ARTICLES on this page:
♦ Star Wars: DH-17 Blaster – A laser firing full scale replica of the iconic rebel alliance side-arm.
♦ Blaster Rifle Mk-IV – A full scale scratch-built model inspired by the Forbidden Planet blaster props.
BACKGROUND: ORIGIN: Star Wars Episode 4, A New Hope. RELEASE DATE: 1977. PRODUCTION Co.: Lucasfilm Ltd. RELEASED BY: 20th Century Fox. IMDB RATING: 8.6 / 10 ALTERNATE TITLES: Star Wars. WRITER: G. Lucas DIRECTOR : G. Lucas. CINEMATOGRAPHER: Gilbert Taylor. STARS: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carie Fischer. PRODUCTION NOTES: THX. PLOT SUMMARY: This film begins the ‘middle trilogy’ in the Star Wars saga. Young Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) wants to leave his uncle’s ‘moisture farm’ and join the rebel alliance, as have so many of his friends. Through pure luck, his uncle buys two droids, R2D2 & C3PO. Luke accidentally triggers a message in C3PO’s memory banks and sets off to find Obi-wan Kenobi, who the message is addressed to. While gone, Luke’s aunt & uncle are killed by Imperial Storm Troopers who are looking for the droids. There’s nothing to hold Luke back now, and he goes with Obi-wan to find a space-ship to fly them to Alderan where they hope to meet Princess Leah Organa, who sent the call for help to Obi-wan. They meet Han Solo, captain of the Millennium Falcon and go in search of the princess. Things heat up when they’re captured by the massive imperial space station, The Death Star. However, there they rescue the princess and get fully involved in the rebel alliance. COMMENTS: It’s a simple story of good vs evil, but very well told with wonderful well acted characters. The special effects were the most advanced of their time and blew me away. The pistol and rifle props were awesome, particularly since they were all made from left-over W.W.II guns (e.g. the DH-17 blaster pistols were converted British Sterling Sten-guns and Han Solo’s blaster is a modified Mauser Broom-Handle pistol).
THE MODEL: MADE BY: Blaster Master. SCALE: 1 / 1 MATERIAL: 3D Printed Plastic. FEATURES: This came as a kit and had a spring mechanism to work the loading bolt (I still don’t know why a laser weapon needs a bolt to chamber a ’round’). ADDED FEATURES: I omitted the loading-bolt spring mechanism and modified the movable chamber part by shortening it and covering it in metal tape for a more realistic metal look. The extra room created by shortening this part was used to install a sound board and battery pack. I modified the blaster’s muzzle part and installed a bright red laser. The pistol grip had a movable trigger; I modified this and added micro switches to fire the laser and sound-effects. This was a great kit, very well designed for easy assembly. The only drawback to it being a 3D Printed kit was the need for (literally) hours of sanding and smoothing to eliminate the ridges and texturing resulting from the 3D printing process.
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BLASTER RIFLE Mk-IV
BACKGROUND: ORIGIN: Forbidden Planet (inspired by) RELEASE DATE: 1956, Mar.23 PRODUCTION Co.: MGM RELEASED BY: MGM IMDB RATING: – ALTERNATE TITLES: none WRITER: Irving Block & Allen Adler DIRECTOR : Fred M. Wilcox CINEMATOGRAPHER: George J. Foley STARS: Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, Leslie Nielsen, Warren Stevens, Jack Kelly, Richard Anderson PRODUCTION NOTES: Eastman Color 35mm, Mono sound. PLOT SUMMARY: Based on William Shakespeare’s play, THE TEMPEST, the movie is set in the not-so-distant future. A starship, the C57D, is sent to planet Altair-IV to investigate the fate of a colony of scientists and settlers. The C57D’s crew find only two survivors – a linguistics professor (Walter Pidgeon) and his 19-yr-old daughter (Anne Francis). They also discover a dark secret surrounding the original native inhabitants of Altair-IV, a race called the Krell. COMMENTS: I always found it amusing to see Leslie Nielsen not only playing a serious role, but cast as the leading man (yes, he gets ‘the girl’). I highly recommend this movie, if for nothing else than its astounding special effects, many of which were produced as hand-drawn animation.
THE MODEL: MADE BY: Scratch-built / no kit SCALE: 1 / 1 MATERIAL: Polycarbonate, styrene & ABS plastic. FEATURES: Working internal lighting & pulsing ‘beam’ emitter. Internal lighting is activated by a hidden magnetic reed switch inside the blaster’s body. The model’s beam emitter is different from those on the movie props, and was made from parts of a toy raygun & clear acrylic tubing. ADDED FEATURES: none. XREF: To see how this model was built, view the HOW-TO article, titled SCRATCH-BUILDING. See the video (below) for a demo of the model’s lighting-Fx. COMMENTS: This full scale prop / model was entirely scratch built. The body is industrial polycarbonate tube / pipe. The grips were fashioned from styrene sheet & ABS structural forms. The ‘ribs’ on the back end were made from pre-cut Plastruct strips (1/4″ wide, alternating with 1/8″ wide). The gray band around the body, just behind the grips, is a separate part (020 styrene sheet cut to size). The ‘butt cap’ was made from items in my spare parts box. The beam emitter (clear tip) used disks cut from an old toy raygun and slipped over a central shaft cut from clear acrylic tube.
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