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 Post subject: DIY: making an M240 Flamethrower FINISHED!
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:43 pm 
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The time has come to build a flamethrower. Yes, I know I have a number of other projects in process already, but I seem to work best when I can jump around a bit.

So I have to admit up front that I've never been very keen on the flamethrowers in the Alien films. They just never quite clicked with me, that is until I got to hold one of the rubber stunt versions used in Nightbreed (but cast from an Aliens original):

Attachment:
nightbreed.jpg
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I liked the weight and the size, so I decided to start gathering the bits. First up was an M203 guard, bought on the PX:

Attachment:
rd75.jpg
rd75.jpg [ 37.02 KiB | Viewed 10072 times ]


I then got a pair of cheap Airsoft M16's (no photo needed), and contact Shawn Morgan about buying just the front tip from his *amazing* resin kit. While I waited on that I looked for reference photos. Here are the two best I could find:

Attachment:
flamethrower1lge.jpg
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Attachment:
flamethrower2lge.jpg
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Well the tip arrived from Shawn the other day, so it's time to get to work!

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Last edited by retrogarde on Sun Feb 08, 2015 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:10 pm 
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Armed with some measurements from Bigbisont, I enlarged the photos from the Prop Store and made a lifesized cutout of the gun.

Attachment:
paperdoll.jpg
paperdoll.jpg [ 89.58 KiB | Viewed 10064 times ]


Tested it against the M203 to make sure the scale was right:

Attachment:
testfit.jpg
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Then it was time to cut it down to make a pattern for the jigsaw. I've left part of the front intact as an extra support for the metal pipe I'll be putting inside the M203, a space at the bottom for the screw-on cap where the tank will attach, and of course I've removed the trigger portion of the handle.

Attachment:
pattern.jpg
pattern.jpg [ 75.58 KiB | Viewed 10064 times ]


The trigger will be spring loaded:

Attachment:
triggerpattern.jpg
triggerpattern.jpg [ 90.11 KiB | Viewed 10064 times ]


This weekend we'll get these parts cut out and then the fun really begins!

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Last edited by retrogarde on Fri Jun 20, 2014 8:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:38 pm 
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Just for fun here are the two ends of the flamethrower. Shawn's tip is a beauty, and I found this coupler in my junk drawer. I'll need to create the rest of the back end around it, but I was pretty thrilled to realize I already had this part.

Attachment:
twoends.jpg
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:41 pm 
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Looking great thus far!

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 Post subject: Re: DIY: making an M240 Flamethrower
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:24 pm 
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In that first shot with the flamethrower and coat you look like someone from 'The Thing'. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:42 pm 
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Thanks man! I just need shades and a comically oversized cowboy hat.

It's my dad's coat from when he was in the service, and after he got out he grew out his hair and beard and seriously looked like Kurt Russell from The Thing.

My wife (whom I dearly love for many things besides just this) told me the other day how you can tell Macready is the only human left alive at the end of that film. It's subtle, but there are at least three really strong clues that I'd somehow missed after years of rewatching.

If ever there was a film that deserves to be considered part of the Alien universe it's John Carpenter's The Thing.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:09 pm 
Miscreant and Foukérre
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The breathing, or lack thereof, is the main clue I know of... What else?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:10 pm 
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I'm also building a flame unit but I've done something wrong with the m16s...i know the rear one is forward and the front one is backwards and with the handle stuck back on the right way around....but what connects the M16s to the handguard? Mine seems short and that point doesn't look right! Or have I cocked up?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:51 pm 
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CheifProfanity wrote:
I'm also building a flame unit but I've done something wrong with the m16s...i know the rear one is forward and the front one is backwards and with the handle stuck back on the right way around....but what connects the M16s to the handguard? Mine seems short and that point doesn't look right! Or have I cocked up?


Im going to go on a limb and say the front one is actually split in half somehow. Maybe its 2 side by side, or maybe its split down the middle, but the middle section is nearly 3 inches wide on the best replica in the market, and reference photos show the middle to be THICK. A single unmodified backward M16 wont accomplisht this. It had to have been split with an inch (or more) spacer between the two halves or side by side units, I think. You gotta figure the real ones had the hoses from the tank running up through the center M16s and then out the barrel.

