All The Details, Other TOS Props, FAQs, and Board Postings
"The Details" Master List
1) Alpha Comm
2) Beta Comm - awaiting discovery
3) Gamm Comm - awaiting discovery
4) Delta Comm
5) Epsilon Comm
6) Zeta Comm
7) Eta Comm - awaiting discovery
8) Theta Comm - awaiting discovery
9) Iota Comm - awaiting discovery
10) Kapp Comm - awaiting discovery
12) How Many Comms?
13) A Moiré Story
22) Smoothie Shells
"The Parts" Master List
8) Mic Grill
10) Hero Components
Being in a central position for people's inquiries on their hopefully-authentic communicators, it was inevitable that we would get shown other props as well. While it is not at all our intention to expand our scope beyond the classic comm, we do like spreading good news around and supporting the honest efforts of hobbyists and collectors. Nearly all of the previously known surviving props prior to 2006 came through only two sources; John Dwyer and Jim Rugg. Their items could be thought of as low-lying fruit - easy to get at and long since harvested. Fortunately at least a few other props made it into this century too, though their journeys to public awareness have been naturally more lengthy. This section, displaying these "second harvest" objects not previously seen elsewhere, will continue for only as long as needed. Once other comprehensive, evaluative free public websites similar to HeroComm - but focused on the other Trek props - come online, we will donate these pictures for display there.
* Be advised that while we have very high confidence in the authenticity of the below items owing to their known provenance AND their appropriate unique features, our opinion in this matter should not be considered as "firm" as with the communicators. At such a time when these objects do enter the marketplace, their story and construction will no doubt be further studied in detail to the complete assurance of all agents and potential buyers.
Midgrade P1, P2, and Medical Hypo Spray. The
Alpha hero communicator is part
of this person's collection but is featured on our site separately.
18 photos courtesy of an anonymous West Coast collector
last updated 6/9/08
6 photos courtesy of an anonymous East Coast collector
last updated 6/9/08
Q1) What is the most accurate replica or kit I could buy? (submitted by staff, 9/1/06)
A) It will not be the policy of HeroComm to critique, good or bad, any replica (except those we consider forgeries). All replicas for sale will tend to have their own set of merits and detractions. As children, we might have been happy to role play with a communicator made of stacked cardboard colored by magic marker and crayons. Today as adults, some of us will only settle for an authentic screen-used original. Most of us are somewhere in between. On these pages, you may now have enough information to decide for yourself what will fully satisfy your Communicator Jones; a ready-made replica, a pre-fabricated unassembled kit, or diving into your own creative juices to make your own (with HeroComm as your guide). To quote Klaatu from the first 'Earth Stood Still' movie, "The decision rests with you."
Q2) Have any authentic communicators been sold recently on eBay or through auction houses? (submitted by staff, 9/1/06)
A) No. The last true original up for public sale was Delta, in late 2001 from Profiles in History. It was purchased by Paul Allen. We will post updates should any originals come up for sale.
Q3) Will you ever show how to add electronics, like a sound board or lights? (submitted by staff, 9/1/06)
A) No. Our focus has been limited to the props as originally made for the classic TV show. Chat boards would be a more likely place to find write-ups from other hobbyists about such diverging topics.
Q4) Are there plans in the future of doing similar work with the phaser and tricorder? (submitted by contributor, 9/7/06)
A) We have absolutely no plans for anything further beyond the communicator. While we naturally love all the classic Trek props, it has required an inordinate amount of time, money and focus to get this one site created, and that was fueled by our unique passion for the comm. We must leave remaining work for The Next Generation of prop geeks.
Q5 Will you be redoing the Screen Cap Library with high definition images once Blu-Ray comes out? (submitted for 1/17/09)
A) No. The library was intended as a tool mainly to locate where communicators make appearances in the show and to identify key details, especially of those actual props not yet rediscovered today. This tool has served its purpose, as all ten of Wah's comms have been spotted and fully fleshed out on our pages. For ongoing studies, individual frames may be retrieved from Blu-Ray discs but not necessarily posted in their entirety here. The task of remaking the library is too large for too little gain at this point.
