The Collective: Review of Retro Mego Mugatu and Uhura | TrekMovie.com
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The Collective: Review of Retro Mego Mugatu and Uhura November 24, 2008

by John Tenuto , Filed under: Review,TOS,Toys , trackback

For over a year now, Diamond Select Toys has been bringing back the 70s in the form of their retro-cloth figure recreations of the famous Star Trek MEGO toys. And this month brings us the most 70s-ish one of them all, a two pack with Foxy Uhura and her dancing pal, the Mugatu. TrekMovie has a full review and more news in the world of toys for this week. 

Me Got MEGO Mugatu Redos, and Uhura, too
In sociology, the word ‘icon’ refers to popular symbols of an era (as opposed to celebrities, which are popular people who symbolize an era). Icons of the 1970s include the Disco Ball and roller stakes. Celebrities include John Travolta and Cher. Once in a while, though, icon and celebrity combine. This is how I feel about the EMCE Toys retro Mugatu action figure. The action figure is part icon (the groovy 70s outfit is a refuge from an episode of Starsky and Hutch) and part celebrity (nothing says the 1960s and 70s more than Mugatu, whose pointy horn coolness and brute magnetism is why he is become the official mascot of Trekmovie.com).


Original Mego Mugatu

As with all the retro items from EMCE toys, the Mugatu is a near perfect reproduction of the original MEGO version (excepting some slight color alterations because of improvements in plastic manufacturing safety and the 2008 copyright). There are many theories as to why MEGO decided to clothe the Mugatu, the most plausible of which is either modesty concerns or a desire to appeal to Planet of the Apes fans. Either way, if the Mugatu had dressed like this in "A Private Little War" Kirk would have gone out to a Hill People bar looking for dates. The 2008 action figure captures all the fun of the original 1970s action figure, which is retro in more ways than one.


New Mego Mugatu (click to enlarge)

The Uhura action figure was a courageous choice for MEGO because Star Trek toys were primarily a boy’s toy in the 1970s. To release what is essentially a doll into a boy’s line was something really only done in the world of superhero toys back then (you had to have a Wonder Woman with your Superman). While the hair and the sculpt of the original 1970s action figure isn’t a very good likeliness of Nichelle Nichols, the costume is nicely representative of the television show and the figure is the only MEGO Star Trek item with "real" hair.


Original Mego Uhura

The 2008 retro version is virtually the same as the original. The detailing of the new version includes the gold sleeve band and the silver delta shield of the 1970s Uhura action figure.


New Mego Uhura (click to enlarge)

More MEGOs a GO-GO
Being released during the next few months are four more MEGO action figures. Available for preorder are Sulu and the redesigned Gorn, and Chekov and Cheron.

Recent and upcoming retro MEGO figures at Entertainment Earth 
Scotty + Keeper Uhura + Mugatu
$37.99
(shipping now)
$37.99
(shipping now)
Chekov + Cheron Sulu + Gorn
$37.99
(shipping December)
$37.99
(shipping February)

Hopefully, the EMCE Toys retro line will continue with more MEGO originals and original redos. There are two action figures from the 1970s, Talos and Neptuian, that need to be released. Perhaps, fans could also get originals such as Nurse Christine Chapel or Harry Mudd. Me got to go now and play with Mugatu.

Pilot Sulu Preview
The Art Asylum blog is teasing a new Pilot Sulu variant. According to the post:

…we’re working on a pilot Sulu for some thing or another (it’s sad when the variants run together). This isn’t the best pic in the world, but all of you Sulu fans should recognize the uniform color. Stay tuned for further news on when and where you can get this guy.


Sulu Blue

 

BONUS VIDEO: Mego Disco!
Our friend Spockboy has edited my video of the new Megos (with a music suggestion from Kelvington).

 

Comments

1. Joe - November 24, 2008

o my this is interesting…

2. Enterprise - November 24, 2008

Bad Hair Day Uhura.

3. Jovan - November 24, 2008

Hope they change the insignia on Sulu’s uniform… it was a silver colour instead of the gold used in the series. To be more nitpicky, his collar was more rolled-looking than that as well (probably because it was re-used from The Cage rather than the newly-made second pilot uniforms which had flat collars). I was kind of bugged by that on the Captain Pike figure as well — it seemed like they just reused the pilot Kirk torso. Hope they aren’t doing the same here with Sulu. That doesn’t look like Takei’s torso at all.

4. Caveman - November 24, 2008

Prefered the Planet Of The Apes Mego toys.

5. Nomad - November 24, 2008

Isn’t that Scary Balok with Scotty, rather than a keeper?

