James Bond - Guns, Vehicles and Gadgets

Guns, Vehicles and Gadgets

Guns

For the first five novels, Fleming armed Bond with a Beretta 418 until he received a letter from a thirty-one-year-old Bond enthusiast and gun expert, Geoffrey Boothroyd, criticising Fleming's choice of firearm for Bond, calling it "a lady's gun – and not a very nice lady at that!" Boothroyd suggested that Bond should swap his Beretta for a Walther PPK 7.65mm and this exchange of arms made it to Dr. No. Boothroyd also gave Fleming advice on the Berns-Martin triple draw shoulder holster and a number of the weapons used by SMERSH and other villains. In thanks, Fleming gave the MI6 Armourer in his novels the name Major Boothroyd and, in Dr. No, M introduces him to Bond as "the greatest small-arms expert in the world". Bond also used a variety of rifles, including the Savage Model 99 in "For Your Eyes Only" and a Winchester .308 target rifle in "The Living Daylights". Other handguns used by Bond in the Fleming books included the Colt Detective Special and a long-barrelled Colt .45 Army Special.

The first Bond film, Dr. No, saw M ordering Bond to leave his Beretta behind and take up the Walther PPK, which the film Bond used in eighteen films. In Tomorrow Never Dies and the two subsequent films, Bond's main weapon was the Walther P99 semi-automatic pistol.

Vehicles

In the early Bond stories Fleming gave Bond a battleship-grey Bentley 4½ Litre with an Amherst Villiers supercharger. After Bond's car was written off by Hugo Drax in Moonraker, Fleming gave Bond a Mark II Continental Bentley, which he used in the remaining books of the series. During Goldfinger, Bond was issued with an Aston Martin DB Mark III with a homing device, which he used to track Goldfinger across France. Bond returned to his Bentley for the subsequent novels.

The Bond of the films has driven a number of cars, including the Aston Martin V8 Vantage, during the 1980s), the V12 Vanquish and DBS during the 2000s, as well as the Lotus Esprit; the BMW Z3, BMW 750iL and the BMW Z8. He has, however, also needed to drive a number of other vehicles, ranging from a Citroën 2CV to a Routemaster Bus, amongst others.

Bond's most famous car is the silver grey Aston Martin DB5, first seen in Goldfinger; it later featured in Thunderball, GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, Casino Royale and Skyfall. The films have used a number of different Aston Martins for filming and publicity, one of which was sold in January 2006 at an auction in the US for $2,090,000 to an unnamed European collector.

Gadgets

Fleming's novels and early screen adaptations presented minimal equipment such as the booby-trapped attaché case in From Russia with Love, although this situation changed dramatically with the films. However, the effects of the two Eon-produced Bond films Dr. No and From Russia with Love had an effect on the novel The Man with the Golden Gun, through the increased number of devices used in Fleming's final story.

For the film adaptations of Bond, the pre-mission briefing by Q Branch became one of the motifs that ran through the series. Dr. No provided no spy-related gadgets, but a Geiger counter was used; industrial designer Andy Davey observed that the first ever onscreen spy-gadget was the attaché case shown in From Russia with Love, which he described as "a classic 007 product". The gadgets assumed a higher profile in the 1964 film Goldfinger. The film's success encouraged further espionage equipment from Q Branch to be supplied to Bond, although the increased use of technology led to an accusation that Bond was over-reliant on equipment, particularly in the later films.

If it hadn't been for Q Branch, you'd have been dead long ago!

Q, to Bond,
Licence to Kill

Davey noted that "Bond's gizmos follow the zeitgeist more closely than any other ... nuance in the films" as they moved from the potential representations of the future in the early films, through to the brand-name obsessions of the later films. It is also noticeable that, although Bond uses a number of pieces of equipment from Q Branch, including the Little Nellie autogyro, a jet pack and the exploding attaché case, the villains are also well-equipped with custom made devices, including Scaramanga's golden gun, Rosa Klebb's poison-tipped shoes, Oddjob's steel-rimmed bowler hat and Blofeld's communication and bacteriological warfare agents vanity case.

Read more about this topic:  James Bond

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