Debunking Blade Runner Blaster Urban Legends - CLEAR ROD

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philippes

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I just responded to a fan who emailed us various theories about the Blade Runner blaster. In addressing his questions, I thought the material would be of interest to fans in this forum:

Many of your observations about the Blade Runner blaster are correct. To clarify, here are a few additional comments:

1. Buttplate finger indentation--

This is right. Having handled reproduction grips that are identical in dimension to the original gun, it is very clear that the extended flat buttplate makes the grip way too small for the average hand. Apparently, the "finger/pinky notch" was added to the buttplate to accommodate Harrison Ford's hand.

2. Fifth LED in magazine bottom--

There is in fact a fifth LED in the magazine bottom. This was an item that appears to have been added later, since none of the stunt castings show this detail. Also, the LED appears to have broken during filming.

3. Stunts molded before some modifications to hero--

You are absolutely correct. The stunt guns indeed appear to have been molded before the hero received additional modifications. Principally, the finger notch (see item no. 1), was a change that only appeared on the hero gun. The fifth LED (see item no. 2) is another example.

4. Black bottom on butt plate--

The buttplate is silver. That is absolutely certain. The black illusion is extremely convincing, but false. This has been absolutely confirmed by comparing various sequential press photos that confirm that the black bottom is an illusion caused by shadows.

5. Laser pointer LED--

I'm less familiar with the pointer, but it's been heavily debated. It appears that a piece of clear acrylic was probably inserted in the tip of the device, so the reflection seen while the gun is on the floor during the film is the clear acrylic reflecting the gun color below it (see the last paragraph in this section for an explanation of this phenomenon). Due to the lighting, it gives the tip a greenish glow.

The pointer is not hollow--as the piece has been confirmed to be a slightly modified jeweler's screwdriver--and therefore is unable to house leads to light an LED in the tip. Besides, where on the gun would the power supply be located? One must remember that this prop was made in 1980-81, when a lot of the sophisticated electronics in existence today had not even been invented.

The green reflection is a common distortion seen throughout Blade Runner. For example, many, many people believed that the stunt guns used in the film had been painted a dull green to distinguish them from the hero gun. A discussion with the property master proved that this theory was wrong. All of the stunt guns were cast in black resin or black hard foam. In conclusion, this proves that due to the lighting of the film, black objects often appeared to be greenish in color.

6. Gun colors--

The pistol frame was a brushed stainless steel, which was an option offered on Charter Arms bulldogs of the period. The Steyr parts were high-polished blue (standard finish on all Steyr rifles at the time). The magazine was polished nylon plastic, the material out of which Model SL magazines and trigger housings were made of.

7. One more thing--

Only one hero gun was ever produced. This has been confirmed by the property master. Additionally, about 12 or 13 stunt copies were made for the movie, with another few copies given to "friends of the production".

Phil
 

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spinner 44

Well-Known Member
I never had the idea of sharing the obserbations here in the board (I'll do it in the future - promised!).

Thanks for taking the time to write all the details here and glad to see there's a consensus in many points (I was beggining to get mad with this gun!).

But I'm still with the LED theory. I'll try to get some stills from the dvd for us to discuss it. About the plate your theory is slogical, the butt plate sometimes looks, black and sometimes grey and sometimes light grey!
 

philippes

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The LED in the pointer does not exist. This has been confirmed with people who worked on the prop.

Furthermore, we've examined several first generation stunt castings. The way in which the laser pointer/jeweler's screwdriver is attached to the gun would not allow for wiring of any kind to an LED in the tip.

The green glow is a lighting illusion.

Phil
 

spinner 44

Well-Known Member
I think this LED was never meant to be wired, is just glued there to make it look like some thing.

It may not be a LED anyway, but if you observe carefully the scene where the blaster falls to the floor, the tip of this pointer is rounded, it has a size that is very similar (if not the same of a 3mm LED).

About the green reflections theory it is possible of course(I'll recheck the film but I have never had that perception, in fact I've always seen the stunts colored black), but again a have some green LED that have the exact tone as this.

The sad thing is that we'll never going to know the true about it, I don't think the property master may remember such subtle details.

Sergio
 

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nick daring

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
A jeweler's Screwdriver! It's seems obvious now that you mention it.

I'm also wondering about the color of the gun. When building such a chopped up beast of a gun wouldn't the original blue get quite damaged and demand a new paint job?

IN a missing chapter from Future Noir an interview with with the propmaster and a description of the gun's construction is given.

In it they mention that it was painted matte black.

---
First, the majority of the Steyr/Mannlicher's barrel was sawn off, down to its bolt-action receiver. Then (most of) a Charter Arms .44 Special Police Bulldog revolver was attached underneath the abbreviated Steyr / Mannlicher mechanism. Next, a new, translucent, amber-colored pistol grip was added to the Bulldog's frame. Now two red LED lights, powered by a small internal battery, were inset on either side of the weapon, just forward of the Steyr/Mannlicher's distinctive twin triggers. Finally, a large, cockable hammer was attached at the rear of the bolt action assembly, the entire gun painted a flat matte black, and the end result took on the appearance of a convincingly formidable sidearm.
---

Is this a bit of misinformation?

