Sunday, January 25, 2009

Glimpses of the Near Future Part 4

I wasn't planning on doing another one of these but I couldn't ignore the influx of Sar Trek toy news that's come out in the last few days. The new Star Trek film will be the first time in a long while that the series will be marketed to kids. I don't know if kids will be drawn to the "Trek look" but I guess it's still more visually stimulating than say Indiana Jones. Playmates has the license to produce Trek toys and they're releasing the line in multiple scales, a common trend today that I'm not too keen on.

Presumably the highest profile Star Trek toys will be the six inch figures but man they look rough. The facial likeness are a little simplistic. The Captain Kirk figure doesn't much look like Chris Pine. The Scotty figure looks nothing like Simon Pegg. Everyone else is just okay. The uniforms for the new movie feature a distinct pattern that the sculptors tried to capture but they totally overdid it. The over-detailed shirts make the figures look like they're wearing sweaters that their grandmothers knitted them for Christmas.

Faring much better by comparison are the 3.75 inch figures. The limitations of the face sculpts are more forgivable at a smaller size, and they have much more realistic body proportions.

The other draw of the 3.75 inch figures is that they will be compatible with the playsets. At first I was really impressed with this bridge playset but when I took a closer look I realized Playmates cheaped out a bit. The playset is nothing more than a gaggle of accessories laid out on a flat playmat. At the very least let us hope the mat is made of plastic and not paper or cardboard.

There will also be a transporter playset that looks even cooler than he brige. It also features a playmat but as you can see its not nearly as obtrusive. Of course, there will be a gimmick to make your figures "transport".

On top is a picture of Mattel's Star Trek Barbie dolls. Below that is a picture of Playmates' Star Trek twelve inch action figures. I'm torn as to which I think are better. I think the Dr. McCoy and the villain figures are very nice. I don't see much Leonard Nimoy in the Old Spock sculpt though. The single best toy out of both groups is the Barbie Uhura, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the Barbie folks are talented at making female characters.

So it comes down to Kirk and Spock, the two characters made for both toylines. For Kirk I'm going to have to say I prefer the Mattel Barbie. The Playmates figure is too square-jawed and barrel-chested. A Ken doll is a much better fit for Chris Pine. Sadly I don't think either Spock is all that great, which is a shame because if there's one Star Trek toy I could be convinced to buy it would be a Spock doll.

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