When Weta designers Greg Broadmore and David Tremont debuted their Dr. Grordbort line of fantasy Ray guns I knew someday I had to have one. The hand made metal, wood and resin guns appealed to my inner child in a way I had not felt for a long time. Luckily for me my chance to own one came a few months ago when The Replica Prop Forum partnered with Weta to host a ray gun building contest.
Tasked by Lord Cockswain and his Colonial Expeditionary Force to modify one of Dr. Grordbort's Righteous Bisons to give it a little more "oomph..to have a chance of repelling the barbaric Venusian hordes," two hundred of the Righteous Bisons shipped out to RPF members across the globe, fifty of which were finished in time and entered into the contest. The rules were simple. Take a "nude" Righteous Bison and "modify, customize and "upgrade" it in any way as long as it still fit within the Dr. Grordbort universe. The only catch was that it retain a bovine related name.
So without further ado I present my entry "Boomin' Bessie, the Amplified Aural Annihilator."
I wanted to take a different approach than other builders might take and turn the ray gun into something that kills or injures with sound instead of firepower. I created a backstory for the gun to start the ball rolling. Seeing that a modification like this would take place on or near the field of battle, I tried to emphasize the messy nature that is prevalent in field mods. Big patches of weld and filler, boiler plate and a dirty, rough finish gave the impression of haste while still remaining utilitarian and simple.
I started by collecting photos of guns in the Dr. Grordbort line and doing quite a few sketches of what Ole Bessie might look like, using the collected photos as inspiration and as a guide to keep the design in the same vein as the existing guns. I wanted to include as many vintage audio parts as possible so vacuum tubes and cotton amp cabling were in. Some other various parts to maintain the audio theme were dug out of my parts boxes including copper amp coils and various knobs and dials. I wanted to make the grip of the gun a bit more organic so I built a new one out of lacewood and aluminum. The trigger was from the original gun, I went without a trigger guard for now, but may add one later.
The gun was finished in bronze and brass. It turned out very steampunk, which was not my intention, but it works. In my opinion I think I took the weathering a bit too far and may tone it down later but for now it'll do. The build was a lot of fun, the total time spent on this project was somewhere just north of 40 hours.