Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Star Trek The Sci-Fi Channel Special Edition Extras-
"The City On The Edge Of Forever"

All the extras from the Sci-Fi Channel Special Edition of "The City On the Edge Of Forever". Needless to say, Harlan's not happy.

Playmates Spotlight- Captain James T. Kirk
In Space Suit
(Star Trek: Generations)

Figure Name: Captain James T. Kirk In Space Suit
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys

Space-diving Kirk was released by Playmates as part of it's "Star Trek: Generations" line.

The Rundown: Playmates' "Generations" line was filled with oddities when it first hit store shelves. I was really confused by the whole line. The uniforms on the TNG crew figures were totally new, but weren't actually seen in the movie (I'd find out later that the figures were based on early design concepts for the uniforms that didn't actually make it into the film). Then there was this Kirk. When I saw the figure I was like "wow cool, Kirk is going to be wearing some kind of crazy space suit in this one!". Then I saw the movie...and no space suit. Again, I'd find out later that the scene didn't make it into the final film. Guess Playmates really got caught with their pants down on this one...

Of course, now that there are dvds and youtube and everything else, we've probably all seen the orbital skydiving scene that this figure is based on. The sculpt is good and matches the costume pretty well. The waffling pattern on the suit is especially nice. Playmates did a pretty nice job on the paint too, with nice clean lines throughout.

The head is the same one used on all of the "older" Kirks. It's a pretty decent older Shatner likeness, but it's better suited for the TMP figure. Shatner was a bit thicker by the time Generations was filmed, and this figure doesn't really reflect that. Then again, that could have something to do with what Shatner was willing to approve...

Sadly, the figure falls flat in the articulation department. Like the other Generations figures, Kirk isn't as well articulated as your standard Playmates figure. He only has 5 points: hips, shoulders, and neck. There's not many poses you can get out of this one.

Accessories: Kirk comes with a display stand (not pictured), a light, a bottle of champagne (to presumably throw at the Enterprise B), a couple of engineering tools, and a pretty nifty little removable helmet. Wish he would have come with a parachute...

Box Bio:

The bio is bizarre (thanks to Kyle for pointing this out!). The ending seems to say that Soran and Kirk (outfitted in this attire) encounter the ribbon together?!?! Maybe this was Playmates way of trying to explain the suit since the scene was cut?

This one you can probably skip. The lack of articulation, and the fact that he's scene-specific to a scene that's not actually in the movie make him pretty much unnecessary to a Playmates Classic Trek display. The suit and helmet are kinda neat, but not enough to put him on a "must-buy" list.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Reading Room Spotlight-
"Star Trek- A Comics History"
By Alan J. Porter

I picked this up at my comic shop last week and I've been meaning to post something about it since then. If you're a fan of Star Trek comics like me, this book is a fantastic reference for Trek in all it's comic incarnations. From the original Gold Key comics up through IDW's acquisition of the license, the book covers just about every comic published. There's a quick synopsis for each issue, with all the pertinent info. The book really shines at giving details on rarities like the Sunday paper strips, McDonalds Happy Meal comics, and UK exclusive stories from their Joe 90 and TV21 anthologies. Oh, and there's quick snippets from a bunch of the creators behind the comics towards the end. The book is pretty decently sized, with tons of nice illustrations sprinkled throughout. The only real bummer is the lack of IDW coverage, but the author does mention that they will be covered in future editions.

The book ain't cheap, with a MSRP of $40. Amazon currently has it at $26.39 with free shipping though:

Star Trek- A Comics History on Amazon

That's still a lot to put down for a casual comic fan; The book is better suited for the hardcore Trek comic fan. If that's you, go snag this one!


South Bend Spotlight-
Electronic Phaser Guns

Item Name: Electronic Phaser Guns
Manufacturer: South Bend Toys

South Bend released this boxed set of 2 "Phaser Guns" way back in 1979.

The Rundown: Do you like Star Trek? Of course you do! Do you like Lazer Tag? Of course you do! Well, do I have the perfect item for you! The South Bend Star Trek Electronic Phaser Gun Set! It's a prop replica! It's a game! No, it's BOTH!

South Bend was one of those "blink-and-you'll-miss-it" companies that snagged a piece of the Star Trek action (hee...piece of the action) when the first motion picture came out. The South Bend company was a sub-division of Milton Bradley and was usually used as the brand name for their electronic toys. The brand name was used on these phaser guns, a really neat version of the Enterprise, and a sweet belt buckle/ insignia combo.

The back of the box pretty much explains the deal here. You get 2 phaser guns for you and your friend to reenact your favorite phaser battles from Star Trek The Motion Picture (oh wait...there weren't any). The box lists these as being for ages 6 to 11, so you only had a 5 year period where you could play with these apparently. How do they work? Glad you asked!

