Halo Sniper Rifle Build


New Member
I thought I would share the build process I made when I built a sniper rifle during the COVID lockdown period. What I learned was there were very few tutorials, so I resorted to studying a few YouTube videos from Andrew DFT and videos by Bill Doran at Punished Props. Since I didn't have the experience working with anything other than EVA foam, I had to read up and go to other sources to learn about a new material I wanted to try, namely XPS foam. It took me awhile to price out and locate a 1" thick sheet of XPS, but I ended up buying a large 3' X 5' sheet at Home Depot, for about $23.00. I ended up with way more foam than I needed, so I'll save some for future projects.

Step 1.
I downloaded the templates made by Andrew DFT on his YouTube channel. He offered a free template dump and after looking through a few videos, I found the sniper rifle that I wanted. After printing the templates on cardstock paper, I cut them out, taped them together and started my build.


Step 2. Cut the base Stock & Receiver

I decided to make the magazine non-detachable, since I didn't see the real need to show it removed during a Con. I cut the barrel and parts I didn't want in the base off and traced the pattern onto the XPS foam board. Cutting the foam can be tricky, since it's not EVA foam. I decided to cut all of the straight edges away first, then trim away. XPS cuts with several long straight passes, but can leave a jaggy edge if you don't keep your utility knife sharpened. I tried using the same techniques I use to cut EVA foam and I think it helped a lot. I suggest sharpening the blade every 3-4 passes, because this type of foam dulls a blade as fast as EVA foam, maybe even faster. To cut out the trigger guard and the stock grip, I drilled a hole, then used a newly purchased scroll saw to cut that rounded section out. I wasn't very skilled with the scroll saw, so I left myself a bit of extra space during my cuts and decided to sand the foam down to the cut line.

In the photo, you will notice 2 cut out base's that I made. I didn't use the upper piece because I didn't like the cuts I made, so I went back to cut a better stock.


Step 3. Layering the pieces onto the Stock & Receiver

This part of the build process requires looking at the template and starting to cut away parts for the layering pieces you will add to the base. I studied reference photos and Bill Doran's article to get an idea how I was going to layer with either 3/16, or 1/2 foam core pieces. This was strictly a subjective choice, but I wanted the 3D layered look to be as accurate as possible. Just like layering pieces onto EVA builds, this step requires the tracing of the template piece and cutting it out as required. I decided to use more of the 1" XPS to build out the stock butt and cheek weld. I then went down to the local Hobby Lobby and bought sheets of 3/16" foam core board and 1/2" foam core board. Each sheet was 20"X 30" and with a coupon, the cost was about $7.00. I used Gorilla Wood Glue to glue each layer in place. A tip I learned was to spread the glue thin with a scrap piece of foam core, then hold the piece down in place for about a minute, until the glue adheres. Wood glue really works well and has a thicker consistency than Elmers Glue.


I used scrap EVA foam to pad the stock grips and the forend grips. Same process, and just layering it onto the base.


Note: Before I glued the front receiver layer on, I cut out 6 inch slots in the base for the barrel and the lower barrel. Basically, I sandwiched the PVC pipe inside the base, with a 1/2 foam core piece on each side to conceal it. I used 3/4" PVC for the barrel and 1/2" PVC for the lower barrel and hot glued it in. I used the templates for placement of where the barrels were to be placed and aligned in the base stock/receiver. As you can see in the above picture, I aligned the placement of the barrels based on how the templates were designed.


I bought a couple PVC connectors, since I wanted to remove the upper barrel for storage and transport. The lower barrel was 2 connectors superglued together to build out a longer piece.

Step 4. Barrel, Muzzle Break and Bipod Legs

I used the templates and cut out detail pieces for the bridge that connected the upper and lower barrels using the 3/16" foam core board. I made the muzzle break out a chunk of 1" XPS foam board, but skinned it with 3/16" foam core board to give it a better finish. Like the barrels set into the receiver, I cut a 3" slot into the XPS foam to mount the muzzle break onto the end of the barrel. All of the PVC pieces were hot glued into their place in the XPS foam slots. This is where I took artistic liberties and added side vents that suited the look I wanted. I'm sure if I used the exact reference pics,I could create a replica muzzle break. The details are just cut outs in the foam core board, or pieces added to give the muzzle break some dimension.

I built the bipod legs out of 3/16" foam core board. Big tip: I had to run out to get more 3/16 and bought the Elmers 3/16 board from Michaels. This is not the same foam core board that I bought at Hobby Lobby. The inner foam is not as dense and the foam crumbled a lot during many of the cuts. I ended up spackling in the spots that crumbled out, so make sure you buy the same type of foam core board that architects use to make their models, since that product is made to be cut, while the Elmer's foam core boards are more for mounting pictures. I used small punched out bits of 4mm EVA foam for the bipod leg rivets.

