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ST:VI - The Return of the Assassin Phaser by galaxy1701d ST:VI - The Return of the Assassin Phaser by galaxy1701d
"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.)

Reference: www.phasers.net/2280/2288.htm

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.
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:iconjatgproductions:
JATGProductions Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Fascinating work - I enjoy the depth of research and the dedication to ferreting out lost treasures! :D
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:icongalaxy1701d:
Thanks!  Great hearing from you again. =)  This project was definitely more personal than most of the work Casey and I had done, precisely because of the original prop's historic significance.  It was a huge honor for me to take delivery of the first Assassin Phaser reproduction, especially since I then brought it into action at Anime Weekend Atlanta 2013, finally introducing the prop design to the public for the first time in history. 
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:iconjatgproductions:
JATGProductions Oct 8, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I'll bet it was! :D
I hope you continue to dig through the forgotten and unknown history of Star Trek for cool stuff like this - and of course, continue making new stuff. :D
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:icongalaxy1701d:
Owning the prop was a lot of fun, although it wasn't without its problems.  Casey attached a 2-part rubbery emitter tip onto my prototype version (not present in the original prop - this was one of the variations we made to make my version stand out) and I quickly discovered that the adhesive holding the 2 pieces together didn't like to stay together.  Then, at one point, part of the silver "barrel" portion of the gun developed a big crack (remember, this entire prop is made from hardwood) and started to snap off, but I was able to repair it with Krazy Glue and the Phaser has continued to hold together ever since.  

Carrying the Assassin Phaser around at Anime Weekend Atlanta was an interesting experience in its own right.  Casey's props were originally developed as stunt props for fan films, and because they are built to filmmaking standards, they appear far more realistic and are definitely more "photogenic" than the props carried by the vast majority of anime convention cosplayers.  I brought three of his props to AWA 2013 while my roommate (ST:09 Kirk) carried another and a friend who was crossplaying John Harrison/ST:ID Khan carried a third and all of our props got a lot of positive attention.  I even had a lot of fun letting other cosplayers borrow and hold the first known ST:VI Assassin Phaser so they could be part of the Assasin Phaser's historic reappearance. =)

On the other hand, the prop is a massive, heavy three-foot-long monster.  It was clumsy to carry around, and I often found myself having to be careful with it because Anime Weekend Atlanta was a large, crowded convention (it had about 20,000 attendees this year).  So while the prop looks simply awe-inspiring, was very photogenic, and was also a special item that had a meaning most props can't aspire to, lugging it around wasn't all fun and games.  Casey made a second, more show-accurate version that was done up in all black with different detailing and put it on eBay along with an Assault Phaser to go with it, and it sold within 5 minutes.  I can only wonder who it went to, but I'm pretty sure it was probably bought by some "collector" who will just put it on a wall and never actually put it to use - and therefore, we'll probably never see any more of it.

We have a few other ideas in the works, but after the burst of activity that we went through before AWA to develop and build props for myself and some of my friends, we're taking it a bit more slowly at the moment.  But there are a still a few things that I'd like Casey to do, and knowing me, almost any time I ask him to build something, it's not going to be your ordinary Starfleet gadget.
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:iconjatgproductions:
JATGProductions Oct 9, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Still, the good thing is that they were only minor problems, and acceptable ones, so it sounds like your prop was a giant success! :D

I think what's always fascinated me are either the tricorders, or the PADDs... the later of which is amusingly mostly an IPad or Kindle now... XD And I know they're trying to make the communicator badge/watch sized, and the transporter - which would be awesome. :D And then there's the 3D printer (early replicator)!

Sorry, I know we were discussing props, but I've been excited about the latest technological creations which mimic, or attempt to, Star Trek... :D How many other series can claim the engineering and scientific influences? :D
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:icongalaxy1701d:
Not many, that's for sure.  I think at least some of this can be genuinely attributed to Gene Roddenberry being a fan of traditional, "hard" science fiction at a time when television sci-fi was so watered down that many "true" science fiction fans wanted nothing to do with it.  Gene insisted that everything the TOS staff did must have at least some level of plausibility.  He pushed Matt Jefferies to the limit to come up with an unusual shape for the Enterprise because he knew how unrealistic the "rocket ships" and "flying saucers" at the time were.  He rewrote the "laser weapons" of the first pilot into Phasers (originally thought of as PHoton mASERs - microwave based weapons) because he listened to scientists who told him that lasers couldn't do the things he wanted his weapons to do.

