Tag Archives: weapons

Friday Fun Time

Chicago PD prop master Jim Zemansky talks props in this video, particularly the use of replica guns and blank-firing weapons. If you pay attention, you will see one crew member using what looks like a paintball gun off-camera during gun battle scenes; it appears he is shooting it to simulate bullets hitting around the actors. I found that interesting.

I’ve been following this build of a life-size ED-209 from Robocop for the past couple months, and it is finally finished. Here are all the parts in Make Magazine’s series which followed Shawn Thorsson as he built this massive robotic replica. Also check out Tested’s short video which looks at the final piece when it debuted at Maker Faire.

Princeton Magazine talks with TD Chris Nelson and prop master Michele Sammarco of McCarter Theatre about a recent production designed by Eugene Lee. There are some great little tidbits in this piece, such as Michele’s quote that “actors don’t like squishy chairs”.

Not all screws are the same. Popular Woodworking Magazine tests several types of screws on the market to show how they act when driven into hardwood. Personally, I know drywall screws should only be used for drywall, but I still use them. I’m usually working with cheap materials anyway; if I am doing fine furniture out of hardwood, I don’t use screws at all (brad nails all the way).

Forging the Sword from the Hobbit

Forging the Sword from the Hobbit

I’ve pointed out Tony Swatton’s video series in the past; he is a blacksmith for film, television and theatre, and in this short series, he recreates famous weapons from films, video games and other pop culture using real blacksmith and metal-working techniques. If you haven’t seen it yet, this is a great one to start with: Swatton forges the sword “Sting” used by Bilbo in The Hobbit.

Hand fire-arms

Hand Fire-Arms through History

Hand fire-arms
Hand fire-arms
  1. Hand cannon for foot soldier in cast iron, belonging to the first half of the fourteenth century. The touch-hole (German, Zünderloch) is on the upper part of the cannon.
  2. Hand cannon for foot soldier, from a MS. of the end of the fourteenth century. The touch-hole is on the top of the cannon.
  3. Hand cannon for foot soldier, from a manuscript of the year 1472, in the library of Hauslaub at Vienna.
  4. Hand cannon for a knight, called a petronel, from a manuscript in the ancient library of Burgundy. The articulated plate armour is characteristic of the latter half of the fifteenth century, though the bassinet has a movable vizor. These hand cannons were in use at the same time as the serpentine arquebuse, and even as the flint and steel arquebuses and muskets, ie till the beginning of the sixteenth century, as may be seen from the drawings, by Glockenthon, of the arms of the Emperor Maximilian I. (1505).
  5. German hand cannon, fixed on wooden boards or stands, belonging to the beginning of the sixteenth century. The touch-hole is still on the upper part of the cannon. From the drawings of Glockenthon, done in 1505.
  6. German hand cannon in fluted iron, of the beginning of the sixteenth century, or end of the fifteenth century. It is only 9 1/2 inches in length, 2 inches in diameter, and is fixed on to a piece of oak about 5 feet in length. In the Germanic Museum, where it is wrongly ascribed to the fourteenth century.
  7. Hand cannon in wrought iron, called a petronel, to be used by a knight. It is of the end of the fifteenth century.
  8. Hand cannon with stock of the end of the fourteenth century. The touch-hole is on the top of the cannon.
  9. Angular hand cannon on stock; to be used in defending ramparts. It is a little over 6 feet in length, and the touch-hole is on the top of the cannon. This piece was used in the defence of Morat against Charles le Téméraire (1479).
  10. Eight-sided hand cannon with stock. The touch-hole, which is on the top of the cannon, has a cover moving on a pivot. This cannon is 54 inches in length, and the balls or bullets about 1 1/2 inch in diameter. It belongs to the first part of the fifteenth century.
  11. Persian matchlock cannon, copied from the Schah-Namen, in the Library of Munich.
  12. Hand cannon on stock, end of the fourteenth, or beginning of the fifteenth century. In this piece the touch-hold is on the right side.
  13. Hand cannon with serpentine, a match-holder, without trigger or spring, invented about the year 1424.
  14. Serpentine or guncock for match, without trigger or spring.
  15. Serpentine without trigger, but with spring.
  16. Serpentine with spring, but without trigger.
  17. Serpentine lock, without trigger or spring.
  18. Hackbuss lock with spring and trigger.
  19. Hackbuss (in German, Hakenbüchse) or hand cannon, with butt end and serpentine lock. It belongs to the second half of the fifteenth century. The match is no longer loose, but fixed to the serpentine, which springs back by means of the trigger. This sort of cannon is generally about 40 inches in length, and it is usually provided with a hook, so that when it is placed on a wall it cannot slip back. The hackbuss without a hook is, as a rule, better made, and was subsequently called arquebuse with matchlock. It had also front and back sights (in German, Visir und Kern).
  20. Chinese arquebuse.
  21. Swiss arquebuse of the second half of the fifteenth century.
  22. Double arquebuse (in German, Doppelhaken). This weapon had two serpentines, or dogheads, falling from opposite points, and was generally used in defending ramparts; the barrel was usually from 5 to 6 1/2 feet in length.
  23. Hackbuss, loaded from the breech by means of a revolving chamber, a weapon belonging to the beginning of the sixteenth century.
  24. Hackbuss and gun fork (German, Gabel), from the drawings of Glockenthon; it may also be seen in the engraving of the “Triumph of the Emperor Maximilian I.” From this we see that the hackbuss, or match arquebuse, was used for a long time together with the wheel-lock arquebuse.
  25. Serpentine hackbuss with match, also called musket. It is also furnished with a fork, called a fourquine in French.
  26. Hackbuss or musket, with link.
  27. Serpentine hackbuss with link, also called arquebuse, loaded from the breech by means of a revolving chamber. It dates from the year 1537, and bears the initials W. H. by the side of a fleur-de-lys.
  28. Eye protector, belonging to a musket in the Arsenal of Geneva.
  29. Hand cannon with rasp, early part of the sixteenth century. It is entirely of iron, and is called Münchsbüchse (monk’s arquebuse). For a very long time it was wrongly thought to be the first fire-arm ever made, and to have belonged to a monk named Berthold Schwartz (1290-1320), who was also said to have invented gunpowder. This little weapon is about 11 1/2 inches in length, and the barrel 5 inches in diameter. It preceded the wheel-lock, and appears to have suggested the idea of it. A rasp scatters sparks from the sulphurous pyrites by friction.

