The Communicators.



This article was submitted by one of our forum
members here at The Trek Prop Zone

Communicators by Wah Chang Replicas by: Mark English, JTK, John Long, Marco Enterprises Rich Coyle, JTK Kit Built by Mike Perlman


Welcome to my paper on the original communicators. I owe a debt of gratitude to a little site called ASAP. This website has helped to enrich my knowledge of props in general 100 fold. I have been a collector for about 30yrs. I love the old trek props from that innovative 60’s series.

I got back into prop collecting after a 10year absence due to the ‘Star Trek Experience’ Admiralty shops in Las Vegas. I was amazed that props that I knew were not authentic were getting such high prices at that time. It became my quest to get a reasonable, accurate prop for a lot less money that what they were asking.

It was around this time 1995 or so that I began hearing about a guy named Mark English or ME as he was called a lot of the time. ME to me back then meant Marco Enterprises who was sued by Paramount along with a number of other cool prop makers.   Rich Coyle was also shut down in the 90’s, which was quite sad for me because I didn’t get a chance to order any of his wonderful props. Anyway, this paper will be an attempt to help collectors to recognize various replicas and the differences to the original props.

Lastly this is also an attempt to document in writing the differences of the
Marc/Mark English fake out there. This is a closely guarded secret by many notable
prop collectors due to his sale of replicas as originals. May this man and his good talents never take you.

Chapter 1 : Originals

 Wah Chang created the original communicators. I do not know the total cost of the originals
but itis rumored that he made 4 heroes. I know of three that have survived to this
day. There were a number of other communicators that were made and these were static hand made props. The originals were made from a material called Kydex. Kydex was a grayish material that was supposed to be somewhat fireproof. Kydex was also used in the ME Fakes
and is another reason that it is hard to tell from an original. Here is an example
of a Kydex original Hero:

Friday’s Child” Spock Com

Nice looking Communicator isn’t it? Things to note in this picture are the Jewels, Moiré ring, Moiré pattern, line on the comm. itself, antennae all of it, the buttons that are actually car wheels, and finally the way the mid-plate sits on the com.   

I will attempt to show that in the originals there were variations to this and how people have
tried to compensate. I believe that the original heroes were pretty much all the same. Let’s take a look at another hero I like to call the Kirk hero.

“Day of the Dove” Kirk Hero"

It is interesting and has a lot of interesting properties. Notice the brass rod sticking out of the bottom of the Communicator. This rod was used to wind the Moiré for close-up shots on set. It uses a stopwatch. This communicator has the smaller gems.

How the Communicator has survived the last 40years:

These next two are pictures of two communicators that are originals and from the sets of Trek. They have survived well after 40years which is a testament to Wah Chang. The top picture is the Dwyer communicator owned by
one of the people from the show and sold through the Profiles auction in the late 90’s. It now resides in the Sci-Fi museum in Seattle Washington.


This part added by a different forum member.

The Dwyer communicator coined that name because the previous owner before Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder) bought it for the Sci-Fi museum was John Dwyer. John Dwyer was
the set director for part of the run of the original series. This is why the province on this
particular comm is so strong.

“Wah Chang made two working heroes and eight dummy communicators and
charged $1,019.20 for them.”
Solow, H. Solow, Y. (1997). Star Trek Sketchbook (The original series)
New York: Pocket Books






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