#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.

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#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.

#0881: Captain Kirk & Yeoman Rand

CAPTAIN KIRK – “THE TROUBLE WITH TRIBBLES” & YEOMAN RAND

STAR TREK MINIMATES

Kirk&Rand1

Star Trek has had rather a storied history with the Minimates brand. It was one of the earliest licenses Art Asylum picked up (back when the figures were on the much larger 3-inch bodies), and it’s a license that DST and AA do really try to keep going. The era of the show with by far the most representation is The Original Series, which not only got the entire main bridge crew, but also a few variations of the “power trio.” Today, I’ll be looking at one of the variations of series lead Captain James T. Kirk, along with one of the show’s less prominent regulars, Yeoman Rand.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released in Series 5 of the first 2-inch Star Trek Minimates line. Series 5 was the last series of the line, and this was actually the last TOS set to be released.

CAPTAIN KIRK

Kirk&Rand2This was Kirk’s sixth (and final) Minimate, but it’s probably his second most important look to be released. It’s officially titled “Trouble With Tribbles Kirk,” signifying that he’s based on the episode of the same name. Of course, there’s not really anything that makes him specifically from “The Trouble With Tribbles,” so he’s really just a basic figure of Kirk in his “casual” uniform. The figure is 2 ½ inches tall and has the usual 14 points of articulation. He uses the standard ‘mate body, with add-ons for the hair and the pant-cuffs. Both these pieces are re-used from the first Kirk ‘mate, which is certainly a good re-use. They’re noticeably more geometric and less detailed than later pieces, but they certainly fit with the rest of the line. The painted details are pretty sharp. By the end of the original line, the figures had actually started getting pretty detailed. Kirk’s whimsical expression was a nice change of pace, and the details of his uniform are nice and sharp. There are some nice subtle touches, such as the shoes being shinier than the rest of the blacks. Kirk included a basic phaser, a communicator, and a phaser rifle. What he does not include is a single Tribble, which seems like a missed opportunity.

YEOMAN RAND

Kirk&Rand3Rand isn’t as well remembered as other cast members from the show, due to her being written out and pretty much never mentioned again following the show’s first season, after only appearing in 8 episodes of the show’s run. Also, not in “The Trouble With Tribbles,” making this an odd pairing, but hey, at least she got a ‘mate. She’s built on the usual body, with add-ons for the hair and skirt. The skirt is the same piece used for Uhura and Chapel, which keeps the uniformity going, even if it is oddly boxy. The hair is unique to Rand, and does an alright job of translating her hair from the show into the ‘mate aesthetic. The details seem a little rough and unfinished, truth be told, but it’s not terrible. The paint on Rand is pretty clean overall. The face is a bit generic, but doesn’t look unlike Grace Lee Whitney. The rest of the details are fairly basic, but what’s there is sharp. For some odd reason, the arms are painted red, rather than being cast in red plastic. In addition, the paint doesn’t seem to have held up very well to time, resulting in some slight scraping here and there. Rand was packed with a tricorder and a data pad.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Just before Record & Tape Traders started their downhill turn, I found these two, along with the rest of Series 4 and 5, as well as several other lines of Minimates, at a pretty large discount. I was never a super faithful collector of Trek Minimates, but ended up with a full set, which included this pair. They’re not super exciting, but they’re a pretty solid offering, and probably one of my favorite sets from the line’s original run.

#0776: Gorn

GORN

STAR TREK REACTION (FUNKO)

GornReAc3

Remember how Funko holds the license to literally everything you love? Well, you can add Star Trek to that list. Unlike a lot of the stuff Funko’s added to their various lines over the years, Trek is hardly new to the world of licensed toys. Seriously, they’ve been getting toys since the 70s! In fact, they aren’t new to 3 ¾ inch figures either. Mego did some for The Motion Picture, Ertl had a few for Star Trek III, and Galoob’s Next Generation line was that scale. Playmates’ 2009 figures were also in that scale, but the less said about them, the better. To be fair to Funko, we’ve never gotten the Classic Trek characters in the smaller scale, so their ReAction stuff is new on that count. Plus, Classic Trek is also one of the better fits for the style, especially today’s entry, the Gorn!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GornReAc4

The Gorn is part of the second series of Funko’s Star Trek ReAction line, alongside Kirk, Scotty, and Vina. He’s based on the Gorn Captain’s appearance in the Star Trek: TOS episode “Arena.” The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and he has the usual 5 points of articulation. He may not have a lot of articulation, but he can sit, which is something the las Gorn I looked at couldn’t. Unsurprisingly, the Gorn got an all-new sculpt. The Gorn’s somewhat goofy, guy in a rubber suit look is right up the ReAction line’s alley, and the sculpt ends up conveying the design quite nicely. He’ obviously more simplistic than the Playmates or Art Asylum versions of the character, but he’s actually got a lot of detailing for a ReAction figure. His skin has some great texture work, the crosshatch pattern on his eyes looks really great, and the detailing in his clothing is pretty sharp. I will say, the sculpt is a little odd when viewed straight on, especially the head. He ends up looking just a bit off. With a slight rotation, however, the sculpt looks pretty spot on to the design from the show. The Gorn exhibits the cleanest paintwork I’ve seen yet on a Funko figure. Pretty much all of the detail work is right where it’s supposed to be, and everything looks pretty sharp. There isn’t any slop or bleed over, or anything. Very solid work all around. ReAction figures tend to be light on accessories, and the Gorn is no exception. He’s got a stone spike, which he can hold reasonably well, and that’s it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I reviewed the Playmates version of this guy, I mentioned how much I love the Gorn as a character. When Funko announced the Star Trek ReAction figures, I wasn’t overly anxious to pick them up, but as soon as I heard they were making the Gorn, I was on board. I ended up finding this guy at a Barnes and Noble on the way to North Carolina. I’m genuinely impressed by this guy. I’ve enjoyed all the ReAction figures I’ve gotten so far, but they all felt a bit behind the figures they were attempting to mimic. I think the Gorn fixes that. He’s definitely my favorite ReAction figure to date, and a pretty fun figure in general!

