When it comes to unique and unusual collectibles, you can’t beat the uber-cool rayguns from Weta. You know Weta, the guys that did the props and designs for the Lord of the Rings films, as well as King Kong. George Lucas has Lucasfilms, Peter Jackson has Weta.
One of their very cool lines is the Dr. Grordbort’s Rayguns. Based on the general concept of the old time science fiction guns of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, these are all original designs that use proper materials to make as realistic of a gun as possible, short of being able to disintegrate your enemies. All that realism costs though, and the usual full size raygun will run you any where from $700 for the Manmelter pistol, to $4500 for the Blunderbuss.
For those of us barely avoiding being committed by our families, buying one of these would be one step too far. But Weta has come up with an alternateive, ‘mini-rayguns’ that are identical in design to the big boys, but only 1/4 the size (and not nearly as complex). There have been two released at past SDCC events: the mini Manmelter from 2007, and the Goliathan at SDCC 2008. The Manmelter is long sold out, but you can still pick up the Goliathan from their site, as well as the newest in the series, the F.M.O.M. Wave Disrupter Gun.
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F.M.O.M. Wave Disrupter Gun
If you’re a fan of the quarter scale Star Wars weapons that Gentle Giant produced, then these little buggers will be right up your alley. Weta doesn’t make a ton of these, and this version is limited to just 900.
Packaging - ***1/2
These come in excellent boxes, with great graphics done in a cool retro style. The gun itself is wrapped and packed tight to help avoid damage, but you’ll want to unpack it VERY carefully. You could end up damaging it just by removing the several twisty ties.
Sculpting - ****
These sculpts are all quite intricate, with fine wires, tubes, and doohickeys everywhere. Many of these small pieces are quite fragile, made from soft metal. The entire gun is made from metal, actually, with quite a bit of heft and weight to it. The scale works well with varioius quarter scale figures too, although it’s heavy enough to make it tough for them to hold it upright. The gun is about 3″ long, small enough to fit entirely in the palm of your hand.
Paint - ***1/2
I’m not sure if ‘paint’ is the right word, since the gun has a unique finish that makes it appear old and worn. There’s even some fake rust in a few spots, as though it’s owner hasn’t been keeping it clean between uses.
There are additional paint details too, on various wires and tubes. There’s even a small white dial, although on very close inspection you can see that the detail is a bit weak. Still, to the nekkid eye, it looks pretty damn good.
Design/Quality - ****
All metal? How can you go wrong! As I said, the gun designs themselves are all extremely unique, and yet they capture that 30’s sci-fi serials feel perfectly. I think I might like the Goliathan just a little better than the F.M.O.M., but that’s more a matter of artistic taste than basic quality or design.
There’s also a metal stand included which holds the gun up in a perfect position for display on your shelf. The style and color of the stand matches with the gun, and it includes the name of the weapon on the base.
Value - **
Yes, these are really cool, no doubt about it. But they aren’t cheap, even the little guys. Sixty bucks might not seem like a lot, but let’s keep in mind that these are only 3″ long - not exactly a huge hunk of metal. The first mini-raygun was $30, which was a much more appropriate price. I can even see $40, but $60? That’s a slight stretch.
Things to Watch Out For -
As I mentioned earlier, the gun has lots of soft metal tiny pieces that can easily be bent or broken off. Be especially careful when taking the gun out of the box for the first time. All the packing material keeps it safe in shipping, but if you’re too impatient it can also cause its own brand of damage.
Overall - ***1/2
Hey, I’ll admit it - I love these little guys. I’d love to have one of the full scale versions, but I already sold a kidney to afford my Hot Toys habit. I’m smart enough to know that a herion addict shouldn’t take up crack as a second hobby, so I’ll be sticking with the little versions.
Where to Buy -
Your best bet is the Weta site, where it can be had for about $60 US.
I looked at the Goliathan last year.
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