#1643: Admiral Kirk & Duty Uniform Scotty

ADMIRAL KIRK & DUTY UNIFORM SCOTTY

STAR TREK MINIMATES

The first three series of Star Trek Minimates were entirely based on The Original Series’ three season run.  While that was quite alright for the first two, there was no denying that by the time of Series 3, they were starting to run of fumes.  As such, DST expanded the reach of the line, turning it to focus more on the other shows and films.  Today’s set comes from one of the movies, funnily enough, one of the ones starring the original crew.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Admiral Kirk and Duty Uniform Scotty were released in Series 4 of Star Trek Minimates.  This pair were supposed to come from The Wrath of Khan, considered by pretty much everyone to be the best of the Trek films.  Given that these were the only TWOK-based figures in the line, the pairing does seem slightly…odd.  There was a variant version of this set, which featured Scotty in his maroon dress uniform.

ADMIRAL KIRK

This is the second time I’ve looked at a movie Kirk Minimate, but chronologically the first of the two.  His later ‘mate was based on his jacketed away team look from later in the film, while this one is based on his standard uniformed look.  The figure is built on the standard ‘mate body, and as such stands about 2 1/4 inches tall and has 14 points of articulation.  He has add-on pieces for his hair and jacket, both of which were new to this particular figure (though the hair has seen subsequent re-use).  The jacket works quite nicely.  The details are pretty sharp, and it matches up well to the movie.  The hair is less impressive.  Admittedly, Shatner’s hair from this period has always been slightly difficult to pin down, but this one just seems to miss it.  Kirk’s paint is reasonable enough.  The uniform in particular captures the scheme seen in the movie, and the application is mostly pretty clean.  The face doesn’t have much Shatner to it, I’m afraid.  I think the later attempt had it down a bit better.  Also, the tampo of the face seems a bit too high on the head block as well.  Kirk was packed with a movie-styled phaser.

DUTY UNIFORM SCOTTY

Scotty’s place in this set is definitely weird.  I mean, the guy’s important in the movie, but producing him over Khan, or even Spock, McCoy, or David Marcus, all of whom are more pivotal to the film, seems sort of strange.  I guess maybe they wanted a variety of uniforms?  But, of course, even then, with the variant set, that excuse was lost.  I’m back to no idea again.  This is the standard release of Scotty, which is in his slightly more exciting Engineering uniform, which is what he spends most of the movie wearing.  Also, since these were one of the few designs to stick around from The Motion Picture, he’ll also fit in with Series 5’s Decker and Illia, so that’s cool.  He’s got sculpted add-ons for his hair and chest piece.  Both of them are definitely well handled pieces.  Scotty’s hair in particular is a much better match for Jimmy Doohan’s style from the movie.  The paintwork on Scotty is pretty solid, apart from one slight issue.  See that slight pink discoloration on his forehead?  Well, that’s *supposed* to be blood from an injury, but it seems the wrong color was used, making it look more like there’s just a slight flaw in the plastic.  Beyond that, it’s actually pretty decent work, though, with the details of his uniform being quite well-defined.  The burn damage to his suit is also pretty awesomely done, and keeps him from looking too boring.  Scotty is packed with a pair of engineering gloves to swap for the standard hands.  Shame we never got Spock to steal them from him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I was always a little behind on collecting this line, so I didn’t get this set new.  Instead, I picked it up a little after the fact from the Record & Tape Traders in the town where my family vacations.  They’d been marked down, so I ended up with a full Series 4 set, this pair included.  They’re both okay Minimates, but neither’s really much to write home about.

