"Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" was made around 1991, and during the production of that film, there was one interesting little bit of trivia that almost fell on the sidelines for those who weren't interested in props or Phasers.
In one scene of this movie, Colonel West, one of the Starfleet conspirators against the Khitomer peace talks, was going to attempt to assassinate the Federation President. In the original script, he was going to use a heavily modified Assault Phaser (or Burning Phaser in the ST:VI novelization) that had been converted, like the P-38 U.N.C.L.E. Special of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." into a sniper carbine by adding a muzzle extension (silencer?), shoulder stock and telescopic gunsight. But then the script changed. Colonel West was now going to be wearing a Klingon disguise, and the so-called Assassin Phaser (as phasers.net refers to it) could no longer be used because it had become a dead giveaway as to West's true identity. A new sniper rifle based on the Klingon Disruptor Rifle introduced in ST:III was produced instead and this is what became the "Assassin Rifle" on film. (Come to think of it, I haven't seen a fan carrying *that* rifle either.)
However, the Assassin Phaser Rifle had made it to a physical test prop. It came in a box-like case, and could be assembled from or disassembled back into the Assault Phaser and its attachments and even incorporated an extra magazine "power cell." This prop was photographed - and because of that behind-the-scenes photograph, documentation existed, enough so that the Phasers.net article on the Assault Phaser uploaded the photo and made mention of it. Someone else even drew a line art diagram of it. But despite that small inkling of interest, this prop remained long-gone, dead and forgotten, relegated to obscurity. However, one of the few fans who knew about its existence just happened to be me. And I love trying new ideas, going where no fan has gone before - especially since I have a powerful ally in Casey Sullivan, proprietor of Triple-Fiction Productions in Lake City Florida. After Casey completed my "Copperhead Special" Assault Phaser, I told him about the Assassin Rifle and he eagerly agreed to try to produce three non-functional "stunt" prototypes from hardwood.
Mine is the first of the three. A variant, it was deliberately designed to stand apart from the other two (which are more show-accurate) because it needed to pair with the similarly redesigned Copperhead Special. As the others haven't been sold yet, I am currently the only fan in the world who has an Assassin Phaser and I plan to give the prop its triumphant public reintroduction at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2013, which takes place at the end of this month.
So brace yourselves, everyone! After 22 years lingering in behind-the-scenes limbo, the Assassin Phaser has finally returned, and Casey & I are determined to do our part to make sure it is never forgotten again!
UPDATE 10/08/2013: I just changed the settings for this submission to make the full resolution available.