Your Indiana Jones Displays - Lets see 'em

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kevin926

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
2nd round with the tablet. This time I used an electric engraver and I like the turn out much better.

I used purple insulation foam an inch thick. Used my tablet rubbing over some carbon paper for the text. Cut to shape with razor and used a basturd file to finish it off . Plenty of paint washes to get this look. I started with sand stone, then I water down the same color and added a couple of drops of light brown ,washed, then added drops of a darker brown, washed, and finally a drop of black for the final wash. Used a cloth to dab and pat till I liked what I saw.

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VonMagnum

Sr Member
For now, I’m about 90% sure that the model used in the movie was a K&E Railroad Transit for a couple of reasons.

1. The ‘U’ shaped mounting brackets are one of the biggest differences between other models and manufacturers. Many others (including the Brandis& Sons that you mention above) have cross bars and different attachment pieces where the transit mounts to the actual bracket.

All the K&E models I've looked on eBay that remotely resemble the one from the movie have the "A" cross bar on on the support mount. Yours is the only one I've seen (other than the movie) that does not. It could be, of course that those on eBay aren't the "Railroad Transit" model, though. A new one just same up for $300 that's close, but it has the "A" cross bar and thicker side wheel (of course the movie one has no side wheel at all). I also cannot tell at a glance whether the lenses on any given model are telescoping (or was that focus?) like in the movie (where the only brass on the lens piece shows when he moves it you can visually see the lens extending with brass underneath. Most models for sale on eBay have very little information (most people aren't experts on antique transits; they just buy/sell antiques) so it'd probably be up to the buyer to recognize the "railroad" transit model.

Here's one that just appeared on eBay. I've made some notes comparing the movie snapshots.

#1 & #4> Those brass rings are on the movie version (you can see it in your own photos posted in the 3rd picture from the left) , but someone painted over them in black (could be factory that way on some, though as the previous post I had with an example model I found for sale did have that bit as black instead of brass, but it still had "A" cross-beam supports). That's also true of #4, where if any brass is left it's darker shaded. There's also bits where the matte black paint is coming off, whether factory or afterwards, you can see it from the photo that shows the bottom of the scope. Notice also that the bubble levels mounted on the scope itself are orientated vertically upward in the movie photo so it's not just that Harrison Ford has the scope flipped upside down (facing the wrong direction) as the bubble levels would be upside down if that were the case. Someone mounted them this way on purpose, it seems (I supposed they could have put it together wrong).

#2 & #3> Different connector and "A" frame support (movie has no crossbar or brass connection or was painted at the connecting point.

#5> In the movie this is brass underneath when the lens extends through either focus or zoom. Most of the ones for sale have it completely retracted to fit in the box, etc. and so you cannot tell if it behaves/looks the same underneath.

This one is also upside down and has the angle wheel attached. The scope itself looks quite close to my eyes other than the brass bits not being painted black. The movie scope looks slightly longer, but it's extended (brass bits at location #5). Even with the wheel removed and the brass bits painted black, the "A" support crossbars would be incorrect. It also looks like the compass may be white in the movie version, but the silver compass looks almost white in other photos when there's a lot of light shining on it. I've seen black, silver and white compasses by K&E for sale so those varied as well. I'm always amazed how Indiana Jones movies always manage to have customized or hard-to-find versions of equipment used (or modern knockoffs like the Chinese Eveready knockoff flashlight in Crystal Kingdom that never existed in that time frame period).

KandE Transit.jpg


Survey Transit Raiders Snapshot.jpg



I guess I personally can't see spending over $250 for an inaccurate version of it and sadly there are no "cheap" antique transits for me to say "good enough" for the price. I'm also not sure where I could fit it into my home theater room at this point, but it's kind of a shame, since it is a very nice looking piece to have in a collection, almost "steam punk" Jules-Verne looking in appearance.
 
