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[pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

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[pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#1 Post by SurrealMustard » Tue Nov 17, 2015 1:36 pm

I was perusing eBay today and saw an unusual W500 that caught my eye. It looked like a standard model at first, but upon more closely examining the pictures, it would appear that this particular unit has a custom palmrest and back cover that features a white Windows emblem instead of the typical ThinkPad branding (see the listing or the link to my TinyPic album at the bottom of the post for full-resolution pictures):

Image

Image

A web search led me to a thread in which someone mentioned a ThinkPad W500 being used as a prop on the TV series "CHUCK". Upon more closely examining the pictures in the OP, one can see the white inscription above the left hinge is identical to the one in the listing (thumbnailed below)! :o Could this be the actual prop?

Image

Here's the link to the TinyPic album with full resolution pictures from the listing (in case the listing becomes unavailable): http://tinypic.com/a/2cgih3/3

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:39 pm

That W500 has these specs:
4063-WMJ T9600(2.8GHz), 4GB RAM, 200GB 7200rpm FDE HD, 15.4in 1920x1200 LCD, 512MB ATI FireGL V5700, CDRW/DVDRW, AT&T WWAN, Modem, 1Gb Ethernet, UltraNav, Secure Chip, Fingerprint reader, 9c Li-Ion, WinVista Ultimate 32

The flags on both lid and palmrest look sprayed-on.
Never seen a palmrest without IBM or Lenovo logo, although methinks any prop-maker worth his/her money could do such a mod.
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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#3 Post by MrMaguire » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:44 pm

Very interesting! Buy it!

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#4 Post by 600X » Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:56 pm

It may simply be one of the Microsoft advertisment models. Back in the day, especially around 2009 and 2010, a number of ThinkPads were officially customized with Windows logos. Some designs were quite radical, such as the neon orange X301. The X301 and T400s/T410s were the most common ThinkPads to be selected as advertising models but I would not be surprised if models like the W500 were chosen as well.

Considering the price and rarity of a custom unit like this one, I am tempted to buy it myself. However, I can't possibly own a laptop with a giant windows symbol on the palmrest and lid. That would be blasphemous.
Last edited by 600X on Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: microsoft advertisement

#5 Post by SurrealMustard » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:14 pm

600X wrote:It may simply be one of the Microsoft advertisment models. Back in the day, especially around 2009 and 2010, a number of ThinkPads were officially customized with Windows logos. Some designs were quite radical, such as the neon orange X301. The X301 and T400s/T410s were the most common ThinkPads to be seclected as advertising models but I would not be surprised if models like the W500 were chosen as well.
Interesting. I'd never seen anything like that outside of product placement on TV shows. Did these special advertisement models have that strange inscription above the left hinge (I can't actually read what it says or even tell if it is text at all from the episode nor from the picture in the eBay listing)?
600X wrote: Considering the price and rarity of a custom unit like this one, I am tempted to buy it myself. However, I can't possibly own a laptop with a giant windows symbol on the palmrest and lid. That would be blasphemous.
MrMaguire wrote:Very interesting! Buy it!
I wouldn't mind it myself, especially if I could tell my peers that it was used by an actor on TV :) , but given the risk (the listing says that it has a "very dim screen"; not sure if that is because the brightness is just turned down or if something is actually wrong with it), I might have to pass.
RealBlackStuff wrote: The flags on both lid and palmrest look sprayed-on.
Never seen a palmrest without IBM or Lenovo logo, although methinks any prop-maker worth his/her money could do such a mod.
How would they get rid of the original, recessed decals?

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#6 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:30 pm

Remove the decal, fill up the hole with liquid wood or plastic, smooth it out and give it a touch of paint (or spray the whole palmrest, who knows?).
An artistic person could easily do a great job there.

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#7 Post by MrMaguire » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:33 pm

What RealBlackStuff said.

For $89, I'd say it's worth the risk.

