There is something about the 60s TV show utility belts. Batman and Robin had their versions, just as Kirk and Spock had theirs. As everything old is new again, Playmates Toys introduces the "Star Trek Movie Mission Utility Belt" based on the 2009 feature film, and it is the most interactive and fun version ever available. See our review below, plus an update on some newly announced Star Trek toys.
REVIEW: Star Trek: The Utility Belt – great way for kids to play Trek
Playmates Toys – Star Trek Utility Belt
$26.99 – Toys R Us & other retailers
Utility belts represent one of the earlier types of Star Trek toys, such as the 1975 Remco utility belt which included a "working" Phaser (with laser discs), tricorder, and communicator. And many action figures from the previous 43 years also included utility belts as an accessory, from the 1970s MEGO toys to the 2009 Playmates Toys movie action figures. While utility belts dissipated somewhat with the sequel shows, it has an honored place in the original version of Star Trek. It is appropriate then that it makes a return in the 2009 feature film and in toy stores this year, including all the bells and whistles of modern day toy technology.
The Playmates Toys Movie Mission Utility Belt features 8 interactive missions for junior Star Trek fans to engage. The belt itself is constructed of durable heavy plastic and will survive tough play adventures. It has nice detailing including rivits. A caveat for older fans though, the belt is meant for kids. It will not fit an adult unless they do some major customizing. The belt clips easily in back, with many adjustable settings.
In the front of the belt is a Starfleet logo that lights up, varying from Kirk yellow to Spock blue. The two buttons allows junior fans to get missions from Starfleet meant either for Kirk or Spock. Missions include rescuing crew to defeating the Romulans.
After selecting whether to be Kirk or Spock, the communicator chime is heard and it needs to be waved in front of the belt to activate the message from Starfleet. Continued waving will provide more information and sound effects as the adventure begins. If there is danger, the phaser powers by also waving in front of the belt. The phaser and communicator are meant to interact with the belt, and as such they do not have independent sounds or effects. The phaser does change manually from stun to vaporize, and the communicator certainly opens. [see video below to see toy demonstration]
As parents, my wife and I are generally opposed to electronic toys that do all the work for our son. These kinds of toys deny the imagination. However, the Star Trek Movie Mission Utility belt doesn’t have that problem. Although Starfleet sends players on the mission, the player gets to use their imagination as they invent the scenarios and obstacles. They could run around, having adventures with friends that are facilitated, yet not controlled, by the belt. It is, to borrow a phrase, the best of both worlds because the belt has the cool electronic features that kids like yet doesn’t deter them from engaging their creativity and sense of adventure. The missions are also variable, changing the ending or sequence of events to add to the fun. And for those parents opposed to violent or offensive weapon toys, the nice thing is that the phaser and phaser holder easily detaches from the belt. The junior Trekkies could play instead with just the belt and the communicator as they are
really the essential items for play.
The belt also makes for a perfect costume outfit for those junior fans going as Kirk, Spock, Uhura, or Scotty for Halloween.
Playmates Toys Movie Mission Utility Belt has all the right ingredients for fun, from sound effects and cool missions, to allowing players to run and have fun with their own imaginations. The only problem for me is to figure out how I could extend that belt and wear it for myself!
Here is video, showing how the belt works.
The Star Trek Utility Belt is available at toy retailers now, and can be ordered online from Toys R Us for $26.99.
|Star Trek Utility Belt
Toys R Us: $26.99
MORE TREK TOY NEWS
There are two more role play toys that have just been made available for pre-order, both from Diamond Select. Plus some of the 2nd wave of Playmates Star Trek movie figures are starting to show up at TRU.
Firstly, Entertainment Earth has an exclusive on a Star Trek The Motion Picture Phaser. The toy appears very similar to their Star Trek II phaser, but has different details and sounds. It includes a removable type-1 phaser. The TMP Phaser will be out in November and retails for $29.99, and can be pre-ordered at Entertainment Earth.
|Diamond Select Star Trek TMP Phaser
Entertainment Earth: $26.99
After being rumored for over a year, DST announced and showed off their third TOS Tricorder at the Toy Fair in New York in February (see image below), and is now available for pre-order. The Geological tricorder will feature the voice of Majel Barrett-Roddenberry, and will have lights and sounds and a removable scanner. The new tricorder comes out February 2010 and retails exclusively at Entertainment Earth for $44.99. You can pre-order it from Entertainment Earth.
|Diamond Select Star Trek TOS Geological Tricorder
(note: not final product image)
Entertainment Earth: $26.99
Playmates 12" Sulu & Pike TRU Exclusives available
The first Star Trek movie figures from Playmates 2nd wave are starting to show up at Toys R Us. The 12" Command Series Sulu and Pike figures are TRU Exclusives and cost $29.99 each.
DST Romulan Revealed
One final bit of figure news, the TRU Exclusive Romulan figure from Diamond Select has been revealed. The figure will be available in January and can be pre-ordered. Click image below for more details and larger view.
Toys R Us for $13.99