Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Item Name: Flying U.S.S. Enterprise
Manufacturer: Remco Toys
Remco released their "flying" Enterprise way back in the late 1960's. I don't have a packaged version, so you'll just have to make due with the catalog shot above.
The Rundown: For my second blog posting over at StarTrek.com, I decided to take a look at some of the various Remco toys available during the show's original run in the late 1960's. Remco did some pretty wacky stuff with the license... including slapping the Star Trek name onto one of their "flying discs" and calling it the Enterprise. So let's put on our flip-flops, head to the beach, and give this puppy a toss with today's spotlight!
In the late 1950's and into the early 1960's, Wham-O toys built an empire on the sales of their Frisbee toy- A disc-shaped plastic glider that soared through the air with the flick of a wrist. Not to be outdone, Remco answered the call for such product by marketing their own flying discs... only theirs would also benefit from Remco's various licensing agreements. Case in point: The Flying U.S.S. Enterprise.
If you were buying a flying disc, would you rather have a plain ol' boring Frisbee... or would you go for one labeled as the U.S.S. Enterprise with a picture of Spock prominently featured on it? That's what I thought. Sure, the principle is the same, but in this case it's okay to make your judgment based solely on appearance.
There really isn't a lot more I can say about this one. It works just like a Frisbee, but it has Star Trek stuff printed on it. Do you need one? Well, that depends. Are you in the market for a Frisbee? Are you a Star Trek fan? Are you willing to spend from $25-$50 on a vintage flying disc? If you answered yes to all three of those, then by all means go buy one. If you only answered yes to 1 or 2 of those questions, then you may need to think twice before going after one. It's undoubtedly an oddball item and not something that most collector's are going to find essential to their collections... but it's probably the one Star Trek item that you can take with you to the beach and not feel strange about...
Thursday, May 26, 2011
My second blog article for Star Trek's official site is now up! This one focuses on the Remco Star Trek toys of the 1960's. Check it out if you have a chance: A Collector's Trek 2: Remco Toys Of The 1960's. Then come back here over the next couple of days as I spotlight two of the items featured in the article. Bet ya can't guess one of them...
Figure Name: Mr. Spock (In Dress Uniform)
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys
Playmates released this Spock in his Sunday-go-to-meetin' clothes as part of their Starfleet Officers Collectors Set.
The Rundown: After looking at Kirk in his dress uniform the other day, the only logical choice would be to follow up with a spotlight on Spock. Since we delved into the wheres, whys, and hows of the set last time, I won't bore you with regurgitating my views on it again here. Head back to the Kirk spotlight if you want to read all that again... but for now, let's look at Spock!
Just like Kirk, Spock features the same head used on all his TOS-era Playmates figures. You can say what you want about the Playmates bodies, but you can't really complain about their head sculpts for the most part. Their Spock head still rocks after all these years.
Playmates gave both Kirk and Spock unique chest sculpts for these releases. The attention to detail is pretty thorough here, with all of Spock's medals being individually sculpted and painted. They even made sure the gold piping was correct on these releases, with Spock lacking the gold piping that runs from his collar to his shoulders- just like it was on the show.
Unfortunately, Spock features the same open hands that we just looked at on Kirk. Again, since they don't really use any weapons while wearing these uniforms, it's not a huge deal... but it still would have been nice to have the option to display them holding their accessories.
You know what's a bit odd though? Playmates seemed to LOVE sticking Spock with a "Live Long & Prosper" hand whenever they could. Yet here is one time where the salute makes sense... but they skip it!? What's up with that? How is he going to show McCoy how to pull off the Vulcan salute now? Well, he can at least do one thing with these hands...
Spock is no Herbert. He reaches. Hey brother...
Accessories: Spock includes a standard phaser and communicator, which he can drop at his feet.
Like I said with Kirk, recommending this pack isn't as cut and dry as a single carded figure. You're going to spend around $20 or so if you want this guy, but you'll be getting the Kirk plus 4 other non-TOS figures. Is that worth it? It is for me just to get the Kirk and Spock, but your mileage may vary. You'd also get a cool display stand that you can throw your Dress McCoy on to complete the big three, but then you run into the problem of having those pesky logos from the later shows on there. Guess I'll need to buy some electrical tape and do a little cover up. I don't want anybody coming over to the house and thinking I'm a "Next-gener" or something...
