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Scaramanga Special

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No wonder he charges a million a shot.

What do you get when you combine IKEA Weaponry with your Shoe Phone? A really bad hotfoot. Also, a Scaramanga Special, a.k.a. the infamous Golden Gun; a custom weapon that is designed such that it can pass for a collection of mundane items when taken apart. A device like this is a step above a concealed weapon, as it is intended to pass even a full security screening and frisking.

If you're using firearms, the weapon itself is just a platform made of inert metal. Getting the ammunition — which will certainly contain chemical explosives — past effective security will be key.

Or, perhaps try a weapon based on gas pressure, springs, or a tiny crossbow, and have it rely on poison rather than impact.

These special weapons are designed in one of two different ways:

Put Together: Various components which may either be functional (eg: a cigarette lighter) or merely cosmetic (eg: a hood ornament) by themselves but they can be put together so it will function as a weapon.

Transformable: The weapon can be adjusted by either disassembling it or by manual manipulation to become something else (functional or cosmetic).

Despite the name, this trope does NOT refer to the ability of the Golden Gun in the GoldenEye FPS to kill in a single shot, even though the Golden Gun in question is named in honor of the Trope Namer. The gun itself was only really lethal because Christopher Lee's character was hyper-accurate. For golden guns in general, see Bling-Bling-BANG!.

Differs from Improvised Weapon: these are things used as weapons that may or may not normally be used in that fashion.

Also not to be confused with Swiss-Army Weapon, Shapeshifter Weapon, Gun Accessories, or Morph Weapon.


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Put Together:

    Anime & Manga 
  • Duke Togo, a.k.a. Golgo 13, has been known to use one of these on rare occasions, usually when dealing with particularly paranoid individuals. In Episode 34, he carries out an assassination with a gun created by combining a fountain-pen and several pieces that he had cast on the spot, using a building-model as containers and a specially-prepared bulletproof vest for the material — and just for added kicks, the soft alloy could be dissolved in a conveniently-placed bucket of hot soup. Thus, he took this trope a step farther than the rest of the examples, by assembling and disassembling his gun on the MOLECULAR level...
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, Johngalli A. assembles a sniper rifle with which he attempts to kill Jotaro and Jolyne by smuggling it inside the prison disguised as pieces of his walking cane.

    Comic Books 
  • In a Mickey Mouse Comic Universe story Goofy had gotten his leg twisted and he was using a crutch he happened to have lying around which had belonged to a relative of his. At one point the crutch gets accidentally broken, and as Mickey is putting it back together he notices that there are bullets in the top support, and he accidentally assembles it into its "rifle" configuration.

    Fan Works 
  • In Discworld fic Fresh Pair of Eyes by A.A. Pessimal, a student Assassin with an oddly familiar name scores a rare victory over her teachers with a prohibited bow — used to fire an attached explosive Device. The students were utterly prohibited from bringing anything more lethal than a pocket-knife on a field trip. But Natasha Romanoff smuggles in a bow plus arrows. She gets away with it as all a casual observer will see are the struts, frame, and ties of as perfectly-normal seeming rucksack. Disassembled and rebuilt, they become a small collapsible bow. Plus arrows. Granted, Natasha gets the Vimes Run as punishment. But it's worth it for having got one over Miss Band and Miss Smith-Rhodes.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien: Resurrection featured a number of hidden weapons, including a shotgun assembled from components concealed as parts of high-tech wheelchair.
  • The first assassination done by Carlos in CAT Squad is with a rifle that is built from various innocent items that reside in a toolbox; including a spray can, a flashlight, and a clamp.
  • Perhaps the Ur-example on film is in The Day of the Jackal. See the literature example for details.
  • eXistenZ: The "gristle gun" is assembled from bones and fires teeth.
  • In In the Line of Fire, Mitch Leary smuggles a gun made out of plastic to a dinner speech by the president. The only metal parts are the two bullets that he hides in a rabbit's foot keychain and two springs disguised as part of a pen and pencil set. He trains himself to put it together without looking too, so he can appear even more non-threatening as he assembles it under the table. In an interesting twist, in real life, the ATF had the actual (fully functional) weapon destroyed, because it violated the Undetectable Firearms Act (this law is why the modern Liberator pistol contains a 3-ounce chunk of metal that serves no actual function). The prop one was left intact, and IIRC is on display.
  • In Licence to Kill, Q provides James Bond with a sniper rifle that looks like a high-end camera and accessories when disassembled.
  • The James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun is the Trope Namer and Trope Maker. Scaramanga has a gun that can be assembled from a pen, a cigarette case, a lighter, and a cuff link, all gold-plated. This allows him to carry his weapon of choice on commercial flights. It was custom made by an underground gunsmith and fires gold bullets in a non-standard caliber that he wears in his belt buckle. The material allows him to carry it through metal detectors and airport security. He's mastered the process to a degree he doesn't even need to be looking at it—at one point he discreetly assembles the weapon while staring down Bond without the latter even noticing. In the novel that the film was based on, he just uses a gold-plated Colt Single Action Army.
    • Notably, the weapon not only didn't function as depicted but would be impossible to function. The pen and lighter had to be gutted of their working parts, the lighter itself was a custom model sized differently to fit the rest, the cigarette case had the lid blocked from opening by the locking mechanism, and the cufflink trigger didn't work as a cufflink. All of the "disassembled" pieces that Scaramanga used were separate commercial products and the prop gun was divided between a non-firing model that could be assembled and disassembled, a solid stunt gun, and a firing model that detonated percussion caps in the barrel for muzzle flash.
  • The ending sequence of Mission: Impossible features one of these wielded by Jim Phelps.
  • This trope shows up in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, with three sniper rifles. One is made from a bass flute, another from various banister pieces, and the last from a pair of billy clubs.
  • In Vu, the Professional Killer Johnny Pollack had an umbrella convertible into a gun (the handle turns into the buttstock), with attached scope and suppressor. Until it got bent.

