Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Captain Toy Picks...
The Top Ten Prop Replicas

Date Published: 2016-09-07
Written By: Michael Crawford

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Nothing says 'classy' quite like decorating with prop replicas. If you attend the Captain Toy School of Interior Design, you'll get several classes in properly outfitting your home with light sabers, swords, guns, and license plates from all sorts of movies and television shows.

For me, a great prop replica is as exact as possible. It's also from a license I dearly love. And I like some variety - the 24th sword or 19th dagger gets kinda old. That means my list gets a little quirky, and while I love the stuff here, I suspect others will have a very different view (particularly the Star Wars fans).

Here we go!

10 - Luke Skywalker ROJ lightsaber, Master Replicas, 2004
I'll admit it - I don't own a single lightsaber, or lightsaber hilt.  I've always admired them, I've often considered buying them, but I never have bit the bullet. However, my favorites were always the old Master Replicas releases, and if I could have only one, it would be one of Luke's, of course. The Elite Edition that was a Collector's Society exclusive was a particular favorite of mine, but I never saw an MR lightsaber hilt that didn't impress me.

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9 - Betsy Ross, Kick Ass 2, NECA, 2013
I know it's true - there's absolutely nothing particularly impressive about the construction of this prop. It's an axe handle - an actual wooden handle, but you can get those at the local hardware store - painted appropriately with some nice wear and damage. Nothing you can't make yourself, if you have the time and basic skill.

Sadly, I have neither. And while it might be simple, NECA knocked it out of the park.  It will make a statement hanging behind your bar. That statement is "pay for your drinks". I bet I'm the only person on the face of the planet that will have this one in their top ten, but sometimes it's good to be unique.

NECA Kick Ass Betsy Ross prop replica

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8 - Samaritan, Hellboy II, Sideshow, 2008
When Hellboy first hit theaters, Sideshow produced their very, very cool Samaritan prop replica. And I balked. It was a lot of money, okay? But by the time Hellboy II came out, they had upped the ante with lighted bullets designed to match the glowing versions seen on screen. And my resolve buckled like a cheap lawn chair. This is a most impressive replica, with a ton of heft, opening and spinning chamber, and some damn cool ammo. Even after 8 years, it maintains a spot of honor on the wall.

Hellboy Samaritan prop replica

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7 - Longclaw, Game of Thrones, Valyrian Steel, 2014
A couple of my top picks I didn't review.  I don't know why, but the most common reason is bad timing.  I might not get the replica as soon as others, or I might have a ton of other product to review during the same period and I make a judgement call. In any case, Longclaw, the sword of Jon Snow on Game of Thrones, never did get a proper review.

That doesn't mean I don't love it, however. Valyrian Steel produced the sword first based on the book descriptions, and I was completely uninterested.  If there's an actual show or movie, that's the version I want.  A few months later, they produced this terrific version based on the on screen prop, and it's some very high quality stuff. It also has a size and heft that most replica swords lack. If you want to go crazy, they also make a scabbard for it.

Photo from Valyrian Steel.

Game of Thrones Longclaw replica

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6 - Voldemort's Wand, Harry Potter, Noble Collection, 2010
Star Wars fans had the Master Replica hilts, and Harry Potter fans have the Noble Collection wands.  The latter are far more affordable than the former, but they are just as nice when it comes to the look and feel. I've reviewed a few of them in the past, including this group of four. But I've bought quite a few more than I've reviewed, including my favorite - Voldemort's.

At $37.50 each, it's possible to build a very large collection of the wands. They are also quite distinct, with lots and lots of great designs.  They are high quality - certainly perfect for cosplay - and look terrific on display.

While Voldemort's is not the most important wand story-wise - we all know whose that is - it has a uniquely evil look that I love.  Whether it's the bone color and texture or the sharply hooked handle, something about this wand just says "this wizard is a bad ass". This wand picking your kid is like you naming them 'Adolf'. No way it's not going to turn out bad.

Photo from Noble Collections.

Harry Potter Voldemort's Wand replica

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5 - Malcolm Reynold's Pistol, Firefly, Quantum Mechanix, 2012
Quantum Mechanix has actually produced two versions of Malcolm Reynold's gun from the show Firefly.  As a huge fan, I jumped on the first when it was released back in 2007, and I was not disappointed. Qmx has done a lot of terrific prop replicas (some readers will be quite disappointed to see their Warehouse 13 Farnsworth not on the list) and the first gun continued the tradition. However, it was done like a hero prop, an actual light weight stage prop that could be used on screen or easily carried all day by a cosplayer.

