Star Trek: Captain Kirk and Khan by Diamond Select

Ever since the first reveal, I have been rather perplexed by Diamond’s new Star Trek… Figures? Statues? Collectibles? I don’t know what to call these things. They’re episode-specific dioramas that are exactly the same scale as the line of Classic Trek figures that they were putting out just a couple years back. It was a line that was subsequently shit-canned because they weren’t selling well enough. And granted, that’s a notion that is well illustrated with any stroll down the clearance section of that collectible action figure aisle at Toys R Us. Maybe Diamond is banking on more interest with a new Trek movie in theaters, but if that’s the case why not just bring out the actual figures again? Well, I’ll revisit that question more in a bit. For now, let’s look at the item in question. The initial assortment consisted of Spock and a Horta from “Devil in the Dark” but today we’re checking out Kirk and Khan from “Space Seed.”

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The package for this thing is enormous, at least it is for a card and bubble meant to hang on a peg. The bubble is massive and shows off both the Kirk and Khan figures along with the parts to the backdrop. Also visible in the bubble is Kirk’s extra set of legs and a pair of swappable hands. It’s a weird presentation that does a good job showing you all the pieces, but creates a crazy scene of disembodied human parts. The bubble is reinforced on one side with cardboard that features a nice side illustration of Kirk and a corner of the bubble has the Classic Enterprise. The idea here is to recreate the epic fight between Kirk and Khan in Engineering and give you a few different display options…

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No, you’re not looking at some tragic transporter accident. That’s all the pieces you get to customize Kirk in the display. There are two different sets of static legs, one set of hands clutching the conveniently club-shaped Engineering component, and a set of open palm hands. The Kirk torso is articulated with a rotating head, ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps. This begs the question… WHY NOT JUST GIVE US A FULLY ARTICULATED FIGURE? Can it really be more cost effective to include a second set of legs, when Diamond could have just repacked the Kirk figure they’ve already produced with this new head? We’re just talking about a T-crotch, knee hinges, and thigh swivels. The scale is identical… Diamond, you probably still have the figures sitting in your warehouse somewhere. I just don’t understand what they were going for here! PLEASE… SOMEONE MAKE ME UNDERSTAND!!! IT’S HALF A FIGURE ALREADY… JUST CUT OUT ONE EXTRA SET OF LEGS AND GIVE US THE OTHER HALF!!!

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Unlike Kirk, Khan is a completely static piece designed to peg into the console and be abused by Kirk. Khan has been released before by Diamond in this scale, but not in the red jumpsuit, so at least the new non-articulated sculpt here makes sense from a cost perspective. I’m very pleased with the sculpt, particularly the likeness. But in the end, this Khan is still just window dressing.

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The Engineering section consists of a fairly large plastic base that plugs into the upright console. The wall behind the console is cardboard with two printed sides to give you two display options. The original piece was supposed to be plastic, but Diamond said it didn’t cost out in the end. I’m fine with it. It looks good and since a lot of the Classic Trek sets looked like cardboard anyway, it’s strangely appropriate. The only downside is durability and storage. I do love the console, and I’ll confess it’s the main reason I purchased this set first over the Horta one, because I thought it would be cool to have this backdrop for my proper Classic Trek figures. And indeed, Scotty looks awesome standing against it.

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Putting it all together, you do have several options to tweak the display, but the ensemble is designed for two specific configurations. The first has Kirk standing on the deck and pummeling Khan with the engineering rod. This is my least favorite of the options, because Kirk seems awkwardly bent and unless you tweak it just right it looks like he’s attacking Khan’s crotch with it. Kirk was a dirty fighter, but I don’t remember him beating on Khan’s balls with an implement. You can also use the open palm hands to make it look like Kirk is just slamming Khan into the console. Either of these poses make me wish Kirk’s head was ball jointed so he can look up at what he’s doing. But hey, since the hands with the rod are interchangeable with the hands on my proper Kirk figure, I can just use that figure in the display to much better effect. So again, I ask… Diamond, why didn’t you just pack the old Kirk figure in with this thing?

