Friday, September 18, 2009
"Star Trek: First Contact" Action Figures
Released in the fall of 1996 to coincide with the theatrical debut of Star Trek First Contact the Playmates action figure line ushered in a new era for the Trek toys of the decade. For the first time we got action figures slightly larger than the traditional 5 inch ones Playmates had been releasing since 1992. The likeness for each actor was also much improved in these figures.
The Picard head is probably the best looking likeness ever in a Playmates action figure.
The line consisted of 11 figures with tons of accessories. A mini poster of the Phoenix was included with each figure. The accessories were great. The Starfleet Phaser rifle from First Contact is my all time favorite Trek prop and these figures came with a pretty decent version of this fan favorite prop. The great thing about the rifle is that its actually painted in black and grey instead of the weird neon colors Playmates used for all their action figure accessories throughout the 90s'. The Riker figure even came with a "sims beacon" -- the wrist flashlight prop invented by prop master Alan Sims which was used in most of the Trek shows from the 90's.
For the first time ever in a Playmates Worf figure the Klingon sash was an accessory which could be removed instead of just painted on, making the figure even more detailed. The Picard in space suit figure is a particular favorite of mine due to the great likeness on the face and the fact that the helmet is removable which is something many fans thought wasn't possible based on the first images of the figures that were released back in the day and the way they were packaged with the helmet on. The space suit was one of my favorite Trek costumes ever until the Enterprise E.V.A. suits came along so this figure definitively makes my list of favorite trek action figures from Playmates.
My one disappointment with this line was the Borg figure.
Starfleet's greatest enemies got an amazing make over for the silver screen but the action figure released by Playmates in this line lacks a great deal of detail, plus the body and face are very thin and frail-looking -- nothing like the menacing Borg drones we see on screen throughout the film.
Playmates did not release a Borg Queen figure with this line but they eventually got around to doing that years later in multiple sizes as part of their regular Star Trek toy line and their Latinum edition high-end line of cold cast figures.
For Next Gen fans this line is a must. First Contact was the TNG crew's finest outing on the Silver Screen and the film was not only a hit with fans but also with general audiences. Something a Trek film hadn't managed to accomplish since Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home. These toys were everywhere during the 1996 holiday season. First Contact featured the last big promotional and merchandising push for a Trek movie until the recent JJ Abrams film. I have great memories of walking into stores that holiday season and being able to pick up these figures as well as a ton of other pieces of First Contact merchandise. It think that was the Golden age of Star Trek before the market got saturated and people stopped caring about Trek.
The figures are still available at conventions and on E-bay at some pretty decent prices. If you don't have these yet I highly recommend adding them to your collection.