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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