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Figure Name: Captain James T. Kirk (In Dress Uniform)
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys
Playmates released this spiffy-looking Kirk in their Starfleet Officers Collectors Set.
The Rundown: Before I get to this spotlight, I am going to get on a soapbox for just a minute. While looking at this Kirk, I started thinking about just how vast a new Classic Star Trek figure line would be if the right company came along to produce it. Think of all the myriad aliens, the multitude of crew members, and all the different costume variations that the line could mine from for possible figure offerings! Now that isn't to say that Playmates did a bad job in the 90's; I've always been a big fan of what they did back then with the license. But I'm talking about a modern line, with today's standards of articulation and sculpting. Something like the current vintage-style Star Wars figures- 3.75" scale with great sculpting and a perfect range of articulation. Plus, that size is perfect for vehicles and playsets, and who wouldn't want a Classic Shuttlecraft scaled to their figures? Or a bridge playset? This line could even mimic the vintage-style Star Wars figures a bit by giving the packaging a vintage look, incorporating photos from the show and maybe even some Gold Key comic elements. Just like when Kenner revived the Star Wars line back in 1995, all it would take is a company that's willing to put the resources into making the line into something worth collecting. Done right, there's absolutely no reason why that line wouldn't be a hit.
Okay, rant over. Let's take a look at this Kirk!
Always looking for ways to get the main crew members out to the masses, Playmates devised the ingenious Starfleet Officers Collectors Set. The pack offered 6 figures, 2 from each of the shows created up to that point. Each pairing featured the captain/ commander and their second in command. From Deep Space Nine, there's Commander Sisko and Kira Nerys, Captain Picard and Commander Riker are included from The Next Generation (both of whom are wearing skirts), and last but certainly not least- Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock from the Original Series, both garbed in dress uniforms.
What makes the pack both ingenious and frustrating at the same time is the exclusivity of the uniforms. 4 of the figures in the set were only released in this manner. So if you wanted dress uniform versions of Picard, Riker, Kirk, or Spock, you had to buy this set. Being a TOS guy myself, I really didn't have much use for the others, so I paid the full price of the set for 2 figures. Actually, I paid it twice since I wanted one to open and one to keep sealed. And that was back at full retail. Ouch. I guess the set isn't as bad for someone who collects all eras of Trek, but even then the Sisko and Kira are straight reissues. So if you did happen to collect all the different Playmates Trek lines, you probably already had those two. See? Ingenious for Playmates, frustrating for collectors.
The Kirk figure itself is pretty decent, but not without issues. The head sculpt is the same as all the other TOS-era Playmates releases. By now you should know that I don't really have any issues with this sculpt. It's a strong Shatner likeness even by today's sculpting standards.
The figure features a new chest mold which replicates the dress uniform quite well. The gold trim features a raised texture, and each of Kirk's medals is individually sculpted. It's nice to see Playmates not cut any corners here.
So far so good, right? Well here comes the bad...
What's up with these arms? I realize using Kirk's existing arms wouldn't work, since they would have featured the rank braids around the wrists... but why did they go with these stubby jobs? Even worse, the hands are sculpted so that they are pretty wide open, negating the possibility of him holding his accessories. I guess that's not a huge issue, since Kirk doesn't really use anything while wearing his dress uniform, but it still kinda stinks. Oh well...
Accessories: Kirk comes with the standard phaser and communicator. Also included with the set is this display stand, which can hold all 6 figures-
And although it doesn't really feature any info, here's the blurb from the back of the box:
While the nature of the pack may be a little off-putting, getting the crew in their dress uniforms is a pretty cool subset in my eyes. Kirk was later released in his dress uniform a couple of times by DST, but since Spock and McCoy were only released in their dress uniforms by Playmates, you'll need to go that route if you want to have all 3 in scale with each other. Since the pack goes for around $20 nowadays, it's going to be a personal debate on what value you place on the rest of the figures in the set. For me, the Kirk & Spock are worth $10 each and the rest are just freebies... but maybe that's just me.
Up next time...
Sunday, May 22, 2011
Here's all the extras from the Sci-Fi Channel Special Edition of "Wolf In The Fold". Redjac... Redjac... Redjac!
Saturday, May 21, 2011
Item Name: Star Trek Special Edition UNO Card Game
Mattel released this Star Trek version of the popular UNO game back in 1999.