Q6 Can you tell me the functions of the Comm based on any technical docs, episodes, or your vast knowledge of the device. Basically, when the lid is flipped open, does the moiré pattern automatically start moving (Alpha / Beta version)? Which lights illuminate, and when exactly? (submitted by T.B. on 5/16/09)
A) The reason why you have not yet been able to find any authoritative references for how the communicators were to have functioned in the 23rd century is there are none. No firm canon can be established from the show. The “lights” didn’t really work. The moving moiré was never shown beyond a few seconds. The writers, actors and sound editors were wholly inconsistent in how they treated the props from episode to episode. In the mid 1970s Franz Joseph invented some crude parameters to put into his Technical Manual, but those seem to have been based on a run-of-the-mill walkie-talkie. Later “working” copies from the likes of Master Replicas and Roddenberry have had their own interpretations, but that’s all they are... guesses. What this really means is we in HobbyLand still get to make it up however each of us wants.
Q7 Noting the use of a stopwatch for the moiré effect in the hero models, I was wondering how did the on-set microphone keep from picking up the sound of it's operation? Was it that quite? (submitted by R.S. on 5/18/09)
A) You would be amazed at how quiet those cheap1 and 7 jewel stopwatches can be, even after decades of aging. The very loudest from a large batch that has been tested could probably have been picked up by a sensitive microphone nearby, but the vast majority were the better part of whisper-quiet. The best of the best were downright silent, especially once sealed in a black plastic box. As it turns out, the one in Alpha is in that "silent" category; it is virtually inaudible when running now. Certainly sound editors had to omit unwanted background noises all the time (i.e. the sliding doors), but it is likely they had no such problem with the hero communicators.
OUR BOARD POSTINGS
The below posts are edited from their original form to keep only information relevant to all. Also, as time elapses and our knowledge evolves, older posts can start to contain details that we now know not to be accurate. This text, while not altered, is shown in orange.
12) POSTED 10/12/08 - on TPZ commenting on various general concerns regarding our research on Alpha's authenticity:
have passed through our Portal Page
recently, you may have seen a new note saying that the HeroComm site is 100%
complete. This happens to be true both for our content and
concurrently for the defense of our opinion that the found Alpha hero is
genuine. Our journey to this point has been filled with many
joyous discoveries and fruitful partnerships, and we are thrilled that
so very many of you have enjoyed that ride with us.
11) POSTED 4/13/08 - on several boards exploring the current alternative theories regarding the authenticity of the Alpha hero:
The timing seems ripe for yet another thorough exploration of the authenticity of the found hero communicator we at HeroComm call Alpha; to metaphorically prune away the weeds of incoherence that have sprouted up since we did this last year. It must first be observed that likely gone are the days when every original comm contender comes with a signed C.O.A. by the original owner who was also a distinguished employee of Desilu. All that easy low-hanging fruit is plucked. It is likely that everything else that shows up from here on end is going to take real work (like what we’ve done already), and what we do and how we do it here will to some extent dictate what happens with future finds by us or others. Are we open to a bright, rich future of discovery, or will we close ourselves down and just keep rehashing past glories of old finds over and over because that’s all we allowed us to have?
We are still witness to tiny core group
of prominent hobbyists who continue to steadfastly suggest the recently
found comm we posted is possibly or, by some of their accounts,
probably an imposter. In our ongoing effort to discover truths and
reveal falsehoods, let’s review what they’re saying, then go the extra
step by applying actual critical reasoning to evaluate their
1) Why are the edges of the aluminum midplate so smooth? Does this
not indicate it was milled instead of hand-cut?
3. The two-ring moiré bezel on Alpha seems odd and complicated compared
to the simple versions on the dummies. Having Wah make it that way
does not make sense. And don't known forgeries use the same
And yes, of all the fakes we’ve seen, one ME forgery owned by GJ seems to have this type too. The Alpha is certainly not of ME production (WAY to good), and the guy never had a chance to see what is hidden in a distant shoebox, so it has led us to believe he had a chance to see the other hero. Where? We don’t know. There are some real dangling mysteries; fun stuff to try to sort out. Biologists still haven’t figured out precisely how eyeballs came into being, but that doesn’t make theory of evolution wrong, or even cast it into doubt. Some things will always be unknown. Question is, how small an item, how trivial or nonsensical a concern compared to the mass of evidence on the other side, must it be before you say “enough” it and move on?
4. Wouldn't Wah use a better stopwatch than the type without a side
reset button? The kind in Alpha is more prone to failure.
and 6. Called into question the personal
history and integrity of Alpha's current owner.
7. Weren't extra communicator parts left over? Wasn't a cast
made of an original during the Phase II production?
