ANH Solo Blaster flash hider replica - opinions

Discussion in 'Star Wars Costumes and Props' started by Prop Runner, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    As many of you know, I am in possession of an original MG81 booster/flash hider, used on the screen-used hero Han Solo blaster in Star Wars, Episode IV - "A New Hope."

    In an effort to create the best and most accurate steel replica, I'm torn between two possible factory finishes: parkerizing and black oxide. Below are the best color images available of the hero part:

    [​IMG]

    The hero, probably under greenish fluorescent light:

    [​IMG]

    Since we can't trust the colors in these photos, we have to make a few assumptions. First, the original was not blued. You can see a dark blue hue in the Mauser in the top photo, but not in the suppressor. And in the greenish photo above, the suppressor is clearly a different color than the Mauser or scope, and perhaps also less reflective.

    Here's an original M9 flash hider, identical to the one used on the Greedo Killer version of Han's blaster. It's parkerized. Looks here like a light shade of gray, but that's because of the flash. Below it is the found uber-rare MG81 booster/flash hider which is serving as the basis of my replica. Underneath the paint, which may be the original factory finish or could have been applied by a collector years after the end of WWII and since endlessly chipped and scratched, appears to be a gray-brown metallic surface, which may be the raw, slightly corroded steel or a parkerized surface, also discolored by minimal corrosion:

    [​IMG]

    Here are other examples of parkerized weapons and accessories:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Aside from parkerizing, I've also considered black oxide, which would give the metal a uniform and clean black finish, like these parts:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I've seen different shades of parkerized finishes and different shades of black oxide, so a decision to go with one over the other has been difficult.

    If you'd be interested in a replica, which finish would you prefer? Feel free to post images of a finish you feel most closely approaches the screen-used part, or better images of the hero.

    To be clear, I'm not starting interest list now, just soliciting opinions, so let's discuss this here - no PMs either, please.

    Thanks. :)

    - Gabe
     
  2. TFrosst

    TFrosst Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I like the parkerized finish on the handgun. If it came out that dark i'd be all for it. Id the greedo killer flash hider parkerized? If it is, that example is a little too light for me.
     
  3. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    Oops, I forgot to mention that, so I edited the post. Thanks for pointing that out. :)

    Here's the same flash hider, inches beneath a 60-Watt filament bulb, in an otherwise dark room:

    [​IMG]

    Reciprocity failure can't be helped with no flash, so it's warmer in the photo than it actually looks: a velvety medium-dark gray with lots of lighter scuff marks.

    Maybe I'll take one tomorrow in natural sunlight.

    - Gabe
     
  4. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I went to an army museum the other day just to look at a real Mauser. It was a deep satin black finish, not looking like iron as the blaster does in that side pic.
    That makes me believe that the color and contrast of that side pic is quite weird.
     
  5. Brinn 71

    Brinn 71 Well-Known Member

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    Just my 2 centsÂ…

    Gabe, AWESOME WORK MAN. I canÂ’t wait to buy the new Flash hider, bull barrel and scope mount. Your work is impressive man. Also canÂ’t wait to update my Obi-Wan ANH.

    As for the finish... I'm leaning to the black oxide look. The parkerized parts look too light to me, and the black oxide look of the parts in the bottom/ last photo of your post look darker to me. The grey look to the parkerized parts is too light. I believe with an oxidized flash hider, we could individually weather it and make it appear as it did in those above posted photos of the Solo ANH HERO.

    Thanks for all the hard work.

    Brinn 71
     
  6. amish

    amish Sr Member

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    I like the parkarized look, I used to have a Colt 1911 that was parkarized and it had a nice dark finish to it that I would call black.

    Eitherway, we will be getting a really nice replica.
     
  7. Talisen

    Talisen Sr Member

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    Though I like the look of the Oxidized one, I think the Parkerized is the way to go for this.
     
  8. Nexus6

    Nexus6 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Blasters are not my particular area of interest, but I do collect firearms. I have several pieces from WWII.

    IMO, the original flash-hider in the above photo is parkerized. The color of the parkerization varies depending on whether zinc or manganese (IIRC) was used in the process.

    If it might help people make up their minds, I'll take some photos of the finish on my .303 British Enfield, for comparison purposes.
     
  9. bwingpilot

    bwingpilot Active Member

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    The finish is most likely not parkerized. Any real gun collector could tell you that the germans rarely had parkerized small arms, and the only parkerized guns they had were ones in which they captured, such as the belgian FN High-Power or Czech vz26 bren-type gun.
     
  10. gavidoc

    gavidoc Well-Known Member

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    That's what I kept saying as well, but sources have said that the part was parkerized. To me, that just seems strange.

