My Firefly/ Serenity Collection

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pennausamike

Sr Member
BOO! So named by actor Adam Baldwin in an interview about his character. Oh, and the knife's name is "Binky". I built a total of four Jayne pistols.

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One for me, one for a fellow Browncoat, Matt, one for my son, one for eBay.

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For anyone that asks, this is why I have painted the original plastic Denix grips rather than replaced them with a set of Pietta real wood grips.

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And the new acquisition and project. I bought a replica of the Jayne "War Stories" apple spearing knife. I'm going to display it in a plastic apple with the caption: Wash, "But, these apples are good and healthsome." Jayne, "Yeah, grenades cost extra." Finally, I decided it wouldn't be too big a deal to make the "Jaynestown" knife. Time will tell whether I got that right or not... Far as the knives, I have no idea why I felt compelled to take on the Jaynestown knife when the whole idea of the work I'm doing is to finish unfinished projects. Well, actually, I do know. After I built the Jayne War Stories apple-spearing knife, (I bought it as a kit to avoid violating the Federal laws prohibiting shipping switchblades across state lines) I realized I only needed one more knife to be able to display all of Jayne's knives. Plus, it'll look good with the QMx Hero of Canton poster, the Jaynestown Knife

I based my sizes off the fact that the Jaynestown knife fit in Binky's sheath. (A fact that I later realized was EXTREMELY misconstrued.) Mine has an 8" long blade, 3/4" long black piece with a 3/8" thick brass hilt and a 5 1/4"-ish handle. I made the blade out of stainless steel and I'm making the handle out of wood; carved and painted to look like stag horn. The blade is basically done except for painting the grid and a final polish.

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The brass hilt is done and the black plastic piece just needs paint. The "staghorn" grip is very in-process....

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I've shown the other building steps; the one that didn't turn out so well was masking and painting the grid pattern.

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But, then it WAS finished in a timely fashion so, eh, I’m happy to have it in the display

And sometimes something comes along that is too good to pass up. Although I'm trying to not take on any new projects, when a Firefly collector/builder offered these castings, I couldn't say "no".

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From the new, Firefly: Still Flying volume, this is a replica of the hideout pistol Jayne was so industriously taping to his stomach.

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This makes for a very obscure prop, not just because of its limited screen time, but also because it is mostly covered up in the one scene in which it is shown. Given all the work that went into creating this "concealable plastic weapon", when a simple revolver butt would have sufficed, leads me to believe we would have seen more of Jayne's hideout piece later. I machined a few replacement parts to get started on that project.

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I couldn't pass up the fan-made version of Jayne's hideout pistol from the episode, "Jaynestown". I bought two of them, in case I messed one up. That turned out to be a good decision, but not for the reason I expected. A few months back, another Firefly collector/prop sleuth (phillipes, who cast the only Firefly Mal pistols from the original stunt pistols) found a mold he wasn't sure of the origins of.

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He posted it on the Replica Prop Forum and most folks agreed that, while it was slightly different, it was the mold for the Jayne hideout pistol. The grip handle was different, it had a "hammer" that looked like one on the Jubal Early pistol, and there were details missing on the sides.

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I bought one of these "cast-from-original-molds" pistols, cut down the grip handle to accept the proper Rossi/Pachmyer grips and machined the as-seen-on-screen detail in the sides. I then cut off the correction pieces from the fan-made pistol to complete the original in screen-used configuration. Both pistols have stainless steel barrels that I made in place of the wrapped carbon fiber of the originals. I'm hoping translucent gray paint will mimic the carbon fiber effect. I got the Tamiya smoke paint and a couple of shades of beige paint.

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For Jayne, I'm building a rather large shadowbox to display his Firefly and BDM Serenity weapons, patches and a few pertinent pictures. This will be stained in a near clear to show off the light wood, and I'll use aluminum posts for the weapons and aluminum push-pins to hold the patches and pictures. I built the main box with a machined groove to glue the panels in and a machined groove for a removable (lifts up and out the top) Plexiglas front.

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The items for display include Jayne's three knives, the holdout pistol, Binky, a replica of Jayne's movie .45 pistol and his "Shiny! Let's be bad guys," rig, two of the BDM Serenity grenades, Jayne's fake St. Lucy's ID from Ariel, a small version of the QMx Hero of Canton poster, a replica of his movie necklace and various patches from the series and movie. Not shown, but considered for inclusion are; a small Hero of Canton statue, Binky's sheath and a ten to twelve inch print of Vera.

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pennausamike

Sr Member
For the BDM Serenity, a lot of the Jayne look was modified for the big screen. Some of the changes were OK to my eyes. Costume designer Ruth Carter added many small details to Jaynes kit and personal adornment, including one of these Saint Christopher medals. (Spotted by a sharp eyed fan, who in turn cost me a little more money.)

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Jaynes T-shirts also got brighter, with the fairly plain, small-graphic, series troublemaker-gun shirt compared to the movie’s bright yellow shirt with wrap-around graphics.

(pic coming soon)

And of course, the resume shirt added to Jayne’s backstory, (He took the patches off his victims’ shirts and sewed them on the resume shirt.)

The changes I wasn’t too keen on were the “upgrades” of Jayne’s weaponry. (Except those nifty pop-open grenades!) I get the H&K full auto weapons, in part because there was series precedent, but losing “Boo” for a hogged-up 1911-style autoloader was just not cool. OK, yeah, I still bought the stuff to do one for the shadow box, but I have had a hard time working up the enthusiasm to START this project, let alone finish it.

