Sunday, November 9, 2014

Galaxy Beam and Dark Star Ray Guns

Galaxy Beam Ray Gun

No one item shy of robots, defines the genre of Science Fiction in movies and books more than the Ray Gun. I've always loved the designs that predated the 1960's, and consider them to be of a much more fanciful and playful sort of design than the sorts that came after the advent of Star Wars (which since many of them were built on WW2 weapon platforms and shapes which lent them a very real fantasy aesthetic).

So here's a set of pics on the two I found and picked up during the after Halloween sales.
The Galaxy Beam came packaged in a Mylar bag with just a cardboard fold-over sealer stapled to keep it shut.

Powered by 2 AA batteries, it has a wild array of LEDs on the rear body, and on a spinning disc in the center, and on the nose/barrel end.

The overall craftsmanship of this version really isn't fantastic. It is sturdy, and the metallic chrome finish on the body is decent enough. The battery cover holds in place, but looks ill fitted. 
The design of this ray gun is actually pretty fun. I was drawn to it because of the clear globe element in the center.

But... the super shiny surface does showcase some fingerprints pretty badly.

And a lot of scuffs and left over plastic filament bits were still on the body throughout. So, that made it a bit hard to want to plunk down $15 on it initially.

Dark Star Ray Gun

The Dark Star variant was a whole other caliber of toy gun in comparison.
Now in another store that was part of the "Spirit of Halloween" franchises, they had a version that was excellent and a vast improvement over the Galaxy Beam version. 
The lines and details were super clean and there was no residual plastic edges or flashing anywhere on this ray gun.

The battery cover that was over the 2 AAs on this version is practically seamless. The overall feel of the ray gun was extremely sturdy and even the sound (identical sound chip in both guns) that was channeled out of the rear of the body sounded more robust and cleaner.

Below, you can see a comparison of the two. The lights were a bit more in amount and brightness on the Galaxy Beam version, but the beautiful factory black matte plastic of the Dark Star is really nice. I also liked the addition of the trigger finger guard on that version. 
Both light up great, but if you had to buy one of them at the full price, the Dark Star variant is the better purchase, as it's construction, heft, and appearance comes out as the top out of the two.
So for those of you looking for a great cheap but fun multi use prop for your costume, cosplay, or theatrical production, you can't go wrong with either of these really. Fifteen dollars is a little steep for what they are, and I could see a more accurate price being around $10.

As you can see the handles are adequate enough for a full grown man's handgrip, and are light enough and sculpted well enough for kids hands to hold without any difficulty.

The Dark Star practically begs to be customized with it's matte black finish, and if I can track more of them down, I might very well be doing that in the near future.

UPDATE!!! from a reader!!!
Just a few moments ago, I got this ebay listing sent to me from a reader of this blog. (Thank you Marissa!) Look at the price on that thing! I'm telling you all, that is no different than the ones I just reviewed. PLEASE be smart and shop around!!!

Thanks for reading! Take care of the things in your life, promote the well being of history, never forget the Library of Alexandria, and I'll see you next time!

-Mario, the Rogue Hobbyist  

Stats Rating/Information
Item Galaxy Beam and Dark Star Toy Ray Guns
Made by Galaxy Beam - Unknown / Dark Star - Spirit of Halloween
Uncommon - Depending on theme or season, otherwise, probably very common.
Classification Modern
Condition Excellent
Procured Kansas City, Missouri
Worth $15 MSRP
Investment $5 each (after Halloween clearance sales)
Further Research -n/a-
Trivia & Fun Facts One of the first examples of anything resembling a raygun was the Heat-Ray from H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, published in 1898.

In an odd historical note, Nikola Tesla was purported to have invented a massive "death ray" that was to end all wars. The U.S. government evidently passed on it.

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