As a young lad, I was one of the first to stand in the toy isle of the local Kmart and view the birth of merchandising tie-in Star Wars figures. I grew up playing with toys based on movies, television and comics. From Steven Austin to Cobra Commander, this became the natural order of things (think ‘Spaceballs’ – The Lunch Box). When I first heard of Weta’s line of Original Ray Guns I, by the force of decades of marketing-induced conditioned response, went looking to see what new movie was coming out.
Imagine the look of chagrin on my Pavlovian drool stained face when I discovered that when Weta labeled this line “original” they actually mean it. There is not even a Dr. Grordbort’s made for TV movie. How could this be? Why had Weta stepped out of the established paradigm? Could this wacky scheme possibly succeed?
I did the research, I studied the product line and watched the video provided on Weta’s website (also embedded below). The result was the shattering of the shackles modern merchandise marketing had so willingly placed upon my preconceptions. What I saw reaffirmed the genius of Weta… I wanted one. It didn’t matter if it was the Victorious Mongoose 1902a Concealable Ray Pistol, the Goliathon 83 Infinity Beam Projector, the F.M.O.M. Industries Wave Disrupter Gun or the 3600ZX ManMelter Sub-Atomic Disintegrator Pistol. I just wanted one.
But alas, it was not to be. With price tags in the area of $700 and myself being a writer, not even winning a saving throw against poverty would help me acquire my own. That was until San Diego Comic Con came along, and with it the Mini Goliathon 83.
Armed with a limited allotment of 400 miniature beam projectors, the Weta folks at SDCC quickly ran out of this exclusive. Currently they are “Desperately sifting through the reams of discarded packaging looking for any that may have been overlooked, so that we can offer them to the rest of the world, and so restore the precarious balance of power.” A testament to their popularity is the lack of eBay availability. You can find scores of other SDCC exclusives up for auction (Superstar My Little Pony anyone?), but only a few of these beauties. Let’s take a look at why that is.
This is Weta we are talking about here, it is not like they are going to let something substandard make it out the front door. That said, the Raygun itself is 1/4 scale die-cast and packs an impressive heft. The beautifully detailed components hearken the the mystic of classic sci-fi, while Weta demonstrates its near mythical level of meticulous consideration of the minutiae. For example, on the left hand side of the weapon are two levers that the shooter would be able to manipulate with their thumb, similarly to contemporary fire arms, but yet authentic to the era by catering to those whom are right handed.
Included in with the Raygun is a handy display base. This heavy cast plastic is easily mistaken as being constructed of the same metal as the gun and securely holds the weapon. It should be noted that the bottom of the base indicates “Made on Venus”.
Paint and Color
The paint, application and colors on this piece thoroughly complement the sculpt. While the colors themselves represent the period sci-fi palette, they have used the paint to create a real vintage feel to the weapon. It appears worn from use and even simulates rust. It completes the illusion, as if one has found the Raygun on a long forgotten shelf in the closet of some adventurous grand uncle.
Similar to the packaging of the miniature ManMelter 3600 ZX Rayguns from last years Comic Con, the Goliathon comes in a book-style packaging. With an architectural sketch on the magnetically closed cover, the Raygun rests in a formed bottom tray with a clear plastic cover. The overall art of the packaging hints at the heritage of the weapon inside and adds to the enigmatic air of its contents. Personally, I find the packaging works well as part of the display and I find myself repeatedly searching for some detail on it that I might have missed in previous examinations.
I am a believer. Somehow a popular collectible that defies the modern marketing conventions restores my faith in humanity.
The 400 Mini-Goliathon 83s that were brought to Comic Con sold out at US $40 a piece. Currently, if you can find someone willing to part with theirs, they are selling in the secondary market in the area of US $100. If you want to be a proud owner yourself, Weta is promising to advise fans of any extras they have to sell via their Rayguns VIP newsletter (or as they refer to it “electronic postal service”)- click here to sign up.
For more coverage of the Weta booth at Comic-Con visit our photo galleries.
Thanks to Weta for the review sample of this amazing piece!