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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Han Solo Blaster
Star Wars: A New Hope Prop Replica

Todd's Costumes
Date Published: 2017-02-15
Written By: Guy Klender
Overall Average Rating: 4 out of 4

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Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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Introduction

There are many iconic props from classic film, and creating the most accurate, most detailed, most realistic is a popular hobby for the OCD collectors out there (in other words, pretty much all of us), yet it can also be tremendously frustrating. No one ever expected anyone to collect such things, let alone attempt to reproduce them with extreme prejudice.  The props themselves were rarely taken care of, usually re-purposed in later films, lost to history. On top of all that, multiple versions used on screen is the norm, each with slight variations in materials and even design. Getting good reference materials on them is often impossible, and screen captures leave a lot to be desired. All this uncertainty, variation, and inconsistency can lead to serious mental issues for the average OCD collector.

One of the most iconic weapons in sci-fi film history (after the light saber) is Han Solo's blaster. A company called Todd's Costumes, who specialize in super accurate costumes and props, are producing a new replica, crafted with an attention to detail and accuracy rarely seen in the industry. There are two versions - 'new' with a clean finish for $450, and 'battle worn' with screen accurate wear for $500.  I'm reviewing the battle worn version tonight.

As a side note, as always I have my note at the bottom of the review informing the reader where the review item came from - either I bought it or it was supplied. This review says it was 'provided by the manufacturer' because that's my standard text in cases where I didn't personally pay for it, but that's not quite true here. This was actually a Christmas present from my nephew, and as such, I'd say he wins the all time best 'Christmas present from a nephew' award. He has also raised the bar for all nephews in the world, so it might be a good opportunity for you to point this out to your own nephew (and niece, since we don't want to be sexist) so they have time to prep for next Christmas. Or you could send them the very last photo in this review, shot on an appropriate background, to let them know what a perfect belated Valentine's gift might look like.

And as one more side note, I'll be linking to a number of reference photos through the review. These were originally discovered through the hard work of a lot of dedicated prop replica researchers, particularly at the Replica Prop Forum.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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Packaging - N/A
Mine was one of the first released, and as such, doesn't have any special packaging.  I doubt they'll spend a lot of money on such packaging, but rather use simple but very safe packing to get the blaster to you. I could eventually see them doing Certificates of Authenticity as part of a special stand, perhaps, but at this point it's all about the blaster.

Sculpting/Construction - ****
It's hard to explain in words just how cool, how sweet, how amazing this replica is. It really requires handling it, holding it, feeling the quality in your hands. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I'm going to give it a try.

Let's start with the basics.  The gun is almost exactly 12" long from barrel tip to the back of the scope. They've used the appropriate materials for all the parts, which means this thing is about 90% steel. There are a few plastic parts - which is accurate - as well as glass and brass. That means it is *heavy*. Very heavy. It tops out over 5 pounds, making it more deadly as a bludgeon than a blaster.

Todd's Costumes sourced all the original parts that are currently known and blueprinted them. This includes the small plastic grills and 'greeblies' from the old Tomtit model plane kit, the Hensoldt Wetzlar scope (which is made up of 27 individual parts, including glass lenses!), and the flash hider, originally used on the German MG-81Z machine gun. Here's another shot of the actual original flash hider for reference. Using these original sourced parts and the information gleaned from photos of the original prop, they meticulous crafted reproduction parts from the same materials. They didn't cut corners by creating one part that encompassed multiple - for example, the small 'dials' on the side could have been one piece with the bracket to save money, but they are separate pieces, as they would have been originally. And as I already mentioned, something complex like the scope is made of twenty seven individual pieces hand assembled!

Perhaps the trickiest aspect was the gun itself. The original prop was re-purposed from a Frank Sinatra movie called "Naked Runner", released in 1967. This movie still shows Frank with the gun. To create Han's blaster for A New Hope, the prop masters took this base Mauser C-96 and added the scope used on a different Mauser in a different movie ("Sitting Target" with Oliver Reed), and started slapping on parts that looked 'sci-fi'.