The bipod legs are glued in place and static. After seeing if I could make them functional, I learned that the foam core board wasn't sturdy enough to hold the weight of the rifle up. Also, the angles of the bipod legs didn't seem to swing out in a manner that was level enough, so i followed everyone else's builds and made the bipod legs fixed.


Since the bipod legs needed more support when the rifle was set down, I elected to add a cross support piece between the legs, then add a 1/2" block of foam core and a metal spring clip that is used to clip brooms to a wall. When the clip is inserted onto the lower barrel, it added great stability and strength, so the bipod legs can sit square on the table and no wobble or tip over.


Step 5. Top mounted Scope

The scope was built gluing two 1" blocks of XPS foam together. This gave a 2" tall scope that was cut to the shape in the templates. I had to skin the scope with more 3/16 and 1/2" foam core board to build it out, and give it the size needed. Again, layers of detail foam core was cut to give it the shape and look. The scope had 2 scope tube parts, that were made from paper towel cardboard rolls and recessed into a circle cut into the foam core board that skinned the front and back of the scope. The top dial was a soda cap and the rear eye piece was a plastic paint container I found in my paint set.



The scope is not permanently mounted on the rifle, but I used rare earth magnets to detach it for storage. I achieved this by building out side rails with 1/2 foam core board, that snuggly sat on top of the rear top piece I had from the base. I Superglued several rare earth magnets to the top rail and glued a flat magnet strip inside the recessed part of the scope. I've tested the holding power and so far, the magnets do a good job holding the scope in place.

By the way, detaching the scope was great for painting the prop too. It was nice to work on it detached and not fumble with turning the whole prop upside down to prime and paint.


Step 6 Finishing and Painting.

I researched how to paint XPS foam, and to fill the knicks and gouges. Since my plan was to spray primer, I was worried that the spray can would melt the foam. I ended up using a vinyl spackle with a bit a water to massage it into the XPS foam fill it where it was rough and all over to seal the XPS foam. Once dry overnight, I sanded it smooth. This was a good product and with a flat surfaced plastic spatula or putty knife, spread the spackle nicely. The spackle dries fast, but I gave it 24 hours before sanding.

I added some scrap EVA foam here and there to detail the barrels, the forend grips, the scope sights, etc. I used a clear acetate sheet and a window tint to cover the scope ends and give it a finished appearance to look like tinted glass. I just traced the size of the scope circle onto the acetate, cut it out, then applied a small sheet of window tint. Once the water was squeegied out, I trimmed away the tint and had my lense. I used EVA foam to sandwich 2 circle cut outs between the lense and hot glued to the scope tube.

For finish details, I bought some nylon or plastic screws and hex bolts, then cut the ends off and hot glued them where there were visible screws and bolts. I bought plastic furniture hole covers and glued those to the stock to match the reference pictures I used. I also scored the foam core where there were detail lines, then widened the score lines with a metal pointed hook tool to give the lines some depth.

I finished it off with a few coats of Mod Podge and then a spray primer. I was confident the rattle can primer would not melt my foam, since I sealed it as well as I could.

After filler primer and finish primer, I sanded and scotch bright sanded it smooth, then airbrushed it a gun metal gray. I hand painted the tan stock grips and scope details. Finished it off with some silver dry brush weathering and a coat of Pledge Gloss floor sealer for protect the paint.

My mistake may had been not sanding the filler and finish primer down on the foam core enough. Filler primer is a bit pebbly and if I sanded it smooth, my finish surface would be smoother.

The carry handle was a bit tricky to make. I first bought a 36" piece of 1/4 stainless steel, but it was almost impossible to bend with my tube bender. A ended up buying a piece of 36" aluminum rod from Home Depot and it bent in a 90 degree angle with the tube bender with no problems. After cutting the ends off, I squeezed it into holes I drilled and it worked out perfectly.

The last detail I added was the cable on the scope. I used some left over RCA stereo cords and cut them to size. The them covered them with 1/4" wire protectors and hot glued the ends to the RCA fittings. Finding the right sized wire cover was a bit challenging, but I found the coiled looking covers at Harbor Freight for about $3.48. I cut the right length and inserted the wire into the slit. This cable is removable, because I inserted the RCA jack plug into holes that I made in the foam.

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New Member
Wow that looks really great! How much would it cost to get all the materials I needed to make it?

Glad you asked. Here's what I spent:

XPS Board- $23.00
3/16 & 1/2 inch foam core boards, both 20" X 30"- $7.00 or a bit more if you don't use coupons at Hobby Lobby
Aluminum rod- $4.72
Nylon plastic screws and detail pieces- $10.00
Filler primer- $5.00
Finish primer- $5.00
Acrylic paint- $2.00 (I airbrushed the paint)
Small container of Vinyl spackle- $4.00
Estimated costs- $56.00 or a bit more.

I did buy a scroll saw for this build that cost me $112, but that is something I plan to use a lot in the future.


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Hope you don't mind, I'm stealing this. I'm going to copy your directions to the letter........
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