KIRK, SPOCK, McCOY, UHURA, SCOTTY, SULU, & CHEKOV
CLASSIC STAR TREK (PLAYMATES)
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 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 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 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.
Here’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.
I’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).
Oh 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.
Like 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.