The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether

I went to see "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" last night and while I could give a review of the film I almost think it isn't worth it. We're not talking Shakespeare but it doesn't take itself too seriously so it is, at least, entertaining if fairly predictable. However, something that kept catching my attention through the film were the weapons. Since it was about killing monsters in as varied a way as possible to keep your attention there were a lot of guns.

Anachronistically distracting.

Even though the story probably has it's origins in the 14th Century, the story of Hansel and Gretel was first published just under two hundred years ago by the Brothers Grimm. Given that this film utilizes late medieval woodcuts as an opening theme one might expect that this movie was going to run more towards the earlier period but the movie poster destroys that notion.

This poster is a bit truncated so that you can't see the double automatic crossbow but it better shows Gretel's boobs and Hansel's pair of LeMats. The LeMat was a cap and ball revolver use by the confederate cavalry during the Civil War. It has nine 41 caliber round in the cylinder and a 14 gauge shotgun underneath. A kick a**-sort of weapon but definitely not anywhere near late medieval. The town sheriff has one of these sitting on his desk when he's hiring trackers and Hansel pulls one from a holster at the small of his back during the boss battle at the end but it otherwise doesn't get a lot of screen time.

What the hell is this? It looks to me like a break top shotgun with a plastic covering on it. No, really. That stock looks plastic.

The actor's love laying their weapons over their shoulders. Sure it looks cool but nothing says "bad a**" like pointing your weapon at the guy standing behind you.

At least their fingers are off the trigger.

The thing that Hansel has there? It is, in fact the same gun in the image above but here (and when it is used in action scenes) looks much more like a pump shotgun. Looks a bit like a SPAS-12. There are are a couple of scenes where the right side is solid and others, when it is in use, where you can see the open ejection port.

At the 51 second mark of the trailer you'll see a gun that unfolds. Kind of neat. Completely impossible but still neat. It look to be built on a lever action rifle, like the Winchester 1876 with the stock cut off. There are a couple of other scenes with lever action rifles.

At the 1:31 mark you see the 24 barrel chain gun and a cart full of belted 50 caliber ammo, deployed at the 1:45 mark.

There's a scene where a townsman who has come in to assist them has a 12 gauge double barrel sawed off coach gun. One of the few guns not covered in plastic to conceal it. When asked if he's a good shot he responds, "Not really. That's why I have a shotgun." However, when he uses it the witch deflects the round as if it were a single slug. And he was a complete incompetent when it came time to reload it. I'm a complete amateur and even I could have reloaded and emptied it two or three times in the time it took him to reload once. Of course, I wasn't firing at an evil monster. In that case, I probably would have been loading and firing even faster. Or running.

In another scene, trackers are being slaughtered by a troll and one of them pulls a modern double action revolver and empties it. I think I counted seven rounds. I didn't get a real good look at it but I think that with 7 shots and it's shape it may have been a Russian Nagant M1895.

This gun looks a little more "period". I'm not sure if this a completely made up gun or if it's a mod of some historical prop. I might think the former because it doesn't look like the chambers in the cylinder line up with the barrel.

There's another quick scene early on when Hansel hold a multi-barrel long gut at someone's head. I didn't get a good look but it reminded me of the Wilson Nock gun. The thing about the Nock gun is that it's from the late 18th century and is a flintlock so it would not look as anachronistic in this film. Which is actually why I don't think it was a Nock gun that I actually saw in the film.

I'm sure that once the DVD is out, the guys at the Internet Movie Firearm Database will be going frame by frame and identifying exactly what the guns are.
 
 
 

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Comment by Zebulon Vitruvius Pike on January 9, 2014 at 10:03am
Comment by Zebulon Vitruvius Pike on January 9, 2014 at 8:27am

I have finally picked up a copy of "Hansel & Gretel" on DVD so I can start looking at the guns frame by frame. However, my laptop hasn't been updated properly and won't play DVDs anymore. I am in the process of bacjking up files in preparation of reinstalling the OS so, once that is done, I will be taking a look at this movie's guns. Stay tuned.

Comment by Sir Magnus Oliphant Glockenspiel on May 9, 2013 at 5:48pm

They are the Knok Volley Gun. Single trigger, single Hammer 7 barrel Flintlocks. One is used in "Master and Commander"!

Comment by Zebulon Vitruvius Pike on January 27, 2013 at 1:48pm

The gun I saw could have been a volley gun instead of a nock gun. I don't remember it clearly enough. It may even have been a multi-barrel pistol. As I said, once the DVD is out (or pirated versions downloaded) I'm sure the details and screen shots will start showing up at IMFDB.

Comment by CoastConFan on January 27, 2013 at 12:54pm

Another steamworthy gun would be the volley gun from the Alamo movie (1960) by Jim Bowie, which in fact he never had.  Although fictional as far as the Alamo goes, volley guns did exist, in fact the French used one called the milirailuse in the Franco-Prussian war – half volley gun and half gatling gun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volley_gun       http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitrailleuse

Comment by Prof. C.B. "Charlie" Diggs on January 27, 2013 at 12:36pm

And...here is the action of a Porter Turret Rifle. As can be seen, this is a lever action with a revolving 'turret'; it is obviously not where the above piece came from. :-}

Comment by Prof. C.B. "Charlie" Diggs on January 27, 2013 at 12:31pm

That last post is a .36 calibre Cochran percussion revolver, ca. 1860, that I found on line. Here is another picture of a Japanes revolver that is said to resemble a Porter Turret Rifle of the 1850s. The 'Hansel and Gretel' gun above looks more like it than a Cochran.

Comment by Prof. C.B. "Charlie" Diggs on January 27, 2013 at 11:58am

Comment by CoastConFan on January 27, 2013 at 10:28am

Well I have never even seen a copy of a Cochran at a show or even at a museum, yet I have seen and held two Volcanic rocket ball pistols over the years as well as several notorious of the Apaches, Reid My Friend Knuckleduster, Roper Revolving Shotgun & etc of rare and unusual items.  Fladerman's indicates about 10 - 14k for a Cochran, but I wonder when the last one was sold, they are about 8 times rarer than a London made Lemat revolving carbine.  So I am guessing they made the model of the faux Cochran from photos.  It has cool factor, so I guess it went into the movie.

Comment by Zebulon Vitruvius Pike on January 27, 2013 at 9:14am

I'm going to say that it is modeled off of the Cochran Turret Revolver but is not actually one or a replica. It's more like someone saw and was inspired by the turret revolver but made their own. I appreciate that more than the "put a plastic shell on a modern gun" method because, in this case, there's a lot more superfluous plastic than gun. Gun design is generally minimalistic. Receiver, barrel, and just enough wood to hold on to the gun and not burn your hands.

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