The Rundown: Awhile back, I spotlighted the 2009 release of the Star Trek UNO card game from Fundex. I felt is was a pretty solid spin on the standard UNO game, and well worth picking up. BUT... my buddy Frederick from "My Star Trek Scrapbook" reminded me of something that I had completely overlooked when writing that spotlight- There had already been a Star Trek version of UNO released years prior! How does this early version stack up to the 2009 release? Let's find out!
Just like the 2009 version, the game comes in an attractive tin display case. The graphic is pretty nice, and I like that this one is a bit more "subdued" than the later release. The inner tray seems to fit the cards better than the later release, with very little card slippage going on.
Each of the cards feature the Enterprise on the back and various individual images on the front. Since this set was made before TOS was remastered with new effects, the shots of the ships used here are from the original versions (effects purists rejoice!). The characters used for the cards are mostly obvious choices, but there are a couple of oddities thrown in. We get Kor thrown in the middle as card number 4, and inexplicably a Talosian Keeper as the 0 card. How did the Gorn not make it in here? Or a Mugatu? Heck, I'd have chosen Trelane or Harry Mudd before a Talosian. By far though, the oddest pick of the bunch has to be the "Wild Draw 4" card-
A Klingon Bird-Of-Prey from the movies!?! How'd that get in here? Weird. I'm going to let it go though, just for the fact that the "Reverse" card features Spock/ Mirror Spock. That alone is cool enough to excuse a couple of mistakes.
The game plays just like your standard UNO deck, with the exception of four new "Star Fleet Command" cards unique to the set. Each of these cards act as not only wild cards, but also feature new abilities that really enhance the game. The four new cards are:
Live Long and Prosper Card- This card allows you to discard your old hand and draw an entire new one. Y'know, in case your hand stinks.
Mind Meld Card- After playing this card, you get to command another player to show his or hand to you. I REALLY like this one. We played a few hands of this the other night, and this card really turned the tide for me a couple of times.
Beam Me Up, Scotty- This card allows you to stop any of these new "command" cards directed at you. Blaze got this one, and was able to deflect my use of the...
Double Tribble Card- If you play this one, the next player has to DOUBLE the amount of cards in there hand! Take that sucker! Eat them cards!
Oh... and I almost forgot- Instead of just yelling "UNO!" when you have one card left, you must now say "Space, the final UNO frontier!". If you don't, you have to pick up five more cards just like in regular UNO. So remember to do that.
As much as I like the 2009 version, I gotta say that this version is a little better in my opinion. The 4 new cards really add to the fun of the game, which is something that the 2009 version didn't do as well (since it only featured one new ability card). It's not that I don't like the new one, I'm just saying that if you only get one, I'd go with this 1999 version. If you look around enough, you can usually snag this one for about $10-$20, which is about the same rate as its 2009 counterpart. So do some hunting around and try for this one if you can. Now you'll have to excuse me, I'm off to play another hand... Blaze owes me a rematch.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Figure Name: Yeoman Janice Rand
Manufacturer: Playmates Toys
Yeoman Rand was released boxed as part of the Target Exclusive Transporter Series.
The Rundown: Ah, the Transporter Series... Been awhile since we've looked at one of these, hasn't it? To be honest, I kinda forgot I didn't finish off this series- Thus why it's been almost 2 years since I looked at the last one. Ah well. At least all this will seem fresh... Let's look at this "randy" lass!
For those of you who may not be familiar with these, the Transporter Series figures were a thrifty idea that Playmates came up with to get some more mileage out of existing molds. Each figure is molded in a translucent plastic with glitter sprinkled into it. The figure is then painted from only mid-chest up, giving the illusion that the character is caught in the middle of being transported.
Included with each figure is a transporter base. Set the figure on it, press the button, and the base will shine a light up into the figure, giving it the illusion of being beamed! The base also plays the familiar transporter warble, completing the screen effect.Pretty nifty, huh?
Each of the figures in the series is a straight re-work of their previous standard figure. I haven't yet spotlighted the standard Playmates Rand though, so this is my first time reviewing her head sculpt. It's weird- I never thought the likeness was that great until I took a closer look at it in these pictures. Playmates actually did a fairly decent job here, capturing her hair and mouth especially well. The eyes throw it off a bit, but for the time it is still pretty nice.
Now here's the double-edged sword of the Transporter Series. When you have them standing on the bases, they make really cool display pieces... but once you have them off, they are pretty useless. Imagine if you were a junior Trekkie and this was the only Rand you had. You'd feel pretty cheated, wouldn't you? And rightly so. Who would do that to a kid? Not me, that's for sure...
