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I was born in 1961. Yes, I'm that old. One of the greatest television shows of all time debuted in 1966 - Star Trek The Original Series. Of course, back then it was just Star Trek, but thanks to it becoming the largest movie and television franchise in history, adding the 'TOS' was necessary to set it apart. How can I possibly call it the largest? Simple - name me another with 12 (soon to be 13) movies, and 6 (soon to be 7) television shows, and I'll concede.
While I was a pretty damn smart kid, I can't say I was watching the show during it's original airing. I might have watched a few, but at the time I recall being more of a Batman show fan. But within a few months of the show ending in 1968, it went into syndication, and I watched the show over and over again during the early to mid 70's. And I loved it. I love it to this day, and while there have been some other great Star Trek series and films, nothing has ever replace the original show as my favorite.
Regular readers also know that as a kid, I grew up playing with Captain Action, G.I. Joe, and my favorite, Marx Best of the West. The love of these toys translated into my adult love for all things sixth scale, a major obsession of my collecting today.
So imagine my delight when Quantum Mechanix announced that they were producing a high quality, high end set of Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Here was the first perfect combination of two of my favorite childhood pastimes!
Qmx is fairly new to the sixth scale market, although they've been producing high quality collectibles in many other formats for years. Their first release was also part of a terrific sci-fi property - Malcolm Reynolds from Firefly. That release was plagued by problems and months were added to the wait between pre-order and shipment. Qmx averted a similar situation this time, and this pair of figures just went up for pre-order last Friday, and should ship by the end of July.
I'm looking at the exclusive versions tonight of both figures tonight. These are only available through Qmx, and cost $20 extra. The regular releases are $180
and available through multiple retailers, while these exclusives are $200. Each has an additional accessory, and I'll fill in the details in the Accessories section of
Packaging - ***1/2
The boxes are very sturdy, much thicker cardboard than we generally see. The graphics are attractive, with a good use of the 50th anniversary logo and a large graphic on the front exclaiming the exclusivity of the figure. It's all collector friendly of course, but I did have to cut off not just the plastic wrap on the hands, but around the face. That always makes me very nervous - sharp edges near expensive toys is never a good idea.
Sculpting - ****
We've gotten a lot of Kirk and Spock action figures over the years. A lot. They've come in every format, every style, every size. And while other licenses, like Star Wars or TMNT, have certainly had their share of plastic goodness, none have had the plethora of companies work on them that Trek has had. Mego, Playmates, Mezco, Art Asylum, Diamond Select...lots of folks have taken a crack at it. And every one has had issues with getting the likeness on Captain Kirk. (actually, we'll give Mezco a free pass here for now, since their One:12 Collective Kirk isn't out yet.)
Like other good looking people, a young Shatner didn't have anything too extreme about his face to call himself out. The human brain can distinguish very subtle and minor differences in facial features to recognize one pretty person from another, but translating those subtle differences into a portrait can be a near impossible task. What tends to happen in these situations is that ten different people look at the sculpt, 2 or 3 see Shatner, and 7 or 8 see 7 or 8 other leading men.
In the game of 'capture the Kirk', I'm going to declare Qmx the winner, hands down. This is the best likeness of the young captain we've ever gotten, and while there are still nits - I wouldn't be me if I didn't have nits, and my wife has threatened to buy me a flea, tick, and nit collar - this is clearly Shatner. The accuracy is there, from the forehead to the eyes, to the lips and the jawline.
The realism is good too, although it's not quite at the level of the best in the business. There's a nice skin texture that's not too crazy, and the work around the eyes is quite impressive. The hair is also good, slightly better than what we saw with their first figure in this scale, Malcolm Reynolds.
Then there's that life-like quality, and they've picked a perfect neutral yet in character expression here. The squinted eyes and tightness of the facial muscles give him an animated, alive look, without going overboard into something silly or extreme.
I do have a nit, though, with the size of his overall noggin. It seems a smidge big, nothing too extreme, but in comparison to the width of the shoulders, it's noticeable. And you know what? That's about it.
