The kid's name was Frank, I believe. And that pic is definitely him. He wore that armor to a local club one Halloween night and won a grand, if my memory serves me correctly. I wasn't aware that he was Link's buddy, but that's cool...small world! Is he on the forums here, by chance? If not, he should be. He put a lot of work into that needler and I am sure many people could benefit from his know-how. I just loved the idea of using real crystals in that prop and it looks great lit up. I have yet to see a better one.
Frank told me that he made it himself...whether or not Link helped him or not, I don't know. Here is another pic with a wickedlaser in it (www.wickedlasers.com). His girlfriend is holding it and doesn't look too enthused
I shot the guy that made this an email. It was almost two years ago that I last spoke to him, but I invited him to the forum (and this thread specifically) in hopes that he can share some info with the community.
I got in touch with Frank and he is going to join the forums here. He is the guy that made that 9' tall Gold Elite Costume that was featured on Bungie.org recently. He was happy that there was still interest in his Needler, as well.