Here’s the rub… first of course you would need those parts and be willing to tamper with them, diminishing their not unsubstantial value. That person (or persons) would have to be an absolute master, far in excess of anyone on Mark English’s pay roster, at observation, interpretation, and execution of forgery techniques. Next you need every raw vintage image for reference, some of which have just been found in the past year. You would have to pour over every screen cap and then duplicate, complete with perfect aging techniques, ALL the features that never showed up until DVDs. Mic grill hole size, tarnished solder AND dirt globs, etc. and create reasonable elements that were too fuzzy to make out clearly - like the grooves in the moire ring. You would do all this because you suspected, long before it was ever imagined by anyone else, that compulsive geeks like us would be pouring over individual pixels for the slightest hints of fakery. And not miss a one. Knowing that the release of a HD-DVD set would probably end it all and show you off as a fraud. We ask you, the reader, at what point did you say “ok, I get it.” Now if you didn’t reach that point yet, then why are you even bothering reading this?
So was an original communicator cast during Phase II? No one here has heard that, so who knows? Certainly the Phase II comms made were not Wah recastings. But if the insinuation is that Alpha a fake that came about from that effort, let’s examine…
First consider the initial premise. Current casting for the '08 licensed kit was made possible by having Zeta broken apart in pieces, something Greg Jein did himself not too many years ago once he owned it. Back in 1977, when Phase II was underway, the then-owner of an original to be casted would have to agree to have his taken apart. Who and which one? Once done, it would then have rendered copies, with a diminishment of inner surface details, again just like in shells pulled today from "authentic" castings. However, there was absolutely no difference whatsoever in buck impressions between Alpha’s shell and Zeta’s. No softening of lines and pits. They were utterly interchangeable (you know, except for the hole cut in one for the rewind stem).
That is also assuming that eleven years later the exact same Kydex texture/thickness was still in production and more of the same perforated brass (which has its own unique fingerprints too) for the antenna could be had too. Now, back then DVDs did not exist so an effort to accurately copy Alpha could not have commenced. The “new” shells from Phase II with vintage Kydex (being the only shells that were ever made from those recast bucks, since none others have ever surfaced) would have needed to sit around for decades until they fell into the hands of that team of master forgers mentioned before who would then take them and the still-flat perf brass and whip them up into a perfectly aged copy that looked exactly like the original. Throw in Jack Ruby and Roswell and you’ve got the next show to pitch to the Sci Fi Channel.
8. What happened to rip the moiré pattern? When did it happen?
9. Aren't there different glues in Alpha than in the dummies? Were
repairs ever made on it?
elsewhere have come to our attention, so it seems an appropriate time to
answer some of the questions that are being bantered around about us -
but curiously never asked directly to us. We've boiled down the
essence of some of the more relevant and common ones here below, but be
wary... to cover things in enough depth it turned out to be a long (but
hopefully not too long-winded) read. Our apologies in advance:
8) POSTED 6/22/07 - addressing two issues that had come up on a prop board: 1) the moderator criticizing our choice to be anonymous, and 2) a member questioning at length various comm identification details of ours:
Firstly, in regards to keeping anonymous, we were once compared unfavorably by the moderator to a company whose very business is authenticating vintage comic books, where their experts’ names are publicly known. Now, we don’t know how much those guys get paid to put their name on the line, but we know how much we earn. How much trouble are you willing to expose yourself to for zero compensation at the other end?
We knew going in that our anonymity would cause some to question. Ours is a different approach, and some people don’t handle different very well. We compensate, though, by trading transparent personnel with transparent reasoning – which is what most prop fans want anyways (if you believe the overwhelming positive responses we’ve received since opening day). Ours is a site for those who care about the big questions of “how” and “why."
With the knowledge that GJ made alterations to his comms, other possible considerations open up. In Zeta, its appearance on the barrel in Patterns of Force hints at not having any jewel hubs emerging through the shell. Did Wah deliver this one incomplete? Doubtful, so this possible disparity is inexplicable. If, however, Zeta is also the comm later dropped by Shatner in Paradise Syndrome (the two outer jewels flash “white” on its way down to the floor), then that matches what we see now.
