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Props of BLADE RUNNER: Harrison Ford’s original “hero” gun August 31, 2006

Posted by karltate in props.
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Just back from Worldcon 2006, what a blast. Great people and interesting panels.

The display area had some really remarkable items on view. One of the most surprising was the original HERO blaster prop used in Blade Runner!

Photos are ©2006 Karl Tate, please do not reproduce them without my permission. Thanks.


Here is the prop compared with one of the clearer frames from the film, from a scene near the end where Deckard (Harrison Ford) drops the weapon while climbing a wall to flee from the replicant Batty (Rutger Hauer):

vs_framegrab


To my knowledge this prop has never been seen by the public since the movie was filmed in 1982. All replicas which have been made up to now are based on blurry frames from the film and on castings of screenused rubber “stunt” props which lack several key details.

For instance, on the left side of the gun is a “laser sight”, which appears to be some sort of jeweler’s screwdriver. This was long thought to have some sort of green LED in it. As it turns out, there are TWO LEDs, one in either end.

Coming down from the sight is a bundle of four white wires, which are abruptly chopped off (these probably provided power for the LEDs):
snout

Screengrab from Blade Runner

Screngrab from Blade Runner

The wires are visible in some scenes in the film, but missing in others, implying the prop was modified during production (or else there were more than one).

The straps on the front and back of the grip, thought to have been silver or black, turn out to be bare metal partially painted black. The lighter parts of the gun have been rendered in chrome or bright silver in most replicas; as it turns out these areas are bare steel (and pitted with rust).


On the right side of the gun, the large knob in the middle has usually been rendered in replicas as a flathead screw. In fact, it is a large knurled knob with radial engraved marks on it (a “windage knob” from a scope sight apparently).

Note also the prominent “OFF/ON” switch, thought to activate the LEDs visible on the sides of the “clip”.

Comparison with the scene ar the end of the film in Deckard’s apartment, shows that the Weaver scope knob was not present in at least some scenes. It may have been added after production. The “ON/OFF” switch can be seen however.

Rightside comparison

Comparison shots of the buttplate reveal that every scratch from 1982 is still there… and that this is indeed the original hero prop.

buttplate

There’s an archive of my photos of this prop here

http://www.propsummit.com/brpics/worldconphotos.zip

Enjoy!

– Karl

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Comments»

1. Anonymous - January 8, 2007

Give me a hard copy, right there!

2. frank kersberg - February 5, 2007

great pics thanks alot.i hear to your honor they will retool and build a new one. also in metal! is that true? anothe question were can i get one/ blaster. cant find any info a rac props. please help

3. Vincent Villafranca - July 16, 2007

Wow! Great pictures Karl! I’ve been searching for some good shots of this cool Bladerunner firearm.

Check out my website to see some of my Sci-Fi bronze sculptures if you get a chance. Of course, there are more in the works presently! http://www.villafrancasculpture.com

Thanks for posting!

Sincerely,

Vincent Villafranca

4. Anonymous - November 5, 2007

It is so COOL!!!

5. Sinner - November 6, 2007

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing!

6. Ross Crockett - December 7, 2007

Great pictures, Karl…I think with this bit of info and these wonderful pictures you have answered alot of the questions die hard BR fans, like me, have had for a long time. A good piece of work here, you should be proud.

Ross Crockett, Vancouver BC

7. Alenz - December 8, 2007

Damn good man!

just what I was looking for.

Thanks!

8. Ian Mutch - January 3, 2008

I’m an Armourer in the film industry, and had a load of photos from the set years ago.
It is nice to know that unlike most special builds one still remains intact.
I built one years ago but unfortunatly no longer have it, I shall make another or get the Richard Coyle one.
Ian from the U.K

9. karltate - January 3, 2008

Thanks for the kind comments!

There’s an archive of my photos of this prop here

http://www.propsummit.com/brpics/worldconphotos.zip

Enjoy!

– Karl

10. Lois Lane - January 7, 2008

Sweet pictures I haven’t found anything like it!!! Where did you get your replica gun from? I’m looking for one myself.
Thanks again!!

11. karltate - January 7, 2008

Thanks Lois. But none of those pictures are of a replica! That’s the actual “hero” prop from the movie itself.

– k

12. Lois Lane - January 7, 2008

Wow I can’t believe I missed that! Fantastic!!

13. John - January 13, 2008

HELLL YEAHHHH

THANKS!!!!

14. CHIRS - January 14, 2008

COOL HERO PROP PICTURES! I WAS ALWAYS WONDERING WHAT THE SECOND TRIGGER WAS FOR? CAN ANYONE TELL ME?

15. Anonymous - January 15, 2008

Karl,

Your pictures of this blaster are still and inspiration to everyone that loves Blade Runner!

