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Custom Gunship Turret Guide

Click on pictures for larger views

I decided to attempt making the gun turret (pod) that the clone trooper sat in that was attached to the Gunship in the movies. I had some ideas in my head (hmm hamster ball is to big, what else would work) My goal was not to make a movie replica but something that would fit on and match the toy gunship. This is by no means the only way and I am not an
expert in this field but hopefully this gives you some ideas to go by. Since it was getting to be a major task answering all the emails about them, I though I would throw up a page with
pictures of the way I did it.  Any questions or suggestions email me

Important: The way I did my turrets the Clone pilot did not have to be altered or customized in any way


More pictures on the bottom of this page

 Reference picture                    My Gunship turret,


I used 3" (80mm) craft balls that are available in most craft stores that are used for making your own xmas ornaments. Make sure you use clear ones that are not tinted blue or gold. For the strips I used white craft foam which was cut and glued in place. Although you can purchase sheets of foam at most craft stores, I found that "flex-foam" which is available at Michaels is thicker and paints well.

  The first thing you need to do is
  cut off the hangers that are on the
  craft balls, dremel works best for
  this. This will be the front of the
  pod and will be covered with foam
  anyway. The ball has 2 different
  sections which fit together the
  "top " piece is different from the
   bottom. Make a pen mark in the
   center of the ball on the area of the tab you ground off, and you want to find the centre of the back of the ball as well so your top and bottom strips line up good in the back. A string  the same radius as the ball and then folded in half and marked works good to find  the centre in the back.

 Using the craft foam cut out 2
  hexagon shapes, cut them in
  half and paint them.  I did them
  roughly around an inch in size.
  Try a "dry run" and place them
  over  the area you cut the tabs
  off the craft balls. Gluing the
  bottom one on first, flush with the lip of the ball then attach the top of the ball and glue the top piece of the hexagon flush with the edge of the ball. Cut strips from the foam and at least paint them 1 coat, Acrylic paint wipes off the ball with a damp cloth so they can be painted again after the strips are glued on. The color is up to you but try to match the body color or the grey highlights of the toy Gunship. If you try to make it too weathered and worn like the movie Gunship it will not match the toy very well. Although the color doesn't come out to well in the above picture I am trying to match the grey on the ship. Make sure to mix lots of paint and store it so you don't need to try to mix more and  "color match" later.  For glue I used contact  cement and a plastic glue, but anything that is recommended for foam and plastic should work. Remember the ball is transparent so if you use a glue with color it will show on the inside of the balls.  

  Cut a strip matching the same
   angle as the hexagon and glue it
   to the top piece  of the ball, this
   will cover the lip of the bottom
   piece of the ball when put
   together. Try not to use too
   much glue that it gets all over the
   ball, it is best to put the strip
on slightly below the edge of the ball then shifted up so it is flush with the edge. Remember if you get a bit of glue on the top of the strip it can be painted again later.

  Cut and glue the strips running
   front to back, starting at the front
   and going to the  back. Leave
   them longer and cut the excess
   off the back. Have the ball
   assembled so the strips on the
   top and bottom line up at the back. Note: The width of the strips and positioning is up to you, depending on what look you are trying for. I use 1/4" strips so there is lots of bubble visible and the clone pilot can be seen.

  Cut and glue in a roof section
   (see the reference pic for ideas)
   and the side strips. I also add a
   back section, see the picture to
   the right for more details. Since
   there is not allot of room for a
   seat, I have cut a piece of foam and painted it dark grey.  When the foam piece is glued in and the pilot is in the seated position it looks like a seat.( you can leave the seat extend up over the edge of the bubble and it can be used for a "hinge", more on that later.)

  Mounting: For mounting i used
   the same mounts that came
   with the pilots. With a plyers
   gently pop the 2 piece pin
   holding the original gun ball to
   the bracket. For a bracket I used and L shelf bracket ground down on one end so the holes lined up with the hole in the gunship mounting
assembly. This is something  I had around the house but any metal or plastic bracket will work. I used rubber plumbing washers to fill the space were the pin goes through the L bracket so it fits tight. If you use plastic for the L bracket
make sure it will supports the  weight of the ball and the pilot.

   Drill a hole in the bottom section of
    the bubble (I did mine just to the side
    of the seat, the right and left sides will
    have different hole placement this
    way) Using a rounded hex nut and a
    screw fasten the bracket to the ball.
    This is a very strong, simple and
   secure way of attaching it, there is no sagging or bending of the turret. This can all be painted later, and it is not really that noticeable since it is behind the pilot.

  For a dish I used a Lego dish
   with the lip ground off and
   painted from the center out with
   a coarse brush to give it texture.
   I have looked for other things to
   use as a front dish but haven't found anything that works (email suggestions). To mount it I drilled a hole through the lower section of the ball and used a small piece of Lego to extend the dish out and then glued it in place

More to come...



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