Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Star Trek Cosplay: Communicator Props

I didn't care much for the communicators used in the Star Trek movies prior to "Star Trek V." The one from "Star Trek III" was okay, as it was again similar to the one from the original series, but I knew there actually had been toy walkie-talkies made for the fifth movie - and how cool would that be? Problem is they weren't SOLD, they were a "premium" item you could get through a mail-away offer. Which, of course, is why it's so hard to find them, and when you do they're often broken or super expensive.

Above are what, to the best of my research knowledge, are photos of actual screen-used communicator props from "Star Trek V."
Anticipating the distinct possibility I'd never get my hands on a set of those walkie talkies (and the fact there were three of us doing the costumes, so I'd realistically need TWO sets - or at least one complete set and a partial set), I had a "Plan B" to fabricate communicator prop replicas out of wood. My initial notion was to make it so I could hide my mobile phone inside of it, but that didn't work out, so then I just decided to try and make a replica. This ended up being a LOT harder than I'd thought it would be, but the plan was to make one out of wood and make more from resin casts of it. My biggest headache was trying to figure out how to make the cover. I initially DID try to make it out of metal, but it wound up so weakened by all the slots cut in it that it broke almost immediately. I eventually ended up making one out of masonite with grooves carved in it with a Dremel moto-tool. You can see the results of that below.
Thankfully, as we were getting down to the wire (I think it was within a week or so of the convention), I won an auction on eBay for TWO complete sets of the "Star Trek V" walkie-talkies, in their original packaging, fully functional, and apparently never used! I sold the one set to my friends and kept one set for myself, and wow did those get attention from con-goers. :-) Anyway, below you can see my comparison photos between my attempt at a wooden prop replica and the toy walkie-talkies.

Comparison between the Star Trek V walkie-talkie communicator and my wooden prop replica (which I didn't end up using because I had the walkie-talkie)

Star Trek V walkie-talkie communicator and my wooden prop replica with the covers open.

3/4 side view of the walkie-talkie communicator and my wooden prop replica.

Closeup of communicator holster I designed for it. There is an elastic strap across the front to make the holster "hug" the communicator because I was really afraid these were going to fall out and crash on a hard floor into a zillion pieces. Actually you had to kind of "work" them out of the holsters. The only real purpose of the notch in the front of it, though, was just so the holster didn't cover up so much of the communicator. I wanted people to be able to SEE it!

Nexus Vest
Assault Phaser

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