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The base pistol is a blank firing starter pistol, the grips are by Robstyle, the (not very good but the best at the time) cream colored resin add-ons are from an unremembered source, and the very nice (and WAY more accurate) 3-D printed parts are from Joatrash (whose excellent work has boosted my collection in a lot of ways).

But, assuming I get a spurt of inspiration, time and energy

(pic coming maybe)

I have to admit, I did like Jayne’s “Shiny, let’s be bad guys!” chest rig.
I started acquiring parts, including a for-real correct style pistol grip for the stubby MP-5, and the correct ribbon, medal and hardware for the chest mount, and...just kind of stalled out.

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maybe I’ll finish it, someday.
 
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pennausamike

Sr Member
The Ship's Ambassador
Inara Serra

Registered Companion, Madrassa House

Inara's pistol from the Firefly episode, "Trash". A chrome plated airsoft Ruger with machined ?silencer/muzzlebrake? and ?auto-fire target acquisition? greablie. The money is of my own design done in primitive old Microsoft Paint. I used elements already out there; from the Firefly series, the Serenity BDM and from pics of real money. The Ariel bills are even serial numbered. I then carried it in my pocket with a bunch of real bills to make it look real.

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The Inara papers are a work in progress. The main folded sheet is a contract summation that the Companion and customer would sign to consummate the deal. I created a "Contracting Parties Duties And Obligations" section, some of it meant to sound realistic, some rather tongue-in-cheek and some an outright poke at the humor of the show. For example, "All ceremonies to guild spec" and "All insight offered without claim upon any personal or material gain" are meant to feel real. I used "Emotional and marital entanglements unraveled at client expense" to make fun of a real element of engaging a gorgeous Companion for sex. (This was alluded to in the original "Trash" script as seen in the Official Companion Vol.II.) And of course, "Use of whore is ill-advised" is a straight up poke at Mal constantly using it with Inara!

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The purple and green Waiver of Reproductive Rights sheet is based on someone's RPG nudist certificate.

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The Certificate of Examination is based on the episode "Ariel" and certifies that Inara has been examined by a team of doctors at St. Lucy's and was found fit to serve as Companion another year.

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Finally, in that top picture, the box is an updated version of the (suicide/rape bomb/eternal youth serum)syringe box seen in the true TV pilot.

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Its a copy of one sold by The Propstore as set dressing from "Serenity".

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The two trays "nest" in the box, with the money tray on top of the syringe, vial and whatever the cool-looking-other-gizmo-is tray. (I haven't made the vial, yet.) For such a short run series, Firefly offered so much texture! It is incredibly fun to make props that logically build on what was shown or implied, and I think is part of what makes the show interesting beyond the brief amount of screen time actually presented. Building on that, Inarra was seen working on calligraphy, so I got her a matching Dragon and Phoenix calligraphy set.

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To this point, the Inara display was just a collection of brick-a-brack. But, this acquisition, one of Shawna Trpcic's original costume sketches, has been a real motivator. ("Sketch" seems like such a minimizing term for such a delicate and intricate piece of art.)

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Slowly the Inara collection becomes a meaningful display. I finally got my Shawna Trpcic sketch under glass. I'm not sure how I want to display the actual cloth samples that were attached to the sketch. I do have a plan for the gold material that is the same as The Message dress (as seen in the lower left picture, page opposite). I'll make a shadow box out of a picture frame for the replica of Inara's Trash pistol.

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In one of those odd paradoxes that so often define life: Inara was a graceful clothes horse who costume designer Shawna Trpcic described as her real-life Barbie doll; played by tomboy, blue jeans favoring Morena Baccarin. Kaylee, the usually grubby ships mechanic in coveralls was played by self-confessed shop-a-holic clothes horse, Jewel Staite.
 

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pennausamike

Sr Member
The Chaplain
Shepherd Book
"You don't fix Faith, River; Faith fixes you."


There aren't a whole lot of Book props to be had, but the two that there are, are pretty iconic. Book's Bible which says nothing about kneecaps, and the mysterious ident card that took Book from ignored to VIP in one look. Book's knowledge of the Alliance hierarchy and police procedures, and his familiarity with the reps of many of the 'verse's most unsavory characters, led to a lot of speculation as to Book's backstory. Ron Glass was always asked for the secrets behind Book, but he was never told. When it became pretty obvious that a Serenity sequel was highly unlikely, Joss had his brother Zack do the comic, The Shepherd's Tale, which finally shows Book's backstory, and how he found his faith in a bowl of chicken soup.

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The first of the actor/ character signatures I tried to acquire for the whole crew and, shoot, some of my favorite villains, as well, was Shepherd Book aka Ron Glass. While I'm happy with this one, the bad part of the story is, it should be Summer Glau as River. Summer was scheduled to appear at Farpoint Con, so I bought tickets for all three days, including the Friday night banquet. There were enough Browncoat fans in attendance that we got our own table for the banquet. And then, Summer landed the part in Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles and canceled the con appearence. She was replaced by Ron Glass, and I ended up sitting across from him at the banquet table, which was kinda cool. But you know, it was supposed to be Summer......... I never did really connect with Ron on even the most casual level and although he was very polite, I think he was a little uncomfortable with the whole "geek" convention thing. Oh well, it's all good; I got Shepherd Book's signature on a document!

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pennausamike

Sr Member
The Ship's Medic
Dr. Simon Tam
Jayne, mock reading Simon's diary: "Dear Diary, today I was pompous and my sister was crazy." (flips page) "Today we were kidnapped by hill people, never to be seen again. It was the best day ever."


