The Replica Prop Forum

31 10 2009

Since being displaced from my usual Internet Haunts, I’ve come across a magical place called the Replica Prop Forum, or the RPF. I heard about it from Mythbuster’s Adam Savage, who spent quite a lot of time and effort in making the perfect Prop Replica of the Maltese Falcon, from the Bogart film of the same name. I think he may have mentioned the forum in one of his tweets from his donttrythis Twitter account, but it was a while ago, so I’m not sure. It doesn’t really matter.

The RPF is a place for people who make, collect and trade movie props and costumes in extreme detail. Adam Savage and Grant Imahara both worked on the Star Wars prequels, making various pieces for those films, including work on R2-D2. Movie props and serious collectibles have been something that has always fascinated me, even since I was little. Unfortunately I’ve never had enough spare cash or space to get anything really good, plus a lot of the best stuff is in the States and ridiculously expensive and/or illegal to import to Australia without a wallet filled with permits.

My own collection is pathetic in comparison to the items that turn up on the RPF. The two of mine I really like are my Indiana Jones Golden Fertility Idol, and my Wolf-Man Cane from the original Wolf-Man movie. Neither would be up to the insane standard of the RPF, but they suit me. I’m really after a Lightsaber, but there are many varieties, and they are really expensive. One day though, I’ll own one. Hell, it’s almost Christmas.

RPF is a pretty exclusive site, it seems, with intakes of new forum members occurring very infrequently. I haven’t had a chance to sign up, but I lurk quite a lot. One guy is building a ‘studio scale’ replica of a Star Destroyer. It’s incredible. Another guy is making the Galactica, another the Death Star. Another thread is full of containers used in the various Star Trek shows, with both the on-screen versions and the original source bags, satchels and other items used by the prop masters to make the originals for the show.

You’re probably thinking, ‘so what?’ Let me explain what Studio Scale is. The Star Destroyer mentioned above is eight feet long. The Death Star I don’t have measurements for but it looks to have a radius of at least a couple of feet. The detail on these things is also astounding.

When the movie guys make the original ships to be filmed, they come up with the concepts and because no kit model exists, they take various and sundry parts from a vast range of commercial models. I’d have to assume they cast their own parts as well. Some of the lightsabers, for example, use parts from an old hand grenade. Another uses a handle from a faucet as the base. It’s complicated, it’s extreme, it’s very, very cool.

Due to what seems to be a severe case of collective O.C.D. the prop replica makers, especially these studio scale guys, match every single piece to the original screen used version. If you browse the forum you’ll see people ask questions about a particular screw, rivet or greeblie from a certain film creation. Sooner or later, someone says, “Oh that’s part number 314 from the Panzer Tank kit released from AMT in 1974”. I made that one up, but I swear it’s like that. Go there, you’ll see.

A part of me wishes I had even a fraction of the skill of these guys. Hell, a part of me wishes I just had the spare cash to buy some of the stuff they put out. It’s the attention to detail that gets me more than anything. Check out some of the samples floating around the forum as we speak.  All work is credited to the various owners and builders. I claim no rights.

Remember, these aren’t kit models. They are built from scratch.

 

Studio Scale Death StarEach ‘dot’ done by hand.
Star Destroyer Neck

Star Destroyer 'Neck'. Each part is a different model piece.

 

Star Destroyer Details

Star Destroyer Details

 

Rebel Transport

Rebel Transport

 

Twilight Zone 'Invader'

 

Bat-Wing

Bat-Wing

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One response

31 10 2009
savessh

Twenty minutes after that, I bid on a lightsabre on E-bay.

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