CAPTAIN KIRK, SPOCK, DR. McCOY, KHAN, & GORN
STAR TREK MINIMATES (ART ASYLUM)
I’ve spoken twice before about the original, larger-sized Minimates, the important stepping stone on the way to getting us the licensing behemoth that we now have. Today, I’ll be touching on them yet again, this time looking at the one property to have graced both styles of Minimate: Star Trek. After doing ‘mates from Crouching Tiger and some music ‘mates, and even some Bruce Lee ‘mates, Art Asylum turned their sights onto Trek mostly because they already had the license (they produced a Dark Angel Minimate for the same reason, but with less success). Anyway, I’ve got a bunch of them, and I’ll be looking at them today.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
These five were released in the first (and only) series* of the larger-scale Star Trek Minimates from Art Asylum. There was also a Mugato in the series, as well as an accompanying ToyFare-exclusive “Trouble With Tribbles” Kirk, but I don’t yet have those two. Maybe some day.
All of the figures featured here are built on the 3-inch Minimate body, which is a little different from the smaller body in terms of construction, mostly around the elbows and knees. The assembly can afford to be just a touch more complex at the larger scale, and that’s really the source of most of the changes. Nevertheless, it works the same as the smaller body from a basic functioning stand-point, and it has the same 14 points of articulation.
This was the first of the 14 MInimates of James T. Kirk. He’s most prevalent of the Trek characters by far, though he’s got nothing on the likes of Spider-Man and Iron Man. Anyway, this is the one that started it all. This figure has three add-on pieces: hair, and both pants cuffs. The hair was new to this guy (though it was also shared with the ToyFare variant, and would have presumably been used for the Mirror Universe version in Series 2). I gotta say, I like this piece a lot more than the initial smaller Kirk ‘mates. It’s still a bit more simplistic than more recent ‘mates, but that’s certainly not a point against it, and it’s definitely in keeping with the other ‘mates of this time period. The paint work on Kirk is about on par with the rest of the earlier ‘mates. It’s all pretty clean, but also rather on the simple side. All of the important things, like the face and various uniform elements are there. The face has a pretty decent likeness of Shatner (honestly, I think it was a bit better than later attempts), and the uniform details seem to be pretty accurate. The colors are generally pretty decent, but once again, far more basic than later ‘mates would be. Kirk was packed with a phaser (painted in all silver, rather than the proper silver and black), as well as one of the goofy puzzle pieces that they threw in with all of the early guys.
Spock’s not too far behind Kirk on the variant front, with a whole 8 Minimates under his belt. There does seem to be a little less variation to his, though. Like Kirk, this figure has add-ons for his hair and pant cuffs. Spock’s hair piece is fine, but I find his style of hair doesn’t translate quite as well to this sort of figure. Later pieces worked a fair bit better, I feel. I think his hair just needs more detail to it, otherwise it just ends up looking like a skullcap or something. The paint on Spock is rather similar to Kirk’s, but once again, I don’t think it works quite as well. The face definitely tries for a Nimoy likeness and, while it isn’t horribly off, I think the lack of any sort of line work for the cheekbones is really holding it back. Most characters can get by alright without the cheekbones, but not those played by Leonard Nimoy. In addition, the shade of blue chosen for the shirt is several shades too dark and far too greyed out for the blue shirts from Classic Trek. This shade almost looks like something from the JJ Abrams films, which wouldn’t be released for 7 years after this. Spock includes an extra right hand, doing the Vulcan salute, as well as a tricorder and the puzzle piece.
McCoy’s important because he finished out the show’s core trio. Sadly, he always seems to be the one who gets overlooked. It’s a shame, really. But hey, he got this ‘mate and a few others, so that’s pretty good for him, right? This guy is very similar to the other two, with the exact same cuffs on the legs and then a unique hair piece. The hair falls somewhere between the other two, being not quite as strong as Kirk’s, but a fair bit more recognizable as hair than Spock’s. It’s definitely not bad. In terms of paint, he’s almost identical to Spock, overly dark blue and all. On the plus side, the likeness on the face is the spitting image of DeForrest Kelly, surly country wisdom and all. He includes the same tricorder and puzzle piece as Spock, but obviously loses the saluting hand. It would have been nice to get one of his medical gadgets or something, but the tricorder’s enough, I suppose.
Khan’s pretty popular for a guy who was only in a single episode of the show. Oh, right, and there was that movie thing, I guess. That might have helped. Khan’s had a few Minimates, and not a single one of them has been in the same outfit. This is one of his red outfits, likely chosen for it’s contrast with the rest of Series’ color schemes. He’s got a hair piece and a skirt for the bottom of his tunic. Both pieces are pretty solid, so that’s good. Khan has one of the more complex paint schemes in the set (though not *the* most. That comes later), and it’s generally pretty nicely handled. My only real complaint is that his face is slightly off-center, which is a problem that occasionally cropped up with these early ‘mates, due to the hair peg being near the back of the head. On the plus side, the likeness on the face is pretty decent. Khan’s only accessory is the puzzle piece.
Okay, so I freaking love the Gorn, and this is like my whole reason for buying this set. Because I desire to own every Gorn figure in existence. I’m actually pretty close on that, so, yaaaaaay. Gorn FTW! This guy uses add-ons for his hands and his skirt. There’s no piece for the head, which leaves the peg hole exposed, but it’s not huge issue, given the placement. The add-ons are nicely sculpted and pretty cool looking overall. The skirt piece is a little thick, so he splits at the middle a lot, but it’s a minor issue. Gorn gets the most complicated of the paint jobs. It’s still pretty simplified, but I actually really like it. The face is pretty neat, and I like how they’ve translated his design onto the basic head block. They’ve also done a nice job with the pattern on his tunic, so that’s cool. He was packed with a spike, a translator, and that freaking puzzle piece. Mine is lacking these, sadly.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
I always wanted to pick up a set of these back when they were still new, back when they would have been my first Minimates, but for whatever reason, I never got any of them. I’m the reason the line failed, you guys. I’m sorry about that. I’ve been on the lookout for a set for a little while now, and I ended up finding these guys at Amazing Heroes, which was a cool toys, comics, and games store that my brother found just outside of Seattle. I was actually pretty happy to find an almost complete set in one go. I kinda dig these guys. Kirk and the Gorn are the definite stars, and translate really well to the more simplistic style. The others are pretty solid as well, if not quite as stand out. Now, I gotta get that second Kirk and a Mugato….
*There was a proposed second series, which would have rounded out the main crew and given us a Klingon, but, like all of the 3-inch lines, Trek never made it past Series 1.