Mod Shop – Storm Tommy

Going to have to backtrack a little bit for this one, but I’m sure you’ll all still appreciate it. Basically the blaster in question is two BuzzBee Tommy 20’s strapped together. If you want the back story, please read on, if you’re only here for the blaster then please feel free to skip to the pictures. Also I need to give a shout out to my best mate Chris who helped make this possible.

We’ll kick off our story in July of of 2009, Game 1 of HvZ@ANU. I’d never really played with a Nerf blaster before. Sure I’d had the odd toy dart blaster here and there as a kid, but nothing major by any stretch of the imagination. I found out about HvZ through a lecturer of mine (mad props to Dr Stephen Dann there) and decided to play. Target was having their mid-year sale so my house mate Chris and I both managed to pick up a BuzzBee Tommy 20 and a BeltBlaster each. We signed up to the game, turned up on day one and found out that you could modify your blasters. On the way home that night we stopped past Woolworths to pick up a 6v Dolphin batter to strap to our Tommy’s. Holy crap were we just absolute ballers. 6v Tommy 20’s, couldn’t get better than that! (I know this sounds like sarcasm, but a 6v Tommy was actually pretty hardcore compared to most other players at that stage)

We turned up day 2, made our way to the cafe we were using as our base before going our separate ways for class. About an hour later I get a message from Chris saying he’d died and I needed to go pick up his blasters. I did, but only long enough to dump both the BeltBlasters in someone’s car before running DUAL MODDED TOMMY! (again, I know how sad this sounds in retrospect but you have to believe me that anything bigger than a Maverick was significantly above the norm in our game back then)

Long story short, I ran around with the dual Tommy’s for the rest of the game, ended up surviving until the very end and then won the title of Best Human for the game. Not trying to say that the Tommy’s made that happen, but they sure helped to make me a recognisable character. Anyway, the game finished up, we started planning Game 2 and I put my hand up to be a moderator. We were about 8 months away from the game and I already knew that I wouldn’t be playing, so I wasn’t that fussed about getting more blasters.

A couple of months passed and Chris and I were playing a game of Mordheim. One of the models was armed with a brace of pistols and we started discussing how cool it would be to have a brace of Nerf pistols! The thought kicked around for a couple of days with us both sketching up way of physically operating multiple triggers before it dawned on us; the triggers on the Tommy’s are simply micro-switches, you could hook as many as you want together and they could all still operate off the one trigger really easily! We decided we’d make one each and Chris coudl sue both of them in the upcoming game (since I was moderating and all).

Come a few days later and I was bringing home 4 brand new Tommy’s! (again, completely out of the ordinary for me at that stage and very exciting) I had a busted old hand drill lying around that I figured would make the perfect base as it was designed to carry significantly more weight than I be putting on it and it already had a trigger inside a nice hand grip. Basically I started cutting things up and it all just sort of evolved naturally.

Right, enough story, on to the build! Throughout the post there will be pictures of both mine and Chris’ blasters. There are a few small differences between the two (mostly when one of us figured out an easier way of doing something after they’d done it but before the other person had) but all in all, they’re basically the same and these are the best pictures I’ve got.

The major components. A broken handheld battery drill and 2 Tommy 20’s

The drill in question

The gutted insides of said drill

A cut down Tommy

A more cut down Tommy

Multiple cut down Tommy’s

One half of a Tommy tacked to half of the drill

The other half of a Tommy tacked to other half of the drill

Two half Tommy’s, one whole drill

Gooping the battery covers on so we had something solid to bolt to

Got a 1m length of 8mm threaded rod. Drilled 8mm holes the whole way through both shells and the drill, ran a length of rod through the holes, put nuts at strategic intervals, cut down rods to size; win!

Painted the base blasters red (our squad colours were red and orange) before making a faring out of 5mm perspex. The bolts on top are the release to flip open the fronts.

No photos of them both completely done together, but you get the idea

And a video of the very first test fire. Yes this is Chris’ blaster in this case (he got his finished before I did) and yes that’s me being shot. If you’re really keen look up just about any video of Game2 of HvZ@ANU on YouTube and you’re bound to see Chris with the blasters in action.

On the back of the blaster there are two toggle switches. One controls whether both halves fire at once, or if only one fires; if it’s set to single fire, the other switch controls whether it’s the left or right half that’s firing. The trigger itself was a two stage deal; half pulled would start the flywheels spinning, full pull would start them firing. On the back there was also a female antenna connector for the batteries, as 2 6v Dolphin batteries wired in parallel lived in a backpack, the cable from which had an male antenna connector.

I enlisted the help of another Engineering friend to help design the circuit board that figured out the switches and the two stage trigger complicatedness. Don’t ask me how it works or how to build another; I didn’t understand it then and only have a vague understanding of it now.

See, complicated…

Knowing everything I know now I’m sure I could have done a better job of it and have contemplated trying something similar with Stampedes, but wow was Chris just the biggest baller ever come Game 2 of HvZ@ANU when he had two of these. I’ve never actually used mine in game as I now prefer a far more running orientated style of play, but my Storm Tommy still holds pride of place on the top shelf of my garage. It’s not the best blaster in the world, but it pretty well signifies the best period of my life so far.

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