    If it is parkerized, it definately doesn't have the green shaded parkerizing common on WWII era US weapons. Looks to have more of a bluish parkerized look to it (if it is parkerized).

    I tried to adjust the lighting to take out some of the green and return the gun to the dark blue.

    [​IMG]
     
  11. imaginager

    imaginager Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Gabe, not sure if this helps...but, here's another close-up of the hider:


    Regards,
    Allan



    [image]http://home.comcast.net/~imaginager/flashHider.jpg[/image]
     
  12. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    Gav: great color-correction, thanks. Could you please PM me with your e-mail address so I could send you my hi-res version of the file so you could correct it? I'd be very grateful.

    Allan - thanks for the close-up. It certainly looks like somewhere between black and parkerized... This is going to be a tough decision.

    Here's a comparison of my blasters - the real parkerized M9 hider on the GK (with a blued Weaver scope for contrast) and a painted MARK IV, both with Denix Mausers.

    [​IMG]

    A few things to keep in mind:

    Weathring a black-oxide finished replica suppressor would mean sanding or scraping the finish to expose the bare metal, or adding silver paint, ALCLAD, Rub-'N-Buff, etc., which might not look right.

    If a parkerized replica is painted, the paint could be carefully distressed to reveal the gray finish underneath without exposing bare metal.

    Oil-quenching is a third possible finish, perhaps a compromise between parkerizing and black oxide. When the steel is annealed, it is quenched in an oil bath instead of a water bath. This impregnates a layer of oil that is intended to wear away over time and slowly oxidize, manifesting as a yellow-tinged discoloration. Here are a couple of examples of oil-quenched parts:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thanks for all the input so far - keep it coming. :)

    - Gabe
     
  13. franz bolo

    franz bolo Sr Member

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    What type of oil would you use? Olive oil is good. Motor oil is a no-no. It would leave slag.

    FB
     
  14. Serafino

    Serafino Sr Member

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    The prop part looks like steel perfectly and evenly oxidized to a dark grey color.

    There have been different formulations of gun blue over the decades, perhaps this was something special that ages in the way that we see? I'd be hunting for a rare process used only by the Germans, or only in that period, for an explanation.

    Come to think of it, don't a lot of old guns age from their original 19th century 'blue' to a similar grey color?

    Here are some leads:

    http://www.thehighroad.org/archive/index.php/t-10443.html

    http://www.restoration-gunsmith.com/artwin.html

    http://www.americaremembers.com/Products/PBMRE/PBMRE.asp
     
  15. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    Sounds like a familiar conversation... ;) I'd ask the vendor what they use, and would request pictures of quenched sample parts. I doubt they'd use motor oil - they specialize in industrial finishes.

    Andres, thanks for the links - very informative.

    Man, this isn't getting any easier... :p

    - Gabe
     
  16. Onigiri

    Onigiri Sr Member

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    First off I want in on this and I heard mention of a bull barrel and scope mount as well? Please fill me in.
    Secondly, I will go with the finish that the more learned of you decide upon. I have an MGC Mauser hat I'm dying to make as accurate as possible.
    Thirdly- Any suggestions on the HW Scope? Who has the best metal replica of this piece?
    Thanks in Advance.
     
  17. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    Oni, thanks for the interest. :) In order for this thread to stay on topic, I'll just say that down the road I'll seriously consider making accurized found parts, such as the scope, vertical mount, and bull barrel, but right now I'm focused strictly on the suppressor. I have access to the correct scope from at least 2 reliable sources on and off the RPF. No complete blaster conversion kits will ever be offered, in deference to MR's license and out of my healthy respect for LFL C&Ds ;)

    One thing I forgot to mention: I am recreating this as a FUNCTIONAL MG81 suppressor that will be usable by the MG collectors and shooters, hence the reason it will be machined from low carbon steel and not aluminum. The owner of the loaner part strongly advised that I add a "tell" to the replica, in order to prevent unscrupulous buyers from attempting to pass the replicas off as mint-condition originals, which could fetch a small fortune on the open market if they're misrepresented. In fact, for the original part, the owner had been previously offered as much as $1,200 (and that's BEFORE he was made aware of its use on the blaster prop). That's how rare this particular item is.

    An exterior tell wouldn't matter to the MG crowd, but it will obviously matter to us, so I'd like to solicit suggestions as to what would be an acceptable tell. It can't be internal, because it might interfere with its intended function. So I came up with these three ideas:

    1) laser-engrave the word "REPLICA" in tiny but permanent text on the smooth band, centered around the imaginary plane that also intersects the bottom vent hole.

    2) add a keyhole notch to the bottom vent hole (not going all the way through, perhaps just below the knurl) that would be obscured by the socket-head cap screw after it's attached.

