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Friday, July 31, 2009

Dr. Grordbort's Atomic Disintegrator

Last weekend at San Diego Comic-Con curiosity got the best of me when I passed the Weta Workshop booth in the Exhibition hall.

Weta, in addition to supporting Peter Jackson's work on District 9 and The Lovely Bones, was showcasing its own amazingly cool line of retro die-cast ray guns, one of which, the 'Manmelter 3600ZX Sub-Atomic Disintegrator', bears a striking resemblance to Hubley's Automatic Disintegrator. Hubley's Disintegrator was used as the "Focusing Disintegrator Ray" in Teenagers from Outer Space.

Luckily I was able to chat with the brainchild behind Dr. Grordbort's, Greg Broadmore. Greg, according to his official site, "is an illustrator, writer and conceptual designer for Weta Workshop and has designed for the motion pictures: District 9, King Kong, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, I Robot and Black Sheep amongst many, many others." Pretty strong resume, huh?

I asked Greg whether the Manmelter was consciously based on Hubley's model. His response? Yes and no. He had started to draw, he said, letting his creativity guide the design, and before he knew it, he was drawing the Atomic Disintegrator. (Of course anyone as interested in weapon design and retro ray guns as Greg would be familiar with the only ray gun model die-cast giant Hubley ever produced!)

Greg embraced his sub-conscious source of inspiration, and the Manmelter was born. Turns out the Manmelter was the only model from the original Grordbort's line based on any historical ray gun, although an upcoming release takes its design from Buck Rogers' spaceship. Nifty!

You can check out Weta's full line of Dr. Grordbort's beautiful steampunk novelties at wetanz.com. You can even buy your own Manmelter online. Want to learn more about Greg? Check out his website: http://www.thebattery.co.nz/.

(Pictures of me in my brand new Manmelter t-shirt coming soon!)

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