Tom – Amish

16. Rein Tanke - January 16, 2008

Karl,

Just purchased an authentic full metal replica of the “Hero” (not the AirSoft plastic/metal one) while I was on buisness in Japan. From examining your pictures the replica is fairly “realistic” with LED’s in all the right places. The grip, however, is not clear amber, but black plastic. The entire gun can be taken apart. Looks like it was originally kit bashed from a .38 Special Revolver. Comes with five “bullets” that can use caps. My guess is that it was a special two function gun. Revolver for “normal” purposes and the special LED cartridge with breach loader for the Replicant termination My thinking is one trigger for the revolver and the other trigger for Replicant Killing.

Comes complete in a case and cap loader, if you care to make a bang, and a full set of breakdown/assembly diagrams and “authentication” documents by the “maker” and a serial number.
I do not think they make these any more from talking with the store salesperson.

If anyone is interested I willl send pictures to their email. This cost me around $600.00. I saw an AirSoft shooting replica on the net, also not being made anymore, for over $1500; this is not what I purchased although I suspect this Replica was based on the Air Soft Model.

BTW I saw the Directors Cut in a Theater in Japan in full digital projection (DLP) and Dolby Digital Sound.—-WOW!

I am willing to part with HERO since I found out that replicas of the hand guns Mila Jovich used in Biohazard 3 (Resident Evil 3) are cominig out this March in Japan. Mine off course, is not “agged” and looks new.

17. Rein Tanke - January 16, 2008

Karl

Wouldn’t care to swap grip sides, would you?

Whichfull thinking!

Rein

18. Anonimo del continente americano norte. - January 31, 2008

Cuando la producen en serie¿?, es fabulosa!!.
Ya que ncsito _retirar_ a mi tv y a mi
lavadora, puesto que tengo sospechas de
que me quieren dañar.

19. GTL - February 3, 2008

Mr. Tate:
Next time I am home for a little while, I going to try to build a firing replica of Deckards gun. I don’t have much bandwidth access here, so I am sorry if I’m asking questions that may be revealed in your archive photos, but I can’t DL them now.
1) Does the cylinder swing out to the left like a standard revolver?
2) What is the purpose of the large lever on the right side of the gun?
3) It appears to say “Made in Austria” on the right side; did you notice any other manufacturer or proof marks?
4) When either trigger is pulled, did the cylinder rotate?
Just a thought- maybe the chopped off wires provided power to ignite a small pyrotechnic charge used to simulate firing. I guess Harrison Ford would know for sure, if he remembered. Got his e-mail address?
Thanks for the pics and any other info you can provide,
SFC GTL

20. karltate - February 3, 2008

GTL: good luck with your firing replica, and definitely download the full set of Worldcon images when you get the chance.

Sadly I do not know Harrison Ford personally nor do I have his email address.

I did not attempt to release the cylinder so I do not know if it swings out to the left. It probably ought to, except if there are screws to remove to take off a cover plate or something. Replicas have been made both ways in the past.

The large lever on the right is for pulling back the bolt. It’s a normal part of the Steyr shotgun receiver that the BR gun is made from. The prop is a combination of the Steyr parts and parts from a revolver, usually ID’d as a Charter Arms Bulldog.

In my photos you can see the action of the lever, which when pulled back retracts the bolt as well as a thinner rod at the front which is attached to the bolt.

“Made In Austria” is a normal marking on the Steyr. There is also a Steyr logo underneath, and some serial numbers at the front.

And as surprising as it may seem, I did not try to pull either of the triggers.

– Karl

21. GTL - February 4, 2008

Some of the pics did not open last time I looked, so I see the markings clearly now as well as a much better view of the bolt-action, including the obvious firing pin visible from the rear. I can’t wait to see the rest of the pics. This will be interesting to build. Your insight is extremely helpful- thanks!
SFC GTL

22. Tavis - May 22, 2008

Now that is a MEAT CANNON!

Pitty the owner hasn’t taken better care of it… I know I would have!

That is AFTER making 1:1 replica of ALL its parts in resin and offering the 100% ORIGINAL kits for sale to all the keen enthusiasts out there!!!!

23. Moroseness - June 19, 2008

Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

cheers, Moroseness.

24. BlasterManiac - July 9, 2008

Karl,
this is Blastermaniac from the RPF. Long time no talk.
Just received as of today the latest Coyle blaster made after all these images you took. Love this one. Finally. Looks good, Rich did a good job on this one. The plate that comes with the blaster has a thank you Tate on it. Made me think of you.
Great images you took back then.
You be well,
Philip

25. Brad Wolff - August 2, 2008

Karl,

I wanted to say “thanks” for sharing the photos, especially since it takes a lot of effort and time to put them up for us to view and d.l..
Not sure I could have held the camera – or blaster, for that matter – steady enough, would have been too nervous, to get good pics!

