Toy Review: Star Trek 6-inch Kirk and Spock by Playmates
Size: 6" scale
Price: $10 at Toys R Us; $9 at Walmart
Looks: Kirk-1.5/5; Spock-3/5
Ah, where to begin? There's so much going wrong with these figures that I need to break it down systematically by body part:
Head - Kirk's head is an unmitigated disaster. The sculpt looks absolutely nothing like Chris Pine: the hair is totally wrong, and the face is atrocious. Strangely, Spock fairs quite a bit better as the sculpt actually resembles Zachary Quinto. The paint apps on both are pretty good, but the quality control is all over the place so you might have to fish through a lot of figures to get a decent-looking one. Spock's hair is more brown than black, though. Moving down to...
Torso - Interestingly, there's a rubbery "shirt" over the torso (but not the arms). The rubber on Kirk's shirt is slightly lighter than the plastic on the arms, which is very annoying. Again, Spock fares better with matching plastic and rubber. Although the torso on both figures looks a little too thick, the more I look at it, the more I think it's in proportion. What's out of proportion is the hips... they're way too thin. Which then go to...
Legs - The sculpting here is pretty cool, but the problem is that the joints for the knees are too low by about a centimeter or two (as my friend Jason pointed out). Also, Kirk's legs are about as vertical as they can possibly get, which makes them scrunched together as if he was standing at attention. Again, Spock doesn't have this problem; his legs are spaced out enough to look somewhat natural.
I'm not sure why there's such a discrepancy between these two figures. Weird.
Both figures have 12 points of articulation - swivel neck, ball in socket shoulders, ball elbows, swivel wrists, swivel chest, swivel hips, hinge knees, and swivel ankles. The problem is less the number of POA, but how those joints move. Because the hips are swivel rather than ball, there's no way you can put these figures in any sort of decent dynamic pose.
I usually berate a toy for not having enough accessories. But with these Star Trek figures, the problem is in their inept designs. The phaser looks great and fits well in the figure's hand. But the communicator is pretty dull; why didn't they include a more interesting gadget like a tricorder instead? Both can be placed in the "utility belt". But if you touch it the belt has a tendency to pop its latch and fall off the figure.
Remember the cool stands from the Playmates Next Generation line that looked good enough that you could use them as communicators on a costume? Those days are long gone as these new Trek figures come with stands that are so cheap that they look like they came straight from a dollar store toy. Finally, Spock comes with two right hands: one to hold the phaser and one in the Vulcan salute. The saluting hand not only has an atrocious sculpt, the thumb is also pointing forward instead of to the side, making it a most egregious insult to any self-respecting Trekkie.
$10 (at Toys R Us) for a figure of this size is actually a pretty good price. $9 (at Walmart) is even better. With the prices of figures from Star Wars to Dragonball Evolution going through the roof, it's nice to get figures in the 6-inch scale for a reasonable price.
Coolness: Kirk-1/5; Spock-3/5
Kirk and Spock in the new movie are undeniably cool with nifty retro outfits that are colorful and fun. But the terrible designs of these figures are totally uncool. Spock is moderately cool; his head sculpt really helps him stave off the lameness. But there is no way to make that Kirk figure look cool on your toy shelf.
Overall: Kirk-1.5/5; Spock-2.5/5
Kirk is an atrocious figure in virtually every respect. With a horrible head sculpt, terrible stance, mismatched plastics, and static articulation, this is a figure for the Star Trek Hall of Shame. Seriously, this may very well be the worst mass-production Star Trek action figure ever made. It's certainly the worst figure in my collection, regardless of license.
Spock just missed getting a positive review. His sculpt is pretty cool but the other design flaws that he shares with Kirk overwhelm the figure. Still, if you absolutely have to get one of these new Star Trek figures, this is probably the one to get.
Overall, this is a very disappointing turn-out for Playmates. I hope Diamond Select gets the license to make figures from this movie one day, because Playmates is obviously unable to make Star Trek figures that are acceptable according to today's standards.