Product Idea |

Electronic Star Wars DL-44 Blaster Model


This is a project that I've been gradually working on since spring of 2014, undergoing numerous revisions in design and electronic functions. What you currently see here is the Mk. II version of this model, which is a prototype design in both ascetics and mechanics. Inside the gun's magazine is a custom microchip I programmed with Arduino Uno to play a sound clip of Han Solo's iconic weapon from Star Wars, and simultaneously a small LED blinks in synchronization. Concealed in the gun's handle are two AAA batteries, linked to the sound box via connector wires strung through the gun's trigger guard. The barrel is held in place with a hollow Technic tube, which houses the wires for the LED. Inside the gun's action is a hammer and firing pin mechanism using Technic pins and pulleys hooked up to a rubber band. Pulling the trigger makes the firing pin strike a momentary pushbutton, which pulses the sound and light function.

Please note (and I can't stress this more): since this is merely a conceptual prototype design, in a hypothetical mass-produced version of this toy, the electronic functions would NOT be nearly as elaborate nor require the consumer to solder the wires, and would instead include a small sound and battery box concealed in the gun -- akin to the motorized Technic or police car sets with similar functionality. Personally, as a child one of my favorite LEGO sets was the 1980s Futuron Space Monorail Transport System, which used a 9V battery for lights and movement -- that being said, LEGO models with electronic components are certainly plausible! In other words, a real marketed version of this DL-44 Blaster would probably just have a small LED/sound box behind the gun's barrel -- but using the same trigger/hammer mechanism as my design, as LEGO also produces small rubber bands as well. In the aforementioned monorail set -- as well as in LEGO Train models, electronic connections were made with special LEGO plates with metal contacts and insulated wires, so that battery boxes would be connected in a circuit with the small LED or sound unit -- which meant young consumers were safe from electronic hazards. A mass-produced version of this would of course utilize the same modular wire connectors within the gun's frame.

Design notes: this gun was made with LEGO pieces that can all be found within LEGO Group's library of existing parts -- old, new, rare, and common. Since some pieces don't exist in certain colors, I had to make use with what was available. A real hypothetical mass-produced version of this could definitely have pieces made colored to be more movie-accurate. For instance, the gun's barrel uses dark bluish grey, since those were the closest I could get to metal (like in the movie), but a final toy of this would most certainly use the same pieces but with metallic grey, silver, pearl silver, speckled silver/black (like in LEGO Castle weapons). Also, please note that I intended on keeping the gun black, grey, and brown myself for movie accuracy, but for safety purposes, perhaps a final version of this would be solid white, orange, or white and orange like the typical Star Wars replica toy guns, which for safety purposes are deliberately colored to not resemble real guns (hence also why the big orange tip is apparent).

Also, I don't necessarily intended for this model to be sold as sort of a toy you'd play with in the backyard or use for cosplay -- rather, I'd like to think of it as a "trophy model", or a master build for serious builders/collectors -- something you'd want to keep in a glass case out of harm's way; maybe a limited edition. Think of this as one of those movie-accurate replica Force FX Lighsabers, which aren't toys, and instead are valuable collectors items. Think of this blaster as being almost like the LEGO Technic R2-D2 model, which was rather elaborate and intricate build, as opposed to being meant for play! This prototype model currently has about 400 pieces: a final version would be around that magnitude, give or take, with obvious changes in design and streamlining where applicable.

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