replicas vs respecting actual artifacts?


Well-Known Member
Hi All -

I was thinking about this the other day when I was talking to a friend - He loves props but refuses to build "accurate" Star Wars replicas because he also collects WW2 items, and gets upset that so many prop collectors "destroy" authentic WW2 artifacts in order to make prop replicas - Not to mention how much more expensive Sterlings, etc - are now because of their added interest.

I also ran into a camera collector who felt the same about Graflex 3-Cells. etc...

I personally have always been fine with buying a replica base, ie: a replica graflex or sterling, etc - But I know a lot of people desire the "authentic" thing -

Thought it could be a good discussion topic - Hopefully it wont be as heated as recasting talks, etc - Lets try to make it a good back and forth discussion on the topic!
Wow -Old thread that was going for 3 years! looks like not a lot of interest talking about it then so if this thread is redundant or pointless I dont mind if the mods axe it
Yeah. it's a tough question. I have mixed feelings about it. If I see lots of a thing about then I'm ok with having it re-manufactured for a new use. If it's a rare object then I won't. I can understand the camera guys going ape crazy at "the spotty faced space lazer sword geeks" destroying photographic history.

As for the sterlings, best to get one of the cut up ones, then you are only making it better than it was.
I did feel very uneasy when i started modifying the WW2 USAF flight helmet and headset to make the Gaff spinner helmet from Blade Runner and after talking about it with a fellow member and mate, he pointed out that i was actually giving the item a new purpose and that the original owner would probably prefer it was used and not stuck in a box and that no one else had made one yet anyway. I felt better about it after that.
There may be an occassional WWII collector that comes along that can't fill a spot in his collection due to the cost created by SW fans.

But I don't think there is any Star Wars item that is preventing any regular museum from having what they want. None of the items are that rare. Some ONLY have any value BECAUSE of Star Wars.
True - and even still, there are, in perspective, very few replica prop collectors who even WOULD modify an original, either due to finance, desire, or ability, etc... I guess if there were so many people wanting to do that, there would be a market for metal replicas of all of those guns already - haha
And honestly what is the difference whether a SW fan has a Sterling or a Derwent engine vs. a War collector.

Who is to say that the SW fan cherishes that original piece any less than the War collector does.

The only piece I've been able to get my hands on is an original Volvo dash part. And I'm proud to death of that! Is there a Volvo restorer out there that wants that piece? Maybe. Maybe not. But it means a whole heck of a lot to me to own it.
The difference is that once something is converted to a SW piece, it may not be able to be turned BACK - So from that point forward, only a SW collector will want it, and not a WW2 collector -

At least that is the rationale as far as I understand it -

If it can be turned from artifact to prop and back again without damage, I think that is the idea...
I bought an APH-6C and an APH-6D helmet to use as bases for various SW helmets. After receiving them and seeing that at least one of them was a piece of history I couldn't bring myself to mod them. So, I'm going to make a mold from them and keep them intact. Currently they are both on a shelf in full display with plans to restore them as best as I can.
A piece of history, manufactured in the tens or hundreds of thousands, or millions, in some cases.

Vintage car guys hate hotrodders for destroying our cars. Hotrodders hate us back for not selling our cars to them, if we twig. Graflex collectors hate sabre collectors. Car modellers hate Star Wars modellers for taking apart all the Entex Porsches. Kit collectors in general hate kitbashers, while kitbashers hate 'kit hoarders'. Typewriter collectors hate the people who junk them for their key pads to sell on eBay as jewellery.

I say exterminate all collectors. That'll sort it.
The difference is that once something is converted to a SW piece, it may not be able to be turned BACK - So from that point forward, only a SW collector will want it, and not a WW2 collector -

So? The piece only has the intrinsic value that the person who holds it places in it.

Take the Volvo dash. To me it holds value because it is something that was used to make one of the major props in the SW universe. To the Volvo restorer its value is that it's a major part of the car's interior. All the while to the third person in the mix it is a piece of garbage that was made to eventually be fodder for the landfill.

As far as WW2 many pieces of equipment were probably demilled/slagged for recycling? Those are things that have been destroyed just for the simple reason of getting them out of the way.

I would also bet that the person that owns an "artifact" and wishes to sell it is probably going to target the group they roll with anyway. Once a Graflex is made into a lightsaber the person who made it is not going to be worried about finding the right camera collector to sell it to. Scanning the junkyard from time to time will tell you that even if it has never been altered at all people tend to list it there to sell it. I doubt any of them also list them on (not a real link-nobody check it please lol)

This is also a vice versa situation. The WW2 collector that owns a pristine Sterling is not worried about the SW geek who would love to have it. They are going to target the group they roll with as well.

Are either of these people right or wrong? No. They each enjoy the piece in their own special way while other people see no value in the piece whatsoever.