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#1612: Cardassian Borg

CARDASSIAN BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Okay, we looked at the Borg of the species I like, and we looked at the Borg of the species I don’t know but that looks cool.  Now, we look at this Borg.  It’s not a Borg of a species I like.  It’s actually the opposite of that.  It’s the Borg of a species I actively dislike.  And it’s not even cool like the last one.  It’s…it’s just the third one, and I have this unhealthy need to finish things.  So, without further ado, here’s the Cardassian Borg.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cardassian Borg, designated 3 of 3, is the final figure in the Borg: Assimilation line from Art Asylum*.  The Cardassian is the shortest of the three Borg figures, at a little under 8 inches tall.  He’s got 17 points of articulation, which includes moving arms on his left arm attachment, which is pretty cool, actually.  That’s probably the last time I’m using “pretty cool” in this here review.  Because this is a Cardassian, perhaps one of the most boring races in all of Star Trek.  This figure has an all-new sculpt, which is, from a technical standpoint, pretty solid.  The Cardassian Borg is probably the least borg-ified of the bunch, lacking the shoulder pads and more obvious technical implants, and also having his neck and one of his hands exposed, which keeps him looking more like a standard Cardassian.  Even the armor’s detailing follows the usual Cardassians design more closely than the others in this assortment.  Even the facial expression lacks that dead-ness that the other two figures have.  He’s got the same sort of a sneering expression that seemed to be a genetic trait of those wacky Cardassians.  The paint on this guy is pretty much on par with the other two, which is to say it’s honestly pretty good.  Hey, look at that.  I almost said “pretty cool” again.  Well, what do you know.  Like the other two figures in this assortment, the Cardassian Borg’s only accessory is that weird coin thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really only got this guy to complete the set.  I’m guessing you probably could have gathered that from the review.  Honestly, just as a figure, this one’s the weakest of the three, but he’s not atrocious. It’s more that I just don’t really like Deep Space 9, and I sort of associate the Cardassians entirely with that show.  He could be worse, I suppose.

*There were actually four Borg figures originally designed for this assortment.  The fourth would have been a Ferengi, but for a number of reasons, the assortment was cut back to three figures.  The Ferengi would have likely been in a second series, had there been one.

#1611: Hirogen Borg

HIROGEN BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Okay, so this post isn’t brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend like yesterday’s.  I mean, it’s still inspired by her, since it follows a theme she set forth, but…yeah…

Today, we’re looking at a combo of two of the badassiest threats in Sci Fi!  Yeah, it’s not only a Borg, it’s also a Predator—what’s that?  Oh, it seems I’m getting reports that this is not, in fact, a Predator.  Apparently, it’s a Hirogen.  What’s a Hirogen?  Well, according to Memory Alpha, they’re “a nomadic species of hunters.”  Are we sure they aren’t just Predators?  Because they sound like Predators.  Ah, what do I know?  Let’s just look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hirogen Borg was officially designated 2 of 3 and was part of Art Asylum’s one-series wonder Borg: Assimilation.  Fun fact: this borg-ified variant of the Hirogen is actually the only Hirogen action figure in existence.  Yes, even in all of Playmates’ insane coverage of the license, they never ever made a single Hirogen.  I think that speaks to the obscurity, right?  Or to the fact that they were on Voyager.  Either way, no prior figures.  The Hirogen is the tallest of the three Borg figures, at 8 1/4 inches tall.  He’s also got 17 points of articulation.  The sculpt is once again all-new, and very, very impressive.  In particular, the texture work on the face is really sharp.  In terms of design, the Hirogen Borg is far more symmetric than the Klingon.  There’s still some definite asymmetry in a few spots, but by and large he’s a lot more balanced than the last figure.  His stance is also straighter, which is another nice change, helping to sell the differences between the two species.  He still keeps the slight stylization present on the Klingon, which is nice for consistency’s sake, and I believe makes for the superior sculpt.  As with the Klingon, the paintwork on the Hirogen is monochromatic, but still very much top-notch.  It’s impressive the kind of range AA was able to pull out of variations on silver and grey, but they certainly did a lot.  He’s a little cleaner looking than the Klingon, which once again seems to fit with the stylistic differences they were pushing with the sculpt as well.  Like his Klingon compatriot, the Hirogen’s only accessory is the weird coin thing, but, once again, he’s hardly hindered by it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I certainly checked out the Klingon figure when he was new, the Hirogen didn’t even cross my radar.  Chalk it up to me knowing nothing about the Hirogen in the slightest.  Upon seeing the full set of three figures in person, the Hirogen actually stood out to me the most of the three, and in hand he’s definitely my favorite of the bunch.  Not bad for a figure of a race I didn’t know a single thing about until a month ago.

#1610: Klingon Borg

KLINGON BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Today’s post is brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend.  No, she didn’t buy me this figure, but she did point to this spot on my calendar of upcoming reviews, hold up today’s figure and say “you should do this one on that day.”  Who am I to argue?  Well, the owner and head writer of the site, I guess, but I’m really not going to push this one.