They went back to the gun several years later and produced a heavier version with higher quality materials.  This is the one that's on display now, although I still have the earlier version in my collection. It's one of the best replicas I've ever bought at this price point - just $75!

Firefly Malcolm Reynolds pistol replica

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4 - Talky Tina, Twilight Zone, BiffBangPow, 2011
As I said earlier, I like unique replicas, stuff that comes from a variety of the licenses I love rather than just one or two, and stuff that isn't just a repeat of the same item. I also really like it when the prop has an interesting story. The Twilight Zone is certainly one of my all time favorite licenses, and the Talky Tina doll is a perfect example of a unique item that stands out from the crowd thanks to the interesting story.

It also actually works, saying key lines from the movie and having the classic moving eyelids that were so popular with dolls in the sixties. Talky Tina was the mother of Chucky, the first on screen killer doll.  She was also voiced by June Foray (perhaps best known for her work as Rocky the Squirrel), who was the original voice for Chatty Cathy, the Mattel talking doll that inspired Talky Tina. It all comes full circle, and an interesting story like that always makes for an even better replica.

Twilight Zone Talky Tina replica doll

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3 - Ghost Trap, Ghostbusters, Mattel, 2011
Everyone remembers the old ad "They laughed when I sat down at the piano..." right? No? Damn punk kids. It's a classic (old), and when Mattel announced they'd be doing prop replicas for Ghostbusters, I was reminded of the original ad copy. Nobody believed a traditional toy company could produce anything worthwhile in this category, and yet they did.  The Ghost Trap is largely plastic, but it is one of the coolest working replicas I own. The lights, the sounds, the construction, it all adds up to make it a top demo replica for new and old visitors to my house. The Neutrino Wand and PKE Meter were terrific as well, although they dropped the ball on some other licenses (Back to the Future, anyone?).

Hasbro has taken notice of course, and are now following suit with their own line of lower cost replicas.  Competition is always good for the fans!

Mattel Ghostbusters Ghost Trap replica

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2 - The Mystic Seer, Twilight Zone, BifBangPow, 2012
You'll notice that I truly love replicas that actually work. If they did something in the movie, they should do that same something IRL. Pity that Voldemort's wand isn't in that category. Another great Twilight Zone replica that really works is the Mystic Seer. When I say 'really works', I'm not implying of course that he actually accurately foretells the future, but I don't leave my house til he says it's okay.

The all metal body dispenses napkins and knowledge with equal ease. Pop a penny in the slot and pull down on the lever, out pops a card with your answer. It's extremely well made, and an iconic prop from a terrific episode.

Twilight Zone Mystic Seer prop replica

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1 - Sword of Inigo Montoya, Princess Bride, Factory Entertainment, 2011
It's hard for any film fan to pick only one movie as their favorite of all time. But if I did have one, it would probably be The Princess Bride. When Factory Entertainment announced they were producing replicas of the two swords from the film, I knew I must have Inigo Montoya's.  The sword, made by his father for the six fingered man, was a key element in the overall story, and has such a distinctive look that it was a must have.  Turns out, I ended up buying the Dread Pirate Roberts' sword as well - hey, it's a great movie and I'm weak.

The replica did not disappoint, and the fact that I never reviewed it is a real shame. I have no doubt that it's my favorite in my replica collection, and the last one I'd ever let go. In the very first photo, you can see it hanging on the wall in my house.

Photo courtesy of Sideshow.

Sword of Inigo Montoya prop replica

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In Closing...
Doing these lists always tells me interesting things about my own personal tastes and likes. I'm big on self awareness, and looking at larger groups of your favorite things is a terrific way to gain insight into who you really are. Believe me, all your Facebook friends are doing it with you every time you whine about a new movie or television show.

It's clear my tastes are rather eclectic - as I said, I like variety in my displays rather than too much same old, same old.  It's also clear that if a prop can actually work, actually mimic its behavior in the film or show, then it shoots way up there in coolness points. And if you can combine high quality with a favorite license, you're going to tempt me beyond my ability to resist.

So what's your list look like?

If you're enjoying this concept of Captain Toy Picks, drop me a line and let me know!

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Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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