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Finished Project: Hitman Silverballer Replica


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#1 bobfried

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 07:46 PM

I am new to the forum but have played then entire Hitman series and have always loved the Silverballer primnently displayed throughout. The original long slide with the black grips were unique but the latter Silverballer completely won me over in the looks department. I set out to create a replica of the latter Silverballer. I have yet to see a faithful replica of the Silverballer. I was further dismayed by the movie which featured of all thing a 9mm Para-Ordinance. Not to mention the abortion that turned up on Gunbroker awhile back that might as well have been done by monkeys that didn't even bothered to look for the original image of the pistol in the game. Not sure if this is the first but I would fathom it might be.

The pistol started out as an AMT Hardballer and was basically un-shot since it was bought in the early 90's:

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Then I scoured the web as well as the game itself (installed it played it and took a bunch of screenshots for myself) to find the definitive engravings on the pistol itself. What I found was that the game featured a LEFT and RIGHT version of the same pistol, something that could never be duplicated unless at great cost. There was also the detail of the grip medallions which also has the logo. I wanted to cast new medallions but in the end decided that it was a frivolous addition that would detract aesthetically from the pistol. It took me about 3 weeks to put all the images together and do a mock up of the engraving to be done.

A compilation of good source images:

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Then I proceeded to do a mock up in Illustrator:

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I proceeded to prep the pistol for the engraving, which involved stripping it down to the bare frame and slide and polished the flats. This was much harder than anticipated because the material was actually quite hard, there's something to be said about stainless steel durability. I ordered the correct grips and reassembled the entire thing to see how it look.

The pistol fully prepped:

Posted Image

It was than torn down again to the bare frame and slide and was off to the engraver for the job. My mock ups were then transferred into Corel Draw and laser engraved onto the frame and slide as it looked in the game.

Here is the result side by side with the "inspiration":

Posted Image

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#2 Cerb

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Posted 28 May 2008 - 10:43 PM

Nicely made
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#3 Heliophobic

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 12:43 AM

Wow that's cool...

Did you make both a left & right version, or just one?

Would you sell it to me? Because that would make a great collectors item... it not like I would be using the guns or anything (just so ya know), but it looks really nice...

Good Job... this is exactly what the "Creative Corner" is for right?
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#4 Chief Grizzly

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 01:44 AM

Awesome job, I like the wood finish you got for the handle, you even got the trigger right!
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Posted Image


#5 Logan

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 04:36 AM

The grips were the easiest part, all Pachmayr American Legends look that way. Those stupid medallions inset in the rubber ended up falling off on my grips, I had to glue them back in. All the polishing work paid off though, the pistol really looks sharp. How much did the engraving cost?

Edited by Logan, 29 May 2008 - 04:42 AM.

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#6 Bombur

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 04:39 AM

:D That looks great. Just like in the game.
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#7 stüart

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 08:52 AM

Holy shit, great job man
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#8 shinykobold

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 09:36 AM

That is simply awesome. Great job! I'm very jealous... I've been wanting to get an AMT Hardballer, but they'll never look that cool. Sweet!
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#9 Sketch

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 10:24 AM

Good graphics!

#10 bobfried

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 01:18 PM

Heliophobic_47

- I only did the right handed version since I do not know that a left handed 1911 even exists. I guess it could be done but I simply do not have the estimated $8,000 I was quoted by a well known frame/slide 1911 maker. The cost is preliminary since quite a few parts would have to be completely re-designed along with a brand new magazine design, extraction issues and a few other odds and ends. The cost was for a simple milled frame and slide, not the forging I would otherwise want. I believe I was told somewhere in the neghborhood of $250,000 to get a reliable, forged version made to go into mass production. For a one off, the cost might be a bit more since the initial forging costs would not be absorbed. So, in a long sense, no I did not and no one in their right mind would ever attempt to make a left handed version.

- I will probably put the pistol up for sale later, but it will be going to a local buyer, it's only if I can't get the price I want locally will it than go on Gunbroker to be bid on (US only). As long as it's legal for you to own the pistol and you have a willing FFL to accept the transfer you could certainly buy it. This is not a for sale answer, but I don't expect anyone else to do the same thing for less than $800. Which ironically, is sort of cheap for a 1911. My other custom 1911's start twice as expensive and a few are several times more expensive.

Logan

- The laser etching cost $110 at a local trophy shop. The original logo on the slide is laser engraved also and actual engraving would probably cost well into the $500-$1,000 range. The laser etching is what is used on the original AMT and what looks like in the game model. The logo would also be next to impossible to engrave since it is simply too detailed. One could have it stamped but than your talking immense tooling cost.

