Well, ever since I started this blog I have told you how I don’t like rubber props. They crack, shrink and degenerate. Latex, like that used in prosthetic face appliances, deteriorates and you wind up with a prop that looks like crap. I recently saw photos of the original Yoda puppet from Empire Strikes Back and it has deteriorated so much you couldn’t tell it was Yoda.
One of the things that was so surprising to me when looking through the Christie’s catalog was how crappy the rubber props looked. Anything made during the time of Next Gen has basically suffered the same fate. Now for me, eye appeal is critical. I want a prop I can proudly display, so I simply don’t want rubber props like these. Now, even in Voyager we saw some rubber props being used and they have suffered the same fate.
Look at the rifle below. Now, remember that Star Trek used a few different prop houses; ISS, Proper FXs, HMS and others. Each used different compounds and thus different props have different levels of durability. I have a rubber stunt Phaser Rifle, from Star Trek: Insurrection, and it hasn’t cracked at all. In fact at first glance anyone would guess it was resin! From what I am told, for the later movies and Enterprise rubber props were made of a much denser rubber that is much less likely to suffer the same fate. This is apparent when you hold a newer rubber prop, or even see photos. The Phaser Rifles, from Insurrection and Nemesis and the Enterprise Xindi rifles and Klingon pistols look great and should hold up well. They are indistinguishable at first glance from a resin prop and they are obviously very dense because of their weight.
Here are actually a few photos of two raw rubber Phaser Rifles:
The EVA Phaser Rifle that sold as few weeks ago was rubber and looks great.
So, while I personally will stay away from Rubber props in general, I think you should have no fear of buying late movie and ENterprise rubber props, which were made of more durable and denser rubber.
I hope this helps you all a bit!