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Impactful statement - cheap realistic explosion

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  • Member since
    August 2021
Impactful statement - cheap realistic explosion
Posted by Mac Fixx on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 4:07 PM

A Dora gun kit is on the list to build and want it to appear like it's firing.  The following was the first video I've stumbled across that really pulled it off well in my opinion in a relatively simple and cheap way.

But, being lazy, cheap, and always stubborn, further simplification and cheapification were required. Here's the result. This is the first attempt and has had no rework/clean up.

3 "regular" LED's stolen from a string of Christmas lights were brush painted with thinned bright orange. Various sizes/chunks of fiber optics were applied to one LED with tape. A crude wire "cage" was made with a chunk of lichen stuffed in the middle of it. I tried wadding up clear plastic cling wrap but too much light escaped IMO.  The smoke is fake spider web material. I find it much easier to work with than cotton and a large bag only costs $1. (even cheaper after Halloween).

Once all in place, cheap pump liquid hairspray was doused over the whole thing. Then thinned out red, black, and brown acrylics were airbrushed on.  The fragment trails received a heavier coat of red.

Fast, cheap, simple. Less than an hour total to make. The 2 AA batteries were the biggest cost.

Nano LED's (like those on a wire string often stuffed inside wine bottles and jars) will be tried the next go around to scale the whole thing down.  "Hearing aid" sized batteries should last for quite a while on those and be easier to conceal.


  • Member since
    July 2014
  • From: Franklin Wi
Posted by Bakster on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 1:42 PM

Hey Mac-- that looks AWESOME. I love everthing about it, but the fiberoptic really sets it off. As Jim Carrey would say, I like it a lot!

Thanks for sharing this. This is something I want to try one day.

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 3:25 PM

Hello! I was wondering if it would be possible to link directly to the pics - then they would be better viewable here on the forums.

As for the explosion I like it a lot. I'm just wondering - if this is supposed to be a muzzle blast, then I'm not so sure about the fragments. I would leave them out. Not that I know a lot about muzzle blasts - I've only seen some in the pictures, but they didn't show any fragments. I also think the designers would do a lot to avoid having such fragments, because they would be dangerous to friedlies. And from what I read when you fire such a gun the propellant charge together with its bags would transform completely into hot gas and some soot - no fragments here neither. Just my tiny little bit.

Good luck with your big gun and thanks for sharing, have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by Mac Fixx on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 6:59 PM

I'll try again to get the pix to post directly.  Fool here can't seem to remember to do it....just like blowing right over the post a few weeks ago regarding the very same explosion found on Youtube and starting a whole new thread. 

Nothing like a little redundancy to irritate the masses and clog up the system needlessly, no?Oops

As for the fragments, agreed..unless they're shooting off Roman candles.  In my defense, this was a test to simplify methods used on the Kamikaze/USS Missouri build. 

Besides the Dora, a paddle wheeler steamboat build is underway.  Being a woodburner, sparks flying are a "must" so wanted to kill 2 birds with one prototype.




  • Member since
    November 2009
  • From: SW Virginia
Posted by Gamera on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 7:41 PM

Looks cool to me! Yeah the fragments look a little odd here but I can see cinders shooting out of an old style stack. I love the way you've got the LEDs lighting up the lower section of the blast. 

"I dream in fire but work in clay." -Arthur Machen


  • Member since
    August 2021
Posted by lurch on Friday, December 24, 2021 8:20 PM

That just blew my mind. It was amazing how he did that. Thank you for sharing that.


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