Dr Grordbert’s Righteous Bison: Indivisible Particle Smasher
Weta Rayguns

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Jeff's grandfather appears to be the one supplying the review tonight - what's the scoop, Jeff?

Well, Michael has already had a look at this antique firearm, but after stumbling across this old diary entry from my great grandfather I thought it was worth sharing… it would seem the reviewing bug is in my genes!

Boatswain Cornelius Carruthers Parker IV
Diary entry 13/02/1901

Ever since that blighted invasion attempt by the Martians not five years since, this planet Earth, this tiny blue gem floating in space that we call home has become a changed place… and not all of it for the better!

I still remember fondly those days when we were all happy in our own little worlds, with our own little beliefs and credo’s. But the invasion put paid to all that. Innocence and blind faith were lost forever as soon as that first cylinder crashed into the park!

For a time we believed all was lost, our homes, and indeed the very ways of our existence, however diverse, were gone forever. The rout of civilisation, the massacre of mankind was a sobering call to us all. A call none could ignore.

I know not of one family that wasn’t deeply affected by the invasion, we all lost someone or something on that fateful day and in the ensuing chaos that followed. But with hindsight we also gained so much… Oh so very much!

I for one would gaze to the stars in my childhood, but I never expected to be travelling amongst them, but now, harnessing the might of the abandoned Martian technology, I have travelled to worlds and met peoples that I would nought have thought possible just a few short years ago. The very crafts we now use are all devised from that ungodly science delivered unto us by the unsightly stinking creatures that sought to make us their slaves… or worse! And harnessing their ships and weapons we now find ourselves veritable masters of all we survey. Pushing the British empire ever forward. Now not just encompassing our world, but oh so many others.
When I was first conscripted as the boatswain to serve under Lord Cockswain aboard Queen Victoria and Albert, I was offered a choice of sidearm, all were effective in different fields of combat, but I knew I would need a robust, and, all importantly, a powerful weapon. One I could comfortably wear on my hip, but also one that could stop a charging Dragophant at 50 paces, and the only, and I mean only, weapon that could fill those boots was the Righteous Bison.

Dr. Grordbort was something of a legend, he had seen his entire family smited by the Martian weapons, and eyewitnesses claim to have seen him scale a moving tripod, and use nought but a slab of stone to smash its deathly heat-ray from its casing and then bring it down and use it against the very craft he had taken it from. And not just one craft, in that one morning it is claimed he single-handedly brought down over five of their vessels using that one particle smasher.

(MWC note: I'm impressed that Jeff's grandfather was such a visionary that he included a hyperlink to the Weta website in his diary entry. The man was truly ahead of his time.)

But it was at that moment that the tide turned. The Martians were apparently unguarded against many of the common germs our immune systems dealt with every day, and so their plan to rule our world began to crumble. For not only were they dying at the hands of the micro-organisms that lived and bred within us, but also Dr. Grordbort had managed to reverse-engineer the particle smasher, not only making it more compact, but also ten times more powerful.

The Martians had messed not only with the wrong planet… but certainly with the wrong country, and they had made an enemy of the wrong man!

And so my friends I offer up to you the Righteous Bison (RB), a weapon I found to be most effective in many of the situations I found myself in, situations I hope no other man will ever find him self in.

I’ve had to make questionable decisions under my watch, decisions that lead to the deaths of a few, but hopefully the salvation of many. But whatever choice I made, be it right or wrong, I was always immeasurably grateful to Dr Grordbort for giving me the Righteous Bison to have by my side. And I fear if I hadn’t had it, not only would I be dead, but you would not be alive to read this now. Peace to you all, my fellow humans. Amen.

Packaging - ***1/2
The inimitable Doctor has manufactured many firearms, particle smashers, atomic frequency ray refractors and Infallible aether oscillators over the last few years, and the quality of the packaging one receives with the weapon one buys somewhat obviously is dependant upon the budget one has available.

Being a conscripted boatswain my salary is modest to say the least, and when needs must, one is forced to cut the cloth accordingly to ones means. And so with the Righteous Bison, one is not afforded a solid mahogany case with brass clasps and a velvet lining. Alas no, tis not the case here.

