Jump to content

Astyanax's Poor Man DLT-19 Build


Recommended Posts



I decided to break this up into three parts instead of two, as further shaping the block turned into a big job as well. :) I decided to try using some other tools besides sandpaper, so when all was said and done I had tried coping saw, dremel, hacksaw blade, chisel, and even a drum sander attachment for my drill. At the end of the day, I had the best success with good old fashioned sandpaper, and partially with the coping saw and dremel. And I learned that the chisel really loves Bondo! :)


First, I drew a line on the block where I wanted to cut out a wedge, which will later be smoothed and made more concave:




Then, I carefully used my coping saw to cut off the wedge, going straight down. This saved me over an hour of sanding, I'm sure.




Next, I drew lines where the rest of the chunks will be cut out.




Another wedge needs to be cut out from the bottom, this time horizontally. Feeling cocky off my success with the previous cut, I went at it with the coping saw, far too fast:




Oh no! See that pencil line on the right side of the block? That's where I SHOULD have cut. I cut far too deep a chunk out of the block, completely destroying what I was trying to do on the upper parts and even cutting into the pipe. Repair time!


I glued a two inch piece of balsa wood block onto the problem cut using E6000, and clamping it down tightly for a day. It of course doesn't line up perfectly, so I planned to add more wood as necessary. Turns out I didn't need to.




Next, using ONLY a 220 grit sanding block, I gently began to sand the balsa, starting from the bottom-most edge until it was flush, and then the other edge. I also sanded the Bondo'ed "concave" slope, again using 220-grit sandpaper. The trick here was to take it slow and not over-sand.




Not bad. I was able to start breathing again. :) I filled the remainder of the gap with more Bondo.




Again with the 220-grit sandpaper, and I was back on track.




That was a close one! Balsa really makes a good filler base. If I were to do this whole part over again, I might have started with a chunk of balsa, but that's behind me now.




Next, I drew more lines to show the upper chunk I need to cut out.




I then cut as deeply as I could using a cutting wheel attachment on my dremel. It doesn't go deep enough on any of the cuts, but it got me started. I finished by using a small chisel and hammer right into my previous cuts, and the chunk came right out.


A quick word about the chiseling. I have NO experience with a chisel, but had one lying around. It turns out a sharp chisel can go right through Bondo like butter. Why didn't I try this before! Even scraping excess Bondo with the chisel works so easily and cleanly. Very, very satisfying to know I have another good tool for cutting Bondo.




I did not worry about the over-cutting from the dremel; that's easy enough to fill with more Bondo. I opted for the spot putty this time, since it's a small area and sands more easily.




Then, I took to the whole thing once more with 220 grit sandpaper, going slowly and gently until it was all nice and smooth.




Switching to the other side, I began to work on the curvature of the block. The upper part has a gently concave slope, and the bottom part has a very harshly concave "chunk" cut out of it. For the upper part I wrapped a piece of 80-grit sandpaper around a 6" length of 1-1/4" diameter PVC, using the pipe as a round sanding block, sanding gently lengthwise until it was the right shape. I then smoothed it with the sandpaper and finished with 220 grit.


For the bottom part I used the same technique, this time with the sandpaper wrapped around a piece of 1" diameter PVC and a lot more elbow grease, taking care not to let the bottom edge be rounded out where it intersects the horizontal surface. Once I cleaned it up and finished with 220 grit, my shaping of the block was done.






I have opted not to cut out the little "notch" in the top-left of the block above the button release; it would have cut too much into pipe and come out looking weird. No, this basic shape should do the trick. Also, I've left off the "hump" on top that attaches to the rear sight. I will add one later when I do the sight.


I can see tiny holes where there were air pockets from my Bondo application. I'm not worried about these as some of them can be filled and others will add to the final weathering effect.


My next post will go into the little details (my favorite part), as well as the round collar at the front of the block.



Edited by Astyanax
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

As I get ready to start my own poor build, I really appreciate yours.  Super helpful and I haven't even read through all of it yet.  Thanks a ton.


EDIT: After doing a really quick search of Ebay, it seems that the Build A Blaster is not readily available and what is available is very experience.  Just FYI.

Edited by LoveMonkey
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the kind words, very much. I promise to resume my build very soon; had lots of problems with that barrel block, but continuing soon.


