Alleged Screen Used Hero TOS Phaser up for auction

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Trekfan

New Member
Here's my thought, we know there are 4 documented hero phasers, and not all of them are accounted for, so if you were going to do a forgery, why would you make a 5th unknown hero rather than trying to match details off one of the lost heroes and say it's that one?
An excellent point.
 

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WinstonWolf359

Sr Member
Here's my thought, we know there are 4 documented hero phasers, and not all of them are accounted for, so if you were going to do a forgery, why would you make a 5th unknown hero rather than trying to match details off one of the lost heroes and say it's that one?
The biggest reason I could think of is that the builder wouldn't have to actually match one of the other three 100%. The provenance story seems custom designed to be plausible yet gives just enough wiggle room to allow the prospective buyer to mentally fill in any gaps as to why this phaser isn't quite like GJ's phaser or any other prop seen on screen.

In a case like this the builder would have to roll the dice of which was worse; trying to copy one of the known variations but running the risk of not quite matching, or shooting for building something that stays in the ballpark of what is known about the hero phaser but includes some oddities and lean into the "handmade and/or refurbished" possibility.
 

JMSupp

Active Member
Here's my thought, we know there are 4 documented hero phasers, and not all of them are accounted for, so if you were going to do a forgery, why would you make a 5th unknown hero rather than trying to match details off one of the lost heroes and say it's that one?
I'm trying to be generous, and allow for the possibility of a previously unknown phaser, or an altered mid-grade. While I think it's highly unlikely that one went under the radar for so long, it could happen.
 

USS Endeav

Well-Known Member
I think the paint color is worth discussing a little more, in spite of the possibility "it could have been repainted by Wah Chang."

As anyone that has ever tried painting a phaser to look like the original props knows, those colors have been impossibly hard to match 100%.
Some of the best attempts have looked great when viewed alone, but any replica placed next to an authentic phaser prop falls just a little short. Especially the handle. While the both the P-I and P-II colors don't quite match GJ's phaser, the handle color's significant difference stands out to me most because it has been (by far) the most difficult paint to copy.
Prior difficulty does not negate the possibility that someone has overcome this challenge. As posted earlier, it is possible and has been done.
 

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USS Endeav

Well-Known Member
Based on this scan of a production memoposted by feek61 at TOSGraphics, and reposted by HeroComm…

View attachment 1466268

This definitely gives us a total of four hero props (as well as four extra handles and four extra power pack pack parts to make the abandoned, never-seen “phaser 3”, which was sort of a more compact phaser rifle), which neatly matches up with extensive screencap studies.

These four heroes were built as black-and-whites, then given to Wah Chang to rework and repaint.

So, a paper trail indicating the construction of four heroes. Screencaps indicating the existence of four heroes. And an auction piece whose details do not match any of those screencaps.
Playing devils advocate for a moment, this is proof of only that which is stated, not what was. Nor is it proof that nothing followed after. Two things can be true at once, this document and the existence of another just like it verifying the purchase of additional props.

I don't think this is true, but the possibility is there.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Here's my thought, we know there are 4 documented hero phasers, and not all of them are accounted for, so if you were going to do a forgery, why would you make a 5th unknown hero rather than trying to match details off one of the lost heroes and say it's that one?

Let’s take a step back, here.

The onscreen hero phasers are all virtually identical. There are very few “tells”, since they were built from the same materials (and the same body shell molds) at presumably the same time by (apparently) the same people. Aside from minor variations in positioning and length of certain parts (P1 power meter height, P1 thumbwheel position, P2 emitter length, etc.), about the only “tells” are things like the P1 Velcro (or lack thereof), the P1 gems (or lack thereof), the rounded P1 crispy corners, the craft sticks on the sides of the P2 handles, etc.

All of the most obvious tells on the auction piece—the Velcro, the lack of a P1 gem, and the P1 power meter numbers—ALL OF THEM—are direct copies of the well-documented Jein hero, and do not match any of the other known, screencapped heroes.
 
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Trekfan

New Member
I'm trying to be generous, and allow for the possibility of a previously unknown phaser, or an altered mid-grade. While I think it's highly unlikely that one went under the radar for so long, it could happen.
I cannot believe it could be an altered mid. Seems like that would be more work than just making a hero from scratch.