Instead what we have is a serviceable enough stout cardboard box, with a large flap on the front which lifts so as to be able to view the weapon without needing to fully remove it from its secure holdings. And its holdings are most secure. In fact perhaps a little too secure, as, if you wish to handle the weapon to get a feel for its balance and recoil the only way to do so is to cut it free from the bindings that the Grordborts factory have placed around it. The Weta Company manufactures it under strict licences and interplanetary patents. So these weapons are still forged by the good Kiwi people who live in the secure colony in Wellington, on the North island of New Zealand, (one of the few places on this planet that the Martian cylinders did not land on and cause such devastation). The outside of the container has full colour photographs of the gun and some most splendid illuminations, by lifting the large front flap you are met by images of the full array of other weapons designed by Grordborts armouries on the inside. Many of these will have you salivating, but beware; because of their extreme power and complex build the prices are sadly oft beyond the purse of your average conscript. Plus certain restrictions are still in force, meaning a good few can still only be discharged on certain planets, those that won’t have their solar trajectory kicked off of its axis by the raw power unleashed. The gun itself is visible through a die-cut window, and is securely embraced within the carton by being strapped to a vacuum-formed tray, shaped to hold the RB gently but firmly, so no damage should befall it when in transit from Earth to what ever colony you find yourself buying it on.
So, all in all I was well pleased with the design of this box, and the contents were well protected by it. I would, however, have liked to have been able to return it to said box securely, to at least carry it back to my quarters.

Sculpting - ***3/4
It’s a well-known fact that the engineering and mechanics are what most enthrals the mind of Dr. Grordbort, but to aid him in making the weapons look as visually pleasing as possible, the talents of Greg Broadmore Esq. are utilised to great effect in making his creations pleasing to the eye as well (indeed between you and I, tis rumoured that Broadmore is more involved with the creation of these beauties than Dr. G is willing to let people know), one can read about his musings here.
If truth be known, the aesthetic of my RB was not as important as its performance. However after having it save my life on numerous occasions and having spent many a long day squatting in a fox hole with nothing to look at but my gun, I have grown very fond of her, and I now see much beauty in her gentle curves and complex engineering. So popular was this model that it was even adapted to become the silhouette image used in conjunction with the logotype on all of the Dr. Grordbort’s corporation advertising throughout the known universe, well the parts now ruled by the British Empire anyway!

Being very much at the budget end of the Grordbort’s catalogue, I did find some of the details had been ever so slightly softened in the casting process, and with scrutiny the seam where the two sides are brought together is visible running along its entire length. But this is not too off-putting at all; I merely bring this minor detail to your attention, but you may find it all but invisible on your particular model. The implied texturing of the metal body is most convincing, featuring pitted casting marks along with scratches and tiny dents. But even using the closest of analysis one will find oneself amazed at the detailing on the implied rivets and screw heads. The handle grip features an atomic symbol, an image that the good Dr. G has used to denote the volatile nature of the power encased within this beast!
There are implied copper pipes running along the sides passing through the rear ‘reflux/influx’ pressure gauges. I would advise you to reserve operation of this apparatus in the red section of the gauge for only the most desperate of situations, this denotes you have pushed the performance into the googolplex range, whereby the internal fusion reactor creates a high performance oscillating singularity. This means the weapon starts to power itself by creating a chain reaction between the internal hemispheres (hence the external cooling pipes, and large cooling fin), once being discharged at this level it can continue to be fired for an infinite amount of time (you will see the symbol for infinity at the end of the measurable power output).

To the best of my knowledge the weapon has only ever been used at this extreme level once, and it continues to be used to this day by a colony on Europa, where it powers an amusement park. And the large cooling fin on the top has a secondary use, one that has been very handy in the past when firing on an enemy craft while ploughing into a headwind. Simply point the RB directly at the blighter you are chasing, and from the open cockpit of an Atomic Sopwith Rocket glider you’ll find it helps keep your aim true… function and beauty in perfect harmony!

