How to make a model visible/not visible (blender->panda)

Hi, I have my model of a guy, and the weapon is part of the model. I want the weapon not to be visible until needed. When the firing animation is called, then show the weapon, run the animation and then hide again. It seemed simple to me but I’m not sure how to do it.

Any help / suggestions / comments would be appreciated.
(I’m using Blender -> Chicken -> Panda3d)

The simplest way would seem to me:
Make sure your weapon is a different mesh (you could use P, - I think - in blender), name it something like “weapon”, then use something like this code:

soldier = ...however you load it...
weapon = soldier.find("**/weapon")

Thanks, I’ll try that.