ReAction Star Trek: The Next Generation (Wave One) by Super7

Playmates just announced a return to making Star Trek figures, and while I fear that line will be populated by stuff from the grim-dark, depressing, dystopian shit that is Discovery and Picard, it’ll certainly be worth a look. But it wasn’t too long ago that Super7 announced that they had secured the license to The Next Generation and that got me more excited! I don’t think a week ever passes me by without watching at least one episode of Star Trek. It will forever be my Go-To show when I want to put something on to relax or watch something while I’m having dinner. No, it’s not always The Next Generation, but that one remains one of my all-time great comfort shows. So, when Super7 announced they were adding TNG to their ReAction series, I smiled and said Make it So!

Now, I say in the title Wave One, but I bought an extra Borg Drone instead of Guinan, so I was fibbing just a little bit. The others include Picard, Data, Worf, and Wesley Crusher. If you’re keeping score, this is the second time ReAction and Star Trek teamed up, but the first time it was Funko doing Classic Trek, and well, they weren’t very good. I had high hopes for these, however, as I’ve been enjoying most of Super7’s ReAction lines. Transformers, Alien, ThunderCats, Jem, I’ve been buying a lot of them. Most of those I’ve chosen to keep carded, but I decided to open this TNG line, mainly because I want to be able to crew my Shuttlecraft Galileo from Galoob’s old line, and it’s just not compatible with the totes and totes of Playmates Trek figures I have.

I dig the cards a lot. They are personalized with some great character art on the front, set against a snappy silver foil Delta symbol. The backdrop features the multi-colored star streaks with The Enterprise at warp, and the familiar title logo is at the top. The figures are on trays, so they don’t rattle around in their little bubble coffins, which is always a plus. The back of each card has a little blurb about the character, and oddly enough Star Trek is written in the Classic font at the top. It also features the standard ship’s computer LCARS display, which is really cool. Finally, you also get a Collect Them All style look at all six figures available in this wave. It’s not a bad assortment, but I would have preferred another alien instead of Guinan. Maybe a Romulan or Ferengi.

Straightaway, the Enterprise crew all share the same body, which is fine for some and a bummer for others. I have no problem with Data and Picard sharing a body, but Worf should have been bigger. Yeah, he is very slightly taller, but only because of his big head. The uniforms are modeled after the later seasons, with the tunic and trousers as opposed to the S1 jumpsuits, and that was probably a good choice. I dig that the patterns on the tunic are actually part of the sculpt, and the tiny comm-badges look good. Oh yeah, the rank pips on the collar are different sculpts. As always, these ReAction figures feature the old style five points of articulation. I like that the T-crotch doesn’t cause their legs to spread like they did on the Playmates figures. Ironically, these might actually be more compatible with the Playmates Bridge Playset than the Playmates figures were!

Wesley features a newly sculpted torso and arms for his fashionable sweater, although they cheaped out by giving him the same legs as the uniformed figures, so he’s as tall as Worf and kind of lame. The Borg is the only figure among these that uses a completely unique sculpt, and they did a beautiful job on him. Sure, it’s simplified design to match the retro style, but it still looks great, with tubes and implants all over. I think I actually like this one more than the Playmates Borg.

The head sculpts range from pretty good to outright fantastic. I think Picard’s is the weakest, but not terrible. I think the smile is a little uncharacteristic, as he tends to come across as a little stodgy and dour a lot of the time. Still, I dig it.

Data’s is second from the bottom, but again decent. The yellow eyes are a nice touch. When you punch in this close with the camera, the paint tends to look sloppy, but it’s not something that’s noticeable with the figure in hand. And at least his face isn’t bizarrely speckled like Galoob’s first Data!

Wesley’s is surprisingly good for being so simple. A lot of the likeness is conveyed in the hair sculpt, but the facial features are pretty good too, especially the shape of the mouth.

Worf comes out on top among the Enterprise crew. Holy shit, this is a phenomenal sculpt for a 3 3/4-inch retro line. Sure, they had the most to work with here, but the detail is still exceptional. They also managed to refrain from giving him a giant bobble head. I should also mention here that Worf’s baldric is sculpted separately and worn by the figure. That’s one of the few advantages of Super7 recycling the same body, because it looks great.

The Borg is on par with Worf as just having a fantastic portrait. Again, they had a lot to work with here, but it turned out fantastic. The Borgified part of his head is actually sculpted separately and attached to the head.

I hope you don’t like accessories, because half the figures in this wave come with bupkis, and the ones that do all come with the same one! Wesley and the Borg get nothing and the others get the same phaser. Now, in fairness, the phaser is incredibly detailed for such a tiny accessory. They can hold it pretty well, although they have to have their arms lowered to have it pointed straight out to shoot. But hey, that’s better than sculpting it into their hands like Galoob did back in the day!

