Thursday, June 25, 2009

Playmates' 2009 Star Trek line review (Part 1)

I know it's been some time since the new Trek toys hit shelves but I have been swamped for the past two months and hadn't really had a chance to dig into these. This week I finally had a chance to start cracking all the toys open. I've been taking pictures of them and trying to figure out how the hell I'm going to display so many more aquisitions. On this first part of my review I will focus on the 3 3/4 inch line and the corresponding playsets.

I must admit that when I first saw the first images for these toys releassed by Playmates I wasn't really that excited about them. A lot of folks have also complained about multiple things online since the toys were first released. With so much negativity surrounding the line I was pleasantly surprised whrn I started opening these toys.

The pictures online haven't really done them any justice. The sculpts are pretty good looking even if the plastic is a bit flimsy. I would've preferred a harder material like the kind of plastic used for the G.I.JOE figures, but honestly that's a minor complaint. The toys look great and the paint job is awesome. These are a million times better than last summer's Indiana Jones line (which I'm also a big fan of, but suffered from shoddy paint jobs and terrible likenesses).

With the exception of Kirk all the figures capture the likeness of each respective actor.
The smaller size allows for more playability and the opportunity to produce more playsets.

The playsets themselves are awesome in my opinion. The boxes are kind of small , but when you put these toys together you end up with a lot of playability. The bridge looks huge once you roll out the mat and put all the bonus pieces together. Plus remember we are still missing about ten more pieces which will be included in wave 2.

The viewscreen on the bridge playset is much bigger than I imagined and the Narada image slides on so I''m hoping Playmates will release different images to slide onto the screen in the future, sort of like the Mego playset.

I'm a big fan of the old playmates TNG bridge playset. I always thought the beaming gag was one of the coolest action features ever. The new transporter has a very similar gag which makes the figure disappear. Plus you have the added feature of a removable chamber that you can place elsewhere to re-materialize your figure in a different environment.

The modular nature of the set is pretty cool too. You can add the 3 extra transporter pads in order to hold more figures, but by doing so the background must be removed and beaming functions can no longer be controlled from Scotty's station, which to me is the coolest feature. I really like these toys, they offer a lot of play value and are a ton of fun. The level of interactivity between the figures and the playsets is great, specially the ability to obtain more pieces to add to each playset by buying the figures. It's a great move from Playmates and I truly hope future releases continue this. I only wish the mats would've been made of a hard cardboard or plastic since the extra pieces and the figures tend to slide off the mat easily.
I'll be back next week with more of my thoughts on the rest of the new toy line including the 6 inch figures, 12 inch figures, and the role play toys.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Star Trek Toyfare Covers...

As a toy collector I have been reading Toyfare magazine since its debut in the mid 90's.
To me it has always been upsetting how little Star Trek coverage the magazine has given us over the years. The amount of Trek covers can be counted in one hand. It annoys me that the same magazine has about a million and one Star Wars or superhero covers. Unfortunately that's just how it goes in this twisted world we live in. Here's a look at my 3 favorite Star Trek covers as well as some info on what you can find inside these issues.

Issue 11: July 1998

The cover of this issue features the latinum edition Seven of Nine figure. Inside is a bonus foldout poster with the same image. We also get a pretty cool column written by Playmates Toys' Star Trek product manager Chris Overly. His column gives us a cool look at what it's like to work on the popular Trek toy line.

Issue 17: January 1999

I really love this cover as I was really surprised to find the ST: Insurrection 9 inch line featured on the magazine's cover since the 9 inch figures were never great in sales. The Insurrection line tanked at retail ringing in the end of Playmates 90's Star Trek run. Inside you will find no Star Trek coverage whatsoever other than a brief mention on the Insurrection line as part of the Toyfare Holiday shopping guide.

Issue 141: May 2009

A great cover featuring the amazing 12 inch Spock and Kirk figures from the 2009 movie line. Inside we get a two page spread on the rest of the new line with quotes from Playmates' Senior director of marketing Pat Linden.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Premiere Magazine opens up the Star Trek vaults...

Back in the fall of 1996 Premiere magazine celebrated the release of the 8th Star Trek feature film by running a two page article in their December issue highlighting a couple of the more famous props and costumes from the first 6 Trek films. Here's a look at the two page article featuring some iconic Trek pieces as Spock's Genesis torpedo and his ceremonial robe from Star Trek 3 and 4.

Keenser is coming!!!

The folks at Playmates have listened to our pleas and have just announced the release of a Keenser action figure as part of wave 2 of their Star Trek galaxy collection. Playmates also announced more figures for each of their current lines including Bones and Chekov in starfleet duty uniforms (both for the galaxy and warp collections), Kirk in space jump suit (both for galaxy and warp collection), Ayel (galaxy collection), Sarek, (galaxy collection), Sulu in space jump suit (galaxy collection), Kirk in off duty uniform (black outfit -- galaxy collection), Spock in academy instructor uniform (galaxy and warp collection), and the Pollarilla and the ice lobster monster (both galaxy collection).

The 12 inch line will also continue in July with the previously announced Nero figure and the Toys R Us exclusive Sulu and Pike figures. Scotty and Uhura will also join the 12 inch line up.

The only new accessory for this wave will be the previously announced Starfleet utility belt with interactive phaser and communicator. This is great news since Playmates support of the line means sales must be strong and the chances seem good for that previously rumored third wave for the spring of 2010.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Star Trek, Inc.

Back in December of 2002 during the week of Star Trek Nemesis' theatrical release Time magazine ran a two page article looking into the financial viability of the Star Trek franchise at that moment as well as looking back at all the profits it had generated for Paramount Pictures.
The article took a detailed look at the state of affairs within the Star Trek Universe at the moment and even went as far as saying that Nemesis featured one of the most riveting space battles ever -- which would surely bring out the trekkies in full force to theaters.

By now we all now they didn't get that one right, but what they did hit right on the nail is the viability and long life of the franchise which seven years after that article was printed we are fully witnessing with the release of the new Trek film, which so far has had a global box office take close to 330 million dollars in only one month of release.

Here's a scan of the complete article which also includes box office numbers for the first nine feature films adjusted for inflation by 2002 standards.

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