Star Trek The Next Generation: Shuttlecraft Goddard by Playmates

Well, looky here, I just picked up a new Shuttlecraft Goddard from Ebay and I’m vowing that this is the last time I’m going to have to buy this friggin toy, as this makes the third one I’ve owned. I first bought it back when it was released in ’92 and it got misplaced in a move some three or four years later. I bought another one off of Ebay to replace it a few years back, but I was never really happy with its condition and I eventually passed it on to someone else in a trade. This time, I picked up another brand new one, never opened, and I’m hanging on to this one. I absolutely love this thing.

The Goddard was the first toy in the Next Generation line that Playmates released to interact with the figures. Eventually there would be a bridge and an engine room and a transporter, but the first time I saw this shuttle sitting on the shelf in the store, I thought it was the coolest thing ever and I had to have it. Sure, you have to be willing to accept that it isn’t really to scale with the figures, but it still works pretty well.

Throughout the course of the Next Gen series, the shuttlecraft went through a bunch of redesigns and there were also different classes of shuttles, from the one person Shuttlepods (which this toy is closest in scale with) to the full fledged shuttles. I believe the design for the Goddard was first shown in Season Two or Three and was a lot more angular in design than the shuttles initially used.

The box is pretty cool. Its bright and colorful and it shows off the toy, both illustrated and with actual photographs. The back panel shows the various features and the front has an open window to allow you to use the electronics’ “Try Me” function. Like the figures, the shuttle is also numbered on the front of the box to make it appeal to collectors. The shuttle comes pretty much assembled in the box. The only thing you need to attach is the rear loading door. It comes with a cargo pallet to load into the back, a schematic sheet, an instruction sheet, and two sticker sheets.

Scale aside, this toy is pretty faithful to the design used on the show. There’s a lot of stickers to put on it, and they’re all pretty important because the toy is pretty spartan looking without them. You have to apply all the registry markings and there are a lot of stickers that take the place of paint apps. So, needless to say, there’s a lot of pressure to get them all placed just right. While it was pretty cool to be stickering one of these babies again, I was really letting the explatives fly as I was trying to get some of them on. I still haven’t been able to place all the stickers for the control panel because its so hard to get my man hands into the compartment and get them placed correctly. I’ll either have to get some tweezers to sneak the last ones on or take the whole friggin thing apart.

The only really unorthodox thing on the toy is the fact that it has wheels. Granted, they’re concealed beneath the ship, so they don’t get in the way of the sculpt. I imagine they were added as a play feature.

The front windshield opens up like a hatch, which of course the real shuttle didn’t do. This is just another play feature to provide easy access to the pilot seat, just like the hatch on the cockpit of the Millenium Falcon toys. Because of the scale down, there’s only one seat, although most figures will fit in there, so long as their sculpts don’t preclude them from sitting. There’s also a three-point safety harness to secure the figure in place.

The back cabin of the shuttlecraft is equipped with two fold down seats, each with safety belts and a cargo pallet that can be slid in and out on tracks. I’m really not sure what the pallet is supposed to be, but it looks like sensor equipment or some other kind of device. Again, because of the scale down, the back cabin is pretty limited and its tough to even get a couple of figures to sit on the seats because its so crampt back there. Its not even big enough for a figure to stand up inside.

The Goddard has two electronic features, which are activated from the top two buttons. One sounds the engines and lights up the nacelles and the other sounds the phaser fire and also lights up the nacelles. I’m pretty sure that on the show it wasn’t standard for these shuttles to be equipped with phaser banks, but I do recall them adding them on occasion, so we’ll let that slide. Besides which, the firing phasers sound really cool. The nacelle lights are neat, but the effect could be better. Most of the light comes out at the front of the nacelle, rather than illuminating the entire blue strip.

The Goddard isn’t difficult to find, although if you are going to buy one, I really recommend that you spend a little extra to get an unopened one. If the stickers aren’t applied well, or if they’re worn, it really effects the look of the toy. Furthermore, the battery compartments in these Playmates toys were really prone to leakage. I can’t tell you the number of the tricorders and phasers I’ve gone through because of corrosion and whatnot. If the scale really bothers you, or you don’t collect the figures, this toy is still a really nice stand alone display piece for your shelf.

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