Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Figure Name: The Talosian Keeper
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys
The Keeper was released by Playmates on it's Star Trek 'Unified' cardback.
The Rundown: Another 'alien' entry in the Playmates line, the Talosian Keeper was released as part of Playmates "Special Anniversary Edition" merchandise. Playmates took the 30th anniversary of Star Trek as an opportunity to do a few figures based on "The Cage", the original pilot episode. While it's great to have the figure, there are a few nitpicks I have with it.
First, the good- The head sculpt is really nice! There's allot of nicely done details in it, and there's some light paint apps to help the sculpt 'pop'.
The veins on the side of the head are especially nice. Playmates sculpted them on there instead of just painitng them which really helps it look really close to the makeup job from the episode. So, yeah, great head...then there's the body...
While the texture of the sculpt is nice, the actual form of it leaves bit to be desired. The sleeves are sculpted straight down, which makes posing the figure kinda pointless. There's not a good way to make it look other than by having the arms straight down. The articulation is pretty limited too. There's swivels at the neck and shoulders, and a couple of hidden swivels where the legs meet the 'dress'. There's also articulated arms stuck in the sleeves; they swivel at the bicep and pivot at the elbow, but really the joints aren't that useful. Still, it's a Talosian Keeper, so it's not like this guy needs to be doing cartwheels or anything...
Accessories: The Keeper comes with a display stand (not pictured), a viewscreen, a nourishment vial, and a gas sprayer. I've picked up 2 different versions of the accessories now...one set molded in black platic, and one in blue. I have no idea if one is rarer than the other...
Want to read the bio? Sure you do!-
Monday, June 29, 2009
Figure Name: Kras The Klingon (From "Friday's Child")
Made by customizer Matthew Hackley
The Rundown: Kras, the forgotten Klingon! Remember Kras? It's okay if you don't...he's not nearly as memorable as the big 3 classic Klingons (Kor, Koloth, and Kang), but he is a fine example of classic Klingon virtue! He's just as conniving and sneaky as his fellow Klingons, but his appearance is a wee bit different. The Klingons in "Friday's Child" departed visually from those seen in "Errand Of Mercy". Gone are the dark makeup and upswept eyebrows. Klingons would keep a similar appearance in "The Trouble With Tribbles" and would then return to the dark makeup and brows for "A Private Little War". So, just for reference, here's Kras:
Ah! Poor Kras...you didn't make it...sorry if I'm spoiling the episode for you, but after 40-plus years I thought it was safe to post that. ;)
And here's a closeup of the custom:
Matt is going to be tackling all the unmade classic Klingons...and I hope they all turn out as nicely as Kras! The head really captures the unique look of Kras; the thinning hair and crazy beard really bring it home that this is Kras, no doubt. The heads on the classic Klingon customs are what's gonna really set each one apart, but Matt didn't just do a simple head swap...
Matt totally repainted the Koloth body to get it closer to the screen appearance than what Playmates did. The result really brings out all the detail that gets lost in the sculpt. Here he is next to his unpainted Klingon compatriot Koloth-
See how much nicer that is? The only problem is that now Koloth really needs some sprucing up...another task for Matt to tackle ;)
So here he is...Kras as Playmates might have done him!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Item Name: Classic Medical Tricorder
Manufacturer: Diamond Select Toys
Diamond Select released the Classic Medical Tricorder as a boxed Entertainment Earth Exclusive.
The Rundown: AA/ DST seemed to be on a winning streak when it came to doing replicas of the equipment from Classic Star Trek. Their Phaser and Communicator replicas are both fantastic! When they first announced the Tricorder, I was ecstatic! Then came the production delays...and the loss of the scanner motor...and the price increase. So now that it's finally here, how does it measure up?
Let's start with some positives- the first thing I noticed (obviously) was the size! After only having the Playmates version for years, it was really nice to have a pretty accurately sized Tricorder in my hands! Take a look at him up there next to his "little Playmates brother". Oh, and the box itself is pretty huge too!
The strap on the Tricorder is sized for an adult (thankfully) and is made of a very nice leather-like material. Pretty sharp!
Once the play feature is turned on, the Tricorder will automatically light up when the top section is flipped open. The first 2 buttons produce sound effects which will also cause the moire to spin. The sound effects are loud and crisp, and the moire spin is great. The sound effects also stay on for quite awhile when pushed. The screen is nice, though I wish the lights were a bit brighter.
