Mugatu’s Souvenirs, Novelties, Party Tricks: RESURRECTING SOME LIVE-FIRE

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mugatu

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
UPDATE: MG81 Relic (Loose Restoration) for the Han ANH DL-44 Blaster Flash Hider

Hello my fellow prop enthusiasts.

A month or two ago I received a fantastic collector piece from my friend OdiWan72, this MG81 Feuerdämpfer:
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9283CB89-3F55-4AA9-B69E-04FA76B76799.jpeg 545942DD-D463-4CF9-8AC0-2FB725749317.jpeg 061C01EF-BF1C-4AFE-965D-4965109C58B5.jpeg
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It is by all accounts in RELIC condition. Here it is under a “spotlight” as I received it:
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You can see all of the rust build-up, the deterioration, and general mutation to the original piece’s physical shape.


EDIT: Actually, here are some better photos of the pre-restoration process flash hider:
69B48DA7-31CA-4FC4-BDD5-5D4BF9DF6AE2.jpeg 63FDE59C-DCE2-4B92-996E-55F15B83819D.jpeg E9742466-AB22-42F1-90DB-2020CFDA4C42.jpeg 05FE3192-F150-4920-AC55-3860B9040980.jpeg
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Being inspired so much lately by the several restorations completed by newmagrathea at the Prop Chop Shop I decided to try my hand at this monumental task.


My process is very much like newmagrathea ’s process, although on a much smaller scale.

I put the flash hider through several sessions of electro-cleaning rust removal using an old Star Wars pint glass, white vinegar, the Mommy Dearest Special, alligator clips, and a current generator:
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Lots and lots of rust was removed from completing this process 6 or 7 times.


***WARNING: Doing this process as I have it set up, will create a biproduct of Hydrogen gas, which is toxic above very low levels. ONLY DO THIS IN A WELL VENTILATED AREA! WARNING!***


From here I did about 30 minutes of hand filing on the cone along with about another 30 minutes of delicate wire-wheel time on my bench grinder leaving (after this first filing session) this result:
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***WARNING: For those newly using a dremel, rotary tool, bench grinder, etc. EYE PROTECTION MUST BEEN WORN! FACE PROTECTION is also a GREAT IDEA! Also, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND some sort of BREATHING MASK or RESPIRATORY APPARATUS! Don’t believe me? Blow your nose a few times after a session! WARNING***

From here, multiple multi-hour sessions with a watchmaker’s triangular hand file to sharpen up those knurl lines on the base of the flashhider, leaving the following (I added tape to the ends of the fh in order to stop cutting my fingers with it while handling and rotating the piece):
CD82A93F-37B4-4273-8694-3160CCEA480F.jpeg BC398458-9908-4EFA-AA8D-D3B52A52AFE7.jpeg FFE6268C-214D-420B-B86E-4AFA38D749B7.jpeg F8C46D27-7C65-414F-A071-A5460DA91E46.jpeg


Hey! Want to know what crippling arthritis feels like for a few days? Just pick up a set of these items:
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After an additional two multi-hour hand-filing sessions to reshape the lower protion of the flash hider (as well as even more knurl-line re-working) I was left with this:
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From here, I completed another 30 minute de-rusting by the white vinegar electro-bath. Now it was time to reblue this badboy:
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I elected to use Brownell’s Blueing agent for this. I washed the fh thoroughly, then degreased it, rubbed the flashhider with steel wool, and then applied the blueing agent to it. This process was repeated again and again (okay, like 4 times) until I was able to obtain a fitting rich darkness for the flashhider:
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And here she is... this is as far as my throbbing fingers will take her:
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And now I need just a few more parts:
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Here are some comparison photos next to a Todd’s Costumes DL-44 Flash Hider:
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Thank you checking this out.

Of course the bottom is a bit worse for the wear as are some of the knurl lines more than just a bit over the line of acceptability (especially the band edges near the bottom of the flash hider) but it definitely is much better than it was at first arrival.

