This year Playmates Toys returned to the Star Trek franchise, bringing with it nostalgia for when the toy maker dominated the world of Star Trek merchandise in the 1990s. We have already reviewed the action figures from their first wave, and now we take a look at the two role-play toys from the first wave, the USS Enterprise and Phaser from Star Trek: The Original Series.
Star Trek: The Original Series Phaser Replica
Nothing can match a good phaser at your side, and this new release from Playmates is perfect for cosplay or, more importantly, imaginative roleplay. It’s a toy, not a high-end replica. This is the phaser you want when you’re ten years old and leading your own away mission. And for that standard, it’s perfect.
There are three settings: “full,” stun, and overload. In a nice upgrade from the ’90s version, there’s a light in the middle of the switch controlling the three settings, so you can always tell which mode you’re in. Blue mode is a “full” continuing blast, red is single-blast “stun” mode, and blinking red indicates the slowly rising squeal of overload.
The new phaser has a nice weight and feels good in your hand. As to the mold, it definitely differs (as does the color) from the ’90s original. This new one is slightly more aerodynamic, for lack of a better word–it’s softer, with more rounded edges than the crisp, sharp sides of the ’90s version.
Do these subtle differences make the new one more accurate than the original props? I don’t know. But the “phaser one” section is not removable and it is weirdly chunky, rounded, and snubbed. It’s the only detail that truly feels “off” from what I expect to see on a phaser.
But maybe all that is subjective. In the end, though, it doesn’t affect the inherent fun of grabbing your phaser and beaming down into danger. Here’s hoping Playmates eventually releases an updated version with a detachable phaser one.
This video shows off the sounds and gives a comparison to the 1990s version…
Star Trek: The Original Series NCC-1701 Enterprise Vehicle
For 2022, this is a totally new Enterprise, with more “realistic” colors and attachments than the ’90s version. And it comes with a fantastic, movable, clear plastic display stand. It’s easy to snap together and looks great on a table.
Again, this is more of a toy than a high-end replica. But for what it is, it feels accurate and, well, perfect to fly around your backyard. Or to display in your bedroom near your action figures and phaser.
I appreciate the small details, like the accurate feeling decals, and the fact that the shuttlebay doors look (and feel) like they could open rather than being an attached part of the mold.
The model is approx. 18” stem to stern, 7 ½” wide, and maybe 4 ½” tall. It features light-up nacelles, impulse power, and bridge/sensor domes. Buttons behind the bridge activate sound–phasers, photon torpedoes, “Captain command phrases” (“Arm photon torpedoes,” “Man battle stations,” etc.), and general ship sounds (red alert, klaxon, bridge background sounds, etc.).
Here is a closer look at the new Enterprise, including lights and sounds.
Playmates is back!
All in all, this first wave is a lovely first batch of products from Playmates Toys. For the price, these are perfect for gift-giving and imaginative play, whether your recipient is 5 or 50.
The USS Enterprise is priced at $50 and is currently discounted to $40 at Amazon. It is also in stock now at Entertainment Earth.
The TOS Phaser is priced at $30 and should be restocking soon at Entertainment Earth. Amazon is also out of stock but it is available via some Amazon resellers.
Both the Phaser and the Enterprise come in classic packaging that closely resembles the 1990s boxes.
Keep up with Star Trek merchandise news and reviews at TrekMovie.com.
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While I appreciate some of the revisions to this new Enterprise, the number of visible screw holes on the warp engines kind of ruins it for me. Also not a fan of the color of the dish which makes it look a bit too much like a toy (which, of course, it is).
You have to consider the price point. For me, at least, at this level, with this rarity in stores like Walmart (where I found mine), these are unfortunate, but grudgingly acceptable design choices. These are toys; ones I don’t have to handle with care like an Eaglemoss model. I can enjoy them and they feel solid. (The stand on the ship is completely awful, though. What the hell?)
However…! Now that I re-read that last bit with the prices, I’m fairly sure I didn’t pay $40 or $50 for the Enterprise; maybe I got lucky. Because beyond ~$50 or so would hit that magic price point where those holes would have kept me away.
Eeh. YYMV of course. Just happy to see them on shelves, I guess. :)
It was $39.99 at Wal-Mart
The phaser was cheaper at Walmart, too–somewhere around $25.
