Weta's District 9 Minature Weapons - ASSAULT RIFLE
Showing sci-fi films how do alien weapons right...
The District 9 Minature Assault Rifle is now shipping and in-stock through Weta's online store priced at $99. It is limited to 750 pieces.
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One thing that REALLY irritates me is when science fiction films use authentic military rifles and try to pass them over on us as futuristic weapons. It is like the director looks at a Steyr Aug and thinks "Wow, that'll make a great laser gun!" I'm sorry Mr. Director, but you're not fooling me - I know a real-world assault rifle when I see one; the Steyr Aug being over 30 years old. It comes across as very cheap and unimaginative. In some cases they get it right by combining real firearms to create something totally new. It worked for Star Wars, Aliens and Blade Runner. However, it's the sci-fi movies that create their own futuristic tech FROM SCRATCH that trully amaze me. District 9 did it - on a tight budget no less.
First off, if you're like me and are absolutley blown away by the alien weapons of District 9, you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of "The Art of District 9". It's an extremely informative guide to these awesome props, packed with tons of images (concept and final design) as well as the history on how they came to be. You'll discover, for instance, that the lead conceptual designer for the District 9 guns was none other than Greg Broadmore - the genius behind Weta's radical Rayguns. My admiration for the guy just went through the roof.
Weta has released their District 9 weapons in the past as geek-tastic full-scale 1:1 prop replicas. The initial releases quickly sold out, despite being priced well over my budget at around $500 each. Thankfully Weta has a wonderful alternative to those that missed these, or simply couldn't afford them: District 9 Minature Weapons. Priced at a more comfortable $99 each, these guns are perfect for display at nearly 10 inches long. They are also made of solid die-cast metal, equaling a seriously hefty and well-crafted collectible. Up for review today: the District 9 Assault Rifle.
Before I received my minature Assault Rifle, I waffled around on whether or not it could be worth $99. After whipping out my trusty ruler, I came to the realization that 10 inches long is a pretty darn good size. And metal to boot? That I would have to judge in person, but so far the price sounded right. Plus, where else are you going to find District 9 weapon replicas?
When my package arrived all doubts of this being some light, cheap tin toy were quickly erased: the Assault Rifle box weighed a ton! Well not an actual ton, but it certainly surprised me on how heavy it was. 2.6 pounds is what Weta's website states and that sounds about right. Packed safe in a Styrofoam-lined cardboard box you'll find a white mailer box which in turn protects the Assault Rifle's actual case. I say "case" because this is a really slick package that you won't want to throw away. It took me a little while to figure out how to open it, but was shocked when I learned that the top flips open via a magnetic flap. Classy. Inside you'll find the weapon stowed inside a Styrofoam clamshell with twisty ties used as an extra precaution. Adorned with great images of the weapon inside and informative text on the back, the District 9 Assault Rifle's packaging is an excellent presentation and ideal for future storage. You know you have something good when so much work goes into the product's box.
My excitement building, I carefully removed the replica to behold its beauty. Like many fans, the Arc Generator is my absolute favorite District 9 weapon... but the Assault Rifle runs a VERY close second. The design screams rapid fire death with its long straight barrel and vast array of protruding (ammo?) canisters. Like the Arc Generator, it is the Assault Rifle's color scheme that immediately grabs me: an eye-catching use of white, black and orange. The color contrast is pitch perfect and lends the weapon a very clean, futuristic, high-tech look.
Weta created the Assault Rifle for District 9, so as one would expect, their prop replica is as authentic as you can get. No detail is left out: From the corrosive gook oozing out of the canisters to the intricate alien logos stamped all over the gun, the Assault Rifle awes with alien beauty.
Best of all, the entire marvel of alien tech is made of SOLID die-cast metal. It's a pure joy to hold this thing; its reassuring weight spelling out "quality". To support this beast, Weta even provides a display stand. Simply slide the metal pin on the rear support into the one small hole on the butt of the gun and rest the front of the weapon on the forward support. The base is broad enough to prevent the rifle from keeling over, yet skinny enough to not be overly obtrusive. I also appreciate that the weapon's name is not mentioned on the base. Fans know what it is and the weapon's beauty should do all the talking. The bottom of the base features felt pads to prevent scratching and the gun's edition number, mine being 412 out of only 750 produced.
As a collector of prop replicas, I do wish I had the funds for the full-scale Assault Rifle. However, I couldn't be more happy with this minature version. At 10 inches long, the Assault Rifle really isn't that minature; its length vastly better for display that many micro-weapons out there. In addition to owning one of the coolest sci-fi weapons ever designed, $99 also gets you a solid die-cast collectible worthy of the most prestigious of collections. Many thanks to Weta for creating such remarkable sci-fi movie weapons... and offering them to collectors to admire for a lifetime.
Fans can grab their own District 9 Minature Assault Rifle through Weta's online store. The Arc Generator is also in-stock.
Review and Photos by Jeff Saylor
Review Sample Courtesy of Weta