    3) simply parkerize the part, since there's a consensus that the Germans did not apply this finish to MG parts during WWII. That would be sufficient visible evidence to warn any knowledgably collector of false claims.

    Personally, I believe that the original was black oxide finished, if for no other reason than because the internal booster cone appears to be. See for yourself in the pics on my original showoff thread:

    http://www.rpf.invisionzone.com/index.php?...an+solo+blaster

    Does this change anybody's mind about the external finish? Please post your thoughts, because as far as I'm concerned, the debate isn't over until the parts actually come off the CNC lathe and I have to make a decision, in about 3-4 weeks from now.

    Thanks for all the feedback, guys - I'm *THIS* close to green-lighting the run. :D

    - Gabe
     
  18. DL 44 Blaster

    DL 44 Blaster Sr Member

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    I for one would vote for the parkerized finish. I think that acrylic paints could be applied in minor washes to get a perfect effect.

    Steve


    EDIT: Seeing the black oxide leaves me with the question of whether or not it chips and cracks like paint?
     
  19. JHVanOphem

    JHVanOphem Well-Known Member

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    Can the tell go inside the cone perhaps? That shouldn't affect either need.
     
  20. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    That's actually an excellent idea, thanks. :thumbsup I could put a slight step near the bottom of the cone where it's thicker.

    Anybody gotta problem wid dat? :p

    - Gabe
     
  21. Serafino

    Serafino Sr Member

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    The more I look at it, the finish on the part in Gabe's possession UNDER the paint looks very much like the same sort of color and effect as on the prop.

    So if the interior is clearly black oxidized (how does one determine that?), and if there is any reason to expect oxidizing to age to the required color as seen under the paint, that's what I'd want if I was getting one of these. :)

    I'd be curious to know how a black oxidized finish responds to mild vinegar baths (one common recipe for antiquing bluing).
     
  22. Darth Lars

    Darth Lars Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Gabe:
    When Boba Dept was planning a run, we also discussed a run of bull barrels that would thread into the muffler. Such a bull barrel would need the muffler portion to be threaded more deeply along its length than the real muffler is.
    Perhaps this deeper depth of the internal thread could be the 'tell', if only it does not interfere with the function when used on a machine gun.
    Because Boba Dept stepped down for you, I think it would be nice to let him get the chance of making the bull barrels he envisioned if he still wants to do them.

    I also think that you could make one of the vent holes drilled slightly smaller and threaded for a M5 bolt, which is bolt type I think is the one most likely used on the real prop.
    Having this hole threaded would simplify attachment of the bolt for most of us and it would also be possible for the accuracy freaks to widen the hole if they would want to.
    This would be a tell, but because it is so easily removed, the first one would still be needed.

    Back to the finish:
    The real Mausers were blued. Could you post of a pic of the accurate flash hider and a few blued guns in the same picture so that we could compare the relative difference in finish between the two to the difference in finish between the prop parts?

    (Gabe: btw. If you need them, I could mail you a few metric bolts. I live in the metric world, so they are real easy to find here)
     
  23. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    Johan, I would love to work with David on this since he's had plenty of experience with the bull barrel, and if he wants to take the lead, I'd be more than happy to stand aside. We've already spoken at length on the phone about the suppressor, and he's as eager as I am to see this come out as perfect as can be, regardless of who offers what. The only problem I forsee is that owners of Denixes, MGCs, and real Mausers will require different diameter barrels and methods of attachment given the scale differences, types of metal and the internal geometry of the attachment area. It's not a "one barrel fits all" proposition. Since the suppressor replicas are functional, I can't mess with the thread depth, unfortunately. The booster cone has a very tight slip fit inside the booster, and deeper threading may also affect how the gas is compressed and dispersed. I would simply recommend any bull barrel to have a stepped front spacer (sized to the ID of the booster) that is either concentric or off-center, depending on how the customer wants his suppressor mounted, just as MR did with their ANH blaster replica. While there are skilled members who could alter their Mauser or Mauser replica and make their own bull barrels, I believe that David, Alex (Wakal), John (Gavidoc) or someone equally qualified would have to do the conversion for most customers or offer a detailed tutorial. I know I couldn't do it with the limited tools and resources I have...

    David - please jump in here any time if you'd like to address this issue, or we can talk later and coordinate it privately in order to be on the same page when the suppressors are offered.