The phasers work by shooting a beam of infrared light (which they go out of their way to stress as being totally harmless) into the opposing phaser's receiver. When hit, the opposing phaser will respond with either a ricochet, or an explosion sound:

Kinda neat...but it seems to be totally random if you hit or if it ricochets. Even the instructions say "there may be as many as 3 ricochets before an explosion is heard". Guess it's luck of the draw...

As far as accuracy goes, we have to remember that these are toys. The shape is right though, and it's a passable job for something designed as a game and not a 1:1 replica. Funny thing is that you never really see the phasers in TMP, so when these were actually on shelves most folks had no idea what they were based on.

Just like their Enterprise, the South Bend Phasers aren't that common, so if you're looking at picking up a working set in good shape, be prepared to shell out a little cash. They are a cool oddity though, and are actually pretty fun to play with. Take that V'Ger!


Monday, September 28, 2009

Star Trek The Sci-Fi Channel Special Edition Extras-
"Mudd's Women"

All the extras from the Sci-Fi Channel Special Edition of "Mudd's Women"-

AA/ DST Spotlight- Ensign Pavel Chekov

Figure Name: Ensign Pavel Chekov
Manufacturer: Art Asylum Toys

Chekov was released as part of Art Asylum's second wave of Classic Star Trek figures. (I had mine signed by Mr. Koenig)

The Rundown: Though he wasn't in all 3 seasons of the original Trek, Chekov definitely qualifies as one of the main crew of the original Enterprise. AA released him in their second assortment, and unlike most of the original AA figures, Chekov hasn't received the reissue treatment from DST as of yet. Is it worth searching out the original? Let's look!

Chekov has the same body style seen on all the AA male classic crew members. He's got plenty of articulation, and the joints aren't too obtrusive. Again, these figures have rubber shirts that cover the torso joint. Mine has caused some dark spots to appear on Chekov's neck. I'm not a fan of the rubber shirts. I really wish DST would go back and rerelease the whole crew with solid torsos instead.

I feel like the Chekov head is one of the weaker likenesses of the AA figures. The DST "Wrath Of Khan" Chekov head is really nice and has a pretty strong Koenig likeness, but this AA classic head is a bit weak. Maybe it's just the paint? I usually prefer DST's paint jobs, so it will be interesting to see if this looks better whenever they decide to reissue him.

Since this is one of the original AA figures, the yellow of the shirt doesn't match the "standard" AA yellow-shirt Kirk, nor does he match any of the DST reissue figures. You'll have to customize a Kirk to get a whole crew in this shade of yellow, which is a bit of a bummer.

Accessories: Chekov includes an extra hand, a phaser, a communicator, and a tricorder.

Chekov is real tough one to recommend. On one hand, every crew needs a Chekov, and without a DST version this becomes the only game in town. On the other hand, DST has said that they are looking for a way to get him out there. If that does happen, we'll end up with a version that has a shirt that matches the rest of the DST reissue crew. The head may even look better with a DST paint job. But, as with all things Trek now, it's a gamble whether a reissue will happen or not... I guess it comes down to what you have in the way of other crew members. If you have mostly AA stuff, then hunting down this Chekov probably makes more sense due to the shirt color. If you have mostly DST reissues, you're probably better off taking a "wait and see" approach.

*I drew the winner for the DST Tapestry Picard this morning. Congrats Max! Hope you enjoy him! I'll be doing more of these giveaways in the coming weeks, so be sure to keep checking!


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Star Trek The Sci-Fi Channel Special Edition Extras-
"The Man Trap"

All the extras from the Sci-Fi Channel Special Edition of "The Man Trap". Not a big fan of the guy they get from TV Guide... Many of the things he says on these things seem inaccurate.

Playmates Spotlight- Mr. Spock
("The City On The Edge Of Forever")

Figure Name: Mr. Spock
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys

30's Spock was released by Playmates on their Warp Factor Series cardback.

The Rundown: Spock finishes off the "City" subset and is probably the nicest of the bunch. A good solid sculpt and GREAT accessories really put this figure at the upper end of the Playmates catalog.

Spock is one of the Playmates' "Warp Factor" figures, which usually means less articulation and more of a "pre-posed" sculpt. For Spock, it really works. The pose is pretty good, and the lack of articulation helps maintain the detail of the sculpt.

I'm a big fan of the sculpting work done on the outfit. I love that Spock (and the "City" Kirk) have jackets that are actually seperate pieces instead of just being part of the body sculpt. It adds a really nice layered look to the figure.

