Expensive Prop Replicas The Latest Trend In Trek Merchandise

By Christian
July 2, 2005 - 11:01 PM

If you thought Paramount's recommended retail price of $130 for the Enterprise DVD sets was high, wait until you hear how much it'll cost you to add an actual tricorder or phaser to your Trek collection.

According to a recent AP article by Justin M. Norton, the latest trend in science-fiction memorabilia is to produce highly accurate and highly pricy replicas of original movie and TV props. "There's a very passionate core fan that's reliving their childhood memories," said Michael Cookson, CEO of Master Replicas, the company responsible for most of these products.

Some of the Trek products the company has on sale include an Original Series tricorder for $349, or a Klingon disruptor for $249. Available on Amazon is a replica of a First Contact phaser signed by Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard), while earlier this year the company was also offering a communicator replica signed by William Shatner (James T. Kirk). The company says that all replicas are officially authorised by Paramount Pictures, and are based on blueprints of the original props.

Although Master Replicas has several Trek items on sale, the company got its start by approaching Lucasfilm to reproduce popular Star Wars items, including lightsabers, an Emperor Palpatine cane and clasp set, and even a $1600 AT-AT Imperial Walker replica -- fortunately not life-size. AP visited the company's San Francisco office, and encountered a suite filled with collectibles. "People joke that this whole company is a front to get stuff for my prop collection," Stephen Dymszo, one of the company's co-owners, told the AP.

As a result of the popularity of the Master Replicas items, many bootleg producers have sprung up, who often try to sell their knock-offs at Trek conventions. But Masterson Replicas founder Cookson said this didn't worry him too much. "We're the Mercedes Benz of these products. [...] Do you want to pay less for something of less quality? It's not something we worry about."

More information about Master Replicas can be found at the company's official web site, while some more quotes from the company's owners, and a look at several other prop manufacturers can be found in the full AP article.

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