HeroComm is an excellent website dedicated to providing fans of Star Trek with a tremendous library and resource dedicated to the study, authentication, and celebration of the classic communicator prop from the Original Series. Both the presentation and the research on display is fantastic, and I applaud the efforts to bring clarity to the marketplace of another area in which replicas have been passed off as authentic.
Website Name: HeroComm
Website URL: http://www.herocomm.com/
Website Description: “The premiere Star Trek classic communicator information center – for Collectors, Hobbyists, and Historians”
Website Owner/Admin: “The Chang Gang” (a “large anonymous group of Trek enthusiasts”)
Type of Website: Star Trek Prop Information Research, Resource, and Library
Subject Matter/Focus: Star Trek: The Original Series Props, the communicator specifically
Access/Membership/Participation Requirements: Publicly viewable website
Participant Overview: N/A
Content/Functionality: The website provides areas dedicated to the history of the communicator, extensive information and photos about the 10 copies that were produced of this specific prop, a biography of the creator Wah Ming Chang, an image database, a guide for creating a replica version of the prop, and other features.
Presentation/Quality: The HeroComm site features a very well-organized and intuitive layout and functionality and is very easy to use. The design is very well done and of a very high professional quality.
Time in Service: September 8, 2006
Updates/Activity: This reference site appears to be updated regularly
My Experience & Personal Review:
This is an outstanding resource for Star Trek original prop collectors, and really quite informative for anyone interested in either Star Trek as a television series or collecting original or replica props. There is an absolute wealth of information. I personally do not know much at all about original Star Trek props, but the site is a fascinating read. It is immediately apparent how much work and effort has been put into the resource to help fellow collectors and bring clarity to the marketplace for this particular piece (the classic communicator). This really serves as a model for great things in the hobby.
Below is the mission statement from the site:
HeroComm is a free and open library of all knowledge that can be gathered on The Original Series Star Trek classic communicator prop. By pursuing truth and accuracy, we endeavor here to sort fact from fiction, history from hearsay, and originals from fakes. We wish to peel back the veil of mystery and misinformation that has shrouded this topic for decades – and to be a force only for good. Our primary end goal is two-fold: to honor its creator Wah Ming Chang by assisting hobbyists in building faithfully accurate replica props (recognizing that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery), and to aid in locating, authenticating, and preserving those actual communicators he built.
We are advocates of the creation, whether home-grown or licensed mass produced, of ever-more accurate replicas – hopefully advancing the day when anyone can easily build or buy copies that wouldn’t look out of place on Wah’s workbench. However, because forgeries (the dark side of that aspiration) have been a serious impediment to the simple enjoyment of TOS comms, a great deal of caution has seemingly been exercised by past researchers in how much information they make public. This has only in turn allowed the forgers and their agents to continue their work unimpeded, since collectors and hobbyists had no resources to help them to confidently accept or reject a seller’s claim. Illicit behavior of any nature always operates best in an environment of ignorance and darkness. Given this awareness, HeroComm has a different approach: turning on the lights by fully educating everyone up to the same high level. This may not eliminate the damage done by forgers or current purveyors of fakes, but it will hopefully make your life just a little bit easier, and theirs a heck of a lot harder.
Still, in recognition of the still-current messy reality, some details of those comm props still unaccounted-for will be withheld. This is to provide us with a superior footing on which to offer an opinion of any contender’s validity. We will energetically work towards a time when all ten are considered found, and yet proceed with all due respect and discretion in appreciation of the unique needs that comes with ownership of such a rare, valuable, and iconic artifact of our modern culture.
The associates and collaborators at not-for-profit HeroComm have gathered as a non-competitive anonymous partnership of Star Trek prop enthusiasts in open sharing of our abilities and knowledge to advance these common goals for the benefit of everyone. We hope to mesh serious scholarship with a lighthearted sense of adolescent fun, since after all, our focus is just a small plastic box from an old TV show we watched as kids. A final point; the creation of this website is more than merely building a database; it is in equal measure about building mutually beneficial and enjoyable relationships. If you agree with our mission and our means, and have something to contribute, we would heartily welcome your assistance.
Signed, The Chang Gang
As readers of the OPB know, I am a strong proponent of sharing information with collectors with regards to specific properties that have been found to be problematic in the marketplace, so I can support the efforts made with this group and their website in providing the results of research with fellow collectors.
I’ve actually had discussions with someone about the “anonymity factor” of the website. This is one rare instance (the only one I can think of) in which I would say I do not have an issue with that in this case. I personally have no idea who participates in the management of this resource. But the information appears to be so well researched and presented, it really speaks for itself, and the group is highly regarded in the Star Trek community. Though anonymous, they are accessible and open to Q&A. I would recommend also checking out the discussions on the Trek Prop Zone forum and the “HeroComm Q and A” discussion topic. Much of the content of these and other discussion forum topics are well archived on the HeroComm site as well (see “Our Board Postings“).
In any event, this website is highly recommended.
Jason De Bord