Poor Simon. Unlike Mal and Jayne who are loud and brash big dam heroes, or even Zoe, with her dry, stoic toughness; Simon doesn't come across as heroic at all. And yet, here is a character who, to save his sister, stood up to his parents and the Alliance, made seedy, potentially dangerous underworld connections, broke his sister out of a high security facility, gave up his skyrocketing medical career, and never backed down from a fight, whether with an Alliance Fed agent or a bounty hunter. Because Simon isn't "obviously" heroic, there are very few cool props to build and display for his character. The most obvious prop replicas to make are Simon's medical tools, but they have only fleetingly crossed my "to-do" list, and never crossed my work bench. The only "Doctor" item I bought is Simon's red med case.

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Other than the case, I only really have five props for Simon; three from the series, his red glasses, the encyclopedia (which is a pile of parts; see below) and the Vector pistol he wrested from Agent Dobson (more on the Vector later); and two from the BDM, his uniform pin and the officer's baton.

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The Encyclopedia parts include a photoetched brass panel that I'm pretty sure was made by Kurtyboy. There is just a fair amount of turning, fitting, painting and assembly to do, and I just haven't been able convince myself to get to it.

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I missed out on a chance to buy the Alliance Hawk baton topper when it was offered by the Propstore of London.

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Fortunately, I saw when an RPF member going by blufive offered a casting of the Alliance hawk. I bought one and asked him if he would be interested in a trade of a master for the baton itself for three more of the toppers and two baton shafts. He agreed, so I made the master seen below

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and threw in the ring bender and about four sets of already bent rings.

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When I got the castings back, I was disappointed at how prominent the turning marks looked. I had even checked the master's finish with a surface comparator. After it sat for awhile, I finally got around to finishing my Simon Tam baton. I started with 800 grit paper from the automotive store and sanded lightly along the length of it to knock the high points off. Only a few times with the 800. I then did the same thing with the 1000 grit. But I purposely did NOT remove the turning marks completely gone. I then used the rubbing compound; first end to end, then around the diameter. Last, I used the cleaner wax only going around the diameter, never end-to-end, and, WOW! The faint turning marks under the deep polish make it look like turned, anodized aluminum rather than a simple piece of shiny plastic!

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I cleaned up the Alliance hawk using the usual assortment of knives, files, sanding sticks, sand paper and some automotive bondo to fill in a couple of low spots. I then glued in the rings and painted it with bumper chrome (tho' I masked off the rings to keep the original stainless steel finish). I drilled and tapped mine so that it screws together, but epoxy would work just fine, I'm sure. All in all, this was a satisfying project that turned out as good or better than I hoped it would.
 
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pennausamike

Sr Member
Sleeper Assassin
River Tam
"Also, I can kill you with my brain."


My original plan was to include all the River items in a single display. They are all from the BDM, which was the first time she became a central character, (from a prop standpoint, anyway).

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A candy bar ad and a pilfered pistol. In the hands of the right 90 lb. girl; a deadly combination. The finished pistol on the right is a fan-made replica. The left, unfinished pistol is a metal non-firing replica from Japan. Was gonna take a lot more work to get the lines right. Faced with too many projects, I sold the metal bar pistol to a collector in England. I then ended up putting in a few more hours making some repair parts. But, in a hobby like this, (and life in general, I suppose) connections and goodwill go a long way.

My next approach was to divide the items into a couple of displays. River’s goggles, the pistol she pointed at Mal, and a few variations on the Fruity-Oaty Bar ads.

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Project Oracle Alliance Research Facility Area 54: This is the very nasty place River was taken to enhance her psychic abilities and develop her as a weapon. It is also where Simon, disguised as a military representative of the Parliament, broke River out and smuggled her aboard Serenity.

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Project Oracle props: Above is the scan Dr. Josef Mathias was holding in the scene where Simon is watching River in the chair. I don't have a back-lit panel, so the image isn't perfect, but there is some good info on this; just like the Prop Store images of the info plates handled by the Operative. (Which I do not own, except as downloaded images.)

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By combining the info on the scan with the Propstore images, we see that: River Tam (Test Subject 443/95/4521) was entered into the Osiris School for the Gifted on August 22nd, 2515. The Alliance designation for the Osiris School for the Gifted is Alliance Research facility 41, where River was tested on September 7th, 2515. Once it was determined that River was a good candidate for the Alliance psychic program, she was moved to the secret Alliance Research facility 54 for Project Oracle. She was further tested on psychic abilities on October 13th, 2516. It was expected that she would be finished with the program on June 4th, 2518, but her brother, Simon Tam, removed her without authorization in 2516.

When I first posted my acquisition of my second screen-used prop on line, I posted it as a teaser; a picture of the case I made and a "guess what goes in here" question.

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All our subjects are conditioned for combat, but River...she's a creature of extraordinary grace. Yes, she always did love to dance...
The warm and fuzzy Alliance research/ torture device used to, to quote Simon; "They stripped her amygdala. She feels everything; she can't not."

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Here is the case I built for my second, and most likely last, screen-used item from BDM Serenity. It is based on a basketball display case.

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When I bought my prop it was damaged and missing two parts. I repaired the broken pieces as best I could and cut one replacement out of a model car windshield. The other piece I machined to match the original as closely as possible.

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I was then ready to display my star attraction. The headpiece worn by River in the Project Oracle lab.

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It also has the (retractable) needle that pushes in through the front. I got the brain scan first during the writer's strke, and thought the headpiece would be an amazing complement for display. I contacted The Propstore Of London with a ridiculous offer and they countered with a doable one. Aw hell, it's the only one in the world, so I figgered, "why not".

