Tuesday, February 22, 2011
(Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
Item Name: Klingon Cruiser
Manufacturer: Mego Toys Corp.
Mego released this ship to stores back in good ol' 1980. Take a closer look at that box art:
...and here's a look at the back of the box...
...and finally, a quick look at the snippet from the side...
Got all that? Good. Let's continue.
The Rundown: I have a few toy "holy grails" that I have been on the lookout for since I started my Trek collection. The wacky late 60's Remco stuff, prototypes of unproduced items, original Leaf trading cards... rare stuff that hardly ever shows up for sale. Pretty high on my list of wants have always been the 3 ships Mego made for their "Motion Picture" line: The Enterprise, the Vulcan Shuttle, and the Klingon Cruiser. Well, last week I finally crossed one of those off my list. Behold... The Mego TMP Klingon Cruiser!
Released toward the tail end of their "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" line, the Mego TMP ships were a departure from the company's norm. Mego usually stuck to action figures, playsets, and vehicles scaled to figures. Since it would have been impossible to do ships in scale with the figure line, Mego opted to replicate them as small-scale models. They chose the 3 most visible ships from the film to reproduce, which would of course include the Klingon Cruiser seen in the film's opening sequence.
Mego was pretty much the king of producing nice toys at a cheap price. The Mego TMP ships are a great example of their thrifty production methods. Each ship is molded entirely in one color (a greenish-blue in the case of the Klingon Cruiser), with all the color detailing supplied by an included decal sheet (which mine is unfortunately missing). They're basically pre-assembled model kits that you just put stickers on. No bells and whistles here... just enough to get the job done.
Now that's not to say that the ship is light on details. Quite the contrary actually! While the cruiser can't stand up to today's replicas, it's pretty impressive by late 70's standards. Each of the ship's main structures feature a pretty decent amount of sculpted detailing. From the "cooling unit"...
...to the bridge area....
...and all the way to the "propulsion units", this ship has a lot going for it!
Given the time period, that's pretty darned good. The ship isn't all that big either, coming in at only 8" from the tip of the bridge to the end of the propulsion units. Take a look at it next to some other Klingon ships to see what I mean-
The Hallmark and Johnny Lighning ships are both fairly small, so you can see that the Mego stuff isn't large by any means. While the 2 smaller guys have a lot more dteial going on, you have to remember that those are produced by today's manufacturing standards, with a keen eye towards authenticity. Mego's Klingon Cruiser was produced 30 years ago. For kids. By that token, it's great.
Included with each TMP ship is a "landing base". I believe the mold is the same for all three, with each one cast in the same color of plastic used on their respective ship. Even though it was probably a cheap addition for Mego to make, it's a very nice add-in for kids that wanted to display their ships when they weren't playing with them. Kids like me. Weird kids.
Okay, so I think I've made the point pretty clear that this was a nice toy for it's time and would have been a great item to pick up back then... but what about now? That's a really tough one, since the TMP ships are INCREDIBLY rare. At the point when these were shipping, the TMP figure line was winding down and stores were moving on to the next hot thing, leaving theses ships with only a VERY limited release here in the US. While all 3 did see a wider release overseas, it's still very uncommon to find them up for sale nowadays. When they do pop up, you can typically expect to pay anywhere from $200-$400 for each ship (depending on it's condition). Ouch. Yeah, at that price I can't recommend this guy to anyone but the most hardcore of Trek collectors. While the ship is cool and the nostalgia factor is there, you can buy much better version for a fraction of the price. Only a crazy person would plunk down the money for these Mego TMP versions...
So yeah... if you have a Vulcan Shuttle or an Enterprise for sale, let me know. Because I'm an idiot.