As for what connects the aft M16s from the forward/middle one(s)...no idea. Bondo? Seems to be a lot of filler going on there. Could be any kind of welded or bolted connection that got covered in filler?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:56 pm 
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Let's work it out together! First off, I highly recommend taking one of those photos I posted, scaling it to 31.5 inches from front tip to back tip, and printing it off at 100%. This will give you a sense of what you're up against. You can use the M16 carry handle as a guide to make sure you've scaled it correctly.
The front M16 is split into two pieces and attached on either side of the base frame. Look at how far it sticks out from the handle vs a regular M16. Bigbisont reports that on his replica the width at its thickest is 3". The Nightbreed version agrees with this from what I recall. Hope this helps!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:35 pm 
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While I'm waiting for the frame to be cut this weekend, I thought I would start on the tank. Here are some of the materials I've gathered:

Attachment:
tankprogress1.jpg
tankprogress1.jpg [ 111.2 KiB | Viewed 9902 times ]


The tank is 11" in circumference and 11" from the top of the upper ribbing to the bottom of the lower ribbing. Each band of ribbing is 2 3/8ths inches long. I found a cardboard core at my work that matches the size (after I cut it down), and this ribbed rubber floor mat at an automotive store along with the funnel.

Attachment:
tankmaterials.jpg
tankmaterials.jpg [ 168.02 KiB | Viewed 9902 times ]


The white paper is just to help visualize how it will look (I found the cardboard distracting). I will wrap the cardboard in either thin plastic or metal depending on what I can find. Metal would be my first choice.

Attachment:
tankprogress2.jpg
tankprogress2.jpg [ 56.32 KiB | Viewed 9902 times ]


There's still plenty of work to go, but this is a promising start!

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 6:52 pm 
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retrogarde wrote:
While I'm waiting for the frame to be cut this weekend, I thought I would start on the tank. Here are some of the materials I've gathered:

Attachment:
tankprogress1.jpg


The tank is 11" in circumference and 11" from the top of the upper ribbing to the bottom of the lower ribbing. Each band of ribbing is 2 3/8ths inches long. I found a cardboard core at my work that matches the size (after I cut it down), and this ribbed rubber floor mat at an automotive store along with the funnel.

Attachment:
tankmaterials.jpg


The white paper is just to help visualize how it will look (I found the cardboard distracting). I will wrap the cardboard in either thin plastic or metal depending on what I can find. Metal would be my first choice.

Attachment:
tankprogress2.jpg


There's still plenty of work to go, but this is a promising start!


Holy cow. That ribbed mat does the job beautifully!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:01 pm 
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Indeed! I'm planning to make at least one spare tank to carry, in case my LT tells us we can't fire any rounds in the atmosphere processor...

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 7:06 pm 
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ok im luving this and now i want one.........

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 Post subject: Re: DIY: making an M240 Flamethrower
PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:19 pm 
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Liking this thread a LOT!
It's looking great!


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:43 pm 
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Retro, I love your creativity and thinking "outside of the box" when it comes to finding parts, bravo!

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:54 pm 
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Another winner :)

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:26 am 
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Thanks guys! I really appreciate the support. This forum has given me so much joy, I am always trying to give something back.

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:30 pm 
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Started chopping up M16's! The carry handle needs to come off the one that will be the back detail.

Attachment:
carryhandle.jpg
carryhandle.jpg [ 270.06 KiB | Viewed 9814 times ]


Here's the area I need to retain. It'll take some careful cutting and I want to make doubly sure I don't chop off anything I need...

Attachment:
backdetail.jpg
backdetail.jpg [ 326.01 KiB | Viewed 9814 times ]


The wooden frame is coming along too! My woodworking friend Rob is cutting this out of plywood and plastic at different thicknesses so that we have options.

