I’ve been an aficionado of Starfleet sidearms for as long as I can remember now. I’ve had them all from horribly cheesy Next Gen Playmates versions all the way up to a beautifully professionally-machined Classic Series prop that I bought at a Trek Convention back in the early 90’s in NY and later had to sell so that I could afford to eat while paying for Grad School. Today I’m checking out Diamond’s brand new Star Trek III phaser. Hopefully with this baby I’ll have Mr. Adventure eating out of my hand.
If you own any of Diamond’s Starships, you should recognize the deco used for the box. I’m not a big fan as it mixes Classic Trek imagery with what is a Feature Film collectible. Why couldn’t we get a picture of Admiral Kirk in his tunic on the box, or at least movie enterprise. Blah! It’s nothing special and that’s probably a good thing because mine came to me smashed to hell. Luckily it was the only thing in the box that was as it was part of my Pile of Loot and there were some pricier pieces in there.
Straightaway, let me say that this is my second favorite phaser design in all of Star Trek and second only to the “Battle Phaser” which was introduced in Star Trek V and used during the raid on Paradise City. This version takes the general design of the Classic Series sidearm, which I’m also incredibly fond of, and makes it all sleek and sexy. There aren’t a lot of details on it, apart from the blue striping down the sides, just a lot of smooths surfaces and curves. To me, this design is totally convincing as a futuristic weapon and Diamond’s version does a pretty good job of reproducing the look of the prop and even uses plugs to cover the screws on one side. There are some stray scratches on mine, which could be counted against it on a QC level, but they kind of work as weathering and don’t bother me so much.
Virtually all the detail on this piece is found on the control panel on top of the weapon and even that is very minimalist in appearance. You get an On-Off switch, which sadly looks like exactly what it is: A switch for a toy, rather than something integrated into the fictional design of the weapon. I don’t mind them using a standard switch, but I wish it was concealed a little better. The blue triangle lights the weapon’s ready status and there are four red lights and a power settings button to cycle through the four force settings.
Of course, just like with the Classic Series phaser, the top unit here is a detachable self-contained palm phaser that nests with the larger hand-grip housing. When removed and used on its own, the triangular button on top becomes the trigger. This piece looks really nice and feels great in the hand. My only gripe here is that the white on my power cycle button has some messed up paint. Again, I’ll likely just write it off as weathering, but clearly it’s a pretty big QC issue of the type that DST seems to continually have problems with.
The electronics in this piece are passable, but because the speaker is located on the bottom of the palm unit, the sounds are pretty muffled when it’s docked with the grip housing and that’s pretty disappointing. The SFX include a power up beep when it’s turned on and off, and four very slightly different sounds for each of the four force settings. Honestly, I can barely tell the difference between the first three.
As for lights, the blue power light on the top trigger button remains lit when the phaser is on. The force setting lights cycle until you choose a setting, which is done by repeatedly pressing the setting button. There’s a red light in the beam emitter of the hand grip housing and an elongated series of red lights in the smaller palm phaser’s beam emitter. Lastly, if you hold down the setting button and the trigger on the housing the phaser will prep for Overload. Pressing the top trigger button will initiate the Overload Sequence. It’s all pretty basic stuff. Nothing amazing, but adequate.
Overall, I think this thing is OK, but I wanted to like it more than I do, especially since I love the design so much. The QC issues are perhaps minor but still troublesome and I think the electronics could have been designed a little better. I can appreciate wanting to hide the speaker under the palm phaser, but why not show the same courtesy for the power button? And the emitters could have used some brighter LEDs. The LED they used for the Excelsior’s deflector dish can burn out someone’s retina and I would have loved to see something similar on this piece. All in all, it feels like a step down from DST’s Classic Series phaser that I own from quite a few years back. At $35, I’m not sorry I bought it, it’ll look great on my wall and it’s perfect for anyone looking to cosplay, but in the end I had hoped for something a little better.