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Re: microsoft advertisement

#8 Post by 600X » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:59 pm

SurrealMustard wrote: Did these special advertisement models have that strange inscription above the left hinge (I can't actually read what it says or even tell if it is text at all from the episode nor from the picture in the eBay listing)?
Maybe. The main feature is obviously a large Windows logo and in some cases a bright, colorful exterior.
SurrealMustard wrote: I wouldn't mind it myself, especially if I could tell my peers that it was used by an actor on TV :) , but given the risk (the listing says that it has a "very dim screen"; not sure if that is because the brightness is just turned down or if something is actually wrong with it), I might have to pass.
If you are used to tinkering with ThinkPads then you won't even bat an eye over issues like a dim screen. Basically, as long as the motherboard itself boots to the BIOS, it's in a perfectly good condition to me. I've been looking for a candidate to fit the Dell M4400 RGB LED screen into. Although this W500 is suitable, I am currently preoccupied with other mods and don't have the budget left for importing a W500.
SurrealMustard wrote: How would they get rid of the original, recessed decals?
If it is a Microsoft advert unit then Lenovo will have simply provided them with the appropriate parts.
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more pictures in the album

#9 Post by SurrealMustard » Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:15 pm

If anyone's interested, I've added a few 720p-ish HD screengrabs from the episode to the Tinypic album. Especially in the last one, you can almost see the inscription above the hinge, but there's still not enough detail.

600X wrote: If you are used to tinkering with ThinkPads then you won't even bat an eye over issues like a dim screen. Basically, as long as the motherboard itself boots to the BIOS, it's in a perfectly good condition to me. I've been looking for a candidate to fit the Dell M4400 RGB LED screen into. Although this W500 is suitable, I am currently preoccupied with other mods and don't have the budget left for importing a W500.
I totally get that; I mean, if it just needs something simple like an inverter (or the LED equivalent if it is LED-backlit) then that'd be fine, but if the panel is on its way out, that's a bit more expensive.

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#10 Post by 91011 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:35 pm

These custom MS laptops were done by Colorware: http://www.colorware.com/
I’ve read they were made for the MS sales department but have no way to confirm that.
Had never seen the W500 version but have seen pictures of a red and a blue x301.
Several years ago I acquired a gloriously ugly, purple x301 – photo gallery link below.
Have since put in a SU9600 MB and a newer LCD – was actually using it earlier today.

Click for larger image.
Image Image

Image Image

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#11 Post by MrMaguire » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:03 pm

I dunno why people always use gloss paint when they refinish plastic electronics. It looks bad.

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photo detail

#12 Post by SurrealMustard » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:15 pm

91011 wrote:These custom MS laptops were done by Colorware: http://www.colorware.com/
I’ve read they were made for the MS sales department but have no way to confirm that.
Had never seen the W500 version but have seen pictures of a red and a blue x301.
Several years ago I acquired a gloriously ugly, purple x301 – photo gallery link below.
Have since put in a SU9600 MB and a newer LCD – was actually using it earlier today.

John
Good find, and nice laptop by the way :) . Not a lot of people can say that they have owned or even ever seen a purple ThinkPad. Interestingly enough, your computer has the same inscription above the left hinge that I've been unable to read from both the TV episode and the eBay listing - does it say "COLORWARE"?

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Re: photo detail

#13 Post by 600X » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:34 pm

SurrealMustard wrote: Interestingly enough, your computer has the same inscription above the left hinge that I've been unable to read from both the TV episode and the eBay listing - does it say "COLORWARE"?
I wouldn't be surprised if they sent the laptops to Colorware just for the windows logo as well. Seems like that W500 really is one of the Microsoft ad units, as the marking above the hinge looks very similar to the that of the purple X301.

My favorite was the metallic blue X301. Sadly, I can't find any pictures of it. I quite like that purple X301 as well though.
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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#14 Post by 91011 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:47 pm

Yes, it says Colorware.
I dunno why people always use gloss paint when they refinish plastic electronics. It looks bad.
The gloss you see is from a very thick layer of clear coat which has done a very good job protecting the paint layer.
I wouldn't be surprised if they sent the laptops to Colorware just for the windows logo as well.
The paint job is so perfect, the laptop must have been totally disassembled prior to painting.
Have never found any overspray or evidence of masking - even on the speaker grills.
The MS logo appears to have been done between the color coat and the clear coat.
X301 -- X201s -- X2faux1s -- X201 -- x230 -- T61 -- T60p -- T42p

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Re: microsoft advertisement

#15 Post by rkawakami » Wed Nov 18, 2015 12:20 am

SurrealMustard wrote:Did these special advertisement models have that strange inscription above the left hinge (I can't actually read what it says or even tell if it is text at all from the episode nor from the picture in the eBay listing)?
If it is text I'll let you know what it says in about 10 days :) .
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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#16 Post by Saucey » Wed Nov 18, 2015 1:35 am

Nice, I was curious why I had to ask the seller for a quote, it looks like it has been sold. 8)
I've seen a few of those colorware ThinkPads, didn't know there was X series ones, thought they were limited to T/R series.

