Okay, so it isn’t really a battle, but it’s definitely a siren call to the hearts of Trekkies everywhere; lifelike Star Trek dolls that celebrate the series’ 50th anniversary. From Mattel to Matchbox, every toy dealer wants a piece of the anniversary cake!
Just this week it Mattel released pictures of its new line of commemorative Star Trek
Barbies dolls: A trio featuring Kirk, Spock, and Uhura. I’m happy to see Uhura in the mix, but the first question popping up all over is “Where’s McCoy and Scotty?” And I agree, but I’d amend that to “Where’s Everyone Else?”
Now I confess, for a while there, I was a Barbie collector (I still have a dozen or so unboxed, sleeping peacefully in a storage bin). But I’ve seen other movie and TV-based Barbie collections over the years; Twilight, Mad Men, Hunger Games, and often the company has created more than 3 characters from each franchise. I just hope they’ll consider adding McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov, Chapel and Rand too!
At $35 each, these Mattel ones are not top-of-the-line, but they do have beautiful facial recreations of Bill, Leonard, and Nichelle. I love that they included Uhura’s classic green hoop earrings and her distinct eye makeup. I only wish they gave her seamless bendable knees, as they do in regular Barbie dolls. I think she would have looked more realistic with the wonderful curvy body mold of the new dolls coming out. The Kirk doll has Bill’s intense stare, and Spock is a handsome recreation of young Nimoy (right down to his eye- shadow)
Of course this isn’t the first time Mattel has aimed itself at Trek fans — back in 1996, they produced a cute Star Trek Barbie and Ken. Barbie’s high ponytail with a braid was a direct rip-off of Yeoman Martha Landon from The Apple, (unfortunately, Celeste Yarnall didn’t receive a cent). Ken was the standard Ken, but with a ready Kirk grin. The box featured a backdrop still of K& S on the bridge, making it perfect for display.
Mattel gambled (and lost) a bundle in overproducing the Anniversary set; they must have presumed that they’d make a fortune off of rabid fans, but it didn’t come to pass, and you can still find quite a few on secondary markets. It’s a cute set, I actually had one, and let my boys play with them when they were youngsters.
Not to be outdone– the San Diego Comic Con has two retro Trek dolls to die for. The first is another from Mattel, but only exclusive to Comic Con attendees. 😦 It’s a fully articulated Vina from The Cage! ($50) It’s more a green Orion than Susan Oliver, but it’s a joy to see; especially the recreation of the lizard dress.
Then from (Mattel’s) Hot Wheels, there’s a diorama of Nimoy dressed as Spock, leaning against his beloved ’64 Buick Rivera. It’s the 3D version of this iconic photograph. These are both fabulous!
For even higher-end merchandise, there’s two companies with dazzling, and remarkably realistic figures. There are figures of Kirk and Spock from Quantum Mechanix. These beauties will set you back @ $180 each, but if you’re die-hard enough for incredible likenesses, this is for you. The figures are thoroughly articulated with all the accoutrements of phaser, communicator, and tricorder. One surprising aspect of the costuming is that includes the rarely seen light brown phaser belt that hung under the uniforms in season 1! Truly remarkable, heck, they even have 5 0’clock shadow!
Not to be outdone, but the next set is my favorite of all– from the Mezco One: Twelve Collective comes the ultimate and truly most astonishing Trek figures I’ve ever seen! There are three figures so far, Kirk, Spock, and Sulu, and I do believe there are more to come. They each have great accessories and a stand with the Trek delta patch on them, and Sulu even gets a sword! But the best part is that they have interchangeable hands and heads! (two facial expressions each). The likenesses are so lovingly rendered it’s like they’ve walked right off the screen! Kirk’s face has both serious and gentle Kirk-smirk expressions, Sulu has a serious helm expression and a true Sulu smile, and Spock’s has a cool demeanor or his ultimate arched eyebrow! Spock also has mind-meld hands, communicator/phaser hands, and of course the Vulcan Salute) Can’t wait to see what they’d do with McCoy, Uhura, and the rest… (Spock and Sulu are out now, Kirk in July)
Mezco has also made a masterful limited edition replica of Spock as he appeared in The Cage. The details are meticulous as always, right down to the shorter haircut, away-team jacket, and vintage phaser. Just gorgeous.
All I can say after seeing these is that one is never too old to play with dolls!