Creative director Barry Eldridge lifts the lid on the latest prop from Factory Entertainment, Roger Moore's space-laser from 'Moonraker'
You first previewed the Moonraker prop at trade shows in early 2012. Can you share a little about why this one took as long as it did to develop?
Typically it takes about 12 months to 'create' a replica soup-to-nuts from concept through to final product. This includes lots of boring behind-the-scenes stuff like packaging and quality assurance testing and approvals. But as a rule of thumb it takes at least a year, so whilst it may seem like a long time the "Moonraker" laser was actually quite quick in replica terms.
Did you manage to locate the original prop? What condition was it in?
We used original props in the EON archive as reference, there are more than one, but they are all showing their age a little. Like all the items the archive they are carefully and diligently stored and curated, but these items were never designed to last for decades, so they have to be handled carefully. All the surviving props have mild to moderate damage as they are all simply cast resin and plastic and are pretty fragile.
Tell us then, which version of the prop did you base the gun on?
All the props in the archive are more or less the same, although several dozen were actually made for the film and hand decorated and finished so there are subtle differences between them. We based ours on the most common design, the version carried by the Marines when the enter the space station
What materials is the replica constructed from?
The replicas is polyresin with metal and plastic embellishments for fragile parts like the trigger guard. The Replica itself also has an embedded metal support frame inside the resin to keep it straight and give strength. We chose resin to match the original prop which was also cast from resin and rubber.
How did you go about re-engineering the gun for production?
It's actually an exact copy cast from the original prop, with one addition, the rear 'sight' which is missing from all the original props. This had to be reverse engineered from the found item used on the original prop... the clamp from a 70's era Black & Decker workmate, something familiar to every British DIY'er! Other than that, there is very little re-engineering on the inside. Internally, the support frame was added to keep the piece straight and items that are simply glued on the originals like some of the finials and details have been cast as part of the body for durability. But put them side-by-side and they are indistinguishable from the original props.
Does the prop have any internal workings and did you ever consider this?
No, we duplicated it exactly as per the original prop which had no internal workings at all. We did consider it for a short time but that would not really have been a replica, it would have been more of a homage piece. Our license only allows us to make replicas and does not permit us to 'create' new things that did not exist.
Finally, how does the laser gun differ from your past offerings?
It's the largest Bond piece we have produced so far and is the first polyresin casting piece that we have offered from the Bond universe. It is made to the same high standard and has the same display and plaque system, but sadly we could not include an acrylic dust cover with this item, its size made this impractical to include.
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