Something is wrong: it is either a fake or the accounting for the other heroes based on screencaps is flawed.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Playing devils advocate for a moment, this is proof of only that which is stated, not what was. Nor is it proof that nothing followed after. Two things can be true at once, this document and the existence of another just like it verifying the purchase of additional props.

I don't think this is true, but the possibility is there.

Of course. But, again, Occam’s Razor.

There is evidence that four heroes were built, and that Chang modified those four heroes into the ones documented in extensive screencap study.

Once the midgrades came on the scene at the end of the first season, the heroes were used less and less frequently. Usually just in the occasional close-up insert shot (“A Private Little War”, “The Gamesters of Triskellion”, “The Cloud Minders”, etc.).

Therefore, the need for any additional/backup hero props beyond those initial four was already greatly diminished merely 1/3 of the way through the show’s entire run. The midgrades did the heavy lifting on-camera for the second and third seasons.
 

USS Endeav

Well-Known Member
Of course. But, again, Occam’s Razor.

There is evidence that four heroes were built, and that Chang modified those four heroes into the ones documented in extensive screencap study.

Once the midgrades came on the scene at the end of the first season, the heroes were used less and less frequently. Usually just in the occasional close-up insert shot (“A Private Little War”, “The Gamesters of Triskellion”, “The Cloud Minders”, etc.).

Therefore, the need for any additional/backup hero props beyond those initial four was already greatly diminished merely 1/3 of the way through the show’s entire run. The midgrades did the heavy lifting on-camera for the second and third seasons.
I agree completely, but someone looking to support provenance on a forgery is using a house of cards. A technically possible however unlikely house of cards.
 

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Gregatron

Sr Member
The biggest reason I could think of is that the builder wouldn't have to actually match one of the other three 100%. The provenance story seems custom designed to be plausible yet gives just enough wiggle room to allow the prospective buyer to mentally fill in any gaps as to why this phaser isn't quite like GJ's phaser or any other prop seen on screen.

In a case like this the builder would have to roll the dice of which was worse; trying to copy one of the known variations but running the risk of not quite matching, or shooting for building something that stays in the ballpark of what is known about the hero phaser but includes some oddities and lean into the "handmade and/or refurbished" possibility.

This. Muddying the waters by copying the Jein hero very closely, yet not directly copying the details of any of the other three, because that would immediately invite direct comparisons with screencaps which could (and almost certainly would) rule some or all of those three heroes out.

Even accounting for the mixing and matching of P1s and P2s, the same logic still applies. Forging the specific tells of any of the three heroes documented in HD screencaps, and everyone would bring their slide-rules and magnifying glasses to the party.

Instead, we have confusing, contradictory details mixed with shaky provenance, which leads to lots of doubt and infighting.
 

JMSupp

Active Member
This. Muddying the waters by copying the Jein hero very closely, yet not directly copying the details of any of the other three, because that would immediately invite direct comparisons with screencaps which could (and almost certainly would) rule some or all of those three heroes out.

Even accounting for the mixing and matching of P1s and P2s, the same logic still applies. Forging the specific tells of any of the three heroes documented in HD screencaps, and everyone would bring their slide-rules and magnifying glasses to the party.

Instead, we have confusing, contradictory details mixed with shaky provenance, which leads to lots of doubt and infighting.
Gregatron, that's about where I'm at. The Jein Hero is the gold standard, and as far as I'm aware, the only example of what the interior looks like. So unless it's a fake, I would expect all other examples to be relatively close.

As WinstonWolf359 said, copying one that could be screen matched can be disproven. Creating a production made but not screen used phaser bypasses that bit of scrutiny conveniently.

Right now, I'm more of the opinion that it's a copy of the Jein then a possible 5th. There is no evidence for a 5th, and quite a bit against. The P1 matches the Jein, and not the Lenore like it should, given when it was supposedly taken from the set.
 

Gregatron

Sr Member
Gregatron, that's about where I'm at. The Jein Hero is the gold standard, and as far as I'm aware, the only example of what the interior looks like. So unless it's a fake, I would expect all other examples to be relatively close.

As WinstonWolf359 said, copying one that could be screen matched can be disproven. Creating a production made but not screen used phaser bypasses that bit of scrutiny conveniently.

Right now, I'm more of the opinion that it's a copy of the Jein then a possible 5th. There is no evidence for a 5th, and quite a bit against. The P1 matches the Jein, and not the Lenore like it should, given when it was supposedly taken from the set.