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And so, above is the complete River Tam Project Oracle grouping that is in my collection. I saw the BDM River Tam lab outfit that was also sold by the Propstore of London come up on eBay awhile back. It eventually sold for (IIRC) about half of the original asking price, but it was still too much for me to add to my collection. (Especially in light of the fact that I've unsuccessfully posted this grouping for sale a few times.) It has been noted on theRPF many times to buy props and costuming items out of passion, not as an investment; and I think that is sound advice.
 
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pennausamike

Sr Member
Firefly class Mid Bulk Transport
The Tenth Crew Member
(Joss Whedon commenting that he wanted the ship to have the attributes of another character.)


OK, I apologize that this is nearly a straight lift from my other thread
but

08 DEC 2016
Bought this years ago.

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Kit was $250.
As you can tell by the 12oz. Mountain Dew can, it's a biggun'.

It sat for a few years, until I sold it to finance the 2011 BCB trip (which I ended up not taking.)

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At that point, the only replica Firefly I owned was the old Hallmark ornament version; about 5 inches long.
I saw another kit come up on eBay for $400 that I think was being offered by the original builder.
Hi-lariously enough, the listing used my green pool table pictures of my 3 foot Firefly, but it was definitely not mine for sale.
I didn't buy that one because of both the price (considerably more than I paid)
and because I just couldn't face the amount of work needed to join all that fiberglass together.
Never mind a fully detailed build.

At some point in there I bought one of the beautiful "SHINY" resin Firefly kits, thinking the build would be a little more straight forward than all the fiberglass prep work.

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Because they were so nice, their value skyrocketed, just about the time I needed cash for another hobby purchase. And since it just wasn't quite big enough for what I wanted, I let it go.

Out of desperation, I guess, I bought one of the Firefly Yahtzee ships for fifteen bucks, but that really didn't fit what I was looking for.
So, I still didn't have a nice big display ship that suited me.
Until......

...another three foot, fiberglass Firefly came up on eBay.
This one was already built, with nearly no basic cleanup of seams and so forth,
plus some rudimentary electronics (which I have no interest in.)
Still a little high on the price, but closer to what I was willing to pay,
which is about what I was willing to pay the first go-'round.

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I kept it in my watch list for awhile, and yeehaw, it came down to what I originally paid for the kit, plus shipping.
Well yeah, I can do that!
So I'm back in the big display Firefly club.
There is still a fair amount of work to make it displayable, but all that ambition-killing fiberglass work is out of the way.
Knowing my limitations, I'm keeping this really basic; no interior, no electronics, no Altrans display base,
(that was the original plan, I even have the basis for the HO scale Altrans hover-locomotive)
and no super-detailing.

This thing just really looks nice,
with good basic shapes and a sense of impact that the smaller Firefly models don't give me.
Here is the Yahtzee Firefly with one of the 3 ft Firefly engines (with the aluminum rings I machined for it.)

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Thank goodness, 'cause I really needed another project....

An in-progress update, just 'cause, yunno,
MERRY CHRISTMAS! to all.

And in the Yuletide spirit, here is my project I have been working on as I can:

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It took a little bit of searching (but not too much, actually) to find a Serenity-sized Christmas hat.
The base will be stained in dark walnut, the riser is made of clear plexiglass (currently with the brown paper protective covering)
and the builder's plate is from a nearly decade old RPF Junkyard run.
Of course, the 12 oz Mountain Dew can is the "standard" to show the size of the thing.

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I checked the QMx site, and their large Firefly is 27" X 18", cost $7,500, and is "sold out".
There is still a lot of basic work to do to make my 3-foot Firefly presentable
(and I know to many folks, it would never be "right")
but I am still thrilled to have it (tho' I'm not so thrilled with the puttying and sanding.)

By August of 2017, in time for the Gettysburg Browncoat Ball, my three-foot Firefly looked like this.

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And since then...
 
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pennausamike

Sr Member
Hard to believe it has been over two years since I took pics of my 3 foot Firefly, and almost harder to believe it still isn't done, but here is the current update.

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the engine nozzles (the small ones at the tail end) are machined out of stainless steel bolts.

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The weathering is underway, but not really looking right, yet.

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I haven't even touched the shuttles; they are still as I received them.

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And that's it for my boat for now. Hopefully it won't be another 2 years until the next update!
 
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pennausamike

Sr Member
Ship’s Mechanic
Kaywinnet Lee Frye "Kaylee"
Bester (Serenity’s first Mechanic): “Why would you need two mechanics?”
Mal: “I reckon I don’t.”


Coveralls, necklace, parasol, Firefly builders plate and mylar decal sheet, copies of original Firefly Serenity interiors; all done by other Firefly fans. The width and breadth of the unofficial work done by the fans and the absolute dearth of official licensed products is a ongoing testament to the need to support the underground, bootleg suppliers of the world. Hey, just like live Led Zeppelin; if you release it, I'll buy it. If not, well......... But, oh the work I already have tied up in that strawberry box! The thing was BRIGHT orange when I got it. The trade seals didn't come out to suit, so I'll be redoing them before I paste 'em on the box.

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Kaylee was the sunshiney girl mechanic on Serenity. She basically graduated from being a farm girl helping Daddy fix farm equipment to space-faring ship's mechanic by being in the right place at the right time. Simon made her happy when he referred to her as the ship's engineer, a title she poo-pooed with the comment, "Machines got workin's and they talk to me." The ship's basic look, the nature of Serenity's mechanical troubles and Kaylee's jury-rigged repairs and the exotic ports of call Serenity put into, are proof that Firefly was really not JUST a space-western, but also a story about a tramp steamer plying the South Pacific in the 1930's.