Mr. Spock is a knock out as well. Again, the accuracy is extremely good, although to be fair, the sculptors have more to work with. Nimoy had a very distinct nose and head shape, and they've captured that perfectly. Of course, the hair style and ears help a lot too, and they've really done a nice job with the fine stranding of the hair itself.
The Vulcan eyebrows are quite detailed, and they've captured the realism with a slightly rougher skin texture. That matches with the actor, as does the wrinkling and aging around the eyes and nose. These portraits are both designed to capture the characters at their most familiar to fans, somewhere in the middle of their aging on the show, and they've done a beautiful job.
Spock also has a very life-like, character appropriate expression. There's no mannequin effect here, and the slightly stern, concerned look fits him perfectly and provides the right amount of serious consternation.
Both figures stand just north of 12" tall, with Spock slightly - slightly - taller. They'll fit in perfectly with Sideshow or Hot Toys figures on your shelf.
Paint - ***1/2
Great sculpts deserve great paint work, because that's the only way an excellent sculpt can truly shine.
The eyes on both figures have the glassy, wet look that provides for natural catchlights, and they are clean and sharp with no serious bleed into the whites. The skin tone is good, although Spock is a little shinier than Kirk. I prefer the more matte finish, although in hand it's not a huge difference.
Small details are extremely well done, such as the eyebrows and lips. Spock also has the right amount of mascara, which was never extreme on the show. It needs to just be a hint of color, not something too obvious. They got the color and amount about right, although I do think they could have taken it all the way along the bottom of the eyebrow. Still, too much and he would have gone from Spock to Frank-N-Furter in a heartbeat. Speaking of which, hey Qmx, let's do he Time Warp and get me some RHPS figures pronto!
Spock's skin tone is a little darker than I'm used to, but Kirk's is pretty accurate. They added some highlighting to Kirk's hair, and I'm still torn on whether it works for me or not.
Even with the minor nits, the paint work is extremely good. It's got a little ways to go still to reach that spooky realism that we've seen on the very best releases,
but it's damn close.
Articulation - ***1/2
The underlying body has all the joints you expect, and the range of movement is normal for a modern sixth scale figure. The costume provides little resistance, and you can get deep stances, sitting poses, and pretty much anything you want, all with a reasonable amount of fluid realism.
They wisely sculpted the face and neck as one piece, and the single ball joint just inside the torso allows for plenty of lean and tilt action. The ab crunch and waist joints work well, and even the ankles can rock side to side thanks to the relatively soft boots.
They padded the lower torso on Kirk a bit to fill him out and create a straighter, smoother look. You may find it adds too much gut in certain poses, but you can remove it in that case.
Accessories - ****
I'm looking at the exclusive versions, available only through Qmx. Each has one additional accessory.
First let's go over what they have in common with the regular release, starting with Kirk. Each figure has a plethora of extra hands, designed to work with the various accessories. They swap easily, and the sculpts are all quite useful. Kirk comes with 10 hands in all: a pair of fists; a pair of relaxed hands; two specific grip right hands and two specific grip left hands; a pointing right hand; and a karate chop right hand. There are no extra wrist pegs, but there was also no fear of breaking anything. The hands on both Kirk and Spock have a bit of the E.T. fingers syndrome, but it's a minor issue.
Kirk comes with his phaser, which is actually both the 1 and 2 type. The smaller version fits inside the top of the larger handle, just like it did on the show. It's a firm hold, but is also quite easy to remove and replace. Both of these phasers have small magnets that allow you to attach them to the bare pants, or the included belt. More on that in the Outfit section.
He also has his standard issue communicator, with a metal flip up lid/antenna. This is an actual cut mesh cover, and rumor has it that it's 18k plate. It is very, very impressive, and both the phaser and the communicator look fantastic.
