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Simon Atherton is a British movie armorer and the ex-head of Bapty & Co. who worked on the 1986 film Aliens. Atherton was the man chiefly responsible for constructing the fictional weapons used by the Colonial Marines in the film. Other notable films Atherton has worked on include Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Judge Dredd (1995), The Fifth Element (1997), Saving Private Ryan (1998) and Gladiator (2000).
Atherton began his career as a film and television armorer at the age of 16 when he took up an apprenticeship with a gunsmith in Cornwall, England. His first job in the entertainment industry was on the British/Belgian World War II television series Secret Army, which ran from 1977-1979. He later joined weapons prop house Bapty & Co., working on such high-profile productions as Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Aliens (where he was the principle designer and builder of the practical M41A Pulse Rifle props, working to conceptual designs by director James Cameron), Alien3 (where he built the backpacks worn by the Weyland-Yutani Commandos) and Judge Dredd (where he built the Judges' Lawgiver handgun).
In the mid-1990s, Atherton left Bapty to become a freelance movie armorer, going on to work on films such as The Fifth Element (where he designed and built the Zorg Industries ZF-1 Weapon System) and Saving Private Ryan. Atherton has also worked on films featuring ancient weaponry such as swords and crossbows, providing the weaponry for films such as Braveheart and Ridley Scott's Gladiator.