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Well - my K&E Railroad Transit arrived yesterday in fully working order (pretty impressive for something that's over 100 years old). All parts seem fully operational (i.e. compass, levels, gears, etc.)! Having it "in hand" to really compare to the screen grabs, I can now say with 99.99% certainty that the transit used by Indy in ROTLA is, indeed, a K&E Railroad Transit (Model 5160).

There are a couple of minor variations from the one in my possession and the screen grabs (as noted below), but most of those can easily be accounted for by swapping the direction of the parts or (in the case of the levels) some parts that have been replaced over the years. (There could also be some variation in models year-over-year. Mine is from 1916 - confirmed by matching serial number ranges, but the production used transit was likely from a different model year.)

I've annotated a few key indicators on both the screen grabs and the actual K&E Railroad Transit, which I believe to conclusively prove that this is, in fact the correct model. Having searched exhaustively online to find this one and compared many other K&E and other manufacturers' transits, I believe these indicator points to also be the key differences between the correct transit and the many other vintage transits out there.

A - The level tube (the smaller horizontal tube) attaches to the main scope (the larger tube) about 1" in from the end of the eye piece.
B - The eye piece itself is a distinctive shape with a flared end that is slightly smaller than the "connector" where it attaches to the scope. Both the eye piece and the connector are "ribbed" on the sides.
C - The small wheel opposite where the level attaches (honestly, I have not been able to figure out what this wheel does) has a distinctive mounting bracket which is rectangular.
D - Just in from where the level attaches, there are two rows of rectangular "brackets" attached to the scope. The row closest to the eye piece is secured with flat head screws and the row next to it is secured with round "screw" connectors with little holes in them.
E & F - The "U"-shaped mounting brackets have no cross-beam connectors. One side has a round "screw" connector with little holes (E) and the opposite side has two flat head screws (F) which - on my version - is used to attach an angle indicator that appears to be part of the "wheel" which is missing/removed in the movie version.
G - There is an "A"-shaped bracket that appears to be used to make very subtle adjustments to the inclination (up/down movement) of the scope. The wheel, cross beam, and beveling of the bracket are distinctive.
H & I - The focus "knob" is ribbed on the sides with a distinctive horizontal line running around the middle. It attaches a little bit forward (about 1/2") of the level connector on the opposite side (I).
J - Twisting the focus "knob" (H) moves the entire "lens" (J) forward and backward (just like you can see in the movie). The lens piece is also a distinctive shape and length.
K - There is a small circular "connector" on the base (opposite one of the base levels) that is made up of 3 increasingly smaller concentric circles (almost like a pyramid) with a round "screw" connector with little holes on top.
L - There is a slightly raised glass and metal plate which displays the horizontal angle of the base. (There is another one on the opposite side, as well.)
M - There is a "cone" shaped screw with a flared (looks like a mushroom) head that separates in the middle. (Also not too sure what this does, but it seems to be a distinctive and unique identifier of this model.)
N - There are 2 bubble levels to level the base. They are both cylindrical and connected with either 2 round "screw" connectors with little holes (as in the movie version) or 1 round "screw" connector with little holes and 1 flat head screw (flush mount) (as in my version). One level is opposite the "cone" structure (M) and the other is opposite the circular connector (K).

The scope does, in fact, spin all the way around so that it can be used "upside down" like Indy seems to be doing in the movie. You can see in the movie, however, that the level tube is correctly oriented "up" (so the bubbles are visible from the top), which indicates that they must have slightly modified the transit. (There are 2 large round "screw" connectors with little holes which could be easily removed to reverse the level tube, so this seems like a fairly easy modification.) As has also been pointed out, the movie version did not have the "wheel" or angle indicator attachment. It's not clear to me if that indicates that it was simply removed for production (so it didn't block the camera view) or if that might have been an optional module when ordering (the catalog I have doesn't indicate any models without the wheel, leading me to believe that it was probable removed before production or for production).