In the early ’00s, after Playmates had held the Star Trek license for over a decade, the reins were passed to up-and-coming company Art Asylum.  Poor AA ended up with some of the worst Trek properties to merch (Enterprise and Nemesis), but still put out a solid selection of figures.  They weren’t afraid to experiment a little bit with things.  One of those experiments was their Borg: Assimilation line, which toyed with what non-human races would look like when assimilated by the Borg.  Today, I’m looking at the Klingon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Klingon Borg, officially designated 1 of 3, was part of the first, and only, series of Art Asylum’s Borg: Assimilation line.  The figure stands a whopping 8 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  He’s a little restricted in terms of movement, but he was fairly decent for the time.  The big claim to fame of any Art Asylum figure was sculpting.  The Klingon Borg had an all-new sculpt, featuring a tremendous amount of detail work.  Every surfaced is covered with some sort of texture or small detail, from the ridges on his forehead, to the machinery of his Borg components.  This guy lives up to the Borg’s penchant for asymmetry, with one cybernetic eye, two differently shaped shoulder-pads, and one big honking claw arm to replace his right limb.  He loses the usual Klingon dreads, which impacts his design a bit; originally, he was designed with a bevy of cables that would replace the hair, but apparently this made him look too Klingon.  As it stands, he’s got just the one big wire, which is a decent halfway point.  His face is a good mix of Klingon and Borg sensibilities, with a determined, but still somewhat lifeless stare to his eyes.  It’s worth noting that this figure is a fair bit more stylized than many of AA’s Trek offerings, with a more pronounced set of features on his face, slightly exaggerated proportions, and a decidedly slouched pre-posed nature.  But, as a concept figure, this guy is more about what could be, outside of the limitations of a live-action sci-fi show’s budget.  Though his paint is somewhat monochromatic, it is no less carefully detailed than the sculpt.  His cybernetic sections in particular are rife with small detail work, showcasing a variance in silvers, greys, and brasses that keep him from looking too bland, and give him that nice “used future” feel.  For accessories, all this guy had was the weird themed coin thing that all of the AA Trek figures got.  This one’s red and has the Borg symbol on one side.  Not really much to do with the figure, but given the effort that went into the figure’s design and sculpt, the lack of real extras doesn’t hinder him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing this guy when he was new.  He seemed to hang around KB Toys for a little while.  I almost got him on several occasions, but kept passing for other things.  He and the rest of this series ended up being part of this year’s Farpoint charity auction, and it was that wonderful mix of being something I’d been looking for and also being for a good cause, so I went for it.  Though I’m hardly the world’s largest Trek fan, I can’t deny this is one cool figure.

#1446: Captain Kirk & Spock – Dress Uniform

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK & MR. SPOCK – DRESS UNIFORM

STAR TREK (PLAYMATES)

“Teamwork has always been an important aspect of  Federation policy.  In that tradition, collected here together, for the first time ever, are the finest examples of Starfleet collaboration.”

There’s a new Star Trek show running.  It’s getting a lot of praise, which I suppose is good.  Personally?  I couldn’t get into it.  It contributes to this long-running theory I have about how I’m not a real Trek fan because I like the wrong half of the franchise.  I like TOS and four of it’s associated movies (I, II, II, and VI, if you’re curious), and I actually don’t mind Enterprise (though I acknowledge its flaws).  Next Gen mostly puts me to sleep (though First Contact is one of my favorite movies ever), I couldn’t make it through more than the first hour of Voyager, and I tapped out of DS9 about 20 minutes in.  And worst of all?  I enjoyed all of the JJ Abrams-reboot Trek films.  That’s points for disqualification alone, right?  Anyway, to remind myself that I actually *do* like some Star Trek, I’ve been watching through TOS, which is the show I’ll be focusing on today!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Kirk and Spock were released by Playmates in 1994, as part of their over-arching Star Trek line.  They were part of the “Starfleet Officers Collectors Set,” which offered the captains and first officers from the three Trek shows in existence at the time.  As noted above, I don’t have much attachment to Next Gen or DS9, so all I have are these two.

CAPTAIN JAMES T. KIRK

Kirk was absolutely no stranger to Playmates’ Trek line, but this figure was, at the very least, a valid variant of the character.  Kirk is seen here in his dress uniform from the show, as seen in episodes such as “Court Martial” and “The Menagerie.”  The captain’s dress uniform was actually a bit further removed from the others, since it dispensed with the usual yellow tunic color and instead went with green, similar to his casual attire.  The figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and he has 12 points of articulation.  Once again, we’ve got those goofy, essentially useless v-hips, but it’s not like they were ever going to change.  Structurally, this Kirk is very similar to the standard Kirk from the Bridge Set.  The head and legs are the same pieces, which is good from a consistency stand point, I guess.  Still not the best likeness of Shatner, but it could be worse.  The torso and arms are new, and do a nice job of capturing his slightly more ornate dress design.  The paint on this figure is fairly decent.  The colors match alright with the show, and the application is all pretty clean.  He’s not quite as glossy as the standard Kirk either, which certainly helps him look a bit more lifelike.  Kirk was packed with a phaser and communicator, which mine doesn’t have.  It’s just as well, since he wasn’t exactly going on missions dressed like this.