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The other display option has Kirk doing a jumping kick into Khan. This configuration makes use of a clear plastic rod that pegs into the console and into one of Kirk’s sets of legs. The rod holds the figure in place extremely well and the illusion of mid-air-kick Kirk is really well done. I definitely prefer this display option as it looks a little more natural and you can tweak Kirk’s hands in a number of ways. Hell, you can even have him kicking Khan with the engineering rod raised over his hands for QUAD DAMAGE! Admittedly, “Flying Kick Kirk” makes better use of the unique Kirk that comes with the set, but I submit that Diamond could have just as easily bored a hole for the clear rod into a proper Kirk figure’s legs and still made it work.

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If it sounds like I’m picking on this set, it’s just because I generally don’t understand it. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it. It’s an awesome display piece and it does a great job combining a bit of customization and playability of action figures with a statue-style environment. If we didn’t already have proper Classic Trek figures in this scale, I’d be even happier with this set, but as it is, it seems like such an odd thing to do. The photos above illustrate how well it works with the Classic Trek figures that Diamond already have made. At around $22, you certainly get a lot of stuff for your money, so it’s not a question of value, it’s just my own morbid curiosity as to how a set like this can be expected to sell better than a new round of proper action figures.

Star Trek: Starfleet Officer’s Collector Set by Playmates

As the 90’s pressed on and Playmates realized what a goldmine they had with their Star Trek license, they started cranking out some boxed sets. One of the more ambitious of those releases was this Starfleet Officer’s Collector Set. It spans three generations of Star Trek, with Classic, Next Generation, and Deep Space Nine all in one package. The set is dated ’94, so I’m thinking that we just missed out on getting some Voyager love in there too. The idea here is you get the Commanding Officer and First Officer from each of the Trek series all in one big happy box. The set includes six figures, four of which are exclusive to this set, a gaggle of accessories, and a big display base that was unique to this release.

The packaging here is quite nice. You get a big window box, with the figures all trapped under bubbles inside and hovering over the display base. The box proclaims, “Three Legendary Commanders and Their First Officers Available for the First Time Ever!” It’s not exactly true since Sisko and Kira are the exact same figures that were already released in single carded form, albeit with some different accessories. Maybe they meant to say, “For the First Time Together!” The box is totally collector friendly as you can remove all the figures, plug them into the stand and then slide the stand right back into the box. I know I’m kidding myself by trying to keep the figures displayed in the box. As much as I love it, I don’t have the room, and the figures will eventually wind up baggied and in with the rest of my Trek figures and the stand will be slid somewhere for safe keeping. Let’s check out the figures in chronological order, starting with good old Kirk and Spock.

This is the first time we’ve seen Playmates figures of Kirk and Spock in their dress uniforms. Granted, they aren’t all that different from their regular duty tunics. There’s a gold fringe running around the neck and straight down the middle and instead of their regular insignia, they have medals displayed on the left of their chests. The head sculpts seem to be the same as the regular versions of the figures that came in the Bridge Crew set. They’re pretty good, particularly Kirks as he has the little cowlick hanging down over his forehead. I also like getting a figure of Spock without one hand trapped in a Vulcan salute, although in retrospect, I think it would have been better to have the salute hand on this figure and the regular one one the regular figure. If I were any good at customizing, I’m sure I could make that happen. All in all, Playmates did a nice job with this pair.

Both Kirk and Spock come with the same two accessories: A phaser and a communicator. They’re the same accessories that came with the figures in the original Bridge Crew set.