This probably will remain among my collection but not on a live fire due to its condition, but just holding this in my hands really gets the wheels turning about where and what all this flash hider has been through. The world has certainly gone through many changes since those days... or has it?
 
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BlandoCalrssian

Active Member
Holy crap! If this is the same one Im thinking of that was sitting on ebay for a while I really regret not picking that up. What a transformation!
 

cdyoung

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I really enjoy seeing these restoration threads and videos on original parts. This flash hider is definitely a relic of world history, and you've brought it back to its best possible condition. Thank you for sharing. Outstanding work!
 

OdiWan72

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Wow!!!

Maybe you should consider to back up the lower section with black Aves Epoxy putty and rebuild the missing areas....just an idea to improve the look even more.

I am so glad you have this
 

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mugatu

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Holy crap! If this is the same one Im thinking of that was sitting on ebay for a while I really regret not picking that up. What a transformation!
Thank you for the kind words.

I don’t believe it is that one as I think this was found some time ago, but I could be wrong as this was a gift.


Amazing job at restoring this flash hider.
Thanks, Dustin, but we all know who the restoration king is here, buddy.


I really enjoy seeing these restoration threads and videos on original parts. This flash hider is definitely a relic of world history, and you've brought it back to its best possible condition. Thank you for sharing. Outstanding work!
Thanks, Chris. I wasn’t even going to post this, thus the skipped steps and left out photo documentation, but after literally 10 hours (combined) of filing by hand... well, my fingers were not going to let me slide this one under the rug.


Wow!!!

Maybe you should consider to back up the lower section with black Aves Epoxy putty and rebuild the missing areas....just an idea to improve the look even more.

I am so glad you have this
I am glad I have this too. Thanks, my friend, it really means a lot to have this.

Also, I agree with trying to build up the bottom. I have been experimenting on another build with some cold-steel resin. It seems to work well but not entirely as advertised. I still think the steel stick works better for long term security, but I will try out what you have suggested. I literally couldn’t have done it without you!
 

OdiWan72

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I don’t believe it is that one as I think this was found some time ago, but I could be wrong as this was a gift.
I had this dug relic in my collection for many years...got it from a collector in Poland, so no...it´s not the one that was sold recently
 

mugatu

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Greetings, Programs.

Moving right along, I want to share something with you all that I am very excited about. A recent acquisition has finally arrived to me, and rather than wait until I am completely finished building this next prop before posting about it, I decided to bring you in at the beginning of this build. My excitement will not allow me to hold out that long!

Now, there are still a few more real parts that need to be acquired, a few more repro parts to obtain, an application to be filled out (Okay, I couldn’t wait on that so I did that already), sent off, and approved, and a special Class III Tax Stamp to be received.

Plus, not too many of these seem to be taken all the way out to the “live fire” level (and for various good reasons) so without further ado, here is my next prop build, and hopefully some useful info for one or two people out there as well. I present to you the opening chapter of

MUGATU’S LIVE FIRE BLASTECH E-11:

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History and Legalities

You may be wondering since this is going to be a live-fire version of the famous Imperial Stormtrooper Blaster, does this gun, as it sits right now in these photos, really shoot bullets?

Yes. Yes, it does.

“But how?” you might ask. “Aren’t machineguns and submachineguns illegal to own in the US?”

The answer to this question is NO. It is not illegal to own a machinegun in the USA. Expensive YES; illegal NO.


Tell Me This ATF Crap Actually Makes Any Sense

There are some very strict rules that would need to be followed if a US Citizen wanted to own a machinegun (a firearm with the capability of Select-Fire operation, which is the capability to fire single shots each time the trigger is pulled plus the capability to flip a switch and fire either “bursts” of several bullets with each pull of the trigger or firing in fully automatic operation). First, the person would need to apply for an NFA tax stamp for the machinegun. This includes paying a $200 application fee to the BATFE for approval for said tax stamp. Waiting to be granted approval and a tax stamp tends to take nearly or over a full year for machineguns and other items regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

But once a person receives his or her tax stamp from the ATF/BATFE, he or she is legally allowed to have a machinegun transferred to him or her.


