Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Rarity Of The Corgi 40th Anniversary Klingon Bird-Of-Prey Toy Drives It Up!

The Good: Amazing sculpting detail, Cool light effect, Limited edition nature, Cool packaging
The Bad: Inaccurately colored
The Basics: An incredible sculpt, Corgi makes a great toy for fans of Star Trek with the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey limited edition toy!

My wife is pretty amazing at the giftgiving. She knows what I like and she has a tendency to pick out some great things for me. Unfortunately, in teasing me for my birthday, she revealed that at this summer's Star Trek convention, she found a rare item from the 40th Anniversary celebration and I felt terrible when a few weeks later, I ruined her surprise by discovering just what she had found for me by searching for one of my reviews of 40th Anniversary Star Trek trading cards only to see a listing for the Corgi 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey. I have a collection of Klingon Bird-Of-Prey items (including a beautiful print of the Klingons attacking Deep Space Nine) and my wife rightly guessed that I did not have the Corgi 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey toy; I didn't even know it existed until I found it in the database!

Now with my birthday long behind us and the new toy proudly displayed, I find myself reviewing it and forced to consider that this toy is close enough to perfect, but that the value of it (something that decreased the moment I removed it from the box) is part of what makes it so close to perfect. Apparently, there is a perfectly-accurately colored Corgi Klingon Bird-Of-Prey toy which uses the same mold and is not as limited (that’s reviewed here!). That more common toy is less valuable to collectors than the 40th Anniversary version, but also has the benefit of being painstakingly colored for accuracy of the toy to make it exactly what collectors want. Even so, the detailing and light effect of the 40th Anniversary toy is so exceptional as to make this an easy toy to recommend and set collectors upon hunting for.


The Corgi 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey toy is a recreation of the popular Star Trek starship cast in silver-gray plastic. The toy has the look of one of the pewter replica starships, as opposed to the actual green starship. The coloring difference is intended to be deliberate and it is not an obvious choice; Corgi could have done a properly colored green Klingon Bird-Of-Prey (which is what the unlimited version of the toy is) or a clear version which would represent the "cloaked" version of the starship. The silver-gray is designed to make this look like a prototype or a display piece made of a more impressive material than plastic.

This limited edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey is truly a masterwork of detailing, though. At 5 1/8" wide (wing gun to wing gun) by 4 1/8" long by 2 ¼" tall, the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey is intended to be a display piece more than a toy. Still, this is a wonderful casting with silver-gray plastic for the body, wings and bridge section of the starship and clear plastic for the thruster array, wing guns and torpedo tube of the ship. The Klingon Bird-Of-Prey, like most Klingon starships is intended to look armored and strong. As a result, the ship is covered in panels that both detail the ship and make it look like it could be protected in battle by the plating. Still, the Corgi Klingon Bird-Of-Prey also captures details like the light ports on the bridge section and the power conduits on the wings. These are finer details which look precise and accurate (having seen the actual set-used model in person).

What is arguably most impressive about the sculpt of the Corgi 40th Anniversary Limited Edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey is the detailing of the wing guns. The guns at the tips of the wings are double-barrel disruptors and most manufacturers who replicate the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey tend to cheap out on the guns because they are more delicate by definition. In Corgi's case, the wing guns are made of a harder plastic which is clear, but accurately is cast to have both barrels on each gun! This is extraordinary detailing and it caps off the toy wonderfully for making a model-quality replica of the starship. Those who are fans of the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey will truly appreciate that Corgi made the thin weapons instead of either neglecting them (making them a single, thicker barrel) or making them disproportionately large, which have been flaws in other manufacturer's Klingon Bird Of Prey toys. It does, however, make the Corgi Limited Edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey fragile.


The Klingon Bird-Of-Prey toy from Corgi comes with only a single accessory: a display stand. The display stand has a 1 ½" plastic Klingon symbol which plugs into the lighted circular base for the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey. The top of the Klingon symbol plugs into the center bottom of the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey. The 1/8" in diameter cylinder surprisingly holds the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey level and stable. And it looks good there.

The stand itself is a 5 ½" in diameter disc which is ¾" tall. The disc has eight white lights spaced equidistantly on the outside of the disc and it runs on four AAA batteries. The batteries fit simply in the bottom of the stand and the battery chamber is sealed with a small screw, which is a bit annoying for those looking to get the toy set up quickly. There is a button hidden on the top of the stand which activates the light effect when a switch is flipped on the bottom as well. When the stand is "on," and the button is pushed, the lights light up for a few seconds, then slowly blink on and off for a total of twenty seconds. This washes the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey in light and highlights the nooks and crannies of the ship. I've had the batteries in (and the stand off when not in use) since I first received the toy and the batteries have not shown any recognizable level of drain. The light effect is as bright as the first time I put batteries in. Those who have the Playmates starship toys might be a little disappointed by the lack of a sound effect, but most fans will be thrilled by the inclusion of a light effect, as opposed to nothing at all.

The box for the Corgi Limited Edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey toy is almost an accessory in itself. The box unfolds and has information about the Klingon Empire and the Klingon Bird-Of-Prey starship. This is a nice selling point and it is surprisingly thorough, including lists of Klingon leaders (including Worf for the two minutes he was head of the Empire), Klingon history and technical specifications for the actual starship. This is an added value to both casual and die-hard fans.


To be honest as a reviewer, the Corgi limited edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey has almost no playability. Instead, this is intended more as a display piece than a toy. If it were a toy, one would expect the wings to raise and lower. But, because this is intended to appeal more to those who like models than toys, the Corgi Klingon Bird-Of-Prey is a static ship and one does not imagine children would get much play out of it before the guns broke off the wings.


What pushes the limited edition Corgi Klingon Bird-Of-Prey back up in my estimation, then, is its truly limited edition nature. As a card collector, discovering that the Corgi 40th Anniversary Bird Of Prey is limited to 7500 pieces (mine is number 6018) made me think this was not very limited at all, but in toy collecting circles, it turns out anything under 10,000 is considered very rare. This explains why the 40th Anniversary limited edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey has already appreciated in value. It is most commonly found in the secondary market at specialty shops where it commands prices about double what it originally sold at. Those who can find these cheap will find this to be an excellent investment piece, assuming it is mint in box.


Despite the coloring differences from the "real" ship, the Corgi limited edition Klingon Bird-Of-Prey released for the 40th Anniversary of Star Trek is an immaculate sculpt with great detail and a neat stand which holds it perfectly for display. This makes it close enough to perfect to enthusiastically recommend for those who love the starships from the Star Trek franchise!

For other Star Trek ship toy reviews, please check out my takes on:
Hot Wheels Klingon Bird Of Prey (Battle Damaged)
Playmates Klingon Bird Of Prey
2010 Hallmark U.S.S. Enterprise Star Trek (2009) variation ornament

For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

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

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