Star Trek “Starship Collection:” The Next Generation Edition (Part 1) by Eaglemoss

A little while ago I embarked on reviewing Eaglemoss’ Starship Collection with a look at the XL Enterprise-A. And before coming back to open some more of the larger ships, I thought I’d detour into some ships from the regular-sized fleet. And because these are smaller (roughly five inches long) and a little less detailed, I figured I’d cram as many as I could into one review. To get started, I selected five ships that I feel are the most iconic ships of The Next Generation, and also a pretty good survey of the different space powers. I’m also calling this Part 1 because, while I don’t know when Part 2 will come along, or what will be in it, I do know there will be plenty more TNG ships to look at later on down the road.

And here are they are! The Federation Flagship, The Romulan Warbird, The Klingon Vor’Cha Class Battlecruiser, The Ferengi Marauder, and the Cardassian Galor Class Cruiser. As you can see these come in two styles of packaging. The Enterprise and Warbird came in window boxes that are specific to the ship inside and include some nice artwork and a Collect Them All layout for the back panels. The other three ships come in generic boxes with no tops, just the clear cover for the plastic tray. I dig the window boxes more, but I have to respect the others that just let the models do all the talking. The Enterprise and Warbird come with booklets inside the boxes, while the others come with regular size magazines, usually in a bag with the box. The magazines are kind of hit or miss with me. I like the ones that focus on the ship, but clearly not all ships have enough backstory and details to fill a magazine so some just talk about the aliens or the stories they were featured in. Let’s start with the Flagship!

I’m going to save my long-winded opinions on the 1701-D, it’s design, and what the ship means to me for when I spotlight the XL version in the near future. For now let me just say that I’m blown away by the amount of detail Eaglemoss packed into this little ship. For the longest time, I didn’t collect this line because I just didn’t think the scale was capable of retaining the kind of details and quality of sculpt I was looking for. And we’ll see in a little bit that prejudice wasn’t entirely unfounded, but when it comes to this Enterprise, boy was I wrong! Just look at that saucer! Check out all the tiny windows individually painted either lit or dark! And escape pods! The crisp registry and sharp paint on the phaser ring! You even get some oh so subtle aztec-patterns. Granted, the Enterprise-D’s saucer is a pretty wide canvas to work on, but it’s still damn impressive.

They really nailed the profile of the ship as well. The tiny windows continue on to the Stardrive Section. You also get some purdy red and blue translucent plastic used in the warp nacelles and super tiny registry printed on the struts. If you look closely you can even see that they applied some of the subtle panel shading to the nacelles themselves. I’d also like to acknowledge that they did a nice job hiding the seams on this ship in plain sight by putting them in appropriate spots. The model is part metal, but mostly plastic and while it has a nice heft to it, those warp nacelles feel fragile!

The same red translucent plastic used for the fronts of the warp nacelles is used for the three impulse engines. And there’s a sharp red racing stripe bisecting the ship from the saucer all the way down to the aft torpedo launcher. You also get the Deltas and racing stripes on tops of each warp nacelle the name printed on the horizontal face of the struts, and the name and registry printed in front of the Primary Shuttlebay Door. Want me to complain about something? The Shuttlebay Doors could have been more detailed. That’s all I got!

The deflector dish is comprised of more of that lovely red and blue translucent plastic, and the ventral side of the ship shares all the great detail as the dorsal section, complete with individually painted windows, and registry printed on the underside of the saucer. And before moving on to the next ship, this is also as good a place as any to talk about the stand, which is very high quality and very well designed. The base is heavy and made of metal with a felt bottom. The device that holds the ship up grabs the saucer beside each of the saucer impulse engines and also has notches for the Stardrive Section to rest on. It’s clear so it tries to obscure the view of the ship as little as possible. I took some issues with this style of stand when I looked at the XL Enterprise-A, but for a ship this size, I think it’s a pretty solid design that also lets you detach the ship and handle it without much trouble. Let’s have a look at the Romulan Warbird next.

Oh boy do I love this design! Introduced in the Season 1 Finale, The D’deridex Class was fresh, original, menacing, and unlike anything we’ve seen before. And yet it has since become as iconic a Romulan ship design to me as the original Romulan Bird of Prey that I grew up with. And once again, Eaglemoss has done an amazing job recreating this behemoth battleship in a nearly pocket-sized scale. The green finish has a nice metallic sheen but it’s also washed over in some parts to help bring out some of the sculpted details and give it a bit of a weathered look, particularly along the rear edges of the top and bottom hulls. The ship always looked a little too new on the small screen, but this more seasoned version looks like it would have been at home on the big screen if the Warbird had ever made it into any of the TNG films.

There are panel lines a plenty on the outside and inside recreating a fanning feather-like pattern, as well as a segmented spine that runs up the center of the ship’s mighty back. It evokes the predatory bird motif without having to be quite as on the nose, and some might say cheesy, as the 1960’s Bird of Prey design.

And much like the Enterprise, the craftsman of this model didn’t spare any expense when it came to windows. The hull is positively littered with them and it goes a long way to illustrating just how gigantic this ship is. Just look at all the windows on the strut connecting the bottom of the forward section to the bottom hull. Wow, this is a big ship! I was hoping we would get a little of that translucent plastic in the warp nacelles, but here it’s just a greenish-yellow paint. It looks fine, but it could have looked better.

The stand here mirrors the particulars of the Enterprise stand, although this one is a lot less obtrusive, as it grabs the ship from behind and gives it an upward incline. As a result you can view the ship on the stand from some of its best angles and not have to worry about it getting in the way. On the downside, my stand will not stay in the base, which is only a problem if I forget and go to pick up the ship, as the clear piece and ship will come right out of the base. But stand malfunction set aside, this is a great model of this fierce Romulan Warship. And from one mighty Empire to another, let’s turn next to the Klingon Vor’cha Class Battlecruiser!

It’s no secret that TNG relied too heavily on the Klingon Bird of Prey. Oh, it’s an amazing ship design, but after being featured so prominently in Star Trek III, Star Trek IV, Star Trek V, Star Trek VI, oh yeah and Star Trek: Generations, it was nice to see a brand new Klingon ship eventually turn up in TNG, even if we had to wait until the 4th Season to get it. And The Vor’cha was an excellent design that invoked familiar Klingon elements while changing it up enough to make it still seem fresh to me. The Vor’cha is like a D7 on steroids with beefier engines and where the Command Deck on the D7 was at the terminal end of the boom, here it’s tacked on top and preceded by a Weapons Pod that looks like the Klingon equivalent of a giant Type-1 Hand Phaser. Ok, I guess that would be a Type-1 Hand Disruptor. But hopefully you get the point.