Making a Parts Kit From a Firearm

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This is formerly a British Sterling MK IV SMG, which is a submachinegun. In order to be imported into the US after 1986, the MK IV needed to be converted into a Sterling parts kit, which this particular one was.
Making a Sterling MK IV into a parts kit involves cutting the received tube into 3 or 4 sections, typically done by torch. You can see the spots where this feller was torch cut.

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Once the parts kit makes its way into the US, someone needs to put the parts back together, but not as a Select-Fire firearm, rather a semi-automatic rifle.

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Simultaneously, a certain number of parts used in the firearm must be made in the USA for the to-be-built rifle to be legal. The statute or law governing this is called 922R (pronounced “nine two two arrr”).

One part that I know is not British is this long, 16” barrel.

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The reason I know is because if the barrel was any shorter in length than 16 inches, the rifle would then be classified by the ATF as an SBR or Short Barreled Rifle, which, again is regulated under the NFA. So, in order to get this E-11 looking more like an E-11 and less like a sad bastardization joke of a Sterling MK IV, I am going to need to install a shorter more accurate barrel. To do this and still be legal, I will need to use an American made short barrel, complete and send into the ATF my SBR application as well as $200, and in a month or two, I will hopefully get my special tax stamp which will then allow me to purchase said short barrel and install it in the MK IV thus converting it into a screen accurate, live-fire SBR... I mean, E-11!

*SBR conversions, SBS (Short Barreled Shotguns) conversions, and “Other Weapon” conversions tend to not take anywhere near as long for approval as do machineguns and suppressors.


Making a Firearm From a Parts Kit

BUT, this Sterling is not a machinegun. This Sterling was purchased by a firearms manufacturer in Boyd, Texas called Wise Lite Arms, who rebuilt the Sterling pieces into a functional semi-automatic rifle. I have found out Wise Lite has carved its own niche by restoring/repairing/converting parts kits into living semi-automatic historical firearms from the Great World Wars. They reconstituted MG34’s and MG42’s too!!!

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As of right now this sweet blaster is perfectly legal for me to own and take to the range. But I’m pretty confident we both know that my future E-11 just won’t cut it with this long barrel, so I have completed the appropriate paperwork to SBR this badboy and get it looking like a true BlasTech E-11.

**Trust me on all this NFA-ATF stuff. Reason being, not only do I mock the ATF’s logic when it comes to defining and enforcing gun laws, but I am also a client:

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What Now?

I have already acquired:

A. 1943 MHRCo M38 Telescope (thanks to Marv for your unending help, my friend )

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B. Real Hengstler Eagle Counter (thanks to Saifai for the timely hook up on this counter)

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I still need to acquire:

C. T Tracks (hello, roygilsing )
D. Metal Mite Resistors
E. Field Marshall ’s Resistors & Cylinders Tray/Mount
F. Custom Scope Mount Rail to be completed by SubLevel5 by way of OdiWan72... a true team effort here the whole way through!!!

SUPER SPECIAL THANKS to everyone mentioned above for all your help, both now, and in the numerous times in the past.



Step 1 of acquiring this elusive Sterling here in the USA is now complete. To complete Step 2, I only need to receive my special Tax Stamp for this blaster from the ATF.


If at any point during this build you have a question or suggestion or helpful warning, please let me know! I am looking forward to completing this beautiful live-fire blaster with help from you all!
 
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cdyoung

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
What a treasure! I can't wait to see the progress on this build. You clearly did your homework on this one. Keep us posted!
 

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OdiWan72

Master Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Already wanted to ask you about the Sterling you´ll be using for your E11...this is going to be wonderful!
 

DarthWilder

Member
Cool project! Another way to go without NFA/SBR paperwork is to build or find a Sterling pistol. A non-functioning, welded "stock" could be attached to the main body with magnets or glue, or pretty sure it could be welded into the closed position, too.
 

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