Attachment:
woodtemplate.jpg
woodtemplate.jpg [ 111.61 KiB | Viewed 9814 times ]

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:26 pm 
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Here's another comparison of the back. The top is the original prop, the bottom is Shawn's repro (photo stolen from Bigbisont):

Attachment:
backdetail2.jpg
backdetail2.jpg [ 272.25 KiB | Viewed 9764 times ]


It looks like my red line is almost right on the money for where I need to cut the left side of the M16, as the black ribbed part is from the other M16 turned backwards. I can always trim it a bit more for a perfect fit. The trigger and handle will be removed, and then the natural curve of the right side needs to be duplicated on the left.

Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 5:35 pm 
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Once I had the M16 in two pieces (it was held together with at least six tiny screws), I was happy to find that the grip could be removed without cutting. A couple more screws and it was free!

Attachment:
triggerremove1.jpg
triggerremove1.jpg [ 89.41 KiB | Viewed 9722 times ]


Now I'm set to make some serious alterations to this thing! One quick note: this particular M16 was clear plastic, I'd painted it black (with rubberized paint) for a short film a few years back, so in these photos I've left some of the paint to make it easier to see. I wish I'd left all of it on for these photos, but oh well.

Attachment:
triggerremove2.jpg
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 Post subject: Re: DIY: making an M240 Flamethrower
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:38 am 

Country: United Kingdom
this looks like a complicated build. excellent work so far.

I had never twigged that the m16 receiver was reversed with respect to the carry handle until I saw your reference pics.

look forward to seeing your progress. good luck


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:56 pm 
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Thanks Martin!

Truth is though, no matter what this is ending in a lot of Bondo, so there's a fair amount of forgiveness built into this prop. Now take your PR build: that is complicated if you ask me because you don't have the luxury of making mistakes! Great job on it by the way!

Scapey:

The breathing is the biggest clue at the end of The Thing, but also note that Childs is wearing a different coat than when we last saw him (the Thing rips people's clothes apart when it assimilates them), and the coats in the room he was in are no rearranged. Finally, Macready offers Childs a drink and he takes it. Macready even chuckles after he does, as though this confirmed it for him. Remember that Macready is holding a flamethrower at the end, so he's prepared to take care of the situation. It creates a really nice parallel to the computer chess game at the start of the film: when Macready feels he can't win any other way, he gives the computer a drink (which fries it), now he's given the Thing a drink (to be sure it's not human), and so we can assume he'll use the flamethrower to fry this opponent too.

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:33 pm 

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retrogarde wrote:
Thanks Martin!

Truth is though, no matter what this is ending in a lot of Bondo, so there's a fair amount of forgiveness built into this prop. Now take your PR build: that is complicated if you ask me because you don't have the luxury of making mistakes.


In all honesty I've already made a ton of mistakes. Fortunately they are all hidden by shrouds :) in any case I don't tend to do any work until I've researched it to death and have a very clear plan on what comes next....I think the word for this is stalling.

also my kids mean that I have little free time in the workshop so lots of time to plan.

anyway once again very much looking forward to seeing your flamer, don't see too many of these whilst pulse rifles crop up all the time

cheers

Rich


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 2:34 pm 
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I wanted to lay out some of the pieces to see where I'm at. Obviously the backwards section of the M16 (under the carry handle) hasn't been trimmed up yet (see the next step), but it's a good stand-in for the moment to see how I'm doing. As it is clearly present in the original prop I am going to leave the forward assist as-is. Bigbisont in a different thread made a good point that if the Marine carrying it is right handed (as I am), then I won't show anyway as it will be against their body.

Attachment:
laidout.jpg
laidout.jpg [ 154.18 KiB | Viewed 9518 times ]


But that section is really going to be for the other side of the back end, and that means the forward assist (as well as the trigger etc.) need to be removed. I hacked as much of it off as I could, but it's going to take some fine work with a file and sandpaper to completely remove it, then I'll have to reconstruct the area I've cut away to smooth it out.

Attachment:
backreversetrim.jpg
backreversetrim.jpg [ 70.92 KiB | Viewed 9518 times ]

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