MR. SPOCK

What good is Kirk without Spock, right?  Spock was also no stranger to Playmates’ line, second only to his captain in that respect.  Like Kirk, this figure is sporting his dress uniform, which is slightly less distinctively different from his standard look.  Nevertheless, it’s a fairly prominent look for Spock, especially since it’s what he’s wearing during most of the “present day” sequences in “The Menagerie.”  He’s the same basic height as Kirk (a touch taller), and has the same articulation scheme.  It’s not amazing, but it works.  Like Kirk, Spock gets the same head and legs as his Bridge Crew counterpart, which is reasonable.  The torso and arms are new again, and are unique from the ones used on Kirk.  The details match up pretty well with Kirk’s, but he’s got the same build as the prior Spock.  He loses the unique Vulcan salute hand, which is a bit of a letdown, but not the worst thing ever.  Spock’s paint is okay; there’s a little more slop here than I’ve seen on other Playmates Trek offerings, but it’s also a bit flatter, which I quite like.  It really helps the likeness on the head, and makes it a little sad that we didn’t see more of these guys with this finish.  It might have really aided the sculpts.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

My Dad had a fairly complete set of TOS figures from Playmates back in the day, but never got these two, largely due to the fact that they were only available as part of the larger set.  I found them over the summer, in a bin of loose figures at Lost In Time Toys.  They’re not essential figures, but they’re solid offerings, and a nice addition to the overall collection.  Now I need a McCoy to go with them.

#1345: Star Trek Minimates

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.

CAPTAIN KIRK

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.

MR. SPOCK

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.

DR. McCOY

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

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.

GORN

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.

#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!

#1052: Classic Star Trek Bridge Crew

KIRK, SPOCK, McCOY, UHURA, SCOTTY, SULU, & CHEKOV

CLASSIC STAR TREK (PLAYMATES)

bridgecrew1

Fifty years ago today, Star Trek premiered its very first episode, “The Man Trap”.  Now, here we are, all these years later, and it’s become a whole lot more than the simple three-season, hour-long  science fiction drama that it started out as.  The franchise has, admittedly, cooled off a bit in terms of popularity, but it’s still kicking, and Paramount and CBS are doing their very best to make sure it doesn’t totally fade away.  This year saw the release of Star Trek Beyond, the franchise’s thirteenth film (which was AWESOME, by the way), which was pretty awesome, and there’s even a new TV series in development. Over the years, there have been quite a few lines of action figures based on the property.  In honor of the franchise’s anniversary, I’ll be taking a look at my real introduction to Star Trek, the Playmates versions of the original bridge crew.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The seven Original Series bridge crew members were released in 1993 as part of a special Bridge Set, which served to launch Playmates’ Classic Star Trek line.  All seven figures were exclusive to this set, though many of the molds would be later used on various single-release figures from later in the line.

KIRK

bridgecrew2Kirk was one of Playmates’ favorite characters to release during their run with the line.  And who can blame them?  He’s one of the signature characters from the series.  This isn’t the first Kirk Playmates released, but he was the first of the classic Kirks, so there’s that.  The figure stands about 4 1/2  inches tall and has 12 points of articulation.  Those were both standard counts for the line, and they hold true on just about all of the figures in this set.  Like almost every figure from Playmates’ Star Trek run, Kirk suffers from the strange V-hips.  I’m not really sure what their purpose is.  I mean, sure, they give him extra movement, but it’s not really good for anything, since even a basic sitting pose is virtually impossible with these hips.  They do allow him to do a fancy jig, so I guess that’s better than nothing.  Kirk’s sculpt is about par for the line, which is to say it’s not anything amazing.  You can tell who he’s supposed to be, but nothing about him is really spot-on.  Most of the details are rather soft and bold.  “Lifelike” is not really a quality this guy possesses.  He almost feels like someone flattened him just a bit, especially on the torso, and the head seems rather large compared to the rest of the figure.  The paint on Kirk is generally pretty basic.  All the colors and such look about right, and most of the application is pretty clean, which is certainly a plus.  On the plus side, the paint on the face is remarkably sharp and well-detailed, which actually does quite a lot to save the figure.  Kirk was packed with a phaser and a communicator, which seem slightly large, but are otherwise very nicely detailed.  He also included a display base, which is patterned after one of the badges, and has the Command symbol to match Kirk.

