Fireball XL5 Pistol

Steve Zodiac approached us at Memorabilia earlier this year and asked us if we could produce a life-size pistol replica for him, the only option currently being a child’s water pistol.  I guess he lost his real one somewhere along his travels! He kindly loaned us his water pistol which looks like this;

Original Water Pistol

Original Water Pistol

However, it seems like the toy designers either didn’t have access to the original source material, didn’t care, or had to take huge liberties with making this for kids, as it bears only superficial resemblance to the screen shots I have seen of Steve’s actual pistol…


Someone about to get pistol-whipped


Robbie with pistol

Though having said that, I’ve seen other screen shots where the pistol appears decidedly different. Some fans have suggested that there were different models in use, rather than a single type, but I can’t find any official source on the matter.  So taking a few of the clearer screen shots as a guide, I came up with this – the XL5 pistol (Model 1)

Model 1

XL5 Pistol – Model 1

Which seemed to compare well with what I could see on the stills. Here is an original screenshot with the 3D printer model side-by-side.


Original screen shot on left, 3D model on right.

The proportions appear about right, and it really does feel nice to hold. It fits the hand well and has a good heft and balance.

However, never underestimate the fondness people have for childrens water-pistols! While I am very happy with this model, there seems to be a lot of love for the water-pistol and especially the cooker-dial knob that’s stuck to the top of it.  While I haven’t seen any proof that this wasn’t just fabricated randomly by the toy manufacturer of the time (I can imagine one guy in the plastic mold room telling another chap that it didn’t look interesting enough for a space gun, so find something with an interesting shape to throw on the top of it…) there seems to be a lot of love for the water-pistol shape and so Model 1.5 was born…

Model 2

Model 1.5 – with cooker dial

But why stop there? it felt a bit of a half-way-house, so the next job was to reduce the size of the front nozzle sphere, flatten off the rounded underside, lower the top ridge and add in a top tube. This resulted in Model 2 – a more water-pistol inspired shape;

Model 3

Model 2 – water pistol styling

Personally, I prefer model 1.  I think it’s more accurate to the original series and I prefer the overall shape.  Model 2 has some styling tweaks from the water pistol, but in my opinion it is no longer accurate to either the original series or to the child’s toy. I’m sure people will have their own favorite though. Here are some final side-by-side pics of all 3.


Side view


Top view


Rear view