I first came across Playmates’ Star Trek line back in 2009 when the reboot movie was first released. The first time I saw them, it was no wonder I passed. If I remember correctly, their price point was around Php 350.00 or 400.00 and nothing about their design, sculpting, or poseability warranted that kind of scratch. They were low quality figures with not much thought put into them.
When the distributor dropped the price to around Php 100.00 a figure, I still didn’t bite. One of the selling points of the 3 ¾” “Galaxy Collection” figures was that they came with parts you could add to the Transporter Room and Enterprise Bridge Playsets (each sold seperately) to expand your Star Trek display. Problem was, these extra parts were NOT included in the assortments sold outside the mainland US. This included the Philippines.
You could see where these extra accessories where supposed to fit inside the bubbles of the Galaxy Collection figures. The first batch of toys we received just had huge volumes of empty space where a bridge terminal or transporter pad was supposed to go. The decision to remove these extra accessories killed any desire I had to complete a set. I settled on the playsets and left the rest of the 3 ¾”ers on the pegs.
Now we fast forward to several weeks ago when word got out about these figures re-surfacing around Metro Manila for only Php 50.00 (a little over $1.00 US). At first I wasn’t so excited, having seen these figures before and passing numerous times, but then I saw them for myself. Lo and behold! These were discounted releases from the US territories with the pieces I needed to complete my playset!
Naturally, I caved.
The reps at Toys ‘R’ Us Toybox in the department store of Robinsons Galleria were kind enough to go to the back and complete a set for me, one of each of the 10 figures in the first wave of figures: Kirk, Sulu, Original Spock, Uhura, Pike, Cadet McCoy, Nero, Cadet Chekov, Spock, and Scotty.
Like most discount diving hunts, it’s hard to complete a set of figures if you’re late to the party. Right now it looks like Chekov, the two Spocks, and Uhura are hard to come by. What makes it harder is that some Chekovs come in Spock packaging (again, thanks to those sales reps that were good enough to point that out and include that in the set I bought).
But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Let’s get started.
If you’ve gotten the Enterprise Bridge playset, then this toy is pretty redundant. The set already comes with your very own 3 ¾“ version of Captain James Kirk, as well at the phaser and utility belt that most of the figures come with. If there’s any real difference to them, I’ve got to admit, I don’t really care enough to find them out.
The likeness of the sculpting to Chris Pine, the actor who played young Kirk in the movie, is near zilch. They’re both white. That’s about all you can say about that. I guess you can’t fault the manufacturers too much, but it just emphasizes the total lack of everything when it comes to these figures.
He comes with B9, a part of the bridge. It’s basically a chair and a science/navigation station. Could be anything really.
Hikaru Sulu is pretty much the same as Kirk, just with a different head. This happens a lot and all the bridge officers (with the exception of Uhura) share exactly the same body, with some different colors and heads. They don’t even bother to differentiate them with equipment, as Sulu has the same phaser and belt that Kirk comes with.
Get used to it. With these 10 figures, you get 8 phasers and belts. The figures with the playsets also come with the same.
Sulu’s bridge component is B4. Like Kirk, he also comes with a cheap, plastic Starfleet communicator badge. The back of the badge (the part with the clip) can be removed and it doubles as a figure stand. I would have been more thrilled if it had been cast in the proper color and didn’t look so translucent. It’s also too small to really stand the figure on.
At least this figure is different from the rest as necessitated by his not being a member of the actual crew. Of them all, he’s probably my favorite for the simple fact that he is different and with his little hand sculpted in the Vulcan peace sign, he can stand on my desk and not look totally retarded. He also comes with a second hand shaped in the standard gripping pose. To grip what, I don’t know. He doesn’t come with anything for him to hold.
And while we’re talking about standing, he doesn’t have that silly Starfleet badge/stand. Instead, he gets a small, black disc with the Star Trek logo on it. It is a far better stand and would have been far more welcome with the other figures as well.
Sadly, the only other figure that gets this type of accessory is Nero.
The figure comes with Transporter Room component T4.
