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23rd Century Pistol Preview


By Owen Oulton - images & text © 2003

Scale: 1/1
Parts: 26 injection-moulded styrene (10 black; 14 vacuum-plated "chrome"; 2 clear); 1 piece of embossed "chrome" tape; 1 paper (cut from instuctions)
Instructions: 7.5 - adequate, but lacking a needed template (see text)
Decals: N/A
Molding Quality: 5 (9 for the chrome parts)
Detail: 8 - slightly soft in places, with no location marks
Accuracy: 8 - missing one small detail, and some minor scale issues.
MSRP: $29.99 USD (~$44.11 CAN/ 27.33 EUR) available from Monsters in Motion
Overall Rating: 8 - some sanding required, and you'll have to eyeball locations of details

[Boxart]

The parts come in a large-ish corrugated cardboard box with a crisp black-and-white photo. The name "Star Trek" is not on the box, nor is the term "phaser."

[Click to enlarge]

^ What you get

[Instructions pg 1]

[Instructions pg 2]

^ Instructions and paint guide

At first glance, the parts seem a bit small, but measuring them and comparing them to known measurements it turns out they're actually pretty close to exact scale, maybe a millimetre or two off. The pistol grip parts seem distinctly small, though.

The main parts seem a trifle soft in their contours, but are crisper than the actual cast phasers constructed by Wah Chang for the original series from Matt Jefferies design. They're also very thick-walled - this is a GOOD thing, if like most SF fans you're going to play with it. The plated parts are as crisp as those from mainstream companies, and the plating is very well done, with only a very few rough spots. The pistol grip has a ridged surface, almost as if it was planographed from a sterolithographed master which hadn't been sanded smooth. The clear parts are adequate to the task, and the chrome tape resembles one of the many patterns used on series props.

The detail agrees pretty well with photos of various props and replicas on Richard Coyle's RAC Props site, with the following easily fixed bobbles:

  • The chromed "fins" on the back of the main body were sheet aluminum stacked with smoke grey plex between them in the original prop. Dull-coat the plated part and paint Tamiya "Smoke" in the recesses.
  • The small protrusion which is to be glued behind the Phaser I unit is somewhat fragile and will almost certainly snap off quickly. Replace this with a length of 1/8" (3mm) brass rod inserted into a hole drilled into the body.
  • The plated disc which is glued to the lower right front of the main body was a rotating switch on the original prop. It's a simple matter to drill a hole in the body of the phaser and mount the disc on a rotating shaft. The same can be done with the knob on the top rear of the main body.
  • There should be a small blue LED mounted between the plated adjustment wheel and the clear dial on top of the Phaser I. This can be made with a blue-tinted piece of clear sprue, or a real LED.
  • The ridging on the pistol grip will need to be sanded smooth with wet 400-grit followed by 600-grit.
  • There's no real pattern given for cutting out the self-adhesive chrome, so you'll have to eyeball this.
  • Although the package touts that the "Unit 1" (their term for the Type I Phaser) is removable, this isn't strictly true. If you don't glue it in place, it will simply fall off. You'll have to plate in the opening on the main body and use magnets or Velcro to hold it in place, or if you're really adventurous replicate the push-button release of the prop.

The instructions are well-illustrated, but leave many of the exact positions to the builder's imagination as there are no positive location points. Study the illustrations and photo well before gluing anything in place. The photos at RAC Props will be of use here.

The painting instructions are very basic. They suggest leaving the Unit I in bare plastic, but it's best to paint it semi-gloss black. I'd also dull down most of the plated parts to resemble the polished aluminum originals The actual props varied in colour scheme, so check the RAC Props site for alternate schemes.

Conclusions

There are better (and more expensive) prop replicas out there, but with some elbow grease and a little TLC, this kit will build up into a Star Trek original series Phaser which anyone would be proud of.

Thanks to Elvis Algate for the loan of the review copy. Manufacturers and retailers, interested in getting your wares reviewed and publicized on a site averaging 3500+ readers a day? Contact us!

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the reviewer.
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This page copyright © 2003 Starship Modeler™. Last updated on 6 March 2003.