I recently got a call at 2 in the morning. Usually those calls do NOT go well, but this time, thankfully, it wasn't a tragedy. Far from it. A friend was on the line and simply asked one question: "Hey Don, do you want a Death Sting? There's one on Ebay right now." I was glad I answered!
Now, when most Trek fans think of cool Klingon weapons, several things might come to mind: Worf's famous Bat'leth, The painful-looking D'k Tahg knife used to kill Kirk's son, or even Kruge's pistol from Star Trek III.
|THAT'S a knife! The deadly-looking D'k Tahg knife|
|The Death Sting's debut along with an auction photo of a version from 2006.|
|Klingon Captain Kruge went Death Sting-less|
Three years later a little something called Star Trek: The Next Generation came along. Though it was a new production, Next Gen inherited all the costumes and models from the earlier Trek films. And the props. So when an episode came along that required a bunch of Klingons, what better to use that the already-existing Death Stings? Unlike the Star Trek III Disruptors, the Death Stings had one big advantage – they fit nicely into a holster. The clunky boxy end of the Disruptor was constantly snagging on things and never cleanly fit into a holster, But the long, thin taper of the Death Sting offered no such problems.
The Klingons would return to film in 1989's Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (a film so bad you might have wiped it from your memory – I completely understand). This time, they would actually get pulled out and shown off a little bit. Finally we got a view of the weapon.
And boy was it boring.
|Klingon General Kord brandishes a Death Sting in Star Trek V. His version matches mine except for a missing cylinder on the side (his, not mine).|
To get back to that 2 a.m. phone call, I did get online and after checking out a few things, bought it right away. It was offered by a former Star Trek prop maker, which greatly simplified things for me. Here's a few shots of my version:
Mine is hollow and shows a silver/gray paint beneath the rust brown, leading me to believe that this may well be an original Motion Picture version that was repainted for Star Trek V (and later) use.
The Death Sting would appear throughout Next Gen and would also show up later in Deep Space Nine and Voyager, albeit in modified versions. The original Motion Picture version had a different handle detail than later versions. They were also hollow and lightweight as opposed to the later ones being heavy solid resin.
Here's a modified Death Sting style that appeared in various DS9 episodes, including "Crossover":
This version has lost the extended metallic muzzle and has Klingon letters on the side. It also has a slightly different paint job. Because they began with such a generic design, they were easily used as the "gun of the week" and could easily be put in anyone's hands in any given episode. They just didn't stick out and so could hide in plain sight.
I don't want you to think that I'm not glad to have my Death Sting because I'm absolutely happy to have one. I've actually been looking for one for years. While it's generic nature doesn't set the world on fire, it's still a great signature piece and as a collector of Klingon weapons, I'm thrilled to have it. My collection wouldn't be complete without it.
So there you go. The average-looking Klingon weapon that had an above average number of appearances in various Star Trek incarnations for more than 20 years.
Instead of my usual closing of LLAP, I'll sign off with a more suitable comment: