Master Replicas - Han Solo ANH Blaster
Given the positive response to my previous review, I thought I'd post a review of the Master Replicas Han Solo Blaster.
This one also arrived from Entertainment Earth well packed - actually triple boxed, with adequate protective cushioning inside. The blaster is packaged much like the lightsaber, in a cardboard case which is in turn inside a matching slipcase. Once opened the blaster is snugly fit inside red protective foam.
The original prop is more complex than the lightsaber and it is therefore harder to tell (for me, anyways) how faithful it is to the original (especially since the original has been lost to time). Judging from the pictures at The Parts of Star Wars (www.partsofsw.com), it's pretty close, right down to replicating the flaws of the original (more on that in a bit).
The blaster itself appears to be made of tooled metal, cast metal, and plastic parts. As a result, like the lightsaber, it's pretty heavy. The main body of the gun, comprising the German Mauser that the original was based on, is cast metal, even retaining the marks of the original German manufacturer. The scope appears to be a combination of tooled and cast metal and plastic pieces and the flash suppressor is mostly tooled metal. The handgrip, which I'm guessing is wooden on a real Mauser, is I believe, plastic with a woodgrain finish. :(
The replica is solidly assembled. If you wanted to carry it as part of a costume, I don't think you'd have to worry about casual damage (unlike the lightsaber) unless you really abused it. As promised, you can **** the hammer and pull the trigger to release. However, that's as far as the original firearm functionality goes. There is no barrel opening beyond the suppressor. Unfortunately, you can't see through the scope - each end has a red plastic lens inserted, which you can make out in one of the pictures I've attached below. Also surprising is that two of the spacer discs beneath the scope bracket are also red tinged. I assume this is faithful to the original, but it is unusual.
The paint deco is my main complaint. It's sort of a dark charcoal-black matte spray finish which isn't too bad. What's mostly disappointing is the bracket that holds the sight. To simulate wear, they've applied a silver Hasbro-esque paint op, rather than distressing the black paint to show the metal beneath. At least that's what it looks like. It could very well be that this is how the original prop was. Anyone who's been to the Magic of Myth or seen actual studio props know that they can look really cheesy in person (Luke's X-wing suit control panel anyone?) - film is quite forgiving, so it's hard to be too critical.
As for those replicated defects - one almost fooled me. When I pulled the blaster out of its foam bed and examined the reverse side, I immediately noticed a hole in the main body surrounded by a disc of silver where the black paint had not been applied. Obviously something was supposed to be here and was missing! Thankfully, before I wrote an angry letter to MR, I checked The Parts of Star Wars, and found out that this is known as the Mystery Disc. Apparently this flaw was on the original prop during filming. Something had been there but had been removed or fallen off by the time they started shooting. MR faithfully reproduced the Mystery Disc - kudos!
The presentation of the other defect is actually up to the owner. As described in the MR brochure (also available to read on their site) the flash suppressor on the original prop had gotten knocked off center from the barrel. It was supposed to be centered on the barrel, and MR has left this up to you by letting you adjust the positioning of the flash suppressor in relation to the barrel. I think I'll leave it where it is for now.
I haven't opened the included display case, so I can't give an opinion on that yet.
Overall, I'm pleased with the replica. I would've liked a real wooden "broomhandle" grip, but so be it. So far Master Replicas has lived up to the hype. Can't wait to see the AOTC ones.