SPOCK

bridgecrew3Spock was another of Playmates’ favorites.  As perhaps the most recognizable character from the franchise, you kind of expect him the show up a lot.  Like Kirk, this was far from the first figure he had received from Playmates, but it was his first classic figure.  Structurally he’s very similar to Kirk.  He stands a little taller, but he has the same articulation scheme, for better or for worse.  Surprisingly, there are no shared parts between Kirk and Spock.  Spock has been sculpted to be a little thinner than Kirk, which works alright.  He still looks a bit wider then he should, and I can’t say the head has a particularly good Nimoy likeness, but you can see who it’s supposed to be.  Spock’s right hand is sculpted giving the Vulcan salute, which was a nice touch that really gave Spock a nice bit of uniqueness.  Spock’s paintwork is very similar to Kirk’s, which I suppose is good.  The uniform is still very basic, and the face still very nicely detailed.  On the downside, the blue of Spock’s shirt makes the paint wear on the gold sections far more noticeable than it was on Kirk.  Spock also included a communicator and a phaser, as well as a badge-shaped display stand, this time sporting the Science symbol.

McCOY

bridgecrew6McCoy was a far less common character than the other two, but he did still get his fair share of figures.  Which is good, because this guy’s just the best.  McCoy is very similar to the other two figures in terms of structure.  His closer to Spock in terms of height, which is appropriate.  I find that he’s got one of the better sculpts in the set.  He’s still a bit too wide, but his torso feels less flat and more organic than the other two.  In addition, I think his head has one of the better likenesses in the set.  It’s still not spot on, but it’s not awful.  His noggin’s still pretty huge, McCoy’s paint is more of the same.  That’s good from at least a consistency standpoint.  McCoy included the standard phaser and communicator, as well as the display stand, once again with the Science symbol.  It would have been nice to get a tricorder for him, since he’s a doctor and all, but you’ll have to grab that piece from one of the later McCoys.

UHURA

bridgecrew7Here’s where we start to get into the figures that Playmates was a bit more lenient on, though Uhura was far from absent from the line.  Uhura’s probably the most unique figure in this set, being the only female and all.  That being said, apart from the more obvious changes in sculpting, she’s still more of the same in terms of construction.  She has the same articulation scheme and is roughly the same height as the others in this set.  The hard plastic skirt kind of limits the movement on the legs, but that’s really it, and it’s not like it was particularly useful movement anyway.  On the plus side, Uhura probably has the best sculpt in the bunch.  She’s still a little squatter than she should be, but she doesn’t feel as flat and wide as the others in this set, which is a definite point in her favor.  Uhura’s paint is pretty much the same as what we’ve seen on the others, which isn’t bad.  She included the same three extras as the others, though this time the stand had the engineering symbol.

SCOTTY

bridgecrew4I’m givin’ this review all she’s got, Captain, but I think I’m running out of intros for these guys.  Here’s Scotty.  He was the engineer, and he was very Scottish.  This was his third figure from Playmates, but, like the others, it was his first classic figure.  Scotty is noticeably stockier than the others in this set, which actually isn’t too bad, because it means his head doesn’t look quite as out of scale.  He’s also got a pretty decent likeness, so that’s a plus.  The paint is similar to the others, though the red does help him stand out a bit.  He had the same phaser, communicator, and stand (once again with the Engineering symbol).

SULU

bridgecrew8Oh my!  It’s Sulu.  After getting totally overlooked by Mego, this was Sulu’s second figure from Playmates, though it was the first one that a lot of people were able to find.  He’s very similar to the other figures.  Still no re-used parts, which is actually kind of surprising, but good for them.  Sulu gets another of the better likenesses.  It’s still far from perfect, but you can definitely see some of George Takei in there.  The paint’s more or less the same as the others, which is kind of expected six figures into this review, as is the accessory selection, which includes the same three extras as the others.