  • Chakona Space: In one chapter of the "Flight of the Star Phoenix" sub-series, a group of hijackers pulls this off in conjunction with slow chargers for the energy pistol's power cells to further avoid detection by the ship's crew.
  • Darksaber, one of the Star Wars Legends novels, has an Imperial warlord attempt to kill Admiral Daala with a knife after she poisoned an entire gathering of other such warlords with neurotoxic gas. Impressive, not only for having the knife be made up of several of his "decorative" medals, but for him having the presence of mind to immediately start assembling it as soon as he realizes he, and everyone but Daala and her assistant, have been gassed. She even gives him an appreciative look of respect as he approaches. He manages to make it to within a single step of her, but by that point, it is too late.
  • The Jackal's gun from the original novel and first film of The Day of the Jackal was built into and assembled from parts of the crutch that formed part of his disguise as a war veteran, which he used to get close enough to, and try to assassinate General de Gaulle. The later film remake just had a big machine gun built into the back of an estate car.
  • The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Demontage featured, as part of its James Bond pastiche, an assassin disguised as a wineglass salesman, whose sample glasses could be transformed into a knife and a single-shot gun — neither of which would set off metal detectors.
  • The Gordon R. Dickson SF story Hilifter (1963) has this pre-Scaramanga pistol: "Whistling a little mournfully, he began to make the next best use of his pile of property. He unscrewed the nib and cap off his long, gold fountain pen, took out the ink cartridge, and laid the tube remaining aside. He removed his belt and the buckle from the belt. The buckle, it appeared, clipped on to the fountain pen tube in somewhat the manner of a pistol grip. He reached in his mouth, removed a bridge covering from the second premolar to the second molar, and combined this with a small metal throwaway dispenser of the sort designed to contain antacid tablets. The two together had a remarkable resemblance to the magazine and miniaturized trigger assembly of a small handgun; and when he attached them to the buckle-fountain-pen-tube combination the resemblance became so marked as to be practically inarguable."
  • The Frederick Forsyth thriller novel The Fourth Protocol (1984) features a Nuclear Bomb fitting this trope. Components are either concealed in or disguised as everyday items (including a rubber ball and a transistor radio, as shown in the film version) as they are smuggled in.
  • In Gorky Park, Investigator Arkady Renko finds a gun disguised as various innocent-looking objects packed in a visiting American's baggage. Of course, he never would have thought to try piecing random objects together into a gun if it weren't for the fact that the American chose such an odd selection to pack.
  • Timothy Zahn's Quadrail Series:
    • It features a set of three very valuable ancient sculptures. When assembled, they form a gun that's undetectable as a weapon by the sensors of the titular transport system.
    • The first book has this in reverse: non-functional decorative plastic guns (used as a stand-in for the real ones which are a mark of status for a certain species)note  are disassembled and revealed to hide the pieces for highly effective melee weapons.
    • In Cobra Strike, book 2 of Zahn's Cobra trilogy, one of the characters carries a holdout gun assembled from a pen, ring and watch.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in an episode of Angie Tribeca, where a sniper struggles to put together a rifle he bought from OKEA (an IKEA parody). When he finally assembles the gun, he forgot to put in the trigger. Since his target is about to leave the building, the sniper resorts to knocking on the office door and bludgeoning the guy with a heavy pipe.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Midnight on the Firing Line", Londo had one of these disguised component weapons which he assembled to kill G'Kar. Garibaldi finds out and convinces him not to go through with it. Furthermore, Garibaldi warns him that he will search the ambassador's quarters for weapons, and you don't doubt that he would be able to spot the parts assembly of the gun if he found the pieces.
  • Two appear in CSI: NY. One perp fashions a gun out of a steering wheel lock; another from various items including a souvenir ink pen.
  • The Rider Gears from Kamen Rider 555. A cell phone serves as both a gun and a Transformation Trinket, a digital camera turns into a Power Fist, the handle on a motorcycle becomes the hilt for a Laser Blade, and a laser pointer shoots out an energy drill for the Rider Kick. Kamen Rider Delta has the Transformation Trinket, gun, and energy drill-shooter all combined into a single unit made out of a voice-activated cell phone and a miniature camcorder.
  • Dr. Bashir uses one in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Our Man Bashir". No surprise, given that the episode is an homage to over-the-top action hero Derek Flint, and to some extent James Bond.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Heart of Glory", the Klingons Korris and Konmel were able to break out of the Enterprise brig by assembling a kit-form disruptor from their belts and other parts of their uniforms. It's only good for a few shots, after which Korris picks up one of the dead guard's phasers.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech has a few instances of weapons reassembled from their disguise as innocuous items. One particularly creative example in the canon had a belt, a hairbrush, and a suitcase convert into a katana. It used the hairbrush handle for the grip, the belt buckle for the handguard, the length of the belt for the sheath, and a specially cut and sharpened piece of metal hidden as the bottom of the suitcase for the blade.
  • Shadowrun
    • Ka•Ge magazine Volume 1 Issue 12. The Century 220ZX is a 9mm light pistol that disassembles into a cigarette case, a pen, a lighter, a ring, and either a brooch or a cufflink. It can be assembled in under 10 seconds.
    • Cannon Companion supplement. The SA Puzzler light pistol and the WW Infiltrator heavy pistol can be broken down into pieces that resemble jewelry and other commonly available items. They can be disassembled or re-assembled in thirty seconds.
  • Starfinder has the "Breakdown" Special Weapon Property, allowing a weapon to be broken down or reassembled in a single minute either way. This is not to be confused with "Deconstruct", which does the same thing to your enemies without the "reassemble" part.
  • FASA's Star Trek: The Roleplaying Game supplement Star Trek: The Next Generation First Year Sourcebook. The Klingons have a concealable disruptor that can be broken down into pieces that look like parts of a warrior's uniform (belt buckle, boot tips, buttons, etc.). The pieces can be re-assembled into a complete operational weapon in less than three minutes.