Here's the whole chapter- http://scribble.com/uwi/br/fn/fn-ch8.html

The interview/article with Terry Lewis is half way down the page.
Some fun information in there. I's love to see the prototype gun that became a phone.

Thanks for all the info, Phil!

Nick
 

philippes

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nick,

Some of what Sammon quotes from Terry Lewis is correct, but not all.

Interestingly, Mr. Lewis had very little to do with the guns used in the film, and arrived to the production quite late. Art Shippee was the man mainly responsible for getting the weapons made. Art was the person who actually purchased the guns with his FFL (Federal Firearms License) at B&B Guns in North Hollywood. Robby Knott was the pyrotechnics expert who made the exploding rounds and subcontracted an Hispanic fellow by the name of "Frankie" to make the gun.

The final firearm was a mixture of finishes, but the high-blue of the Steyr was retained.

I was never able to find Terry Lewis, and I called everywhere, even the union. On the other hand, I spoke extensively with Art Shippee, Robby Knott, Syd Meade, and Stephen Dane.

Phil
 

philippes

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Additionally, I've had a good bit of written correspondence with Jay Abramson, who was the clerk at B&B who sold the actual guns to Art and Robby.

Furthermore, thanks to Jay, we are now quite sure what grips were used for the blaster. When I post a follow-up article to the one on my website, I'll divulge all of these new details:

http://home.pressroom.com/philips/bldrunbl.htm

Phil
 

spinner 44

Well-Known Member
Phil:
One last thing I'd like to comment about the colour of the frame for the custom grips is that in every close up of the gun (shooting through the wall and blaster falling to floor) its colour look a dark gloss, maybe black or dark metallic grey. In every reproduction I've seen of the gun it is aluminium. Any thoughts on this?

Sergio
 

philippes

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The gripframe was silver on the hero. This has been confirmed. The dark color in the film is a reflection (except on the stunts).

Extracting prop details from a film is incredibly difficult. Over the years I've had ever more regular opportunities to examine original pieces about which I'd previously prognosticated based on screen captures. In every case, major details I had believed to be true (in biblical proportions), have proven to be false. Consequently, unless I speak to someone who knows, or see the actual prop, getting exact information from a movie is nearly impossible.

When a prop is not extremely clearly shown on film, my guess is that only about 50%-90% of the piece can be figured out. If the original base parts can be identified on a non-custom piece, the accuracy percentage goes up, of course.

Phil
 

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philippes

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nick,

When it comes to the "phone gun", the story goes like this: Syd Meade created a drawing of a prototype gun. When Ridley Scott accidentally saw it upside-down and said, "What a cool phone" the idea was dropped.

Phil
 

lordobin

New Member
ok that is the ugliest gun i've seen
. it'm glad they didn;t use it though. doesn't have the gritty dirty feel of ridley scotts blade runner.
 

nick daring

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
The Grips- Are you saying you've found what they wwere molded off of or did you find real amber grips that already exist.

Nick
 

philippes

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Nick,

The amber grips were molded off existing grips, which were substantially modified for use on the blaster.

Phil
 

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TheLivingForce

New Member
Philipes,

Thanks for taking the time to explain all of these extraordinary details, some I never realized before.


Jhyphen,

What a piece to have. It looks to me in some ways very foreign to the look of Bladerunner, but still a very appealing concept. Thanks for sharing that pistol


Best,
-Neal
 

morganthirteen

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
SF, That's the master. Syd owns a copy that was presented to him on his last birthday by another member here who lives on the west coast.

While I personally wouldn't call it "ugly" I would agree that it would not have fit in visually with the rest of the film. It's just a tad too futuristic.
 

Matsuo

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Hey Great post. Thanks everyone who contributed!

Phil great site..its one of the first I ever visited when I became "internet aware" I'd call it infinately inspirational.

JH of course as a member of the "old guard' I have always admired(envied) your collection.

And Shawn what can I say You da man...to see the way you create prototypes from wood is deffinately something to behold.BTW do you need an apprentice?..


Heres something I have always been a bit currious about.
I was wondering about the "hypothetical" aspects of the weapon. As far as the technical back story of the book/film goes.
I regards to the kind of ammo it used, the projectiles it shot and the supposed method of operation.
Is it simply a mere projectile weapon or is it some kinda pulse/blaster thing or is at a combination of both...(Charged particle)?

Currious.

Matt
 

morganthirteen

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Thanks, Matt.

When I get home I'll look up the e-mail from Mr. Mead that broke down all the particulars of the concept pistol and how it was supposed to work in the film. It was incredible.
 

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