Blade Runner Take Two
Craig also kept pestering me about the placement and fit of the grips. And I had to agree they were off a little. First I found that I had placed the angle of the grip frame a bit too far forward. I also heard from a couple of fellow propmakers in LA that owned stunt castings of the prop, who also pointed out that the grips looked too narrow.
Taking another hard look at a good stunt copy I had to work from, I found their observations to be correct. So I powered up my trusty old band saw and commenced to whack away the grips from one of the copies of the stunt castings.
After yet another discussion with Craig about the use of the two flat head screw in the grip frame, I reaffirmed my longstanding belief that they were used to help hold the Bulldog grip frame inside the new oversized frame that they (the original Propmakers on the film) had fabricated for this prop.
Well, I concluded that we needed to modify the Blaster pistol grip frame again, so I decided to follow as closely as I could our best guess as to how they (you know who) had done it. Taking a casting of the Bulldog grip frame, I cut apart one of my first run Blaster grip frames, lined it up to the Bulldog piece, and mated the two frames. I even used two 4/40 flat head screws to mount the new "surround" frame to the smaller Bulldog frame. A little trimming and final fitting to both of the larger stunt prop pistol grips followed by a final check with the Bulldog-Steyr frame and receiver and a couple of rounds of sanding and painting to clear up some minor surface defects, and I proceeded to pop the grip frame into mold boxes and pour a set of new molds. Out came the second generation of the grip frame assembly for the Blade Runner Blaster.
Hitting a Gun Show on the weekend, I at last found something to better reproduce the diamond crosshatch pattern on the Blaster grips: an Air Soft toy gun model with nearly flat large grips, the same pattern, and no screw holes. As cast rubber, the original stunt prop did not received a very a good impression of the original raised diamond pattern. Air bubbles had been trapped in the diamond recesses causing relatively poor detail reproduction. This was the last flaw that needed to be fixed on our model.
First, I made a cutout of the correct pattern shape by sanding and trimming a pair of the stunt grips to within just a hair of the old bubbled diamond pattern. Then I cut and trimmed the new Air Soft grips to match this outline shape.
I cast a mold over them so that I could make a few expendables to try, just in case I should need extras in working out the best way to fit them into the stunt grips to replace the bad patterns. It was a good thing, too, for it took about three tries to fit them well. I wound up gluing blocks to the backs of a pair of cast grips, covering their faces with Vaseline, then placing them face down into a set of old grip molds with the bad patterns. By placing a Plexiglas plate on top of the blocks and a heavy vise on top of the plate, I was able to press the diamond patterns deep into the molds right over the bad patterns. I poured fresh plastic in over the new patterns pressed into the old patterns, thus molding them right in.
This technique worked perfectly, and with a little sanding and trimming, some filling and painting, and a new set of molds cast over the new clean grips, the last small flaw was gone.
Sometimes all you need is gentle but persistent persuasion from a true fan.