Posted in Built, ghostbusters, Papa

Ghostbusters’ proton pack!

Those who know me will probably know that I spend most of my time in Jedi robes. However, I also proudly wear the overall of the Ghostbusters. And a Ghostbuster without his proton pack is like a bit naked… My first version of the proton pack was done more than a year ago, and to be honest, I was not very happy with it. So, I have decided to re-work it last August, in preparation of STGCC. I am a bit happier now, but there is of course room for improvement… let me take you in a step by step…

First of all, the planning! I’ll never emphasise how important it is to know where you are going. This simply avoids cutting something and realising you needed it longer, or in general, avoids having to do things twice. It seems obvious to say it, but you will save time and material… So, in order to know how a proton pack looks like (We All have a general idea, but I mean in details), I advise you to go and check

They have a complete section about the equipment, and some fans even went through the trouble of making full plans to built your own exact replica. Honestly, I am a bit lazy to do an exact duplicate, and I was thinking that, if I can look the part, it would be great already. But, I needed some measurements to have something that would be proportionate.

As usual, I started with one of my Favourite materials: foam!!! It is lightweight, and I thought that, if I have to carry this thing on my back for Long periods of time, I might as well make it light… I started cutting the “motherboard” (were all the elements would be attached) and the biggest part of the “cyclotron” (yes, that is the part that looks like a broken Millenium Falcon). I glued them together.

I simply love using as much recycling materials as I can, especially for these machine-looking things. So, I cut the rest of the boxes that would go in top of my proton pack, and started looking for knobs (bottle caps), reservoirs (a plastic bottle), etc… trying to fit everything is one of he fun parts in making this kind of stuff. But I didn’t glue them yet to the foam!

Ok, you’ll need a bit of imagination here, because I am missing some pictures… it is impossible to paint the foam directly (believe me, I tried with my first version!): the foam will melt under the spray paint, you will still see the blue Color under the places you will manage to paint… well, not a good idea!

So, I started covering the foam core with corrugated plastic (basically like corrugated cardboard, but made of plastic). This will take a bit of time. You need to measure everything, and cut pieces of a giant puzzle that will constitute the “outer shell” of your proton pack. Everything must be covered (you can bend the plastic for the curves, etc…). It is Ling and tedious, but it is well worth it, believe me. Be careful to always add the thickness of the corrugated plastic when you cut a part, so you avoid gaps here and there…

Once you have covered everything with a “hard shell”, you can glue all your little details (buttons, pieces of pipe, plastic bottle, etc…) and give everything a good coat of black paint.

You should end up with something like that… it is starting to look like something…

Now come the artistic part: the decoration! First thing first, all the bits and pieces that are not black: there is a computer cable (it would be better to use a rainbow one, but most computer shops looked at me like I was from the Middle Ages… apparently, nobody uses these anymore…), electric wiring, try to find a few metallic parts too for authenticity…

Then, the stickers! Here also, a bit of DIY is required: I downloaded the graphics from Internet (you can also buy ready made Ghostbusters stickers from EBay) and I printed them on photo paper, for the gloss. I cut them and started pasting them everywhere, using some pictures of the movie as reference… you have to know that the Ghosthead community is very forgiving for this, and you can basically make your own proton pack, nobody will go and point their finger at you because your stickers are not in the right place…

I finished everything with a bit of weathering (metallic scratch on the angles) to make it look like a well used proton pack.

A few more details, and I was good to go! Once again, this is not an accurate  replica of what is in the movie, but for the time spent and the Budget, I’d say it’s pretty darn good! Enough to go out on a con floor and have fun with your ghosthead buddies…

(Photo courtesy of Pop Culture Online, please go and check them!)
One day, I will explain how you can make the proton wand, the ALICE pack, the ghost trap and the ecto-goggles… stay tuned!!!



Originally from the North of France, I have great fun doing illustrations and drawing Nutons... happy Husband and Father of 3 teenage boys, we make things, props, and live a geek life in Singapore.

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