Playmates Week (Day 2): Review Of Star Trek Playsets

Today  we continue our weeklong look at the first wave of Playmates Star Trek movie toys (officially coming out April 19th) with a look at the two playsets, one for the bridge of the USS Enterprise, and one for the transporter room. Both playsets come with figures, and both can be expanded with bonus pieces from the Galaxy Collection of 3.75 figures. See a full review with pictures and video below.

 

The Return of Star Trek Playsets

Playsets are always a tricky product for toy companies to create. They have to balance the price and playability with concerns about the size and how much shelf space both stores and parents will devote to an item. For their two playsets based on the new Star Trek film, Playmates Toys have found the equilibrium needed to make cool items that are also portable and don’t take up too much space. TrekMovie presents this detailed review of the USS Enterprise Bridge and Transporter playsets in our continuing experience in the Great Material Continuum that are ST09 toys.

USS ENTERPRISE TRANSPORTER PLAYSET

Packaging (5 stars stars)
The packaging for the Transporter playset maintains the classy black look of the entire Playmates Toys line. For those who like to purchase and not open these items as collectibles, the playset packaging will look great next to the action figures because they have the same style. Also, the packaging features the ability to try the sound and lighting effects of the transporter unit and provides detailed descriptions of all the features. It also clearly shows that there are some bonus pieces available inside the 3.75" action figure packages to add to the playability.


Playmates Transporter Room Playset Packaging

Standard Playset (4 stars)
The standard playset includes half the transporter pad and ceiling, a console and chair, the vinyl floor mat, and most importantly the portable transporter unit. A bonus Scotty figure is included which has a different facial gesture than the individually sold 3.75" figure (see our previous article). This is a very fun playset once you get the feel for it. The portable transporter unit is a bit complicated and takes some practice which accounts for the 4 stars stars. However, once fans get the operation, the fun should be infectious. I certainly want to beam everything in my house and my six year old son loves the playset.


Playmates Transporter Room Playset

By purchasing the Uhura, Original Spock, and Nero 3.75" action figures, fans get bonus pieces of the transporter pad which allows for connection to the playset, forming a full circle. This looks great. However there is a trade-off. When you attach the bonus pieces to create a circular transporter pad, you have to remove the back wall, which can be placed behind the pad, but is not ‘attached’ anymore.


Playmates Star Trek Transporter Room Playset (w/ three bonus pieces)


Playmates Star Trek Transporter Room Playset
(showing bonus pieces unattached and back piece removed)

How it works:
There is a console that seats one action figure. This console has two buttons, one that engages the portable transporter’s light, the other than initiates the transporter sequence with lighting and sound effects. There is a small, specially designed stand included that you use to hold an action figure. You then place this stand on the transporter pad, clicking the figure into place. Then, by sliding the portable transporter chamber over the figure and clicking it into place, the figure is locked within. For fun lighting and sound effects, you could either press the button on the transporter chamber or use the buttons on the console. After the show, you remove the chamber and viola your action figure has transporter.


Transporter Playset console and figure stand

The portable transporter unit could then be positioned either back on the transporter pad or brought to the planet of your choice (your couch, the carpeting, outside, the dog house) and by pressing the delta insignia, the return beaming sound and lighting effects activate. By pressing two buttons on the side, the figure is "beamed" and released from the chamber. You could then pick the figure back up with the transporter chamber and continue the cycle.  Sound complicated? It is, although with practice my six year old son was able to figure out all the playability of the Transporter Room.  I never thought a toy company would surpass the coolness and fun of the 1970s MEGO Enterprise playset transporter. Playmates Toys certainly has. This is an ingenious playset.


Demo video of Transporter in action

 

USS ENTERPRISE BRIDGE PLAYSET

It has been almost 15 years since the last full Enterprise playset was made by Playmates Toys for the Next Generation. Many fans fondly remember this incredibly cool playset. However, in today’s market, that playset would be more than $100 to purchase. Playmates Toys has provided a rethinking of playsets with the Enterprise playset. By including bonus pieces to the bridge in the action figure and by making the floor out of vinyl, the playset gains a mobility and feasible price point so that parents and collectors alike could afford it. But is it fun?