I have been amazed with the number of advancements that were accurately predicted by the original show. From hand held communicators to motion activated doors to the demise of print, they correctly predicted many of the things we take for granted today. Except one, and it really surprises me - poor Kirk was forever signing something on a pad. No biometrics, no passcodes, no voice recognition (although they did use some of these things in other ways), but a good old fashioned signature. I don't think they ever told us what the Hell he was signing, but it seemed like he was doing it every show. They've included the pad and stylus here, so even your toy Kirk can be annoyed by the activity.
Last but not least, he has a crotch support base, designed with the Star Trek logo. Nothing fancy, but it can provide stability for those in earthquake zones...or cat owners.
The exclusive Kirk adds in one more goodie, and it's a big one - the laser rifle. He didn't use this thing alot, and I always thought it looked rather cumbersome to hold, but it is a cool looking weapon. This one is very detailed, and includes a rotating center section, as well as a rotating butt. This gun is going to cost you an extra $20, but I think it's well worth it.
Spock has a similar set up, at least when it comes to hands and weapons. He has 11 hands, one more than Kirk. There's a pair of fists and a pair of relaxed hands, a mind meld left, a 'live long and prosper' right, a Vulcan pinch right, and several more hands designed to work with the various other accessories.
Those other accessories include the same phaser and communicator as Kirk. And of course, they are just as well made and highly detailed.
He also has a tricorder, and this thing sports the same level of attention as the phaser and communicator. The top can flip open, and the center drawer opens, exposing the internal controls. The level of detail is pretty amazing considering the scale, and I'm really quite impressed.
Also like Kirk, he rounds things out with the crotch support display stand. You really don't need them, but they are nice to have just in case.
The exclusive includes one more accessory - the Vulcan lyre. This ancient musical instrument showed up a couple times as I recall, but my favorite appearance was in Charlie X. Mr. Spock played while Lt. Uhura sang, until Charlie got annoyed at the attention that was being paid to her and took her voice. This version seems to be the right scale, and includes nylon strings. The paint work looks like wood finish, and the detailing is similar to what we've seen on the other accessories.
Outfit - ***1/2
While the outfit is basic stuff, they did it with tremendous accuracy and realism. The quality of the materials and the care of the construction elevate it well above the average.
The costume consists of the tunic, undershirt, pants, and boots. There is also an additional belt, that was specific to certain episodes. Kirk has the extra padding around the waist as well, which I mentioned earlier.
The earliest shirts were made of velour, a soft material that looked great (it's about time for it to make a comeback) but was tough to maintain. They switched to a nylon that was much easier to work with, and that's what Qmx has gone with here. The shirt and collar look great, and the insignia on the chest and wrists is even, straight, and tightly attached.
The black pants have the unique calf high bell bottom, and the tailoring and fit are excellent. There's a zipper in back, in case you want to remove them, and no belt is necessary thanks to proper tailoring around the hips and waist.
The pants include small pieces of metal, designed to work with the magnets in the phaser and communicator. The instructions show a metal strip on the right hip for either phaser, as well as one in the front, off center to the left, for the communicator. The strip on the hip is clearly there, but on mine there's nothing in front. Instead, there are two places on either side of the centered zipper in back where you can attach the communicator (or the small phaser, I suppose), and this makes more sense to me. While I'm sure they must have worn it in front at some point - I have faith that Qmx wouldn't have considered it otherwise - that's not how I remember it. I remember Kirk reaching around in back to grab the communicator and flip it open in one smooth move, so the final placement of the metal in the pants makes more sense to me.
However, the magnet on the side of the phaser handle isn't strong enough to keep the phaser in place on Kirk. I managed to get the right angle with Spock, but the slightest touch knocked it loose. The smaller phaser and the communicator had no trouble, since the magnet on both are on a flat surface and can attach directly to the plate inside the clothes. But because the magnet on the larger handle is not on a flat area, the bond is not as strong. I'm going to experiment a bit to see if I can improve it though, perhaps by bending the thin metal outward a bit to get a closer fit.