Accessories: Umm... none. Yeah, that's the other drawback. It would have been kinda neat if they had molded a phaser or something in matching clear plastic. But they didn't. Sad face.
Guess you can just read this box bio instead of looking at her non-existent beaming phaser-
Feel better? I don't.
I've said this before, but it's worth saying again: The Transporter Series is the ultimate definition of a one-trick-pony. There's little you can do with these except stand them on their bases. Only buy these if you already have the regular versions of the crew first. Even then, don't expect a whole lot of options from them. I will say this though- The bases are pretty sweet and would probably make nice stands for the regular figures as well. But, since they routinely sell for around $10 or so, that may be a bit pricey for just a display stand...
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Here's all the extras from the Sci-Fi Channel Special Edition of "The Return Of the Archons". Fun fact: Ben Stiller (who has never shied away from his love of Trek) got the name for his production company- Red Hour Films- from this episode!
Now I gotta go... I'm late for the festival!
Now I gotta go... I'm late for the festival!
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Star Trek 'Potpourri' Spotlight-
Captain Kirk & Mr. Spock
"Soft Poseable Figures"
Item Name: Captain Kirk & Mr. Spock Soft Poseable Figures
Kirk & Spock were released (separately) as part of the merchandising blitz of "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"... way back in '79!
The Rundown: After posting the spotlight on the 12.5" Spock figure the other day, I got some feedback from folks expressing some disappointment in the Mego TMP head sculpts. Some people said that they didn't think the Mego heads were nearly as nice as the heads found on the Knickerbocker plush Kirk & Spock. So I decided to dig out my cuddly Kirk and semi-squishy Spock for today's spotlight and let you guys judge for yourselves which company pulled off the better likenesses!
Before we take a closer look at those heads, let's talk a little bit about these guys. If anyone needed proof that a lot of companies were banking on "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" to bring in the same sort of merchandising dollars that "Star Wars" had in 1977, then look no further than the Knickerbocker plush dolls. Seriously... did Knickerbocker even have a clue what TMP was going to be like when they decided to make these? Don't get me wrong- I LOVE the original motion picture... but I know that it isn't a movie most little kids are going to enjoy. Especially not enough to make the parents rush out and buy stuffed versions of the crew for them to snuggle at night.
Oh... excuse me... I keep calling these plushes, but the packaging clearly states that these are "soft poseable figures", not stuffed animals or something. My bad. Well let's just see how poseable these are-
Okay. So the heads turn. What else ya got?
Velcro hands, eh? Very nice. I have no doubt that the amount of poses you can pull off just skyrocketed...
Doesn't Kirk look commanding there now? And what of Mr. Spock- Do his velcro palms allow him to strike an inquisitive stance?
In all seriousness, to call these "poseable" is quite a stretch. In order for me to consider a plush toy poseable, the body should have inner wiring or something that allows the figure to be posed in certain positions without any support. These don't have that. Don't try getting all fancy on me Knickerbocker... these are plushes.
That's not to say they are bad plushes by any means though. In fact, they are actually quite good. Knickerbocker did a very fine job of translating all the details of the TMP uniforms into a plush body. They even remembered the rank braids! And of course there's those head sculpts that prompted this spotlight in the first place...
Let's start with Spock. While I do think this is a pretty decent Nimoy likeness (especially given the fact that it is sitting on top of a stuffed body), I think it looks a little young. Nimoy had some character to his face by the time TMP rolled around. Take a look at this shot from the box for reference-
See what I mean? I think this Knickerbocker head makes for a great "young" Spock, but I really feel Mego's sculptors did a better job of capturing the age of the characters. It's even a bit more evident on Kirk...
Again, pretty great job on the likeness... but a bit on the young side. I'd even go so far as to say this could be one of the stronger TOS-era Kirk heads around. Almost makes me wish the bodies featured the classic uniforms and not the TMP versions...
So there ya go. As far as TMP likenesses go, I do prefer the Mego versions... but I still think Knickerbocker did a pretty great job on these guys. Should you bother getting them? Well, there isn't much you can do with the heads other than leaving them on these bodies, so if you're buying them simply for that then I'd say no. But if you want some true oddities AND you're a fan of merchandise based on "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", then why not? They routinely sell for only around $10-$20 each so you won't be breaking the bank if you go after them. Don't let society's stigma against stuffed characters hold you back my friends. Take a ride on the plush side...