Moving on to Picard and Riker, I’ll say that these two are my least favorites in the set, mainly because I could never stand the Next Generation dress uniforms, which looked way too much like dresses. I think they were going for something similar to the amazing uniform designs that premiered in Star Trek II but it doesn’t work. If they were shorter and had a belt, I think they’d be a lot better. It’s also worth noting that these figures share the exact same torso and legs, with just an extra rank pip added for Picard and the head sculpts are recycled from the original releases. Oh yeah, Picard has some serious monkey arms going on here. Overall, they’re ok, but they look a little dated and awkward compared to the others.

The Next Gen boys come with a computer terminal, a tricorder, a palm phaser and a regular phaser. They’re not bad as far as Playmates accessories go, but they are all straight repacks of stuff we’ve seen before. Once I get around to snipping the beams off the phasers, they’ll be good to go.

Last up are Sisko and Kira and they are the only straight repack figures in the set, which is kind of disappointing. Don’t get me wrong, I love these figures. I think they’re actually among two of Playmates’ best. On the other hand, the theme of this set has been dress uniforms, so it would have been nice to get some variants from Deep Space Nine. I’m sure Sisko has appeared in dress uniform before and for Kira they could have just given us the version of her with the longer hair from the premier episode. Hell, I would have even welcomed a Sisko figure with his regular Command tunic from the Saratoga.

 

Kira comes with a Bajoran phaser and tricorder. I’m pretty sure these are two of the same accessories that came with the original figure. Color notwithstanding I really like the phaser. Sisko comes with a computer terminal and a phaser rifle. Again, the phaser rifle is excellent, I just wish it were accurately painted.

All the figures in this set have nearly the same articulation. Kirk, Spock, Sisko and Kira are identical. The arms rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows, and swivel cuts at the biceps. The legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees. The head rotates and the figures can swivel at the waist. Picard and Riker have the same minus the waist swivel, and it should also be noted that their elongated tunics hamper their hip articulation as well.

The three tiered display base is a really nice piece. Each platform is textured with a sort of metal grate pattern and each one has pegs to hold the two figures. The plates are actually big enough to comfortably fit three figures if you want to pad out your display a little more. The front has each of the series titles in raised gilded lettering. It’s a sturdy and durable piece, but it is hollow so you can even store the accessories underneath it. It’s a cool enough item that I will try to find room to display it, although most likely I will swap out the Next Gen Picard and Riker for the Generations versions and the regular Bridge versions of Kirk and Spock.

My set still has the $29.99 price tag on it from Toys R Us. At $5 a figure that seems a little steep for a set with two repacks in it. I never even saw this set back when it was first out, although by ’94 I was probably weaning myself off collecting for a while. I got mine for ten bucks from a dealer at the Toy Show and I’m pretty satisfied. The four exclusive figures are probably not essential, but definitely nice extras to have in any serious Playmates Trek collection.

Star Trek: Mugatu and Harry Mudd by Playmates

On Wednesday, we looked at a couple of the ladies of Starfleet and today we’re going to check out some of the baddies from The Original Series: The Mugato and Harry Mudd.

 

Both figures come on the same style card with “Star Trek” in the old movie-style logo. Obviously, Playmates is trying to aggravate my OCD by using the movie logo for Classic Trek figures and using the Classic Trek logo for movie style figures. Even more confusing is the fact that The Mugatu gets his own Skybox Collector Card, but Harry doesn’t!  What the hell, Playmates? What the hell? Either way, I’m so glad I open these things, so I can toss the packaging and forget all about it. Let’s start with The Mugatu.

The Mugatu was featured in the excellent episode, “A Private Little War” in which the Klingons were screwing around with the development of life on a primitive planet. I am in no way ashamed to admit that when I first saw the Mugatu it totally scared the piss out of me. Sure, it’s just a guy in a white ape suit with a horn on his head, but even when I was a little older and they used to show Classic Trek re-runs at midnight, that thing creeped me the hell out. I’m happy to say that Playmates managed to translate all that creepiness into this little sculpt. The face really is spot-on, the hair is sculpted all over his body, and he even has ugly ape hands and ape feet. What’s more, Mugatu is the first Playmates Trek figure I’ve ever had to assemble. He comes with his spine and tail as a separate piece, which plugs into a slot on his back.

