Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Making an easy weapon-rack

Maybe you've seen those cool grid-type weapon racks in 1/1 size. If nothing else, you might have seen them in the ballistics lab set on CSI: Las Vegas. I've always liked those, and I even think that somebody (BBi or Hot Toyz maybe?) made a 1/6th version, but somehow I never ended up with one.

Now maybe you've heard about the concept of a "one-sixth eye." It developing the sense of looking at everything you see as a potential 1/6th prop, and evaluating it accordingly. The other day I was in my local Ace Hardware store looking around (while fending the over-helpful sales people off with a stick, as usual) when I spotted something in the paint department that sent my One-Sixth-O-Meter right to stop.

It was a cool little plastic grid molded in off-white speckled plastic, part of some sort of fancy roller system, the Whizz Roller System It wasn't even in a package. It was just a plastic grid with a sticker on it, hanging on a peg. Price: 99 cents. At first I couldn't be sure what it was good for, but I knew there would be something I could do with it. I almost bought just one, but on impulse, I picked up all four that they had in stock.

It didn't take me long to realize that they'd be interesting attached together edge-to-edge. I looked around for an easy way to do that, and ended up settling on small, black-plastic wire-ties that I already had on hand. I used two along each edge, pulled tight, and cut the excess off with scissors.

By now, I was starting to think weapon rack. My intent was to make a free-standing, four-sided rack, but for maximum flexibility as a prop, and for easy storage, I didn't tie the final corner together. That way, it could be folded into a square footprint, fanned out as a screen-type rack, or even be used as a safety or crowd-control fence.

The next issue was how to make hooks to hang weapons on the rack. Whatever I did had to be cheap and easy to mass produce. After several dead-end ideas, I settled on using light-duty, wire, paper clips. I used the inner loop of the clip intact, bent the larger loop out about 45-degrees, then cut it off (using wire cutting pliers) leaving about a half-inch stub, I then bent up the last eight of an inch or so using pliers, to make it more of a secure hook.

The small loop from the clip goes over the grid. The weapon itself hangs on the cut-off stub. (It occurs to me that another alternative that might work would be to use wire Christmas ornament hooks, and they'd probably work unmodified)

Here's the final result, with only a few weapons installed on one side. This would look equally at home in the firearms locker for an assault team, in a ballistics lab, a police property room, or an arms-dealer's show-room.

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