    Video Games 
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II: The pistols used by the terrorists on the airplane in the after-credits scene are assembled from metal components concealed in flashlights, in their safety belts, on necklaces, and 3D-printed plastic pieces simply hidden on their persons. The magazines are hidden in the in-flight meals.
  • In Mass Effect 3, the M-358 Talon is used as one of these by Cerberus, whose operatives smuggle the components to the Citadel to use when Cerberus attempts to take over the station.

    Web Comics 
  • Liege Fablulo of the Insecticomics is actually a sentient version of this. By himself, he's a fluffy dancer with no common sense at all, but when combined with his Mini-Cons he becomes a cold killer.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Task Force X", Deadshot carries a ceramic pistol whose parts were carried in candy bar wrappers.


    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien: Resurrection has a gun disguised as a thermos.
  • Darkman features a villain with a submachine gun built into his artificial leg.
  • Desperado: the main character calls his two buddies who also wear black and carry guitar cases, but their cases don't contain guns, they are guns: a machinegun and a rocket launcher.
  • Partial example from Harry Potter: Lucius Malfoy's wand is hidden inside his stylish cane.
  • Judge Dredd, the movie, has a small picture holder box that, if you pull it sideways, becomes a small gun. It's smuggled inside a maximum-security prison.
  • In Licence to Kill, James Bond receives a signature gun from Q disguised as a camera.
  • The juvenile drug dealer Hob's submachine gun in RoboCop 2. The gun is real.
  • In This Gun for Hire, the Anti-Hero is making the Big Bad write out a confession. The Big Bad does so — but it turns out his pen is also a fancy gun. He shoots at the Anti-Hero, misses, and promptly dies of a heart attack.

  • The sequel to The Teddy Bear Habit involves a crutch loaded with a spring-loaded dart launcher.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls has the storyteller, Richard, carrying a cane that is also a gun, and has a secret knife blade which can be released to use as a long dagger when he's out of bullets.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The A-Team two-part episode "The Bend in the River", South American river pirate "El Cajon" has a Sawn-Off Shotgun inside his prosthetic leg, firing out of his heel.
  • CSI: "All In" features a large decorative belt buckle that is actually a functional .22 derringer. The original owner, a collectibles dealer, wore it as a hold-out gun.
  • The Deadliest Warrior episode "KGB vs CIA" was made of this, showcasing an exploding cigar, an exploding film roll, a shoe knife, a suitcase gun, and a camera gun.
  • In Michael Palin travelogue Himalaya, Palin visits the town of Darra, where gun manufacturing is the big industry. He goes to a gunsmith's shop and, while examining the merchandise, makes a joke about a James Bond-style pen gun. The gunsmith promptly shows him an actual pen gun, which can fire a .22-caliber round and also can be used as a functional pen.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Star Wars: Saga Edition RPG has a modification called componentization, which allows a weapon or other piece of equipment to be broken down into pieces that appeared to be (and had at least limited functionality as) other devices.