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I also added a Kaylee parasol to the collection, but it is more than a little cumbersome to display. Honestly, Kaylee is a better cosplay choice than prop display subject.
 

pennausamike

Sr Member
Splamp
(So named by Nathan Fillion, who stuck a “sp” for “space” on front of the names of things on the Firefly set.)

This is a replica of the Serenity dining table lamp, made from a bamboo steamer, that I built for the 2017 Browncoat Ball raffle. This thing represented a lot of work, especially when I realized how flimsy it was with the risers bolted to the thin bamboo thatching. I wouldn’t like that for myself, but it was especially unacceptable for an item meant to be purchased and used by someone else. To stiffen it up, if you look carefully at this picture

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you can make out the clear plexiglas ring on the underside of the top piece, and I put a clear plexi “floor” on top of the bottom part. (The top is a ring so that heat can escape through the top of the steamer.) All the risers are machined aluminum, to length within a 1/64th or so and drilled and tapped for 10-32 UNF SS hardware. The power box on the underside is neat because it is machined from a translucent clear piece of round stock so the machined white plastic “candles” are securely bolted through the plexi floor, the bamboo thatching and then the lower box. I put a lamp cord with one of those little circle on/off switches on it and finished it off with the perfect low wattage candelabra bulbs

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I have to admit, it was a REALLY hard decision to go ahead and donate this thing to the auction. It came out super (I think) and I had a good bit of time into engineering and making it, which, generally, can never be fully appreciated by the person who just buys it and plugs it in. But really, I have no place to put it, and realistically I would probably use five more times in my whole life. So, off to the auction it went. First shot with flash,

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and the second with the ambient splamp light.

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My splamp raised $125 for the BCB and the couple who won it are dyed-in-the-wool Browncoats of long acquaintance who I feel certain will use their splamp on a regular basis.

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Well, I couldn't stand it any more, so I built another one. I made this one with four supports instead of three, which was actually not an improvement.

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I also left the bottom panel clear, this time.

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And as predicted, by me no less, it just sits in the basement. There are probably a dozen other projects I would have been better off to finish. Maybe if I find a place to display the collection, it will get some use.
 
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pennausamike

Sr Member
The Bad Guys

Firefly introduced the audience to a number of unique villains. Each antagonist had their own Firefly flair; some were obviously wonderful recurring characters in the 'verse, like Badger, Niska and YoSafBridge, and others made a splash (in more ways than one) and were done, like Crow, Rance Burgess and Dobson. And, speaking of...


Dobson.
Ah yes, the Alliance Fed mole who liked to shoot girls, or at least, that's the way Mal saw it.


I got Dobson's Cortex Access device a long time ago but couldn't garner much enthusiasm to finish it. Then I decided it would make a good prop for the FFF, so I started working on it. (The white panel is clear plexi with a protective covering.) But I still really wanted to display it with the gun Dobson used to shoot Kaylee. (Sweet Kaylee! What a scumbag...) So I got it in my head to blow up the picture in the Firefly Companion of Dobson's Astra 400 and just build the thing from scratch. Eh, what the heck. If it looked like crap I'd just throw it out and move on.

dobsonpistoljpeg.jpg


Well! I was so pleased with the way it was going, I bought real Astra 400 grips for it. It's not screen accurate perfect but I was really pleased with the way it came along. I feel sure that few Firefly collections have Dobson's Astra and mine is even more unique because it is made by me. In the picture below, the Astra and Cortex Access device are done.

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But, they needed some company. Remember I mentioned there was more about Simon’s Vector? Well, Dobson had it first. So of course, I wanted one, too. I bought a notoriously cheap airsoft, and started to modify it with metal parts.

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Finish that up and, there we go!

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Both travel documents books are someone else's work. The passport is from the 2007 Browncoat Ball in Philadelphia, the travel papers book was thoughtfully included in with another purchase from a 76th member.

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Above, the Astra and Vektor, muzzle on: I really should just break down and buy a replica of Dobson's third pistol.
 

pennausamike

Sr Member
Two-By-Two, Hands-of-Blue

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I made a static version of this prop a long time ago, but it was just very unsatisfying. I made removable end caps (closed position) and (extended) blue acrylic rods. It was still worlds better than the Coolmodels cream-colored-piece-o-crap-kit.

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I ended up selling one of these and giving the other one away. They displayed OK, but didn’t DO anything.

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At some point, I got the idea to make 8 of the pop-open HOB Neural bleeders to keep one and sell the rest. The biggest problem was figuring out the internal mechanism. And in reality, I never did. I could only come up with a design that released from the middle, rather than from one end, as shown in the show.

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Some early work, including my 1:1 scale drawings.

BlueHandsDevice02JPEG.jpg


At this point they are about two-thirds done and the release mechanism works. In the first pic they are shown with the rods captured closed:

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and in the second pic the mock up is popped open while the cover-off version shows how the rods slide past the release catch.

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All the pieces are made; note: that's MADE, NOT finished. I have to drill and tap the bodies and cover plates so they can be bolted together. After that will be some fine tuning. I need to ream the holes for the acrylic rods. The drill was too inconsistent and some of the end caps and sliding blocks won't press on the rods. Overall, some final fit and finish is required.

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Lotsa pieces…

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And about here, my trip to the 2011 BCB was off (so the need for hobby cash wasn’t as pressing) and I had really just gotten sick of working on these things. The main machining was done, but they ended up needing a ton of fiddley hand fitting which my original suggested price in no way justified. I hadn’t taken any money; I just put together an interest list, so, after a pretty sizable break, I went through the interest list to see who was interested in these as a kit. I got rid of the seven millstones, I mean, HOB Neural Bleeders. After awhile one of the purchasers posted a video of his working, and this fabulous pic of his friend at a con.

