Review: QMx Star Trek Movie Phaser Replica June 30, 2011by Jeff Bond , Filed under: Replicas,Review,Star Trek (2009 film) , trackback
Quantum Mechanix has released their new USS Enterprise Metal-Plated Phaser Replica from the 2009 Star Trek movie. QMx has kept the price affordable on this new replica by focusing on recreating the look and feel of the phasers while leaving the lights and sounds for a future (more expensive) offering. The results are pretty impressive. More details in our review below.
REVIEW: QMX Star Trek Movie Phaser Replica
Star Trek (2009) USS Enterprise Metal-Plated Phaser Replica
By: Quantum Mechanix
Price: $49.95 (at QMx store)
Since Master Replicas ceased operations a few years ago collectors and cosplayers have been limited to Diamond Select’s line of role play Star Trek prop replicas on the lower side of the cost spectrum (with phaser replicas selling for $25-$30) and Roddenberry.com (where a phaser will set you back about $700). Up until now, fans seeking prop replicas form the J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie have had to settle for the defunct Playmates line of toys, which are probably still clogging up remainder bins at Toys R Us somewhere. Toy lines have come a long way as far as screen accuracy goes, even since Playmates’ original line of Star Trek toys from the early ’90s. But they’re still toys; they feel like the lightweight plastic that they are and their lines are usually marred by giant screw holes that don’t exactly scream “23rd century technology.” If you want something remotely like what you see in the movies and TV shows, you need to pay hundreds of dollars for the privilege.
QMX is attempting to find a middle ground with this “stunt phaser” prop reproduction—and it’s actually pretty dazzling. Based on the digital files used to create the actual screen prop, this collectible is made of polystone, the same material most high-end collectible figure statues are made out of, but it’s plated in real metal that gives it a highly realistic weight (one pound) and finish. There are no “beauty shots” of the prop in the film so a lot of the initial impressions of the 2009 Trek phaser were made by the Playmates toy. Playmates attempted to reproduce the multi-hued finish of the actual prop with their toy, but the results just looked like chromed plastic and they added to a bum rap about the new phasers—that they looked gaudy and “toy-like.”
The QMX reproduction should help to rehabilitate the new phaser a bit—with the mixture of gunmetal, steel, brushed aluminum and chromed metal finishes and the slightly increased size over the Playmates toy, the QMX phaser looks and feels business-like, sleek and imposing. The piece comes with a smoked clear Lucite display stand that is unobtrusive and attractive in its own right. Since it’s based on the “stunt phasers” used in the film there are no moving parts, and the decision to have the red-painted “kill” barrel facing forward (as opposed to the metal-finished and more blunt “stun” barrel) may frustrate some. However if you’re determined to overcome that problem, I’ve seen at least one collector successfully break the top half of the upper, gunmetal-painted cowl off, free the rotating barrel piece and, after sanding and filling the barrel, sticking a piece of rubber over the rotating piece to hold it in place, allowing you to position the spinning piece the way you want. Good luck with that!
The replica reveals some interesting details. With the Playmates toy, there was a standard index finger trigger at the top of the gun handle. However, this trigger is missing from the QMx replica because it was actually not part of the original hero prop. The actual Star Trek movie phaser (and this replica) has buttons on both sides of the handle (see below). The button on the right side is to spin the barrel, and the button on the left (for your thumb) is the trigger. So apparently in the future, all humans and Vulcans are right-handed. Star Trek’s new barrel spinning setting approach is visually interesting, but what happens if you have to reset from stun to kill while firing down a really narrow crack in a wall or something? Nomenclature on the sides of the phaser read “UFP-PH T-1” (United Federation of Planets Phaser Type 1?) and T-1 BATT ONLY. R/B. Arrows on either side also seem to indicate that the upper cowl is designed to be lifted, so it’ll be interesting to see all the things this prop is actually supposed to do
when we get a “fully functional” version from QMX (which is expected to cost much more).
At $49.95, the QMX phaser competes very favorably with resin prop kits and high-end replicas that normally run anywhere from $100-$900. Cosplay enthusiasts may have to try to recreate the movie’s equipment belt, since there’s no other way to attach the phaser to clothing. With the weight of this replica, Velcro or string isn’t going to cut it.
QMx also offers additional Star Trek 2009 movie items, including badge replicas and posters. They also offer replicas, posters, shirts and more for Batlestar Galactica, Warehouse 13, Doctor Who, Firefly, and more. Find out more at QMXOnline.com.
Jeff Bond is the author of “The Music of Star Trek” and “Danse Macabre: 25 Years of Danny Elfman and Tim Burton“; he covers film music for The Hollywood Reporter.