The one fairly major difference between my model and the movie model seems to be that the "U" shaped brackets are reversed on mine. On the movie version the "U" bracket with the flat head screws mid-way up the side (F) are directly above the circle connector (K) and the "U" bracket with the screw connecting at the top (E) is directly above the side level. On my model, those "U" brackets are reversed. This could be a minor manufacturing difference (the guy at the factory just put them on differently) or it could be something that changed over the years.

One final point of interest is that, when looking through the scope, it does show the multiple horizontal and vertical lines like in the movie, but there are no numbers. It makes sense that the "effect" would have been added in the movie post-production, but also interesting to note that it's not truly authentic to the prop itself. (Unless that is another thing that changed over the years.)

Next up is the search for the tripod, which does not appear to match any vintage transit (K&E or any other manufacturer) tripods that I have found. It seems to be much heavier duty with much wider legs. I've been thinking that maybe they used a movie camera tripod (or studio light tripod) which might have been handy on the set, and although vintage movie tripods look closer, I still haven't found one that's an exact match.


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Lightning

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Great work, are you going to disassemble and reassemble yours into the Raiders configuration, assuming all changes are reverseble?
 

Liberance

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Switch blades are perfectly legal in where I'm located and always have been (whether they're legal depends on where you live) to keep at home and in the past two years were cleared for concealed carry without a permit, even so I'm not concerned about owning one. Here's my Mutt replica made with the same finish/handle (buffalo horn) by the same maker in Italy:

View attachment 1339824

Who is the maker of the Mutt switchblade?
 

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VonMagnum

Sr Member
MaverickFerg - So you just have to disassemble the support brackets and remove the wheel and its support bracket, reverse the legs and give it a nice flat coat of black paint in the appropriate areas, then scrape some off the end tube so the brass shows through like in the movie. ;)

BTW, I haven't seen a single "Railroad" model on eBay yet so you'll probably have the only one for some time. ;)
 

Liberance

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
While we are at it, has anyone figured out the specific model for the Crystal Skull flashlight?

I know it's an old Hong Kong made flashlight. But there seem to be a lot of different models with very similar designs and it's hard to tell in the movie beyond the fact that it has a black body with two clear bands front and back.
 

MCINTOSH275

Active Member
While we are at it, has anyone figured out the specific model for the Crystal Skull flashlight?

I know it's an old Hong Kong made flashlight. But there seem to be a lot of different models with very similar designs and it's hard to tell in the movie beyond the fact that it has a black body with two clear bands front and back.

I have this which is why it seems almost identical...

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agent5

Sr Member
Could this be the proper compass?
 

Remote People

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Could this be the proper compass?

Unfortunately it's a poorly made copy (as in it won't even find North). Plus it's a Mark III copy not the version seen in production photos which is the Mark VI-VIII made from about 1910-1919. Also note that the original Mark III was not produced in any quality until the 1940s. See this thread for the correct model and more background.

Reference images below:

Compass Raiders.jpeg
Notebook copy.jpg
 
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kevin926

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Just finished my cross. Also Lao Che's gold coins.

Cross and coins were 3d printed. Pieced together the gold chain and I hand made the coin bag. Still need to add the draw string but my punch broke.

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kevin926

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Could this be the proper compass?
Not quite but really close. I bought one. It doesn't work .lol but I'm fine with it for displaying with my other props.
 

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Lightning

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
While we are at it, has anyone figured out the specific model for the Crystal Skull flashlight?

I posted what I think about it in the Indy real world prop thread.

Short version, search Amazon for United Pacific Vintage Chrome Flashlights C5013

To see the Vintage version search eBay for Tiger Head flashlight.

I'm pretty certain it was painted by the props department.
 

VonMagnum

Sr Member
This ABC British Empire flashlight looks mighty close and no paint job needed (in fact I just read these were originally made in the 1950s in Hong Kong so it has the looks and the historical accuracy). The Everyready on on the right is also from that time period AFAIK and looks pretty close too except for the lack of embossed rings and the painted rings are different as is the button, but it's a nice flashlight too. Neither cost very much. I went ahead and ordered an ABC British Empire flashlight.

British Empire Flashlight.jpg
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