Star Trek: “1701 Collector Series” Boxed Set by Playmates

Yes, there are still a ton of Playmates Trek figures sitting on my receivings pile, so I thought I’d knock out the last of the boxed sets before tackling some of the single carded figures. This time, we have a curious conglomeration of three figures in one box, related only because they were previously released in ridiculously low limitations of only 1,701 pieces each. Get it? 1701?? Yes, it’s a clever little production joke, unless you were one of the collectors hoping to buy one of these figures only to discover that they were understandably impossible to find. Well, eventually Playmates submitted to reason and we got all three figures in one convenient and easy to find boxed set.

Playmates’ Star Trek packaging tends to be hit or miss, but I think this box is an overall hit. It’s a tastefully executed window box with the old movie style logo, and that logo happens to be my favorite. The front of the package displays all three figures in a tray with their gear arranged around them. Each set is individually numbered, and look, I got set #1779. How friggin ironic is that? I could never find these figures on the pegs when I wanted them, but when I buy the reissued set, I miss the original production run by only 78 pieces!!!

The back of the package shows each figure displayed with one of their accessories. If you look closely, you can see that Lt. Yar is about to shoot herself with her own phaser. Each figure has their own little file card and pictures indicating what each of their accessories are, because quite frankly, with Playmates it’s sometimes hard to tell.

Let’s start with Captain Picard as featured in the Season Six episode “Tapestries.” The story saw Picard plunged back into his own past by “Q” so that he could relive a slice of his Starfleet Academy days. This is the figure I wanted the most out of the set, not only because “Tapestries” is an excellent episode, but because I adore the movie-style Starfleet Uniform so much. It was a really easy figure for Playmates to churn out as it’s just a kitbash of Picard’s head on the Generations Kirk body. As a result, the figure is technically not screen accurate. Besides being way too chunky to be Picard, he’s depicted with the white collar from the feature films that wasn’t worn under the tunic in “Tapestries.” Personally, I’m happy for the inaccuracy, since I thought the Starfleet tunic looked ridiculous without the collar under it.

Playmates slashed way back on the articulation for the Generations line of figures, so Picard here suffers only the five basic points. You get swivel cuts in the neck, shoulders and hips. That’s it.

Picard comes with an interesting mix of blue recreational Starfleet accessories, which include a drinking glass, a three-dimensional chess board, a dom-jot stick, and a Starfleet duffel bag. I don’t usually get all pissy about Playmates’ accessories because I just assume they’ll be crap, but I was really looking forward to having a halfway decent 3D chess board for my Trek figures. Too bad this thing is all warped (no pun intended!) and useless right out of the box. Picard also comes with a generic Starfleet insignia figure stand.

Next up is Lt. Tasha Yar from the Season Three episode,“Yesterday’s Enterprise” not to be confused with the very common Season Seven single-carded release of Lt. Yar in her Season One uniform. Confused? The Season Seven series finale “All Good Things…” involved flashbacks to events during the very first episode “Encounter at Farpoint” in which Yar was still alive and wearing her Season One uniform. As the good Doctor would say, it’s all timey-wimey kind of stuff. The two figures are practically identical, with the only real differences being this one having a remolded high collar and no tan piping on the pant cuffs. She’s essentially wearing the updated Starfleet uniform design she would have worn if she hadn’t gotten herself killed by the dreaded Tar Monster of Vagra II. It’s a cool figure to have if you want to pretend that Denise Crosby never got too big for her britches and quit the show only to come crawling back later as her own half-Romulan daughter.

Lt. Yar makes out much better than Picard in the articulation department. She has a swivel cut in her neck, her arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivel cuts in the biceps and hinges in the elbows. Her legs rotate at the hips and are hinged at the knees. She can also swivel at the waist. Unfortunately, both of the bicep swivels on my Yar figure are stuck. Sometimes you need to give them a little force, but too much will twist the arms right off at the joint, and that’s what I’m afraid will happen to Yar’s arms if I use any more force.

Yar comes with a mix of new and old Starfleet gear, all cast in a blue-green plastic. You get old movie style hand phaser and tricorder, a pair of isolinear chips, and a Next Generation era hand phaser. You also get a generic figure stand.

And that brings us to Lt. Reginald Barclay as featured in his series-hopping appearance in Star Trek Voyager. The episode was entitled “Projections” and like a lot of Voyager it was a bullshit misdirection of a story that made you long for a time when Star Trek was about exploration, diplomacy, and outer space brinkmanship, as opposed to facing fabricated dilemmas brought about by computer malfunctions. There was nothing clever or entertaining about it, other than the fact that Voyager sucked so much it needed to bring in a cameo by a third-rate character like Barclay to prop it up after less than twenty episodes. What makes it even sadder is that it wasn’t even Barclay, but rather just a fake out like everything else in the episode. Yes, this is a figure based on fake Barclay.

The Barclay figure is a mixed bag. I love Dwight Schultz as much as the next guy, but this figure’s Jiffy Pop head makes it look like it’s based on Schultz playing Hector Hammond in a Starfleet Uniform. And while on paper that sounds kind of awesome, it doesn’t work so well for the figure. But Playmates Trek figures always were stylized portraits of the characters, so I’m probably being a little too hard on Reg here. My figure does, however, have a pretty unfortunate paint gash on his right shoulder. Barclay is based on Playmates’ Voyager body, which represented the pinnacle of articulation in the Trek line. That means that he has all the same articulation as Lt. Yar, and most other Next Gen figures, only with additional swivel cuts in the thighs.

Set phasers to sarcasm, “Hurray for purple Starfleet gear!” Yes, Barclay comes with an array of accessories all cast in glaringly inappropriate purple plastic. You get a computer terminal, a PADD, a medical tricorder and a phaser. You also get a figure stand based off of the Voyager style comm badge.

There’s no doubt about this set being geared toward the real collectors out there. I wouldn’t consider any of these “must own” figures for anyone other than the real completists or Trek-obsessed nut jobs like myself. But even I would never have shelled out collector prices for any of these figures back when they were actually rare. But now, thanks to the miracle of reissues, what were once individually very expensive figures set me back a mere ten bucks for all three. It’s a fine example of the fact that a lot of times figures are prohibitively expensive just because they’re rare and not because they’re anything special. “Tapestries” Picard is certainly the most interesting figure to me. He’s a cool one-off and I wish head swaps were easier on these figures as I’d like to take Playmates’ Cadet Picard’s head and put him on this body. Yar is an interesting enough curiosity, but I was perfectly content with my Season Seven/Season One version. As for Barclay… well, he’s Barclay. I didn’t already own a figure of the character, but I’d much rather have him in his regular Next Gen Starfleet uniform as opposed to his one-off fake appearance in a shitty Voyager episode. But, at least he’s another Starfleet Officer to add to my Voyager shelf. In the end, I bought this set mostly as an inexpensive curiosity, and I’ll likely keep these figures boxed, rather than integrate them with the rest of my Playmates collection.

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