the edges of the stock. I didn't have any fancy tools so I used... a knife. Seriously, I just whittled the edges to get the rough shape, used a file to clean it up, Dremeled a bit, then sanded it smooth.



Here's a pic of the sanded stock, as well as some greeblies. This will work for the tube that's inside the real stock which is some kind of container and screw top brush which i assume is for gun oil or something. I used some sprinkler tuning parts, a short threaded tube and a couple end caps.



One area I didn't get quite right was the area just behind the rear sight. It should extend from the stock to just below the sight. I just glue a small block of wood here and bondo it later



I created the receiver detail by transferring the template drawings to sheet styrene of various thicknesses.



Adding more detail. Gluing with Plastic Weld



Finished receiver details. I glued them to the wood using E6000


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I've notched the back where the "curvy" details are. Just used a cone shaped bit on the Dremel to carve it out



I cut panels of styene to glue to both sides of this half circle part. One side has a flat knob / dial, the other is a screw / rivet



Glued in place using E6000



Added rivet detail and Dremeled the contours



I glued inner shims inside the main barrel, which allows the smaller barrel tip to fit snugly inside and centered




For the taper from the main barrel to the barrel tip, I found lots of solutions. Bubble tea cups, slurpee cups, flower pots, funnels, etc.. Just use what you can find. I convinced my wife to sacrifice a plastic picnic glass - for the greater good of the Empire! :)



Marking the line indicating where to cut the cup in half by placing the smaller barrel tip inside the main barrel.



I glued a ring part way down the smaller barrel so that the taper will stay concentric. I ran a bead of construction adhesive around the barrel so that when the taper is pressed into place, it will remain secure



Test fit of the smaller barrel inside the main barrel with taper in place



This step is for later (electronics) but I wanted to feed the wires through the chamber pipes before they were glued in place



Chamber pipes glued in place



This outer connector for the 3" ABS pipe will be cut to create flanges for the main barrel



Feed plate is screwed and glued in place. I used screws in "visible" locations, and areas where people wouldn't see them (inside the drum post, under the rear sight, etc.) I also applied glue to both surfaces before assembling



Feed plate assembled



Simple ring cut from PVC for the smaller barrel tip



I cut some grip panels from wood, sanded the edges. I won't glue them in place until after the blaster is painted, to make them brown.


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Rear sight supports cut from sheet styrene



Glued and clamped. The H shaped frame next to the supports is the sight itself, made from square styrene tubing



The adjustment dial is made from a long 3/16" rivet, a washer and 3 Canadian dimes glued together. :)



Dry fit



Glued into place. You can make it permanent or movable. Mine pivots on a long chicago bolt



Rear sight cover cut from a section of black ABS



Cut the notch, drilled a center hold, sanded the surface



Insert glued under the cover (will paint it silver inside later)



Front and side profiles glued into place



Cut some brackets from a flat aluminum bar. I'll hot glue these inside.




Filled the inside to make it more solid



Dry fit of rear sight cover



Front sight detail. I just drew this by eyeballing reference images.



Cut it out



Screwed and glued into place. I added a "bolt" detail using a rivet, I slotted it with a Dremel. Didn't want to use a real screw in case I split the wood



Lining things up. Who likes Spam? :)



Back to that round detail, added the knob using a strip of wood and a screw



I'll fill the hole with Bondo later



Opposite side is a screw, also bondoed later


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The rear stock lube container area needed the holes enlarged, so I used a drill with a Uni-bit



Test fit with sprinkler parts




I created "knurled" grip marks with a file, just eyeballed the cross hatching



Starting to bondo various gaps, etc






I created seams with a flat chisel



Bondo the transition for the barrel



Starting to primer parts. Before painting, I'll sand the parts and wash the parts to remove oils, and if I can't submerse the part in water, I at least wipe it with alcohol, let it dry and use a tack cloth to remove dust before painting.

