Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Are The Mini-Mates The Worst Toy Ever? Star Trek's Dr. McCoy Makes That Case!

The Good: Well, it doesn't take up much space . . .
The Bad: Small, Does not look anything like the subject, Low playability, Low collectibility, Pointless.
The Basics: PA Distribution jumps into the minimate craze with a pathetic interpretation of Dr. McCoy that not even a die-hard fan would want in their collection!

Sometimes, as a dealer in Star Trek merchandise and as a collector, I come across something that I look at, shake my head and say "What were they thinking?!" I did this when I came across the first minimates and I did a much more extreme version of it when I found the Star Trek line-up of the strangely popular toys. After months of sitting on this, it's time to look into this ridiculous phenomenon and I begin with ripping apart the pointless, terrible Dr. McCoy minimate by PA Distribution (Art Asylum and Diamond Select toys, who now share the Star Trek toy licensing line).

For those unfamiliar with the minimates concept, remember playing with Legos? You know how they eventually had people for the Legos? Well, minimates are a slightly larger (two inches tall as opposed to just one and a quarter) and a bit more articulate, but just about as good as far as their look.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I'll stretch my disdain for this product into a full-length review. After all, I have no idea who the intended market for this product is. Dr. McCoy, beloved chief surgeon of the starship Enterprise is immortalized in plastic as a minimate (usually in a two-pack with Scotty). The two pack is $6.50, making them affordable, but these are still seriously overpriced. This figure looks campy and just plain stupid and it has small parts (the tricorder that is slung over his shoulder) making it not ideal for young children who might not otherwise notice just how lame the toy is.

But, back to the beginning. The Dr. McCoy minimate is a two inch tall piece of plastic that vaguely resembles Dr. McCoy. DeForest Kelley, who played Dr. McCoy died some years ago and one may only guess what his thought would have been to see this little lego-like figure that could be virtually any blueshirt from the original Star Trek. The blockish figure comes with the tricorder - slung over his shoulder - and a communicator. The communicator is quite small - only about a third of an inch long - so it seems like it wouldn't be much of a choking hazard for young children, but I'm not one who would risk it to find out. Given how easily it falls out of McCoy's hand, I wouldn't recommend keeping it around little kids!

The figure is articulated, I have to give PA that; the head, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, knees and thigh-socket are all articulated. Given, however, the way the feet are essentially little blocks, the leg articulation does little as far as poseability of the figure. It needs to be stood flatfooted in order to remain up and as a result, the knee and thigh articulation is a bit of a waste.

Which leads to the question of playability. I don't get the point of this figure. Sure, you can pose Dr. McCoy to look like he's running (don't drop him too many times; my figure was chipped after he fell about seven times from a shelf onto a tile floor) or move his arms, but the scale is prohibitive for playing with others and the poseability is pretty rotten for simply displaying. As far as a toy goes, this basically seems like an ideal toy for a young child to pick up, pop in their mouth and get lodged there as a result of the limb articulation.

Which leads to the toy as a collectible. The best collectibles remind the buyer of the subject of the collectible. The best collectible toys rock because of the realism to the likeness of the character they are supposed to represent and articulation. Quite simply, the best collectible toys are the most striking likenesses of the characters they represent for collectors and great articulation for those who bother to take it out of the pack for play enthusiasts or those who want to actually display their figures.

The Dr. McCoy minimate has neither. First, the toy looks nothing like Dr. McCoy. The scale is too small and the generic expression on the same cylindrical head as every other minimate lacks any real definition that would define the character. Sure, the face is scowling, but I've seen jack-o'-lanterns with scowls that more closely resembled a likeness of Dr. McCoy. In short, this is a dud for the likeness department and were it not for description of the figure as "Dr. McCoy" and the coloring, it would be a pretty safe bet to guess that this was a figure of Mr. Sulu. Yes, that's how unlike this likeness is! And the big hair look is just terrible!

And while the figure is articulated at twelve points, much of that articulation is pointless and cannot be used to pose the toy for displays in intriguing fashions. The hands do not hold the accessories and that, too, limits the playability of the toy.

You know, as a professional writer, it pains me that the best I can come up with to write about this toy is "This is a lame toy." But the truth is, it is. It's not fun, it's not collectible, it's not interesting and when the minimate craze passes, Dr. McCoy is going to be one of the first in the junkheap!

Man, this is a lame toy.

For other original Star Trek toys, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Playmates limited edition Dr. McCoy in dress uniform action figure
Toy Factory Scotty plush
Swashbuckling Sulu and Chekov minimates 2-pack


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

© 2011, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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