Because of that, "Treknology" withstands the test of time - and because of that, it's just plausible enough to inspire people to go into science & technology because they want to make that stuff real while also giving them a shot to actually do so.  We've had very primitive, crude "Tricorders" since the late 1990s that can run several scientific tests in a single instrument and basic "medical Tricorders" are in the works right now.  The military is already experimenting with beam weapons.  The basic physics behind the Warp Drive have been demonstrated to work, although we still are at a loss when it comes to building anything close to one.  Bluetooth "comm badges" already exist - they just haven't been shrunken down to TNG size yet and need to function within a certain radius of a central transmitter hub.  Heck, ST:09 has a hover bike and apparently even that's being developed now although at the moment the prototype is just 2 fan engines with a pair of handlebars.

It's a foregone conclusion that "Trek" will always be important for this.  As for my prop, I was very fortunate to have detected and repaired the problems with the Assassin Phaser long before AWA 2013 came along.  I had also done several rounds of costume tests pairing the prop with several of my costumes, so I knew how it looked against various outfits, and I also knew how to handle it, how to pose with it, and what to expect from it.  It was definitely a big, bulky thing to carry around, though, so I've started throwing the idea around with my propmaker buddy about possibly designing a "miniaturized" version that would keep the unique shape of the Assassin Phaser Rifle, but would be much smaller and therefore more "convention friendly."  Such a prop wouldn't be as impressive, and would no longer be a rifle (more of an enhanced pistol or maybe a carbine), but it would be much easier and safer to carry around at a big, crowded convention... >_<
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:iconjatgproductions:
JATGProductions Oct 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
That is one reason I like Star Trek! :D I drank all the "techno-babble" in TNG when I was a child. :D

Yes - we've also had crude biobeds! :D Now, if only the governments and other parts of society can catch up with the push towards the UFP, I'll be happy. :D There's a lot of aspects to the way Roddenberry showed in TNG of a plausible utopian society I enjoyed... :D And the idea that basic needs were met for their people? We need more of that here and now, I say. :D

Cosplayers, like anyone in the entertainment business, suffer a lot for their arts. Many may wonder what the point is in all the details if no one notices, but they miss all the ones who are genuinely awestruck and inspired by them! :D
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:iconkaisernathan1701:
This Phaser Rifle looks even cooler than the First Contact one :D
Reply
:icongalaxy1701d:
It's pretty neat, actually, it's a Phaser Rifle converted from a Pistol the same way the Walther P-38 was transformed into the U.N.C.L.E. Special that eventually became G1 Megatron's alternate mode.  I can't help but wonder what the Phaser would look like with Megatron's color scheme now. =P

That being said, the "First Contact" one is more powerful, of course.  It was developed later, and it's basically the M-16 of the Phaser world, while this thing is, as mentioned above, basically a sniper pistol or a small rifle firing pistol rounds.  I think there may be some aftermarket modifications of real-life semi-automatic pistols that would allow them to act like that, but I'm not sure.

It does look big, mean, and menacing, though.  The 2nd prototype, which was designed to be more show-accurate and has the correct flat-black paint scheme, looks even meaner.  This one was put up on eBay as part of a 2-piece set (Assault Phaser Pistol & Assassin Phaser Rifle) by Casey around Labor Day and we were both stunned when it sold in less than five minutes.  I guess I was right - I wasn't the only one who remembers the Assassin Phaser.

api.ning.com/files/artf-18kvwr…

I'm not sure if I should consider it a true "Rifle" since it's converted from a Phaser pistol, but it's definitely at least some kind of Carbine.  I've gotten the all-clear from the security team to bring it to Anime Weekend Atlanta this year, so that's where I will give it a well-deserved public debut.  I'm going to go make some history. =)
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:iconkaisernathan1701:
Yep Im sure you'll alot of Attention with it :)

If i had the monies id buy one off ya to display on my Wall :)
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