You’re going to see a lot of vintage Playmates Star Trek figures cropping up in my posts over the next couple of weeks. I started collecting these 4″ figures back when they first came out. I was in my early 20’s back then and these were technically the first figures I ever purchased as a collector and not as toys to play with. I picked up a lot of the original two waves of Next Gen figures and was just starting to pick up a few of the Deep Space Nine figures when I stopped for whatever reason. I think it was probably because I was saving money to move out of state. Now, about 18 years later, I’ve decided to work on finishing this collection.
I really liked the packaging on these figures. The background is so colorful and follows through with an overall animated look. And holy shit did Playmates advertise a lot of crap on these cards, all screaming at you in yellow bursts of text. Your Figure is Individually Numbered! Collector Card included!! Deep Space Nine figures coming soon!!! PLAY THE GAMES ON THE SNES AND GENESIS!!!! The front of this card is like a Las Vegas billboard.
Yeah, that numbering thing was an interesting tactic Playmates used to sell these figures as both collectibles and toys, but billing these figures as collector pieces was a joke. Hey, my Scotty is only 134,264 of I don’t know how many made. And that’s probably a low number. The fact that almost 20 years later you can buy these things mint and carded for under five bucks (Scotty cost me $4.99) just pours salt in the wound. But I don’t care. I love that these figures are dirt cheap and that I can pick them up making impulse buys on Ebay.
The Playmates 4″ figures are notorious for being highly stylized and almost caricatures of their subjects. In many cases, the figures almost look like animated versions of their live action couterparts. Its a design element that really turns some people off, but for the most part, I think it works pretty well. As the series went on, the figures slowly began to shed this curious appearance until by the time you got to Deep Space Nine and Voyager, the figures were a lot more like direct likenesses.
Scotty is a pretty good balance of the Playmates signature look. Its a really good sculpt with a nice likeness of the aged James Doohan. I particularly like the gray two-tone paint apps in his hair. He can also easily double as a classic film version of Scotty since he’s wearing the same basic outfit that he wore in Star Trek V and VI. The only real difference is this version is wearing one of the Next Gen style comm badges instead of his old insignia. His vest is really nicely done and sculpted complete with his little tool pocket and zipper.
The articulation here is pretty good. His head rotates at the neck, his arms rotate at the shoulders, he’s got swivel joints in the biceps and hinged elbows. His legs are jointed at the hips and have hinged knees. Scotty doesn’t suffer from being overly pre-posed like some of these figures.
Scotty comes with a bunch of accessories, but if you are familiar with this line then you already know they are mostly shit. Sorry, that may sound harsh. The sculpts on the accessories are actually ok, but they’re always molded in some obnoxious color plastic, in this case orange. I’m not going to go through the various engineering tools he has, but most of them are repacks of the tools that came with figures like Geordie and Data. Truth is I usually dump these figures into a bag and I have no interest in digging through it to get to Scotty’s, but you can see them in the packaged image. Scotty also comes with a Dilithium Crystal, a Starfleet style figure stand and a collector card. I loved the collector cards! These reminded me of the old Star Wars cards I used to get in Wonderbread. Christ, I’m old.
I don’t know why its taken this long to add this figure to my collection. He’s awesome, cheap, easy to find, and from one of my favorite episodes. And even though I display these figures loose, its a cool luxury to be able to buy them carded and be the first to open them up.