The Packaging: (5 stars)
Much the same said about the Transporter packaging is true here. It is thematically designed with the entire Playmates Toys line and features good information for those thinking of purchasing it in stores. It is also reasonably sized for those wishing to display unopened.


Playmates Bridge Playset Packaging

The Playset (4.5 stars w/o bonus pieces – 4.75 stars w/ bonus pieceas)
The standard playset includes the viewscreen with a cool and removable image of the Narada, the Captain’s chair and helm console, two data screen, and the vinyl playmat. The playset includes a free Captain Kirk figure which is the same as the action figure from the regular 3.75" line. While it would have been good to have some kind of electronic effects (perhaps the viewscreen could have included a button pressed for lighting and sound effects), as a parent, I like that this toy allows my son to engage his imagination. Sometimes toys are too electronicized and play is a passive experience. With this set, things could be moved around and my son has to supply the sound effects and action. Also nice is that it is easy to store. You could display it, or easily pack the playset up for another time. While I love the new Millennium Falcon from Hasbro or the original TNG playset, those are so big that they become a problem.


Playmates Star Trek Bridge Playset (basic)

One of the cool features of the playset is that the chairs swivel like in the movie and original television show. This is a nice detail that shows the care that Playmates Toys is putting into this line and the figures look great if the main purpose is display. My son enjoys moving and matching the various pieces to the floormat or sometimes redesigning the bridge after a Narada attack.


Playmates Star Trek Bridge Playset (w/ bonus pieces)

Included with the 3.75" figures (other than Uhura, Original Spock, and Nero which include Transporter playset bonus pieces) are additional consoles and chairs to add playability to the Bridge. This makes a great deal of sense. For those who just want the basic playset, the price is very reasonable. As fans get more figures for the playset, they also get more consoles and chairs. The more figures you have, the more consoles and chairs you need. By including the bonus pieces in the figures, it helps not only add to the fun, but also is practical.

NOTE: There is going to be a second wave of 3.75" that will include the rest of the Bridge bonus pieces this summer.


Playmates Star Trek Bridge Playset (w/ bonus pieces and figures)

CONCLUSIONS
Both of these playsets are recommended. The Transporter playset has the cool transporter effect and the Bridge playset is a quality presentation that engages the imagination of those playing with it. Hopefully, Playmates Toys is planning future playsets from other environments (sickbay, for example, which has never been offered before or the USS Kelvin). The next article in our Playmates Toys ST09 extravaganza is a discussion of the 12" action figures from the Command Line.

 

AVAILABILITY & PRE-ORDER
Playmates Star Trek toys officially go 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 started to sell some Star Trek Playmates toys early and Entertainment Earth is just starting to ship the toys.

Next up: Role play toys
Tomorrow we will have an article (with video) on the new Star Trek tricorder, phaser and communicator.

 

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
DGill
April 14, 2009 4:31 pm

These look promising.

April 14, 2009 4:32 pm

yeah, and entertainmentearth.com already have toys released

George
April 14, 2009 4:33 pm

I may start collecting again

April 14, 2009 4:35 pm

Went to the Times Square Toys-R-Us on a lark today, and managed to score a Transporter Playset. The Simon Pegg likeness is eerie, and the transporter effect itself is fantastic. I’m not a huge fan of the vinyl floor, as I can’t exactly figure out what it does, but I love the electronic features.

tp3000
April 14, 2009 4:36 pm

These are great. Still debating what to get. Definitely Uhura and the Enterprise and Quinto Spock.

Thanks for the article.

DGill
April 14, 2009 4:36 pm

I’m very curious though. How the hell do the figures disappear and then reappear in the transporter module? Believe it or not, I’m completely fooled! :)

Ryan Sutton
April 14, 2009 4:37 pm

The Wal-Marts in my area have already released all of the figures and ship. No Bridge or Transporter set just yet. I also talked to my brother and he said he has seen them in the Wal-Mart in his area too. It seems that the small Galaxy Uhura and Warp Spock are the rare figures. Only one Uhura in about 50-75 and no Original Spock in the Wal-Mart box.

These figures are the best line I have seen in years. I love how Playmates just gets it right !