Consider this – an Aurora blister card contains 12 sets of 4 hubs… 48 total. In ten comms, Wah needed 50. He would have gone searching for TWO more. Could those two thin-flange early Vibe hubs in Zeta be those he needed to scrounge for? That of course does not account for the six hubs that also went into his two tricorders as knobs (though at a different time). Since GJ also removed the Velcro from Zeta (he wrote this to us), it will be all the more difficult to locate Zeta from the back in screen caps.
We can look forward in
the next year or so to a Hi-Def DVD release which breaks every one pixel we have now into
4.5. This extra clarity will no
doubt facilitate the answering of many questions still outstanding.
6) POSTED 12/30/06 - in response to many postings on the Dewback Wing ASAP board regarding our new info on ALPHA:
We have seen five topics in the postings that proceeded this one that we feel are appropriate for our further comment: the moiré bezel ring, the glue that fastens the stopwatch to the shell, the question of paint on the shell, Alpha’s provenance, and our anonymity.
1) The moiré bezel ring does indeed have the tiniest of ledges for the top transparent #4 radial pattern to sit on top of; it is not tucked under a lip like what we’ve seen before with the others. We’re planning to elaborate on it in later site update (with close-up pictures and a cutaway drawing). The inside of the ring then drops down straight from there. The transparency is cut to a remarkable level of precision – at no point can one see a significant gap between its edge and the inside of the bezel ring. The transparency is tacked down with three small spots of Ambroid glue, located in a triangular arrangement (the top at the 12:30 position), that have oxidized brown.
2) We have reversed our call that the stopwatch is held in by hot glue. An adhesive expert strongly suggested it was rather 2-part epoxy. It was hard to the touch, which we assumed was just stiffened from age. As it turns out, probably not.
3) There was no paint anywhere on the shells, inside or out. Any apparent trace as you might see it in the photos would be from lighting effects off the bare Kydex.
4) Many of your observations and speculations regard the authenticity of this hero prop we show on our site. You are of course fully entitled to your skepticism, and we encourage ever-vigilance in the hobby to further weed out forger and their wares. That is why we provided the unprecedented lengthy point-by-point list on our Identifying Alpha page. Not surprisingly, there have also been calls to know more about Alpha’s provenance. This typically takes two forms; one is the story of how it landed where it did, and second when a certified expert vouches for it. To those of you in such dire need, we can regretfully offer you neither.
We can only reveal that which we have been granted permission to. Fortunately, the owner has given us in essence carte blanche with the actual communicator, with only one condition – maintaining his privacy. That is the small price we pay for getting full photographs, details, measurements, etc. of the single most famous sci fi prop in TV history. The members of the Chang Gang are of course keenly aware of the significance of this find, and of the ramifications of making a correct call (and a wrong one). Fortunately, there is no faking this one; the owner is highly credible and the pedigree of the prop is beyond impeccable. This is no overstatement, which you too will come to know if-or-when it ever comes up for sale. This we say with all confidence. However, Alpha’s tale is very short, and even the most general overview could easily point too close to its home. Therefore, we are not at liberty to say anything more. Sorry, we wish we could but we can’t. It is simply not our story to tell. We trust you would strike, and uphold, the same bargain if you were in our shoes.
We are all curious and always wanting more information; it’s in our nature, and that’s fine. But if 11 points of perfect matching are insufficient for you when the best forgeries ever seen barely demonstrates a one (including their shells, which are all wrong), and when modern materials cannot accurately replicate those from 40 years ago, then ask yourself honestly what more do you actually need? If you are disinclined to believe your eyes so far, reason dictates you will probably continue to do so no matter what else we show or say. We have not taken on the mission to convince, only to present the information we have to the best of our ability, and we know the tipping point when amassed evidence turns into proof is different for everyone. One of the nice things we have come to expect in finding an authentic comm is that besides looking exactly like their Wah-built siblings and as they appear in screen caps, they also surprise by answer questions you never even though to ask (until you go back and stare again at the caps). For us real comm lovers, it is a near magical experience. Alpha did that for us in spades, while, yes, leaving for us a few new mysteries to ponder as well. If you’re not there yet with what we’ve presented so far, we have no more means to assist you further.
4) Lastly regarding our anonymity; we wish to remain nameless for mainly one reason – insulation… to buffer us from friends who would otherwise be asking for more, and to provide a second layer of distance between private comm owners and a demanding public. HeroComm provides a safe place for otherwise-reluctant collectors to show off their prize without fear of bombardment… or worse. And it is working. Bringing Alpha to the site was a delicate 2-1/2 month process which could have been easily derailed by early indiscretions. We’re glad that didn’t happen, and we trust you are too. Our goal is to find all ten by the end of the decade. We just got incredibly lucky Alpha was the first. It will not be the last. With good fortune, we can all meet up here and go through this again six more times before the Chang Gang retires.