Yes, I do see that eBay is drying up a little. It's a matter of biding your time and waiting for the right opportunity. I see a 13pc set for $100, which seems like a lot, except that it has no less than FOUR core grips. At $25 each, that is a steal. But how to liquidate the rest? :)


Good luck, and thanks again for reading! I'll figure this beast out shortly. :)



Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...


Hey guys:


So sorry this one took so long. Turns out I found this step not only really difficult to figure out how best to go about (made lots of errors), but even a little demoralizing. I needed to take a break. And then the ANOVOS deliveries started. To this day, I still do not have my armor (got in for Tier 1 in April), which has further bummed me out. But I'm back, I made up a new technique for putting seams in the block, and now I'm a bit happier with how things are going. So let's dive in.


The first part I wanted to tackle was the locking lever. So I first cut a piece of 3/8" balsa wood to a width of 1/2" and a length of 7/8". Then I gently sanded off one corner until it was kind of a rounded triangle side, and the finally rounded the back of the triangle even further:




The resulting piece was glued to the barrel block like this:




You can see from the side view here that the piece needed a little more rounding where it attaches to the block, so I did so, and the superglue filled in the rest.




Next, I cut a piece of 3/8" styrene to a length of 2-3/8". I then rounded one end with sandpaper, and then took an awl and a ruler and cut some grooves on one end to give it texture.




Gluing it on with superglue, I also clamped it down overnight, taking no chances.




This is what the finished lever looks like:




So far, so good. Next, I punched a couple holes into the balsa using the back of a drill bit, simulating screw holes. Be careful not to actually drill here if you're using balsa! Drill bits chew up the soft wood. I had to repair this section with Bondo spot putty and try it again.




Now comes the hard part. I wanted some seams in the block, simulating metal plates that can separate. They needed to be clean, not too wide, and very straight. Carving them out was no good. I will spare you all the anguish and pain I went through over several weeks and show you how I arrived at a nice seam solution.


Using reference pictures, I drew the seam lines lightly with a pencil, Including the spot where I'll need another piece of styrene.








Then, I took the cutting wheel of my dremel and cut all the seams. Not too deep of course, but it is okay to cut a little too far along the seam. The idea here was to build a groove, into which I could use spot putty as a base for making the seams.




I know it looks terrible, but this is kind of a "trough" for the actual seams.


I then filled with the Bondo spot putty and re-sanded with 220-grit, and then 400-grit. This step is intentional. I will show how I drew the grooves with a ballpoint pen in a moment.




But first, I cut another piece of 3/8" styrene, this time to a length of 2-3/4". Once again, I rounded one end with sandpaper.




Then, I superglued it to the bottom of the block where I had drawn the shape for it.




Back to the grooves. Using a piece of index card folded in half as a ruler, I carefully drew in the seams using a working ballpoint pen. This has the effect of "pressing" the seam into the fully-cured spot putty, which is very pliable. I was careful not to press too hard, because the putty is very responsive. There were small errors, but not noticeable.




When it comes time to paint and weather any sections where I have drawn seams, I will be making sure to keep the seams themselves fully black, so any silver weathering will pass over them, thus hopefully adding realism.


So, to recap, what I hope will be cool-looking seams are done following these steps:


1. Draw lightly with a pencil.

2. Carve a larger groove with a rotary tool.

3. Fill with Bondo spot putty and sand smooth.

4. Draw carefully the seams with a ballpoint pen, using a flexible ruler of some kind as a guide.

5. Weather by making sure the darkest color stays in the grooves.


Seams done!


Next, at the forward-bottom of the block, I carefully used a 1/8" drill bit, followed by a 1/2" forstner bit, to cut a hole into the bottom, just about 1/8" or so deep.




I then cut a piece 1/2" wood dowel off at 3/8" long. Using a 1/4" forstner bit, I cut just barely enough to show some texture, and then put a 3/32" hole all the way through.




This "plug" was glued into the hole in the block at the bottom with superglue. I cut a 1/2" circle of index card for the top portion, and also glued that on using superglue.




For the collar, I took a piece of 9"x12" thin craft foam, and cut two 1/2" wide strips and two 3/8" wide strips. Exact length wasn't important, because I was going to cut them off as I wrapped them around the barrel.




I just found out my Michaels carries this material in self-adhesive form! I was very happy to pick some up and it saved me the step of gluing these strips!


The rings went on in three layers:


1. Base strips all the way around (joining seams at the bottom). 3/8" forward, 1/2" rear. (The forward strip is about halfway between the rear strip and the barrel holes. I eyeballed it.)