April 14, 2009 4:39 pm

I’m a huge collector of all things Star Trek and Superheroes. I missed out on most of the Playmates TNG line and won’t repeat that mistake.

garen
April 14, 2009 4:40 pm

repost of myself from yesterday’s review article:

went to TRU today in St Clairsville Oh. They had a bunch of 3 3/4″ figures. As well as 6″ and 12″ They also had the toy phaser, communicator and tricorder(which is rather small)

for the 3 3/4″ figs they had a transporter room playset and the bridge playset. They also had two Enterprise scale replicas.

Capt. of the USS Anduril
April 14, 2009 4:45 pm

Our Wal-Mart has 2 of the ships and about a bajillion figures. If I hadn’t already pre-ordered my Enterprise, I’d have picked one up. Of course, our Wal-Mart didn’t have the items grouped together. The Enterprises were stuck on the bottom shelf with the Star Wars crap and the figures were over on an endcap at the far end of the aisle. o.O

April 14, 2009 5:26 pm

#6 “I’m completely fooled!”

Indeed you should be! There is an interesting piece of metal I believe that is see through ONLY if light is being shined through it. So if you were to look at this piece of metal on it’s own, it’d look pretty solid. However, if you show light through it, it’s very transparent. So, when the light turns on inside the tube, it’s allowing light to go through the metal piece thus showing the contents on the inside.

Anyone care to elaborate if I’ve made any errors?

ReyD
April 14, 2009 5:28 pm

I have to honestly say they totally look like crap, really, not worth my buying anything.

Valar1
April 14, 2009 5:32 pm

last night my wife had bought the entire first wave of galaxy figures at Wal-Mart today we went together to see if there was anything else- she was surprised that the aisle where the toys were kept were half empty, the displays ransacked, and assorted Wolverine toys being put in to take up the empty shelf. I don’t know if that’s an indication of the movie being big, or if it’s an indication that a lot of fans are buying these up.

johnny
April 14, 2009 5:32 pm

11 you have only one error it is a mirror

Dr. Image
April 14, 2009 5:35 pm

AA-DST, if only… sigh.

Valar1
April 14, 2009 5:36 pm

Forgot to add, I live in central california, and the Uhuras and Neros were all gone, as well as the ship toy.

martin
April 14, 2009 5:50 pm

Could you perhaps take some very close up images of the console displays for the toys?

Also is there any word on Kelvin Toys and Playsets?

Devon
April 14, 2009 6:37 pm

“15. Dr. Image – April 14, 2009

AA-DST, if only… sigh.”

Yeah, if only.. then the prices would be higher and we would be lucky to find the thing on time without their inevitable production delays or in great quantities. Yeah, if only. *sigh*

Sci-Fi Bri
April 14, 2009 6:38 pm

Poll on biggest blockbuster flop this summer. GUESS whats #1

http://io9.com/5212126/which-summer-movie-will-be-the-biggest-surprise-flop

Devon
April 14, 2009 7:01 pm

#19 – GI Joe!

April 14, 2009 7:27 pm

Wonderful toys… I’m pre-ordering the whole thing just now…

Someone
April 14, 2009 7:40 pm

TrekMovie, you disappoint me here. These ratings are far too high. Do you really feel like you get your money’s worth with these sets, particularly the bridge? It is very bare bones and you have to buy 18 more figures to complete it! What’s more, that whole thing with having to detach the back wall of the transporter if you want to complete the set is just a terrible design. That should knock it down below 4 all by itself.

DGill
April 14, 2009 7:42 pm

#13

You are a lucky man. I’ve seldom heard of a guy whose wife was as interested in “Trek” as him, or anything else for that matter! Good for you two.

April 14, 2009 7:53 pm

Got the bridge playset today at TRU on the way home (Spent most of the day focused on Star Trek toys; luckily I finished my deadlines last week and yesterday). My oldest son LOVES it – wants ALL the figures so he can have a complete bridge, and he’s not that much of a Trek fan. I think the sales of the Trek toys will be better than we anticipate. He also wants the Transporter playset – I’ll be picking that up on the way home tomorrow… :-)

DJT
April 14, 2009 7:54 pm

That transporter set looks like a futuristic ‘porta-potty’. At best a sonic shower.