6. DJ Neelix - November 24, 2008

With absolutely no disrespect intended, I will probably never understand how an adult can have any interest in any of these dolls (sorry, “action figures”). I don’t see what kids would see in them either, since these characters doesn’t belong to their generation.

But then again, I’ve never been much for memorabilia at all, despite being an avid collector of both a-ha and Alphaville records as well as Star Trek VHS/DVDs.

In any case, it’s a free world (well, parts of it anyway) and whatever makes people happy…!

7. JL - November 24, 2008

I am a child of the Mego era – some of my best memories associated with being a kid involve the “World’s Greatest Superheroes”…

However, I do not understand – - if they were willing to re-sculpt the Gorn’s head and change its color to make it look more like the Gorn in Arena (originally he was a WGS Lizard figure painted brown and in a diff outfit), why would they not alter the Mugatu to appear more like the one in the show????

This strikes me as very bizarre.

8. JL - November 24, 2008

7

“I will probably never understand how an adult can have any interest in any of these dolls…”

DJ Neelix, it’s laregly for nostalgic reasons.

9. ChurchHatesTucker - November 24, 2008

I gotta get a bass guitar for the mugatu…

10. fred - November 24, 2008

Wow… that Uhura doll doesn’t even resemble a real African-American, much less Uhura.

11. CmdrR - November 24, 2008

MEGO Disco… oh, my epilepsy just kicked in.

Also… is it me, or does Mugatu look an awful lot like Ed Helms?

12. Rastaman - November 24, 2008

Haha … that Mugatu looks like something out of Planet of the Apes. Star Trek meets the Planet of the Apes, just think of the possibilities!

13. DaiMonRon - November 24, 2008

I just came across my mego collection the other day!! Too cool!!

14. Jason P Hunt - Kansas City Filmmaker - November 24, 2008

I still have the original Spock, although somehow his pants have disappeared…

I like how there’s been such an interest in all things Trek, especially the original Trek. So it strikes me as ironic that Abrams & Co would be changing everything at the same time…

15. Steve Short - November 24, 2008

#3 How about 3 two packs of Sulu blue & Scotty gold and Kirk gold & Spock gold and Pike gold & Spock blue shirts?

16. JL - November 24, 2008

15

“…it strikes me as ironic that Abrams & Co would be changing everything at the same time…”

Do you really think it makes any sense at all for a filmmaker to produce a Star Trek film for 2009 and make it look and behave like the one that aired 40 years ago? It would be a financial dud.

17. Steve Short - November 24, 2008

The next Retro Mego should be Chapel and Rand not Harry Mudd.

18. SpocksSpleen - November 24, 2008

these toys look horrible..seriously

19. Steve Short - November 24, 2008

#16 This Sulu figure is from Diamond Select . Playmates Toys are making the new Star Trek movie figures.
Diamond Select is making the old Star Trek into figures.

20. Weerd1 - November 24, 2008

Am I the only one who wants to see Mego classic versions of TNG, DS9, and ENT characters? Yeah, probably. I love the retro figures, always have, even when they weren’t retro but new…

I also want a Mego Romulan Commander from Enterprise Incident!

21. Izbot - November 24, 2008

6. DJ Neelix –
“With absolutely no disrespect intended, I will probably never understand how an adult can have any interest in any of these dolls (sorry, “action figures”). I don’t see what kids would see in them either, since these characters doesn’t belong to their generation. But then again, I’ve never been much for memorabilia at all, despite being an avid collector of both a-ha and Alphaville records as well as Star Trek VHS/DVDs.”

Lol! People in glass houses…

Another great video, Spockboy!

Yeah I still don’t understand why the Gorn figure got the full-on redo but none of the other alien oddballs got ‘fixed’.

22. Jason P Hunt - Kansas City Filmmaker - November 24, 2008

JL:

No, I don’t expect Abrams to maintain the 60s aesthetic exactly. What I find ironic is the big push on all things from the Original version just as the new version is coming out – with a new aesthetic, new actors, new sets, etc.

For those not familiar with TREK, it might be a bit of a counter-productive marketing move, maybe…

23. Spockalicious - November 24, 2008

…Mugato like white fringe…

24. JL - November 24, 2008

Off-topic, sorry, but

Why can’t we post URLs on here..? I keep trying to post a link to a funny Youtube vid and the post never works… is there a policy against or something?

25. bill hiro - November 24, 2008

I’m hoping for a Sarek and Amanda wave. Or at least a Sarek and Tellarite wave.
And a Nurse Chapel and Ruk wave.

26. Thelin - November 24, 2008

I am waiting for the “Neptunian”
Would be great if it was released with Nurse Chapel

Would also like Rand, Harry Mudd, and Cyrano Jones.

27. NoRez - November 24, 2008

I would like a Norman.