So, here’s the deal. At $18 a pop, Super7’s ReAction figures are expensive for what they are. But their past lines like ThunderCats and Transformers have justified the cost to me with gorgeous card artwork and excellent unique sculpts. They’re just cool What If? lines to me and fun to collect and display. That’s not the case here. The Next Generation already had its turn at 3 3/4-inch and 4-inch figures, making these less a cool curiosity and more of a Here We Go Again! The cards look good, but I didn’t shed a tear when I was ripping into them. And while the figures look good, this wave features too much parts recycling to justify the cost. I like the phasers, but these really needed a few more extras. A tricorder with Data? A bat’leth with Worf? Maybe a PADD with Picard? Keep in mind, with shipping these set me back $120. That’s insane! I had no problem spending that for past ReAction waves, but the value just isn’t’ there on these. I don’t know if the cost of acquiring the license required cut backs, but with CBS/Paramount running the franchise into the ground, it couldn’t have been that expensive to get. Even McFarlane walked away from it just a year or so ago. Even still, with half the wave sharing the same body, these should have been no more than $10-15 a pop. Will I buy any more? It depends on what they show for Wave Two. Or more to the point, if there is a Wave Two! That’s all I have to say about the figures… so feel free to dip out now, but for anyone interested, I’m going to see how these work with…

The Galoob Shuttlecraft Galileo! I don’t have any loose figures to go with this beauty, because all my Galoob figures are carded, but they were the same scale as ReAction and not stylized like the Playmates line, so let’s see how they do!

The shuttle is definitely undersized, but that was the case with the Galoob figures as well. But they certainly fit well in the vehicle. The box claims this thing holds six figures, but I’ve always called bullshit on that. It comfortably seats four, with two in the cockpit and two in the back cargo area. Where are the other two supposed to go? Maybe if you pull them apart it would work, but it always seemed like a fascicle claim to me.

I always liked this original TNG shuttle design and I was sorry when they dumped it. Although the replacement isn’t bad and Playmates did an excellent job on that one. As a toy, Galoob’s Galileo ain’t so great, but I do adore it as a curiosity. There’s no electronics, the sides of the nacelles are detailed with stickers, which never stay on, and the Pop Up Sensor Unit and Slide-Out Phaser Cannon are kind of underwhelming. It’s not a cheap toy to get nowadays, so I can’t really recommend hunting one down. Still, it’s nice to finally have some figures to go in it!

Star Trek The Next Generation: Data & Geordi LaForge (in movie uniforms) by Playmates

Tonight is Pub Night. It’s the one night of the week where I put my excessive drinking on display by taking it public, and I’ve started early by finishing off the last of my Balvanie 18. That means I’m a little strapped for time and I’m looking for a quick something to feature today. I also haven’t done much with the 90’s Star Trek figures by Playmates lately and I have a whole box of these guys sitting in the corner and waiting to be featured so I can find a home for them on the shelves. Today we’ll look at Data and Geordi in their Generations movie uniforms.

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I’m sure I’ve gassed on before about the Starfleet uniform debacle of Star Trek Generations. During that movie, The Enterprise was a come-as-you-are affair. Picard obviously called up Starfleet and said, we’ve saved the universe countless times, we’ll wear whatever the hell we want. I think there’s one scene on the bridge where you’ve got crew wearing the TNG uniforms, the DS9 uniforms, and a couple of 19th British naval uniforms from the Holodeck. The Helm Officer probably could have shown up for duty in his pajamas and nobody would have even blinked. The only uniforms that nobody is wearing are the original designs that were cooked up for the movie and scrapped later on. As a result, if you buy Playmates’ Generations figures, you get a complete set of the bridge crew wearing uniforms that were never actually seen on screen… ever! That all having been said, you can kind of tell that Starfleet was meant to be transitioning into the DS9 style jumpsuits during this time. Fortunately, Playmates made a mends by releasing some of the characters in the proper uniforms later on.

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I bought these figures loose, so I don’t have any packaged shots, but each figure was billed as being in their “movie uniform” and came with their own Skybox trading cards. Actually, they each came with a number of cards. I also got cards for Worf, Ambassador K’Ehleyr, and a couple for Lore. I guess at this point Playmates was just stuffing a bunch into each baggie. Playmates also continues the preposterous practice of stamping “collector numbers” onto the packages and the figures.

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Let’s start with Data. He’s an enormous improvement over the original Data figure. By this point in the line, Playmates was getting much better with the proportions and eschewing the more stylized caricature sculpts. This Data is taller and no longer suffers from those ridiculous monkey arms and huge hands. The head sculpt is updated only slightly, but I never had a problem with the original figure’s likeness, so this one is fine too. They nixed the opening access panels that were featured on the original figure, but that was clearly done so they could reuse the body. You also get sculpted rank pips on the collar and the newly designed communicator badge. I think my only gripe here is that his hands aren’t sculpted to hold any of his accessories.

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But that’s ok, because as usual the accessories suck anyway. The equipment is all stamped out in a blue-green plastic. God, I hate that! You get a tricorder, a PADD and… ah… two other things. This is why it helps to have the cardback… it’s often the only way to tell what the hell some of the accessories are supposed to be. At least the phaser is silver, but it still has the stupid beam coming off the end, which I’ll be snipping off at my earliest convenience. Data also comes with a display stand shaped like the newer comm badge.