When Harlan wrote "City", he stressed that the clothes that Kirk & Spock nab should be ill-fitting, and not look as if they were tailor-made to their sizes. Playmates did a great job of capturing this on Spock, with a slightly baggy look to the jacket, and pants that seem to be a size too small. Nice work!

The head is the same as all the other Classic Spocks. When you do something right, why change it? Spock comes with a removable knit cap to hide his "mechanical rice picker" accident. Removable hats at this scale usually look like garbage, but this one actually fits pretty well and doesn't look ridiculously large.

Accessories: Spock has some of the best accessories seen in the Playmates line. He comes with a stand (not pictured), his knit cap, a cup for serving coffee, and 2 circuit board things that he fashioned from stone knives and bear skins. These are both incredibly well detailed for being Playmates accessories!

Box Bio:

All 3 "City" subset figures are some of my favs from the collection, but Spock here is at the top of the bunch. He's actually one of the best figures of the line in my opinion. Definitely worth a pickup! Actually, go ahead and get all 3! Who doesn't love "City On The Edge Of Forever"!

I just hope Harlan doesn't sue me over this spotlight.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mego/ DST Combo Spotlight- Andorian

Figure Name: Andorian
Manufacturer: Mego Toys Corp.

The Andorian was released carded as part of the third series of Mego 8" Star Trek figures (sorry, no carded pic on this one).

The Rundown: The Romulan may be the greatest 8" Star Trek Mego, but the Andorian here definitely comes in as a very close second. Featuring a great head sculpt, and a fairly accurate outfit, Mego really did a top notch job on this guy. It's just a shame he's so rare...

Though it's not based on a specific Andorian, the head (and cardback drawing) do bear a passing resemblance to Thelev from "Journey To Babel" (which if it was based on him would make this an Orion in disguise and not a true Andorian). Either way, the head looks fantastic and perfectly captures the distrusting nature of the Andorian species.

And you can't talk about the head without mentioning the antennae. They are well sculpted, and look very much like their television counterpart. For a line that sometimes took great liberties with screen accuracy (I'm looking at you Gorn), the attention to detail on the Andorian's head is a very welcome surprise.

The outift may not be entirely screen accurate, but the feel of the Andorian outfit is captured quite well. Mego thankfully went with the "Journey To Babel" look over the Andorian appearance from "Whom Gods Destroy", so no giant pink fuzzy sweater. Instead, we get an armor-over-chain-mail look that's done very well.

Any vintage Star Trek Mego collector can tell you that's one big problem with the Andorian. Since most folks left the black belt on the figure, a great majority of the Andorians you see nowadays turn out like this:

The black plastic reacts with the vinyl material, leaving a black stain all around the figures waist. The staining can also seep through to the body suit underneath causing a brown stain ring around the mid section. There is a way of fixing this, but I myself haven't tried it. The details are over at just click here.

The Mego Andorian is truly one of the highlights of the line. His screen accuracy and overall coolness factor really set him apart and he's a figure that no Mego Trek collection should be without, which is difficult since he's such a rarity. He still commands a hefty price on the secondary market so many casual collectors aren't able to have this piece in their collections. If only there were an affordable alternative...

Oh wait...there is! The Diamond Select Toys/ Emce Toys reissue version!

The Andorian reissue figure from DST is such a close approximation that I figured I'd tack him onto the Mego review. Let's take a look at what's different here-

The basic look of the figure is the same. There's very slight changes in the shades of color used, but overall they are very close in appearance. It's tough to tell them apart with just a quick glance.

The heads are very close, with a slight change in the color of plastic used. There's also a little bit of a brighter red around the eye of the original. I guess the reissue got hold of some visine...

There is a pretty distinct difference in the bodysuit (at least on the examples I own). The original version feature a diamond-shaped pattern, while the reissue features a straight-line pattern. It's not a huge difference, but it does help distinguish the suits if you're searching for an original.

Accessories: Neither the original nor the reissue version come with any accessories unless you count the outift, which I don't. Due to the nature of the Andorian's gloves, holding a weapon isn't really possible, so I understand the omission.

The DST Andorian offers you a very affordable option to the original. He's just a bout a dead-ringer for the original, and you don't have to worry about the black belt stains. If you have some of the Mego Trek crew, but you don't have this guy, snag one of these reissues! It's a great figure, even by today's standards...

Whew! That was a long one... Since these reissue versions are so close to the originals in many ways, I'll probably do this same "combo-style" spotlight with the all the remaining 8" Mego figures who have DST counterparts. Then I've just got to update all the ones I've already done too...

Oh! Don't forget you've got until 12:01 a.m on Monday Setember 28th to get your name in for a chance to win a DST Tapestry Picard! All the details are at the end of My Galoob Klaa spotlight from Friday. Good luck!