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Star Trek - Playmates 12" figures
Kirk and Spock

Star Trek Spock sixth scale action figure by Playmates

Earlier this week, I hit up the 3 3/4" Star Trek figures from Playmates, and I was pretty rough on them. Deservedly so, but that's not the only scale that Playmates is giving us. There are 6" figures (and I'll look at some of those next week) as well as a set of four 12" figures.

This first wave includes Kirk, Spock, Original Spock and McCoy, at least the case I saw. They have already shown a Nero as well, so he may come swapped into some cases for McCoy. Hopefully sales are fairly strong, since I'd really like to see this scale rounded out with Uhura, Chekov, Scotty and Sulu. They've announced plans for a Toys R Us exclusive Pike and Sulu, but I haven't heard anything about the Uhura, Chekov or Scotty yet.

I haven't seen the 12" out and about as much as the other scales, and picked this pair up at Toys R Us for $30 each. That's an important point to keep firmly in mind when reading this review: these figures are $30 each. Not $60, not $80, not $150. While our expectations in this scale have clearly been skewed by the likes of Hot Toys' Joker and Enterbay's Jack Bauer, it's important to remember that these cannot compete with that kind of quality at this kind of price.

And while I've been tough on Playmates with the Trek figures so far, it's worth noting that they are doing one thing better than their competitors - character selection. If Hasbro had released the ten wave 1 figures in either the 3 3/4" or 6" scales, 4 would have been Indy variants, 3 would have been Spock variants, with 1 Nero, 1 McCoy and 1 Uhura to round out the set. And if it had been Mattel instead of Hasbro, it would be exactly the same...with a chase variant thrown in to generate hate...er, 'buzz'.
Star Trek Spock sixth scale action figure by Playmates
Star Trek Kirk sixth scale action figure by Playmates
Star Trek Spock sixth scale action figure by Playmates
Star Trek Kirk sixth scale action figure by Playmates
Star Trek sixth scale accessories action figure by Playmates
Star Trek Spock sixth scale action figure by Playmates
Star Trek Kirk sixth scale action figure by Playmates
Star Trek Spock sixth scale action figure by Playmates
Star Trek Kirk sixth scale action figure by Playmates
Star Trek Kirk and Spock sixth scale action figure by Playmates

Packaging - Kirk **; Spock **1/2
If you have a ton of the old 12" Playmates Star Trek figures still boxed, and plan on keeping these boxed, then you'll be much more pleased with the packaging. Why? Because it looks a lot like the older packaging without being too retro, and will fit in nicely with it on the shelf.

However, if you're opening these up, you'll get pretty tired of the multiple twisties, PLUS rubber bands, PLUS plastic wrap (yes, there's even plastic wrapped around the neck and right hand to keep the plastic ties from damaging them) that you'll have to fight through to free the figure.

And while the 12" figures tend to be more collector focused, even at mass retail, these boxes are not collector friendly. You'll have to destroy them to remove the figures and accessories.

Spock actually scores a bit better than Kirk here, which is unusual for this category, but that's due to a very well posed figure in the box. This posing on Spock is a great example of how the display of the figure in the box can actually make sales for you on the shelf.

Sculpting - Kirk **1/2; Spock ***
Like most 12" clothed figures, the main emphasis in this category is the head. Here we have one very good, and one not so good.

It's hard to tell if these are the exact same sculpts as the smaller figures, re-used for the different scales and different types of molds. But like the smaller counterparts, the Kirk is mediocre, while the Spock is reasonably decent.

In fact, I was pretty impressed with Spock when I saw him on the shelf. It's not just that you recognize him as Spock - Hell, a pair of pointy ears and a Moe hair cut, and anybody looks like Spock - but that you can see Quinto in there. Put this head next to one of the better Playmates 90's 12" Spock heads, and people will instantly recognize which one is Nimoy and which one is Quinto.

The heads are rotocast, and the sculpts do suffer a bit for it. Both are softer in detail than I'd like, and Kirk...well, it looks like old Scotty sat on young Kirk's head.

I guess there's a bit of Pine in there someplace, but the weird hair, along with the pinched, tall head just looks too odd to get past. Here's the weird part - in person, the Spock is clearly the better looking head sculpt. But in photos, I think the Kirk looks pretty decent. Trust me though, he's not as good as the photos might make him appear.