Okay, time for some not-so-positives- The the third button activates the voice chips. The Dr. McCoy voice chips on the three that I played with (and allot of the ones I'm hearing reviewed on line) are pretty poorly done. The voice is pretty sped up and high-pitched, making McCoy sound like one of the chipmunks. Lines like "He's dead Jim" sound like "hesdeacha!". And it's not the batteries either. It's a faulty voice chip and it's not an isolated problem. And what really stinks is that since this a mail order exclusive and you can't actually test the chip before buying, you have to take a real gamble when ordering.
While not as big a problem as the cruddy voice chip, the bottom panel is also somewhat of a nuisance. It's made to come part of the way open and then stop, or if you want it all the way open, you push in the sides to get it all the way open. That's all fine, but it doesn't work all that well and looks kinda funky when fully opened.
And here's the worst travesty of the whole thing: the medical scanner. This thing is CHEAP. When they first announced it, this puppy was going to have a motor to spin and electronic sounds. Then we got our price increase, and then they said they couldn't get both options into it, so they figured fans would want the sound. WHAT!?! What fan would have chosen the sound!?!? When did they take that poll!?! Um, hello? Can't the sound just come from the Tricorder instead? It smacks of DST cheaping out and trying to come up with an excuse. As it stands now, you have to spin the scanner manually with a little disk while attempting to hold down the button at the same time! Oh, and you can't just press the button and let it go and have the sound effects continue...you actually have to keep it pressed down! What moron thought it would be possible for someone to turn a dial while keeping their thumb stationary on the button!?! Oh, and the sounds are INCREDIBLY low on mine, and the one my friend opened.
Lastly, there's no clip to hold the scanner in place! It just kinda rattles around in there! Would it really have cost that much to put a simple clip in there? The whole thing is incredibly lightweight anyway (almost to the point of feeling cheap) and it might have added a little weight.
I can excuse allot of stuff, but when a product is this expensive (WITH a price increase over the original suggested retail) and is delayed as long as this one was, this kind of stuff is pretty inexcusable. And I didn't even go into details on the paint flaws on the ones we ordered since that's a pretty random thing. All this stuff adds up to a product I would have been hesitant to buy had I actually seen it in stores, especially at full price. Buyer beware on this one folks! It's still a cool piece to have, but the flaws are pretty disappointing.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Figure Name: Mirror Kirk
Manufacturer: Art Asylum Toys
Mirror Kirk was released as part of the second wave of Art Asylum's Classic Star Trek figures.
The Rundown: Art Asylum came up with a good way of getting main characters Kirk and Spock into the second wave of Classic Trek figures without just retreading their first offerings: Mirror versions! If you're a follower of my blog, you know of my love for "Mirror, Mirror", so saying I was excited for these figures would be an understatemnet.
Mirror Kirk here reuses some parts from wave 1's Kirk...including the head. It's not the best Shatner headsculpt, but it's still pretty good.
The body features the standard articulation of AA's Classic Trek offerings. You can get some really great poses out of these guys without their bodies looking like robots. The only point that can look a little funky in poses is the bicep joint, since there's really not a good way of hiding it on bare arms. Still, I'm glad it's there.
Kirk has the rubber shirt that was used on most of AA's stuff. I'm worried about the lifespan of the material used, but it looks really good right now! In fact, it probably looks the best on Mirror Kirk and Spock. It seems a bit thicker, and it's actually painted over, which helps rid it of allot of it's rubbery look.
Accessories: Mirror Kirk is a little light on accessories, he comes with a communicator, the insanely awesome Mirror dagger, and a sheath that plugs into a hole on his sash. It would have been nice to have a phaser or some alternate hands (like the ones with Mirror Spock).
This figure is getting 2 rereleases this year; as a carded Toys R Us exclusive, and with a Mirror Universe Captain's Chair. The Toys R Us one looks like it has a different skintone than this release. I'm hoping that the skin matches the TOS Wave 5 Kirk so I can make a head switch with that figure's superior headsculpt...
Friday, June 26, 2009
Item Name: Starfleet Phaser
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys
The Starfleet Phaser was released by Playmates as a boxed accessory as part of it's Classic Star Trek Movie Series.
