Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mego Spotlight- Tricorder

Item Name: Tricorder
Manufacturer: Mego Toys Corp.

Mego released this super cool Tricorder back in the mid-70's. Just like all the Mego boxed stuff, the box art is a real treat! Here's the back of the box if you'd like to see that too-

The Rundown: Mego did many great things with the Trek license during the years they had it. Sure, a great majority of the stuff took extreme "artistic license" when it came to reproducing things accurately, but they made up for their lack of realism with an overload of the fun factor. Take for example this Tricorder- sure, it may not match the real prop, but if you want to talk about a fun toy that probably saw plenty of play time back in the 70's, this one fits that bill perfectly. Combining the fun of a toy Tricorder with the abilities of a tape player makes this piece my favorite of all the Mego Trek role-play items! Let's take a look...

While it doesn't match the look of the TOS Tricorder, Mego at least captured the shape and basic design in this toy. The colors look like they were probably more inspired by the cartoon than the show, with vibrant shades of blue replacing the black and chrome of the original prop. There's a nifty little Trek logo imprinted on the top flap to remind you that "yes indeed, this is a Star Trek toy".

Flip open the top flap and you reveal a bunch of really nice decals depicting the "inner workings" of the Tricorder. There's shots of Kirk & Spock and a couple of nifty star charts. Great decals that really help sell the Tricorder's playability.

Beneath the decals are the Trciorder's controls. Theres a dial for volume, a switch that controls the functions of the player, a button for recording, and a small area for you to speak into while recording. The small multi-colored moire up there also spins while the tape is playing!

Speaking of the tape- Included with the Tricorder is a cassette tape for the owner to take on his or her Trek adventures. One side is left blank for recording your own logs, while the other side is filled with snippets from the episodes "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and "The Corbomite Maneuver". Listening to the tape recently I was reminded of being a child back before the days of DVD, DVR, and even before VHS was prevalent- back when the only method we really had to record our favorite shows was to stick the tape recorder in front of one of the TV's speakers and create our own "radio show" versions. Ah, the good ol' days...

Oh, and before I forget, I want to mention the amazing heft of this toy! When I took it out it's box, I was amazed by it's weight... and that was BEFORE I put the batteries in! A kid could have done some real damage to a rogue Andorian by whipping this beast around!

So there ya go... the Mego Tricorder! A great, affordable piece of Trek toy nostalgia! And practical too! Just be sure to test it before purchasing as the wiring is prone to coming loose over time.



  1. I remember as a kid not liking most of the different toy versions from companies like Remco, AHI and Mego as not only was the scale always always off, be it either too big or too small, but as you mentioned in this example the colors were off as well. Now that I look back at it as an adult (and a collector) I better realize that at least in the 70's, the fun factor level was probably more important for interest and sales than actual screen accuracy...

  2. Wow, what a neat "Trek" toy! I'd never seen nor heard of this one before, but I sure would have had fun with it ... if I'd been about ten years older and a "Trek" fan at the time! And it would have gotten a lot of use from me, too ... I remember spending hours making some of my own silly "radio-show" type stories ... ah, youth!


  3. I sooooo wanted this as a kid, but I rarely saw them in stores. I was totally fascinated by the communicators, but I would have loved this tricorder. There was something magical about Mego's Trek toys back then.

  4. I loved this one back when I had it. The control dial though was finicky and eventually was the death of the players functionality. It would get so stuck that the switch just broke right off. Granted, it got several good years of play from it, but at the time I was heartbroken.
    Like others here, there was part of me even at the time that was pretty annoyed with it being blue and not black like the real props...