#1211: Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge

LT. CMDR. GEORDI LaFORGE

STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT (PLAYMATES)

geordifc1

While I’ve been exposed to Star Trek pretty much my whole life, my only real solid memories of the franchise from my childhood are seeing Star Trek: First Contact in the theatre when it was released (and subsequently getting it on Laserdisc when it came to home video.  For over a decade, that was literally the only way we owned it.  I’d have to fire up the laserdisc player anytime I wanted to watch it.  I’m not joking).  By extension, my first real memories of Star Trek toys are the figures from that movie, which are still some of my favorites.  Today, I’ll be looking at that line’s version of  Enterprise-E’s chief engineer Geordi LaForge!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

geordifc2Geordi was released as part of Playmates’ Star Trek: First Contact line, which hit shelves in early 1996.  The line was noteworthy at the time for abandoning the scale used by all of the prior Playmates Trek figures, opting instead for a larger size.  As such, the figure stands just shy of 6 inches tall.  He sports 14 points of articulation; he and all the other main crew members were given additional thigh swivels, which greatly improved their ability to sit. Of course, the larger scale meant they weren’t compatible with any of the prior vehicles or playsets, so he doesn’t actually have anywhere to sit, but that’s neither here nor there.  Movement is movement.  Prior Trek lines had done their best to give each crew member their own unique body sculpt, but the First Contact figures went for the more obvious shared body idea.  Geordi shares his body with both Data and Picard.  It’s a decent enough sculpt.  The details of the uniform are rather on the simplified side, and they’ve cut down on some things, such as the number of ridges on the grey part, and the seam at the front of the collar.  All of the key details are there, which is good I guess.  Honestly, it’s not that much of a departure from the smaller figures, so I guess the consistency is good.  The build on the body works well enough for Burton (and the other three actors mentioned).  The head sculpt is really big, definitely a bit out of scale with the body.  I don’t think its really any more out of scale than any of the smaller figures, but it’s definitely more noticeable here.  There’s a passable likeness in there, but I can’t say its one of their best (which is kind of a shame, because the First Contact figures overall had some of the best likenesses Playmates produced).  Still, it’s not a bad sculpt, and has some decent texture work, which Playmates didn’t always put on their figures.  The paintwork on Geordi is serviceable.  The body is fairly basic, but it’s clean and the colors are right, so that’s good.  The head has some more in-depth work, and the eyes in particular look really good (Playmates was really good at eyes).  Geordi was packed with an assortment of various gadgets, all molded in black, as well as a display stand shaped like a communicator badge.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Geordi was my second figure from First Contact.  I got him on a day out with my dad, who took me to Toys R Us to get him (and then I think we got lunch and he read me some Norse mythology.  It was a cool day).  I know I specifically requested this figure, because my cousin Noah had one and I really wanted my own.  I remember being surprised that he didn’t include his visor (despite having already seen the movie and knowing he didn’t have it anymore).  He’s not the most thrilling figure, but I have fond memories of getting him, and that certainly goes a long way!

#0480: Captain Picard & Borg Queen

CAPTAIN PICARD & BORG QUEEN

STAR TREK MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates are far and away the most successful of all the Minimate lines, but many other licenses have stepped up to try and take that spot behind it. One such line was Star Trek Minimates, which DST has given a fair stab, without tremendous luck. Pretty much, once the original line moved past the Classic Trek figures, it sort of started to taper off. This meant that the characters from the other series, such as The Next Generation, weren’t fortunate enough to get figures. When the line re-launched under the Legacy banner, it was kicked off with the Captain from each of the series. Sadly, the sales weren’t there, leaving the crews still widely unreleased. So, let’s take a look at the only Next Generation cast member released, Captain Jean Luc Picard and his pack-mate the Borg Queen.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Picard and the Borg Queen were released as part of the specialty half of the first series of Star Trek Legacy Minimates. The two come from Star Trek: First Contact, widely viewed as the best of the Next Gen movies, and my personal favorite of the Trek movies. Like Wrath of Khan, it’s one of the distinctive movies in the franchise, definitely fitting into the Legacy aspect of the series.

CAPTAIN PICARD

Picard is the second of the three Minimate versions of the character. This one’s based on his appearance in his improved movie uniform, which first debuted in First Contact. Not only does he spend the majority of First Contact wearing it, he also wears it in the two films that followed, making it an important look for the character. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches in height and he has 14 points of articulation. Picard is built on the standard Minimate body, with additional pieces for is collar and belt. Both of these pieces are re-uses from previous Trek ‘mates, and they’re pretty well done. The belt is really only practical if you’re storing his phaser, but it can easily be removed when the phaser is elsewhere. Everything else on Picard is handled with paint, and it’s done pretty well. The base paint is pretty clean and the colors are all well-chosen and well-applied. The detail work is clean and sharp. The piping on the shoulders is definitely a nice touch. I’m not sure about the likeness; it’s definitely got some of Patrick Stewart’s traits, but it seems to be more caricature-ized than other ‘mates. Picard is accessorized with a simple small phaser, a rifle, and a clear display stand.