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Which in turn inspired me to finish mine. (If I remember the order of events properly.)

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I posted a couple of pics as info for those who were still looking to finish theirs.

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final steps will be to paint the bodies in krinkle-finish black

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And this was what I ended up with:

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and open (with no bleeding).

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pennausamike

Sr Member
Adelai Niska
"You know what is reputation? Is people talking, is gossip. I also have reputation; not so pleasant, I think you know".


Niska was a reoccurring villain, so his Skyplex

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was a large set destined (I imagine) for a number of future uses. I have a color print autographed (on the back) by CGI artist Lee Stringer. Firefly was neat for occasionally showcasing real science moments. One example is the, "no sound in space"; another is the orientation of Niska's space station. In the first pic, the Skyplex is "below" the "bottom" of the planet Ezra. But when you look at the Lee Stringer picture, which looks "up" from the underside of the Skyplex, it looks like it is floating "upside-down", "above" the planet. Which, in a weightless environment, it kinda is.

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I have copies of two sheets of the original set plans. The first page is the “floor plan”, and to me, it is funny to note that 1/4” equals 1’ is a standard architectural scale.

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And the second page is of some of the elevations.

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As always, there is an interesting tale behind these coming into my possession, but the short version is that they were a gift from a fellow collector who has amassed an impressive collection of original set drawings. While I’m super glad to have them, I haven’t yet figured out how to display these rather large images. I need more walls!

Easier to display is Niska’s pet, known as the torture spider from “War Stories”. This is a 3-D printed kit from the amazing body of work by Joatrash.

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The actual studio prop was originally 3-D printed and then cast in resin, but it retained the sort of rough printer finish. So, it is actually pretty close to being ready to paint.

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I have, as is usually the case, made a few modifications to suit my own taste and abilities. I replaced the 3-D printed joint pins with SS 4-40UNC set screws. I haven’t yet fully settled on what to use for the cable running in to the spider, so the brass piece is center drilled for location, but I haven’t decided on the final attachment method.

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pennausamike

Sr Member
Saffron, no, Bridget, no, Yolanda, no, YoSafBridge!

OK, this is a thread about props in my collection, not a rehash of the story and character elements that make up the Firefly/ Serenity 'verse. But my YoSafBridge display doesn't make any sense without the context; and the context is worthy of the tell. See, Mal and his crew drove off some robber/ desperadoes on Triumph moon and at the celebration party a pretty girl gave Mal some wine and a hat made out of sticks and danced with him, and then Serenity had to skeedaddle 'cuz one of the desperadoes was the son of a local bigwig, and the pretty girl stowed away on Mal's ship because now they were married. This was all plenty hi-larious until the girl Saffron wanted to act all married-like, only Mal wasn't interested (less'n he was talkin' to 'Nara trying to ruffle her feathers a little) so he was gonna drop Saffron on Beaumonde where she could find honest work and if someone tried to kill her she should try and kill 'em right back. Shepherd Book also reminded Mal that if he took advantage of Saffron he'd go to the "special hell of child molesters and people who talk in theaters." Only problem was, demure little Saffron was actually a rather ruthless ship-thief who seduced Mal and knocked him out with a powerful drug on her lips known as the "Good Night Kiss". That wasn't hi-larious at all 'cuz Saffron stole a shuttle and they were all headed for an electrical net that would kill everyone on board; that is until Jayne got Vera all dressed up and went out (as far as the airlock) and blowed up the bad guys and saved the day. Mal tracked his shuttle and took it back from Saffron. Was a bit later Mal and Serenity were picking up part of a smuggler run from an old war buddy, Monty. Monty introduced Mal to his new bride, Bridget, who turned out to be Saffron. That di'n't go so well, and Monty left Saffron/ Bridget on the moon with Mal. After their little tussle earlier, Saffron saw fit to freshen up a bit, and that was when Mal noted that her and lipstick was a dangerous combination, as he recalled. After another tussle, wherein Saffron ended up in a crate, she convinced Mal and the crew to help with a job that practically robbed itself. On that job they ran into another previous husband who married "Yolanda" (which was why she had all the codes 'n' such). After she had her little crazy moment, which included the pistol seen below, (that's new), Mal coined the catch-all name, YoSafBridge. See how simple that is?

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The Saffron pistol from Trash was one of those out-of-nowhere prop offerings that popped up on eBay. Seller props256 offered the pilot episode food bar as a gold bar, not knowing what it was. He went on to offer the Alliance pins and the YoSafBridge pistol casting. As a note, the YoSafBridge pistol was a rental house item originally used in the Jet-Li movie, "The One"

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and was also used in the BDM Serenity. It was the pistol Dr Caron used in the Miranda recording.

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I bought mine by offering a sort of buy-it-now price, and boy, did it take some work to clean it up! The casting was REALLY badly pitted and covered in pinholes. Even after all the work to clean it up and rebuild broken down parts, painting STILL exposed some pinholes! Sigh... Fortunately, the weathering I did on the pistol covered the most glaring places. On the plus side, I decided to go with a satin nickel finish on the frame and slide to contrast with the machined parts; and the silver and gunmetal painted parts.

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The prop collectors on www.fireflyprops.net ended up making a group purchase from props256, orchestrated by industry insiders Badger and Robstyle. I only got Alliance pin sets that way, but suddenly there were about nine people in need of the round nose piece for the YoSafBridge pistol. I ended up making the pieces out of aluminum and selling them for barely more than gas money. At this time, if there is a replica YoSafBridge pistol out there with an aluminum nose piece; odds are, I made it.