2. Layer of strips starting just below the dowel, going around to right where the pink Bondo corner begins to jut up.

3. Another layer of strips using the remaining material, following the previous layer perfectly.


It was then necessary to use an x-acto knife to trim the ends of the top two layers together so that they would terminate at exactly the same spot. Be careful not to cut into the bottom layer!






(Yes, I know there's supposed to be kind of a small sight groove there at that Bondo corner, but it's such a minor difference I opted to leave it off.)


After all this, I coated the foam and the exposed balsa with three coats of white glue, each one hour apart.


The barrel block is done! At long last!


Next up, I will be getting right on to what I consider is that final critical aspect of the DLT-19's trademark silhouette: the upper feed cover. After that, still many smaller details to do, including sights, t-tracks, screws, etc. Not to mention finishing.


Thanks for sticking around,



Edited by Astyanax
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Hey guys:


Sorry for the delay on updates, but I'm making big changes to the shape of the BYOB to give it that proper silhouette:




That's almost all balsa wood. And it's not that hard. More details coming soon! I haven't abandoned this thread!



Edited by Astyanax
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...


This update was a long time coming, but it turned out to be a lot larger project than I expected. So if you're still reading, settle in for a bit, because I think this is the biggest update yet! Beware of many pics!


First off, some original pics for inspiration:








The feed cover is one of the most distinctive looking parts of the whole build. It is fundamental in giving the DLT-19 its characteristic "hump back" and therefore its unique silhouette. This is where the BYOB really falls short. The toy gun tries to simulate that hump by having a "wave" shape on the sides, but doesn't really have anything on top. No silhouette. As a result, I had to build up a lot of material on the sides and top to make it all work, but it came out looking quite nice. Break out the balsa!




I started by using a piece of paper to trace the area above wave shape on the side into a template, and then cut a piece of 1/4" balsa accordingly. I then carefully sanded it with 400-grit sandpaper. The sanding process goes quite fast on balsa.




It took several test fits followed by gentle sanding to get the shapes just right.




I then glued the balsa pieces on the sides using E6000, clamping tightly.




After this, I used 400-grit sanding paper on a sanding block to carefully sand the tops and sides so it was all flush to the plastic.




Next, it was time to build the "hump" on top. This is a somewhat complex shape, but I was able to make it happen using balsa, styrene, and Bondo spot putty. I started with a 6" or so length of 2" wide by 3/8" thick balsa:




The idea here was to cut a gentle slope into the balsa, creating about a 3-inch "ramp". I did this by wedging the 6" piece into my mitre box at an approximate good angle, and sawing down with a very fine-toothed saw.




The balsa moved around a little, but I did sort of get a decent ramp out of it. I KEPT THE UNUSED PIECE FOR A STEP BELOW! I then further shaped it using the 400-grit sanding block, and then cut it short to 3" in length:




The trick is to be patient and take it slow! 


I then cut another 3" piece of the same 2" x 3/8" balsa for positioning it behind the ramp.




Then, I glued the two pieces onto the top of the blaster using E6000, clamping them down nice and tight:




After some gentle, slow sanding of the sides, the top pieces became nice and flush to the side balsa pieces. Notice the gap in front behind the plastic sight. This is intentional, leaving me space to build my hinge next.




For the hinge, I first needed to build up around the BYOB's plastic sight. I cut two cubes of balsa at 5/8" x 1/2" x 1/4", and superglued them to the sides of the sight, tucking them in behind the balsa sides. 




Next, I cut two cubes of 1/4" x 1/4" x 1/2" balsa, and glued them so that they sit more or less flush with the previous blocks, resting on the balsa sides that I started with. I then sanded it all smooth with the 400-grit sanding block.




Then, I cut a 1-3/4" piece of wood dowel, and then carefully split it down the middle with a saw. After gluing it on top of my cubes with E6000 (and a clamp), I sanded the dowel to bring it flush with the sides.




After this, I did my best to fill all the seams I could find with Bondo spot putty.




This took 2-3 applications of putty, with sanding between every application.




It's getting there! By this point, all that sanding is causing the sides to angle slightly inward near the top, but it's not really noticeable, and it's starting to look pretty nice!


There is a round-ended, elongated extension on the top, projecting back from the ramp. I started this by taking a piece of Plastruct (styrene), first cutting a 1-3/8" x 4-3/8" rectangle. I then carefully used a 1" forstner drill bit to cut two 1" holes, 1" apart on-center, with the center of the first one about 1-3/8" from the front of the rectangle.


