#1345: Star Trek Minimates



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.


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.


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.

#1033: Khan Noonien Singh




“From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee!”

1982’s Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is easily the greatest film to come out of the Star Trek franchise. It not only helped revive the franchise after the somewhat lackluster response to The Motion Picture, but it also made its lead antagonist, Khan Noonien Shingh, into one of Star Trek’s most memorable characters, and one of cinema’s greatest villains. But, before all of that, Khan was just another of TOS’s threats of the week, appearing only in a single episode of the show’s run. During Playmates’ rather long tenure with the Trek license, they released just about every character and look imaginable from the franchise, but Khan’s only figure was based on his film appearance. His TV appearance wouldn’t see release until 2003, after the license had moved to Art Asylum. I’ll be looking at that particular figure today!


Khan2Khan was released in the first series of AA’s Star Trek: The Original Series line. He was the only figure in the series that was not a member of the bridge crew. The figure stands about 7 ¼ inches tall and has 19 points of articulation. Like a lot of the Trek figures in this style, Khan’s articulation doesn’t allow for much more than a basic standing pose, but you can get him into a few decent poses. Khan is seen here in the red jumpsuit he wears towards the end of “Space Seed,” during his climactic battle with Kirk. It’s kind of the go-to look for TOS Khan, so it’s a decent choice. The sculpt does a pretty nice job of translating that look into figure form. He’s not perfect, but he fits with the style of the other figures in this line. The head is very nicely detailed in particular, especially on the hair. In fact, I think Khan’s head sports one of the better likenesses in the first series. The uniform is a little lighter on the details than the head and hands, but the important details are still there, so that’s good. The legs are also rather on the skinny side, but this was common to the line, so at least he fits in. The paintwork on Khan is pretty decent. The skintone isn’t quite as lifeless as some of the other figures in the line (though it does seem a bit pale for Montelban). I also quite like the use of a wash on the jumpsuit, so as to bring out the details in the sculpt. Khan included a standard classic phaser, as well as one of the weird little coins that Art Asylum included with all of their Trek figures.


I was actually pretty excited for this line of figures when they were first shown off, Khan most of all. When they finally hit, they weren’t as easy to find as prior Trek lines from AA. I ended up finding them all from a dealer at a con, but at the higher price, I only ended up with Khan. He’s a very nice figure, just like the rest of AA’s output. I’m definitely glad I have him. If only I had some others in the same scale!

#0479: Admiral Kirk & Khan



Hey, how about some Minimates? It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed any, and I’m starting to miss them!  One of the most overlooked Minimate licenses is Star Trek, to which the whole concept of Minimates owe quite a bit. Star Trek was one of the earliest Minimate licenses, way back when the figures were still on the 3 inch bodies. The 3 inch figures never really took off, but the Trek figures brought in a few dedicated fans. When Marvel came in and moved the figures to a smaller scale, Trek was brought back again, lasting through five series. DST has made a few attempts to keep the line going, with the various Enterprise releases (you can read my review of the Pike Enterprise here). They also tried to bring the line back out right under the Legacy heading, but that only got two series (and one of them was a TRU exclusive). The quality is certainly there, but it seems Trek doesn’t have the pull it once did. Today I’ll be looking at Admiral Kirk and Khan.

Kirk and Khan were released in the specialty series of Star Trek Legacy Minimates. The two of them are based on their appearances in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which is widely considered the best film of the franchise. They are definitely a fitting choice for the Legacy heading.


This is the 8th Minimate version of Kirk, and the second Minimate of him from Wrath of Khan. The last one was based on his main uniformed look from the film. This one is based on his away team look, which he actually spends a good chunk of the film wearing (he even wears it during the pivotal “Khaaaaaaaaan!” scene). The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and features the standard 14 points of articulation. He’s built on the typical Minimate body, with add-on pieces for his coat, hair, and wrist monitor. All three of these pieces are new to this figure and they’re of varying success. The coat and wrist piece are both nicely sculpted and accurate to the material. Had the line not fizzled out, I could have seen DST re-using these parts for away team versions of Sovak and Dr. McCoy. The hair is well sculpted, but I’m not sure it’s a good fit for Shatner’s hair from the movie. It seems just a bit too Elvis. It’s a little better than the last attempt, but it’s still off. The figure’s base paint is decent; nothing amazing, but solid work with the colors and such. There’s a little bit of bleed over here and there, but nothing too bad. The detail work is where the figure shines. The face is a pretty great older Shatner, and they’ve even got the piping going down the sides of the legs. Under the coat, there’s a fully detailed vest, just like the one Kirk wears frequently throughout the movies, which is a nice touch. Kirk is packed with a phaser, a communicator, a spare set of white arms to display the vested look, a clear display stand, and a spare head yelling “Khaaaaaaaaaan!” which is by far my favorite piece from this set.


Ah, yes, the guy with all that Wrath. Someone with that much wrath should probably have that looked at by someone. We wouldn’t want it to …task him. This figure marked Khan’s 3rd venture into the world of Minimates. The last two (as well as the one that followed this one) were based on Khan’s appearance in his TOS episode “Space Seed.” This one is very definitely based on his movie appearance, specifically the look he sports for most of the movie. It’s the character’s definitive look by far, so it was definitely a good choice. The figure is about 2 ½ inches in height and has 14 points of articulation. He’s built from the standard Minimate body, with additional pieces for the hair, jacket, and watch. All three of these are new to Khan, and unlike Kirk they all are good fits for the character. The watch is the same one that was recently used on the Alien set’s Ripley and Kane, and it’s a straightforward piece. The hair and vest are both very nicely sculpted, and they’re pitch-perfect to the look of the character in the film. Khan’s paint is pretty well done. The base colors are decently applied, with no real slop or bleed over. The detail work is really great, with line work that not only provides some nice texture to his clothing, but also replicates Ricardo Montebon’s likeness perfectly, right down to those uncanny valley pectoral muscles. Khan’s sole accessory is a clear display stand, but what more does he need?


Kirk and Khan were another purchase from Luke’s Toy Store, my go to for Minimates purchases. I picked them up during last year’s Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale. I had fully intended to pick this set up when they were first released, but I kinda… forgot. But, Luke’s had the whole first series for $8, which, at $1 a ‘mate, was just enough incentive to buy. Truth be told, I really like these two, and I’m a little ashamed that I didn’t get them before now. I guess I’m the reason we can’t have nice things…