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I don’t have nearly as much to say about Geordi, mainly because he uses the exact same body as Data, so it’s all been said already. The head sculpt is very similar to the original figure, although the VISOR is not meant to be removed. Geordi comes with a PADD, something else, and four diagnostic tools, all of which are appropriately stamped in purple plastic… wait, what? He also comes with the comm badge style figure stand.

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As both figures are built on the same body, they each feature the same articulation. The arms rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps. The legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees. There are also swivel cuts in the neck and waist.

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And there you have it… both of these are decent enough figures and they really show how far Playmates had come since the initial wave of Next Gen figures. I can’t say I like the DS9 style jumpsuits better than the Next Gen tunic, but it’s nice to finally have these characters in the proper uniforms which they wore in the movie. Plus, they look great displayed in my Generations Engine Room playset. There’s also a Captain Picard in this style uniform, which I still need to pick up… To the Ebays!!!

Star Trek Generations: Engineering Playset by Playmates

Much like the Tatooine Skiff, I featured yesterday, this Engineering Playset by Playmates has been on my want list for a long, long while. I’ve scouted it on Ebay a bunch of times, but a lot of the time, it’s loose and the stickers look like they were put on by a maniac, so I’ve been holding off for the right time. That time happened to be at the Toy Show last week, when I found one that was complete in the box. Granted, The Next Generation Bridge Playset is my true grail from this line, but I thought I’d start small and work up to it. Let’s take a look…

I could have sworn this playset was first released in standard Next Gen packaging, but I haven’t been able to back up that recollection. Either way, this one comes in a Generations style box. There’s some decent artwork and lots and lots of photos and text about all the features on this little set. In truth, there aren’t really that many features, but the box does its best to call out every little thing, and you get a pretty good idea about what’s inside. I really wish I had taken some shots of the set straight out of the box, but I was so excited to get it together, I didn’t take the time. Needless to say, the set comes with some assembly required, but chances are it will take longer for most people to put the stickers on then it will to throw up the walls and get this baby together. You’ll also need a set of three AA batteries to get the full lights and sounds experience. Thankfully, the entire thing can be disassembled and returned to the box for storage, which is always a plus in my book. I should note here that there are some stray paint marks here and there on the plastic, making me question Playmates’ QC on this piece, but it’s nothing too bad.

Playmates had to tinker around with the scale a little bit, so what we’re actually getting here is an interpretation of Engineering, but what’s here is very well done. The biggest issue collectors are likely to have is the small size of the Crystal Chamber, but the way it’s tucked inside the separate room it sort of creates the illusion that it’s further away. It doesn’t look all that out of scale until you put a figure right next to it, and that isn’t much of a problem as there isn’t much room for figures in the area where the Warp Core is located.

No, the bulk of the play environment is the area outside of the Crystal Chamber. You get a couple of work stations that will be readily familiar to fans of the show. It’s the area where LaForge and Data usually discover and trigger the Deus Ex Machina that allows the episode to resolve itself in the last five minutes before the credis roll. The control panels are all stickers, which perfectly replicate the LCARS displays from the show and there’s a stool so Geordi can take a load off while working. There is one panel with some actual buttons, which we’ll get to in a moment, and another flip down panel that reveals another workstation off to the side. Two doorways lead into the area with the Crystal Chamber. Sadly, there’s no actual window above the main control station like there is on the show.

As already mentioned, the interior area is pretty small, so there’s not a lot of stuff to do in there. The hatch to the Chamber does open and you can put the included Dilithium Crystal inside, which is essentially the same accessory that has been included with a number of Next Gen figures already. The Chamber looks pretty show accurate, and I really like the translucent plastic used for the power tubes.

The lights and sounds are activated by switching the on/off button under the main work station and pressing one of the two buttons on the panel. Pressing one will activate the normal rhythmic pumping of the Warp Drive and a pulsating light in the chamber. The second button will sound alarms and force the pumping to get faster, simulating an impending Warp Core breech. By inserting the included probe accessory (or the tip of a pen or any other pointy object) into the hole on the console, it will trigger the on/off button and stop the breech. It’s both cheesy and clever at the same time. The sounds on the playset are quite good. The lights aren’t bad either, but I do wish they extended out to the power transfer tubes and not just the main chamber. Nonetheless, this thing looks and sounds really cool when it’s activated.

No doubt, this piece is a very simple playset, but I absolutely love it. Sure, it would have been cool if Playmates could have worked that big Engineering console table from the show into it, or the wall that has the giant panel with the cross-section of the ship. It would have tripled the size of this set, but seeing as how Playmates designed this one to connect to the Bridge, they could have easily released another Engineering set to connect with this one. But, now I’m getting crazy and I suppose I should be happy we got this one. The dealer at the show had it marked at $25 and since one flap of the box was open, he didn’t have any problem with me opening it up and checking that it was all there. I didn’t bother haggling and just added it to my pile. Even when I’ve come close to buying it on Ebay loose, it was about the same amount with shipping, so I was pretty happy with the price. When you look at the travesty of “playsets” that Playmates did for the 2009 movie, one can’t help but look back to something as simple as this piece and yearn for the good old days.
Tomorrow, we’ll take a look at a sweet Collector Case and some Generations figures.