Creating an actual working Mauser now from various parts might not be a good idea, unless you're interested in getting a visit from Homeland Security. To avoid legal problems, they sourced the base gun from Denix, a company in Spain that produces high quality replica guns from various periods in history. They used this Denix Mauser and added all the other necessary parts to create this highly detailed blaster replica.

Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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Paint - ****
There are two versions, as I mentioned. The 'new' version comes super clean and neat. You can create your own wear, or you can just pretend you shop at the same blaster store as Han.  Remember, everything you see is metal (expect for the few spots that are supposed to be other materials, like the grips or the three plastic pieces originally sourced from the model kit). That makes for very realistic wear and damage - it's not paint, but actual wear and damage!

I much prefer this worn look, and while it is done by hand, it is also done using the movie stills and reference photos to create the most accurate replica possible. It's really quite impressive, and you can see the love and appreciation they have for the films. The best work is always done by true fans, and this is no exception.

As a note, the silver disc on the left side is not paint, but rather an actual milled circle in the steel. Details, man!

Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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Articulation - ****
Okay, so there's not a lot of 'articulation' here, but there are a couple moving parts worth mentioning.

On the top of the Mauser is the range finder style sight, which extends up and has a small slide. Since the base is a reproduction gun, the hammer does cock, and pulling the trigger snaps it forward. Obviously not an important feature for a 'blaster', but they kept the action.

It has nothing to do with this category, but since it's clear in the photo below, I thought I'd mention another interesting feature of this base gun that was present on the prop as well.  Notice the slot on the back of the handle? This was to attach a small extended stock, something that was done with the prop in the earlier movies. Of course, Han never did that, but since they were merely re-using a prop from an earlier film, the slot remained.

Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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Fun Factor - ***1/2
This is a HEAVY replica, so using it in an extended cosplay situation might prove...taxing. They (Todd's Costumes) produce a holster for it as well, which would make it hard for cosplayers to turn down, heft or not.

But for me, this is more of a 'hang it on the wall and impress your friends' sort of prop replica. And let's be honest, impressing your more nerdy friends is always a lot of fun. Because this particular prop has so much history and so much back story, there's also the potential for plenty of geek discussion.

Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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Value - ***1/2
You can find replicas not even close to being accurate selling for more than $1000. Cheap versions are usually $100 - $200. Back in the day (we're talking 15 years ago), Master Replicas did an ESB version that cost $300 - $400 new, and now runs over a thousand on the secondary market.

This is one of the nicest replicas I've ever seen, and considering the cost of the materials (the base Mauser will run $75 alone), the hand made construction, the complex wear (also done by hand), and the limited nature, the $450 - $500 price point is practically a steal. It's certainly well within reason, and would be a tough price for any large company to match.

Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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Things to Watch Out For -
Zippo. You shouldn't drop it on your foot, but you won't have any issues otherwise.

Overall - ****
I own quite a few prop replicas from companies large and small. Sometimes, they are so well done, you could never possibly replicate the prop yourself the same way. Other times, a blind chimp with palsy could do a better job. This time it's an absolute, no doubt about it, over the top case of the former, not the latter.

Sure, you can start out with the basic Mauser. But sourcing the rest of the parts, in the actual materials, and creating anything this exacting and perfect? You'll be spending far more and be less pleased with the end result.

In fact, this is one of the nicest replicas I've ever seen, not just of Han's blaster but of any prop. The care, the attention to detail, the reproduction of every possible bit of minutia that could be reproduced, even in spots that you can't easily see, is truly impressive.

And the photo below? That's the last thing Greedo ever saw.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - N/A
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - ***1/2
Overall - ****

Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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Where to Buy 
The best place to pick this up is directly from Todd's Costumes, where the clean version is $450 and the weathered version is $500. You can also call them direct at 661-242-2089.

Related Links -
Other recent prop replicas include Iron Man's helmet, Captain America's shield, and a Rogue One Stormtrooper helmet.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Han Solo's Blaster Star Wars Prop Replica by Todd's Costumes

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Guy Klender.

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