Sunday, January 23, 2011

One Of The Best Starship Toys From Playmates,The Klingon Bird Of Prey From Star Trek: Generations Stands!

The Good: Decent light and sound effects, Good sculpt, Has a stand
The Bad: Not as rare as the other version, Wings do not move, Stand is awkward
The Basics: A surprisingly cool, if hard-to-find starship toy, the Star Trek: Generations Klingon Bird Of Prey is worth picking up for fans of Klingon Bird Of Preys!

For those who do not know of my particular tastes in collectibles, I am a big fan of Star Trek and I have a collection of Klingon Bird Of Prey memorabilia. From the first time I saw one, I thought they were a truly magnificent craft and I enjoyed collecting trading and gaming cards and toys of the illustrious Klingon vessel. My collection includes such things as the Klingon Bird Of Prey from Corgi (reviewed here!) and the Hallmark Klingon Bird Of Prey ornament (reviewed here!). It has also, for a very long time, included the Star Trek: Generations Klingon Bird Of Prey. This is a toy I proudly display and include in my collection.

The Klingon Bird Of Prey, in this case, the K'Vort Class version, is a decent rendition, though it is not the very best sculpting or coloring of the amazing ship. Still, Playmates made the toy rather rare, but there is an even rarer version that die-hard collectors might want to hunt down. Some elements of the Playmates Klingon Bird Of Prey are likely to leave fans unimpressed, but on the balance, this is a wonderful toy.


Playmates toys released the Klingon Bird Of Prey when Star Trek: Generations (reviewed here!) hit theaters and it was a welcome addition to the line. This toy was designed to appeal to the niche of collectors who liked models, but were not married to the building of models. This toy retains the scale of the other starships and as a result, the Klingon Bird Of Prey is just over twelve inches long, fifteen and a half inches wide and seven and a half inches tall.

The hull of the Klingon Bird Of Prey is detailed fairly extensively with all of the baffle plates that the ship had, along with the wing guns, feather paintjob on the underside and similar details. What it lacks are the details molded into the front upper wing section, which is presented on this toy as a pair of stickers that have a circuitboard type pattern to them. The Klingon Bird Of Prey looks battle-ready and sturdy and has decent surface detailing. The toy, however, is colored in a lighter green than the actual starship, so this is not olive green and menacing. As well, the wing guns are out of proportion: overlarge and silver-gray. The difference in proportions is disappointing.

It is similarly baffling that with such attention to detail for the sculptural lines and indentations, Playmates would resort to multiple decals for such things as both the insignias on the wings and on the front panels. It is annoying that Playmates does not do the work of applying the decals.

The light effects are decent, but they are exclusively contained to the impulse engines and the photon torpedo tube at the front of the ship. Sadly, the wings do not move up and down, which the wings on the Klingon Bird Of Prey do in order to go from battle mode to cruising mode. That Playmates did not articulate this is disappointing, especially considering that the technology existed and Playmates used it for their U.S.S. Voyager starship toy.


Fortunately, this Klingon Bird Of Prey does have a stand! Supported by a Star Trek: Generations communicator-shaped base, the stand raises and supports the Klingon Bird Of Prey about seven inches off the surface the stand it placed on. As collectors became more sophisticated with future releases and made it clear to Playmates that they wanted to be able to display the starships, Playmates began to include stands that the starships would rest upon and this one does that.

The toy is outfitted with three buttons on the front of the engineering hull of the ship which generates sounds from a sound chip. When pressed, the toy emits sounds of: the Klingon Bird Of Prey cruising at impulse, firing torpedoes, and firing a single torpedo which explodes! Each time the buttons are pushed, the lights light up and this is a cool effect!


This K'Vort-class starship is a starship toy, so it does not open up (save the battery slot) and does not naturally interact with the 4.5 (or any other) action figure line. It comes out of the box completely assembled and the battery life may easily be extended by removing the batteries altogether. When the batteries begin to fade, the light effects and sound effects take a real dive in quality.

This is a toy that - outside lighting up and making noise - does nothing. As a result, it is a good toy for children who have an imagination. They interact with other children to create space battles or just soar through the galaxy until they are tired out or whatever kids do. Honestly, this is a toy created with the intent of selling to adults who are into collectible toys. That purpose was mostly met and the Klingon Bird Of Prey is a fair display piece, despite the decals. Fans of the Klingon Bird Of Prey will be pleased.


The most severe limitation to the collectibility of the Klingon Bird Of Prey as a collectible comes in its selling point as a toy; because the toy comes with batteries and browsers are encouraged by the box to test the sounds, collectors are left with a real dilemma. As most collectors know, almost everything that is collectible is made more valuable by being Mint In Box. The potential consequence of leaving the Klingon Bird Of Prey truly mint in box is that the batteries, well after they are dead will leak and eat apart the starship and packaging.

As a result, many collectors - even those who do not display the ship because they want to keep it mint in package - opened the package to remove the batteries. It is difficult to assess the effect this has on the collectibility because these near mint in box ships might well be in better condition than a truly mint in box one which might reasonably have suffered serious damage from battery degradation by this point (especially in more humid climes).

That said, Playmates made the Star Trek: Generations U.S.S. Klingon Bird Of Prey more collectible by including a limited edition number on the box to each toy. Then again, they made it less collectible by producing the toy in the volume that they did. My toy is numbered #007699 and so with at least 7700 of these out in the world, it's hard to consider it especially limited. Moreover, many collectors purchased these and stockpiled them when they were first released, though the market does seem to have gone up on them lately.


The Star Trek: Generations Klingon Bird Of Prey toy fills a valuable niche for collectors and Star Trek fans and despite the coloring problems, most fans will be happy to get their hands on this starship toy!

For other Klingon Bird Of Prey and starship toys/ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
Hot Wheels Battle Damaged Klingon Bird Of Prey
Playmates U.S.S. Enterprise
2010 U.S.S. Enterprise (Star Trek refit) ornament


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page! There you will find an organized listing of all of the toys I have reviewed!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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