The hands are a bit oversized, much like a Joe or the old 12" stuff from Playmates. They are sculpted to hold the accessories, and do that pretty well without too much trouble.

These stand 12 inches tall, making them a bit shorter than most modern 12" figures, but fitting in pretty well with the old Trek of the 90's.

And if you're wondering if Kirk prefers boxers or briefs, it appears that it's boxers. At least that's what Playmates thinks, sculpting a pair on his nekkid body underneath the pants.

Paint - Kirk **; Spock **1/2
The paint is not as good as I'd hoped, particularly on the eyes and hair lines.

The eyes have the mannequin look of course, right down to the painted catch lights, but I'm not too surprised by that considering the price point. However, they are a bit sloppier than I'd like, with the whites running out on the to the lids.

The eyebrows on both are also weak, and you can see where the sculpted eyebrows are not completely covered or followed.

Spock's hairline is better than Kirk's, who has quite a bit of paint down on his face. His lips are also a bit of an odd color, and look chapped...in a uniform way.

Articulation - **1/2
The body turned out to be better articulated than I had expected, but not as good as other standard sixth scale figures, including those we've seen from Hasbro at a lower price point.

There's a good ball jointed neck though, and I found that it added quite a bit to almost any pose.

The shoulders are ball jointed too - the usual pin/post style. The elbows are pin/post too, allowing the lower arm to turn inward and outward. The wrists are only cut joints though, a bit of a disappointment.

The chest has a ab-crunch joint, but no cut waist. The knees are pin joints, and there are cut joints at the top of the boots. The hips are pin/post style, called swivel by some, and these allow the leg to move forward, backward, and in or out, but without any sort of cut joint on the thigh, the knee can't be turned out from the plane of the body. That's a bigger disappointment, because it has a serious effect on the stances you can achieve, and how natural they look.

Accessories - Kirk **1/2; Spock ***  
There are several accessories that we'll see re-used a whole bunch over the 12" figures, as you'd expect.

Kirk comes with those standard accessories, but nothing unique to his character. While the standard ones are good - phaser, communicator, belt, stand - Spock gets the added benefit of having a unique accessory.

I'm counting the soft rubber belt, which attaches in back and holds both the phaser and communicator, as an accessory since it is not an integral part of the uniform.

The phaser looks good, with a fairly detailed sculpt and even a few paint ops on some of these smaller details. It fits in either their hand or holster equally well. It's a bit large, much like the old Playmate accessories, or the old Joe extras.

The communicator also fits in hand or belt, and has some paint ops. The paint work was a bit sloppier here than on the phasers, but not unreasonably so for a mass market toy. This version has some serious scale issues, however. It's oversized, and while we haven't actually seen the movie to be sure it isn't this big in the film, I doubt it for two reasons: a) Star Trek has always been excellent science fiction, and Abrams wouldn't be so foolish as to do something so scientifically inaccurate as making futuristic communicators 3 times bigger than current cel phones and b) I've seen the full size toy communicator from Playmates on the pegs, and it's the size you'd expect. It just seems that to go along with the big hands, they made the accessories a bit large too.

Each figure also comes with a gray badge shaped display base. These are fairly cheap and plain, molded in the color they are with nothing else added. 

As I said, Spock does one better and has a swappable right hand, done up in the Vulcan gang sign. The hands swap pretty easily, and the sculpt is reasonable good. Take a little care swapping them though, because the pegs are fairly soft. Oh, it's also sort of a re-use (I'm sure the Old Spock will have the same extra hand), but it's at least something extra, and at this price point, the number of accessories here was pretty impressive.

The hand does look pretty dorky though. Again, it's oversized, and has almost no detail to the sculpt. On top of that, the thumb is posed in some weird way, far from the palm. You won't be using this one.

Outfit - ***1/2
My favorite part of these is the outfits, which are quite well made for this price point.

The tunics pull off the new screen appearance quite well, and are tailored to fit the underlying body properly. Playmates is using a very thin Velcro to hold the shirt closed in back, much like some higher end companies do with their clothing. In fact, there's really two layers here, with a thinner inner layer used to make the black collar a separate piece of material from the shirt. This looks great, and allows you to adjust the collar. I futzed with the one on Kirk, but left the Spock collar as it looked out of the box to give you some idea of the difference a little adjustment can make.