The Mugatu actually comes with accessories, all cast in a muddy brown plastic. You get a clutch of Mako Root, which looks like a pile of turds. You also get a drum and a hand phaser, both of which look like they were sculpted out of a pile of turds. The Flintlock isn’t too bad, and he comes with a unique figure stand.

The Mugatu features only five points of articulation. You get standard head, shoulders and hips. It’s not great, but it’s just enough to put him into some pretty good mauling poses.

Harry Mudd was one of many colorful no-good-niks that crossed paths with The Enterprise crew, but he was special in that he had actually got to come back for a repeat performance. Part loveable rake, part murderous bastard, he was a great character that I would love to see revisited in the 2009 reboot films. Personally, I think JJ Abrams missed a huge opportunity not going with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Mudd. That stuff practically writes itself.

Mudd’s sculpt is pretty solid. In the series, Mudd was played by Roger Carmel, a prolific performer who also leant his voice to some other iconic toy characters, like Cyclonus of G1 Transformers fame. In truth, the figure looks more like Carmel if he played the role as a baby but kept his mustache and comb-over. Still, there’s no guessing as to who he’s supposed to be, thanks to his iconic costume and mustache. Yes, he’s got his billowy blue swashbuckling shirt, complete with medals and epaulets, and the sculpting and paintwork on his comb-over is hilarious. I’d say Playmates did a solid job capturing what the character is all about.

Mudd shares all the same points of articulation as the rest of the Trek crew. You get a head that turns, arms and legs that rotate at the shoulders and hips, swivel cuts in the biceps, and hinges in the knees and elbows.

Mudd’s accessories are all molded in red plastic. You get a case of the Venus Drug, a ridiculous red Starfleet Communicator, and a couple of Lithium Crystals, which look like absolutely nothing. You also get a goblet, which is kind of ok. Oddly enough, Mudd comes with a Starfleet-style figure stand.

I’ve had this pair on my Want List for quite a while and it’s good to finally have them in my collection. The old adage says always leave fans wanting more, and while Playmates produced more Classic Trek figures than I could have ever dreamed possible, this pair really makes me wish they had produced more of the one-off baddies that appeared in the various episodes.

And that wraps up this Star Trek Week. Unfortunately, I only got to cover about half of the Trek stuff that I picked up at the Toy Show, so we’ll have to come back to it either in another Trek Week or just here and there. This weekend I’m going to circle back to some of the Transformers Prime figures I still have waiting around, specifically Dreadwing and Bulkhead, and then next week we’ll dip into some of the other, Non-Trek, stuff I picked up at the Show.

Star Trek Classic Series: Nurse Chapel and Yeoman Rand by Playmates

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.

Star Trek: Classic Crew Bridge Set by Playmates

It’s Saturday… It’s Star Trek… It’s Star Trek Saturday! Playmates started out with only the license to do figures based on The Next Generation. Obviously that eventually expanded to epic proportions. As memory serves, today’s featured item was Playmates’ first foray into the “expanded universe” of Star Trek by going back to its classic roots with figures based on the crew from the original series. Instead of making collectors buy up an entire wave of single carded figures, Playmates issued this attractive seven figure boxed gift set.

Playmates is not exactly known for their tasteful and attractive packaging, but they really stepped up to the plate with this one. The set comes in a window box with a folded 3D cardboard tray illustrated to look like the bridge of the original series Enterprise. In retrospect, it’s a little off, and that big empty cardboard Captain’s chair in the middle of the package is kind of strange, but nonetheless, it did a nice job showing off the seven figures. The box deco was a simple space theme with “Classic Star Trek” in the old TV show’s font and an illustration of the old Constitution Class Enterprise. I had to borrow a stock photo for this set, as mine was opened a long time ago and let’s just say the packaging didn’t survive the process. Nonetheless, if there was ever a set of Playmates figures I wouldn’t mind buying again to have MISB, this one would be it.

