For a while a guy was listing MIB examples of this gun on eBay every week or so. Selling for between $125-$150. Stupid me didn't pick one up when I had the chance, now they're not as common. They do pop up from time to time, though, often with both pingpong balls, the empty container of firing crystals, and the box. I definitely want one without the sticker... So I'm biding my time. One of these days I'll snag one.
The broken one was listed as mint... I dunno, I'm kind of glad I wasn't even able to take the risk on the orange one. Something about this seller is weird. I don't think he's DISHONEST, but the private auction, the poorly described other gun, the different quoted prices... Eh, I'll wait for the next one. Maybe. ;-)
Brian -- It was originally released as a toy, but even back then they realized it was kind of insane to give little Timmy a functioning cannon to play with. So the company slapped a sticker on it and turned it into a dog training device. Today, you can find it with and without the sticker.
Don't forget the bronze one. It's a legit variation -- I know a collector who has one. It's definitely a rarer variation, though, and I haven't seen many.
Oh, and the one on eBay is the real deal. The discoloration you're seeing, Alessandro, is an illustion caused by the photography and the way the light reflects off the slightly worn edges of the fins. I won the auction and once it shows up I'll post some better photos.
So that makes:
Metallic Blue w/silver trigger
Silver w/Blue trigger
Metallic Blue w/blue trigger (I've seen one -- almost won it but didn't bid enough)
Yellow w/Red trigger
Red w/Yellow trigger
Bronze w/Bronze trigger
I also have a test-shot that's all yellow.
And I'd guess there are silver versions with silver triggers, though I can't remember having seen one.
I've spoken to an expert on Thomas Toys, a guy who was friends with Islyn Thomas himself and who wrote a book about plastic toys, and he told me he suspects the red and yellow versions might be British. Thomas Toys was started by Islyn after he came over to the U.S. from Wales. Prior to that, he and his brother started Poplar Plastics in the U.K. Apparently, the two companies would often share molds, and it's known that many Thomas toys were produced overseas as Poplar toys. He thinks that might have been the case with the candy-colored guns.
I also know that every instance of Bronze gun that I've seen has come from U.K. sellers. Not definitive proof of anything, but I'd guess the Bronze ones were produced overseas in association with Poplar, too. Just a guess, though. I plan on reaching out to the guy I know to see if he has any further thoughts.
It's a neat toy. I'd like to get some of the candy colored ones -- I've now got all three standard metallic versions, as well as a bagged example and the prototype. Anyone have a yellow or red one they're looking to sell? :)