The Copycats - Star Trek TOS
Prop Replica Reference Guide
Originally this was a one-man operation started by machinist and TOS fan, the late Steve Horch (deceased 2010). Wholesaled to various mail order companies, such as Starland, Main Street Collectibles as examples. They also started showing up at other dealer's tables at conventions as early as 1990. He later teamed up with Michael Moore and formed HMS Creative Productions which is still in business, but as far as is known, does not make any of these items.
Years in operation for these products: 1989 - 2009
Hypospray & Full Medkit
Production numbers: unknown (but are of a considerable amount)
It is rumored that Mr. Horch may have made other replicas from TOS. For the purposes of this reference guide, the items showcased here were the most popular of the time period covered and appeared at convention tables and mail order catalogs.
It seems this was their first offering that showed up at shows. Machined aluminum with working plunger, and 2 glass vials with random colored liquid “medicine”.
The majority of these units came with spun cast pewter tips, that would tarnish with age. Subsequently later, the hypo was reduced in size a bit, and included a “hissing” sound once the plunger was pulled back and depressed which resulted from a tiny hole introduced in the tip area.
In his last runs, he did upgrade to machined aluminum tips.
Field reader tube: machined aluminum with colored plastic indicator squares.
Spray applicator: machined aluminum solid replica. Later ones did have a depressing top allowing the “spray” application effect.
Above and left: Hypo machined and highly polished aluminum.This example had a machined aluminum tip. Excellent quality.
Scanner: Textured rubber handle, and spinning inside inner solid acrylic rod. Nicely made.
Spray Healer: Machined aluminum. Later units actually had a plunger that could be depressed.
Field Reader Tube: Machined aluminum with colored square acrylic emerald style jewels.
Version 1: Early convention and wholesale run units were made utilizing Starfleet Command’s shells, but of a finer more sharp detail. Spun cast pewter moiré disc and control knobs. Aluminum midplate, and custom made hand torched brass grid. No electronics.
Version 1 options included upgraded machined aluminum moiré disc and control knobs.
Version 2: Same as version 1 but with electronics consisting of flashing LEDs, and digital chirp sound utilizing the TOS sound effects key chain.
Version 3: Upgraded electronics to include digital chirp and voices of Spock and Scotty.
*****There was also a small run of “smooth body” communicator shell kits from a request by this author once it was thought some of the original props did not have “haircell” texture on the bodies. These as far as is known, only were provided in kit form, and not sold as any regular offer*****
Standard Convention and Mail Order example. Unsurpassed quality at the time.
Smooth body example with early electronics. Digital chirp and blinking LEDs.
Electronics - Modified TOS sound effects key chain.
Upgraded Electronics -digital chirp ,voice and flashing LEDs.
During the process of compiling this guide some time back, 2 collectors had stated that they each purchased Phaser II units direct from Steve Horch by private order citing the time frame as the very late 1990's or early 2000's. During a recent contact with Michael Moore of HMS, he explained that he alone made Phaser II units for The DS9 episode "Trials and Tribbilations", and for Roddenberry.com. However a collector recently contacted me and did provide pictures of a phaser he personally bought from Steve Horch that was made by him, in 1999-2000.
Version 1: First run versions made of same haircell plastic as the communicators. Machined parts consisted of side panels, door handles, stamped faceplate, tape disc drum. Moire disc and control knobs were spun cast pewter. Came with already installed electronics with tricorder sound and flashing LEDs. Under small door was on/of slide switch to enable tricorder to be displayed with hood open without the electronics being activated while hood is open. With leather strap. Exceptional quality and construction.
Version 2: Same as above but with upgraded aluminum moiré disc and control knobs, and electronics.
Version 3: Last runs included highly polished stainless steel faceplate, with mirror like finish.
Version 3: Geological version with “geological detail” components behind smaller door. Consisting of opaque white plastic screen, and aluminum sleeves on top and bottom of clear plastic tube. Has separate Science tricorder sound, and then independent beeping flashing geological function. Nicely crafted.
Version 4: Kits - with or without electronics.
It should be noted that these products are among the very best examples of the copycat art, and among the finest quality.
Left: Slide switch to disable electronics from activating when hood is flipped up for display purposes.
Purchased in kit form and built in the mid 90's direct from Steve Horch.