Included in the package is Captain Kirk, Lt Commander Spock, Lt Commander Scott, Lt Sulu, Lt Uhura, Dr McCoy, and Ensign Chekhov. The figures reuse a lot of parts between them, but because they’re all wearing the same basic uniform with just a recolored shirt, it doesn’t feel so obvious. The sculpts are all actually quite well done for a Playmates 4-inch line. The badges are actually part of the sculpt, and not just painted on, as are the deco around their shirt cuffs. I was happy to see that Playmates went with a more prone and poseable style to the sculpts, rather than some of the pre-posed and awkward stuff they did with the early Next Generation stuff. The head sculpts on this classic set are all decent likenesses too, and there is the occasional flare for detail, like having Spock’s right hand in the form of the Vulcan salute.

Articulation is another thing Playmates did right with this set. All the figures have the same points. The heads turn, the arms rotate at the shoulders, swivel at the biceps, and are hinged at the elbows. The legs rotate at the hips and are hinged at the knees. All the figures can swivel at the waist. Again, unlike some of the early Next Generation figures that felt like they were designed to be poseable statues, these guys felt more like action figures meant to be played with.

The set came with the same accessories for every figure: Each one got a phaser and a communicator. While they were a tad oversized, these accessories were actually painted, and were loads better than the usual monochrome, day-glow crap that Playmates stuffs in with their other Star Trek figures. All the accessories came together in a single baggie, and you also got personalized stands based on the classic series badges, each with the correct department symbol for Command, Engineering, or Sciences. Cool! A couple of tricorders would have been nice, though.

Nowadays, this set is pretty easy to find on the second hand market and like most of Playmates figures, it hasn’t really gone up in value, so you can still pick up a set new in the box without blowing a lot of latinum. In fact, I’ve seen them listed on Ebay and go unsold in the $20 -30 range, and keep in mind we’re talking about seven figures! It’s a great deal, considering these remain some of my favorite Star Trek figures that Playmates ever put out. If they had produced a similar set with the Wrath of Khan theme, I would have probably died of pure joy.

Star Trek Classic Series: Commander Kruge by Playmates

Welcome to a new limited series of features I like to call Star Trek Saturday. How long will it last? Long enough for me to get through some of the dreaded “Totes of Trek” that are stacked in the corner of my hall closet. A fair amount of this stuff comes from the 90’s and I was really torn on whether I should include it as part of Vintage Vault or not. In the end, I compromised and decided to just give it its own day, and tack it on at the end of the week. I may not do this every Saturday, but I will try to toss it in whenever I have time, because I have a lot of Star Trek figures and toys to go through. So, enough preambles… let’s get to it…

Playmates and Star Trek figures are certainly no stranger to FigureFan. I’ve been collecting the Playmates’ Star Trek toys since they were first introduced and while I regrettably sold off most of the ships over the years, I still have all of the figures. I have a strange love-hate relationship with these things, as the line certainly had its share of issues and questionable design choices. Not to mention some of the worst accessories ever. And yet every time I pull out my collection, I can’t help but love these things, right down to the cheesy “individually numbered” gimmick that laughably suggest these figures are some kind of limited edition collectibles. Anyway, I’ve looked at figures from the spin-off TV series and from the original series, but I haven’t looked at any from the Classic Movie Series, and I aim to fix that today.

Yes, it’s Commander Kruge from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. We have here an action figure of Christopher Lloyd playing a Klingon. It’s been almost two decades since this figure was produced and that still blows my mind. While the movie was no Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III was still a pretty solid and enjoyable film and a lot of that credit needs to go to Lloyd’s fun, scenery chewing portrayal of the Klingon bastard who killed Kirk’s son. Once the Star Trek license really got pumping for Playmates, no corner of the Trek universe was safe, and they started reaching out even to the classic movies as subject matter for their figures.

