Toy Tribute: Classic Trek


The Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation line first came out in my toy collecting infancy, and at the time, I scoffed at the figures depicting characters from The Original Series in the TNG timeline. "Who wants figures of old characters from an old show?" I wondered. Since then, I've developed an active fandom of the original show and I've grown to love the contribution of the Original Series actors to the Next Generation universe. Let's take a closer look at these TNG-era Classic Trek figures.


Admiral Leonard McCoy

Series: 2
Episode: Encounter at Farpoint (Season 1)
Year Stamped: 1993


First up we have Leonard McCoy as he was seen in the Next Generation pilot, Encounter at Farpoint. When I was a young-un, the scene at the end in which McCoy and Data stroll the corridors of the Enterprise-D meant nothing to me. But as I developed an appreciation of both the Original and Next Gen crews, that scene became more poignant as a crucial link between the two series. Similarly, I used to think of this figure as just a boring old man, but now I appreciate it much more. It's still not the most exciting figure (I just can't see it in a phaser fire-fight with Romulans, for example) but it's great for display.


Ambassador Sarek

Series: 3, 4
Episode: Sarek (Season 3)
Year Stamped: 1994


Here we see Spock's dad, Sarek, as depicted in the episode that bears his name. It's interesting to note that a few of the costume details of Sarek's TNG costume can be seen in the films: the ring and necklace make their first appearance in Star Trek IV, and can be seen again in Star Trek VI. Since the events of ST:IV happened 8 decades prior to those in the Next Gen episode Sarek, I guess he really dug his bling if he was willing to wear it for so long.

The figure sports the "Live Long and Prosper" hand salute. My friend Jason bemoans Vulcan figures that have the salute, and I can see his point. The salute fixates the figure in a greeting gesture and it limits both the posability and the displayability of the figure. In Sarek's case, it's more appropriate to the character. It seems like every scene involving Sarek ends with him giving the Vulcan salute, so I'd always want to display him with the salute anyway.

Another thing to note is that this figure is another "salt shaker" figure, with its torso being nothing more than a hollow plastic robe. Bleh.


Ambassador Spock

Series: 2
Episode: Unification (Season 5)
Year Stamped: 1993


Ambassador Spock is my favorite of the Next Gen Classic Trek figures. The sculpt is great (complete with an appropriately aged face and episode-specific Romulan attire) and he has some decent mobility. Not to mention the fact that Spock had a more action-oriented role in his Next Gen episode, which helps this figure to break out of the "old man box" in which the other Classic Trek figures find themselves.

Speaking of the Vulcan hand salute above, this is the only Spock I own that doesn't have a "Vulcanized" hand. The DST Spocks all come with a separate saluting hand, as does the crappy 2009 Spock, and the Classic Set Spock has a permanently saluting right hand. Despite this apparent ubiquity, of the 11 vintage Playmates Spocks in the 4.5" scale, only 4 have Vulcanized hands: the previously mentioned Classic Set Spock, Transporter Series Spock, Tholian Web 2-pack Spock (which is the same figure as that in the Classic Set) and Amok Time Spock. That last one makes absolutely no sense to me... Spock salutes Kirk to "Live Long and Prosper" as he tries to rip him apart in a pon farr-driven rage.


Captain Scott

Series: 2, 3
Episode: Relics (Season 6)
Year Stamped: 1993


I've gone back and forth on whether or not to include this figure in the core collection. By my criteria, a figure's design must have originated in a TNG episode or movie. At first, I was going to include this Captain Scott figure since it represents the character from his Next Generation episode Relics.  However, the costume is the same one that Scotty wears in Star Trek IV, V and VI so then I excluded the figure from the archive (even though I realized that the open vest was specific to Relics since the vest was zipped up in all the movies). But then, in the comments below, Kevin noticed that Scotty has a TNG combadge, which makes the figure definitively TNG. So, back into the core collection he goes! Thanks, Kevin!


It is... it is... wrong. IT IS WRONG!


Let's remember my criteria for inclusion in the Star Trek TNG Figure Archive: every 5" figure that is reasonably representative of a character from a Star Trek: TNG episode/movie and the costume/design for whom originated in TNG. A few more Classic Trek figures appeared in TNG properties but failed to meet the criteria.
  • "Admiral" James Kirk, Captain Scott, Commander Chekov (Generations): Like Captain Scott, I didn't include these three figures because their costumes didn't originate in the Next Generation "universe".
  • "Admiral" Kirk in Spacesuit (Generations, shown above): This figure's design might have originated from Generations, but it was never seen on screen. Concept figures don't count.


You treat her like a lady and she'll always bring you home.

And that's it for TNG-specific Classic Trek figures. At only four figures, this category is pretty sparse. But there aren't that many that other characters and costume designs that I can think of that would have met my stringent criteria. Maybe Kirk in his Nexus uniform from Generations would have worked. But that would be about it.


Resources

Memory-Alpha: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Playmates
StarTrekToys: http://startrektoys.com/
Figure Realm: http://figurerealm.com/
TrekCore: http://trekcore.com/

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.