Once again there’s some excellent detailing on this little ship, although I’ll say straightaway that it doesn’t look quite as sharp or polished as either the Enterprise or the Warbird. Of course, that just may be that the Klingon ships tend to look a little grittier and less refined. The hull features very traditional Klingon Shield Plates, particularly in the wings leading out to the warp nacelles and in the area surrounding the Weapons Pod. In addition to lots of individual painted windows, you get the emblem of the Klingon Empire printed on the left wing and what I presume is the ship’s registry printed in Klingon on the right wing. Both of these last two details are also present on the undercarriage of the ship.

The warp nacelles makes use of that lovely red translucent plastic in the nacelles and it looks great, particularly with some light piping through them. You also get some orange paint on the Emergency Plasma Purge Vents located at the back edge of each wing. And like the Warbird, the Vor’cha has a wash that not only helps pick out the details in the sculpt but also gives it a well-weathered look suggesting that this Battleship has seen some action.

The stand here is very similar to the one used for the Warbird in that it grabs the ship from behind and allows you to view it from some of its best angles without getting in the way. And happily this stand holds together quite well. While this model doesn’t look as crisp as the first two ships, it certainly has a rugged and seasoned flavor about it that suits a ship in the Klingon Navy. And now that we’ve covered The Big Three, let’s work our way down to a couple of the lesser powers… starting with the Cardassian Galor Class Cruiser.

I was tempted to not include the Galor in this piece on iconic TNG ships because to me this ship really didn’t become iconic until Deep Space Nine and the Cardassians didn’t even show up until TNG was more than half over. Nonetheless, it first appeared in this series, so I’m throwing it in. I’ll also confess I was rather excited to look at it since I’ve never owned a model or toy of this ship before. The Galor is a very cool design, resembling an earwig and automatically giving me the willies. My only real nitpicks with it is that it doesn’t have that one sweet spot for a beauty shot like most other ships do. It doesn’t look like much when viewed at level profile or from dead on. Nonetheless, this is another great model for the line. On the surface, I thought this ship lacked detail, perhaps because it’s hull isn’t covered in panel lines. But once I got in close with the camera, it’s still got the same level of detail as the other ships including tiny windows, insignia and registry markings.

I really don’t know much about this ship’s anatomy, so I perused a set of blueprints so I could better understand I’m seeing. I presumed the orange triangles are weapon, but those are actually called out as the Warp Engines. How that works, I’m not sure, but cool! The model uses red translucent plastic for the Main Disruptor cannon, which apparently doubles as a Deflector Dish. Again, I’m not sure how that works, but cool! I really dig the hatches tucked under the wings, which are apparently for offloading cargo or troops.

Once again, we have the same type of stand, only hear it’s designed to grab the ship from behind it’s wings. It does obstruct the view a bit, but that’s why it’s cast in clear plastic. And to be fair, there’s really nowhere else it could have grabbed the ship and adequately supported it. And that brings me to my last stop on this trek…

I was in love with the Ferengi Marauder the first time I saw it. It’s a shame the Ferengi didn’t work out quite as the writers had planned and we rarely got to see this ship, because I think it’s a really cool design. The model favors paint applications over actual sculpted detail, with most of the hull being smooth. And I’d say that’s probably a fair representation of the screen appearance. And like the Warbird, the painted windows on this ship do a fine job of portraying just how big this ship is supposed to be. Still, I don’t think it would be unfair to say that this survey of ships is offering diminishing returns when it comes to the amount of detail injected into them. I didn’t really plan it that way, but there you go!

The model makes use of translucent yellow plastic used for the warp engines, which can be seen from the sides and the undercarriage as well and look pretty damn sharp. You also get the emblem of the Ferengi Alliance printed on each side just above these engines. The weapon emitters at the tips of the wings look like little pincers, and the notches that run alongside the bottom edge of the ship’s aft hump are all painted.

Unfortunately, there are two things about this model that really bug me. The first is that when viewed from the front, the crescent hump that makes up the back section of the ship doesn’t look tall or steep enough. The screen appearance makes it look a lot more pronounced when compared to the Command Section. Now, maybe that’s just me or maybe a trick of the camera, because I’m sure these models are based on detailed research, but it just doesn’t quite look right to me. Secondly, and less subjective, is the white wash they used. It dulls the color of the hull and I can’t comprehend what kind of effect they were going for here. It bothers me a lot with the ship in hand and even in my pictures it looks like the results of harsh lighting. At least the other wash they did to denote weathering looks great. I’d be keen to see them take a stab at this ship in the larger XL line and without the white wash.

The stand grabs the ship from the front of it’s crescent and does a good job holding it and not being too obtrusive. I will, however, point out that, in the cases of all the stands, I worry about friction and how much taking the ships off and putting them back on will cause paint rubbing.

And there you have it, five iconic ships from The Next Generation all presented by Eaglemoss and, for the most part, they’re all very well done. Even the Marauder would be fine if they gave it a simple repaint. As a FASA miniature junkie from days long past, I’m always up for building me a fleet of little collectible Starships and Eaglemoss has me covered quite nicely with this series. These models are great examples of quality and craftsmanship and offer a fine alternative to fleet building if you’re looking for something more substantial than Micromachines and more varied than any other toy or model company has churned out. The magazines are a nice bonus, but they aren’t the high point of this line to me. The five ships I showcased today ran me between $17 and $25, which sure isn’t bad if you have that one (or handful of) special ship(s) you want to put on your desk. It does, however get rather pricey when you’re looking to Collect Them All, or at least a good chunk of them. On the other hand, it’s a big break from spending seventy-five bucks a pop for the bigger XL ships.