Our culture has planted in us a suspicion towards that which is kept secret; we seem to fear an abuse of power. Fair enough. However, not everything secret is bad… consider that many philanthropic causes have anonymous donors. In the world of Trek props, it seems that could basically be us. We are a free source of data, entertainment and opinions, just as any other non-profit media outlet is. No ulterior motives, no hidden agenda. Yes, we know the hobby has seen its troubles, but if you cannot ever envision a group being that generous, that speaks more of you than of us. Imagine if you will our efforts as being radio station HeroComm. If you like our programming, then we are happy to have you in our audience. If however you find us in abuse of our position or of the facts, then turn us off and disparage us on the boards. If your accusations are true, they will stick. If not, they will instead tend to cling to the author. So do whatever your nature inclines you to do. You may not have learned what you wanted to about Alpha or of us, but at least you now know why that is so. We are moving on.
All the best,
1st Postscript: No time frame can in actuality be established for Alpha’s two vintage hand-held photos; one being seen in the Star Trek Sketchbook. However, since the background fabric is the sparkly “high-tech” material used in costumes and set decorations, it would be reasonable to assume the photos could easily have been taken after Wah made delivery, not before. Most certainly the hand it is being held by, with the muscular wrist and bountiful arm hair, is not Wah’s (slim, Chinese decent). Whether they were from the first, second, or third season is again a guess, but with the midplate already missing, third season would be most likely. Curiously, one author of a posting here suggests, as we read it, the comm in those two photos is not even the Alpha we see in screen caps. With the rotating moiré (therefore a hero – so choose between only Alpha or Beta) and the before-mentioned 11 matching points all in perfect sync, we’ve done all we can possibly do to illustrate the lineage that all photos, both old and new, are clearly of Alpha. He also wrote the dummy comms did not have mid-plates between the wheels. We also have shown this not to be fully so (The Basics - Part 3).
2nd Postscript: In reference to a posting by the same esteemed author described directly above… for the record, Greg Jein did indeed knowingly take photos and measurements of Epsilon and Zeta specifically for our site. They were simply delivered via a mutual acquaintance. Mr. Jein has since expressed familiarity with our Greek nomenclature (he is bemused with that), which would suggest he has also somehow seen the site, and has not asked for any withdrawal of his material. For this wonderful act of kindness, Mr. Greg Jein is happily included in our roster of HeroComm heroes.
3rd Postscript: Not revealing the
stopwatch brand will help us to better authenticate Beta when it shows
up. We thought in our writing that point would be self-evident. We
apologize that it was not.
5) POSTED 11/28/06 - in response to previous postings on the Dewback Wing ASAP board:
We consider the recent comments and questions posted by JLong, Phez, and Kirkfan above to easily merit further explanation and exploration, as they lie close to the core of our policies and practices. The members of the Chang Gang have indeed debated such topics internally, and as we look to serve and benefit the Trek prop community, we remain sensitive to opinion and open to suggestions for improvement.
In our every action, we must weigh the likely benefits vs. the possible liabilities, and in some instances, the choice between action and inaction can be somewhat arbitrary. So is the balance between the greater public good and benefits for the individual. Such is the case here. In the matter of privacy et al. inspired by our page on Mr. Makepiece’s hero, it should first be noted that that page has been up for two months. Perhaps it is a simple testimony to the relative inconsequentiality of this matter that it has gone unnoticed for all this time. Be that as it may, we regard the privacy of collectors who send us information on their props as sacrosanct. As you know, we actively solicit photographs of communicators believed to be authentic, and we take our responsibility towards these collectors with all due gravity. In fact, several have already availed themselves of our services, with very intriguing results. You have not been informed of this prior, since we closely adhere to our policy on submittals that is clearly written in several appropriate pages on our site:
“By your action of sending us photos… you are giving us permission to both distribute them internally within our organization for review and to contact you privately with our thoughts and opinions... If we think it to be authentic, we would like to make a few of your pictures public on our site to announce the good news, though we will dialog with you further to obtain your permission before proceeding. However, if we decide we cannot add yours to our Master Tracking List, be assured that your name and photos will never be posted, allowing you to seek unfettered opinions elsewhere.”
