Weta's new cheaper, delightful, detailed plastic rayguns

Two years ago, my wife surprised me with one of the coolest presents I've ever received: an original Goliathon raygun from effects-house Weta (best known for doing the effects for the Lord of the Rings movies). It's a cast-iron monster, with delicate blown-glass fillips, and it comes in its own molded carrying case lined with red velvet. I've made it a point not to look up what it cost (it's a gift, after all), but I do know that people who collect these things tend to suck air over their teeth appreciatively when they see it, so I'm assuming it's rather a lot. It's among my top ten favorite inanimate objects in the universe, and it gives me pleasure every time I come through the door of my office.

So I was excited when Weta offered to send me two of their latest rayguns for review. The new line, "Dr. Grordbort's Rayguns," are not made from cast-iron, but rather from "Real Imitation Metal" (e.g., molded plastic), and comes in toylike packaging that wouldn't look out of place in a Toys R Us aisle. But as with the more expensive originals, the detail on the unit is exquisite, the best I've ever seen on a mass-produced item (this even carries over to the teeny-weeny desk-toy-sized "Minisculized" versions, which have details that even look good under a magnifying lens). They're still not cheap — the "Righteous Bison" they sent me costs about US$85 — but they're a lot more affordable than the hand-made iron monsters.

I have a small collection of rayguns here, some from professional houses, others hand-crafted by Etsy makers, but the Righteous Bison is the first plastic/mass-made version I'd consider adding to my wall. It's a beautiful piece, truly. And the little teensy Victorious Mongoose desk-toy gun (with its own stand) now lives beside my monitor, where I can enjoy it every time I look up.

Dr. Grordbort's Rayguns from Weta