Viewing posts tagged Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation

Totemic Artefacts: Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation Wave 2 Errata

You can't have action figures without some place to put them. Even if you're too embarrassed to move them around in a playset, you've got to admit having a lavish plastic display to pose them all in looks awesome on your shelf. It was Wave 2 that started giving us those playsets for our Star Trek: The Next Generation friends-I've already talked about the bridge playset in this book. Although it technically came out as part of this wave, I felt compelled to talk about it back in the first wave because I really just wanted to go all-out gonzo with the first Playmates essay. This leaves me with one extra essay to write about and not a whole lot to fill it with here, however. So, let's see how long I can talk about what's left of Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation Wave 2.


The other playset released this year was a transporter room. Now this was really cool because it actually worked by way of an old theatrical trick called Pepper's Ghost. In a Pepper's Ghost illusion, a one-way reflective surface ...

Totemic Artefacts: Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation Wave 2 Vehicles and Role Play


The first wave of Playmates' Star Trek: The Next Generation toys focused primarily on the Enterprise and its crew: For action figures we got (most of) the bridge crew, and for electronic light-up ships we got the Enterprise itself as well as a Shuttlecraft. Following along with the accompanying Wave 2 action figure releases, which both expanded upon the Starfleet crew and gave us a greater assortment of aliens, the Wave 2 vehicles included a Klingon Attack Cruiser and a Romulan Warbird.


Both of these ships are very nicely detailed. Actually, in hindsight, I have to say they're a bit more impressive than the Playmates Enterprise itself: The colours and proportions of both are screen accurate, which is really important when dealing with starships this distinctive and memorable. The Attack Cruiser does fare a little better in this regard: All of the little details and elevations Rick Sterbach sculpted onto it to emphasize shadowplay with the studio lights have translated perfectly to consumer-grade plastic, and as such I've always considered it one of the most bang-on replicas of the Playmates line. The Romulan Warbird only suffers a bit due to ...

Totemic Artefacts: Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation Wave 2


As the Playmates line of Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures expanded, I have to confess I started to get less of them. I know it's hard to believe and that I have to keep stressing this, but I was actually never a hardcore Star Trek fan, and thus didn't possess an encyclopedic knowledge of every single character and every single episode. When it came to toys, I was primarily interested in the Enterprise crew and the most recognisable aliens: My fondest memories of Star Trek: The Next Generation are of images and scenes, not specific episodes or stories. So, as Playmates began to expand beyond the main cast of characters I wasn't as feverish about keeping up with their releases.

It's the second wave where this began to manifest. That's not to dismiss the toys from this wave and beyond in the slightest: They're all of the exact same peerless quality you'd expect from Playmates Star Trek, just to articulate and further highlight where my interest in this franchise really lies. This is the wave where variants, one-shots and reoccurring characters started to ...

Totemic Artefacts: Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation Part 3 - Wave 1 Vehicles and Role Play

The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D is one of my favourite designs for anything ever. I have been fascinated by this starship and the way it looks for *literally* almost as long as I can remember to a degree that borders on outright obsession. I cannot fully put into words what the Enterprise means to me because even I'm not sure I fully understand the true depths of that meaning myself. Whenever I look at it I'll sit entranced its curves, the vibrant colouring of the panels and the deflector dish or the slope of the stardrive section as it flows elegantly into that giant saucer. I don't even think there's just one thing about it that makes it so incredibly beautiful; it's a genuine work of art in the sense everything about it sings together in perfect harmony such that you could stare at it forever.

The Enterprise is the centrepiece of Star Trek: The Next Generation's iconography for me. It's the one piece that sums up everything that I found so powerful and captivating about this series' look and feel. When I would get merchandise ...

Totemic Artefacts: Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation Part 2 - Wave 1 Aliens

Any self-respecting toy collector knows you've got to have bad guys for your heroes to fight against. And yet this is Star Trek: The Next Generation, and in spite of what certain creative figures might thing, fighting is pretty much the last thing we ought to be considering. And so we see another manifestation of the curious dual role the Playmates line must play: Fun enough for kids to want to play with and bang together, and sophisticated enough to engage adults.

Playmates knew the Enterprise crew had to meet some people while they were out there exploring space, so as part of the first wave of releases they included a handful of aliens you could either speak or spar with: A Borg drone, a Ferengi, a Romulan commander and Gowron. In hindsight these are sort of interesting picks; the first wave came out in the wake of Star Trek: The Next Generation's fifth season and was clearly meant to capitalize on it-Just take note of how Captain Picard is wearing his “captain's jacket” and, of course, the Star Trek 25th Anniversary branding. But while these aliens are in ...

Totemic Artefacts: Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation Part 1 - Wave 1 and the Bridge Crew

Alan Moore teaches us that reality begins with fiction. “The idea of a god is a god”. But fiction can not just be written, it also must be read. And when we read things, according to Shoshana Felman, we are not uncovering hidden meaning, but generating truth. And the truth that we generate will be different for each person, for each person is different themselves. My truth will not necessarily be your truth, and yours will not necessarily be mine.

If this project has taught me one thing, its this: Reinforcing my conscious intellectualization of the reading process by forcing me to undergo it at an intimate and primal level so that I may attempt to convey what I've seen to all of you. It's a shamanic process; travel inside and out (because they're the same thing) and try and share the experience through art for the benefit of others. It's no great arcane secret-I've always helped that by my doing it, it would demonstrate that you could do it too.

When we talk about a work of art having a transformative effect on us and leaving ...

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