28. Gorn Captain - November 24, 2008

Sorely tempted to get these, as I foolishy sold off all my Trek Megos in the 90′s. I kind of miss them now!

Do these new figures do away with the dreaded internal rubber band holding everything together? ;)

I couldn’t stand the original Mego Gorn when I was a kid. (Even back then, I figured out they were recycling the Lizard head and Planet of the Apes outfit!) I pretended the Neptunian was the Gorn instead, since he was green at least!

I’d still like to know where the Neptunian came from. It never appeared onscreen anywhere, not even TAS.

29. Thomas Jensen - November 24, 2008

Didn’t want them then, don’t want them now.

30. Jorg Sacul - November 24, 2008

It’s an odd facet of collecting- yeah, we all know they really aren’t great, but if you’re of the age to remember these from childhood, they do have a certain draw. I only have an original Spock, but I appreciate the concept. You ought to check out http://www.megomuseum.com . There are some truly incredible custom jobs there. One in particular is the likeness of Ricardo Montalban as “Khan”.

31. Thelin - November 24, 2008

I think the Neptunian was loosely based on the Aquans in TAS. Mego was making the Trek figures during TAS.

So far I have bought all of the released items, and no they do not have anything holding them inside the bubble casing.

Mego Star Trek figures are definitely a retro ’70′s childhood thing. Those of us that were kids during TOS and TAS remember them fondly. Although there seems to be quite a few younger trekkies that like them, there are also those that cannot understand the “quirks” of the retro Megos, and therefore do not embrace them.

32. mars396 - November 25, 2008

Nomad “Isn’t that Scary Balok with Scotty, rather than a keeper?”

Negative – that is a near perfect replica of The Keeper action figure from Star Trek Aliens series 1

DJ Neelix “I will probably never understand how an adult can have any interest in any of these dolls “

as I will probably never understand why someone who is not interested in the topic would post in it

JL “ I do not understand – - if they were willing to re-sculpt the Gorn’s head and change its color to make it look more like the Gorn in Arena (originally he was a WGS Lizard figure painted brown and in a diff outfit), why would they not alter the Mugatu to appear more like the one in the show???? This strikes me as very bizarre.”

It has to do with scarcity: Original brown Gorns are plentiful, and even if you score a naked Gorn, Klingons are (possibly) the most plentiful of all the original Star Trek Megos. The Mugatu, on the other hand, is from the ultra hard-to-find second series of Star Trek Aliens.

Izbot “ I still don’t understand why the Gorn figure got the full-on redo but none of the other alien oddballs got ‘fixed’.”

DST/EMCE are testing the waters, if you will, seeing how an updated figure sells. If it does, I am sure we will get more. Also, the legendary James Brady Gorn headsculpt already existed.

.

Gorn Captain “Do these new figures do away with the dreaded internal rubber band holding everything together? ;)”
Same construction as original Megos, but with better materials

Gorn Captain “I couldn’t stand the original Mego Gorn when I was a kid.”

I never had an issue with the Gorn. I always considered it to be a version of the aliens from “Arena” that the Klingons pressed into service of their Navy. We humans have differences in skin color and facial structure across our planet, so too would the Gorn. And in the Animated episode “The Jihad”, there was a brown colored Gorn character, so in my mind,.Mego’s Gorn is canon My Gorn was always working alongside the Klingon as his second in command. I even armed both of them with little plastic sword-shaped toothpicks.

Gorn Captain “I’d still like to know where the Neptunian came from. It never appeared onscreen anywhere, not even TAS.”

The Legend is that Mego was preparing to release the Creature from the Black Lagoon as part of their Mad Monsters series, but couldn’t secure the license for that particular character. They thought to recoop some of the tooling cost by creating a new head and producing an interesting alien for the Star Trek crew to encounter.

33. Steve Short - December 3, 2008

I think I know were the pilot Sulu figure will show up. Diamond Select Toys website shows Toys R Us will be selling Diamond Select Star Trek figure and Toys R Us will have two exclusives figures (maybe it’s Sulu).

34. Mike Rogers - April 26, 2009

It may be because I grew up with them, but I prefer the look of these retro mego figures to most of the new stuff. I love the EMCE reissues, the only issue I have with them is the larger and clunkier looking insignia shape. One of the signature aspects of the original Mego Treks were the shape of the insignias for me.

I can see the shortcomings in the Uhura likeness today, but as a kid, she looked like Uhura.

I’m glad that they duplicated the funky Mugato.

I wonder how many know that the Mugato suit popped up in other TV shows of the time (without the top horn and the back spikes).

The Mugato was a “white Gorilla” in both Here’s Lucy and Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea. The Voyage episode just became available on DVD (season 4, volume 1, Fatal Cargo)

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