The boots are made from a soft leather-like material with a zipper on the inside. They look great - although the ankles are a little skinny, a problem with any tight fitting footwear on a sixth scale body - and allow for a terrific range of movement.
Both figures also have a black t-shirt underneath, which is supposed to be accurate to the original costume. I'll take their word for it on this one. It also has the benefit of giving the outer nylon a clean, consistent look without allowing any of the skin tone to show through.
Finally, both figures come with an additional belt.This was worn occasionally, especially by Kirk. I had a tough time finding good stills, but here you can see it with a different tunic. I always thought the holster-like shape was a cool look, and the color makes a nice contrast against the rest of the outfit. I liked both figures with the belt on, and I suspect that's the look I'll go with in my display.
However, the two belts are a different length. Mine came reversed in the packages, with the longer Kirk belt in with Spock, and the shorter Spock belt in with Kirk. I tried putting the belt on Kirk and there was no way the velcro closure in back was going to reach, thanks to the extra padding. I measured the two belts against each other, and sure enough, the one with Spock was longer. Swapping them solved the problem, but I hope this isn't a consistent issue, since not everyone will buy both figures.
This belt also has metal strips, and this time they are on the hip and in front. I had better luck getting the larger phaser to stay attached, but it's still pretty
tenuous. Had they managed to pull this off flawlessly, the outfit would have easily grabbed that extra half star of perfection.
Fun Factor - ****
With the excellent accessories, great sculpts and paint, and solid articulation, you'll have a great time working out the best pose and display, and then changing it all up again every time you watch an old episode. While adult collectors might not really 'play' with their figures, they certainly enjoy recreating scenes and creating the most life-like displays. These figures will be perfect for that.
Value - ***
I'm grading the exclusives here, which run $200 and include the one additional large accessory. You're getting quite a bit here at that price point, certainly far more than you get from some of the leading companies in the market. That makes these a slightly better than average value.
The regular releases are only $180, and only lose the one accessory. That means I'd add another half star here if you are going that route, and if Qmx can manage to
keep most of their releases in that $180 ball park, I'm going to be extremely happy.
Things to Watch Out For -
I didn't have any real issues, but you will want to take a little care when opening and closing the top of the tricorder. It can be a tight fit, and you don't want to force it.
Overall - ****
It is my experience that the best figures come about when the company producing them truly loves the license. We've seen it with Playmates and the Simpsons, we've seen it with Palisades and the Muppets, and we've seen it with other key series over the years. It doesn't always happen, but when the love of a license comes together with the means to produce figures, magic is created.
It's clear that the people involved with this license at Qmx really, truly love the show and the characters. It comes through in the attention to detail, especially in the communicator, phaser, and tricorder, as well as the demand for exceptional sculpting and paint. It took Qmx a long time to get their first release - Reynolds - right and in our hands, but they've followed up quickly with figures that show just how much they've learned in the process.
We all know that we need McCoy, Scotty, Checkov, Sulu, and Uhura. But I really, really, really want a Gorn too - pretty please? Oh, and a Romulan would be nice...and Khan...and...you get the idea.
Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ****
Where to Buy
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This is Qmx's first Trek release, but their second sixth scale release. They started out by doing Malcolm Reynolds from the popular show Firefly.
Qmx isn't the only company producing high quality Trek figures right now. Mezco is doing them in their One:12 Collective series, but of course these are 6", not 12". I checked out both their Toy Fair exclusive Spock and their regular release Spock.
If you're more interested in the modern versions of Spock and Kirk, you can get the 12" versions from Playmates, although the quality is a bit different. Playmates also did a bazillion Trek figures back in the day, including some in the 9" format like this Amok Time Kirk and Spock.
Art Asylum did a series of great TOS figures too, including the Romulan, Gorn, and Kirk; Scotty, Sulu, Chekov, Mirror Mirror Kirk, and Mirror Mirror Spock; and Kirk, Spock, Kahn, and McCoy.
You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.
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