The illustrations and descriptions have been taken from An Illustrated History of Arms and Armour: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, by Auguste Demmin, and translated by Charles Christopher Black. Published in 1894 by George Bell.

Pistols, 1500-1856

Pistols, 1500-1856

Here is a small collection of typical or notable pistols spanning from the sixteenth century to the middle of the nineteenth century.

Pistols, 1500-1856
Pistols, 1500-1856
  1. Barrel for number 4.
  2. Wheel-lock pistol of the sixteenth century. This was the sort of pistol used by the German cavalry, and also by the Ritter, or knights.
  3. Wheel-lock pistol with double barrel, beginning of the seventeenth century.
  4. Wheel-lock pistol, firing seven shots.
  5. Double wheel-lock, end of the sixteenth century. Arsenal of Zurich.
  6. Wheel-lock and mortar pistol, called in German Katzenkopf, of the seventeenth century.
  7. Wheel-lock and mortar pistol of the seventeenth century. It is entirely of iron.
  8. Flint-lock pistol, end of the seventeenth century.
  9. Pistol with flint-lock, of the beginning of the eighteenth century.
  10. Colt’s revolver, invented by Samuel Colt, of the United States, in 1835.
  11. Mat revolver, invented a short time back by M. Le Mat.

The illustrations and descriptions have been taken from An Illustrated History of Arms and Armour: From the Earliest Period to the Present Time, by Auguste Demmin, and translated by Charles Christopher Black. Published in 1894 by George Bell.

Friday Links on Display

Friday Links on Display

It’s another Friday, and another September. This always seems like the busiest time of the year for the whole entertainment industry. Some of you may have gotten a four-day week this past week, but for most of us, it was an eight-day week. So take a seat, relax, and enjoy these links for a few minutes:

Huffington Post has an interview with props master Peter Bankins. Bankins has been a prop master in film for the past 25 years, working on movies such as Young GunsGrumpier Old MenErin Brockovitch and many more.

On the other side of the pond, Farfetch has a short photo essay called “Our Day With Thomas Petherick“. Petherick is a young prop maker and set designer working mainly on fashion photography shoots.

Bill Doran and his wife created a fairly detailed set of armor and weapons from the video game Skyrim for this year’s Dragon Con. He details the lengthy build process as they fashion parts out of wood, EVA foam, Worbla, resin and more.

Finally, here is a familiar face; I was displaying some of my props at last month’s Burlington Mini Maker Faire. Coffey Productions was going around filming the various exhibits, and shot this video of me talking about my props and my book. Check it out!