As the lone female of the group, Uhura gets her own body as well. It’s fairly decent and the sculpting isn’t that bad. What it lacks in likeness to the actress, Zoe Saldana (who recently starred in Columbiana), it makes up for in proportion.
Articulation is no better than any of the other figures. In fact, it’s worse since she lacks elbows due to the thinner arms. She again gets the standard complement of phaser, belt, and figure stand.
Her component Transporter Room piece T2.
There’s nothing really to say about this figure except that he’s exactly the same as the rest of the male members of the Enterprise crew. He gets a head that looks vaguely like Bruce Greenwood (if you squint and turn your head up and to the left) and the phaser, belt, and stand.
He comes with Bridge component B2.
Leonard McCoy is a little different from the rest of the bunch, dressed up in the red Starfleet Academy uniform rather than the standard officer uniform. Since he’s a medic, he also gets some choice gear that the others don’t have to deal with.
In addition to the phaser and belt, he gets a data tablet and a hypo-spray (which is shaped and sized suspiciously like a sex toy). He also gets a gold figure stand instead of the standard silver one. I’m not sure why except that he’s a cadet.
He comes with Bridge component B10.
Here is another figure that benefits from being different from the rest. Nero is a whole different sculpted body from the Enterprise crew. While it’s great that we get another figure that’s not like the others, the fact that the reboot Romulans were among the most lack luster villains in recent memory really kills the buzz. They’re basically a biker gang with elf ears. The tribal tattoos are painted on the figure, but there’s not much else of note.
He gets a disruptor instead of a phaser, and comes with a Teral'n, the Romulan trident that he used in the movie. Oh, and Transporter Room component T3.
Chekov is the figure that came in the wrong packaging: Original Spock. The package says he comes with Transporter Room component T3, but he really comes with Bridge component B13.
He shares the same uniform as McCoy: the Starfleet cadet, and comes with a data tablet as well.
Spock is another figure that appears to be popular despite the low quality of the toy. He’s like the Snake Eyes, or Darth Maul, of Star Trek really, so it’s no surprise. It’s also no surprise that he’s got the same figure base as the other officers and shares the same extra accessory as old fogey Spock: the extra hand.
Somehow, he’s just not as great as Spock Prime.
He comes with Bridge component B1
Scotty is one more figure you can do without, since he’s included in the Transporter Room playset. Like the Kirk figure, it’s pretty much the same thing. The only reason to pick this up is so that you can get Bridge component B11.
Sadly, Wave 2 of the toyline was never released to retail, so it's unlikely that I'll ever complete the entire playset. Faced with poor sales at the retail outlets, Playmates made the decision to can the entire line, including the second set of 10 Galaxy Collection figures and their included playset pieces. If you frequented the online toy groups, you might have had a chance to get them from Entertainment Earth when they were offered as an exclusive back in October of 2009, but I completely missed out on that.
It was really too bad, since the wave 2 figures looked so much better than the crappily plain wave 1 toys:
|Wave 2 solicitation photo from Playmates|
This wave included Leonard McCoy (Enterprise Uniform), Pavel Chekov (Enterprise Uniform), James T. Kirk (Cadet Uniform), James T. Kirk (Sky-diving uniform), James T. Kirk (Off-duty), Spock (Academy instructor), Hikaru Sulu (Sky-diving uniform), General Ayel, Sarak, Keenser, Drakoulias. Also included were the other 9 components of the Bridge and the last Transporter Room piece.
A quick look at eBay shows that there aren't many people selling these and figuring that the people who pre-ordered the figures from Entertainment Earth were hard core Star Trek collectors, I don't hold out much hope completing this:
|Solicitation photo of completed Bridge playset from Playmates|
Still, the pieces that I've got now still add a lot of fun to the sets. And at Php 500.00 for the 10 figures and the extra parts, there's no arguing with the value. I can't find the included play mats that came with the sets, but that can't stop me from breaking them out and mixing and matching the pieces.
Objectively, the problems I have with these figures is still there. They're still poorly designed, poorly executed, and suffered from poorly considered assortments, but that Php 50.00 price tag really gets me.
I'd seriously consider buying a Mr. Hankey action figure at Php 50.00.