This Sunday (April 19th) Playmates Toys will unleash their first wave of Star Trek movie related toys and figures. Each day this week TrekMovie will feature detailed overview and review of a different component of the Playmates line. Today we take a close look at the Galaxy Series of of 3.75" action figures.
The Galaxy Collection
It has been a decade since Star Trek action figures were rendered in the traditional "play friendly" size. Now, with the new feature film, Playmates Toys returns to world of Star Trek toys in a big way with 10 3.75" action figures
The Galaxy Collection consists of 10 action figures, each sold individually for around $7. These figures are scaled in the 3.75" line, similar to Star Wars line and a bit shorter than the previous and well-remembered Playmates Toys Star Trek figures of the 1990s. The size is scaled to playsets and the price point means this figures are intended for play, although many fans collect them for display also. Each figure includes various accessories and a piece of either the Bridge or Transporter playsets if fans wish to build those environments for more playability. The playsets themselves (which will be featured in an upcoming article) each include an action figure. The Bridge includes Kirk (which is the same as the individually available figure) and the Transporter includes Scotty (there is a significant difference in facial gestures between the playset Scotty and the individually available version which we will discuss).
Now to grading each element of the new figures (one a scale of 1-5 stars)
The Packaging (4.5 out of 5 stars)
The packaging is nicely rendered and compliments in color and style the promotion of the film itself providing a unified look. The promotional posters, theater displays, official website, and the Playmates Toys all appear to be from the same "universe" which is a smart idea for marketing. It will very difficult to mistake a Star Trek product at Toys R Us or other retailers. Also nice is that the packaging provides useful information, especially which pieces of the playset are included. As a father and fan, and considering the economy, I appreciate that Playmates Toys didn’t randomize these playset pieces for those who wish to build the entire Bridge or Transporter. Kirk always includes the B9 piece of the Bridge. Spock always includes the B1 console. A bit more text about the characters would have been nice on the back, yet this is certainly cool Star Trek action figure packaging. What "non-opening" fans who like to keep their toys in their original packaging will enjoy is that the packaging stands nicely on a shelf and allows for visibility of the accessories and figures. In fact, the figures are posed nicely in the packaging (Original Spock with his hand in the Vulcan salute, for example, or Pike posed as if starting to run) which is also nice for those who don’t open their figures. I recommend opening and playing with these as that is what they are meant for and the memories of playing with friends or your own children are worth more than anything.
Playmates Galaxy Series Packaging (front and back)
Kirk in Enterprise Outfit (3.5 stars)
Includes: Phaser, Utility Belt, Delta Insignia, and B9 Bridge chair and console
The Shatner curse continues. Regular readers of the Collective column know that many toy companies lament how difficult it is to render a good likeness of Shatner in toy form. There is something about his face. That appears to be true with Chris Pine, also. The Captain Kirk action figure is recognizably Kirk, yet not recognizably Pine. The chest is also a bit out of proportion. However, it should be remembered that the smaller the figure, the more difficult the likeness. Hasbro has problems with this despite having the Star Wars line for decades. Our six year old son recognized the figure instantly as Kirk, so it isn’t a serious problem, however of all the figures, this is the likeness that needs the most resculpting and repainting and by wave 2 of figures, the problem should have abated.
This Kirk is also available with the bridge playset, although that doesn’t include all the accessories.
Spock in Enterprise Outfit (5 stars)
Includes: Phaser, Utility Belt, Delta Insiginia, Vulcan greeting hand, and B1 Bridge chair and console
One of the great things about the Playmates Toy line is that it has themes. For example, the 3.75", 6" and 12" "Quinto" and "Nimoy" Spocks both include the Vulcan greeting hand that replaces the regular hand. This is a minor detail, but it shows the care among all the various lines and the unified theme of the toys.
The Spock action figure features a good likeness of Zachary Quinto and it is fun that it includes the Vulcan hand which could be swapped with the regular appendage.
McCoy in Cadet Outfit (5 stars)
Includes: Phaser, Utility Belt, Data Tablet, Hypospray, Gold Delta Insiginia, and B10 Bridge chair and console
There is a similarity between the movie McCoy and the action figure McCoy. The enthusiastic fan reaction to what looks to be an incredible performance by Karl Urban as McCoy is likely to be the reaction for fans of the 3.75" line. The McCoy figures (in all the various sizes) are among the very best in both likeness, but also in including a fun array of accessories. The Cadet McCoy figure also gives us a nice look at these uniforms.
Uhura in Enterprise Outfit (5 stars)
Includes: Phaser, Utility Belt, Delta Insiginia, and T2 Transporter playset piece
If any figure deserves a 6 stars), it is Uhura. The likeness is incredible and almost photorealistic. This action figure provides a detailed version of Zoe Saldana’s character, including eyeliner, and is the best figure in the line. That is nice considering that in previous Star Trek lines, the Uhura character is often ignored or the likenesses are not very good. Here, Uhura gets the respect she should.