The card used for Kruge is a lot more subdued than the ones used for the Next Gen or Voyager figures. It feels less like a Vegas style billboard and more appropriate to the subject matter at hand, even if it does have artwork of the wrong ship on the top. You get a nice starfield deco and the classic series style lettering. The back of the card, however, is pretty busy. You get head shots of a bunch of other Classic Movie Series figures. You get a pictures and descriptions of the accessories, and you get a nice blurb explaining who Kruge is. All in all, it’s a nice looking package that displays the figure well.

And there’s Commander Kruge. Look familiar? Long time collectors of Playmates’ Star Trek line will no doubt recognize that the body is a straight reuse of the one used for Klingon Warrior Worf. I suppose it’s a fair move on Playmates part, since the costumes were practically identical. It also helps that the Worf figure came with his ritual robes, so you can still display these two figures next to each other and the reuse isn’t overtly noticeable. It’s also nice to be able to swap the robes between the two figures. Besides, as long as they didn’t go with a reuse of the vastly inferior sculpt for the Gowron body, I’m happy.

Yes, this is pretty fine sculpt for what it is. Sure, you need to get past the stylized look and wonky proportions that Playmates loves to do with these figures. The head and hands are just a tad too large and it takes a little while to get past the caricature style. But the detail on the Klingon armor is just gorgeous. Let’s face it, most of the Star Trek line gets by with minimal sculpting of the simple Starfleet uniforms, so it’s nice to see when they get an opportunity like this, they really knock it out of the ballpark. Every little detail and texture is lovingly reproduced here. And the head sculpt? Oh yeah, this has got to be one of, if not one of, the best head sculpts of the entire line. It’s totally Christopher Lloyd in Klingon makeup, and that’s just fantastic!

It’s also worth mentioning that the paint work on this figure is pretty impressive too, especially when I compare the paint with the work on my Klingon Warrior Worf and again, the shitty job they did on Gowron. Kruge’s armor is vibrant and shiny and has some really nice gold and silver that contrasts beautifully with the black and grey.
Kruge’s articulation is identical to the Worf figure. His head rotates, his arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivel cuts in the biceps, and hinges in the elbows. His legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees, and he can rotate at the waist. It’s barely passable articulation because you really can’t do much with his legs.

Accessories! Here’s the point where I usually go ballistic all over Playmates, but that won’t be the case here. You get a tricorder, a communicator, a disruptor, and a stock attachment for the disruptor. Sure, Kruge’s accessories are all molded in the same monochrome color, but at least they’re cast in a brownish orange color that is fairly similar to the props used on the screen, as opposed to hot pink or neon purple like some other figures. The sculpts on all the accessories are well done and they match the on screen devices pretty well. The stock attachment for the disruptor is a really cool addition, and not something I would have expected from this line. You also get a collector card and a really nice personalized figure stand designed especially for the Classic Movie figures.

I’ve wanted to get Commander Kruge in my collection for a long time and I finally jumped at the opportunity when I found him for nine bucks shipped on the Ebays. While he may not stack up to modern action figures, when you put him in his proper 1995 Playmates context, he’s actually a pretty solid effort. Again, that may be a loaded compliment, but either way, I really like this one. Playmates’ Star Trek is not a line that often impresses, and that’s what makes a figure like this worth owning. It features solid sculpting and paintwork, good accessories, and overall it just really does the character justice.

Star Trek: Captain Kirk and Electronic Command Chair by Diamond Select

I’ve had my eye on this box set for a while now and the only thing staying my hand was the fact that I already own the Kirk figure, so I knew I’d be buying it just for the Command Chair, or to have two Kirks to recreate “The Enemy Within” or “What Little Girls are Made Of” or whatever other episodes happened to include a duplicate of the Captain. Well, this week I found it at TRU for only $15 and I decided that it was finally time.

