I started collecting memorabilia when I was in my 30’s. It started with the toy phasers, ships and movie posters. Then it moved into replica props and costumes, and then to the dark side... screen-used props and costumes. I am now 45 and I own screen-used items from Stargate, The Chronicles of Riddick, Space Above and Beyond, and, of course, Star Trek. My favorite and coolest prop is my screen-used Borg alcove from First Contact and Voyager. Out of all the characters and bad guys from the show, the Borg were my favorite. The alcove is a big hit in my home theater. People always want their picture taken in it.
Collecting isn't merely buying stuff you love; it's more about sharing the stuff you love with your friends who collect. I would not have the collection I have if it were not for all my friends I have made in this hobby, especially Alec Peters and Andy Girdaro. Alec, a fellow collector and the CEO of Propworx, hooked me up with the Borg alcove and Borg wall. The alcove came from the Star Trek: The Experience asset sale Propworx conducted in 2010. It was pretty beat up. None of the lights worked and they had to be completely rewired. A lot of the vacuumed formed pieces were coming off and had to be glued back on. All the white Plexiglas had to be replaced. The plasma dish was completely destroyed. Luckily, I’d bought a few spare plasma dishes when the movie came out, just in case I needed one on the off chance I ever got a real alcove. You think I am kidding, but I’m not.
But what's the point of having an alcove if you don't have a Borg to put in it?
My buddy Andy Gidaro and I had built a TNG-style Borg years ago. And when I say we, I mean he built it. I don't have any skills. Andy is an amazing sculptor and 3D artist. We took a mannequin, put a lycra body suit on it, along with different types of sports padding; baseball, field hockey, stuff like that. We searched out a lot of cool-looking toys, model kits and things from the auto parts store, such as vacuum hose and wire looms, just like any good prop house would do. We took the parts and glued them on the pads and then painted them black with airbrushing and dry brushing silver and brass highlights. Then we glued the armor right onto the mannequin. It looked great.
I then saw the Borg in First Contact and was blown away by how menacing they appeared to be. So I had to have one for the alcove; an old TNG Borg just wouldn't do. I tried to buy a Borg suit at a couple of the Star Trek auctions, but there were pretty pricey and a lot of them were already falling apart, as they’d been made out of latex rubber. The next plan was to have my Andy sculpt the armor right onto a mannequin. But the time, money and shipping were just not feasible. So I did what they would do in Hollywood: I recycled a prop.
It took Andy about a week to sculpt the head, make a mold, cast it and get it painted. It took him about a day to put the Borg arm together. The arm is a toy Robocop arm from the 80's, with a bunch of stuff added to it and then painted. Next, I took my TNG Borg and cut off his head. I then attached the head that Andy sculpted onto the old Borg's body. I purchased a Star Trek: The Experience/First Contact-style Federation uniform through Propworx. The uniform was made by the people who made them for the show, using the correct material. FYI, I think Propworx may still have some left. I put the uniform on over the TNG Borg and used scissors and a serrated knife to cut and shred the uniform where the armor pieces were. I was going for the "Borg-in-transition" look. It could use some more tearing up and some airbrushing, but that can always be done later.
The finished product is pretty amazing-looking and it makes a great centerpiece for my collection. Overall, this was a fun project that involved both collecting and prop building. I am quite pleased with the results. Check out the pictures and tell me, What do you think?