Another viewpoint is that if you look at it the correct way, what people do on this board with some of these things is pure art. Thought, care, precision, and love go into these creations. There is a man who scavenges junkyards to get car bumpers to make awesome statues. He loves what he does, and a lot of other people love what he does, but I bet the guy looking to finish up his '69 Roadrunner can't stand this guy.

So in the last example who is wrong? Nobody. They each want the piece for their own purpose. Whose to say that either of these people shouldn't have what they want?

PS Bumper Sculpture just for fun...
WW2 collectors are collecting Sterlings? :eek

They were developed on/after 1944, but replacing the Sten smg with Sterlings started 1953. Before that there were only some trial versions (120), and some of them found their way into duty - but that were not the L2A3 MK IV we are looking for. ;)


- Unassigned: Patchett Machine Carbine Mark 1 (trials commenced in 1944)
- Unassigned: Patchett Machine Carbine Mark 1 & Folding Bayonet (same as above but with folding bayonet, never accepted)
- L2A1: (Patchett Machine Carbine Mark 2) Adopted in 1953.
- L2A2: (Sterling Mark 3) Adopted in 1955.
- L2A3: (Sterling Mark 4) Adopted in 1956. Last regular version in service with the British Army.
(From Wikipedia)

To get the right variant (1 remaining of the 120 made guns worldwide) they have to handle bigger problems than us SW collectors. And spend more money then the usual 450 BP. :love

Regulary i see no problems - if a Camera/WW2/Modelgun/....../whatever-collector really wants to "save" a piece i´m interested in, then there is a pretty easy way: Offer/bid more money than i do. As long as he doesn´t do that, he´s just a whining punk under my radar. :lol

But generally (if possible) i try to minimize the damage. If i find 2 graflex in nice condition, i would drill the not working one before doing such to a functional mint piece.
It's a vicious cycle that represents itself in all walks of "collecting".

For instance, I'm into "retro" AR15s. A few years ago, the old parts were just junk that no one could sell. Countless numbers were thrown out, modified to fit the flavor of the month, tossed into bins never to be seen again, what have you. No one cared about them or their history because they couldn't sell. Heck, some of them couldn't even be given away.

Now the "retro" parts are popular. People are interested in the history of the rifle. They're desperately trying to hunt down and "save" what little is left and the prices are skyrocketing into absurd territories. A lot of these people are the same folks who were tossing them out by the handfuls not even 10 years ago.

"We" cross paths with Star Wars collectors too. The Single Point scopes are uber rare pieces of early AR15/military history. And because of their use on Rebel Trooper blasters and such, we find ourselves battling it out over Star Wars collectors for them in auctions and such. I hate to say it but, I can imagine quite a few of the more rare parts have been tossed out or neglected simply because the Star Wars fan doesn't know what they'ee got.

I find the whole thing interesting and somewhat saddening at the same time.

In the end, I find myself trying to replicate old parts and collect what few I cant replicate or that I can afford in general. I try to find out exactly what I have before I do anything at all to it, and I try to minimize any "damage" I may cause.

I just can't, in good conscience, chop up something that's 40/100 years old for whatever my current niche hobby is.

It doesn't matter how many were produced. Eventually, there won't be any anymore and then we'll be sad that we've bought, sold, and chopped them into extinction.
Michael hit it on the head, if they are so worried about it then outbid us and get it. The people who complain can't afford it and blame everyone else for it rather than saving more money.
On some level I think downplaying the importance of Pop culture on history is also problematic. It's hard to say whether the graflex camera or Star Wars has had a greater impact on history. Afterall many of the technolgies we used today were in some part inspired by science fiction.

While the hardware and tangible pieces of history do make our past more tangible, ultimately it's the written legacy that is most important to preserve. Outside of that, it just a whole bunch of fringe people who want to hold onto the past they think is important, be that Star Wars, Photography, or even WW2.

I think the real hatred is that they have to share their world with us, and that I can understand. We are lucky since we as a community never have to worry about other seemingly unrelated communities driving up our prices or depleting our supply. Heaven forbid there ever be a mock lightsaber war.
Honestly, I get where your friend is coming from. When I found the same lighter used as the Joseph Adama lighter, I had to ask myself question of if it was worth getting the engraving on it to make it a screen-accurate replica or to not get it engraved, as it was an antique lighter and probably worth more in the condition it is currently in.

That's the drawback of utilizing older bits and pieces, because you don't know what stuff is truly collectable and what stuff is not. Much like what was discussed in my action figure thread, it's more in relation to the personal ethic of the individual who is making the replica. If they feel comfortable with taking a Graflex flash bulb tube and turning into an authentic replica, then that is what they'll do. If they have any sense of worry about modifying something old and something that's becoming even more rare, then they'll think twice about it.
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