[2009-04-24] The ray guns of Edison Giocattoli

Edison Giaccatoli TG-105 'Super Thur,' left side view. Edison Giaccatoli TG-105 'Super Thur,' right side view.

Shown above is the TG-105 or "Super Thur" produced by famous Italian toy arms dealer Edison Giocattoli. I owned one of these when I was a kid in the early 1980s, but I don't quite remember where it came from. I want to say Mom bought it for me either at a flea market or at the local Skaggs-Alpha Beta, which will forever be my personal prototype for a grocery store. Anyway, I loved my TG-105 because its styling was so much more sophisticated than any other ray gun I had ever seen, with its complex molded grip with integral fingerguards and its light-up targeting screen at the rear. The unusual level of detail in the toy has attracted the attention of more than one sci-fi propmaster. Notably, the Lassiter laser pistol prototype from Episode 110 of Joss Whedon's Firefly is clearly built around a TG-105, or at least around a cheap knock-off thereof. This happens to EG's designs all the time. I've got a collection of interesting knock-offs I'll post elsewhere.

Edison Giaccatoli 'Thur,' left side view. Edison Giaccatoli 'Thur,' right side view.

Now flash forward about 15 years, when my interest in ray guns was rekindled by, among other things, Justin Pinchot's fantastic site. Although the site has changed format since that time, it used to include a photographic index of prominent designs by country and decade, and I was excited to discover that my beloved TG-105 was actually part of a series of ray guns produced by Edison Giocattoli in the late 70s and early 80s as part of their "TH3 Project" line. Also listed on Justin's site, if I recall correctly, were the "Thur" and the ZX-271 (which I'll get to later). I set up automatic daily searches on eBay for these other models, and eventually, to use my friend Billy's phrase, "the global stream of crap" brought them to me. Shown above is the Thur. This one, with snazzy metalized grip, came as part of a play-set with a considerably-less-well-made plastic thigh holster. It also, luckily, came with its original packaging.

Edison Giaccatoli 'Super Thur LR,' from box art, left side view.

On the back of the box were pictures of the other guns in the TH3 line. They all looked pretty cool, but the "Super Thur LR," shown above, was by far the most drool-inducing. Alas, as every collector knows, there's always One That Got Away. , and, in the five or so years I've been collecting EG ray guns, I've never even seen any evidence that a Super Thur LR was ever manufactured or sold. I've had a number of automatic searches running for years now without so much as a glimmer. If anyone out there has one, I'm prepared to pay handsomely for it. Please contact me.

Update: I have received some great pictures of a real live Super Thur LR from a man in Brussels named Martial. Thanks Martial!

Edison Giaccatoli 'Tharos,' left side view. Edison Giaccatoli 'Tharos,' right side view.

The other "back of the box" models fell more quickly. Shown above is the "Tharos," which is a smaller and arguably more "feminine" version of the Thur, which I believe exists at least in part to accommodate girls. It only took a couple of months for one of these to appear in my daily eBay search results. Like the Thur, the Tharos is a cap gun, distinguishable from the other electronic-noise-making ("Spacetronic") guns in the TH3 line as part of EG's so-called "Spacematic" series. It fires EG's proprietary plastic strip caps.

Edison Giaccatoli 'Super Tharos,' or 'TH3,' left side view. Edison Giaccatoli 'Super Tharos,' or 'TH3,' right side view.

The "Super Tharos" (aka "TH3"), shown above, is to the Tharos what the Super Thur is to the Thur--a kind of amplified electronic noise-making version. These, too, are relatively common. I own several of them, including at least one which I believe is a pirated knock-off.

Edison Giaccatoli 'Thitan' left side view. Edison Giaccatoli 'Thitan' right side view.

This was a relatively recent find. The "Thitan," as it is called, appeared one day among the results of a daily search on the word "Giaccatoli." I've seen at least two for sale on eBay.

Edison Giaccatoli 'ZK-235,'left side view. Edison Giaccatoli 'ZK-235,' or 'TH3,' right side view.
Edison Giaccatoli 'ZX-271,' or 'TH3,' left side view. Edison Giaccatoli 'ZX-271,' or 'TH3,' right side view.
Edison Giaccatoli 'ZV-263,' or 'TH3,' left side view. Edison Giaccatoli 'ZV-263,' or 'TH3,' right side view.

These last three are from the "International Special Corp" (ISC) line. They fire little foam bullets, either from a revolver-type magazine, as in the ZX-271, or from an automatic-feed "stack" type magazine as in the case of the other two. The ZV-263 was an especially pleasant surprise for me when it appeared amongst my eBay search results, because I'd never seen it before and, let's face it, it looks super wicked.

last modified 2009-07-13