Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Playmates Spotlight-
Captain James Kirk
(9" Figure- As Seen In the Episode
"City On The Edge Of Forever")

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Figure Name: Captain James Kirk ("City On The Edge Of Forever")
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys

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Playmates released this Kirk back in 1997 in their "Warp Factor" style packaging. COTE Kirk was a Kaybee Toys exclusive, with roughly 7500 figures produced. Sorry, no boxed pic this time, but here's his bio from the back at least-

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The Rundown: Before we get into this one, I just wanted to give a shout-out to my friend Mike Beckett for designing the new banner for the site! Using the logo he designed and a picture my wife took of Nanjin's custom 12" figures, he created that awesome image you see above. Mike has been a close friend for years, and has hooked me up with some great (and free!) design work for various projects of mine. He's in the midst of starting up his own clothing company- Confront Clothing. Their site isn't quite active yet, but be sure to shoot over there and bookmark it for when product does become available.

With all that said... let's take a look at Kirk!

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We've talked about Playmates 9" line a few times now, but for those who may have just recently discovered the site, here's a basic view of the line- The figures all feature the same 2 semi-decently articulated bodies (a male and a female) adorned with individualized cloth outfits that give each figure it's unique appearance. Each character routinely had 1 standard head sculpt reused throughout the line for each of it's releases. The line offered a HUGE range of attired looks for the main crew (due to the inexpensive nature of production) and stands as one of the most expansive collections of Classic Star Trek figures ever made.

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Since the line was notorious for doing the main crew members repeatedly in different outfits, it's somewhat of a no-brainer that "City On The Edge Of Forever" was represented here. COTE offered a very unique take on Kirk and Spock, so I'm sure Playmates had it high on their list of possible variations for exclusive offerings. Both Kirk and Spock (and later Edith Keeler) made it into production as Kaybee Toys exclusives, with a retail price of $34.95 each. While that may seem outrageously high for 1997, you have to remember that it was a different time... when Trek was at the height of collectible popularity.

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Kirk's head sculpt is the same that we've looked at on previous 9" spotlights. I'm a big fan of it when it's painted well, which it is here. I really feel they nailed Shatner's likeness, especially given the fact that this is rotocast (a material typically hard to get sculpts right with).

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At first glance, Kirk's outfit looks really great. The jacket and pants have an almost corduroy feel to them, and the shirt's flannel pattern is very nicely represented (something lacking on the 4.5" version). The clothes even seem to fit just a little oddly, just like they were intended to on the show. If you never opened the jacket, this would be a pretty fantastic COTE Kirk...

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Sadly, I did open the jacket. What you find under there is just...weird. Instead of a full shirt, Kirk has this odd dickie thing on. Sure, I know that Playmates was doing these on the cheap, so a full shirt was probably too much to hope for. But this? This makes Kirk look like an exotic dancer. Do yourself a favor and never open that jacket up.

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Accessories: Besides the lack of a full shirt, the only other gripe I have is with the accessories. Kirk includes a phaser, a communicator, and a tricorder (plus a stand which isn't pictured). You could make the argument that the tricorder makes some sense, but the other 2 are just cheap additions that seem very out of place. I would have much rather seen some ordinary stuff thrown in, like a bag of groceries or a bowl of soup. Ah, what can you do...

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The Playmates 9" line is definitely an acquired taste. There's a bit of cost-cutting across the line (like Kirk's Chippendales outfit here), but it really does offer a ton of character looks to choose from. The COTE offerings are well worth grabbing if you decide to get into it, despite a couple of shortcomings. You can usually snag them at original retail cost or slightly below, and at that price the Kirk is probably worth adding to your collection. Anything more than that and you're paying too much for what you get...

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