Review: Playmates 3 3/4" Spocks
I'm assuming that, by now, most of you have seen the new Star Trek movie. If not, what are you doing wasting your time here? Go. Now. See it.
If you haven't noticed, I was quite happy with the film. It's basically a pulp SF version of the original. I don't think it's for everyone, just nearly everyone. I know there are a few old-school Trekkies out there who are bothered by the pacing and some of the choices, and I actually respect that. I love old Trek, too, and there's as much Star Wars in this version as anything else. For some, that's a deal breaker. For the rest of us, it's a great summer flick.
At any rate, you can't make a summer blockbuster without trying to cash in on the toys. And that brings us to today's review. A few days before the movie opened I stopped by Toys R Us and found the figures on sale. It wasn't a spectacular price, but it was just cheap enough to justify picking a few up.
I went with a pair of Spocks, since I wanted iconic characters, and the Kirk was awful. At 3 3/4 inches, these are smaller than I usually collect, but I was intrigued by the accessories.
These are made by Playmates. You can find them just about everywhere, and I doubt this will be the last time they're on sale.
While it pretty much comes with the territory, the joints on Spock are fairly intrusive. I can't deduct too much, though, because there's really no way to make a figure this size any other way. At least no way I know of. The neck also has some issues, but you won't see them unless you scroll to the very bottom of this review, where I have a profile shot. It may look good head on, but from the side it looks ridiculously wide.
If I had scored these guys a year ago, they'd probably be a point higher each. But there have been some great toys in this scale coming out that have pushed the curve. I like both Spocks, but I can't go higher than 8 for the original and a 6 for his successor.
Packaging and Extras:
New Spock: +2
For what it's worth (which is nothing), I actually like the design on the packaging quite a bit. Mostly, I like how they've incorporated arches and the Federation symbol.
The back gives you an idea of how many more figures you'll need to buy if you want the whole bridge/transporter sets. It's time like this I pity the completists out there.
Both figures come with some nice extras. Speaking objectively, I have to confess that New Spock is better off than his predecessor, though I actually prefer what you get with the Nimoy Spock.
Great, in theory. Here is the problem: as ugly and useless as this is as a stand, it's even MORE useless as a shirt clip. Even though the shape is fairly accurate, it's still looks like a lump of cheap plastic. Plus, you've still got that peg sticking out the front. Maybe kids will have more use for this than I do.
The rest of the extras are better. If you look too closely at the phaser, it looks like Spock accedentally left it in the microwave, but from a few feet away it looks fine. If you don't want Spock holding it, you can also slide it into the holster on the belt. It's kind of odd that of all the accessories, this is actually the one that works best.
I'm really happy - here at least - with the chair and console (though I'll have some related things to discuss below. Both these items look good, though, and that's what I'm scoring here.
But I really like the "build-a-transporter" piece. Granted, I'm not going to buy other pieces unless they inexplicably get dirt cheap, but I don't really need them to get some use out of this one. Regardless of what it was meant to be, it's a perfectly acceptable display stand for these figures. It's a lot nicer than either of the stands these guys came with, anyway. Incidentally, this is also why I like the chair and console that came with Spock: none of these really need to be part of a set. They work fine as stands and accessories on their own.
I toyed with the idea of giving them both a +2, but that would have been disingenuous. While I really like the transport chunk as a stand, at this scale, the best the three accessories add up to is a +1. New Spock does better, with his large assortment. Even though the stand/clip is useless, the hand barely fits, and the phaser is melted, along with belt, chair, and console, I think he deserves a +2.
Play and Display:
New Spock: -1
New Spock has more articulation, but it has some very disappointing limitations. He's got cut wrists and neck, ball joints for the elbows, knees, ankles, and shoulders, T-hips, and a cut joint where his stomach meets the legs.
Old Spock might not have perfect articulation, but at least he can do what he needs to. On top of that, he's got better balance than his younger counterpart.
Price Tag and Final Analysis:
You know, I really didn't mean to take this many pictures. Oh well, just think of them as Easter Eggs or something. What? Not enough? You want more? Fine, I'll also throw in a link to The Middle Room, where you'll find a universe of geeky reviews and reflections.
And... have a few more pictures. On the house.