Okay, you know 'em, you hate 'em, but it's that time of the year again. Some Halloween shops have the goofily colored TOS phasers (and Next Gen, and the newer movie), and if this year is anything like last year, on November 1st, they'll all be half off. I picked up a few last year and probably will again this year.
Okay, yeah, it's Rubies. And the paint scheme SUCKS. But the overall shape is much closer than the Playmates phasers of not that many years ago. (Remember how excited we were when those came out?) The Playmates does have 2 sounds and light, and is a bit sturdier. Yes, it's true, the AA versions are completely done unless you want to pimp them out with aluminum parts, and the squirt guns are really nice if you can ignore the trigger or pimp them out with aluminum parts... BUT. The stupidly colored Rubies phaser next week will be around $7.
I've got a couple Playmates, a couple AA, and a couple squirters, so I know how it compares to the other toys, but I had fun sanding off the copyright marks, priming and painting one up in a solid gray. Most of the props I remember seeing for sale back in the day were the solid gray ones, and I had a hankering. (I know AA has since added that one to their line.) I've since turned a piece of acrylic so I can have the emitter done more accurately, but for a crapazoid phaser, I think it's well worth the time. And it's one more cheap phaser I can take to cons and not worry about damaging.