OK since I don't see a thread on this, I'll start one up... Probably the best thing about the film "The Golden Compass", IMHO, was the realization of the Aleithomter, the "truth measure", a gadget which, when read properly by a sensitive such as the film's protagonist Lyra Bellaqua, can reveal future or past events.
The film's depiction of the meter varies from the book's... in the film it is used more like a magic crystal ball, showing film clips of events. (in the book it is just a mechanical device; the sequence of symbols which it indicates have to be interpreted to be understood).
Noble Collection has come out with a replica of the Alethiometer, and at around $200, it's both impressive and disappointing. On the plus side, the shape and size are right, and there's no denying, it LOOKS like an Alethiometer.
The case is a brass color, with a bit of dull coating. (the film props appeared more golden in tone). The lid opens when you push a lever on the case's edge. The lid is not spring loaded, and you can easily snap it shut by accident while trying to open it.
On the minus side, there are many things on the replica that differ from the props. Symbols (there are a million of them on the device's case) do not seem to match what the actual props have. Either the replica's parts have been assembled in the wrong orientation, or else engravings have been changed (well it wouldn't do for the replica to be an EXACT copy, would it...)
The operation of the replica is a bit of a letdown. It works on a spring mechanism: you open the case, set the three red needles using the crowns around the edge of the case, and then push a button (not present in the prop)... then the blue needle spins furiously and points to a symbol. By tipping the meter back and forth you can make the needle "seek" other symbols (in the film and books, a big deal is made of the needle's fluid motion, as "an unseen hand" guides it to the correct answer... not so in the replica).
And needless to say, the symbols do not light up, and there is no intricate gear motion in the meter's center. The film also adds computer effects to the practical prop, giving the device a golden inner glow when it operates.
Actually the practical prop is pretty interesting on its own (see photos below)... it is connected by ribbon cable to a computer console with shuttle dials, enabling the operator to "move" the prop's needle in real time, giving it a "living" quality. Very cool.
Anyway... the Noble Collection replica is affordable, and as I say, looks pretty much like the prop. With no other replicas out there or likely to be made, it's your only choice really. So I give it a "nice try" but still a bit disappointing.
Noble Collection Alethiometer replica
Images of screenused alethiometer props (from the film and the "making of" extras)
The working Alethiometer prop, connected to its computer console via ribbon cable