Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mego Spotlight-
Wrist Communicators
("Star Trek: The Motion Picture")

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Item Name: Wrist Communicators
Manufacturer: Mego Toys Corp.

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Mego released these Wrist Communicators way back around 1979-1980. Yep, that's over 30 years ago folks. Feel old? Me too. Well, here's the back of the box to make you feel better... or worse, considering it pictures the insanely rare Mego TMP ships that most of us will never own-

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Yeah, that didn't help.

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The Rundown: I really need to apologize to you guys for taking this long to do this spotlight. Had I known how important these Wrist Communicators were, I would have given them top priority. But how was I supposed to know that this was the most exciting toy in the Space Age? Nobody told me. Oh wait... you didn't know that either? Well read the box, ya dummy!

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See? Now who has egg on their face? You do. So there.

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As explained in that blurb, what you'll find in the box are 2 wrist communicators with power packs. The box illustration above shows that these are pretty accurate recreations of the film props. Let's get 'em out of there and take a look!

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...ummmm, these aren't quite as nice as the box illustration. What's going on here? Maybe I missed something. Let me have another look at that box...

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Oh. Well thanks for teasing me Mego.

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Kidding aside, these things are freaking awesome. I've always been impressed by Mego's role play toys, but these Wrist Communicators may just be my favorite of the bunch. Unlike many of their other releases, Mego didn't take too many liberties with the design here. These are remarkably similar to their screen counterpart, especially given the time at which they were made.

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Underneath the "instrumentation panel" of the communicator is an area housing the microphone. While not entirely screen accurate, I applaud Mego's decision to incorporate the mechanism this way. By hiding it under a panel, they were able to maintain the look of the prop without breaking it up to house the microphone. Plus, flip open panels make everything more awesome.

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The top of the communicator is where you'll find the speaker area. Again, Mego tried to maintain the look of the prop by placing the speaker in an inconspicuous location. Since the prop has a large black area on top already, placing the speaker device up there makes perfect sense.

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The communicator attaches to your wrist by means of a plastic band attached at its back. The band is flexible, but still rigid enough to maintain its shape. The best part is that it can expand enough...

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...to fit an adult size wrist! Pretty sweet! And that brings me to another thing I love about these: Their size! One would think that fully-functional communicators from this time period would have to be big and bulky to accommodate their electronics. Not so with these! Since kids were going to have these things strapped to their wrists, keeping them at a manageable size was important to Mego. Which is why they housed most of the electronics inside attached power packs-

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Connected to the communicators by a thin electrical wire are the power packs. The power pack handles the bulk of the work for the toy, with the flexible antenna, batteries, and control button all located here. You attach the power pack to your person by means of a belt clip on back. There's even a Star Trek logo emblazoned across the front... just in case you forgot what you were playing.

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I'm too lazy to go back and look through my old spotlights and see if I ever dubbed a different Mego role play toy my favorite... so if I did, ignore that. This is now my favorite. The size and design coupled with their functionality make up for one awesome piece of vintage Trek toyness. They don't crop up very often, but when they do you can expect to pay a pretty penny for them in nice shape. Their value isn't really what makes them cool in my eyes though; It's the fact that they don't make toys nearly this cool anymore. Toys like this make me wish I could go back in time and give these to my 7-year-old self, because I know he would have had a blast with them...

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