Thursday, June 16, 2011

Remco Spotlight-
Astro Buzz Ray Gun

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Item Name: Astro Buzz Ray Gun
Manufacturer: Remco Toys

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Remco released this colorful sidearm way back in the late 1960's. I don't own a boxed version, so you'll just have to make due with that catalog shot up there.

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The Rundown: Ah, 60's Remco product... Why do you have to be so cheesy-cool? The Astro Buzz Ray Gun is definitely far from being accurate to anything ever seen in Star Trek, but that doesn't stop it from being the bee's knees. Don't believe me? Well, let's take a closer look so I can prove it to you...

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Let's start with that name: Astro Buzz Ray Gun. It wasn't enough to call it a Star Trek Gun, nor was it enough to call it just a Ray Gun. Remco felt the need to throw a "Buzz" in there, and then like a kid who puts too many toppings on his ice cream, they just went nuts and put "Astro" on top of that. Boy is that name a mouthful. By the time you'd yelled out "Stop Klingon, or I will fire my Star Trek Astro Buzz Ray Gun at you!", it would be way too late.

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So why does it look so crazy? Well, as I explained in my second article for StarTrek.com, most of the late 60's Remco Trek product began life as toys from the Hamilton's Invaders line. Hamilton's Invaders was your standard fare for the time- Military guys fight giant insects. The Buzz Ray gun was first released as a role play item for the Hamilton line, but was later recolored and tweaked a bit for use in some of Remco's various licensed toy lines... like Star Trek.

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Remco did take the time to make this version at least a little different than the other Buzz Ray Guns though. The side features a Star Trek logo sticker, and a small clear plastic area in the back houses a slightly stylized delta shield. You know- just like Kirk's Ray Gun looked in that one episode...

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Now what would a good ray gun be without some special effects? It would be crap, that's what. The Astro Buzz Ray Gun has not one, but 2 electronic features... easily elevating it past the crap stage. Pull the trigger and you'll quickly understand the "buzz" part of the name (here's a hint- it's due to the annoying sound it emits). The gun also features a lighted area up front. Twist a dial along the side of the barrel and a multi-colored disk will turn, allowing you to alter the color of the light beam emitted. Check it out-



As a kid, I'd have loved it. As a parent, I'd have hated it. It's amazing how your perspective can shift over the years...

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The Astro Buzz Ray Gun is a neat peek at what Star Trek toys were like during the show's original run. While it's vintage charm an quirky coolness make it neat to own, it doesn't exactly scream "Star Trek" while sitting on your shelf. Unless you are building a staple of 60's Star Trek toys, you definitely don't need one of these for your collection. Even if you did decide to go after one, you'd have to consider the price; Nice loose samples like the one above can routinely bring $100-$150, with boxed versions doubling or tripling that. Yikes! So yeah, definitely skippable for all those but the most hardcore of vintage Trek toy fans...

3 comments:

  1. I love that the catalog description writer felt the need to include "Actually harmless," as if a store owner might be afraid that he would buy a real ray gun. And I'm sure that the buzz was indeed "ominous" to the parents, portending a nerve-jangling end to their peaceful Saturday mornings.

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  2. I bet many kids would have preferred the "Actually Harmful" version instead!

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  3. Y'know, if you're reeaally reaching for an actual analog to something seen on Star Trek , you could say that the cowling on the front of the gun does somewhat resemble the aft end of the Enterprise's warp drive nacelles...

    if you're REAAALLLYY reaching.

    I still like it better than the tracer gun. This one at least looks science-fictiony.

    Dep1701

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