  • In the early 1960's, Mattel jumped on the James Bond craze with a toy line called "Agent Zero M". These included a transistor radio, movie camera, still camera (called the "Snap-Shot"), and switchblade — none of which really worked, but could all turn into cap guns.

    Video Games 
  • Bloodborne: The Threaded Cane is a downplayed example: it looks like a walking cane from a long distance, is a sword with a walking cane's handle and a spear's tip, and if you trigger its transformation ability it turns into a bladed whip that is clearly not ceremonial.
  • Though it doesn't appear in the game proper, the manual for Crusader: No Regret mentioned a nanotech pistol that could turn into a functioning cell phone and back. In the game, this was used to turn furniture into hostile mechs.
  • The Laptop Gun from Perfect Dark can turn into a laptop. However, it can also turn into a wall sentry. Very useful in multiplayer games (and the target tests at the Carrington Institute's firing range).
    • According to the in-game description, it's an imperfect disguise. The laptop works, but has only a fraction of the memory it should. Just enough to foil the 'please turn it on' test, as well as some minor poking about. The game itself admits that under serious examination the facade will fall apart in short order.
  • The final case in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies features a small-caliber lighter gun, which is very significant in deducing the identity of the killer as an undercover spy.

    Western Animation 
  • In one Ćon Flux episode, Trevor has a pistol that collapses into a cuboid shape to look like a cigarette case.

    Real Life 
  • The Sword Cane. The sword and sheath are combined to make a cane.
  • The CIA had some weird and wonderful concealed weapons, including:
    • A cigarette gun.
    • A pen gun.
    • A suitcase gun.
    • Exploding flour which, when made into bread or cakes, could be kneaded back down into plastic explosive once you got past Customs. — read "CIA Special Weapons & Equipment: Spy Devices of the Cold War".
  • A foiled terror plot reported a few years back was based around a chemical explosive that was to be mixed in-flight from chemicals carried in toiletry bottles. While it wasn't successful in blowing up a plane, it did cause some terror: airlines and the TSA are now afraid of soap.
  • Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov was assassinated while in exile in London when someone (most likely an agent of the Bulgarian Secret Police) shot a metal pellet fillet with ricin into him, possibly with an umbrella. To this day, "Bulgarian umbrellas" are something of a running joke in political and intelligence circles.
  • There is a reasonably convincing-looking cell phone gun.
    • It's a spin-off of the early 90s Beeper Gun, which got its inventor arrested when he tried to market it to businessmen as a hold-out piece because he didn't have the correct permits.
  • During WW2, M.I.9 (the intelligence directorate charged with supporting agent operations in Europe and assisting British POW's make home runs out of captivity) devised weapons including a fountain pen that could fire spring-loaded darts. These were used as nuisance weapons against German soldiers operating in occupied France, although the possibility that the darts could be poison-tipped was also there. And the pens could also be used to write with, helping them to pass superficial examination if the carrier was detained and searched. Other weapons included incendiary bombs concealed inside rat and rabbit corpses, things fastidious Germans would pass by and shudder at. The warped genius in charge of M.I.9's weapons division was later written whole and unaltered into the James Bond novels as Q-Branch, and later, Q himself.
  • This is part of the rationale behind the use of binary chemical weapons, one prominent example will be the Novichok series of nerve agents, which had as one of their goals to be undetectable and able to bypass NATO inspections; one strategy to achieve this was to have the agent be produced as the mix or reaction of two materials "legal" under the Chemical Weapons Treaty and combining them just before use.
    • This may actually have been used in earnest in a mysterious attack on a Russian defector in Salisbury, England in 2018. The above arguments explain how the stuff might have got into Britain undetected. British authorities identified novichok as the chemical agent used. Controversy, arguments, and counterarguments continue.
  • The Ideal Conceal is a collapsible self-defense pistol whose profile resembles a smartphone when folded up in a pocket, making it very easy to conceal. Beyond the predictable freaking out from journalists and politicians, even the gun-savvy have pointed out that as nifty as it is, the slower deployment from having to unfold the weapon is a pretty big drawback that cancels out the ease of concealment.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Golden Gun


The Man with the Golden Gun

[Trope Namer] Francisco Scaramanga assembles his signature Golden Gun from various mundane items made of gold and uses it to kill Hai Fat.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScaramangaSpecial

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