I sketched on the rectangle the rounded curve. To cut the curve, I first cut some straight edges around it using an x-acto knife, and then sanded the rest. I also cut the bits between the circles with the x-acto knife, and sanded those edges smooth.




This extension piece has a ramp of its own, upside down so that it can lay flush against the ramp of the top of the blaster. To accomplish this, I didn't have to cut a new ramp; instead, I used the extra piece left over from cutting off the original ramp above, ensuring the pieces will mate together. After sanding and shaping the smaller ramp, I superglued it to the underside of my styrene piece, just forward of the circle holes. I then went through several stages of cutting and sanding to get the shape you can see in this picture:




The Bondo spot putty (above) was used to hide the seam and allow me to do some additional shaping. It took several test fits on the blaster to get it just right, but when I was done, this is what it looked like:




I then used the Bondo spot putty as a sort of a "caulk", smoothing the edges in the hole and around the curved edge, with my finger. This should look much smoother when it's painted.




A little light sanding to smooth the transition of the putty and I was ready to work on the hinge some more.


For the hinge, I took a piece of thin craft foam, and cut it to a length of 2-1/8" x 1-11/16" wide. I cut a hole 9/16" wide by 7/16" long, with the back edge about 7/8" in from the back of the piece. I also sliced off the back material from the hole, leaving me a rectangle 7/8" long x 9/16" wide. The curve was hand-drawn and cut with scissors, and dips into the rectangle no more than 1/8".


(The craft foam I'm using now is self-adhesive on one side, and this is helping speed things along.)




I then attached/glued the foam over the hinge pieces I cut previously, with the rectangle attached on the back side, tucked into the gap behind the sight to leave an intentional gap in the hinge..




I filled more seams with the spot putty, including a little "caulking" where the back of the hinge meets the top styrene piece.




A little more light sanding followed this, to ease the transitions of the putty.


For the rear of the feed cover, I cut a block of 3/8" balsa, at 1-3/4" wide by about 1-1/2" long. The two notches in the front are about 1/4" long by 3/16" wide. I superglued it in and then sanded it flush.




To cover this block, I cut a piece of self-adhesive craft foam, about 1-1/2" long and about 2-1/2" wide. I traced a coin (quarter) for the curve beyond the 1-1/2" length. After a few test fits and a couple more cuts, I superglued this piece over the rear block, wrapping it over the top and sides:




For the front grips, I cut two 1-1/2" x 3/8" pieces of 3/8" thick balsa, and then sliced and sanded them into these shapes:




I then superglued the grips to the side pieces, right along the upper ramp seam (actually 1/8"+ below the seam), and just behind where the receiver cover box will go. This was done on both sides.


EDIT: I attached these pieces too high on the blaster! It was necessary to remove them and place them 1/8" or so lower than what you see in the below pics, in order to line up with the left side feed cover box. If you're following along, position them 1/4" below the seam!






Next came a couple important days of coating all of these wood-and-putty pieces with several coats of white glue. Using a paintbrush, I painted everything over thoroughly, making sure to leave a minimum of two hours between coats. This not only protects the balsa and putty (which can flake off), but also helps smooth the surfaces further. I can't recommend this step enough!


To simulate the screws and assorted bumps, I used the following:


- screw covers (Home Depot)

- thumbtacks (anywhere)

- decorative brads (Michaels)




After cutting off the "tails" of the brads with a wire clipper, I superglued everything onto the top in this configuration:




(Notice that notch in the craft foam over the rear block? Yep, I forgot to cut that previously, and had to cut of off both sides after mounting. :) )


The screw slot was carved into the rear screw cover using the same technique as for the bipod in a previous step: lots of x-acto knife carving and some filing. I will be able to make that slot stand out more during the weathering phase.


I also added two brads to the sides of the hinge:




Feed cover is done!


Whew, that was a lot! But I'm very pleased with the look of what I consider to be a fairly crucial component of this build.


Next post (hopefully 1-2 weeks), I will be working on the left panel and the receiver box, which is not a part of the MG34, but unique to the DLT-19.


Thanks for following! :)



Edited by Astyanax
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

That took one large movie popcorn to get through that update. Coming along nicely. That is the hardest part of the gun with all the details. Love all the goodies your finding and using.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...