The Rundown: Playmates did a bunch of 'Roleplay' accessories back in the 90's. At the time, they were about the only game in town when it came to readily available, inexpensive reproductions of the items used in Trek. Playmates made them as toys for kids though so some corners were cut. Still, for the money, the reproductions are still pretty darned fun. They did quite a few items for the classic crew, including this guy here.
Playmates lists at as a Phaser from Star Trek- The Motion Picture & Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan, but really the color pegs it as a TMP phaser, not a TWOK one. It's not entirely screen accurate, but they got the basic design down pretty well. There's a panel up top, and an emitter section up front. The phaser has a small circle up top that allows you to switch from 'stun' to 'disrupt' sound effects. Playmates added a belt clip to the side so the kiddies could take it on away missions.
The electronics are pretty nice for the price. The panel up top lights up with green and red lights when the trigger is depressed.
While it's not great in daylight, the emitter light is really pretty sharp in the dark! Oh, and you'll have to take my word for it but the sound is clear and loud as well.
So there ya go. Sure, it's a toy, but it's still a pretty good representation of the first movie phaser. DST has a TWOK style phaser "supposedly" coming out this year (I've started taking every release with a grain of salt due to the constant delays and cancellations of DST product), so you can hold out for that one for a more accurate movie phaser if you'd like... but if you can get this one on the cheap then there's no reason not to snag it too.
Want to read more on the phaser? Of course you do! Here's the box info-
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Figure name: Dr. McCoy
Manufacturer: Mego Toys Corp.
Bones was released carded as part of Mego's 3&3/4" 'The Motion Picture' line.
The Rundown: If you're looking for super-articluated, hyper-detailed versions of the classic movie series crew....well, these probably aren't gonna fit the bill. But if you're looking for small scale guys with great likenesses and vintage charm, the TMP line from Mego fits the bill!
As with most of the TMP 3&3/4" figures, the head sculpt is really nice! You can definitely tell it's McCoy, even at this small scale. Mego did a better job in a sculpt at this scale 30 years ago than most companies are doing nowadays!
The body sculpt is good for the time period and the scale, but as you can see it's definitely a product of the time. Still , it's well detailed and looks great compared to some of the other stuff coming out back then. The only gripe I have is that I think this is a mish-mash of a costume. I don't remember McCoy ever wearing a white top with gray pants. If I recall correctly, it was either gray top and pants or white top and pants. This could be a choice on Mego's part, something not seen in the actual movie or in a production still....or it could be my faulty memory. Who knows!
Articulation wasn't as big a thing back then, so you only get the standard 5 points. Still, it's not that bad and he looks good at a console on the bridge playset.
Accessories: Nope. No accessories here!
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Figure Name: Pavel A. Chekov
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys
Chekov was released carded as part of the Playmates Star Trek Generations line.
The Rundown: Hey! Another Chekov in his movie uniform! Playmates never released a full line of the crew in their Star Trek II-VI movie uniforms, but they did manage to squeeze a few into the Star Trek Generations line! We got Kirk, Chekov, and Scotty. The Chekov and Scotty were pretty hard to find (I never saw them in stores and both the ones I have came from the secondary market). Today we'll take a look at Chekov-
The sculpting on the body is nice, and it's at least different than the one used for Kirk. The paint detailing is good and clean. The only spot where the figure kinda fails is in the articulation.
At the time this figure was made, Playmates was pulling back on the articulation a bit, so Chekov here only has 5 points. The neck and shoulder joints work well for what they are (a simple swivel), but the hip joints are severely hindered by the lower part of the shirt. So he's not going to be pulling off many poses. Still, it's a good sculpt overall and great for making customs of the rest of the crew in this style uniform.
I really feel the head sculpt is awesome! I don't think it's a good representation of Chekov at the age he is in Generations, but it's perfect for Star Trek II (or as a head for a custom TMP style Chekov)!
Accessories: Here's where the good ends. Playmates REALLY cheaped out when it came to the accessories. He has a display stand (not pictured), a phaser, a communicator, and a Tricorder. Not bad, huh?....except they are all "Original Series" style! They are totally out of place with the figure! They could have at least used the phaser mold from the Classic Movie Series figures!
Still, despite it's flaws, I love the figure. I really wish Playmates had finished out the crew...but at least customs are pretty easy to do.