Very cool ThinkPad, 91011. Although the purple does seem like overkill, I have a fondness to it because it reminds me of the alien enemies from the Halo video game series. They would have super glossy purple, green and blue environments.

Looks like this will go to a good home!
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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#17 Post by rkawakami » Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:44 pm

In researching these Windows-branded lids on Thinkpad laptops before I submitted my Buy-It-Now, I ran across a site which supposedly pointed out TV/movie props for sale. It did include a link to this very W500 on eBay but I can't find the site again (my Firefox is set to clear history on shutdown so I lost the search results from yesterday). I did run into the following two examples though:

http://www.istartedsomething.com/200910 ... p-30-rock/ (W500, with what looks like a piano black finish on the lid)
http://hpfansite.com/2011/06/fun-stuff- ... -thinkpad/ (said to be a T410s)

I looked at the Chuck episode (season 3, #13) last night as referenced by the OP via my Netflix account to see if I could get a better view of the system but I didn't see anything useful. I should have this show on DVD but I don't think I'd be able to get any more details from that viewing as all of the scenes of the laptop are dimly lit as that's about the only way you can see anything on the screen. I'll post some detailed pictures on my web site and link to them here when the system arrives. Since I already have a couple of W500 systems, I'll be able to compare them to this Microsoft advertisement. It's been picked up by FedEx in Durham, NC today and is scheduled to be delivered 11/27 at work but that's a holiday for us. So it will either get here on the 25th (not counting on that) or more realistically, on Monday the 30th. I asked the seller yesterday if they had any prior history on the system, specifically if they know it was used as a prop, but have not heard anything from them yet.
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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#18 Post by Hans Gruber » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:55 pm

Nice job Ray. How much was the buy it now price?
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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#19 Post by rkawakami » Thu Nov 19, 2015 1:14 am

Just under $90 with "free" shipping. It's more than I would normally pay for such a system; the last 3 I bought was as a lot for $196. Hopefully the dim screen is an easy fix (turn up the brightness??; swap the screen?). The novelty of it possibly being a Hollywood star could make it worth the extra $$$. I mainly bought it because I was curious about how the Windows/Microsoft branding on the lid and palmrest was done. It won't bother me to be seen with a laptop that has these logos on it as I probably wouldn't leave the house with it :) . In any event, if I get it back up in good shape it will take its place alongside my LG-branded T23 and ex-NASA A31p.
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Good find

#20 Post by SurrealMustard » Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:22 pm

rkawakami wrote:In researching these Windows-branded lids on Thinkpad laptops before I submitted my Buy-It-Now, I ran across a site which supposedly pointed out TV/movie props for sale. It did include a link to this very W500 on eBay but I can't find the site again (my Firefox is set to clear history on shutdown so I lost the search results from yesterday). I did run into the following two examples though:

http://www.istartedsomething.com/200910 ... p-30-rock/ (W500, with what looks like a piano black finish on the lid)
http://hpfansite.com/2011/06/fun-stuff- ... -thinkpad/ (said to be a T410s)

I looked at the Chuck episode (season 3, #13) last night as referenced by the OP via my Netflix account to see if I could get a better view of the system but I didn't see anything useful. I should have this show on DVD but I don't think I'd be able to get any more details from that viewing as all of the scenes of the laptop are dimly lit as that's about the only way you can see anything on the screen. I'll post some detailed pictures on my web site and link to them here when the system arrives. Since I already have a couple of W500 systems, I'll be able to compare them to this Microsoft advertisement. It's been picked up by FedEx in Durham, NC today and is scheduled to be delivered 11/27 at work but that's a holiday for us. So it will either get here on the 25th (not counting on that) or more realistically, on Monday the 30th. I asked the seller yesterday if they had any prior history on the system, specifically if they know it was used as a prop, but have not heard anything from them yet.
Congratulations! If you do find that link, be sure to post it up. And if nothing else, you can always attempt to resell the laptop on ebay for $700 as an "as seen on CHUCK" model :-). Also, nice job on identifying the exact episode; I thought I had mentioned it earlier, but apparently that was not the case.

