The Royal Armouries has announced a £20K+ crowdfunding campaign to add two original Star Wars blasters to its collection.
If the bid is successful, the Imperial Stormtrooper ‘E-11’ and Rebel trooper ‘DH-17’ blasters will be displayed as part of the national collection of arms and armour at the Leeds museum.
The props are actually modified 1950s vintage Sterling submachine guns and Royal Armouries experts believe both 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).
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 and 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’.
Laura Bell, Director of Collections said: “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.”
Jonathan Ferguson, Keeper of Firearms and Artillery, added: “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.”