I think that applies to the original version too, wether she is almost snowy white, aged white, dirty white, cream, or steely grey, when it comes to the original aired version with the physical modern and the remastered CGI-version… ;-)
That’s the first thing I noticed. Those HUGE screw holes. I cannot see myself displaying something with that glaring a flaw.
The only thing that bums me out a little is, like with the later Art Asylum/DST ships, the sounds it makes are dialog clips. If I’m playing with a spaceship, I don’t wanna hear an actor talking; I wanna hear noises like photon torpedoes, phasers, and warp drive (like the earlier DST ships and even the 90s Playmates ones did!). :-)
Then, um, DON’T PRESS THE DIALOG BUTTON.
It has both though, so I don’t understand the criticism.
Young… as when the world was new?
Can the hand phaser be removed from the main phaser?
Neil mentions it in his review, the answer is No. Just like the original Playmates toy, it cannot be removed. That’s where they’ve put all the electronics, which is then wired to the AA batteries in the grip.
I want a Klingon ship!!
Must have that phaser.
I always wished someone would make a TNG type 1 Phaser laser pointer. I would buy one instantly for work!
When I was a kid I recall my cousin had an Enterprise – possibly “Dinky Toy” brand? – that fired discs out of the front of the saucer section, which you did by twisting a knob where the bridge is. It also had a shuttlecraft which clipped inside the bottom of the engineering hull, through space-shuttle-like clamshell doors (I had to argue hard with my cousin that those were not landing struts), which I knew was incorrect, and I remember thinking, even then, that the nacelles were way too small :-) Nevertheless I wished I had it, not to mention the Klingon D7 that I vaguely think was depicted on the box. Did anyone have either of these?
Still have them,lol.
Still have my Enterprise. I love it.
I never had one (too expensive for my parents’ budget) but I remember drooling over them, as well as the Corgi Batmobile, in the fancy glass display case at the department store.
I bought both of these — surprisingly decent quality for the price. More like this, please. :)
EDIT: That applies only to the toys themselves. The stand for the 1701 is absolute garbage (or I got a bum one). It’s flimsy as hell and far too easy to pose in a way that makes it top-heavy.
Did they base the Enterprise tooling on the (very old and inaccurate) AMT 1/650 kit? I ask because the B/C deck looks way too similar to the one on that kit; the 90s release more accurate in shape.
The Playmates ‘95 version was definitely based on the AMT kit with a few revisions to make it a bit more accurate… like the B-C decks, the detailing on the underside of the saucer and the three “boxes” behind the bussard collectors ( you can see an assembled AMT kit with some of the changes -presumably used as a prototype- on the back of the ‘95 box ).
The new toy is a completely new sculpt that does not appear to be based on the AMT kit at all. The proportions of all the component parts are shaped and sized completely differently. The saucer is way smaller, the engineering hull is elongated and the engines are much longer and thinner.
Aesthetically, I prefer the ‘95 release. Even with it’s flaws, it looks more like the original ship.
From the pictures it looks like you have to shift the location on the pennants on the secondary hull the make clearance for the battery door to open. That would make it big “No” for me. I do fondly remember my toy from the 90’s and I still have a 90’s communicator on my dresser. I’ll take my Art Asylum/Diamond Select Enterprise over this though.
Really a massive bummer that Diamond Select basically gave up on Star Trek before releasing the Enterprise C. Probably never going to get such detailed toys of the ships again now.
Also, very curious why they moved the trigger for the phaser to where they did.
i love these new versions, but they are defiinitely “toy” versions wheras the Diamond Select Toys versions leaned more towards affordable props…
the Enterprise in particular has the visible screw holes on the outside of the nacelles (rather than the inside where you’d think it would be more aesthetically pleasing) which is a baffling choice…
the phaser is a little clunkier than the DST but has some different light-up features…
both are very affordable though and look great overall
Shifting over to the Playmates revival of its action figures series, I’m hoping some of the very early figures in the upcoming waves will include the main characters that never got made in the 1990s: Ezri Dax (absolutely #1 on that list, and a must-have in whatever the initial group of DS9 figures are), a later seasons non-bun Captain Janeway, a striped shirt Wesley Crusher, and continuations of the “Wrath of Khan” red movie uniform versions of Dr. McCoy, Uhura, and Sulu. (Scotty and Chekov already had their turn in the “Generations” movie releases.)
I’m going to be curious to see what happens with the line. So far the only place I’ve found the non TWOK figures is Target, and my local Target’s manager told me they’re not planning to get any additional ones in due to low sales.