We also have the famous TMOST photos of the Finney hero, including an interior shot. But, as noted, the details of this auction P1 do not match the TMOST/Finney. The auction piece has no watch crown (like the Jein, but not the TMOST), and has Velcro (like the Jein, but not the TMOST). The TMOST P1 had metal rails on both sides, and even when looking at the fuzzy, low-res photos in the book, the rails appear to have been glued to the outside of the shell (like the Jein), with no slots cut in. As opposed to the auction piece (and numerous fanmade replicas), which has one rail/slot, and Velcro on the other side.

And the interior details of the auction P1 do not match the TMOST.

So, if would have to be the Lenore or the Nona—or some new, mysterious, unseen 5th hero—and, even then, what “tells” we have on the screencapped heroes do not match.
 
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robn1

Master Member
Having not one, but two phasers show up from out of the woodwork, from two different sources is interesting. As far as I'm aware, neither has even been suspected to exist by the Prop community. Add to that neither one has been shown to be screen matched.

If we take HeroComm as accurate, (I generally do) and that there were only 4 practical phasers of each type, these two are not accounted for. That's concerning to me.
To what two phasers do you refer? I'm only aware of this one hero displayed next to Jein's hero.
 

JMSupp

Active Member
To what two phasers do you refer? I'm only aware of this one hero displayed next to Jein's hero.
I'm referring to the P1 and P2 in the Heritage Auction as separate phasers. According to the auction description, they came from different sources, and I think they should be considered separately, rather then as a single Hero phaser.
 

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Trebor

Active Member
I'm referring to the P1 and P2 in the Heritage Auction as separate phasers. According to the auction description, they came from different sources, and I think they should be considered separately, rather then as a single Hero phaser.


That's a good point.

I think I misunderstand something earlier. My initial understanding was that the Phaser 1 was a privately owned piece that was previously "known" to the prop community and was then added to this unknown "newly discovered" Phaser 2 body.

Now reading this thread it seems I misunderstand the stated provenance of the P1. So, the story is then that both the P1 and the P2 body were previously unknown to the prop community, where both privately owned, and then the owners got together to match them up and sell them as a single item at auction, correct?

If that's the story I find that even more suspicious. So we are to believe that there was both a previously unknown P1 AND a previously unknown P2 body and that the two owners somehow found each other to match the P1 and P2 together to sell as a unit?

Man, that really doesn't pass the smell test, in my opinion.

Like I said previously, I'm not really looking at this from a "That feature looks right/that feature looks wrong" Phaser prop detail point of view. I'm looking at it from my long fascination with scams and cons and this just sets off all my warning bells based on what I've read over the years. "If it seems too good to be true" and all that.
 

JMSupp

Active Member
We also have the famous TMOST photos of the Finney hero, including an interior shot. But, as noted, the details of this auction P1 do not match the TMOST/Finney. The auction piece has no watch crown (like the Jein, but not the TMOST), and has Velcro (like the Jein, but not the TMOST). The TMOST P1 had metal rails on both sides, and even when looking at the fuzzy, low-res photos in the book, the rails appear to have been glued to the outside of the shell (like the Jein), with no slots cut in. As opposed to the auction piece (and numerous fanmade replicas), which has one rail/slot, and Velcro on the other wide.

And the interior details of the auction P1 do not match the TMOST.

So, if would have to be the Lenore or the Nona—or some new, mysterious, unseen 5th hero—and, even then, what “tells” we have on the screencapped heroes do not match.
Great summary! I had forgotten the interior shot of the P1 from TMOST, thanks for catching that. I was thinking more of any interior shots of the P2, are there any out there besides the Jein hero?

The Nona P1 shows up in Assignment Earth, which wrapped filming 10 January 1968. According to the Heritage description: "Type-1 Hand Phaser was acquired by a member of the production crew after filming completed on a second season episode in 1967." I'd be curious what the LOA actually says, and who it's from.

If the LOA is accurate, and memory and dates aren't faulty, then the P1 has to be Lenore, if it is screen used. If the date is wrong, then it could be P1 Nona. The current evidence, and it's current appearance, doesn't support it being either one.
 

asalaw

Sr Member
Here's the thing that bothers me about the P1. The interior walls on the GJ are thick and gloppy, while the auction P1's walls are thin and tidy. That, the velcro, and the side rails just scream replica to me.
lf (4).jpg

P1 Interior 06.jpg

P1 Interior 05.jpg
 

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