This is one of those I just fancied making it projects, as I thought it would make a good accessory, for costuming, or just display. There are a few pictures in reference books, but they seem to vary from the one used on ROTJ, so it was back to the dvd for screen grabs to get the detail right. I have tried to find all the bits to make this light up when finished as a working prop part is much nicer than a static one.
So as with most things I make from scratch this started life as a large block of tooling resin. I actually used an old length of drain pipe as the mould, as to not waste too much resin when turning it down. As it was to get the angle of the base, a fair bit of resin would need to come off anyway, but getting the shape right to start with helps a bit.
The size and angles was worked out for me by a techie computer chum, as luckily I had the photomultiplier grill vent like part, so she could extrapolate the rest of the sizes and angles from that with its known dimensions.
Once the sides were turned down to resemble the proper shape, the block of resin was taken out the lathe and set up on a rotary table to mill the top out. While this resin is good for turning down, it can be a bit fragile to mill, especially if thin sections are required. To help overcome this, I cast polyurethane resin onto the top, then milled the top detail partially out of this, and partially out of the tooling resin. By doing it this way I get nice crisp detail, but without having to worry out bits chipping off.
With the main body machined to shape, I turned my attention the detail bits round the top. While there are plenty of shots of the top in the film, they all seem to be partial or different angles, never a full on top view. So while I will never know the exacte bits use, I can try and match up bits that look the same. For this I went through boxes of the many model kits I have bashed over the years for parts, and finally came across some that looked close.
However the little knob bits could not be found in any shape or form, so I turned them from alloy to look right. The two little block bits I thought might have been ceramic heat sinks, but I could not find any small enough, so used Lego blocks.
The top knob was turned on the lathe, and the cog type ring was added afterwards to look correct. Of course when cast, this will all be resin, so will blend much better together.
I often put the bits in place to see what it looks like, just to make sure I am going in the right direction.
The vent or grill bit, is the same photomultiplier as used on the Darth Vader reveal helmet, and as I acquired one from a chum in Germany, it solved two problems in one go. The only hassle is trying to bend it round the grenade body without the vent slats folding in on themselves, which was overcome by a new resin I found which allowed me to perfectly curve the slats, without the thin slat bits deforming.
So with the body and parts done, I set about sourcing the electronic bits, to make the two LED's light up as per the film when the knob is turned, and once suitable parts had been found I assembled and tested it, and with the addition of four very powerful magnets in the base plate it now sticks to any metal surface.
Lastly for a coat of paint, and while I kept the paint colour and details as close as I could get to the film ones, I went for the used battered look, as I think it just looks better than new and shiny.