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Let’s bring the blasters to the Royal Armouries

Friday, 25th May 2018

The Rebel trooper DH-17 blaster © Royal Armouries

Bring the blasters to the Royal ArmouriesThe Royal Armouries has announced plans to launch a £20K+ crowdfunding campaign to bring two iconic weapons used in the making of the original Star Wars movies to the national museum of arms and armour. If successful, the pair of blasters – an Imperial Stormtrooper ‘E-11’ and Rebel trooper ‘DH-17’– will be displayed as part of the national collection of arms and armour at the Leeds museum.

The pair of ‘blaster’ guns are from the ‘Star Wars’ series of films, and have been modified by film armourers Bapty & Co. from 1950s vintage Sterling submachine guns. Royal Armouries experts believe both props were assembled for use in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ (1980), whilst it is likely that the base guns themselves were also used in ‘A New Hope’ (1977).

Laura Bell, Director of Collections says: “Ancient weapons are a great match for a good blaster, as we seek new ways to tell the story of arms and armour through the ages. We are really excited about this acquisition, and already have a number of pledges of support in place. There are opportunities to get involved and support the campaign at all levels, starting from just £10, with benefits including unique prints and t-shirts, invite-only film evenings here at the Armouries and even opportunities to see and handle the blasters and get behind the scenes with our expert Curators.”

The blasters will be acquired as part of the museum’s Collecting Cultures project, which looks at arms and armour through the lens of popular culture. The project is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Museum visitors can already get up close with the iconic M-41A Pulse Rifle from the ‘Aliens’ film franchise, a collection of swords made by Peter Lyon, swordsmith to ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies, and even a ‘Vampire killing kit’. The blasters will ultimately join these and other fascinating objects acquired during the project on public display. Until then you can see some of the objects we have already collected as part of this project on our collections online website (opens in a new website).

man holding gun in two hands in front of his face

Jonathan Ferguson, Keeper of Firearms and Artillery with the ‘Imperial Stormtrooper E-11 blaster’ © Royal Armouries

Jonathan Ferguson, Keeper of Firearms and Artillery, comments: “At the Royal Armouries we are committed to finding new ways of connecting with and exciting our visitors, which means collecting, researching, and displaying arms and armour from film and TV.

“We’ve already acquired several important pieces, but have long hoped to acquire a piece of Star Wars weaponry or armour for the national collection. With the release of Solo: a Star Wars Story, this is a great time to share our plans and ask for public support in making this dream a reality.”

Project updates

Crowdfunder website
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Notes to editors

Further enquiries to: Katie Canning, Communications Officer. Email: katie.canning@armouries.org.uk, telephone: 0113 220 1978

About the Royal Armouries

Entry to the museum is free but some activities carry a small charge.

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