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#21 Post by MrMaguire » Sat Nov 21, 2015 10:06 am

rkawakami wrote:[...] alongside my LG-branded T23 and ex-NASA A31p.
Any photos?

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#22 Post by rkawakami » Sat Nov 21, 2015 2:52 pm

@MrMaguire:
LG T23 here: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=54501
ex-NASA A31p here: http://forum.thinkpads.com/viewtopic.ph ... 03#p675803

@SurrealMustard:
After following the link you posted about the Chuck sighting, I used the posting date at NBR (April 5th, 2010) to figure out what show it was (Wiki'ed List of Chuck episodes and matched the date to "Chuck Versus the Other Guy"; S3E13). Piece of cake given the date.
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figured

#23 Post by SurrealMustard » Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:40 pm

rkawakami wrote: @SurrealMustard:
After following the link you posted about the Chuck sighting, I used the posting date at NBR (April 5th, 2010) to figure out what show it was (Wiki'ed List of Chuck episodes and matched the date to "Chuck Versus the Other Guy"; S3E13). Piece of cake given the date.
:wink: That's how I figured it out too.

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#24 Post by rkawakami » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:02 pm

Well, FedEx was on the ball this past week. Box delivered at work a couple of hours ago and shipping/receiving finally emailed me to pick it up. Click on the images to get the original, full-sized versions.

Top of system. It's already starting to bug me that the Windows logo is not exactly centered on the lid :) . Logo has a definite paint thickness to it.
Image

Palmrest feels smooth in the right corner and across the entire span of the case, almost as if it's been repainted. Can barely feel the logo. There's a couple of fingerprints on the left side of the palmrest. Might they belong to Zachary Levi?
Image

Looks like somebody put the clear plate on the lid backwards (system is charging and not in standby):
Image

Colorware logo is indeed above the left hinge
Image

"Very dim screen" is an understatement. Either the CCFL is out or the inverter (or fuse) is bad. Can just make out the highlighted text on the BIOS pages if I shine a light on the screen.
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Endorsed by Chuck

#25 Post by SurrealMustard » Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:21 pm

rkawakami wrote:Well, FedEx was on the ball this past week. Box delivered at work a couple of hours ago and shipping/receiving finally emailed me to pick it up. Click on the images to get the original, full-sized versions.

Top of system. It's already starting to bug me that the Windows logo is not exactly centered on the lid :) . Logo has a definite paint thickness to it.
[image omitted]

Palmrest fells smooth in the right corner and across the entire span of the case, almost as if it's been repainted. Can barely feel the logo. There's a couple of fingerprints on the left side of the palmrest. Might they belong to Zachary Levi?
[image omitted]

Looks like somebody put the clear plate on the lid backwards (system is charging and not in standby):
[image omitted]

Colorware logo is indeed above the left hinge
[image omitted]

"Very dim screen" is an understatement. Either the CCFL is out or the inverter (or fuse) is bad. Can just make out the highlighted text on the BIOS pages if I shine a light on the screen.
Nice! That's really interesting that the indicator plate got put on backwards though; it's odd that a shop that would do such a thorough job with everything else would mess up something so trivial, but maybe they just forgot (if this was their first/only ThinkPad in a while, they might not know which way it normally faces).

With the backlight being totally gone, that makes your troubleshooting job a bit more streamlined at least and puts you on a more direct path to untold riches by way of the eBay "stuff used by celebrities" section :D .

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#26 Post by rkawakami » Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:20 pm

I just sent off an email to Colorware Sales support asking if they have any information on this system (who ordered it customized and when). I gave them the serial number in case their records are that complete. I asked if they can't/won't reveal sales information about a specific system, then I requested how many W500 systems they may have done in this manner and when. That particular episode was broadcast April 2010 so it was probably filmed around December 2009. Maybe I can find out an exact date if I dig around some more. The Wiki has a production code associated with each episode but no actual date. The W500 has a date code of (20)09/04 which means it was built before season 3 started production (Aug 2009 by the Wiki reference).

I already ordered two inverters from eBay, just in case the first one I put in blows up :) .
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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#27 Post by Saucey » Wed Nov 25, 2015 12:35 am

Great information and photos!!