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I'm very pleased with the contrast and overall look. As with the Wash pistol, (and any number of these projects, really), it seems hard to believe these will ever turn out right many times during the build process. It is always a mixture of relief and satisfaction when they turn out OK at the end. The second element of the display that became more work than intended, well, let's quote Mal: "You and lipstick are a dangerous combination, as I recall". That's right, Saffron's other weapon was the "goodnight kiss". Just buy a tube of white lipstick, right? Not quite... First, I could just never seem to remember to look when I was at the store. I finally added it to a shopping list, and then couldn't find a cylindrical lipstick tube. (They're all square-ish now, it seems.) I was getting ready to search eBay when I thought, "nuts, I'll just make that, too." I'm pretty sure I'm now in possession of the fanciest non-lipstick tube on the planet! And since the "lipstick" itself is white plastic, I don't have to worry about it ever melting or crumbling.

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The wooden frame/divider I made for the inside came out as I hoped, but the stain isn't quite red enough. It still worked out OK, and I might incorporate this concept into another display down the road.

The YoSafBridge display went out of the collection as part of the sale that included the original Zoe display and the first Jubal Early display. As with the other two, I got a bad case of seller’s remorse and started putting WTB notes on the ffprops.net forum. (And maybe here on theRPF as well, I’m not really sure.) After, I’m thinking a year or so, a collector who had purchased two of the pre-painted castings from props256 offered to sell the extra to me. I’ve started the process all over again, with the upgrade of a full length SS barrel that runs all the way back to the chamber at the ejection port. Drilling this long of a hole in a thin-wall, pitted resin casting didn’t go as well as planned, so I made a plastic plug to help me build up the area where the casting got too thin. I haven’t even started stripping the original paint and addressing the pitting and pinholes. So, the project sits pretty-much like this for now.

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and more to follow...

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pennausamike

Sr Member
YoSafBridge: continued

The item that Yolanda wanted to steal from her husband was from his collection of Earth-That-Was artifacts, the first ever working laser pistol.

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The prop was an amalgamation of parts from a Readylight flashlight, a pistol grip casting based off the Galactronic children’s toy and a number of custom machined parts.

FIREFLY LASSITER LASER

Description:

1609. FireflyThe Lassiter” working antique laser pistol. (TCF TV, 2002-2003) Credited as one of the first laser weapons in this Sci-Fi universe. Constructed of tooled aluminum, cast resin, acrylic, and copper components and electronics. Measuring 12 x 9 x 4.5 in. the large futuristic box at the top of the weapon is mounted to an aluminum grip handle and base. Tooled aluminum muzzle with acrylic double barrel muzzle, which illuminates when the trigger button is depressed. With affixed aluminum laser sight at the top of the device, which illuminates when a button at the back of the grip is depressed. A tracking screen is fixed to the butt of the weapon and also illuminates and animates when a toggle switch at the bottom of the box portion is switched on. Buttons on the display screen operate an LED counter and radar map. Named after creator Josh Whedon’s friend and Pixar head, John Lassiter. In fully functioning fine condition. NOTE: also used in seaQuest DSV (1994) Episode 20; “Abalon”. $4,000 - $6,000

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A number of folks have built nice replicas and the original even went up for auction. I’m not sure if the original sold, but I am sure that a replica is the best that will ever make it into my collection. Despite it seeming to be a fairly iconic Firefly prop, I was not particularly anxious to take this one on. It didn’t really “speak to me”, especially relative to the amount of machining it was going to take for all the custom parts. At some point a collector was letting go of a number of Firefly items, including the Splamp parts and the Lassiter toy and flashlight pieces, and I knew that Joatrash had come up with a 3-D printed parts kit. Boy, I hope I have the maker right, but I’m pretty sure it was Kurtyboy who came up with the viewscreen pieces, and I bought those, too. The only thing I really need still are the red buttons. They were identified on the ffprops.net forum, but that info is gone.
For now, my Lassiter build is at this point,

lassiter_zpsha7su044.jpg
 

pennausamike

Sr Member
Rance Burgess
Mal: "She is quite a beauty." Rance: "Silk trigger return bolt laser." Mal: "'Course, I was referring to the lady."


Rance Burgess; the villain who keeps the inhabitants of his world intentionally poor so he can be the one with all the shiniest and newest toys.

I happened into a Rance Burgess laser kit (from "Heart of Gold"). The original hero prop is available for about eight grand, but my budget was about $7,850 less than that, so I'm building this really nice static display model. The person who offered this kit did an exceptionally nice job, with a super casting, SS machine screws and a decal for the “CHECK BATTERY” warning. It would build up very nicely with a little work, but I went a little further.

Burgesslaser11JPEG.jpg


The kit was cast off the rubber stunt prop so I had to machine out the gap in the handle, I drilled out the barrels and I drilled and filed out the (supposed to be) open areas around the barrels. I also machined a stainless tube for the "check battery" tube and machined aluminum end caps.

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My Rance Burgess display is a tribute to industrial dumpster diving. The case is an old calibration instrument box, and an old inspection camera mount was pulled from the trash, modified and is now used to display the "Silk trigger return bolt laser."

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(Oh, and the Rance Burgess hovercar goggles are some kind of German tanker goggles tracked down by another collector, which I purchased from a fancy, online, home reno store.)

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I cut up a mini CD to put it “in” the disc drive, and the decal is now behind a clear plastic window.

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The finishes are more to my artistic taste than screen accurate, a choice I made for a prop that is a static display, subject to close observation,

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as opposed to a film prop seen rather fleetingly on a TV screen.

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I REALLY like the way this came out, in part to the changes I made, but in larger part to the excellent quality of the original kit.