The pants are also well tailored, although in the box some might look better than others. On Spock, the pants were hanging just about perfect, but I had a Hell of a time getting them to look just right on Kirk. Same pants, same body, different results, so you might need to futz with them a bit to be completely satisfied.

The pants also use the very thin Velcro at the zipper, and it works as well here as on the shirt.

I really like the boots too, although from some angles they do look a little skinny in the ankles. But there's something about the sculpted folds that give them a very realistic look, and makes them far less plain in appearance than what I had expected.

The boots are actually the feet though, not separate coverings. They have a peg hole in the bottom to work with the plastic base. I didn't try to pull off the boots/feet to show the body, because I wasn't sure how easy they'd go back on...and if I could manage to get the pants tucked in properly again.

Fun Factor - ***
It will be interesting to see if this line sells at all to kids. The old Trek lines sold largely to adults and collectors, even if they were mass market (much like Playmates Simpsons line), and with the movie rated PG-13, most of the kids that would be in to this sort of action figure (that 6 - 8 or 9 age range) are unlikely to see it, at least in the theater.

But if there are some kids out there that love Trek enough to find them interesting, these are better toys than collectibles. The 12" series walks that line between the two, falling more in the toy camp than the collectible camp, and these figures could take quite a bit of punishing play and remain in one piece.

Value - **1/2
Long gone are the days of $20 sixth scale figures at mass market. Actually, they've been gone for quite some time, and we've been paying $30 for fully molded plastic figures in this scale from some companies. The closest thing we have to compare these to recently is the Hasbro Indy 12" figures which were $20 each, and while I like these overall better than the Indy line, they are also ten bucks more.  The Indy 12" figures were a great deal considering current market prices, but these are more in line with an average score here.

Things To Watch Out For
Not a thing. There's nothing fragile or easily damaged any where on these figures. I suppose it's worth noting that you can create fabric pulls on the shirt if you aren't careful with the Velcro, but you knew that, right?

Overall - Kirk **1/2; Spock ***
If I were going to limit myself to only one line of figures to collect from the new film, it would be these. They have great outfits, reasonable accessories and sculpting, and good enough articulation to get at least a few decent poses. In person, I like the Spock better than the Kirk, but both are good enough that I'll be picking up the others in the series as well.

That is not to say however that they don't have issues. I'm not happy with the paint or the bodies, but after seeing the 10" Terminator figures, I realize they could be far worse.

Score Recap:
Packaging - Kirk **; Spock **1/2
Sculpting - Spock ***; Kirk **1/2
Paint - Kirk **; Spock **1/2
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - Kirk **1/2; Spock ***
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - Kirk **1/2; Spock ***

Where to Buy -
I picked up this pair at Toys R Us for $30 each. Other major mass market retailers should be getting them in as well, or you can hit these sponsors:

- CornerStoreComics has the case at $107.

- Urban Collector has the case of 4 for $110.

- Alter Ego Comics has the case of four for $115.

- Entertainment Earth has the case of 4 for $115 as well.

- For those in the UK, Forbidden Planet sells them individually for about 18 GBP each.

Related Links -
I've always loved Trek stuff:

- I hit half of the wave 1 3 3/4" figures earlier this week.

- DST has done their share of larger scale figures, including these from TNG.

- DST did others from TNG, including Barclay and Geordi, and the Riker and Worf wave.

- the last wave released to general stores included the Gorn and Kor. I also reviewed Vina, but separately, since it took me awhile to find her.

- check out the second wave of TOS figures to see how things used to look.

- there's a great guest review of the first wave, along with a guest review of some of the Trek mini-mates.

- Enterprise wasn't left out - they were actually some of the first figures done by Art Asylum. 

- Art Asylum did their first yellow shirt Kirk as a SDCC exclusive.

- and let's not forget that long ago, Playmates did their Trek line, including the 9" figures like Amok Time Kirk and Spock.

Discussion:
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Reader Ratings!
Here's your chance to weigh in!  Select your rating for this figure(s) to the right.  Yea, it's a five star system and not a four star system like mine, but it's the best I've been able to come up with so far.  You can only rate once from any particular IP.  My score converted to a five star system for comparison: 3.44

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Star Trek Spock sixth scale action figure by Playmates



Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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