I bought two of these. The first, a blue black one, arrived the day I was setting off for holiday. I quickly checked it over and, happy with it, set off on hols. I noticed he had another for sale on eBay so contacted him again and he said he had a blue and a dark blue. I asked him if they were his last ones, to which he replied yes, and promptly purchased them both. While away on holiday I noticed he had another for sale, then another, then another...
Suspicion sufficiently aroused, when I got back home I picked up the two blasters and set about scrutinising them against variants 1-4 in my collection.
In my opinion the sharpness of detail leads me to believe it most closely resembles variant 1 on TIG - the others are nowhere near as sharp as variant 1 or this particular blaster. However, this blaster does not sport the vertical bar on the barrel, above the handle. The handle itself closely resembles variant 3 with the trademark slight bulge, but again this blaster does not have the two vertical lines or slight bulges further down the barrel that variant 3 has. In the end, what made me most suspicious, and might just be its downfall, was the near perfect straightness and smoothness of the barrel and its consistency in appearance close to the end. The others, including variant 1 just don't have this. Finally, when examining the blue black variant under light I could not replicate the partial transparency and blueness shown in the picture sent to me, or present on my variant 2 dark blue blaster.
I was going to begin writing a buyer beware post but noticed someone had beaten me to it, and low and behold the name of the seller eventually popped up too. At this point I contacted the seller and was told the same story now up on TIG. The buyer offered me and has given me a full refund. Now I've got it I am electing to add my thoughts here too.
Is this a reproduction?
It must be noted that at no point on the listing did the seller claim that it was 100% original, merely said that it had passed the TIG float test, drop test and light test. He sent me a picture of the gun indicating substantial transparency, but since he has multiple blasters there can be no definitive proof that the one shown in the photograph was the one received. The guy has been nothing but polite and obliging - However, this is my reasoning for doubting its authenticity:
- This does not match any of the known variants identified by TIG and one would have thought a version would have popped up on a moc somewhere, or even loose prior to this if it was truly the genuine article
- The seller has not put the story on eBay and has only mentioned it once a case for return has been started
- The seller is listing them one at a time and this could be as to not arise suspicion
- The seller has said they were his last items and this appears not to be true
- If they were genuine and the story is to be believed why would the original source of the weapons give them to an eBay member who started trading in April 2017 and not release them to a trusted source
Should we be worried?
If it is a reproduction and not the genuine article, then hell yes! I noticed that ScruffyLookingNH said there were tell tale signs that this was not the genuine article but you have to be an expert collector to spot these. While I don't profess to being an expert I have been collecting since 2003 and I was sufficiently rushed to miss these signs and pass it off as a genuine Princess Blaster. He also said this was a bloody good reproduction.
Let's be clear, this is by far and away the best reproduction I have ever come across. Past reproductions have been fairly easy to spot. Early reproductions lacked the finer details, such as no pattern on the handle of the Imperial Blaster, a raised bar on the Bespin Blaster, a raised bump on the Pilot Blaster, no circle on the Princess Blaster. Most of these also failed the float test. Later reproductions were too brittle and would often snap if pressure was applied such as the Bib Fortuna and Amanaman Staffs. The more recent reproductions passed the float test but were easily identifiable by the excess flashing and shiny black appearance. These on the other hand are near damn perfect. They are going to fool loads of collectors, new and old alike.
And as also mentioned it will only take a slight modification to the mould and we will never spot them. And if they can do it with the Princess Blaster whose to say they can't do it with all the others.
Let's pray it turns out to be an undiscovered original. Though the price of Princess Leia's will crash through the roof.