Lightsaber In/Accuracy Issues with Licensee Holders

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Luuke

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
So I will admit this is an issue I'd like to learn more about. From what I understand there's a directive that license holders to produce props from Star Wars are intentionally made inaccurate or with pieces/parts/details missing or changed? What I'd like to know is when this started? Was is before or after Disney purchased LFL? What exactly is the reasoning behind this? Does this mean that everything from ICONS to MR to EFX to ANOVOS is all inaccurate? Costumes as well as props? If that's the case then isn't their advertisement of "referenced from original studio props for 100% accuracy" a false advertisement? And if so, doesn't that make them libel especially considering the amount they're charging the public and collectors? Are there any public references or articles to the whole "you cannot produce this exactly as the original" statements? I genuinely want to learn more about this from people here who have first hand experience with this issue. Thank you.
 

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Halliwax

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I think as long as they word it

“This is the most accurate to date”

And not

“This is 100% accurate to date”

They can get around it
 

SirCharles77

Well-Known Member
I have never heard of this before, but it wouldn't surprise me.

What I wonder then is how this affects groups like the 501st where there are people who are super anal about all of the accuracies and actually get into arguments and fights over it.

And how to make a costume to get into a group like the 501st if noone really knows all of the details perfectly...
 

GINO

Sr Member
I can only speak from my personal experience so take it for what it's worth. But in my time developing product for EFX or Sideshow there was never an instance where we were forced to purposely make anything less accurate than the film equivalent.

In my opinion, any mass produced prop replica that turns out different from the filming prop can be boiled down to a handful of factors.
Here are some off the cuff but I'm sure if I thought about it longer I could list more.

From a 'discretional' standpoint:
- The amount of purposeful idealization added because that was the preferred personal taste of the person or team in charge of product development. In other words, how accurate the developer would WANT to make it regardless of any practical obstacles.
- The overall ability of the person or team in charge of product development based on a combo of their training, skills, experience, knowledge of the subject matter, and of course natural talent. In other words, how accurate the developer is ABLE to make it regardless of any practical obstacles.
- These two aspects above massively influence the judgement for all the big and little decisions throughout the entire product cycle from development to production and all these following points.

From a 'practical' standpoint:
- Purposefully or strategically choosing idealizations that dramatically reduce production costs or aspects that are too difficult for a factory production team to replicate with consistency or at times even at all.
- Purposefully choosing idealizations that would please the largest amount of your audience since different collectors prefer it different ways.
- Purposefully choosing idealizations that improve the craftsmanship or durability to meet customer's expectations. For example even though I might personally prefer a flimsy totally screen accurate filming prop that might fall apart in my hands if I hold it the wrong way or take natural damage from basic handling, in my experience most customers don't prefer that. lol
- Determining a stopping point in development in terms of deciding this is as close that the factory can get to matching your prototype and accepting those limitations/idealizations.

From a 'factors outside of your control' standpoint:
- Factories making changes during the production run without consent or consulting the client that differ from the final approved prototype knowing there is little recourse from the client after the fact.

So if you imagine a sliding scale with 'idealized props' on one end, and 'warts and all accurate filming prop' on the other, my personal taste is about as far to the warts and all side as you can possibly get and it's totally reflected in my personal projects.
So because of that I try to bring those sensibilities to bear on any project I'm involved in licensed or otherwise as much as I can within the requirements of the project.
For me making licensed props is a painful balancing act riddled with compromises I wouldn't want to make for myself so you do the best you can at all the steps along the way so that the item that comes out on the other end is as close as you can get with all the factors weighing against you.

my .02c :)


.
 

tubachris85x

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I can't speak for all props, but I know that there's plenty of examples of licensed products under Disney's control that would go against this "directive." I saw the comment that I think sparked this thread, and the gist was that they're very protective of their production assets. This could be very well the case, but when it comes to replication for a licensed product, I don't think it's always something they hold to their chest.