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pennausamike

Sr Member
Jubal Early
Simon (to Early): Are you Alliance?" Early: "A lion? No, but I do have a mighty roar."


Jubal Early is a damaged and twisted bounty hunter who Joss uses to explore existentialism with Early's disjointed and rambling musings.
Jubal Early's stylistic but functionally impossible pistol. I bought a pair of resin castings on eBay that were supposed to have been cast from screen-used.

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Although considered iconic Firefly by many fans, this pistol's lack of sights, magazine or any discernible operating system keeps me from being able to get too excited about it as a display piece. I would agree that it looked the part in the episode but, Jubal Early's pistol just doesn't stand up to studied observation.

early1.jpg


I sold the first one I re-did, which had an aluminum barrel, and then I replaced the aluminum barrel with brass, and kept that for my collection.

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In one of those odd twist stories, I sold the first one on eBay after being asked about selling it on the Replica Prop Forum. The RPF member that bought it won the auction for $125.00 plus shipping (which was OK for me because I paid $150.00 plus shipping for the two I bought). The twist comes a year or two later when that member puts the Jubal Early pistol I sold to him in the RPF Junkyard for $60.00, less than HALF what he paid for it. I jumped on it and Paypal-ed the money immediately. He refunded the money, saying someone else had beat me to it by minutes. He also passed along that he wished I had got it so it would have gone back to its original creator, as it was one of his favorite props. The fact that he thought so little of it that he let it go for less than half of what he paid for it, tells me that he forgot what he had paid and didn't think it was worth too much. I felt that even with only the aluminum barrel as an upgrade, this was nicer than the average resin replica.

The resin with brass barrel and stainless steel hardware Jubal Early pistol.

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The Story Behind The Display: Jubal Early’s Pistol The Source Material: In the FIREFLY episode “Objects In Space”, bounty hunter Jubal Early sneaks aboard Serenity to return River Tam for the 200,000 Credit reward. With the possible exception of one deadly and unpredictable pyromaniac midget, River proves to be the smallest and most troublesome cargo Early has ever had to transport. Early is a skewed and damaged personality and, in many ways, this nonsensical pistol fits him. (The pistol has no sights, discernible ammunition storage or obvious operating mechanism.) Although Early’s pistol doesn't hold up to the studied observation that this display allows, on screen it worked as a finely-crafted and deadly firearm.

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The Display Items: This shadow box features a resin, brass and stainless steel hardware replica of Jubal Early’s pistol. This was purchased on eBay as one of two Early pistols purported to be cast from screen-used. I believe this to be true because the original castings had the bent lower rod as seen in “Objects In Space”; plus, I know of only one fan-made copy of the Early pistol, and I supplied many of the measurements from mine to the builder. The original resin barrel and lower rod were removed and replaced with a brass barrel and cadmium-plated steel rod, which add some realistic heft to the pistol. The photos were taken from online sources and represent the pictures Early had in his spacecraft: the wanted poster, the “Hands of Blue” picture of River, and the picture of Early’s mother. The case itself is a modified Harley-Davidson knife box. The display case required a fair amount of work to break out the glued-in, etched H-D glass and replace it with Plexiglas.

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During the time that I owned my brass-barrel, cast-from-original, resin Early pistol, I received a request from Joatrash for detailed pics and dimensions so that he could build pewter replicas of Early’s pistol. I sent him a good number of pictures and drawings, and he produced a small run of the metal pistols.

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At some point after I sold my Early pistol display (with the usual bout of seller’s remorse over stuff I made) Joe began offering a 3-D printed Jubal Early pistol kit. I went ahead and bought one and, much like the Rance Burgess resin laser kit, although very nice on its own, I made a number of changes to my kit.

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I added some weight to achieve a little more realistic heft, and replaced some of the kit parts with machined metal parts.

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One change I made was to replace the brass side “buttons” with copper. Much like the green paint on Aliens SMG’s, (they were actually painted Brown Bess) this was my choice to make the pistol look like how it looked to me on screen, versus the real prop, which does have brass “buttons” on the side.

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Oh! And since I took these pictures, I DID paint the trigger "steel".
 
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pennausamike

Sr Member
Lt. Womack


A corrupt Alliance Fed running a job on the side. Womack was responsible for one of my favorite lines from the series. After intimidating the postal clerk to find Tracey, Womack tells him, "I was just kidding about arresting you. Who needs all that paperwork. Skunk, light him on fire."


I haven't ACTUALLY built or acquired any Lt. Womack props, but I have put together a character costume that is an amalgam of Womack and his men's look.
I really liked the long, sleeveless coat and I like the gray Confederate Navy looking flathats (tho' I seem to be the only one). These are two of the flat hats I acquired; the first closest to the series, and displayed with a Lee Stringer autographed shot of Womack’s space fighter, a Badger cast from screen used badge, and a Blad resin Alliance badge.



Before that, I painted a BDM Alliance pin in more series-appropriate grays silver and black for a different flat hat I purchased, well honestly, I have no remberance where. (The first pic flat hat was purchased from a Civil War reenactor site as a Confederate Navy hat.)



I purchased a leather coat off ebay for about forty bucks and took a pair of scissors to it. And...done; no sleeves. I then went to sew the cut parts in place, and promptly pushed the eye of the needle through my thumb! Yow-ow-ow-OW! that did NOT feel good. And that is how I found out there are special needles and thimbles for sewing leather. It was amazing how much easier that little job was with the right tools. I've made a badge holder/ wallet for the Fed badge, bought a really nice, black Sam Browne belt This makes for a nice character costume for Fool Me Twice, and it will be fun to wear it to a Browncoat event or shindig.

 

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