- It's mostly the design part that is a pain since you have to do a complete mock-up in Illustrator or Corel draw and hand it off to the person doing the laser etching. Other than that the process is quite easy.
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#11 Logan

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 05:44 PM

Interesting. A few more questions, if you don't mind. How much lead time did the trophy shop want, and what was the turnaround? What is the depth of the laser engraving into the metal? Does the process leave a sharp edge? Does it provide the nice dark contrast by itself, or did you have to blacken the cutouts somehow after the fact?

The only custom engraving of this sort I have seen firsthand is a guy I used to work with got his pistol engraved by his family jeweler with his name and unit info before he shipped out to the sandbox, but I believe the jeweler did it by hand the old fashioned way.
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#12 cubezero

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Posted 29 May 2008 - 08:28 PM

Holy shit! (echo Unreal Tournament style)
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...said the shotgun to the head.

#13 BboySlam

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 03:33 AM

Here is the result side by side with the "inspiration":

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In that image his barcode is very big. Check my avatar to see the real size and tell me if I'm right

P.S. Although, great job. I wish I had one too!!!
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#14 stüart

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 10:55 AM

Of course, you should be the one to judge the barcode size, as you made the game.
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#15 BboySlam

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 11:12 AM

Of course, you should be the one to judge the barcode size, as you made the game.

No, but I have played all the games and I know the barcode size.
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#16 Logan

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 11:51 AM

Can this thread be free of spam? That would be nice.

Edited by Logan, 30 May 2008 - 11:52 AM.

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#17 bobfried

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Posted 30 May 2008 - 05:34 PM

Interesting. A few more questions, if you don't mind. How much lead time did the trophy shop want, and what was the turnaround? What is the depth of the laser engraving into the metal? Does the process leave a sharp edge? Does it provide the nice dark contrast by itself, or did you have to blacken the cutouts somehow after the fact?

The only custom engraving of this sort I have seen firsthand is a guy I used to work with got his pistol engraved by his family jeweler with his name and unit info before he shipped out to the sandbox, but I believe the jeweler did it by hand the old fashioned way.


The trophy shop said no lead time, that of course is usually an outright lie when it comes to these places. No offense against “artsy” types but my dealings in the past with places like these has taught me otherwise. They promised me to be done within one week; from start to finish it took them 2 months. There is a special spray that has to be ordered to do the laser etching and they won't order a new bottle (if they already ran out) until they have enough order to fill. It took them almost 6 weeks to finally get in ONE bottle of the stuff, if I didn't know better I'd think it was super-expensive, it's not. I dropped the pistol off with the assurance that it would be done within a few days at most. It took them another two weeks to get it done. It was partly my fault as I should have been on them like a hawk on day one to get the work done. So I say give them at least a month of lead time to get it done.

The process is actually laser etching, laser engraving would cost way too much, not to mention there would be almost no way to get the detail in the logo right. Basically the laser reacts against the spray to create an atomic level bonding and turn the affected area dark. What you get is a few millimeters of markings that are quite durable. Laser etching also creates the dark contrast that laser engraving would not do. I said earlier that the original AMT markings were laser etched, not only that, I believe the markings in the game have to be also laser etched (if transcribed to real life.) There is no material where you could fill in engraving to get the same effect as laser etching. So unless there's some other futuristic method involved in the game, the only viable way to get the desired effect as seen in the game is through laser etching.

The process of laser etching therefore provides a nice dark contrast and by all account is more durable than anything else except actually engraving (removing material) into the project. It also leaves a smooth (you can sort of feel the etching slightly) finish over the final product and is quite nice.

To sum it all up, laser etching is what is on the original pistol and what appears to be on the pistol within the game itself. I have not seen anything to point in any other direction. The original AMT (long slide) Hardballer in the first game was modeled exactly so those were definitely represented as laser engraved in the game. The latter normal Government length 1911’s Silverballer was modeled after the normal Hardballer so they too would represent the logo as a laser etching. And technical limitation and cost aside, laser etching was the only way AMT could have used to create the effect originally and what is seen in the game series as presented on the screen.

Edited by bobfried, 30 May 2008 - 05:39 PM.

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#18 melodeath

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Posted 31 May 2008 - 05:32 PM

holy cocksauce at being offtopic

otherwise, nice looking gun man. and i agree, this is exactly what the creative corner should be about. very very cool related Hitman shit.. you ought to make another one of those and eBay it or something.
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#19 Jesus Christ Cheese Cake

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Posted 01 June 2008 - 01:49 AM

Fantastic job, and great idea.

Well done.
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#20 wasabi_fandango

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 12:37 AM

That's really beautiful.
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