The Transporter T2 accessory links with those from Nero and Original Spock and then attaches to the playset.
Scotty in Enterprise Outfit (4.75 stars)
Includes Phaser, Utility Belt, Delta Insignia, and B11 Bridge chair and console
There are two different facial gesture sculpts and paintings available for the Scotty figure depending on whether you get the figure on its own, or if it is the toy included with the Transporter playset. One has a grin and the other is a more neutral face. The likeness of Simon Pegg is good although the wildly varying colorizations between the two versions of the figure are disconcerting. It would also have been nice if Scotty included some of his tools or technology. However, this is a very fun figure for what looks like a very fun character. We hope that Playmates Toys is considering a version of Scotty in his Delta Vega clothes because that we would like that. "It’s exciting!"
Chekov in Cadet Outfit (5 stars)
Includes: Phaser, Utility Belt, Gold Delta Insignia, Data Tablet, and B13 Bridge chair and console
A wery vell done figure, Cadet Chekov features an excellent likeness of Anton Yelchin’s character. The hair is especially nicely rendered as are the facial features. Like McCoy, the action figure includes an extra item, the Data Tablet.
Sulu in Enterprise Outfit (5 stars)
Includes: Phaser, Utility Belt, Delta Insignia, B4 (not that B4!) Bridge chair and console
Sulu, like Uhura, is given the royal treatment with an excellent likeness of John Cho. The figure includes a good sculpt and facial features. The Playmates Toys line should be noted for the painting of the action figures’ eyes, too. They are incredibly detailed, as is noticeable with Sulu. We hope to see a Sulu in his mining rig battle outfit in a future wave which would be the coolest Sulu figure ever.
Pike in Enterprise Outfit (4.25 stars)
Includes: Phaser, Utility Belt, Delta Insignia, and B2 Bridge chair and console
This figure dares you to do better! There is a portion problem with this figure similar to Kirk in that the chest is tad big, but the likeness of Bruce Greenwood is perfect. It is fun to have an action figure of Pike in the yellow shirt and it is nice to see his character included in the first wave because of his importance in the film.
Original Spock (4.5 stars)
Includes: regular Vulcan hand, Starfleet emblem display stand, and T4 Transporter playset piece
It is wonderful to have a new version of Leonard Nimoy and this figure has a very good likeness of his character as he appears in ST09. The only disappointment is that the figure doesn’t include more accessories (unless Spock never uses any items in the film?). However, the stand that is included is perfect and it would have been nice if all the delta insignia stands would be replaced with this style.
Nero (4.9 stars)
Includes: Romulan Disruptor, Teral’n staff, Starfleet emblem display stand, and T3 Transporter playset piece
This is an excellent figure with nice tattoo detailing and a good likeness. It also provides one of the first looks at the back of Nero, including his head tattoos and outfit. His scepter which has been an icon since the trailer is named here the Teral’n. The texture of the action figure’s outfit is also nicely presented and bends, allowing the action figure to be used for what it was designed for: play. The only improvement would have been to Nero-fy the display stand. Otherwise, and excellent figure to help challenge our heroes.
The Accessories (4.5 stars)
Each figure includes accessories, and instead of giving everyone the same items, the Galaxy line customizes when necessary. The character with the most (and perhaps coolest) accessories is McCoy. What is nice is that the Bridge or Transporter playset pieces included work well on their own as accessories even if a fan isn’t thinking of buying the playsets. You could sit Kirk at the chair and console included with his figure as its own toy.
The phasers and utility belts that some figures include are especially nice in detail. Unlike some toy lines, the Playmates Toys action figures are appropriately designed so that items stay in character’s hands. Also, for those who enjoy "toy spoilers" we get a good look at Nero’s items that he uses in the film with this line. Each figure also comes with a Delta shield insignia which can be used as a stand or worn for role playing fun. What is nice about them is that the "Cadet outfit" figures have a gold insignia based on those worn on the collar and the "Enterprise outfit" figures have a gray insignia and the contrast does look nice on the shelf.
The 3.75 line from Playmates Toys is in the same league of quality as Hasbro’s Star Wars line, and it didn’t take Playmates Toys a decade to get there. While the Kirk likeness needs some work, it is amazing the amount of detail that is included in these figures. A test of the quality of the line is how long it has interest for play. The variety of figures and the accessories included were enjoyed by our son. That could be an indication that this is a line to enjoy. Playmates Toys promises another wave of 3.75" action figures soon this summer and autumn and they are welcomed.
AVAILABILITY & PRE-ORDER
Playmates Galaxy Series goes on sale this Sunday. They will be available at Toys R Us, Wal-mart and Target as well as other retailer. If you want to save a trip to the store, or guarantee you can get all of them, you can pre-order:
NOTE: Some Toys R Us stores have broken the embargo release and started to sell some Star Trek Playmates toys early.
Next up: Playsets
Tomorrow we will have an article (with video) on the new Star Trek bridge and transporter playsets, sized for the 3.75" figures