GornReAc1

#0511: Gorn Captain

GORN CAPTAIN

STAR TREK (PLAYMATES)

Gorn1

When people think of Star Trek, more often than not, they’ll think of the show’s main crew members, or perhaps the scantily clad green alien woman. What tends to get overlooked, especially in the case of the original series, is the plethora of alien creatures that appeared on the show. In terms of toys, the aliens tend to get no respect. Often, they’ll be needlessly changed, or under produced, or even replaced by aliens made up by the toymakers. However, under the helm of Playmates in the 90s, the aliens actually did get a little bit of respect. Since the line was so big and they had to keep it interesting somehow, they turned to the aliens to liven things up. One such figure is today’s focus, the Gorn Captain.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gorn2The Gorn Captain was part of the Classic Trek 30th Anniversary assortment, released by Playmates in 1996. The assortment was released in waves of 2-3 figures each. The Gorn was from one of the later waves, along with Environmental Suit Kirk and the Mugato. The Gorn Captain is based on the character’s lone appearance in the Classic Trek episode “Arena.” The figure is just shy of 5 inches in height and he features 9 points of articulation. He has less articulation than what was standard for the line, which, sadly, was true for quite a few of the aliens in the Classic Trek line. The removal of the bicep swivels and waist movement are both rather annoying. The figure manages okay without them, but their absence is just baffling. On the plus side, this figure actually ends up making the v joint on the hips work pretty well, which can’t be said for the rest of the line. The Gorn Captain’s sculpt is wholly original to him, and generally speaking, it’s actually very well handled. While Playmates was known to have trouble with proportions on the human figures, creature figures played to their strengths. Aside from the torso being a little bit flat, the figure’s proportions are a close match for the Gorn’s appearance on the show. The sculpt exhibits some stand-out texture work on the skin, something not often seen on a figure from this time. It really helps set him apart from the other figures in the line, and other figures from the time in general. The Gorn had a rather distinctive facial design, and the figure’s head sculpt is a spot-on recreation of the mask from the show. The figure’s paint is generally pretty straight forward, but it’s rather good for the time. Most of the base paintwork is cleanly applied, and there’s even a light application of brown on the figure’s shoulders, which helps to sell the reptilian look of the character quite nicely. The Gorn Captain was packaged with a stone spike, the cannon constructed by Kirk in the episode, three projectiles, a display stand, and a trading card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back in the 90s, when my dad was collecting the Playmates line, I vividly remember the purchase of the Gorn.  I was fixated on the figure, and have loved the character ever since. According to my dad, he actually went out and bought me a Gorn figure, with the intent to give it to me as a gift. However, it ended up going missing somewhere, so I never ended up getting one. In the years that followed, the Gorn figure always seemed to evade me. Fortunately, one of the dealers at this year’s Farpoint had one amongst a large selection of other Playmates Trek figures. So, I finally have my Gorn figure! Sure, he may not be the greatest figure of all time, but he’s definitely fun, and I’m just super thrilled to own one.

Gorn3

 

EDIT: Wow, I certainly lucked out in posting a mostly green figure for St Patrick’s Day, didn’t I?  I swear it wasn’t at all planned!

#0481: Captain Sisko & Jem’Hadar

CAPTAIN SISKO & JEM’HADAR

STAR TREK MINIMATES

Sisko&Hadar1

This is the Star Trek Legacy Minimates review I’ve been dreading. A lot of people really, really like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and some even think it’s the best Trek ever. I, on the other hand, find the series to be utterly unwatchable. I’ve never been able to make it through a single episode of the show. So, the fact that I have a Minimate of the show’s lead, Sisko, is kinda not exciting. Bear with me, as I really don’t know much about these guys.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These two were released in the specialty assortment of Star Trek Legacy Minimates Series One. As DS9 had no movies, these two are based on their appearances within the TV show.

CAPTAIN SISKO

Sisko&Hadar2So, amazingly enough, this is the third of the four Siskos released in Minimate form. That’s more Siskos than Picards. That just doesn’t seem right. Anyway, Sisko is based on his appearance from the middle of the show, after he shaved his head, but before the changeover to the First Contact-style uniforms. The figure is about 2 ½ inches tall and sports 14 points of articulation. Structurally, he’s pretty much identical to yesterday’s Picard. Given the fact that they’re both bald guys in similar uniforms, this is pretty sensible re-use. The paintwork on Sisko is clean and the details are sharp. However, they aren’t particularly thrilling or anything. Sisko includes a phaser, a rifle, and a clear display stand, which happens to be the same accessory compliment as Picard.

JEM’HADAR

Sisko&Hadar3According to my girlfriend, the Jem’Hadar are a species on the show. They’re like an engineered species of soldiers or something. Not just a guy named Jem, so there! The Jem’Hadar is based on his appearance in the show, I guess. It’s very grey and textury, so that’s not too bad. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches tall and he has 14 points of articulation. The figure is built on the standard Minimate body, with a unique head sculpt and add-ons for his holster, torso cover, and belt. As far as I can tell, the pieces are all new to this figure, and they’re all very well sculpted. From a paint perspective, the figure is rather drab, but it’s done well technically. The Jem’Hadar includes a handgun, a rifle, and a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

These two are the last piece of the whole series set of these I got for $8 during Luke’s Toy Store’s Black Friday sale. While I fully intended to buy the other two, nothing about this set really had me excited. In hand, I really don’t feel any different. I guess they’re fun for fans of the show, but that’s not me.