Star Trek The Next Generation: Lt. Worf by Diamond Select

Thus far the DST editions of Warp Speed Wednesday have been focusing on Deep Space Nine, so today I thought I’d mix it up with a little Next Generation action with pre-Ds9 Worf. It never fails to amaze me that a spin-off of such a classic series could have produced such iconic characters in its own right, and yet Next Gen certainly did that. Even to someone like me, who grew up watching Classic Trek before Next Gen was a thing, Worf has become as iconic to the Trek franchise as someone like Spock. And what could have easily been a throwaway gimmick, putting a Klingon in Starfleet, turned into something special. I credit a lot of that to Michael Dorn and his genuine love and enthusiasm for portraying the character. The dude is even trying to get a new series about Worf off the ground and I say more power to him.

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The sculpt on this figure is one of their best. Sure, it’s the standard Next Gen uniform from the later Seasons, but that’s my favorite style, when they did away with the jumpsuits and adopted the tunic. Worf’s uniform includes his Klingon baldric, which is a separate piece made from soft plastic. It’s a great sculpt and it not only makes sense to be a separate piece, as Diamond likes to reuse these bodies, but it just works better that way too.

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The portrait is also one of the best I’ve looked at so far. It probably helps that Worf’s Klingon features give the sculptors more to work with, but they really nailed Michael Dorn in the makeup, ponytail and all. The wash really brings out the detail on his forehead ridges. The paint on his beard is a little off, but nothing too bad.

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The articulation here is the same we’ve been seeing all along. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs feature a t-crotch at the hips and hinges in the knees and ankles. As usual the lack of lateral movement in the hips or any swivels in the legs makes for a rather static figure. It’s a little more frustrating here because Worf is a man of action and I want to put him in all sorts of kick ass poses. Instead, this is more of a Worf to stand at the Tactical Station and get shot down by Picard every time he suggests they take reasonable precautions to protect the ship. 

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Worf’s accessories were advertised on the package as “Starfleet Gear” and included a hand phaser, a phaser rifle and a tricorder. He also came with two extra hands clenched into fists. I get it, Worf likes to hit things, but I remember him usually hitting people with that open hand palm attack, which must have been one of the first things they taught at the Academy . Eh, I don’t want to be too picky. Fists are fine.

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The hand phaser is the same accessory I’ve alread featured with past figures. It’s a simple enough accessory and possibly a little undersized. This is also one of those cases where it’s tough to get him to hold it right. I’d much rather had a phaser-holding hand than a fist. Why can’t Diamond ever seem to get this right? I can kind of make it work, but clearly the right hand is made for his other weapon.

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Yes, the phaser rifle! It’s the older, boxy style from Next Gen’s pre-movie days, which I like better than the sexy newer model. Actually, to clarify, I like the way the old one shoots with an actual phaser beam, before they turned it into a pulse “pew pew” kind of weapon that didn’t feel much like Star Trek to me. This one even has the range finder flipped up.

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I’m more than a tad disappointed that Worf didn’t come with any Klingon gear, but it’s easy to just borrow that stuff from Jadzia Dax. After all, a Klingon Warrior needs his bat’leth.

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Next to maybe Odo, Worf here is easily my favorite DST figure I looked at since starting this whole Warp Speed Wednesday thing. Sure, more articulation would have gone a long way, but damn if this isn’t a great figure on every other level. Diamond must really love Worf because the character also got a couple different versions out during this line’s run so don’t be surprised when he turns up here again in the future. It’s also interesting to note that DST has recently given Worf another go at the figure treatment, although the new one is one of those weird action figure-statue kind of things that has even more limited articulation and swappable parts to achieve different poses. But I have no plans on adding that one to my collection anytime soon.

Star Trek Starship Legends: USS Enterprise NCC-1701-E (“Nemesis”) by Diamond Select

Lest you forgot, I’m doing this whole Star Trek Thang on Wednesdays now, which is convenient because I’ve also picked up another one of DST’s Starships. The sixth entry into my fleet is none other than the NCC-1701-E. First introduced in “First Contact” (because Troi crashed the “D” into a planet in the previous film) this new design really looked amazing on screen and represented a bold new look for the intrepid Starship I’ve known and loved for all my life. The Soverign Class Enterprise boldly traveled through three feature films and this newest release is based on the appearance in “Nemesis.” If memory serves, “Insurrection” and “Nemesis” were the first Star Trek films to rely solely on a CGI model of the Enterprise for exterior shots. This design strikes me more as a mash up between the Constitution Refit and the Intrepid Class (ie Voyager) and sort of passes over the Galaxy Class for design elements. This ship also has a severely minimalist profile when viewed viewed straight on, which I still think is pretty damn cool. The result is a very futuristic looking design of a ship that still retains that intangible nobility that I get from all the Enterprises.

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The package is exactly what we’ve been seeing all along. You get an elongated blue window box with the classic “Star Trek” logo and a bunch of text about the ship. There’s a “Try Me” window that lets you get a taste of the electronics. The ship comes fully assembled, all you have to do is put together the two halves of the stand and plug the ball into the socket under the ship. You will need a phillips head screwdriver to undo the battery hatch and switch it from “Try Me” to “Play” in order to get the full effect, but unless this is your first DST Starship, you’ve probably been through all this before. Also included in the box is a replacement battery hatch without the socket for the stand and a folded instruction sheet. With the ship measuring just over 18-inches from the tip of the saucer to the back of the nacelles, it’s every bit as long as The Excelsior, but the design makes it look a lot slighter in every other respect.

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The first thing that struck me about the “E” when I got it out and all set up was how busy the deco is. This is easily the most complex paint job of any ship in my fleet. It certainly reflects the look of the ship on screen, but with the track record of DST on these ships, more detailed paint apps lead to more potential for flubs. That having been said, the paint on mine is fairly decent, but it falls just short of having that professional look. If I bought this ship loose from Ebay not knowing what it was, I would probably assume that it was a kit that was painted by a fairly competant model builder and not a professional factory piece from an officially licensed company. My ship also had some annoying black paint speckled around the top of the primary hull. I was able to remove nearly all of it with some careful razor work, but having to take a razor to my new fifty dollar model is not something I enjoy doing. When all is said and done, probably the weakest paint is the area around the bussard collectors.

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This ship uses a pearlescent plastic, which is somewhat similar to the stuff used for my “Wrath of Khan” Enterprise. While it’s not nearly as light and overall looks much better here, it still allows for some light bleed, which I’ll get to in a just a bit. I do, however, still prefer the denser stuff used for the hulls of the Excelsior and the Enterprise-D. The ship also uses several decals for the registry numbers and “racing” stripes. These are all applied with care and look straight and sharp.

