Mr. Rant to
Playmates: “Do It Right!”

Some of the bigger news popping up from the 2009 Dallas Toy Fair, you know, the one not meant for us to see, is the announcement that Playmates is going to continue and expand the Star Trek license. For those who hadn’t seen the news yet, here is the press release:

“STAR TREK – Live Long and Prosper

With nearly 40 years of heritage in the STAR TREK franchise, Playmates will build on the excitement generated by the blockbuster STAR TREK movie directed by J.J. Abrams with an offering of new toys and collectibles based on the 2009 movie and the classic original series catalyst STAR TREK. In addition to new waves of 3.75” action figures, role play accessories and iconic vehicles two new segments will be introduced in the movie line that should appeal to both the long time fan and the younger fans alike. The STARFLEET DEFENDER line includes a full array of movie characters articulated in small-scale in dynamic animated-style action poses. Collectible iconic mini space ships from the 2009 movie include the U.S.S. Enterprise, the U.S.S. Kelvin, and the Narada. And for the first time ever, Playmates will introduce 3.75” GALAXY EDITION action figures and diorama’s based on the classic Star Trek series. These figures will be highly detailed with authentic life-like likenesses and feature over 16 points of articulation. Iconic scenes from the most popular episodes will be depicted in two-figure pack dioramas. So jump on the U.S.S. Enterprise and Live Long and Prosper with the STAR TREK products for young and older.”

Now, to let you readers in on a little secret, I’m a huge Star Trek fan. I was introduced through the adventures of The Next Generation crew in my formative years, and have stuck with it ever since. Through the good times like DS9 and the Dominion War to the bad times of using mashed potatoes to fix a hull leak on a very special episode of Enterprise. And I was there when it all began again, last summer, with Abrams’ very acceptable reboot. Yes, I am a fan.

I can also credit/blame Star Trek for one other very integral part of my life, toy collecting. Sure, when I was younger I would buy other toys. But this was just a young man wasting money indiscriminately at whatever shiny plastic caught his eye that day in the toy isle. That is, until the day Playmates released their Star Trek the Next Generation figures. At the time, these were the best figures on the market. They contained an eye popping 12 points of articulation. The sculpts were pretty damned accurate. They came with a crap load of accessories that were all show accurate. And we even got a couple shuttlecraft vehicles and a Bridge, Engineering, Transporter playsets. I don’t know how many times Geordi barely saved the crew from a warp core breach while Picard and the bridge staff successfully fought off a Romulan Warbird. Those of you who collected these toys know exactly what I mean.

OK, flashback is over. Now, in the future of 2009, Playmates tells us they will be doing Star Trek again. And I have just one thing to say to you Playmates. Do it right!

Here’s what I want to see:

  • Good Sculpts: if it doesn’t look like the actor, alien, character, race, etc. then I don’t want it.
  • A well proportioned body with hidden articulation: this isn’t the 90’s and those movie toys you made were some of the worst 3.75 figures out there. Think what GI Joe or those new Marvel Universe figures.
  • Complete Crews: Don’t start a crew you aren’t going to finish. Yes, we all know there is that one or two characters in every crew that no one really wants. But guess what, we still have to have them because they complete the crew.
  • MORE ALIENS: You guys understood this in the 90’s, I just hope you still do. Half of what makes Star Trek, and its toys, cool is the aliens that the various crews deal with. In the 90’s we had Benzites, Vorgons, Nausicans, Telosians, along with plenty of Klingons, Romulans, and the more recognizable. Does everyone know who they are? No. Did they even have names? Not really. Did they make the line infinitely greater? For sure. Now do it again, only more.
  • Don’t skimp on the accessories or the playsets. If a five inch line can pull it off, then so can a 3.75 line. I want accessories that make sense for the characters and I want playsets for them to hang out on. Read this to mean I want the Bridge for each crew you do.

Here’s what I don’t want to see:

  • Cheap, plastic looking, badly articulated, badly sculpted abominations. You know, basically what Mattel did when they created the Infinite Heroes line.
  • Do NOT follow DST’s example. Do not make figures that are out of scale with each other. Do not just continue to only make Kirk and Spock figures, with an occasional Sulu or Worf thrown in. Do not give them such basic articulation that the only pose they look good in is sitting at a desk or standing for a class year book picture. We want the articulation to lend itself to normal and dynamic poses. My Riker better be able to face-palm somebody when he goes into action mode.
  • Like I said, I love the 90’s figures you guys did. But this time, when you make accessories for them, can we stick to more accurate colors and less rainbow inspired looks. Those accessories were some of the best, but it looked kind of odd when Sisko would hold up his bright pink tricorder, or Janeway would fire her neon colored phaser. Kids may not care so much about the color, but collectors do. So it’s worth the extra couple cents that you are going to pass along to us anyway to just get it right.

I’m sure there’s a few more valid points of concern I’m not thinking of, perhaps the readers have concerns of their own they wish you to know about. At least you’ve got the gist of what we want though. Hell, if you’re able to pull this off, you will definitely be able to pull some of that Mattel money your way.

11 thoughts on “Mr. Rant to
Playmates: “Do It Right!”

  1. Well Mr. Rant, when you’re right, you’re right. The recent Star Trek movie figures were pretty terrible across the board. The most accurate head molds actually came out of those kids meal toys from… Hardee’s, McDonald’s? Where ever it was, the point is that those free toys had better sculpts than the ones I had to pay for in the store. UNACCEPTABLE! Let’s hope that a “continuation of the license” doesn’t translate to a continuation of the same crap-ass toys.
    Also, how ’bout some squash down crews ala Hasbro’s Heroes lines, that’d be swell.

  2. World Of Springfield was a great recent line by Playmates.

    Original TMNT was a staple of many a childhood.

    I think that’s about it.

  3. I used to love my TNG toys! I even had the Bridge playset, my cousin had the transporter & engineering rooms. We had hours of fun. I’m with you with the bright colored accesories, except the phasers. I remeber them being black & gray with a red phaser beam. Awesome toys!

    Damn Romulans never stopped coming!

    1. They started out painted and awesome, but by the time you got to Voyager they were molded purple, pink, and whatever other color.

  4. Playmates more or less started the chase figure concept. I’ll never forgive them for that.

  5. What are the old toys everyone talks about?

    Are they the dusty ones at all the comic shops? I thought those crappy since no one ever bought them?

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