Rick Deckard's Blaster (1982)
In my downtime I looked into building up my portfolio with a hard surface modelling project. After some time scanning around pop culture items there was really only one item that stood out from the rest for me: Rick Deckard's blaster from the original Blade Runner!
Known to aficionados as the "The PKD" (Steyr Pflager Katsumata Series-D Blaster, a name coined by Rick Ross to have the same abbreviation as Philip K. Dick), "2019 Detective Special", "M2019 Blaster", or "LAPD 2019 Blaster", the ‘Blade Runner’ blaster was designed and crafted for Harrison Ford’s weary future detective/enforcer Rick Deckard in the celebrated science fiction movie ‘Blade Runner’ directed by Ridley Scott.
Using a High to Low modelling workflow I initially constructed the gun in 3DS Max then sculpted in the details using Zbrush. I then Painted PBR (Physically Base Rendering) maps and brought the model back into 3DS Max for retopology, baking of texture/normal maps, and rendering using the Arnold renderer.
Being such a popular sci-fi weapon, I found I had no difficulty finding modelling reference to kickoff this project. Countless high resolution blueprints from every angle and tonnes of photos to use as texture reference made it truly an easy model to jump into!
Starting with some orthographic blueprints I got to work box modelling out each segment in 3DS Max. Already I felt excited to jump into building up this high poly model!
For the stamped details, I created paths inside Photoshop using high resolution references for accuracy. Once I created those vector shapes I exported them for use in Adobe Illustrator then imported them into 3DS Max and turned them into Edit Polys. Using the Shell modifier they were now a 3D object I could use to boolean out the engraved sections on my high poly mesh.
Now that I had my high poly base mesh ready I could get onto lighting and composition. Opting for a soft indoor HDRI (High Dynamic Range Image) and some softer additional highlights, I built up a layout I was happy with and quickly modeled a box, some bullets, and the iconic origami unicorn for set dressing.
Later I removed the napkin from the scene.
With my high poly mesh done, I started on my low poly retopology. Aiming for approximately 15k tris, the mesh I created fit fairly closely to my high poly in order to capture diffuse and height data for normals.
Now I can get into texturing! I have a strong passion for painting miniatures and find I get the same feeling when painting and sculpting in Zbrush. Using references from auctions for the original prop gun, I painted in all the micro details for rust and scratches creating albedo, roughness, and metalness maps that I could bake to my low poly mesh.
After baking all these maps to my low poly mesh, I finally had my finished model!
2048 albedo diffuse map
1024 normal map
1024 metalness map
1024 roughness map
Playing around with my lighting and camera settings I also created an additional render for fun to capture a “Flash Polaroid” aesthetic.
All in all I found this to be an incredibly satisfying personal project.
The design of this blaster fits perfectly between retro and sci fi styles, and I understand how this design is so popular amongst fans and artists.
After 1 week of working on it I’m sad that it came to a close, I could have easily just continued working on this project indefinitely!