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How to make the Nerf Terra Nova pistol – Tutorial

How to make the Nerf Terra Nova pistol – Tutorial

How to make the Nerf Terra Nova pistol fairly simply – Hi muchachos! This is a wee tutorial for those who would like to turn their Nerf Nite Finder into one of the pistols they use on the TV show “Terra Nova”. It’s now well publicized “Terra Nova” uses Nerf as the basis for at least some of their guns, including the iconic Terra Nova security sidearm (one of them, there appears to be 3 different models). If you want to have a crack at making a version of it (not exactly screen perfect, but close to it) you’re going to need a few goodies….

Nerf Terra Nova pistol build – What you’ll need

A Dremel or other rotary tool
A Nerf Nite Finder
A Nerf tactical mission kit red dot scope
Glue (hot glue gun or strong epoxy)
Scrap bits of plastic
Sinkers (if weighting it like I have)

Nerf Nite Finder Terra Nova prop Tactical Scope parts

Here's the main components you will need for this build.
The Nerf Nite Finder and the Nerf red dot tactical scope.

Nerf Terra Nova pistol build – Tutorial

Okay.. time to get your mod on and build your very own “Terra Nova” security pistol… let’s start by taking both the Nerf Nite Finder and the Nerf Tactical Red Dot sight apart. Sand the heck out of them, paying particular attention to the Nerf logo on the Nite Finder which you want to sand off (power sander recommended). My build doesn’t use the red dot, but if you’re feeling up to it, keep the Nite Finder red dot and you can mount it underneath.

Nerf Terra Nova Nite Finder security pistol prop gun

Here we go, pull it apart, sand it (you don't need to do this fully as you'll sand it again later also, but get the Nerf logo off. Then, cut your pieces as in the right image.
Also cut the D shape out of the trigger.. place it in the gun and draw in the trigger guard, onto the trigger with marker pen and Dremel out the 'D'.

terra nova gun nerf nite finder tutorial build shroud sheath nerf tactical scope

Cuts on the tactical scope.

Rather than try and explain all the cuts I made on the Nerf Nite Finder and Red Dot scope, I’ve taken a photo… looks a bit of a mess doesn’t it, probably could have been neater, but this is the first time I’ve used my new Dremel.

I had no vice, so I was using the Dremel in one hand while holding the pieces in the other… I DO NOT recommend this, it would be far safer to have a vice holding what you’re using the Dremel on and using both hands to hold the Dremel (I managed to sand the skin off a knuckle to the bone.. it was agony!). A final sanding once it’s all together should sort out any errors, along with some epoxy putty or similar if needed.

Nerf Terra Nova gun Nerf Nite Finder Terra Nova security pistol

Tape off the sight once you've gutted it and drill those holes along it measured and ruled.

Keep all offcuts because the Terra Nova guns have some scrap bits here and there. I used the original Nite Finder barrel covering (the yellow bit over the front most part on the barrel) as the Terra Nova gun barrel that sits under the shroud made out of the Nerf Tactical Red Dot. You could use PVC or the end barrel off another Nerf Gun that’s a better fit, but as this was essentially a build based on just the NiteFinder and Nerf Tactical Red Dot for the most part, I didn’t want to go cutting up another Nerf gun and I had no PVC laying around.

Nerf Terra Nova pistol build tutorial – Shroud

Terra Nova pistol shroud barrel covering The shroud is made from the main parts of the Nerf Tactical Red Dot sight. You’ll need to Dremel out most of the pieces inside so it slides over the Nite Finder body. You’ll also need to Dremel the angled cuts on the ends and cut off the extended part. Lastly, those drill holes that run along the top. Simple, mask it (helps stop the Dremel or drill slipping on the bare plastic) mark where they go and drill them.

Unprimed Nerf Nite Finder Terra Nova pistol build tutorial

Here it is prior to a final sanding, looks a bit crap, until you paint it, then pow!

Start joining pieces together using the hot glue gun, and if weighting it, remember to do this before putting the gun back together. Putty along the entire inside of the shroud, so the holes have depth, but you can’t see inside (after you’ve glued it). Add in any pieces that look similar to the additional bits from a picture of a gun in the show – use the scraps you have, or anything else you have laying around in your tool box). Once it’s all together, deal with any errors (putty them) and also screw holes (nothing says toy gun quite like screw holes). Remember to let it all dry properly and re-sand the entire thing with a nice fine-grade paper.

Nerf Terra Nova pistol build tutorial - How to make the Nerf Terra nova gun

Terra Nova pistol - Looks pretty sweet just primed.

Nerf Terra Nova pistol build tutorial – Painting

Pretty obvious, go for a matte / flat back base and make sure you sand the whole thing prior to priming it with the paint… every nook and cranny! The “Terra Nova” guns are all pretty flat, they are essentially your basic flat matte black with a few little highlights. Do multiple coats, waiting for each coat to dry (obviously). Dry brushing with some dark metal should bring things out just enough to make it look like some nice worn metal.

Terra Nova Nerf Nite Finder pistol prop build tutorial

Here's the Terra Nova Nite Finder prop build finished, with a touch of metallic wear.

Tada Nerf Night Finder pistol and Nerf Tactical Red Dot sight becomes a fully fledged “Terra Nova” prop gun, just like the ones in the TV show. Now go hunt some dinos or Sixers!

Nerf Nite Finder Terra nova prop gun build tutorial

This post was written by and for and so if you’re seeing it on Tumblr or Posterous you need to nip over to one of those for more props, Nerf mods and other blaster mods and why not Like me on Facebook.. go on.. it’s the right thing to do lol


  1. Wow this is an awesome build and tutorial all in one! Thank for this!

  2. Wow this is an awesome build and tutorial all in one! Thank for this!

  3. I was looking for weapons for a film me an my friends are shooting, your site is giving me a crap-ton of ideas

  4. Hey, great diy and awesome tutorial! Thanks for the great info! This would be a great addition to my new show, Prop Freaks.
    – @propfreaks

    • Only just saw this.. thanks a bunch!

  5. nice job. i noticed it didn’t have the plunger. does it still function? if it does, do you use the added tac light parts as a slide? that would be pretty cool, and if you made a version 2, you could add that

    • Hi Crackshot,
      this is purely a prop, so it doesn’t still function. I’d like to try and do another that does though. I added a light to the Prometheus homage I did and it worked a treat.
      Thanks for taking time to comment.

  6. It seems like someone found your work good enough to use as the main picture of the pistol on the Terra Nova wiki… Complete with your watermark.

    • Haha thanks Timo, that’s made my day.

  7. Hi, what did you use to shroud the red light emitter under the new barrel, the one that comes with the nitefinder. Just about finished mine. Thanks

    • Hi Scott, you mean the part in front of where the red light was? It’s actually part of the tactical scope (the gray part when you pull it apart).
      Hope that helps.

  8. been following you for some time (found you via DA), never saw this and just did a TN search and was like wow. Going to try and do this one myself even tho the show is finished, its a cool gun. thanks for the help girly.

  9. i see that you, in the stage before the painting, on various parts of the NF there are some paint still dotted around. Is that alright, because i am currently sanding a Reyven and there are many spots like that.

  10. It’s super!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. it would have been way better if it was in a video but cool

  12. Some of the pictures are not loading on my end. is there a chance that you could check and upload again

    terra nova gun nerf nite finder tutorial build shroud sheath nerf tactical scope
    Cuts on the tactical scope.

    Terra Nova pistol shroud barrel covering

    • This was so many years again I wouldn’t still have the images. I’ll check and see why they’re not loading. Sorry for any inconvenience.


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