One thing that comes to mind (because of course this is 'my lane') is the Anovos Snowtrooper armor. Sure, the helmet is far from my standards but that's a victim of multiple factors, however, the actual armor components, sans for the TD, were scanned and, with the exception of the backpack, is seemingly completely unalterd in it's raw forms. Perhaps they're not as "protective" over the pre-Disney assets, sure and they didn't mind Anovos doing so, however, I can point to at least the Kylo Ren helmets that both Anovos and Propshop did.

According to sources here, both businesses were using the same exact STL file of the assets. I know for a fact there were actually 2 versions of the Kylo TFA helmet used in filming, and that while the STL files were the actual basis for the production helmet, there were some differences between the actual 3D file and the finished helmets used for production (i.e., differences in how the prop builders finished the helmets). I don't think these differences or the lack of access (I don't know if they had access to production used helmets) were some kind of done-on-purpose thing, but more for easy of costs. I'm sure they could have allowed Anovos/Propshop to take molds directly off the production used pieces, but it's an added cost and while you'd have experienced professionals doing the mold work, you still put that piece at risk of damage. It's much cheaper for Disney to supply a simple 3D file of the piece than to go through all of that hassle. To add to this point, they may view the use of this STL file as being "accurate" in of itself, not necessarily to the same standard of what we here in the RPF view as "accurate," if that makes sense.

I don't believe there's actually any intent really to purposefully make replica pieces inaccurate. Some costumes/props sure can be produced to a high degree, but other props have multiple versions/iterations of the prop made and often these companies may only be able to do one of those, but find that to compromise, they may do an amalgamation of multiple versions into one single piece. Other factors of course is manufacturing restrictions, costs and purpose of the product (is it suppose to be worn? Have electronics?). The last major factor in this is just the human factor; the lack of attention to detail or inexperience/knowledge of particular props. Yea, we may have our niche expertise of the most obscure details and aspects of a prop, but you've got companies that hire folks who may have to have a somewhat broad understanding of multiple props spread across a lot of franchises, so these people may not have the same depth of understanding on a particular OT Vader hilt than one of many folks here, but they also need to turn around and produce somewhat accurate props from the Avengers, and so on.

Yea, I think there's a few exceptions where they bring on board folks with particular knowledge to aid in product development, but I can say I was absolutely frustrated during Anovos's development of the Snowtrooper costume because I felt there were things that could have been done better, but while I was privy to some insider info, I was still standing on the sidelines. It's the same kind of feeling when you're watching a horror movie, and the dumb teenager walks into a creepy old house and decides to take a shower for no reason. You can yell and scream all you want about how they're going to die, but you're just yelling at a TV.
 
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parfaitelumiere

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I think the 2 things pointed by Gino are interesting.
First they don't hire the best people, finding someone very good is very hard, and even someone very good, may not get interest in all props even from same license or same movie, because, let's be honnest, some props really suck, and some movie characters also really suck, aha.
Second they do the best to cut the cost and get it serial made, then it's making production choices, and some things can be done only by hand or difficult or expensive technics, and mass production can't be that good.
I will add a third point: most of collectors have only a average level, no knowledge about accuracy and absolutely no technical knowledge, no industry or professionnal handwork experience, so are not able to think about prop accuracy, why and how to get it.
Many also like to collect official, labels, and limited edition, so have no interest in accuracy as a end, just get something limited and looking good for their untrained eye.
Last thing, when it's starting to be about accuracy, some limits come very quickly,technical, aesthetical, or even sourcing reference.
idealising is quite a challenge too, because a specific original prop may be very ugly in real, or weak, or made from several props for screen use (stunt-hero-close-up), a all-in-one is very hard to make, a longlife all-in-one even harder, some things are just impossible to make , asexemple, a bullet firing assemblable golden gun, with fully accurate look and fully working parts, even I am getting closer and closer, just because the original prop is made from several distinct props and even meant to be the same item, they look different.
The most time we spend, the most accurate it gets, but amount of work, time, money is going far faster than actual results we can get, so there will be a compromise, just, compromise is far lower when it's question about money only.
 
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