Contrast the discrete private dialog between interested parties to the public posting of pictures in print or on the World Wide Web. The Internet, especially, is designed for the rapid wide open public dissemination of knowledge, so once someone chooses to show the entire world what they’ve got, the world (be it as individuals or as groups) is fully entitled to comment on what they see. A key part of our mission is to add clear commentary and documented opinion on what has come before, most especially with props of prominence placement. Mr. Makepiece’s piece, still illustrated on Mr. Coyle’s well-known site for all to see as an “original” hero, certainly qualifies there.
In violation of copyright notices, we did briefly and accidentally post pictures of that hero from Mr. Coyle’s site onto ours. That mistake was quickly rectified once we were notified. The exact correspondence between us will always remain private, but rest assured that there are no innocent parties or victims here. To this day they both staunchly maintain their position of the prop’s authenticity despite receiving our thoughts and prior those similar from Mr. Long. All the while, they have never responded to our open invitation to critique our observations with counter information. However, to his credit, Mr. Makepiece did tell us in reference to a link from our site to his comm page, “I don't care about ‘a descriptive link to your pages’ as long as they do not use any copyrighted material including names etc.” So while we do not in fact use any of his material there, we do also adhere to our mission by providing our readers with the fullest and most accurate content as best we know for their reading and learning pleasure. One could view it as a compromise of sorts based squarely on the letter of the law, where such disputes are often settled.
As for intent of the person posting pictures, be it honorable or mendacious – we deem it irrelevant. Once in the public domain, all information is just that: information, which can then be used by anyone else as they best see fit. For instance, Greg Jein had no intent to deceive or to sell his fake comms when they were accidentally photographed for a prop book, and yet it is instructive to collectors everywhere to see that, and also how, even such a storied expert could at one time think an ME was real. Likewise with the venerable Smithsonian Institution. And so forth with all the pictures we have gleaned from public sources. If we only posted those photos that were verified as being from someone intentionally passing a fake off as a genuine, then our pages on how to spot a fake would be blank. And that would not serve the public interest well.
Moving on, Mr. Long expressed his opinion that our efforts would better enable forgers. We respectfully suggest otherwise. While we cannot step into the criminal mind, we can always examine their likely benefits vs. the possible liabilities. The benefits are primarily one: money, with easily several $K to the actual maker for every success (remembering it has to go through several hands before the auction house – where any real big money is). Now the possible liabilities: a high probable failure rate and a massive amount of time lost in the attempt.
HeroComm has hopefully made it far more expensive for purveyors of fakes to conduct business as usual. True, we all (forgers included) now know better what a genuine looks like, but that only makes the job of forgery harder. They are going to have to clear a substantially higher hurdle to continue to fool any expert, yet alone now a large percentage of their target audience, investing enormous amounts of time to replicate to absolute perfection each and every age-mellowed part. This extreme level of craftsmanship has never been seen anywhere before in any fake Trek prop. Add the complication that the texture of old Kydex cannot be duplicated with new. All the while, such a person will never be sure if he has labored well enough, since those of us with hands-on experience with authentic Wah comms are all still holding back from full public disclosure certain key tells. And since only seven of ten slot remain to be filled (with several of those so well illustrated as to make it foolish to attempt), the likely windfall from pursuing the exceedingly laborious faking of communicators is now minimal at best. Just as drug dealers will relocate to more distant corners once patrols are stepped up, there is now more fertile ground for forgers elsewhere.
This is how we see things. You may weight factors differently, but we trust the above will allow you to better understand our choices and actions. As always, thank you for your readership. We have some wonderful surprises baking in the oven, so check in often.
light footnote to Pielock from an earlier thread, the Chang Gang will
not be conducting similar efforts for the phaser and tricorder. However
we invite you, or anyone else, to give it a go. If you do not have
enough time, expertise, and money, you are already following in our
exact footsteps towards success, so long as you also have the passion.
4) POSTED 10/19/06 - in response to new pictures from Greg Jein of his Epsilon and Zeta comms:
The moiré and jewel details visible in our new pictures make it obvious we made some significant errors in assessing the previous low-rez photos at our disposal. The moiré pattern in Epsilon (and in Eta too) are not #4 transparencies from the Edmund Moiré Kit as we previously assumed - they are both cut from page 9 in Dr. Oster's book "The Science of Moiré Patterns" and simply covered with a clear transparency to mimic the kit’s two-layer appearance as seen in the heroes.
