Art Andrews

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The pics below are closeups of Boba Fett's RotJ blaster as seen at MoM. It seems pretty obvious this is not a real Webley but instead a casting. Most people accept that this is a resin casting but I am wondering, is there any chance that this gun could be fiberglass? Are there any casting indicators that help distinguish a fiberglass casting from a resin casting? Would there be any advantage to casting in fiberglass? Could it even be done? Comments?

As I am working towards an RotJ costume I am happy that I won't have to buy a real webley but now I am beginning to wonder what is more scarce... a real webley or someone who will actually COMPLETE the project of cleanly casting a real webley. I have heard from 4 different people who at one time or another were going to do this but it seems each project has fallen through the cracks... :(
Hmmm.....I don't know of any "tells" per se, to see which it is. One advantage to a fg piece, is that if two halves can be produced, when joined much of the resulting item would have hollow spots. This would reduce weight significantly.

Once the finishcoat is applied(in this case it's actually the first coat) in the mold, and the "smoothness and finish" are established, the function of the fg cloth(or whatever medium used, it could even be yak hair. It's the fiber that does the job) is to provide shear strength. Like straw in adobe. So, if a strong thin layer can be substituted for a solid section in places such as the barrel and receiver area, the weight reduction would be significant.

To produce this, you'd need a reliable mold. Then someone with alot more experience in fg than I have, for sure. I don't see why it couldn't be done. I stress that I am NO fiberglass expert by any stretch of the imagination.
It could be done using a two-piece silicone mold. Instead of using gelcoat, however, use a bondo-resin mix for the skin layer instead. Gelcoat doesn't seem to cure properly against silicone.
I swear I've seen a pic or something of the prop guys actually casting the thing. I'll have to root around and see if I can find it since it could provide clues as to what the final blaster was cast in.
Well, I'm not saying that the blaster you're posting pictures of "IS NOT" resin, but one could argue, just as MegalomaniacalMandalore did, that if it were resin, it could quite possibly be too heavy for the mannequin displays at these exhibits.....whereas, a fiberglass casting would be hollow, and much, much lighter.

Furthermore, solid resin blasters are VERY BRITTLE .. and I think it would have made better sense to cast in FG for filming, in the event that the actor dropped it for some reason, as it would be virtually indestructible in FG for stunt filming.

I made that mistake already, and it didn't take much at all for my blaster to bust it into 3 pieces. My second version has a 1/2 threaded steel stock rod running through the length of the front assembly, but the one stress point that you can't run from is where the stalk attaches to the pistol grip, even if the connecting plate is metal. It will still break right at the pistol grip, just behind the trigger guard with much ease because the resin is sooo thin there

I agree with Judz Dwedd in that it is completely doable. And I have often thought of doing this for myself ... if only I could get my hands on a real Webley for a short time :lol:

The rifles used in the exhibits appear to have a CONTINUOUS seam running across the whole length of the pieces. This would be VERY consistent with fiberglass casting , since the complexity of the design dictates that it would have to be done in a 2 piece mold, with assembly of the two completed pieces. A resin casting would have been very difficult to do in the manner that the exhibit pieces appear to be assembled. As with great kits like MB's in the past, they're cast in multiple main pieces that require connecting and assembly. Not to say that a resin cast in two pieces is not possible, but, after casting the two halves in solid resin, getting each of the halves flat enough to bond together would leave many tell tale signs in uneven appearance throughout the length of the seam.

My only argument toward the exhibit blasters actually being resin pieces, are the pictures I've seen (MoM I think) where the side of the rifle closest to the mannequin’s body, appears to be EXTREMELY warped and distorted, almost as if though it were melted by a heat gun, or perhaps the unforgiving sun/heat of the desert. But because it's just one side, and localized to only one area on that side, I would tend to think heat gun or something. Nevertheless, this indicates resin IMO. But, one could also say I suppose, that it was a flaw in the silicone mold used to cast the pieces in FG? :wacko

Listen to me ... arguing with myself :lol:


I knew that two of our resident "master glassers" would have an answer.

