Phaser Scratch Builds & Kidstuff: A Retrospective


Sr Member
This is more of an indulgence than a build thread, so feel free to skip ahead a laugh at the photos!

Long before I made costumes, I was more of a prop guy. Around junior high age, I began using my father's woodworking tools to build replicas. My favorite then, as now, was Star Trek, so a solid 50% or so of what I've worked on have been phasers. And, for no good reason whatsoever, I still have many of my early attempts.

So, with that ramble out of the way, here is my first "serious" attempt a scratch built TOS phaser. I think I was about 13 at the time:


It featured hand carved handle details, (all wrong!) a detachable phaser I, and velcro stapled to the side. It was worn to a convention.

The second try was more ambitious-


It reused the P1 from the earlier model, as well as the nozzle and knob. This one though had a detachable handle, a push button (Radioshack) switch and would light up.

By the time I was 15, I was getting more serious. And finding better reference materials. (Well, for the times...) With the "Starfleet Technical Manual" in hand (thank you Franz Joseph!) I took on the classic phaser again:




This one I really liked. Again, velcro, detachable P1. It also featured a separate switch, battery & light in the P1, so that would light up independently. This was pretty much all solid wood, with hand carved details- I was very proud of the 'stripes' on the sides. (And I still have a scar in my left hand from where the exacto knife skipped off the wood into me...)

About the same time, I also go a copy of "Mr. Scott's Guide to the Enterprise" (Shane Johnson) and so I tried some movie phasers:





These were static props, solid wood (As you can see from the fairly obvious woodgrain visible in most of these.) I'm still fond of the ST:III version.

Now partway though highschool, I had some new trek on TV, and new props to pursue:



I was never entirely happy with either of those, although the cricket did see use at cons- It fit well into the hidden waist pocket of my TNG Gordi jumpsuit.

Things were changing on the prop scene quickly at this time- suddenly, some of the toys on the market didn't suck anywhere near as much as the previous ones, and resin kits could sometimes be found even at cons in my small hometown.


So here we have a slightly modified Playmates phaser, and a casting purchased at a con. (And painted up a bit dark, I think now...)

I was about to graduate, so it was time to give the old TOS phaser one last try. Now I had seen better examples & pictures (trading cards, magazines, the playmates toy) and felt prepared to get it right this time.




This was static, solid wood. No velcro- it did have a small wire clip on one side, and it was worn on a couple of occasions.

Then, no longer living at my parents place, I didn't have full time access to my dad's tools, so I did something that seemed crazy expensive at the time, I bought a complete solid resin replica.


I don't remember the vendor- but the prop is nice, well painted, with real aluminum details. While I love this prop, it was in some ways depressing. I knew I could never match that level of detail with my solid wood approach. and once the Art Asylum toy came out, well, that has been it for my TOS replica scratch builds.


Since then I've limited myself to constructing costume accessories- which tend to be pretty quick and dirty props that look good on the costume, but you'd never put in a display case. Or even post a build thread about...

So, where does that leave me today? A new phase in my prop pursuits, perhaps- I've stared a Stapleton kit:


(Pictured with my late 80's version, and the keychain type.) Just waiting for the GMprops electronics to arrive, and I'm back into prop making!

Thanks for looking at this completely gratuitous history.
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Legendary Member
The first one looks like one of mine I did at about the same age.

Then I got my first Nelson Phaser and that ended my foray into building a Trek TOS Phaser.

I like your "Franz" build.

You got pretty good as time went by!!


Master Member
Those are awesome! And it's so cool that you've kept them all these years. I made a FJ in wood when I was about 12, it looked more like your first one.


Sr Member
Thanks, Rob!

I had a little time after Christmas, so I built up the cricket phaser kit.

First off, (as I suspect anyone reading this thread already knows) both the Stapleton kit and the GMprops electronics are great. Really well done. It's a shame my skills don't yet match the quality of the kits- but I didn't let that stop me. Here's my build up:

A test fitting. It requires the edges of the circuit board be filed slightly to seat correctly in the upper shell.

Bonding the major parts together.

Here's where I hit my first major snag. A tiny bit of epoxy leaked into the itty-bitty switch when I glued it in place, and (I think) coated one of the contact terminals. This means, instead of an on/off switch, I now had an off/off switch.

Luckily, the unused terminal was still clean, so with the addition of a new wire, I was able to use the other side of the switch. Back in business!

Then followed lots of masking and painting.

I choose to go with a dark, metallic gunmetal for the emitter instead of black.



All coming together:

And, the completed shots, in action:



Makes me want to try another build- I'm sure I could continue to improve... I could at least cover the seam better...


Master Member
I think the versions you made out of wood are fantastic, it shows a great progression in your skills, I hope you have them on display.
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