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The electronics feature the usual mix of lights and sound. There are lights in the primary hull, which light up bridge and the windows near by as well as the two red impulse engines. This point features a fair amount of light bleeding, which is obvious, but look enough like spot lights on the exterior that I don’t mind it so much. The deflector dish lights up a very bright yellow with virtually no light bleeding at all. Lastly, the bussard collectors on the warp nacelles light up red and the top strips light up blue. Again, you get some light bleeding on the nacelles, mostly around the seams below the red bussard collectors, but the blue nacelle strips look really sharp.The lights only activate when the sound effects are going off and sadly there’s no function to just run the lights. As for the sound effects, here they are…

The sound sampling here feels really generic and features an emphasis on sound effects rather than speech. It’s basically just Picard giving some combat orders and a lot of weapons firing and engine sounds. Granted, “Nemesis” wasn’t a great film, but there were definitely some better quotes that could have been pulled from it. On the other hand, the generic nature of the clips make this ship work for just about any of the last three movies, so I suppose that could be considered a plus.

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The stand is slightly better than the standard garbage we’ve been seeing for this line. It has a two-sided triangle post instead of just one like my WoK Enterprise. It does support the ship quite well in a number of positions, but I attribute that to the relatively light weight and good balance of the ship rather than the quality of the stand.

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If the scale I use for rating these ships runs from the Awful “Wrath of Khan” Enterprise to the Superb NX Excelsior and Enterprise-D, with most of my other ships falling on upper half of the spectrum, then I would probably place this version of the Enterprise-E exactly midway along the line. The only real QC issues on this piece is the black paint spray and I’ve managed to fix most of that. Yes, the paint around the bussard collectors could be better, but it doesn’t sink to the depths of some of the stuff showcased on the WoK Enterprise. Everything else about this ship (the plastic, paint quality, lighting and sound) I would categorize as quite good, but not quite exceptional. At around $30-35 I would have been a lot more satisfied with this purchase, but at $50 it feels rather steep for the quality. Nonetheless, I’m happy to add The Enterprise-E to my Starship Legends shelf and it should be only a matter of time before I break down and pick up the Enterprise-B.

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 Holodeck Series: “A Fistful of Datas” Collector Set by Playmates

You didn’t think you’d escape a week of Toy Closet Finds without some Playmates Star Trek loving, did you? DID YOU??  Truth is I can’t turn around in that damn closet without knocking over a towering skyscraper of Star Trek figures, so by doing just one feature this week, y’all are getting off way too easy. Besides, the last two Saturdays were Star Trek, so I’ll just keep the ball rolling. Oh yeah, while it wouldn’t be FigureFan without a stray cat hair in my photos (it’s practically my watermark!) things got a little out of hand today and I’d already had more than a few Jamesons before the shoot, which meant I didn’t notice until it was too late. Enjoy!


Hey, look! It’s the Holodeck Series! I haven’t done any of these before! But first, let’s wax nostalgic about the Holodeck for a moment. When I was a teenager, “The Next Generation” was destination television for me every week, and every time a Holodeck episode came up I would flip the hell out because I thought it was a waste of a slot and I’d have to wait another week and hope for something better. Now, in my old age, I’ve mellowed a lot on these episodes, and while some of them are still terrible, others are not so bad. Next to the Sherlock Holmes episodes, “A Fistful of Datas” is probably my favorite. It may have to do with my love for westerns; it may be because it tugged at my nostalgic love for the Classic Trek episode “Specter of the Gun;” but in the end I think it’s because it’s a fun episode that makes really good use of Worf and Troi it’s one of the few episodes with Alexander that I can stomach.

The set comes in a compact little window box and is branded under the general “Star Trek” line. The front window displays the three figures Worf, Alexander, and a Holographic recreation of Data (ok, so it’s really two and a half figures!) and each of the figures are held in a tray against an illustrated backdrop that shows part of the “Ancient West” town and part of the Holodeck grid. As always, there’s a foil sticker with an individual collector number. The back panel of the box has a blurb about the episode, a shot of the figures against the backdrop and shots of three other boxed sets available in the line. I’ll point out here that Sheriff Worf was available as a single-carded figure, but if you wanted the other two in this set, I’m pretty sure this was the only way to get them. Bastard points go to Playmates for forcing us to double dip!


Starting off with Data, we get a Holodeck recreation of our favorite Starfleet android as a crazed gunslinger. The head sculpt is pretty good, and possibly better than my regular Data figure. He has the little added mustache and his hat is removable, which I was not expecting. As for the rest of the figure, the sculpt is very simple but it does hit all the right points. His black coat bellows up a bit behind him and reveals his holstered gun on his left hip. He’s an Ok figure, but he does seem a little lacking compared to Worf.

Yes, Worf is clearly the star of this set as Playmates put the most work into him. That probably has something to do with the fact that he was also a single-carded release. The head sculpt is excellent, and while the hat isn’t removable, that just means it doesn’t constantly fall off like Data’s does. Worf’s outfit consists of a detailed kerchief, a vest with buttons and his sheriff badge, and a buttoned shirt with the flap hanging down. The proportions are also a lot better than previous Worf figures. I love this figure!

Last up is Worf’s son, Alexander, which is just a static piece. I expected him to be a throw-away, but Playmates stepped up on the sculpt here. He’s wearing a miniature version of Worf’s outfit right down to the vest with the little deputy badge. I also get a chuckle out of the fact that he’s the only one in the set holding a gun and he looks like he’s ready to gleefully murder someone with it.

The paintwork on all three figures is quite excellent. I don’t know why, but I love the high gloss paint that Playmates uses. It makes them look so toyish and 90’s. Feeling nostalgic for the 90’s is a scary thing. The contrast between Data’s muted grey and black outfit and the brighter browns and reds of Worf and Alexander’s makes for an appealing set and I’m particularly impressed by the paintwork on the little Alexander figure. In terms of overall coloring and paint, this is some of Playmates best work on the Star Trek line.

