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Feeling the Force...

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Sometimes it's fun to make a model of something a little different, and I quite like replicating some famous movie props, so I'm currently having a go at making an E-11 Blaster, which the Imperial the stormtroopers used in Star Wars and is the gun Luke is firing at the bad guys in the scene where he and Leia swing across the gap on a ventilation shaft in the original Star Wars movie when escaping.

The original props for the movie were made by modifying Sterling SMGs and adding a German WW2 rifle scope to them. At the time (1976), Sterling SMGs were quite plentiful as they were in the process of being phased out from the British army's arsenal to make way for the L-85, although they didn't completely get rid of them until the mid-nineties:


Although it was a British design, the Sterling was in-keeping with general look of Imperial equipment, most of it being based on WW2 German stuff so as to channel some of that movie exposition of the Empire being 'evil', hence the look of Darth Vader's helmet being based on the German infantry Stahlhelm, and the general appearance of Imperial staff's uniforms being similar to Wehrmacht officers in WW2. Since the Sterling was essentially an updated version of the Enfield STEN, and the STEN was designed as a cheap alternative to the Thomson to re-equip much of the British army's equipment lost during the retreat from Dunkirk, the STEN was also intended to be dropped in large quantities to French partisan forces, thus the STEN was designed to be able to also use captured German MP-40 magazines, so in spite of being a British gun, it too has a lineage to German weaponry. 

Now you could of course modify a real Sterling SMG, but since these are quite expensive, I decided to use a cheap toy of the E-11 as the basis for the model. There are a few of these around, most notably the very cheap plastic Rubies model of it, which despite being very cheaply made from plastic, does have a reasonably good scale size and makes a good starting point, with a bit of effort:


A bit of attacking it with a Dremel, sanding and filling in various bits, getting rid of molding seams, drilling out cooling holes in the barrel shroud etc, has it looking reasonably close with the addition of a few bits of scrap. The real props, like the props of the light sabres, used all kinds of stuff which was lying around, including using the rubber strips from car windscreen wipers for their barrel grips and old electrical capacitors and such glued onto them to make them look futuristic, so it is relatively easy to find bits and pieces which suit the purpose, although I added features such as the welding seam on the magazine feed housing found on the real Sterling, by using modeling putty to simulate the welds, which you can just about make out on the pic, and all kinds of fun stuff such as that.

To make the magazine look a bit more like the real thing, I sawed off the molded magazine and then used it as a size template to fashion a more accurately modeled magazine from metal sheeting, as this is quite a prominent feature of the real thing, which used the rarer chopped-down ten-round magazines rather than the larger banana clip. On the other side, I cut out the molded ejection port and added a metal plate in the gap to replicate the breech/bolt area.

Here it is after having had a quick blast of black primer and some initial metal dry-brushing. The next stage will be to use graphite powder to make the thing look more 'gunmetallic', this will tone down the dry-brushing when it is applied and make it look worn, but not too worn as it does at the moment. So there's still quite a bit of work to do, but it's starting to look fairly close already in spite of yet having to have the 'power cells' and connecting wires added to the top of the magazine feed:





Edited by Chock
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Alan Bradbury

Check out my youtube flight sim videos: Here

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A lot cheaper than trying to convert this too:


Mark Robinson

Part-time Ferroequinologist

Author of FLIGHT: A near-future short story (ebook available on amazon)

I made the baby cry - A2A Simulations L-049 Constellation

Sky Simulations MD-11 V2.2 Pilot. The best "lite" MD-11 money can buy (well, it's not freeware!)

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