    I think that's a good idea too, and I've considered it, but have some reservations. Primarily, drilling the threads out would erase the tell and restore the 5 mm diameter hole, and an unscrupulous seller could still pass the replica off as an original. Only an M6 screw would work, since then drilling out the thread would leave a 6 mm diameter hole, producing a tell anyway. Here are an M5 and M6 screws for comparison, with the shortest lengths in the McMaster-Carr catalog:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Based on the head height and diameter, I don't believe that either were used with the screen-used suppressor. From my hi-res photo analysis, I pegged the head diameter at 7.5 mm - 1 mm smaller than the M5 screw, which could not "grab" the 5 mm diameter hole in the booster anyway. The closest head diameter to 7.5 mm belongs to either an M4 screw (but at 7 mm is too small), or a 10-24 screw (but at 7.9 mm is too large). In order to use a smaller thread diameter socket cap screw, the 5mm hole would have required a threaded insert like this press-fit type:

    [​IMG]

    The vent hole could have been opened up by the required amount to allow a press-fit. I invite everybody to comment on and discuss this issue.

    Well, I know how awesome your hero blaster photos are, so I'm happy to let you do the honor. I'm at my girlfriend this weekend so I won't have access to my photos until Monday anyway.

    I appreciate the gesture, but in the interest of time, I might as well order a bag of 100 screws from McMaster-Carr for $6 once we can agree on the screw head diameter, and I'd just throw them in with the suppressor replicas. It's possible that European metric socket cap screws have slightly different head diameters, so if you could check what they are, I'd be grateful. Let's say you can find an M5.5 or M6 screw with a 7.5 mm diameter head, I think we could be in business. :)

    - Gabe
     
  24. Serafino

    Serafino Sr Member

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    Does anyone know of a common hardware item that is ALWAYS black oxide coated?

    If a socket head cap screw is for sure black oxide I'd be happy to do some tests with washes of acids just to see what comes out.
     
  25. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    Socket wrench heads, drill bits, screws, bolts, nuts, washers... Just about any common fastener is available with standard black oxide finish or zinc plating if it's not stainless. Generally, the finish does not come off unless it's subjected to constant friction or other mechanical wear. Here's pretty much everything one needs to know about the process and finish properties:

    http://www.swdinc.com/black_oxide.htm

    There's always the off-chance that the original booster/flash hider in my possession was never finished, only painted. Considering the fact that German factories were being bombed almost daily and moved around to avoid attack, and skilled labor, chemicals, oil, petrol, and electrical power kept getting more scarce as the war's end neared, it's entirely likely that the finishing step was skipped and paint substituted as a rush solution, if at all.

    Just another possibility to explain the lighter color of the screen-used suppressor.

    - Gabe
     
  26. Serafino

    Serafino Sr Member

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    I tested a black socket head cap screw I had lying around in a solution of about 50% household vinegar.

    I got a nice medium grey, a bit mottled though which is probably because I was rushing and the degreasing was a bit cursory.

    So if it is most likely that black hardware store screws have black oxide finishes, it is most likely that black oxide finishes can be reduced to shades of grey through acid treatment.

    I'll post a pic tonight.
     
  27. mgoob

    mgoob Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    For the gun collectors, IMO you should make the tell something that can't be removed.
    If it were engraved or etched inside the flash hider, the engraving or etching could be sanded down.

    Adding a small notch or bevel to the inside threaded area might be good enough for both "camps."


    As for the finish, we can assume that the pre-production photos of the blaster (in this thread w/o the grille) show a fully blued C-96 lower. Comparing the contrast/ reflectivity between the lower and the surpressor indicates to me that the surpressor doesn't have the same finish as the C-96 (i.e. not blued).

    Don't know what to suggest, but parkerizing looks too dull.
     
  28. Serafino

    Serafino Sr Member

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    So here we are, fairly promising I'd say:

    [image]http://img45.imageshack.us/img45/1684/capscrew9fz.jpg[/image]

     
  29. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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    *, Andres - I think you nailed it. :D

    So can we reach a consensus yet on the finish and say black oxide?

    Still inviting input on the screw and "tell" issues...

    - Gabe
     
  30. DL 44 Blaster

    DL 44 Blaster Sr Member

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    As long as the black oxide doesn't come out looking like it's been spray painted satin black....I'd hate to see it come out looking like that. Is there any way to know before they go for finishing what the finished product "should" look like?

    Steve
     
  31. Serafino

    Serafino Sr Member

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    If it comes out looking satin black that's perfect--then all you have to do is degrease (thoroughly) and then give it nice long gently agitated exposure to the right mild acid. Hopefully by then someone will have figured out the best materials and procedures to get an even final result. :)
     
  32. Serafino

    Serafino Sr Member

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  33. Eaglewood

    Eaglewood Sr Member

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  34. Serafino

    Serafino Sr Member

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    Clay quit spamming, your process has no bearing on this project.
     
  35. Prop Runner

    Prop Runner Sr Member

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