The three figures in this set are like an illustration of the evolution of action figure articulation. Worf features most of the points we’ve come to expect from Playmates Trek figures. His arms rotate at the shoulders, swivel at the biceps and have hinged elbows. His legs swivel at the hips and have hinges in the knees. He can also swivel at the waist and his head turns. The only thing really missing here are the thigh swivels that began to appear late in the line. Data, on the other hand has the five basic points (neck, shoulders and hips) plus swivels in his biceps. He does have a waist swivel, but his coat prevents it from working, and it severely limits his hip articulation too. Last up is Alexander, which as I already mentioned is just a static figure. I don’t have a big problem with Alexander just being a display piece, but Data’s limited articulation really irks me. He should have at least had elbow and knee hinges.

The sad thing about this set is you get zero accessories. Granted, Playmates’ accessories usually suck, but if you want Worf’s accessories you need to buy the single-carded figure as well. Or you can buy Troi as Durango and give her stuff to Worf since she can’t hold any of it anyway. You do, however, get a display stand with an illustrated sticker to match the backdrop. The idea is you cut out the backdrop and stick it into the slot on the stand. If you’ve ever picked up any of Kenner/Hasbro’s Star Wars Cinema Scene sets than you already get the idea.

I have no idea how much this sold for originally, but I recall picking up mine at a Trek Convention for $10 and you can’t go wrong there. The lack of accessories is a downer and Data’s sculpt and articulation doesn’t jive with the work put into Worf, but all in all this is still a cool set representing a fun little episode.

And that’ll put this week of Toy Closet Finds in the bag. I’ve still got a bunch of unearthed treasures from my trip into Narnia, but the rest will have to wait, because I’ve also got a bunch of new receivings piling up and begging for attention. Next week I’ll be doubling up on some new Lego, new TMNT, and new Transformers. See y’all on Monday.

Star Trek Starship Legends: USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D by Diamond Select

As I mentioned last Saturday, the fine folks at Diamond Select have taken pity on those of us who missed out on their Starship Legends line by reissuing the ships with some minor tweaks and refreshed packaging. I was quick to jump on board and pre-order the “Wrath of Khan” Enterprise and the “Next Gen” Enterprise-D. I’ve got a little while to wait on WoK Enterprise, but 1701-D showed up at my door this week in a giant slab of a shipping box. I’ve been jonesing after this thing for a long while now, so I couldn’t wait to get her inside and open her up. This is a big ship, there’s a lot to talk about, and there will be some bumps along the way, so sit tight and engage your inertial dampeners…

The huge window box is actually not quite as big as the Bird of Prey’s package, but it is deeper. It’s the same style of blue cloudy star field deco only this time you get a shot of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, with arms crossed, staring out approvingly at you, as if to say, “Well done on buying this ship.” That makes me happy. After all, deep down don’t we all really just want approval from Captain Picard? The Star Trek logo is in “The Original Series” font with “The Next Generation” below it. Wait… they can’t do that… can they? I’ll confess the mixing of the two generations looks weird, like it’s a knock off package or something. The front panel of the box is cut out to show the bulk of the ship, while still hiding the two pieces of shit stands in the lower right corner. There’s a “Try Me” hole in the window so little bastards can run down the batteries when they see it at their local comic shop. The back panel of the box shows a shot of the model with a couple of paragraphs on the series and the ship. It also seems to take great pleasure in chronicling the fact that the mightiest ship in the Starfleet, the Flagship, was destroyed by a small rogue Bird of Prey after Picard gave Riker the keys and Troi crashed it into a planet. Cue Picard Facepalm.

The ship is packaged fully assembled. You just have to clip the wire ties to get it off the tray, and that’s where the fun starts. I honestly didn’t expect to have anything bad to say about this thing, and yet we’re going to start off with one major annoyance. As expected, the ship comes packaged in “Try Me” mode and to get the full effect of the electronics you need to switch it over to “Play Mode.” Unfortunately, the switch is inside the battery compartment on the bottom of the Star Drive section. Some may argue that’s a good thing because the ship doesn’t have a switch exposed on it anywhere, but it didn’t bother me so much with the Bird of Prey. Anyway, this situation sent me scrambling throughout the house to find one of my tiny screwdrivers, which by now I should keep in a very prominent place, but I can never remember where I left it. After about ten minutes of swearing under my breath and rummaging through every junk drawer and catch-all I have in the house, I got my hands on it only to find that I couldn’t budge the screw. Diamond obviously used some kind of self-sealing stembolt (Right? Get it?) to secure the hatch down. I went back to searching until I turned up a pair of vice grips so I could get enough torque and break the seal on the screw. After that it was easy. I also noticed the super shit batteries they put in here, so I’m going to have to go get a couple of packs of the best AAA batteries I can find for the Enterprise and Bird of Prey so they don’t shit battery goo all over the inside of my precious ships. But wait! We’re not done yet! You also need to take off a second battery cover on the top of the Saucer Section right over the main Shuttle Bay and flip a switch under it in order to get the Saucer Separation SFX to work. Yes, the Enterprise is also powered by three additional button batteries in the Saucer. This cover is slid back by inserting a thin implement into a notch and pushing back. It’s a jarring ordeal because I had to apply just a bit more force than I was comfortable with. Keep in mind, as annoying as this all was, it’s just something to deal with during the initial unboxing and not something that’s going to really spoil the enjoyment of the model once you’ve done it. Ok, now that I’ve put everybody to sleep with exciting battery talk, let’s look at the ship.

I was expecting a lot of detail, but I’ll confess the finished sculpt still exceeds my expectations. The Enterprise-D has a lot of surface space, and every bit of it is covered with panel lines. I mean, damn, you can practically see every single plate of tritanium-duranium alloy that went into the hull’s construction. The Escape Pod hatches are sculpted, the ridges on the Shuttle Bay doors, even the little docking hatches on the sides of the Torpedo Bay launchers. If Art Asylum left any details out, I sure as hell can’t find them. There is a little more assembly seaming on this ship than was evident on the Bird of Prey. It’s mostly noticeable along the aft edges of the ship and where the back of the neck meets the front two pieces. They aren’t terrible, but worth mentioning.

The paintwork compliments the sculpted detail wonderfully. Every window is painted onto the ship’s skin from the random windows of crew quarters to the line of panels that runs across the wall of the Conference Room and even the viewports of Ten Forward. The Escape Pod hatches are painted tan and you’ve got a darker grey on the Shuttle Bay doors and the Phaser Array strips. The lettering is all crisp and hugs the hull better than what I remember seeing in the test shots. Of all the tiny details, I think the one that impresses me the most are the tiny scoring lines that run along the perimeter of all the Phaser Arrays. Holy shit that’s cool!