CHEKOV

bridgecrew5Like Sulu, Chekov was totally left out of Mego’s selection of figures.  What’s more, despite being one of the three original series cast members included in the Generations line, he was really hard to find, meaning this was the first chance that most people had to get a Chekov.  That’s a pretty big deal.  The figure is probably the weakest in the set, if I’m honest.  The head is absolutely huge, and the hair looks totally fake (even more fake than it should…).  He also doesn’t have the greatest likeness (and mine’s even got a chip missing from his chin).  At the very least, the paint is still pretty good, so he’s got that going for him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was a gift, I’m pretty sure from my parents, for either my birthday or Christmas.  I know my dad had one of these first, and I really liked it, so he and my mom made sure that I had one of my own.  I think I still have the actual bridge diorama they were packed in somewhere as well.  That thing got some pretty serious play time.  What I don’t have is my original Uhura figure.  She went missing not long after I got the set.  It was only in the last few years that I got a replacement, courtesy of family friend (and Star Trek author and script writer) Howie Weinstein.  There’s no denying that my love of this set is mostly based around nostalgia.  The figures are hardly on par with even the figures being released alongside them.  That said, it was the first time the whole crew had ever been available, and that’s pretty awesome in and of itself.

#1033: Khan Noonien Singh

KHAN NOONIEN SINGH

STAR TREK (ART ASYLUM)

Khan1

“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!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

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.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

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!

#0982: Commander Decker & Ilia Probe

COMMANDER DECKER & ILIA PROBE

STAR TREK MINIMATES

Decker&Illia1

There’s this old adage about Star Trek movies that it’s only the even ones that are good, and the odd ones aren’t. The fact that Wrath of Khan and First Contact are numbers two and eight, and Star Trek V is, well, number five kind of supports this. That being said, a lot of the other films don’t really support the adage, with some even-numbered films being middling at best, and some of the odd-numbered ones not being the dreck everyone claims them to be. Star Trek: The Motion Picture, the first film on the franchise, often catches flak, and is frequently used as proof of the odd-movies-bad rule. In reality, it’s not a bad movie, it just wasn’t the movie a lot of people were looking for at the time. It’s one of the last of the more cerebral, slower-paced Sci-Fi movies of the ‘70s, and in a post-Star Wars world, that just didn’t fly. If nothing else, the movie gives us a nice little arc for its two original characters, Captain Decker and Ilia, who are the two figures I’ll be looking at today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

This pair was released in the fifth series of Star Trek Minimates, which happens to be the last series of the line. Way to go guys, you killed the line!

COMMANDER DECKER

Decker&Illia2Poor Decker. Guy gets no respect. He’s supposed to be commanding the Enterprise, but he gets downgraded at the last second, and forced to serve as a first officer. Then nobody listens to him about anything, and to top it all off, his love interest gets vaporized. And he constantly gets left out of the toylines, too! Sure, Mego made him in their two scales, but Playmates totally overlooked him, and he never got one of the larger DST figures. Fortunately, he did get a Minimate, placing him above quite a few Trek regulars. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and he has the usual 14 points of articulation. He has add-ons for his hair and belt/tunic. Both of these pieces are new to Decker, and they do a pretty decent job capturing his look from the movie. The hair in particular is a lot more detailed than prior Trek Minimates pieces, and it’s still on par with current offerings. Decker’s paintwork does a very nice job capturing his look from the movie. The likeness is pretty spot-on, and even the simple details of the uniform are really sharp and a great recreation of its on-screen counterpart. Decker was packed with a Motion Picture-style phaser.

ILIA PROBE

Decker&Illia3So you know how I said this was a figure of Ilia? Yeah, that was technically a lie. See, as noted in the section on Decker, the real Illia is vaporized about a third of the way through the movie. What this figure (and two of the other three Ilias made) represents is the probe sent by V’Ger to interact with the Enterprise crew. The probe takes on the form of the deceased Ilia as a comfort to the crew, thus allowing her actress to still be one of the film’s leads. This figure has two add-on pieces to help recreate the collar and skirt of the robe the Ilia probe spends her time wearing. While the skirt piece is a pretty decently sculpted part, the collar seems overly boxy and bulky. Ilia ends up looking a bit larger than Decker, despite her being a bit smaller in the film. The paintwork on Ilia isn’t bad, though I’m not sure it’s quite as good as Decker’s. The robe has some nice line work, and the head, while not a spot-on likeness, is a decent enough showing. Ilia included no accessories.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like so many of the later Star Trek Minimates, I got Decker and Ilia from Record & Tape Traders for a rather hefty discount. This is actually a set I probably would have grabbed for full retail, but they seemed to go straight to clearance. Admittedly, I can see why sets like this might have led to the line’s demise. As cool as I think they are, neither ‘mate is particularly exciting, and I can’t see them having much appeal to anyone who isn’t a fan of the movie.