The concentric circle image in Zeta is from the same page 9 in Dr. Oster's book; it is called Pattern #5. It to us seems like an odd choice for Wah since from any distance away, it just looks gray. As to Theta’s moiré pattern; we now have no clue. It could be just about anything.
The jewels are a huge surprise too. In Epsilon, we see (L to R) Swarovski's 20ss Burgundy AB / 16ss Hyacinth / 20ss Blue Zircon AB. The "AB" stands for Aurora Borealis, a special metallic coating they developed in 1956 that can alter the color reflected off the jewel’s surface depending on the viewing angle. Think what an oil slick on top of water looks like and you get the idea. This process can easily make a stone (darker ones especially) appear as a completely different color. The discovery that Wah had available AB rhinestones calls into question nearly every color selection based off of screen caps. That can especially be seen in Epsilon’s left jewel. The glass color is reddish-purple, yet even in close-ups it frequently looks decidedly blue or even yellow.
The middle jewel of Hyacinth (an orange-red) instead of Light Siam (red) also throws further complexity into the equation. The two colors are very close, and it actually takes hands-on to tell the difference for certain. Kappa’s middle stone always had an orange-like glimmer to it in "The Omega Glory," and it too could very well be Hyacinth.
As for Zeta, its middle jewel is also Hyacinth, but a tiny 12cc! It makes us guess Wah might have been scraping the bottom of his rhinestone supply barrel here. The two outer jewel bezels, the ones with just a little bump around the shaft hole, are the oldest Vibrator hub style from 1961, and never ever had a jewel sitting on top of them. Again, this fact calls into play the possibility that comms with “missing” jewels, like the right position on Beta, did not suffer from glue failure there after all. They could have been built that way. The underside of that center hub does exhibit both worn-off chrome (very possibly being a used hub) and a huge dollop of glue. Reasoning unknown. The possibility of lighting up a jewel has been suggested before, and it is an intriguing possibility, but the obstacles to doing so successfully back then were nearly insurmountable (described in The Basics – Part 3). Given the short-changing Wah needed to give to so many other details, it is our current opinion that it was never even attempted. It is probably just a dollop of glue. And the "false" hole in the shell could have easily been Wah starting on the wrong side. Or maybe this being his first shell, he changed his mind on which side the mic grill would go. There is obviously not enough conclusive evidence yet either way, so let's have fun looking for more.
The comm in the picture referenced as Eta has indeed been frequently pegged as a fake, as most of us did early on as well. Then, certain screen caps (from This Side of Paradise and Spock's Brain to name a few) showed very odd features that were perfectly represented in the "open" photo. The shell also displays the proper light texture and semi-shine not available in modern Kydex. For an ME to have picked up on these things (and others not mentioned) and flawlessly reproduce them would be unprecedented to say the least. Certainly seeing more of the inconveniently cropped photo would help to lock that down.
As for the look of the antenna, what is
in focus does have a bland look more associated with an ME. Our working
theory is that this antenna was buffed to a shine prior to its probable
appearance in Mudd's Women, and the heavy handling in that scene put
greasy finger prints that eventually corroded into dark spots seen a
year later in season 2 (in The Apple for one).
smudges eventually disappear-ed as apparently someone took some steel
wool or other buffing agent to it. That could be the roughened surface
we see today. The other unusual feature of the antenna is the shallow
curve at the edges rather than angles, which again seem to match hole
for hole in rare screen caps. We hope to confirm or refute once this
comm can be located and inspected at greater detail.
2) POSTED 9/9/06 originally on Dewback Wing ASAP - in response to a few specific critiques by one reader:
... We stand firm that the
Eta photos are
of a mislabeled original, as we count about a half-dozen miniscule tells
that perfectly match remote screen caps that no other ME has ever come
close to demonstrating – not to mention its complete absence of any
usual ME tells.
1) POSTED 9/9/06 originally on Dewback Wing ASAP - in response to questions regarding John Long's involvement and some unsupported reports of factual errors:
We hope everyone has had a happy 40th Anniversary. Now that we’ve
all had an opportunity to peruse our website, this seems like an
appropriate moment for some added clarity. Firstly, thank you for
visiting HeroComm and for the many kind and encouraging words.
Now, a few facts about us and our work:
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