General Info
The "Heavy Blaster Rifle" is one of two large weapons which appear to be unique to desert stormtroopers; the other being the "T-21 Light Repeating Blaster."

The Heavy Blaster Rifle was created using a German MG 15 machinegun and three scopes. The scopes were attached in the following manner. The rear optics of a WWII era night scope was attached between the safety ring and the magazine lock. A SinglePoint Scope was attached to the far side (the side opposite of the charging handle) of the rear bakelite receiver. Finally, a WWII era Enfield No. 32 MkII sniper scope was attached to the rear sight post. Additionally, the MG 15s seen in Star Wars: A New Hope (ANH) have had their barrels removed leaving only the perforated barrel shroud.

To the best of my knowledge there were only two "Heavy Blaster Rifles" used in ANH (see images below). Both were created and assembled in the same manner. As with many of the larger weapons, the main body of the gun was a resin copy of a real MG-15 with the charging handle removed and the slot for the charging handle/bolt assembly filled in. The entirity of the base gun appears to be resin except for the barrel shroud and the saddle drum.

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Heavy Blaster Rifle Components

The MG 15
The German MG 15 is the base gun for the "Heavy Blaster Rifle." A non-firing display gun made from all original parts is readily available from IMA-USA.com However, it appears that the MG-15s used in ANH were only cast resin replicas of an original MG15. These cast copies appear to have had authentic metal barrel shrouds.

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MG 15 History
Based on the system of the Rheinmetall MG 30 - design, the Flugzeug Maschinengewehr MG 15 was developed by Rheinmetall in Borsig as a flexible-mounted defense machine gun for bomber aircraft, and became the standard aircraft machine gun equipping most german combat aircraft at the start of WW II. The MG 15 is easily recognizable due to its oval cooling slits, while most other german machine guns had round cooling holes. The MG 15 is air-cooled, recoil-operated, and fed from a Doppeltrommel double-drum magazine containing 75 rounds of the standard machine gun ammunition, the Mauser 7.92mm.

When later in the war the Luftwaffe ("air weapon" - german air force) no longer needed it's 7.9mm aircraft machine guns (7.9mm was considered obsolete as aircraft armament and the smallest caliber guns were henceforth 13 and 15mm machine guns) the MG 15 was given to ground troops, mainly the field units of the Luftwaffe, because the german ground forces suffered from a shortage of machine guns since production of the MG 34 and MG 42 could never meet the demand. Reworking the aircraft machine gun for the ground role began no later than 1942 and involved new sights, a shoulder rest, provision for mounting the weapon on the standard MG - tripods or a bipod, spent cartridge deflector and carrying sling. Official number of MG 15 was 17,648 on 01/07/1944; it is unknown how many of these had been already converted to ground use.

The MG 15 in the ground role had a length of 107.8 cm, weighed (with bipod but w/o magazine) 11.5 kg (other sources 10.6kg), weight of 75-round magazine (full) 4.3kg; barrel length 60.0 cm. It fired the standard 7.92x57 Mauser cartridge at a V0 of 755m/s.

 

MG 15 Legend
While they may not be technically correct, the image below shows how each part of the MG 15 will be referred to on this webpage. If you see a part that is labelled incorrectly, please contact me with the appropriate part name and I will correct it.

 

MG 15 Detail

Rear Detail

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SinglePoint Scope
A SinglePoint scope, which was used on a number of ANH weapons, was attached to the left side (the side opposite of the charging handle) of the bakelite receiver. The scope was attached using weaver-style aluminum high mount scope rings and small sections of (what appears to be) aluminum scope rail which was either glued or screwed to a raised section on the receiver.

NOTE: SInglepoint scopes are no longer readily available and those that can be found usually have a rounded tip while the scope used on the gun in ANH had the older cone tip.

Unidentified Infrared Scope
An unidentified section of a WWII era infrared scope, was attached to the forward receiver of the MG 15, just behind the magazine well. The scope was attached with two metal bands to (what appears to be) a small metal scope rail which is in turn screwed into the body of the MG 15 with screws which offset the rail. The scope is not attached directly to the top of the forward receiver but a bit towards the right side(the side with the charging handle). This optical piece has an attached power cord which loops around and attches to a small nut which is firmly anchored in the right side of the forward receiver just under the magazine lock.

 

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