The Saucer Section is secured to the Star Drive Section with some of the most insanely powerful magnets I think I’ve ever seen in a toy. Separating the ship is as easy as pulling them apart. When you go to connect them up again, the magnets will aggressively grab at each other and do the rest. Connecting and reconnecting the two sections give you a sound and light show, which we’ll talk about in a little bit. Obviously reconnecting the two halves of the ship will lead to rubbing on the surface so I’ll probably avoid doing it to excess. I’ll point out here that Diamond stamped a bunch of large type copyright information inside the area where the Saucer Section connects to the neck. It’s annoying and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t there on the original release.

The Enterprise comes with two display stands and they are the biggest pieces of shit I’ve ever seen. They’re basically the same style of thin, opaque plastic pieces as the one that came with the Bird of Prey, only these feature the ball joint under the connection points and are sculpted with the Starfleet “Comm Badge” style insignia. They look cheap, but that’s not the problem I have with them. While the Bird of Prey used a fixed connection that works perfectly, these stands use ball joints and they work well until you manipulate them a couple of times and then they fail miserably. The ball joint just can’t handle the weird weight displacement of the ship and it constantly wants to drop the ship forward onto the Saucer Section. They will work fine if you want to pose the ship in an upward climb, but forget about getting it displayed parallel to the surface its standing on. You see those two side shots of the ship? Well, the stands won’t do that anymore. Hey guys, what the hell is the point of a poseable ball joint if it can only hold the ship in one position???  I’ve tried gumming it up with blue tack, which didn’t work.  I may try some nail polish next.

So two stands? Yes, The complete Enterprise displays on either stand by plugging it into the hole closest to the Deflector Dish. You can also display the Enterprise separated by plugging the smaller stand into the middle hole of the Star Drive section and using the larger stand for the Saucer Section. While I doubt I’ll ever display the ship separated, it’s very cool to have this option. The instructions show a plug that can be put into the hole of the Saucer Section to cover it up when you are displaying the ship as one piece. It’s a great idea, but sadly no such plug was included in my box.

Ok, let’s talk electronics and we’ll start with the lights. By pressing and holding the concealed button just below the main Impulse Engine on the Star Drive section, you can put all the lights into “Display Mode” and they’ll stay lit until you press it again. You get red LEDs in all three Impulse Engines and the front of both Warp Nacelles. Blue LEDs light up in the front Deflector Dish and in the strips around the Warp Nacelles. The lights are all bright and gorgeous, particularly the fronts of the Nacelles. There’s one more light, a white Bridge light on the top of the Saucer Sections dome. Alas, this one bleeds through the paint and plastic around it quite a bit. I can sort of convince myself that the light bleeding through is just the light reflecting off the hull. Yeah… sort of.

The sound effects and voice clips aren’t quite as loud and clear as the Bird of Prey’s SFX, but they’re still pretty good. The sounds and voice are activated by pressing the top dome of the Saucer Section and the lights will come on when the sound is activated. One thing I do not like at all is the way the blue Nacelle lights blink to match the speech or sound effect. It’s just like the lights on the top of a Dalek when it talks. What is the point of this, Diamond? WHY? At least all the lights don’t do it. The sounds and voice clips play in the same order and if you hold the button down it’ll run through everything in one long sequence. All of the voice clips are from Captain Picard himself. Here’s what you get…

  • “Open a hailing frequency. This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard.”
  • “Energize.” [Transporter SFX]
  • “Scan for life forms.”
  • “Shields up! Red Alert!” [Red Alert SFX]
  • [Phaser Alarm. Phasers Firing.]
  • “Make it so.”
  • [Warp Drive Engaging]
  • “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” [Replicator SFX]
  • “Dispersal pattern Sierra and fire!” [Torpedoes SFX]
  •  “Transferring command to the battle bridge.”
  • [Impulse Flyby]
  • “Continual fire, all phasers!” [Phaser Alarm. Phasers Firing]
  •  “Damage report!”
  • “Warp 9, Engage!” [Warp SFX]
  • “Let’s make sure history never forgets the name… Enterprise!”

I could have done without the Earl Grey quote, but I adore the way the sequence ends with Picard’s memorable battle cry from “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” The weapon sequences are so awesome that I really wish there was a way to select them specifically to avoid the following scenario: “Hey, wanna hear the Enterprise-D kick some ass?” “Sure!” “Ok, here we go.” [pushes button] “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot!” “Oh…”

Separating the Saucer section plays, “Prepare for emergency saucer sep” and engages the lights and sounds. Reconnecting plays the sound of the moorings locking down. Very cool!

If it sounds like I’m nitpicking the Enterprise more than I did the Bird of Prey, well that’s because I probably am. The Bird of Prey didn’t have as many issues. Besides, this is the goddamn Enterprise after all and I’m going to hold it to higher standards. My issues with some of the electronic SFX are fairly minor and in one case (the lights flashing in time to the voice) just a matter of personal preference. The stands, however, are just poorly executed and considering this is the second time this ship has been released, they should have been fixed. I’d much rather have a stand that gave me less display options but actually worked well. I would even have been willing to pay a little extra for a ratcheting stand. In terms of the ship itself, however, well it’s absolutely gorgeous. I love it so much that even with all the other hiccups, I’m still so very glad that I finally own it. When you consider what the old Playmates Enterprise-D goes for these days, picking up this Diamond version is a no-brainer. At $70 shipped, it’s just worth every penny, horrible stands and all! Now if only I can find a place to display it so I don’t have to put it back in the box.

And that’s going to wrap me up for this week. Tomorrow is my day of rest and I’ll actually be continuing to clean out and organize one of my bottomless toy closets. Next week is going to be a complete run of some of the stuff I find so it should be an interesting mish-mash of who knows what!

Star Trek Starfleet Academy: Picard, Data, and Worf by Playmates

I’ve got some social obligations today, folks, which means that I can’t stay home and drink, I have to go out and drink. It’s jarring and unsettling, but people tell me that spending too much time at home drinking among crowds of fake plastic people is not good for my psyche. As a result, I was looking for something quick and dirty for today’s feature. I’m going to parse out three figures from a recent Lot of Playmates Star Trek that I recently bought on Ebay just because nobody was bidding on it and I wanted to give these guys a good home. It was basically a bag of about 20 loose figures with no accessories and a handful of stands, most of which didn’t even match the figures in the Lot. I don’t usually like to buy Playmates Trek loose because they’re so damn cheap when they’re new and carded, but then the ones we’re looking at today I would have probably never picked up any other way.

