Malcolm Reynolds Stunt Pistol

While I'll never call myself a Browncoat, I'm still a huge fan of the television show Firefly, and the corresponding movie Serenity.  There's been a few attempts at producing action figures and collectibles so far, but none have really managed to come close to doing the show proud.

But there's a new company doing prop replicas called Quantum Mechanix.  Founded by Steve Dymszo, who was originally with Master Replicas, they aren't completely 'new' to this game.  But they have been a little slow to release product with the exception of some paper based replicas.

Their first big release is the stunt pistol used by Captain Malcolm Reynolds. When this prop was originally announced, it had a price tag of $250, and was made from multiple materials.  There were two versions used on screen - a lightweight cheaper 'stunt' version that could be tossed around and damaged on set, and a more expensive all metal 'hero' version that was used for close ups.  QMX was going to combine the best of both worlds in their original design, using resin for a bulk of the product but adding in some metal and wood.

However, they listened to fans, and what fans were saying was that they wanted either a) a cheaper version they could use with their costumes or b) a more expensive version with all metal and wood parts.  And so QMX decided to release two versions based on that input.  The cheaper resin version hit shelves a couple weeks ago, but the more expensive version (and it will be much more expensive, as you might imagine) does not yet have a final release date.

This 'stunt pistol' runs for about $150, and is available from several retailers or from QMX themselves. The first 1500 sold also get a nifty 11x14" poster with the Barlow's Guide to Small Arms entry printed on it in color.  

And on another note, if you see a little hunk of orange plastic in the photos, please ignore - that's what I used to get it to sit upright.


Packaging - **1/2
The package isn't really what you're buying this for, and they didn't spend a ton of time on it.  It's a fairly simple cardboard box, but it's sturdy and will survive shipping just fine.  The exterior has a cool label done in pseudo-sepia colors, and I recommend cutting the bottom flaps to keep the label nice.  You can always use the box later for storage.

Inside, the gun is merely wrapped in bubble wrap for protection.  The extras were rolled up, and everything made it safe and sound to my doorstep.

Sculpting - ***1/2
The actual stunt pistol used on screen was a solid block of material, which is common for guns and weapons in movies and TV.  However, QMX knew that wasn't going to be what fans wanted, so they took it a bit further.  The gun was molded using the actual stunt pistol, but then broken down into separate pieces (about 8, I'm guessing) to be assembled.  This gives it a more realistic appearance, even up close.

The sculpt does appear to be quite screen accurate, at least to the stunt pistol.  Obviously, when you see close ups of the gun on the show, they are using the much more detailed version, and this one doesn't come close to that level of detail in person.

The best work is on the fake wood grips and the small fake steel screws.  There's plenty of detail here, and they are extremely realistic.

The main brass-like body is a little less detailed however, and the light weight nature of the material used means that the minute you touch it, you know it's fake.  Any fan of guns, knives or swords knows that how the weapon feels in your hand, the balance and symmetry, is a huge part of the attraction.  That's something you won't get here, since this is designed to be very lightweight, easy to use in cosplay, and good enough looking for that purpose.

Paint - ***
The paint is applied to replicate the look and feel of the various faked materials - steel, brass, wood, etc.  However, it's clear that they were going not for a highly detailed prop replica but rather a cosplay accessory.

The quality of the 'realism' varies by the material being faked.  The wood is the best, and you won't be able to tell from looking at it that they aren't actually wooden grips.  The steel is in the middle, looking good, but close examination (without picking it up of course) will still reveal that it's not actually metal.  The brass falls in last, probably because it's the largest surface area and therefore the most obvious, but also because of the finish.  Metal always has some gloss, even worn metal.  Here, the matte finish gives it away even from a couple feet away.

Quality - ***
The general quality of this item reminded me of the FX lightsabers from Master Replicas.  Well, without the metal and rubber.  And without the sounds and lights.  But you get the generally idea.

I think I've beat the point into the ground by now - this is a great costume accessory, but only a so-so display prop replica.

Accessories - ***
Yep, not a category you usually associate with a prop replica, but since I was one of the first 1500 (the sale-meter says they're at 1250 at this point), I got the extra printed goodies.

The quality is quite nice, especially to the Barlow's Guide page.  There's also a Moses Brothers Firearms Certificate of Authenticity and a license issued by the local authorities on Shadow that entitles the holder (there's a place to enter your name) to carry this sidearm, and these are a bit smaller, measuring 8" by 11" and 6" by 8" respectfully.

I may frame the Barlow's Guide Page, or come up with some creative way to frame all three that will look good as a backdrop to the gun.  But I have to admit that these are a bit of a conundrum with the gun, because they are clearly intended with the prop replica collector in mind, not the person buying this to use with their costume.  And yet the gun itself is more in line with something for the CosPlay fan. They're trying to hit both groups with this inclusion, and I'm not sure it really pulls it off.

Fun Factor - ***
Usually I don't have a 'fun factor' section in a Prop Replica review, but I thought it was warranted here.  While I'm not hugely keen on the lightweight nature of the replica, that's because I'm looking for something to put in the home theater on display, not something to carry with me as a part of my SDCC costume.  If you're going for the latter, this is going to make for a much more fun item.

Value -**
It's tough to really draw a comparison here to other current products.  Since this is designed more toward cosplay and dressing up as Mal, I liken it to the Force FX sabers from Master Replicas, which run around $120 SRP (although getting them for around $100 is not uncommon).  Of course, you could argue that it's more in line with their LE line, and those run in the $350 and up range.  But the reality is that the MR LE line uses much more realistic materials, and is really designed more for display than play.

In the end, I came out feeling like this guy was just a bit overpriced.  I think something in line with the $100 - $120 range would have felt much more in line, but I'm betting that the size of the company and the risk involved is what kept the price a bit higher for this release.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much.  Obviously you don't want to smack it up against anything, but the poly resin seems a bit more resistant to damage than same, a mini-bust would be.  They clearly knew that folks would be carrying this thing and designed for it.

Overall - ***
If you're buying this as a cosplay accessory, to add to your already kick butt Malcolm costume, then it's exactly what you're looking for.  The fairly sturdy, lightweight materials will make it ideal to holster on your hip and carry around all day at the San Diego Convention Center, and it will look a lot better than most home made versions.  It's a little expensive, but not nearly as bad as what the 501st pay for their blasters.

However, I picked this up more as a prop replica, and I was a bit disappointed.  It looks much more realistic in photos than it does in person, although that shouldn't be too much of a surprise since the same was true of the source material.  I'm not going to be able to afford the ultimate 'hero' version though, so this one will have to do in my display, and I can certainly live with that.

Score Recap:
Packaging - **
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ***
Quality - ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value -  **
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
You can pick this up through several routes:

- QMX sells it themselves at their website for $150.

- Alter Ego has it as well for $150.  They also carry several other items, like the Reynolds brown coat, or the Operative's sword.

- Time and Space Toys carries a ton of Firefly/Serenity goodies, but they still have the original pre-order up at ($250) for this guy.  You might want to give them a call.

- likewise, Fireside Collectibles still has their original pre-order price up.  Give them a call, and see how they're handling it.

- Related Links -
If you're interested in finding out more about the 'hero' version, or about QMX products in general, I'd sign up for their QMX Insider newsletter.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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