Playmates Toys was synonymous with Star Trek throughout the 1990s and now they’re back, planning multiple waves of figures and toys tied to classic and new Star Trek. Today we’re taking a look at the first wave of 5″ (1:14 scale) action figures.
In the early nineties, I spent many a Saturday morning at the local Toys-R-Us, scanning the action figure aisle for new Star Trek merch. With Star Trek: The Next Generation and then Deep Space Nine in production and The Original Series still adventuring on the big screen, Star Trek was probably at its pop culture apex. It wasn’t just the numerous action figures that drew me back to the toy store week after week; from 1992-99, Playmates Toys produced phasers, tricorders, vehicles, and playsets along with 4 ½” action figures of nearly every major character from TOS to Voyager.
Playmates revamped their Trek toy line this year, with a fun collection of fan-favorite figures—maybe as a harbinger of continued good things to come? The packaging is 100% nostalgic, reflecting the original ’90s style, albeit a tad smaller.
This first wave includes Picard, Riker, and Data from TNG, Kirk, Spock, and Khan from “Classic Star Trek Movie Series,” and Michael Burnham and Saru from Discovery.
I went up to my attic and brought down one of my originals for a quick compare and contrast. Taking a closer look at just the Picard figure gives you an idea of the differences between the vintage lineup and the new versions. Gone are the bulkier/clunkier limbs and giganticus claws that passed for hands. The new sculpt is smooth, nicely articulated, and, to my eye at least, closer to capturing Patrick Stewart’s look.
The accessories are also similar, with a base, tricorder, PADD, phaser, and personal viewscreen. Unlike the ’90s originals, though, these accessories are barer—the originals included stickers that replicated the control panels, whereas the new ones are unadorned.
This video gives a closer comparison to the original and new Playmates Picard figure.
Riker and Data include similar accessories as the originals. And as for the head sculpts, well, to my eyes Riker resembles John Krasinski more than Riker, but Data looks like a nicely bemused Data. And, like Picard, they’re a little more slim and natural looking, as opposed to the bulked-up “Power of the Force” style chests on the figures of yore.
Speaking of bulked-up chests, Khan reigns supreme in that department. Like the other figures in the series, Khan is a lot more articulated than in days of old—even his feet can move.
Spock looks pretty much like Spock—especially in profile—and comes with a pair of removable reactor room-compliant gloves.
And as for Admiral James T. Kirk, he looks… young.
The articulation on all the figures allows for some fun scene setting.
The back side of the packaging is pretty typical, with “clip & collect” bios of our heroes and a QR code “for parents only” that takes you to the Playmates site.
The two Star Trek: Discovery entries are of course brand-new for Playmates, but they are also nice sculpts with great articulation and suitable accessories (love Burnham’s Alice in Wonderland!). Saru is particularly impressive for his height and detailed hands.
All in all, these figures are well done and great for kids and collectors alike. These are perfect stocking stuffers for the Trek fan in your life. I, for one, am looking forward to more waves of figures. Bring back the ’90s!
Each figure is priced at $14.99 and is worth it. They are all in stock now at Amazon, discounted to $12.97 each.
The first wave from Playmates also included a USS Enterprise and a phaser from Star Trek: The Original Series, which are available now. We will post reviews of those with video coming soon.
The next releases from Playmates will be all about Star Trek: Prodigy in January 2023. You can pre-order those now at Entertainment Earth.
Keep up with Star Trek merchandise news and reviews at TrekMovie.com.
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