Now that the definitive images are out, the accuracy and character of my blaster build has to be ramped up a whole lot. That said, has anyone in the prop fan/modeling world “cursed” (in a nice way, of course!) your pics because a “soft” build won’t pass muster anymore — creative, imaginative and custom builds aside…

Yours truly,

Wolff

p.s. I think you replied to an earlier post that the Steyr receiver was to a shotgun? I’d figured it was off a Rem .222 – like the clip and housing are marked?

26. Bnetfdgsjieoc - September 7, 2008

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27. Keith Eubanks II - September 14, 2008

Thanks for this amazing post. I google the Blade Runner blaster from time to time and was delighted to see this. The photos are fantastic and certain to circulate the web for years to come. I have a late version of the Richard Coyle prop and am very pleased with it. It is isn’t perfect -based on these photos- but it is a very nice prop.

28. WzQWLjjUqVvttDg - March 13, 2009

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29. Cadillac_Captain - June 8, 2009

This gun looked really cool in the movie, but is nothing short of ridiculous when you see close-up photos of the thing.

GTL, if you look closely, you will realize that the lever on the right side of the gun is actually a knob for the bolt-action rifle receiver. This particular kind of receiver uses a dual set trigger. You have to squeeze both triggers in sequence to make the rifle fire. This feature allows the second trigger to function as a “hair trigger.” This improves accuracy and lessens the possibility of accidental discharges. Thus, the cylinder would not rotate by squeezing one of the triggers.

If you look closer at the rifle receiver, you’ll notice that it’s cut off right where the chamber would begin. If you were to load a cartridge into the top receiver and close the bolt, the round would be pushed completely out of the gun.

The revolver portion of the gun is also useless, as the flare plates screwed into the frame around the cylinder would make it impossible to reload the gun.

Odds are that they weren’t able to make the revolver’s cylinder fit when they mated it to the rifle, so they cut it off and added the plates to make it appear as if the cylinder was still there.

30. Cadillac_Captain - June 8, 2009

But on a brighter note, It’s still a badass looking movie prop.

If you got a kick out of this, you should google the LeMat Revolver. It was a civil-war era revolver with a 9-shot cylinder that rotated around a shotgun barrel.

31. Cadillac_Captain - June 13, 2009

Looking, closer at the pictures, I may have to reevaluate my previous statements involving the revolver portion of the prop.

It appears they they cut off the bottom portion of the steyr reciever, allowing the builder to insert the complete revolver underneath, then pinned one of the set triggers to the revolver frame. If the cylinder “heat shield” is screwed into the cylinder crane, it would allow the weapon to be reloaded.

However, the rifle reciever on top is still without function.

One thing I did notice after re-evaluating is that this pistol doesn’t have any iron sights. It is generally unadvisable to rely solely on a laser sight on any firearm.

32. Rob Angol - June 22, 2009

Rein Tanke,
Id love scans of the assembly guide or any schematic data, Im going to attempt to do a BR inspired cgi short involving an Interrogation of Rachel, and some props.
Please check out some of my work.
Email airflowzero-at-gmail-dot-com

33. David Spalding - August 27, 2009

It’s really a pleasure to see your photos and then hold in my hand Rich Coyle’s latest CS&T Worldcon replica … the gunsmith really did a nice job on assembling the firing model. We owe you a debt that can never be repaid (“The Yakuza”) for spotting this and airing it out.

I just hope the current owner has had a gunsmith restore the metal portions, restored at least a bit of the original bluing, and applied RIG (hydrophobic grease, for storing firearms) to prevent further damage. I’d bet the prop still fires fine after 27 years or so, but would you want to risk damage? >:) It could look like new with minimal restoration. Current Owner, are you out there reading?? I hope so.

“You’ve done a man’s job, sir!”

34. loaltiego - December 12, 2009

I really enjoyed reading this blogpost, keep on posting such exciting stuff.

35. Unter - August 20, 2010

Where it now?

36. s7ereo - September 20, 2010
37. Jason Eaton » Blog Archive » Blade Runner guns I have made - January 24, 2011

[…] Please also see Karl’s post. […]

38. science fiction actor known for blade runner - May 10, 2013

I am really happy to read this blog posts which carries lots of
helpful information, thanks for providing such data.

39. Anonymous - August 19, 2013

Thanks for the pictures Karl. After all these years you still have the most detailled thread on the internets for this topic 🙂

40. geralynkeller15071 - April 8, 2016

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41. Anonymous - May 4, 2016

More blaster here


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