Good morning, fellas-
I recently purchased the Master Replicas Boba Fett blaster. Before doing so, I searched and searched for in-depth reviews of it, and I basically came up empty, so I figured I'd make a review of my own for anyone looking to purchase one in the future. I took a rather large amount of photos of it, took measurements, and even borrowed a HyperFirm rifle for comparison.
My rifle set was missing two pieces. First and foremost, it was missing the acrylic rectangular cover for the display stand. The listing specifically stated that this part was not included, but this didn't worry me, because the price was good, and I figured I could have a replacement cover made for me at some point, if I desired. The other piece that was missing was the small display stand for the Master Replicas name plate (the metal plate itself was included). This didn't bother me, either. Other than that, the set was complete with the documentation, the display base, and most importantly, the rifle.
My first impression, as I'm sure is true for anyone who has one of these, or has held one, is the weight. It's a BEAST. According to my weight scale, it comes in at 11.7lbs., and honestly, you can feel every bit of it! There are times where the weight of an item adds to the overall feel/realism, and other times where the thing is just HEAVY. I think that with this piece, it is a mixture of both. Most of us are putting together our costumes to troop in at some point, and to that end, I think that this piece will turn alot of folks off. Personally, I wouldn't mind it, but then again, I've never trooped before. One thing is for sure: you won't be swinging the rifle up to your hip as Boba Fett did when Boushh revealed his thermal detonator.
After the first impression, you can really get to admiring the gun. It is truly a beautiful item. The lines are very sharp and detailed, and the paintwork, though not perfect, is pretty damned good for a mass-produced piece. Upon close examination, the mass-production evidence is clear, but from foot or two away, this rifle is absolutely stunning. The display stand cradles the rifle perfectly, and features a mirrored base, making light dance beautifully upon the gun from below.
As far as accuracy, the supplied documentation contends that the replica rifle was laser-scanned from a screen-used original piece. From examining the Gallery pictures, it looks like this was the piece used:
The three biggest reasons for believing this have to do with the screws on the backside of the rifle stock, the modified T-track rail on the underside of the barrel, and the differing lengths of the two short T-track pieces on the forward end of the barrel. All of these details have been recreated faithfully on the Master Replicas rifle. That said, I believe it is common knowledge that all of the ROTJ rifles were cast, so one would believe that the Master Replicas rifle could have been cast from any surviving piece, save for the stunt/pyro/foam blasters such as the one displayed at the AOSW exhibit (which, coincidentally, does not appear to have either the rifle stock screws or the differing lengths of the forward T-tracks).
Regarding the weight, one would think that the rifle is front-heavy, but I believe that this is not the case. It certainly feels like the barrel is mostly plastic, and according to the documentation, the stock is wood, leaving the grip, chamber and scope. I believe the parts are not only metal, but SOLID metal, with the majority of the gun's weight being slightly forward of the wrist, making it feel like it is, indeed, front heavy, though it's really not.
The scope itself is quite interesting. I've never seen/held the ASI 4x20 (if that is, in fact, the part used), but the screen-used piece appears to be different from the reference scope that Master Replicas themselves used, seen here:
Things got REALLY interesting when comparing the Master Replicas to a HyperFirm. The proportions of both differ greatly. Since I don't know the origins of the HyperFirm mold, and I haven't received permission from it's creator to post my in-depth comparison photos, I'll just post a few of the overview shots. The HyperFirm rifle is shorter, the scope is longer, and the entire barrel assembly is much different in it's dimensions:
That said, which is the more accurate? I want to think that it's the Master Replicas version, but we know that the Master Replicas ESB helmet was upscaled by about 12%, and we know that George Lucas is paranoid when it comes to exact replicas of screen-used items. I have no real way to know, other than the fact that both of the grip assemblies of the Master Replicas and the HyperFirm certainly appear to be exact in their respective dimensions, though the rifles stocks are different, in addition to the barrels.
Anyways, it's a wonderful piece, and I'm so very happy that I was able to get one. Hope this wasn't too much of a bear to read!