Yes, the Starfleet Academy line! Somehow Playmates thought that even after scraping the bottom of the barrel for questionable releases like Vedek Bareil (DS9) and that smug Benzite dickhead from “A Matter of Honor” (TNG) they still just weren’t making enough Star Trek figures and so they had to think outside the box and create this kind of Expanded Universe sub-line featuring our favorite Next Gen crewmembers as Academy Cadets. Jim Henson’s Trek Babies? The packages boasted “All new Starfleet Crew Members as young cadets!” C’mon, Playmates, it was hard enough to get kids to play with Star Trek figures without exposing them to this terrible idea. I’m the biggest Star Trek whore ever and even I didn’t want to buy these. Anyway, some of these figures came on a “Starfleet Academy” cardback with a CD-ROM game and the typical crappy Playmates accessories, none of which came with mine. Cadet Data was released a couple of years later (along with Cadets Troi and Crusher) as part of the generic “Warp Factor” series. I did get a single figure stand from the series, which is actually kind of cool because it’s made to look like the Academy badge complete with the Golden Gate Bridge. Too bad it’s molded in purple plastic with yellow paints. Oh, Playmates.

Let’s start out with this guy. I swear I thought this was Riker, but a little research tells me he’s actually “John” Picard. I’m not going to quibble about the likeness, but it is somewhat of a novelty to have a Picard figure with hair. He’s wearing a “Standard Starfleet Issue Flight Training Suit” which I have to reluctantly admit is kind of cool. It’s grey and has the same black shoulders and collar as the regular uniforms, which makes it a little Starfleety. There are also holes near the belt and arm, which I presume was for tubes or something.

Next up is Cadet Worf and ain’t he just adorable? I’ll actually concede that Playmates did a pretty good job sculpting his likeness as a younger Worf, even though he still has the beard. Unfortunately, Worf is wearing what Playmates calls “Starfleet Night Recon Gear” which makes this figure all kinds of stupid. What the hell kind of night recon gear involves wearing the brightest white gloves and boots I’ve ever seen? Even the bulk of the outfit is light grey and the only thing appropriately dark is the belt and cross strap. I’m guessing that Worf was the victim of a lot of hazing, with him being the only Klingon at Starfleet Academy, and some of his peers thought it would be funny to give him arctic gear and tell them it was for night recon ops. I’m also guessing that those pranksters were later found behind one of the lecture halls with their spines removed.

And last up is Cadet Data. I understand that it’s canon that Data graduated from Starfleet Academy, but I honestly can’t imagine how that worked since he was constructed to be super strong and remember every piece of information that he was exposed to. Maybe the idea was to have him spend time interacting with other cadets rather than just download every course into his neural net and get his commission. Anyway, since Data doesn’t age, he looks pretty much the same as his other figures. I might even go so far as to say this figure’s head sculpt is better than my regular Data. I have no idea what his outfit is supposed to be, but I have to say, this is my favorite figure of the three and the fact that his gear doesn’t have a Starfleet insignia anywhere on it means that I can use him as Lore or even B4. YES!

And there you have it. I doubt I’ll ever circle back to pick up complete versions of these three figures, but being the nutter that I am, I won’t discount the possibility that the other cadet figures won’t show up here at some point in time. Looking at incomplete figures really aggravates my OCD, but there are a bunch of figures in this Lot so chances are I’ll pick out another handful of them to check out next week.

Star Trek The Next Generation: The Nausicaan by Playmates

As I mentioned yesterday, it’s going to be Star Trek for the rest of the week. I’m sorry to do this to the crazy people fine folks who don’t like Star Trek, but I’ve got a lot of work to do this week (the kind that actually pays me the monies that keeps me supplied with Jameson and toys) so I’m dipping my bucket into the Playmates Star Trek well for a trio of quick and dirty features. It also gives me a nice build up to feature one of Diamond Select’s new Star Trek ships on Saturday. So into the huge tote of carded Trek figures I go and today I came up with… The Nausicaan. Let’s dive right in and rip open a 20 year old figure, eh?

There’s that wonderful Next Gen figure packaging. The design is the same aesthetic quality as when you hit an adult website and a thousand unwanted pop ups flood your screen. Ok, the card isn’t advertising Viagra or fleshlights, and it won’t warrant a frantic call for help to The Geek Squad, but it’s still screaming a lot of stuff at you. “NEW!” “ATTENTION COLLECTORS!” “Individually numbered!” “Playmates Skybox Collector Card!” “7th Season!” “Collector Series!” “As seen in the Tapestry!” Holy crap, my brain is exploding!!!! And that’s just the front of the card. The back has headshots of some other figures available. I have boxes full of these things and there are still figures I don’t have. How is that possible? You also get an advertisement for Deep Space Nine on the Super Nintendo and Genesis, an explanation of what all those oddly colored accessories are and a blurb about the Nausicaans and the enjoyable episode, “Tapestry.”

How would I describe a Nausicaan to someone who knows nothing about them? Well, it’s basically a Predator wearing a Weird Al Yankovic wig that hangs out in space bars and hustles people at space pool. Yeah, from a design standpoint, the Nausicaans were as derivative as all hell, but they sure looked impressive on screen, especially for a show where being an alien usually meant you had pointed ears, a wrinkled forehead, or just happened to be bald and painted blue. The Nausicaans were scary dudes, with tempers to match. I mean, anyone willing to murder someone over a game of billiards is just bad ass, and they seemed to take great pleasure in picking on Starfleet cadet pussies. For more information, let’s consult Mr. Nausicaan’s collector card. Hmm… no help there. It just gives a summary of Picard’s bar encounter (Sorry, Picard, you only got stabbed in the heart, we had to sit through an episode of you talking to Wesley about it in a Shuttlecraft. Clearly we suffered more from that incident). It also lists the Nausicaan homeworld as “unknown.” Wait, what? You have a bunch of aliens hanging around a Starbase and you don’t even know where they come from? If I were to venture a guess, I’d say Nausicaa and a quick look at the entry onMemory Alpha and I see that I’m right.

