Presented below are some seldom seen photographs of the only known surviving “hero” or working phaser prop in existence that was used for many of the close-up shots filmed during the production of The Original Series. This historic item is part of the collection of the renowned Star Trek TOS expert Greg Jein. Mr. Jein, a celebrated model maker, is also the creator of the 4 foot filming miniature of the Enterprise-D built at the start of the 3rd season for Star Trek: TNG. This model is seen below in the center of the photo alongside the 6’ and 2’ versions created for start of production of the series …
The TOS “hero” phaser was elaborately constructed based on the design created by Walter “Matt” Jefferies, the Art Director and Production Designer for TOS – who might be best known as the creator of the original U.S.S. Enterprise starship. The working phaser features:
- A removable Hand Phaser unit (also called a Type I Phaser) that mounted into the Type II body and could be secured in place or released by depressing the bronze colored cylindrical button (or “Lock Release” ) projecting outwards from the left-side of the Type II body
- A moving silver thumbwheel ( or “Force Setting Wheel”) on the top surface of the Hand Phaser that would, when rotated fully forward, raise a clear acrylic “sight” mechanism out of the top of the unit, lifting slightly the rear of the silver rectangular meshed plate or “Electron Aspirator Pile” and also causing the beam emitter at the very front of the Type II body to extend forward
- Fully rotating the silver thumbwheel forward would also cause a tiny “grain of wheat” light bulb mounted into the beam emitter to illuminate. This would be useful for the graphic artists working on the post production “special effects” processing for the series to correctly add in the bright blue or red or white colored light beam seen projecting from the phaser when it was firing.
- A rotating ring piece as part of the aluminum front nozzle section (or “Photon Accelerator”)
- A machined aluminum rear “Deflector Shield” component with 4 fin-like projections incorporated in the design. (This detail was simply painted onto mid-grade level phaser props.)
- A removable grip or handle which also served as a PowerPack for the Type II unit; as revealed in the episode “The Omega Glory”, where discarded powerpacks were found as evidence of extensive use of phaser weapons in a battle
And now, some rare photos ...