The Plasma Pistol, also known as the Plasma Handgun, is a handheld version of the Yautja Plasmacaster. While purpose-built examples are known to exist, the weapon can also be assembled in the field from a normal Plasmacaster. Typically, the former are more powerful and versatile than the latter, which would presumably only be used in situations where the donor Plasmacaster has been damaged in some way and will therefore no longer function as intended.
The bolts fired by Plasma Pistols are for all intents and purposes identical to those launched by Plasmacasters. The major differences come in the operation of the weapon itself; being handheld, it lacks any form of automated target tracking and must be aimed manually. Coupled with the lack of an form of laser sight, this makes the weapon suitable at only short range. Some versions also fire their plasma bolts in an arc-like trajectory, further limiting their range.
Purpose-built examples tend to be more versatile, some featuring alternate fire modes capable of firing multiple plasma bolts simultaneously. Versions assembled in the field, meanwhile, tend to have several drawbacks as a result of their custom-built nature. For example, the Plasma Pistol used by Wolf in Gunnison, Colorado necessitated a brief recharge time after every shot, making it somewhat inappropriate for fast-paced, close-quarters combat.
During Wolf's hunt at Gunnison, Colorado, one of the Plasmacasters that he was using to clean up the Xenomorph infestation was damaged when he was attacked from above in the gun store where Dallas, Ricky, and the others were taking refuge. After a brief scuffle, and after blasting a Xenomorph out through the front window, the humans escaped while Wolf made adjustments to his Plasmacaster, and fashioned both of them into an extremely powerful (but slow to use) pistol-like weapon. The main body of one Plasmacaster set as the body for the pistol, and a handle fashioned likely from the mounting device of the other Plasmacaster.
In the hands of a hunter, it is a dangerous and effective tool for close, mid-range, and possibly even long-range combat, in the hands of a human (Dallas) it became a tool for survival, and aided substantially in their escape. It is unknown as to whether or not other Yautja have used Plasma Pistols. At the end of the film when the helicopter that Kelly piloted away from Gunnison crashes, the Plasma Pistol was confiscated by military soldiers, and it's entirely possible that the humans used this technology to advance their own over the hundreds of years leading up to the events in the Alien series.
In 2008, Sideshow Collectibles, partnered with Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. (who created the prop for the film), released "an exact 1:1 reproduction" of the Plasma Pistol props used in the film as a limited edition of 500 with a suggested retail price of $249.99. Each piece was hand-cast in polystone, hand-finished, and hand-painted to "exacting standards" then individually hand-numbered. The replica features a light-up display feature and includes a display stand that can be placed on a desktop or mounted on a wall.
Behind the Scenes
Designed as an "Uzi-style" version of the Predator Plasmacaster, the master patterns for the Plasma Pistol props used in Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem were made completely by Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. model maker Tim Arp. While working on it, he found himself wishing he could have his own.
The hero props were made from "ultra" lightweight fiberglass. They also had a sliding foregrip feature and the power charge display lit up in sequence. The mechanism to "fire" the heroes was engineered by Bob Mano in the mechanical department. To work it, the rear grip would pivot, and when the foregrip was pulled back to "cock" the weapon, it would activate the charging display. A press of the trigger would then release the spring-loaded grip and the display would turn off.
Originally, the power charge indicator was going to be on the side of the prop and simply comprised of bar segments, which were sculpted into the prop (and remained on the final versions). However, the film's directors, Colin Strause and Greg Strause, wanted to use the Predator glyphs that had been created for the film, which were being applied to the Predator armor and cases by the sculptors. The sculptors had considered the glyph sheet that they had received from production to be the equivalent of an alphabet sheet, and were creating words and phrases on the pieces that they were working on. Arp was originally going to make the display say something, but Alec Gillis wanted him to try to match the glyphs as closely as possible to what was shown in an animatic for a scene near the end, where Dallas is using the Plasma Pistol. Although he had originally planned to make the glyphs say "OK POW!", what "D48thRonin" ended up with corresponded on the glyph sheet to "AJFRW". He did, however, put his family name — "ARP" — and "ADI" (an acronym for Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc.) along the back of the grip.
- Aliens versus Predator
- Aliens versus Predator 2/Primal Hunt
- Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
- Predators: Beating the Bullet
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Aliens versus Predator 2 (2001), Monolith Productions, Sierra Entertainment, Fox Interactive [Microsoft Windows].
- ↑ Prepare for War: The Making of AVP:R
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Shane Salerno (writer), The Brothers Strause (directors). Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem (2007), 20th Century Fox [DVD].
- ↑ Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem Premium Trading Cards - 78. The World Isn't Ready
- ↑ Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr., Chris Ayers. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem: Inside the Monster Shop, p. 124 (2007), Design Studio Press.
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Sideshow AVP-R Predator plasma cannon". Retrieved on Feburary 23, 2015.