Barrel primered



Satin black Krylon



While the paint was drying, I assembled the ribbed section using the drain pipe, cut to the same diameter as the main barrel. I used 14" zip ties to attach the drain pipe




Oh yeah...



Main barrel locks onto the receiver via a retention bolt



Rear sight assembled using a chicago bolt. the sight will "lock" into place using a small magnet




The sight stops on the little block of wood I added, I will blend it in with Bondo



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Primering parts







Primer is good a revealing imperfections. Decided to fix a few spots with bondo before another coat of primer



Silver. I will weather these later



Primered the grips and sprayed them dark brown



Painted the cooling fins gold



Test fit



I used a 3" to 2" taper to create an inner bezel for the barrel tip. Some Dremel-fu created the shape I needed





Internal view of the electronic for the trigger



After painting the black, i decided to dust on a few light coats of gunmetal metallic




Masked off the stock and painted it brown




Aker amp disassembled so that I can configure the speaker and board to fit inside



Trigger half finished. You can see the internal wires threaded through the receiver. You can also see the paint detail


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wow! nice work :D


also if you don't want to sacrifice your aker amp i can hook you up with my electronics source, 20 watt amp kits for around 10$ shipped (you just need to solder all the components together) and they work great

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Wow nice work! I'm wanting a T-21 to carry, but there doesn't seem to be many places that make them. If you decide you are going to make several of these, put my in line as your first customer!

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Wow! Nice guide terry. You must have a really nice shop going to be able to make all those detailed cuts.

For the guys who have access to some good tools your guide is extremely detailed as usual from you.


Thanks panda for sharing your tutorials with us.

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Wow! Nice guide terry. You must have a really nice shop going to be able to make all those detailed cuts.

For the guys who have access to some good tools your guide is extremely detailed as usual from you.


Thanks panda for sharing your tutorials with us.


Thanks Adam. Actually, I didn't use much in the way of power tools. I used a hacksaw and a mitre box for the PVC / ABS cuts, I just drew guide lines and cut carefully. I use a cordless drill a lot, and do a lot of "Dremel-fu", but it's a lot of filing, and hand sanding mostly.


The styrene was cut mostly with score and snap method, or scissors. Just shows that you can do a lot with little!

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wow! nice work :D


also if you don't want to sacrifice your aker amp i can hook you up with my electronics source, 20 watt amp kits for around 10$ shipped (you just need to solder all the components together) and they work great


Thanks Mason for the offer! I already disassembled and soldered up the Aker amp for this blaster. I used your tips from that other post I made asking about how to wire it up and it works, and it's LOUD! :D Just the way I like it!


I already bought another Aker amp from Jim for trooping use, so I don't mind using this one for the blaster.


Thanks again!

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One of the greatest threads i have seen for a long time.A true labour of love this one Panda.had you planed from the start to add so much detail or did the project suck you right in.Once again fantastic blow by blow account,thanks for sharing. :salute:

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  • 4 months later...

Haven't updated this in a while, but I finally got a chance to weather the blaster and assemble the final parts.


After the previous paint work (see thread) I did a black wash and sponged off the excess, so that the back filled all the nooks and crannies.




After that came some highlight weathering using silver dry brushing, along with fake "chips" in the paint.


I glued on the cooling fins, and weathered them using silver, bronze and black. I have also assembled the rear sight.



Close up of the front sight cover and cooling fins



Rear view of sight in action!




Close up of front sight cover weathered



Close up of front sight. I also added 2 WWII replica Enfield slings like the original ones used in ANH.




Left side receiver view




I weathered the side grip panels and the stock with a combination of black, burnt umber and burnt sienna acrylics. Before applying the paint, I bashed the stock with a screwdriver hand and head from various angles to create "dents" and crevices for the black paint to sit. Then highlighted it with the lighter colors.



I have added the greeblies for the "gun lube" cap and reservoir. I know the rear sling mount is the wrong one, but I'll use this one for now until I can find a more screen accurate version.



Completed T-21



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  • 2 weeks later...

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