And that pepto colored bridge carpeting looks like.. well…something you’d find in a porta potty.

Richard Martin
April 14, 2009 8:26 pm

Please scan in the viewscreen picture of the Narada. PLEASE!

Dr. Image
April 14, 2009 8:27 pm

#18- Funny I never had any problems finding AA items.
And none of them ever looked as lame as this crap.
So enjoy. Better your money than mine.

Tony Whitehead
April 14, 2009 8:43 pm

I kinda figure this isn’t the page to ask about this, but I seem to remember that there were going to be actual plastic models for this film as well. Ya know, the kind with glue and decals and nacelles that go all wonky on you when they’re hangin’ from the ceiling vent.

Any word on these yet? or ever?

BonesCLCW
April 14, 2009 8:53 pm

Just bought the Enterprise. Pretty cool, but smaller than I thought it would be. Lights are nice though.

Peacekeeper
April 14, 2009 9:00 pm

# 9

The phaser and stuff is ok. The phaser is the right size. It is actually as big as the Original Series phaser from Art Asylum. I had posted a video of the equipment but my posts keep getting deleted. I think they want to be the first…even though I have had my stuff for a week. If you want look on youtube for it. I give this post 4 minutes before another delete….

spockatatic
April 14, 2009 9:07 pm

Sweet! My cousins and younger siblings are going to love this! But, man, the fights are going to get intense. Oh, the joys of living in the same house as two seven-year-olds, one nine-year-old and a three-year-old…

JonWes
April 14, 2009 9:09 pm

Thanks for the great overview! The only place stocked in my town is Wal-Mart and they don’t seem to be carrying the play sets yet. Just as a note to everyone, I’ve heard that future releases of the Bridge and Transporter are supposed to come with different Kirk and Scotty figures in other outfits so you don’t have to buy the same figure twice to complete the sets.

April 14, 2009 9:32 pm

Great review, thanks. One question though, just so I don’t upset anyone here. If I get the bridge set and catch my kids putting figures on it that I’ve had for 14 years from the other various series, how severe should the punishment be for them having broken canon? God, if I even see a Yoda figure on the bridge, someone’s going to the hospital…

Someone
April 14, 2009 9:37 pm

@33:
No laughing matter, child abuse is.

DGill
April 14, 2009 9:40 pm

I just saw several images from the “Terminator Salvation” toyline, and they are hands down, much cooler than the “Star Trek” toys.

Devon
April 14, 2009 10:07 pm

“#18- Funny I never had any problems finding AA items.”

Well if you know how to drive to the one place in a 25 mile radius that carries AA/DST, then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

“And none of them ever looked as lame as this crap.”

These look fine. AA/DST is collectors stuff. These are TOYS. Calm down.

DukeofEarl
April 14, 2009 10:34 pm

#22

Finally, the voice of reason.

These figures and sets look like they could have been made 15 years ago by Playmates.

And the Playmates TNG transporter is WAY better than this one.

Roy
April 14, 2009 11:01 pm

If Playmates really wants to get in the good graces of Star Trek fans; they would make a bridge set and a transporter set for The Original Series that would go with their original Star Trek Action Figure Line.

Also, I don’t like the bait & switch. If you want a complete new Star Trek Movie bridge set; you have to buy other actions figures to complete it.
When Playmates issued the Next Generation Bridge Playset you didn’t have to buy other Next Generation Action Figures to complete it. Everything needed to make a complete Next Generation Bridge Playset came within ONE BOX. How much money will someone have to spend just to have a complete Star Trek Movie Bridge Playset???

I known some of you fans will disagree with me; but this new stuff is VERY LAME compared to what Playmates issued over 10 years ago. I will take the Next Generation Transporter & Bridge Playset to what is being offered today.

I would like to see TrekMoive do an in depth article comparing these new movie figures to the original TOS action figures. Along with pictures side by side of the 2 Kirks, Spocks, McCoys, etc… Then let’s see which line the fans like better. I think it would be a great article. Let’s see if Playmates has made any changes since they last produced Star Trek Figures.

