When the new Star Trek reboot rolled into theaters I was overjoyed. I loved the film and was hoping for some nice things to go along with it. Unfortunately, though Bankee (our local Playmates distributor) brought in all 3 lines of action figures, they were dissappointing. The 12" Galaxy figures were probably the best bet for collectors, but I found the poor tailoring on their cloth uniforms a turn off. Both the 6" Warp and 4" Galaxy series suffered from pathetic articulation, particularly in the legs. What's worse, the 4 inchers, who were supposed to include parts that you could use to complete two playsets that were sold seperately, where suspiciously light. If you look on any of these packages in the toystore, you'll see a huge empty space on the bottom of the bubble where various chairs, consoles and other things were supposed to go. Apparently, the Galaxy figures distributed to Asia are missing these goodies. What a gyp I tell you.
Luckily, you can still buy one half of the Bridge and Transporter playsets in Toy Kingdom and Toys R' Us here. Even better, Bankee, realizing what a crap line they had on their hands decided to include the entire line in the recent 50% off sales. At p200, I still wouldn't buy the figures due to their overall poor quality, but the playsets are another matter. I got the Transporter set for p1,250.00 and the Bridge for p700.00. Score!
Both the sets come with 1 figure and a "playmat". The playmat is a roll of plastic that has a pattern printed on it. The included consoles and machinery are placed on the mat (the placement is made obvious by the pieces shape). The drawback to this of course is that you don't have all the pieces to complete the diorama, and you even if you did, you need a buttload of space to display the whole thing. I've basically just thrown both into my box of freebie posters.
The figures are about what I expected. Kirk comes with the Bridge, Good old Scotty with the Transporter. "Beam me up...", Nevermind. They both come with a belt that constantly falls off and a phaser pistol that fits into the holster. There's a tricorder on the belt as well, but it's not removable. They have precious little articulation: a swivel neck, ball/peg shoulders, ball/peg elbows, swivel wrists, swivel hips, swivel knees, and swivel ankles. The whole system is useless, and they can't do anything but stand really. And sit. whoo. hoo.
The real fun of these sets though is the pieces themselves. I'll start with the bridge. You get the main command island with the captain's chair, weps and helm control, two data screens, and a viewscreen. They're all separate pieces so you can arrage them any way you want. The chairs on the main island swivel so that you can put 4" figures in easily. I'm a little dissappointed that the details on the consoles aren't sculpted. Most are just decals that don't even fit their little wells perfectly.
The consoles look pretty good as the generic flight controls for any kind of ship. If I had a Marvel Universe Nick Fury and some SHIELD agents, this is where I'd display him. The data screens are nice, and they're generic enough that you can use them in anything. Iron Man's armory. Teletran 1. Avengers Mansion, Forge's Lab. Whatever.
But the saving grace is that big ass view screen. This thing is just amazing for something so simple. It's really just a curved frame with a printed piece of transluscent plastic on the back, but it works so well that I can't stop playing with it. If you place it in front of a light, the image lights up as if it was backlit. Perfect. I only wish they had included a few more scenes from the movie so it didn't always show the spiny Romulan ship on it.
The Transporter is a little different. It's not as versatile as the Bridge set as it's quite obviously something from Trek. It's half of the transporter pad with a detachable transporter "pod" and a console with the chair. And of course, Scotty. Trusty Scotty. I think the Transporter set suffers more than the Bridge with the lack of the other pieces because it's not modular. The Bridge is made up of many little consoles and stations that can stand alone. The Transporter looks more cramped without the missing pieces.
Again, the console that Scotty sits in just has decals to give it some detail. The console is more complex than the Bridge seats. It houses some electronics that connect to the Transporter itself and has two buttons that activate the features. The reason this set costs more is because it has lights and sounds that imitate the transport effect. The two bottons on the panel activate the whooshing.
If you press the first button, the "pod" lights up. The second button, the sound effects kick in and the lights slowly go up inside the pod, revealing the figure. Press button 1 again and they fade out, simulating the beam out. It's really quite fun and less annoying than most sound gimmicks. I tend to press it when I'm bored at work. The whooshing relaxes me, though I might be pissing off my boss.
You can also remove the pod and transport the figure inside to another planet. The pod has a button on the top that activates the beam in lights. Then you press the two buttons on the side to release the figure and PRESTO! one planetside trekkie.
At 50% off, I feel that both these playsets are a good buy. Even if you don't have a Star Trek collection, there are a lot of lines that benefit from the kind of high tech props that the franchise has. I'm thinking of displaying Iron Man Armor in the Transporter. While I wouldn't recommend the figures at any price, try and find these if you can. Both are great additions to any collection.
Here's some more pics: