Retro Toy Review: Classic Star Trek Set (Playmates)

I still remember when this Classic Star Trek set first came out. I'm pretty sure it was Playmates' first release of figures from the Original Series, and the set included the entire crew in one box: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov. Playmates saw fit to limit production to only 150,000 sets, which seems like a lot, but we rationalized it by thinking, "There must be waaaay more Trekkies than that, so this set is crazy collectible!" Of course, the collectors couldn't bear to open their sets because it was obvious that this, more so than any other action figure collectible ever in the history of toykind, was sure to skyrocket in value.

Fast forward 16 years, and you can get this set for decidedly less than the original retail value. So much for all that "collectible" mumbo-jumbo. But at least nowadays we can look at it more objectively and ask: How does the Classic Star Trek 7-pack hold up?

Year Stamped: 1993
Company: Playmates
Size: 5"
Price: $15 MIB from eBay
Packaging: Boxed

I love the sculpting style for the Star Trek line during this time period. The figures weren't precise statuesque replicas, devoid of any sort of toyness like many of today's figures. Instead, Playmates sculpted caricatures that captured the look and spirit of the actors while infusing some toy-like fun into the figures. And these Classic Star Trek figures are perfect examples of this sculpting technique.

My favorite head sculpt is Scotty; it seems like they really nailed his likeness. Kirk looks great, which proves that the Shatner curse that makes it so difficult for sculptors to capture his likeness isn't universal. The others are awesome too, but my least favorite is Spock. His eyes are a bit too cartoony compared with the others.

Interestingly, it doesn't look like any of the figures reuses parts. So, each figure seems entirely unique, with different folds of the uniform and body proportions appropriate to the character.

To the naked eye, it seems like the paint apps are sharp. (If you magnify the figure using a camera or scanner, you can see some paint slop, but you'll never notice it on the shelf.) Most impressive is the division insignia inside the Starfleet symbol. It's so tiny but clearly recognizable.

Each of the crew has the standard 12-point Playmates Trek articulation: swivel neck, swivel shoulders, swivel biceps, hinge elbows, swivel waist, swivel hips, and hinge knees. Uhura's hips are somewhat hindered by her dress, and the cut of the hips of the other figures makes their legs spread when they sit, but the rest of the articulation is very useful. Hey, at least there's no ankle articulation. For some reason, ankle-articulated figures have a tendency to take a nose dive off my shelves. But these Classic Trek folk are nice and stable.

Each figure comes with a stand (that features the character's specific division insignia), a phaser and a communicator. I would have liked a couple tricorders thrown in for McCoy and Spock, but each figure is equipped for action!

I've never taken comparison shots of accessories before, so here's my first:
phasers throughout the years!

7 figures for $15 averages out to a little over 2 bucks a figure. Not bad at all. And certainly less than retail, which I think was something like $30 to $40.

Left: Nero's greatest nightmare... 5 Spocks!
Right: If there is a Mirror Universe with an evil Kirk/Spock, who knows what other universes exist?

Classic Trek figures are always fun because their color schemes are so vibrant in their Technicolor coolness. This set is also nifty because the figures are in the same scale and style as the Playmates Next Generation line so you can construct all sorts of time travel play scenarios in which the two crews meet. You can finally resolve once and for all who is the better Captain, Kirk or Picard! As far as who's the better First Officer, I think it's obvious that Spock pwns Riker. Especially during pon farr.

I might sound like an old fart, but they don't make figures like these anymore. The sculpts are awesome, with likenesses that are indicative of the actors but still manage to maintain toy-like qualities. And each figure seems to have an entirely unique body sculpt so they look like individuals on the shelf with character-specific body proportions. Throw in some cool accessories and a dirt-cheap price tag, and this set is a winner for any Classic Trek fan. Just don't expect it to skyrocket in value anytime soon. ;)

DISCLAIMER: All items reviewed on Dork Dimension were purchased by the reviewer unless otherwise noted. The opinions expressed on Dork Dimension are solely those of the author and are presented for entertainment purposes only.