Let’s get Kirk out of the way first, because he’s really old news to me as this is the exact same figure that was released by Diamond Select on at least two previous occaisions. I picked up this figure when it was offered by Diamond Select the second time around and double packed with Uhura. Its a good thing too, because the quality on the Kirk that came with my chair isn’t really up to par. His head sculpt and paint apps are fine, possibly even a smidgen better than on my carded Kirk, but his arms look kind of dirty and there’s some additional smudging on his back, some of which has come off, and some won’t. The rubbery uniform shirt doesn’t fit as well as it does on my other Kirk figure and it makes the ball joints on his shoulders look prominant and awkward like its obvious that the sculpted sleeves on his arms aren’t part of the “shirt.” The figure isn’t a disaster, but I can’t help but wonder if Diamond Select held back some of the poorer figures to bundle with this chair.

In case you don’t already have the Kirk figure, he sports the same excellent articulation as the other Classic Trek figures. There’s a ball jointed neck, ball jointed shoulders, swivel cuts in the biceps, hinged elbows, swivel wrists, swivel at the waist, the legs rotate at the pelvis, the knees are hinged, and there are swivel cuts in the thighs and just above the boots.

On the other hand, the quality control on the chair itself has a few issues too. The left arm piece feels like it could pull off given just a bit of coaxing. But what really sucks here is the paint and overall finish of the piece. The seat is full of scratches, which are thankfully masked so long as you have a figure sitting in it and the back has gray paint misting all over the black part. But the real eyesore is that the arms and front right hand corner of the base looks like they’re scuffed and worn. Maybe Diamond Select was going for recreating an exact replica of the chair prop after having been stored in a warehouse at NBC for 35 years, but I doubt it. If I bought this thing off of Ebay, I’d swear that someone banged it around, had their kids play with it, and then sealed it back up in the box. It just doesn’t look new.

Its a real shame, because other then that the chair is really, really cool. Besides the fact that Kirk looks great sitting in it (and I mean my other, cleaner, better Kirk figure), the control panels on the arms look very show accurate and the electronics are wonderfully done. The chair comes in a “Try Me” mode, so to get the full functionality you’ll have to take it out of the package and flip the switch on the bottom. You may also want to top it off with three fresh AAA batteries, although mine still had some life left to them.

Pressing the rear right panel activates a voice clip and the left rear panel activates a corresponding sound effect. The sound effect will not change until you hit the other panel and play a different voice clip. I like it better than if they each just fired off random clips. Each of the panels on the armrests also light up as the dialogue and sound effects are activated and the left panel even flashes between red and green. Oh yeah, if you hold down the right button for three seconds and let it go, you can hear the entire prologue to the show and the lights will stay lit for a short while afterwards. Very cool.

There are a total of eight phrases and eight contextual sound effects:

  • “Chekov, arm photon torpedoes.” [Torpedoes firing]
  • “Resume course to our next destination, Mr Sulu.” [Impulse engines]
  • “This is Captain James Kirk of the USS Enterprise.” [Computer bleeps]
  • “Lt. Uhura, open a channel to all decks.” [Intership comm whistle]
  • “Security alert to all decks, Kirk out.” [Red alert claxon]
  • “Kirk to Engineering, Mr. Scott report.” [Explosion]
  • “Position report, Mr. Spock.” [Computer bleeps]
  • “Prepare to attack. All hands to battlestations.” [Phasers firing]

While I’m disappointed by the overall quality control on this set, I can’t say I’m sorry I picked it up. I love the electronics, and its still a decent enough display piece. I’m just surprised that Diamond Select would ship out product in this poor condition. Plus, considering the accessories for these figures have already been sculpted, it wouldn’t have killed them to toss in a phaser and communicator. Although I did run into some similar QC problems with my Captain Picard and Command Chair, but I’ll save that for another time. At around $15 at TRU and many E-tailers, I’m still going to recommend it as a pick up.