Packaging - ****
Best packaging for 2009? Go Hero gets my vote hands down.
Similar to the Rogers figure,
the gun comes in a wooden box. Yep, real wood. But they take the
concept even further this time.
a gorgeous cardboard outer sleeve with graphics and text right from the
30's. Slide it off and the wooden box is revealed, complete with laser
etched graphics and text on the bottom. This gives the appearance of
tapping into the nostalgia of the era even more.
The lid is held
in place with four solid magnets. On the front is a die cast metal
emblem, inlaid into the lid. This emblem has not just the Buck Rogers
graphic, but it has your edition number embossed right on it!
inside of the lid is additional text, and the gun and lead figurine
(more on that in the Accessory section) are nestled in a black plastic
tray. This isn't a thin, cheap tray though - the plastic is very thick
and the tray quite solid.
also an attractive, numbered Certificate of Authenticity included in
the box. Just to keep everything safe, there's also a sheet of foam
that sits on top of the gun, shielding it from the box top.
is exceptional packaging, adding to the value of the gun from both a
display and nostalgic angle. Everything Go Hero produces won't need to
come in a wooden etched box, but it's the perfect mate for this
Sculpting - ****
The exterior of the gun is made from metal, including the
rings ("sub atomic condensers") you see on the barrel. It's very thick,
and the overall construction is extremely solid and sturdy.
exterior looks a lot like the original Disintegrator, but there's some
Atomic pistol influences too. They've done an excellent job recreating
the look and feel of both guns, and yet created something slightly
One of the highlights of the
sculpt is the embossed text on the left
side. The original guns had this feature as well. But here you get not
just the cool Rogers graphic, gun name and copyright text, but your
personal edition number, again stamped right into the metal!
gun fits in a normal adult hand pretty well, measuring about 10 inches
by 6 inches tall. The grip is a little short for someone with big
mitts, but this is a toy reproduction, after all.
looking to put together an exceptional Buck Rogers cosplay outfit, this
would be an excellent addition. Yea, it's a reproduction of the toy,
but the quality is high enough to work in a cosplay situation as well.
Paint - ***1/2
The original guns came in a variety of finishes, depending on the
model. After WWII, they even used the same molds to produce other
non-Buck Rogers ray guns in all kinds of funky colors.
this 'deluxe' edition, Go Hero went with a gold finish. This is
electroplated, and the final product is extremely smooth, consistent
I did have a couple small dings
and marks in the
paint on the black rings however, holding it back from a perfect score
here. However, there's nothing here preventing the gun from being on
the shelf in the nicest collection, and still holding its own.
Accessories - ***
Although this is not something you'd normally see 'accessories' with,
Go Hero added in a couple nifty extras.
most obvious is the faux lead Rogers figurine. He's a couple inches
tall, and done in the almost 2-D style of the 30's lead figures. I
don't think it's actually lead, since the metal is much harder (and
less likely to poison you if you decide to use it as a bite splint to
stop you from grinding your teeth in your sleep).
There is also a
small bag of extra flints, three in total. Since I had trouble with my
flint right out of the box (more on that in a later category), these
were an extremely welcome addition.
Finally, they added in a
reproduction of the 1937 patent drawing of the gun. I'm not usually a
huge fan of paper add ins, but this one could easily be framed to hang
behind the gun.
I wouldn't call it an
'accessory', but there's no
better place to mention the orange cap. As required by federal law, Go
Hero has put a small orange cap on the end of the barrel. However, it's
not glued in place, so you can pop it off for your display once you
have the gun in hand.
Sound Feature - ***1/2
When you pull the trigger, a loud popping sound is heard. It doesn't -
and isn't supposed to - sound like a gun firing, or merely a mechanical
snap. The pop is fairly unique, designed to sound more like, well,
something you'd think a hand held atomic device firing would should
like. It's hard to describe, but it's certainly distinctive.
The only issue I had with this
is the same issue I have with the light up feature, so I'll cover it in
the next section...
Light Feature - ***1/2
Pulling the trigger also causes a spark to occur in the top of the gun,
where you can see the orangey-red plastic windows. And how is this
spark generated? It's all old school, baby.
You will notice a small screw on
top of the gun. This is the "beam intensity selector". Inside the gun,
under this screw and a corresponding spring, is a small flint, like
you'd use in a cigarette lighter. When the trigger is pulled something
is striking this flint, causing the spark.
The further down the screw is
turned, the more contact with whatever is striking it. As the flint
wears out, turning this screw down will help keep it in contact.
Taking this screw out, along
with the spring, is how you replace the flint. There were no
instructions included for this, but it's pretty obvious.
This is also where I had my one
major problem with the gun overall. When pulling the trigger, I found
it would get stuck on something, and stop working. Neither the pop or
the spark would emanate from the gun when the trigger was pulled.
Imagine my disappointment - first I break Buck's helmet, then I break
However, nothing was broken,
just stuck. I removed the flint, and the popping action immediately
started working again. Putting the flint back in and experimenting
indicated that whatever strikes the flint was most likely getting stuck
on it, stopping everything from working. Removing the flint and
replacing it fixed it for me, but I suspect that as the flint begins to
wear out, this will become an issue again. I'm not sure how often
you'll need to change the flints, but it's something to be aware of,
and did cause me a bit of a panic. Even with a new flint, I had to have
the 'intensity' screw turned almost all the in to keep it from hanging
up. I may see if I can find a stiffer spring, which may remove the
Fun Factor - ***1/2
At this price point, only the certifiably insane will give it to an
eight year old, but you could. It's a great example of the cool toys of
years gone by, and it's both fully functional and well built.
Value - **
Yea, it's expensive. This is one of those collectibles that big Buck
Rogers fans are going to love - and everyone else will question their
sanity. Among the group calling them nuts will be people that spent
twice as much on an eFX Clonetrooper helmet. Glass houses, bricks, you
know the routine.
1000 guns, I too felt the price was pretty steep, until I played around
with it a bit. I still can't give it an average score here, but I
better understand the cost that was associated with re-creating the
mechanics of the gun.
Things to Watch Out For -
As I mentioned, the mechanism can get 'stuck', so when you pull the
trigger the loud popping noise is no longer heard, and the flint isn't
struck. After playing around with it for awhile, I found that removing
the flint and popping it back in corrected the issue, implying that
something was getting hung up on the flint itself. The flint that was
in place out of the box was a bit worn down too - perhaps the guys in
the factory had a little too much fun with it before shipping it out -
and replacing that one with one of the included new flints improved the
situation even further.
Overall - ***1/2
At this kine of price point, this is a collectible aimed at one of
three types of people: A) those that are huge Buck Rogers nuts; B)
those that are huge toy ray gun nuts and C) those, like me, who are
you don't fall into one of those three categories, then this will be
something that's cool to look at, but the price tag will be the true
disintegrator of your desire to own one.
But for folks in the
three groups, it's one very cool toy. It captures the look and feel of
the old toy extremely well, and even gives you a really cool action
feature, reminding us that for all the great things we get from
electronics, we lost a little too.