It couldn’t have been easy to capture all that ugliness in a 4.5” figure, but I’ll be damned if Playmates didn’t manage to pull it off. While the face sculpt is admittedly rather soft, the likeness is certainly there and he is one hideous bastard. There’s a cool little paint wash to help bring out the sculpted bits and his hair even has the little hairbands sculpted and painted into the front. I’m usually not a fan of Playmates’ willingness to play fast and loose with proportions, but in this case the Nausicaan’s big head kind of works and his giant burly monkey arms and ham-hock fists do as well. My only big gripe here is that one of his hands is held out at a weird angle, presumably to better hold his Dom-Jot stick, but in reality it looks like he’s trying to do something obscene with it.

It’s been a while since I’ve watched “Tapestry” but the Nausicaan outfit looks like the designer just couldn’t be bothered as it’s just a brown tunic and pants with some random black lines on it, a sash running down the middle and a belt. Still, I don’t think these guys were supposed to be in the Space Service or anything, so it’s probably not a uniform. Nope, this is probably your typical Nausicaan “I’m going to go slum it at the bar tonight so I’ll just throw something on” outfit. I’m sure Playmates did their best with what they had.

The figure features the basic Next Gen 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. The Nausicaan can swivel at the waist and his head can turn a little, but his hair tends to get in the way.

The Nausicaan comes with a cadre of accessories, all molded in blue plastic. You get the serrated knife that he used to turn Picard’s heart into shish-kabab, you get a Dom-Jot stick, you get a tankard of booze and some kind of weird thing that looks like a tea pot. He also comes with a purple figure stand. [Unfortunately, I took the photos a couple days after opening him and my alcohol addled mind couldn’t remember where I put the accessories. All I could find was his sword and stand. Take this as a lesson, kids, don’t drink and blog.]

All in all, the Nausicaan is a pretty cool figure. The wonky proportions tend to work better for aliens like him and the sculpt is certainly solid enough. Surprisingly, The Nausicaans were given the action figure treatment again in Art Asylum’s 7-inch Enterprise line, which is sitting buried in a tote somewhere. I’ll really have to dig that sonovabitch out some day.

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.

Star Trek The Next Generation: Lt. Geordi LaForge by Playmates

Ya know, folks, Geordi was the man! Not only did we get to see him rise in the ranks from Lt. Junior Grade peon all the way up to Chief Engineer, but he was one of the better developed characters on the show. While a lot of the 24th Century populace seemed to be a little too well rounded and confident, Geordi really came across as likable  vulnerable and human, particularly in his self-conscious awkwardness around women and the way he embraced his handicap. Plus, I always found Geordi’s friendship with Data to be comfortable and believable. Hell, Geordi even got busted using the Holodeck for what we all know we’d use the Holodeck for if we had one. How uncomfortable was that, eh? Maybe it wasn’t as bad as Barclay’s endeavors, but still pretty embarrassing. Anyway, today I’m having a few belts of Jameson Aldebaran whiskey and celebrating the character with a look at some of Geordi’s various releases in the Playmates 4 ½” line. I’ve got four of them lined up here, so let’s start with his first appearance on the show…

Season One, Lt. Junior Grade Geordi LaForge. Conveniently, this is the only figure of the bunch that I have a packaged shot of, but once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Christ, look at all the explosions of text and excitement in this card. It’s like you just took your firewall down and visited a questionable file sharing site. Besides the gloriously colorful and animated style, the cardback just invades your senses with an inrush of information about the figure. Accessories! Skybox Collector Card! Individually numbered!! First time in this uniform!!! SKYBOX!!! Arghhh!

 

Let’s just go ahead and look at Season One and Chief Engineer LaForge together. I love the tunic-style uniforms from the later seasons, but seeing the characters in their Season One jumpsuit-pajamas really makes me feel nostalgic. Holy hell, we’re talking 25 years ago… when did The Next Generation become a subject for nostalgia? How did I get this old? Anyway, S1 LaForge is basically a repaint and slight re-sculpt of Chief Engineer LaForge. The only real change in the sculpt is his lack of the higher collar and the addition of the piping to his collar. Since it’s the same sculpt as the bulkier later season tunic, the skin-tight style of the earlier jumpsuits isn’t really conveyed well. Still, it works fine for me. Both figures come with the same stand, but different assortments of gear.

 

Next up is Geordi in his dress uniform. Yes, this is what he wears to go down to the Transporter and welcome the weekly alien dignitary on board. I voiced my dislike for these uniforms back when I featured the Starfleet Officer’s Set and I stand by that opinion. As expected, this figure is also basically just a repaint of those other figures too. Unfortunately, once I had Riker and Picard in their dress uniforms my OCD side committed me to buying all the dress uniform figures. Yes, I am my worst enemy. Either way, this figure has a nice sculpt, but unfortunately the VISOR is permanently attached to his noggin.

Dress uniform Geordi comes with a phaser, a computer console, a tricorder, and a case of his medals. The medals case is a new piece that I haven’t seen before, but it’s just a slab of plastic with a sticker on it. He also comes with a standard comm badge style figure stand.

Last up is the most pointless and ridiculous figure of the bunch. If you thought Hasbro was bad about releasing Star Wars figures based off characters that only appeared for a few seconds, well check this shit out. This figure is based off of one episode (“Identity Crisis”) where Geordi mutated into a Tarchanen alien and was seen in the last five minutes or so before being turned back by the miracle of 24th Century bullshit medicine. It truly is one of those releases that make you shake your head and wonder what sick, obsessed moron of a Trek fan would spend money on something like this? Oh wait, I did. In my defense I’m sure I got him as part of a lot of figures. At least that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

The crazy thing about Tarchanen III Geordi is that he comes with one of the coolest figure stands of any Playmates Trek figure. It’s the United Federation of Planets emblem in blue and gold. Damn, I wish Playmates sold packs of these stands, I would have bought a ton of them.

And that’s my little Geordi tribute. I love Star Trek, I love Next Gen, and I love this character. I’m happy to have him well represented on my shelf, particularly if we toss in the Generations Geordi too. There are still a couple more versions of him floating around out there, but the biggest crime is that Playmates didn’t release a 4 ½” version of him as Dr. Watson. For that, you need to look to the larger scale. Considering all the Holodeck figures Playmates produced, it’s a shame that one didn’t make the cut.