Hopefully it is a TV show prop!
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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#28 Post by rkawakami » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:48 am

Here's a quick page I put up with some more (detailed) photos of the system:

http://www.kawakami-ca.com/ColorwareW500/

edit 11/25: Received a reply from Colorware Sales... they said that they make a lot of promotional items for major brands and that they don't know what the laptops are used for or where. They also could not release any information about their customers or orders and that if I wanted specific details about this laptop (I assume they mean if it was used on the TV show), that I should contact the company that purchased it. That's kind of a Catch-22 situation in that if they can't tell me who ordered the customization, I can't ask the appropriate person/company. I can make some guesses as to who to ask:

1) Microsoft. After all, it's their logo plastered on the lid and palmrest but it being a huge company, I'm at a loss on where to start and they probably wouldn't be able to track/identify a single laptop.
2) Lenovo. It could have been one of the promotional units as mentioned by 600X earlier. I know a person there who might be able to help.
3) The production company for Chuck. If I can find out who was responsible for obtaining props for the show, that could be useful.
Ray Kawakami
X22 X24 X31 X41 X41T X60 X60s X61 X61s X200 X200s X300 X301 Z60m Z61t Z61p 560 560Z 600 600E 600X T21 T22 T23 T41 T60p T410 T420 T520 W500 W520 R50 A21p A22p A31 A31p
NOTE: All links to PC-Doctor software hosted by me are dead. Files removed 8/28/12 by manufacturer's demand.

SurrealMustard
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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#29 Post by SurrealMustard » Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:33 pm

rkawakami wrote:Here's a quick page I put up with some more (detailed) photos of the system:

http://www.kawakami-ca.com/ColorwareW500/

edit 11/25: Received a reply from Colorware Sales... they said that they make a lot of promotional items for major brands and that they don't know what the laptops are used for or where. They also could not release any information about their customers or orders and that if I wanted specific details about this laptop (I assume they mean if it was used on the TV show), that I should contact the company that purchased it. That's kind of a Catch-22 situation in that if they can't tell me who ordered the customization, I can't ask the appropriate person/company. I can make some guesses as to who to ask:

1) Microsoft. After all, it's their logo plastered on the lid and palmrest but it being a huge company, I'm at a loss on where to start and they probably wouldn't be able to track/identify a single laptop.
2) Lenovo. It could have been one of the promotional units as mentioned by 600X earlier. I know a person there who might be able to help.
3) The production company for Chuck. If I can find out who was responsible for obtaining props for the show, that could be useful.
Very interesting; it looks like they painted the entire computer with that slightly rubber texture that is normally only on the lid. I hope you figure out where it came from though; did you ever hear back from the eBay seller?

As for the frame at 25:50 where the plate on the back of the lid is actually visible, the shot is too fast and blurry (even when watching that pseudo-720p version) to see if it is upside down or not. I could see if a blu-ray rip could be acquired, but I don't know if that would help.

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Re: [pictures] TV Prop W500 spotted on eBay (maybe)

#30 Post by rkawakami » Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:21 am

No, I did not get any response from the eBay seller. They appear to be a fairly large company and I really wasn't holding out any hope of getting a history on the laptop.

I dug out the Season 3 DVD set, unwrapped it and viewed the episode. Scanned through each scene that contained the W500 and single-stepped frame-by-frame but could not clearly make out the lid plate. I did this on an X60 but I don't think it would make any difference on my HDTV. I did notice that the system in the show still had the Microsoft COA (mine doesn't) and that as far as I could tell, none of the scratches that's now on my lid appear on the show. What I could see of the lid from the DVD looked pretty clean. I also looked through the "deleted scenes" feature on the disk and the W500 was visible one time but not enough to be useful. Now that I think of it, I think this laptop may have appeared on other episodes. If I get some time this holiday weekend, I spin a couple more of the DVDs.

edit: Season 3, episode #16 (Chuck vs. The Tooth) @ 28:20 Colorware logo visible, then a view from the back showing the lid logo and then the screen and bezel with Lenovo (fuzzily) visible.

As of right now, I can't say for certain that I have the prop from the show but I'll continue to look into it.
Ray Kawakami
X22 X24 X31 X41 X41T X60 X60s X61 X61s X200 X200s X300 X301 Z60m Z61t Z61p 560 560Z 600 600E 600X T21 T22 T23 T41 T60p T410 T420 T520 W500 W520 R50 A21p A22p A31 A31p
NOTE: All links to PC-Doctor software hosted by me are dead. Files removed 8/28/12 by manufacturer's demand.

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