Hand Phasers - Clumsy or Very Smart?

Discussion in 'Star Trek - Original Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Along with no trigger guard, the phaser pistol had no sights. I wonder how hard it would be to shoot accurately. (When seconds count, your redshirt cannon fodder might be minutes away.)

    There's a frame in "Return of the Archons" where Kirk is firing his Type I phaser, and the beam is going where his eyes are looking, not where the weapon is pointing.

    [​IMG]


    Maybe hand phasers don't need sights because they have a sensor that looks at your eyes and figures out what you mean to be shooting at. Then the nozzle tilts itself to aim for you. Fighter pilots have something like that in real life now.
     
  2. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    Or then the guns have built-in sensors that figure out potential targets, and give a little buzz against the user's hand, or other such signal, at each target the gun sweeps past. The user can then press a button to lock the gun to that target - and afterwards, the gun will fire at that target no matter where it is being pointed. Much like the "repeat" button on Gary Oldman's gun in Fifth Element.

    There are pros and cons to both approaches. You don't always want to look at your target when firing, for example...

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The Phasers actually DID have a gunsight. They just rarely ever used it (probably because only the hero props had them). You can see it in action in The Man Trap when Spock turns the dial on the phaser 1 atop his pistol and the sight pops up.

    The phaser 1 is an ergonomic nightmare, however. The trigger is on the bottom, and to hold it in your hand and be able to push the trigger makes it nearly impossible not to block the sight with your thumb. Jefferies designed a cool looking little prop but it was impractical to handle.
     
  4. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

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    That feature was recreated for the Art Asylum toy/replicas to my pleasant surprise. Master Replicas? Yeah, sure, you're paying several hundred dollars; it had better be accurate. But for a "toy", Art Asylum could have cut corners and not bothered. But it was included, anyway.

    I didn't even know the "trigger" was mounted underneath until I got my AA toy and then discovered the site Maurice linked.

    Sincerely,

    Bill
     
  5. mach7

    mach7 Commander Red Shirt

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    Also remember that the phaser 1 was meant to be concealed, for diplomatic/sensitive/clandestine missions. I would think that size would be the most important feature.

    I agree that the bottom trigger is a nightmare, but having built many P1's (currently working on the Jlong hero), I'm not sure where else it could be if you want to use the rising site as designed.

    Imagine sitting down and accidentally pressing the trigger. Embarrassing at best, deadly at worst.

    I would suppose that a safety would be involved. At least a connection to prevent discharge without the rising sight up.

    Other than the trigger, ergonomically it fits very nice in your hand and almost aims itself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2013
  6. Garrovick

    Garrovick Commander Red Shirt

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    I can see where a sight would be needed for long-distance firing, and the phaser rifle from WNMHGB has a sight as well. But I would think for fairly short-range targeting, which is most of what we saw on TOS, they could get by on eyesight alone. Starfleet does train its crews in at least basic marksmanship, and I'd suspect that it's easier to aim and fire a phaser than it is a modern-day firearm since there are no recoil effects to throw off one's aim.
     
  7. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's also the question of what was intended to be the on-screen trigger v. the practical trigger of the prop. The bottom trigger makes sense if there a linkage from the pistol that needs to activate the phaser 1, such as if the "sight" lights up when the trigger is pulled (no idea if that happened). Otherwise, you could assume that the wheel clicked down as a trigger, since that's around where the actor's thumbs usually landed. Either way, to get a solid grip you basically need to put your thumb right in front of the sight, which is silly.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    ...But only if you want a straight line, target-sight-eye. Yet the phaser is almost invariably operated at waist or chest height, not eye height. Why should the line between the three points need to be straight?

    I mean, the sight is a prism-like "vision block" anyway. For all we know, it's set up to show the crosshairs at a convenient angle. Or, if it's an active display rather than a passive prism or mirror, it may show the crosshairs over the target at any angle, plus additional aiming aids and other relevant data.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Only if you "think in Russian." HUDs are very sophisticated today, and many smartphones feature "augmented reality" apps. One could rationalize anything, including something as simple as a "laser sight."

    The animators for Disney's THE BLACK HOLE were plagued by actors pointing everywhere but at the targets, resulting in beams coming out of the barrel at a skewed angle. So the actors had to be coached how to fire their space guns. And if you thought George Takei running loose with a foil was a problem...

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Garrovick

    Garrovick Commander Red Shirt

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    Don't give Charlie a hard time - after all, he did end up playing second fiddle to a tin can who was programmed to educate him.

    Those The Black Hole laser guns were pretty cool, though.
     
  11. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Trigger on the bottom?

    [​IMG]
     
  12. scotpens

    scotpens Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ I was wondering about that as well. Who said the trigger was on the bottom?

    Link
     
  13. Dale Sams

    Dale Sams Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    edit: nvm.
     
  14. mach7

    mach7 Commander Red Shirt

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    Franz Joseph is not cannon.

    Very cool, but not cannon.

    Matt Jefferies original drawings ID the trigger on the bottom. The hero
    P1's had a metal stud there for it. You can see the P1 sitting up on it in Assignment Earth.
     
  15. mach7

    mach7 Commander Red Shirt

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    Sorry double post
     
  16. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    I never knew about the trigger on the bottom either. I've just gone by the Franz Joseph diagram all these years and haven't seen much other info.

    THE BLACK HOLE actors pointing everywhere but the target, that's a good one. :)
     
  17. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    Oh, I missed your post. Where are the MJ drawings found?
     
  18. mach7

    mach7 Commander Red Shirt

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    The set I saw were in the Star Trek sketch book I think.

    Plus the AA/DST phaser has the trigger on the bottom, as does the licensed John Long
    kit.
     
  19. Albertese

    Albertese Commodore Commodore

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    I submit this image to help disambiguate if the trigger was on the top or the bottom. This is a fairly poor image that Matt Jefferies drew to have his design fabricated. A higher quality image of this shows up in the book Star Trek Sketchbook and I've annotated this version of it to make known the illegible writing.

    [​IMG]

    Franz Joseph based his drawings (and his assumptions) on the photos which appear in the book The Making of Star Trek, and you can see where he got it wrong.

    --Alex
     
  20. mach7

    mach7 Commander Red Shirt

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    Thanks Albertese! Thats the one I was posting about.

    The Assignment Earth scene:

    [​IMG]