What the heck are these replica movie props anyway? Well, the short of it is this. Have you ever been watching a movie and said, "Wow, that was a cool gun, wish I had one" or "look at that neat gizmo, that would be cool to have".
Well I took it to the next level. At first I had no idea what I was doing. I was a fan of the Star Wars movies and at the time I was single and making good money. My life had virtually no direction. I was trying to get together a Darth Vader costume. Not just any Vader costume. I wanted to look like I just walked off the set. I started to search the internet, finding bits and pieces here and there. Mostly Ebay, when I stumbled on the now defunct Galaxy Trader website.
He offered the chest armor, the chest box, shin guards, belt with lights, gloves and the body suit. All in one convenient location. I contacted them and ordered the lot. Found some boots and a helmet on Ebay. I was now set, but wait! I had no lightsaber. I searched and searched but nothing.
I then discovered the RPF. The Replica Props Forum. Back then it was much smaller, but had a lot of talented people. Above all, they had information. Information about what was used to make the lightsabers in the movie. I was blown away. Vaders lightsaber was a flash gun from a 50's era large format camera. You know, the ones you see in the old movies that you had to replace the flash bulb in?
Unfortuneatly, they were hard to find. I set out to make on from parts that looked like the flash. I found a template someone had made and using it and a sink tube I started. Ordered some parts from one of the members of the forum, the grips, shroud, d-ring and before I knew it, I had a lightsaber! I was thrilled. I then started to upgrade it, make it better. I found a flash on Ebay, not the correct one, but one that was real close. Before I knew it, I had a real Replica Lightsaber, that I had made.
I then joined the 501st, but that is another story. They needed props for their costumes, and before I know it, I was making Stormtrooper blasters, comlinks and all kinds of Star Wars props for my friends.
Then I started to think about the movies I loved as a kid and started to make things for myself. I would occasionally sell them to people, but mostly I did it for me. Now I make things for myself and my wife (she loves MIB, Smallville and Indiana Jones). Her collection is getting pretty nice, but mostly I do what are called Paper Props. The signage, documents, wallet contents, ID's and what not that you see in a lot of shows.
For example, I just finished making the "Sarcoma" cigarette carton and packs from the new Battlestar Galactica.
A fun little prop for my smoking friends. Just print and fold and voila, you are smoking a prop!
So, that is what I do for fun. Some people don't understand, but hey, that cool. I don't understand Monster Trucks or Stamp collecting ;). Each to his own. I do get a kick though when friends of my wife come over with their kids and I print them out a Hogwarts invite letter with list of required items. The children just look at you like you gave them something that they will treasure for a lifetime.