BORG QUEEN

This figure marks the first Borg Queen Minimate, though it’s the second Borg in the line. As the primary antagonist of First Contact, she’s a good fit, especially packed with Picard. Her figure is 2 ½ inches tall with 14 points of articulation. She uses the basic body as a starting point, with a unique torso piece and an add-on for her head. In the movie, the Borg Queen’s head and shoulders are organic, while the rest of her is mechanical. This is demonstrated in her first scene when her head is lowered onto her body. The is figure has a special two piece torso, allowing the look to be replicated. It’s a neat, unique idea and it works pretty well, if maybe not as smoothly as they intended. The sculpted head add-on has been done to replicate the Queen’s “head-wiring” (for lack of a better term). As a full mask piece, it’s a little on the bulky side, but it’s not bad. Underneath of the mask is a standard head, painted silver, with some detailing to replicate the Queen’s skinless head from the end of the movie. It’s a pretty cool touch, though it might be nice if it were just a tad more detailed. The rest of the paint is pretty decent. Everything is clean, with no slop or bleed over, and the line work is nice and sharp. The face represents a good likeness of the character, and the body has some pretty nice texturing. The Borg Queen comes with a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s Kirk and Khan, I got this set for a really good price during Luke’s Toy Store’s Black Friday sale. I had also fully intended to get this set at the time of release. Ultimately, I don’t feel quite as bad about missing out on this one. It’s not a bad set at all, but it’s sort of middle of the road, and a good example of why Star Trek is a hard property to sell without a consistent media presence.

#0332: Data – First Contact

DATA

STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION

DataFC1

Star Trek movies have a tendency to be rather hit and miss. The shows all have their loyal fanbases (even Voyager and DS9, much to my own amazement), but the movies tend to be very polarizing. There’s the common adage about the odd movies being the bad ones, which sort of works (well…if you overlook Star Trek VI and Insurrection). Two movies that support this theory are Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek: First Contact. In the case of the latter, I think the movie is even better than the show that spawned it, and it remains one of my favorite movies to this day. Around the time of Nemesis and Enterprise, Art Asylum picked up the license for Star Trek and began doing figures of the current stuff. When Art Asylum merged with Diamond Select Toys, DST took over the line and changed up the release method a bit, doing just 2-3 characters at a time, with multiple character looks released different places. Today, I’ll be looking at Data, based on his look from First Contact.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

DataFCWilsonData was part of series three of Diamond’s Star Trek: The Next Generation line. This particular variant of Data was released as a Previews Exclusive, meaning he could only be gotten by placing an order for series three through Diamond Distributers. The figures stands about 7 ½ inches tall and features 16 points of articulation. The figure is based on the character’s appearance in First Contact, specifically the final 10-15 minutes of the film, after the human implants given to him by the Borg are destroyed. The figure’s sculpt is a mix of unique and shared pieces. The arms below the shoulder, and everything below the waist are shared with the regular series 3 versions of both Data an Lt. Barclay. The figure gets a new torso and shoulders to represent his movie uniform, as well as an all new head sculpt to represent his “exposed” look. The body is pretty good, though not perfect. The legs are skinny, and the slightly odd positioning of the feet, coupled with the lack of any sort of swivel joints on the legs, makes the figure difficult to stand correctly. The hands also seem a bit on the large side, but they aren’t terrible. The head sculpt bears a passing resemblance to Brent Spiner, but it’s not as close as some previous sculpts. The mechanical part of the head is superb, very accurately recreating all the exposed circuitry seen in the movie. It’s the highlight of the figure, which is good because it’s also the selling point. The paint on Data is clean and well applied. The skin seems just a bit thick, but it’s not too bad on a robotic character like Data. Data includes an alternate head, an alternate arm, a hair piece for the extra head, and a transfer tube of some sort to be plugged into the head. The extra head is mostly unscathed Data, with a removable piece of hair exposing some more of his circuitry, and the extra arm features a rolled up sleeve, exposing even more circuitry. The head is pretty nice, and swaps pretty easily. I can’t tell whether the likeness is improved or made worse by seeing more of his face. The arm is nice, but for the life of me, I have no idea how you’re supposed to swap it out. The regular arm he comes packaged wearing is very definitely not coming off.

DataFC2 DataFC4 DataFC3

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

One of the earliest movie-going experiences I remember is going to see Star Trek: First Contact with my parents. I was four at the time. I think I had seen an episode or two of the series, and I’m pretty sure I had seen Generations. I definitely knew Data was my favorite character. In preparation for the movie, my Dad bought me the Data action figure from the Playmates First Contact line. I clutched that figure tightly through the whole movie. One thing I always lamented was the figure’s lack of extra head for the look from the end, which was long one of my favorite looks. For years, I would make use of silver silly putty or duct tape to customize my own. I was thrilled when Diamond announced their own version of the look, but I never really got a hold of the figure. At local con Shoreleave this summer, one of the dealers had a large table of DST Trek figures, all marked $15. I saw Data under a few other figures, and after some encouraging words from Super Awesome Girlfriend (have I mentioned that she’s really supportive?) I decided to finally get one. It’s not the greatest figure ever, but I really like the look, and it’s a pretty great representation of it!