All in all you will find the detailing on your RB to be most enthralling, but the lasting impression it leaves is of a well-made piece of apparatus, and one you will enjoy using immeasurably!

Paint - ***1/4
The paint here is perfectly serviceable, but lacks the superfine finesse witnessed on the higher range guns available from Dr. G, but to be fair most of them are constructed in a mixed media of metals, woods and glass. Here however the RB is cast in the foundries of the Weta forge, using only the purest grade of Plasticarium, the most light weight material available, that combines durability and good looks (earlier models were constructed of Bakelite, but the infernal things kept blowing up in people’s faces!).

To aid in its visual appearance the gun is given a most convincing overall coating of a deep gunmetal paint, complete with weathering and ageing. One finds oneself most convinced that the materials used are in fact solid metal. Many of the details are also picked out in contrasting finishes like copper, brass and an even darker cast iron colour, these tonal differences really do the business in bringing this beauty to life, but as I said, some of the division lines could do with being just a tad crisper.

Outfit N/A
By gad sir, don’t be ridiculous, tis a gun not a perishing dolly!

Accessories N/A
The RB comes with no extras, but I advise the fashioning of a stout holster quick smart, or at least a good quality canvas satchel, I myself used an old gasmask bag for the first few missions on which I utilised the RB’s full potential!

Articulation N/A
Well, you can pull the trigger, what more could you want?

You’ll find most of the articulation occurs when you open fire on a crowd of undesirables… I’ve never seen blighters move so dashed fast. Ha, ha, ha, ha!

Value - ***1/2
You can purchase the RB direct from the armouries at the Weta workshop, and in so doing you know you are getting the veritable seal of their approval, and believe me, that counts for a lot!

The price isn’t exactly what one would call a bargain, but for the price one pays, one is getting the peace of mind of purchasing a genuine Dr. Grordbort weapon, his imitators and detractors are growing by the day, but this has the official logo cast into its upper heat dispensing fin… you know it makes sense, reassuringly expensive!

Fun Factor - ****
I found the most fun I’ve had with my RB is not the sort of thing I could discuss in polite company, but suffice to say, it always makes a great talking point when visitors do descend upon your dwelling, and it can be used as a very effective means of getting them to leave again. Particularly effective with mother in laws, what, what!

Overall - ***3/4
Well sir, I have to admit to a modicum of bias here, as I have found my RB invaluable for many a year. However, even though this would be considered a budget item by those gentlemen who have the means to actually collect Dr G’s finest weapons, to many others the price of 69 of Her Majesties British pounds, the equivalent to 99 American colonial dollars, may seem a little steep!
But I can assure you that even though the lightweight alloys here aren’t as hefty as those used on many of the other guns available from Dr. G, it takes little away from the aesthetic, and nought from the performance. I have to also admit that I would be lying if I didn’t let you know there were a few minor points where I always felt the RB needed just a little more care in its construction, but I have always accepted that when purchasing on a modest budget, one mustn’t put one’s expectations at an unrealistic level. 

And as such I feel confident in recommending the RB to any young man or indeed young lady, (one must endeavour to be politically correct in these enlightened times!) as the perfect introduction to the world of Dr G’s impressive arsenal, but beware, for tis a world that once introduced to, you might find yourself seduced by the beauty and performance of his awesome collection. I myself have been saving a quart of my monthly pay for three years now, and soon hope to purchase an upgrade - maybe the amazing Pomson 6000 Sub Atomic Wave Gun, or even my personal favourite, having seen one used to great effect by Lord Cockswain himself to bring down a Venusian battle zeppelin with a single shot: the Unnatural Selector- Ray Blunderbuss

But till I have accumulated the necessary funds I shall continue to place my faith in my Righteous Bison, and it will remain my most trusted of companions!

Where to Buy -
All one really needs to know is that the Righteous Bison is still readily available direct from the Weta workshop. Whilst visiting their most informative site, I can heartily recommend a perusal around the aisles of their emporium, where bounteous delectations will pass before your eyes and indeed tug on the strings of one’s purse. But stay firm, or at least try to… alas I did not, and am now the proud owner of a Dalek statue… what am I going to tell the wife?

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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