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The best official Star Wars prop replicas (lots of) money can buy

So that's what it's like to hold Darth Vader's melted helmet

When it comes to collecting props, Star Wars fans don’t like to settle for anything less than the most screen-accurate items possible. For the older films, when lightsabers, blasters, and ships were cobbled together with found parts and ingenuity, that meant tracking down the original items and handcrafting perfect replicas at incredible cost. When it comes to props from The Force Awakens, those collectors can go right to the source: Propshop.

The UK-based company actually made the weapons featured in J.J. Abrams' film: Rey’s staff, Kylo Ren’s lightsaber, Chewbacca’s bowcaster; they were behind every one. Earlier this year they announced a program where — for a high-end price — customers can order officially licensed replicas built using the exact same materials and techniques as the originals.

So, when we heard that Propshop was showing off the line at Comic-Con, we did what any rational person would. We immediately ran over and started freaking out.

The detailing on the props was remarkable, from the nuances in the cutaway of Kylo Ren’s saber — details I hadn’t seen in any other licensed product, nor in the 3D-printed prototype that debuted last year at Star Wars Celebration — to the weathering of the fabric and strap on Rey’s staff. When Propshop took the finished props from the set of Force Awakens, they scanned and photographed them to capture every scratch, ding, and piece of dirt, allowing them to exactly replicate the item as seen on the screen.

Given that these are prop replicas, rather than idealized versions of the items as they may exist in the Star Wars universe, they also ended up revealing some behind-the-scenes movie magic. Rather than being a heavy lump of melted metal, the Vader helmet was light, with a texture reminiscent of plaster, calling back to its 3D-printed origins. (The look, of course, was beyond reproach — particularly when you lined up the lighting and framing just right). Chewie’s bowcaster was a similar situation. It had the bulk of the on-screen item, but not the heft Harrison Ford pantomimed when lugging it around in The Force Awakens. The lightsabers didn't light up or have sound effects, of course, but that's because the static hilts used in the film didn’t, either.

Star Wars Ultimate Studio Edition props

During Comic-Con, Propshop also announced a reproduction of a Millennium Falcon cockpit panel as the newest addition to its line. From the machined switches and functioning lights to its graphics and smudges, the panel is supposed to be an exact reproduction of one of the panels Propshop made for the new Millennium Falcon. It’s the kind of thing a Star Wars fan might want to hang up on their wall, but the company wasn’t ready to announce how much it will cost when it goes on sale later this year.

With the company already having wrapped its work on Rogue One and Episode VIII, the Falcon panel is no doubt just the first of many new additions to the line. If you’ve got the money and inclination, check out the gallery below to see what Propshop’s line looks like up close and personal.

Photos by Vjeran Pavic.

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