Back when Playmates first dabbled in The Original Series by releasing the Classic Bridge Crew, I assumed it was just a really cool one-shot deal. But as their Trek line swelled in popularity, they eventually started releasing all sorts of figures from the Classic Series and movies. Today we’re going to check out two members of the Enterprise’s extended crew, who were high on my want list: Nurse Christine Chapel and Yeoman Janice Rand. These ladies were some of the very few recurring crewmembers in Classic Trek that weren’t part of the senior officers or bridge crew. Rand went on to make return cameos in several of the Trek feature films, while Majel Barrett (aka Chapel) had a little thing of her own going what with being Mrs. Gene Roddenberry, Troi’s mom, and the voice of just about every goddamn computer in the Federation. Let’s start with Nurse Chapel…
I have no idea what specific line this figure falls under. Playmates’ had so many different lines of Trek figures going, you’d have a better chance of selling contraceptives to a Tribble then working out where some of the figures belong. The card simply says Star Trek in the classic film font, but if you look on the back she’s pictured with other figures under The Original Series font. Does it matter? Only to my OCD. The front of the card has a pleasing deco, that’s pretty subdued compared to some of Playmates’ other cardbacks, and it shows off the figure very well, with her Skybox Collector Card next to her. The back panel of the card, on the other hand, has a lot of stuff going on. There’s shots of other figures, a catalog of Chapel’s gear, and a file card, which gets major points for mentioning Roger Korby and Exo III from the episode, “What Are Little Girls Made of?” I do, however, take points back for the card claiming she had command potential. Then again, if Janeway could become an Admiral for losing one of Starfleet’s most advanced Starships for 7 years, why not make Chapel a Captain?
Chapel reuses some parts from the Original Series Uhura figure, most notably the legs, skirt, and possibly the upper arms. The top of the torso is, however, new as it features a lower neckline for her uniform. The head sculpt is ok for Playmates standards. It’s not one of their better likenesses, and I doubt a lot of people would be able to identify her by the head alone. That having been said, the hair looks pretty good and the paintwork on the face is solid. Overall, it’s a simple and attractive head sculpt, so I’ve got no complaints.
Chapel comes with a bunch of bright blue accessories, which include a Tricorder, an Anabolic Protoplaser (gotta have one of those!), a Hypospray, and a Medical Scanner. She also comes with a display stand, which I take issue with because it has a Red Cross on it. I realize she’s medical staff, but she should have the same Science Department emblem on her stand as McCoy and Spock. Hey, I’m a Trekkie. I nitpick. That’s what we do. Moving on to Yeoman Rand…
Janice Rand comes on the same style card as Nurse Chapel, and I’ve spent enough time trying to noodle out the card style and series, so there’s not much new to say here. The Yeoman rating seems to have dropped off the board in Starfleet since the days of Classic Trek, but that’s not surprising since Rand’s duties seemed to center around bringing coffee to the Bridge Crew and getting leered at by the Captain. Nonetheless, Yeoman Janice Rand got a fair amount of face time and even got to beam down with the Landing Parties every once and a while. She even landed a nice gig as Comm Officer on board the Excelsior.
Rand shares some parts with the other Classic Trek gals, most notably the skirt, legs and possibly the upper arms. Playmates could have easily gotten away with reusing Uhura’s torso too, but this is a new sculpt as the insignia is slightly further away from the collar. The head sculpt is pretty solid, and I think this figure is a lot closer in likeness to actress Grace Lee Whitney than the Chapel figure was to Majel Barrett. She’s even sporting her 24th Century (read 1960’s) beehive hairdo!
Janice comes with some great accessories. Besides the same Phaser and Tricorder we’ve seen with the Classic Bridge Crew, and they actually have paint apps! She also comes with a very cool Classic Trek PADD and a Tricorder. Best of all, her gear is all cast in an appropriate black plastic, meaning that Tricorder is going to be handed around to a lot of figures in my collection. She also has a Skybox Collectors Card and a Starfleet-style stand.
Both ladies feature the same points of articulation. The head turns, the arms rotate at the shoulders; there are swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows and knees, and a swivel in the waist. The construction of the skirt means no upper leg movement, but all in all what’s here isn’t bad.
It still blows my mind that these figures exist. Granted, they were released as part of the 30th Anniversary of the original series, but we all know how hard it is to get female figures on the pegs these days. And yet here we have a couple of chicks… from a 30 year old TV show… in skirts… and one of them has a beehive hairdo! For that you just got to love Playmates, because this kind of thing just wouldn’t happen today. At the Toy Show, I dropped $15 a piece on these ladies, which is quite a premium for Playmates Trek figures, which you can usually pick up for about $5 a pop mint on card. Nonetheless, it was well worth it to have them in my collection.
Tomorrow, we’ll get away from Playmates for a day and take a look at some of Art Asylum’s work.