Hey, FP. A thought on something you said. When pouring a concrete slab and using re-bar in it, you use small blocks of concrete to keep the re-bar "grid" up and off the ground, so that it will eventually be inside the slab.
Now, suppose one would make little fg blocks that could support an inside "skeleton" of the same material you used to reinforce your barrel. I'm envisioning some sort of simple curved armature of one piece that goes from the pommel of the grip, to the end of the muzzle. This supported within the pour by the little resin "stobs" would place it invisibly inside the piece, and structurally reinforce the grip area from any shear stress.
EGO --- You dork :lol:

MMM - It's totally the right idea. And it's the method of choice with most resin sculptures with varying odd shapes. But allow me to attempt to refine the process a little ...

With a 2 part silicone mold, one could achieve exactly this, with urethane resin.

By pouring into the first mold half, while the resin is still in its liquid state, you rest your skeletal structure of choice in the uncured resin, taking care not to allow the structure to touch the bottom of the mold, by propping it up. This falls into "Suspension Molding". Once the resin has cured, the piece can be removed, and you have a fully formed detailed half structure, with a skeleton sticking out the other side. Then, take your other mold half, pour your resin, and while it's still in it's liquid state, you take your other completed half, turn her upside down, and drop the skeletal side into the resin, allowing the hardened resin shell of that piece to rest on the flange of your silicone mold ... suspending the skeleton in the liquid resin, without allowing the skeleton to touch bottom of the bottom mold ... .again, "Suspension Molding" When cured, you pull your piece, and you have solid resin sculpture, with a full reinforced internal skeleton.

The only trick to this, is to design the skeleton slightly thinner in diameter that the structure will be when the two halves are assembled.

The reason I suggest the suspension method, is to allow for detail on the bottom of your casting. You need a retaining wall anyway, so it might as well be a detail mold, rather than blocks of some sort.

But, it's the same concept, nevertheless ;)

The downside, is still the weight. Extremely heavy. And, in the grand scheme of things, is still much more brittle, because the resin can still crack if dropped .. this is physics. The weight of itself, in relation to the shore hardness of the resin = disaster. With fiberglass, you have an extremely durable structure, that is a fraction of its own weight (hollow) in relation to the the shore hardness of polyester resin that's been reinforced with glass matte.

If one were to make a rifle using the resin suspension method, and another made of fiberglass ... one could test the theory with a small car ...(don't laugh, I've done it :lol: )

If you back over the resin rifle, it will spider crack around the skeleton .. stress fractures ... (it would just break if it were solid) and the fiberglass structure, would be unaffected .. not only because of the material used in the structure, but because of the shape. It tends not to cave in, because the structure is stronger with curves and bends in it's design, stronger in fact than a structure that was a mere rectangle for instance. Sometimes it's hard to put into words what you have rolling around in your head, so I hope that makes sense :lol:

Perfectly. I'm aware of many of the properties and laws of physics in application if not in definition. Some have said that I'm smarter than I look, but the jury is still out on that one. You've done a fine job in describing it also.

MegalomaniacalMandalore wrote:

Perfectly. I'm aware of many of the properties and laws of physics in application if not in definition. Some have said that I'm smarter than I look, but the jury is still out on that one. You've done a fine job in describing it also.


That's it ... "application rather than definition" ;) You definately have a beter way with words. And I hope I didn't come accross as minimizing your ideas? If that's how it sounded, my apologies man, t'was not intended ;)

I love reading info from people who really know stuff. Like Fettpride and fiberglass. I just want to show his posts to my family and friends who think my fett costuming is a stupid waste of time and say look what I learned today! Not such a stupid non-educational hobby anymore is it! I cant count how much cool, factual info I have learned here from reading what you masters say. This thought is almost bringing a tear to my eye :cry
I agree with Budgetboba here on this one. Thanks Fettpride for posting such accurate and informative pieces. It's posts like yours that allow me to take a copy to the web administrators at my school to keep this website from being banned by those administrators who would say this is a non-educational site!
Looks like epoxy resin. I've owned a few weapons from films and if it's not hero it's meant to look good or for stunts so it's not rubber I would say it's an epoxy resin casting made to look good kind of like a hero non-firing weapon is.

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