IMFDB:Blog Post/MoviePropMaster2008: IMFDB's Own Armorer
A new user's guide to the gun images made specially for the Internet Movie Firearms Database by MoviePropMaster2008
Although IMFDB is not the first site on the Internet to document appearances of firearms in movies (sites such as Long Mountain Outfitters have been around for considerably longer), we are at present the only such site that can claim to have our own movie armorer, who provides us with high-quality gun images that cannot be found anywhere else.
When IMFDB was started, most of our gun images were taken from other web sites, more often than not from airsoft sites. The problem was that many of them were of poor quality, and many did not represent the correct variants of particular firearms seen in movies, TV shows, or video games. This, however, changed when MoviePropMaster2008 discovered our site earlier this year, and took it upon himself to provide us with gun images that are uniquely ours. Contrary to popular myth, the firearms seen in motion pictures and television are not usually "fake guns", nor are they commercially-available replicas such as airsoft guns or 8mm blank guns. There are exceptions, but for the most part, "movie guns" (as we often refer to them) are real firearms that have been modified by professional armorers to fire blanks. These guns are rented out to film and television productions by companies such as Stembridge & Cinema Weaponry, International Studio Services, Gibbons Ltd., and Bapty & Co. (in the U.K.)
MoviePropMaster2008 happens to be a career armorer at one of the major Hollywood rental armories, which means that he has access to an enormous inventory of "movie guns". While he posts anonymously (as we all do), there is no doubting the authenticity of his work for this site, which speaks for itself. The images he provides to IMFDB on a regular basis are of actual blank-converted movie rental firearms that have been handled by countless actors and actresses over the years. Thus, not only does IMFDB have its own unique gun images; the images are of precisely the same prop guns that you have seen in your favorite action films or TV shows!
Additionally, MoviePropMaster2008's experience as an armorer means that he can provide us with background information on prop weapons that is not known to the general public. Did you know, for instance, that the DShK heavy machine guns from Red Dawn and Rambo: First Blood Part II were actually visually modified M60Ds? Or that some of the M16A2s seen in various movies from the 1990s are actually M16A1s that have been fitted with A2-style hand guards because real M16A2s were not available? Thanks to MoviePropMaster2008's input, IMFDB has become more than just a Wiki documenting the appearances of firearms in movies; it has become a source of behind-the-scenes history on guns in movies and television.
IMFDB is eternally grateful to MoviePropMaster2008 for his invaluable contributions to our site. Therefore, it is essential that new IMFDB users see for themselves why IMFDB is so lucky to have our own movie armorer. Below is a selection of gun images that MoviePropMaster2008 has made for IMFDB, with a comparison to screencaps from the movies:
Colt AR15 SP1 Carbine from The Dogs of War and Raw Deal
Many of the Colt XM177/CAR-15 variants seen in action movies from the 1980s, such as The Dogs of War and Raw Deal, are actually visually modified Colt AR15 Sporter-1 Carbines. MoviePropMaster2008's company has several such weapons in inventory, one of which was photographed specially for IMFDB:
Romanian AIMS from 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-out
The bank robbers in this television movie, based on the real-life 1997 North Hollywood bank robbery, use AIMS assault rifles (Romanian copies of the AKMS) fitted with 100-round drums. MoviePropMaster2008 photographed an AIMS rifle from his company's inventory in precisely the same configuration.
M16A1 with M16A2 handguards
In the 1980s and 1990s, the U.S. military's then-newly adopted M16A2 assault rifle wasn't always readily available to movie armorers, so when a director asked for an M16A2, the best solution was to take an M16A1 and fit it with an M16A2's hand guards. Such guns can be seen in many motion pictures and TV shows, including Die Hard 2, Heat, The Rock, Eraser, Con Air, and Harsh Realm. MoviePropMaster2008 configured one of his company's M16A1s in this manner and then photographed it just for us.
M16 + Cobray CM203 37mm flare launcher
Because the M203 grenade launcher is a regulated "Destructive Device" in the United States, many productions often use the unregulated Cobray CM203 37mm flare launcher to stand in for the M203, which looks nearly identical but is not capable of firing 40mm HE grenades. Such launchers can be seen on M16s in movies and TV shows such as Black Hawk Down, Stargate: SG1, Ultimate Force, etc. For our site, MoviePropMaster2008 photographed an M16A1 fitted with early and later-model Cobray CM203s from his company's inventory.
SIG-Sauer P226 from 2 Fast 2 Furious
One of the bad guys in 2 Fast 2 Furious uses a reverse two-tone SIG-Sauer P226 with nickel-plated frame and blued slide, a configuration that is not available from the factory. MoviePropMaster2008 combined a K-Kote (black) P226 and a nickel-plated P226 from his company's inventory to make an identical-looking gun, and then photographed it for us.
T2 MK5 from The Matrix
During the scene in The Matrix in which a SWAT team attacks Neo and company, the officers were armed with "Commando" versions of the Australian Automatic Arms T2 MK5 assault rifle, a weapon that is widely available in Australia (where the movie was filmed), but rare in America. Even this was not a challenge for MoviePropMaster2008, as seen below:
Norinco Type 84S from Hollow Point
Several times in Hollow Point, people are seen using Norinco Type 84S rifles with "pig-sticker" bayonets, milled front ends, and no detent pins. MoviePropMaster2008 was kind enough to compose a Type 84S into this manner and make it probably the only "Hollow Point AK" on the net.
Custom Remington 870 from Dawn of The Dead
Towards the end of the 2004 Remake of Dawn of the Dead, Ving Rhames' character, Kenneth uses a Remington 870 Shotgun customized with Mossberg Ghost Ring sights. MoviePropMaster2008 was kind enough to find the parts necessary to create such a shotgun, and photograph it for IMFDB. As of now, this may be the only picture of a Remington 870 in this configuration to exist on the internet.