Valar1
April 14, 2009 11:24 pm

I’ve got a Kirk of both the 7 inch size and the 3 .5 inch size. They both seem to have the same levels of articulation and poseability. The 7 inch one has a bit more detail, but I’m surprised by how sturdy the 3.5 inch ones are. Be warned though, the paint jobs on the small ones are really shoddy- examine those suckers before you buy them. Also, both of these have very limited movement in the hips- they really look lame when sitting in those chairs that are provided. The only poses that look good are standing or a slight jog type stance- a skipping stance? lol.

I realize these may not be the best toys, may not hold up to previous standards, etc. I’m just excited to see some Trek stuff in the store, and I got most of it for my eventual progeny. Let him complain, lol. It’s just so cool to be able to walk in and see a Trek aisle in the store- just blows my mind.

OneBuckFilms
April 14, 2009 11:27 pm

I’m more interested in the role play items personally.

Accessorys for the uniform on pre-order for Cons etc.

Bella Donna
April 14, 2009 11:28 pm
The transporter? Pretty cool, I’d say. I don’t care much if it’s complete. Having the back wall there is nice, and I didn’t complain in the old TNG line that the transporter set was a big barrel that only really worked to move one character at a time. At least three can stand on this new one, and it feels like a playset. But the bridge… hoo boy… Now, I can’t debate whether or not a bridge as good as the TNG one would cost $100 in today’s market. So let’s compare it to a recent one that was decent enough and scaled for the same size figures. The Indiana Jones Lost Temple of Akator playset. The thing was made of solid plastic, and that’s better than a vinyl sheet any day. It’s solidly built and interactive. It’s got a breakaway door, a rolling boulder (an Indy classic), a tree to whip-swing from, and folds open to play inside with. Granted, it’s kinda barren inside. But it also comes with Indy and an Ugha warrior. Retail? Roughly $45. But here we have the center seat, the helm/nav, the viewscreen, Kirk, and a picture of a floor for $25. Okay. Shave off half a playset’s price and you get this. But if you want a full set, you get to spend around $8 per figure. And with 18 figures needed to complete it, you get to spend an additional $144 or so finishing a bridge. A bridge that doesn’t have walls… Read more »
The Jimmy James
April 14, 2009 11:33 pm

And don’t forget to give us a light and sound Kelvin while making a shuttle for her.

L&S Kelvin for the win.

Valar1
April 14, 2009 11:42 pm

I’m not down with the belt all of these figures come with to hold the phaser and communictor. Hell the 3.5 inch ones don’t even have a communicator- it’s just a mock up on the belt- my wife nearly broke her nail trying to dig it out before I took out my magnifying lens and told her it was just a part of the belt that was painted to look like a communicator.

I thought the belt was just a contrivance by the toy company, then I saw the Spock picture that came out yesterday- kneeling on the transporter pad, well, he’s got a big ol Santa Claus belt on, with his communicator tucked away in there. I guess it’s details like that which are supposed to make this movie more realistic, lol.

darrksan
April 15, 2009 12:13 am

19. Sci-Fi Bri – April 14, 2009

Poll on biggest blockbuster flop this summer. GUESS whats #1

http://io9.com/5212126/which-summer-movie-will-be-the-biggest-surprise-flop
——————-
well last year, speed racer and x-files was biggest blockbuster flop.
now, which Movie this year has feel or looks like speed racer or x-files?
1. Flashing version of an old 60’s show like speed racer.
2. Fan-base not open to the new film like both speed racer or x-files.
HMMM….

Binker
April 15, 2009 12:56 am

I’m just waiting for the review on the Enterprise.

Battle-Scarred Sciatica
April 15, 2009 12:56 am

hey, theres another medeiros out there…. i truly am not alone……

ST Junkie
April 15, 2009 3:49 am

I just saw the 3.75 & 8 inch figures at the local Wal-Mart……I thought the 3.75″ figures looked rather cheap….Compared to Hasbro’s SW line, I thought Playmates could have done better with likenesses and detail…….The 8″ line though is FANTASTIC…….The detail is incredible and unfortunately I just spent my weekend fun money……

Jay
April 15, 2009 5:19 am

What the heck is this!!?
.
.
.
.
.
.
These toys aren’t CANON!!!

wpDiscuz