Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Legends Of Star Trek Goes Off Course With "Legends Of Scotty/Sulu/Uhura!"

The Good: Some truly interesting images! Limited quality, Cardstock, No publicity shots!
The Bad: Cost/Value, Lack of image diversity, Does not capture full history
The Basics: With only nine cards, the "Legends Of Scotty, Sulu and Uhura" disappoints casual fans and collectors of all three characters and actors!

When the Legends Of Star Trek set began, I was quite excited. Because it was originally intended to be the very best of all of the franchise, the initial list of characters presented was going to leap around the various series' and make a very true and complete view of the Star Trek franchise. I was also excited because from the initial list, I would be able to get everyone who was going to be in the set to autograph a card of their character. When "The Legends Of McCoy" was released, that concept was gutted some. The rest of the concept hit the floor with the "Legends Of Scotty, Sulu and Uhura." In addition to no longer having one set devoted to each legendary character, this set continued to produce images of original Star Trek characters whose actors (in this case, James Doohan) were deceased and thus I would not be able to get it signed.

When the "Legends Of Scotty, Sulu And Uhura" was originally released, the concept was so new and different and exciting that collectors had a lot to look forward to. In retrospect, this Legends Of Star Trek set is pretty much the beginning of the end for the series.

Basics/Set Composition

The Legends Of Star Trek set is a series of cards produced by Rittenhouse Archives and released on average twice a year over the last five years. The "Legends Of Scotty, Sulu and Uhura" set is the fourth in the ever-expanding series that is released in nine card, limited edition increments. There are no bonus cards in this set, they come as complete sets of nine cards sealed in a cellophane package. There are three things that make these sets truly special: cardstock, an individual limited edition number, and the images on the cards. The cardstock is a 20pt. (thicker than usual) cardstock with the standard UV resistant coating that all quality trading cards come with these days. To illustrate the truly limited nature of the Legends Of Star Trek cards, every set is strictly limited to 1701 sets and the L9 card (visible at the back of the cellophane pack) is foil stamped with an individual number for the specific "Legends Of" set. So, for example, my personal set is number 0440/1701! This is where it helps to have a dealer that you are loyal to; dealers were able to order all of the same limited edition collector's numbers each time, so every time I get an order in, they are the same limited edition numbers and I - and my customers - are assembling sets with matching numbers, which will presumably hold the value of the overall series better in the long run.

Finally, the Legends Of Star Trek series is characterized by wonderful, uncommon images that are not the typical shots that have been on 8x10s, t-shirts and collector's plates before. Instead, these cards capitalize on big rare images, vivid color contrast and cards that are uncluttered by pesky text! These cards are for the fans who know the accomplishments of their heroes! No need to write about them, the images speak for themselves!

Common Cards

The "Legends Of Scotty, Sulu and Uhura" set is a nine-card Legends Of Star Trek set that features six images each of Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott, Lieutenant Sulu and Lieutenant Uhura from throughout the three seasons of Star Trek! These are all screen captures and present heroic shots of the three characters from the five year mission of the Enterprise. It's fairly unimaginative and pedestrian uniforms and tight headshots. Actually, the "Legends Of Scotty, Sulu and Uhura" is one of the most bland sets yet released and the only real joy in it is in trying to figure out just which episodes the images come from.

In fact, the only interesting images come on card L2, which front and back have Scotty in the Jefferies tubes. Which episode is a bit of a mystery, but at least it is not a bust shot of James Doohan as Scotty. Conversely, the Uhura cards are very easy to identify: two of the cards have images from "The Corbomite Maneuver" (the only episode she wore a gold uniform for) and there's the shot of Uhura reacting to being smacked by Khan from "Space Seed." Sadly, the "Legends of Sulu" section could come from any number of episodes; the images are so generic and inexpressive, both front and back.

At least there are no publicity shots. Instead, these are eighteen hard-to-find shots of Scotty, Sulu and Uhura separately doing their thing.

The problem is, the image diversity is intriguing, but it could have been better for the fans. The true crime here is that there are no shots of Scotty from his appearance in Star Trek: The Next Generation and none of the films! Sulu is not shown as a Captain from Star Trek: Voyager (or Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country). If one wishes to argue any of these characters are truly legendary, their entire StarFleet career ought to be encapsulated. It would have been nice to have some shots of them from in their later life when their heroism continued to endure. But even more than that, it would have offered some different color contrasts and potential poses. This is a very red and gold set!

Moreover, it is a very straightforward and bland set. It is all the characters in their uniforms. Where is Scotty aged from "The Deadly Years?" Sulu disguised as a member of the community in "Return Of The Archons" and Uhura had a great out-of-uniform outfit for "The Tholian Web," but those images are not included here. It's disappointing that Scotty is not shown in his kilt or Sulu with his rapier or Uhura with so much as the collar of obedience from "The Gamesters of Triskelion."

Visually, this is a less exciting set than it could be, in terms of diversity. But it does a pretty phenomenal job of capturing images of the three characters that are not the typical ones, but it could be so much better.


Those who love James Doohan as Lt. Commander Montgomery Scott will likely enjoy this at least as much as the die hard fans and the card collectors. It makes a nice tribute to the late actor and they are good shots. The images of George Takei as Sulu and Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura are great for their fans, but with only three cards, it's hard for those who are fans of only one of those actors/characters to justify shelling out the full price for this set. Overall, it's enough to sell a casual fan on picking up this set, if not starting a Legends Of Star Trek collection. Those who have other characters they love and decide not to collect the entire Legends Of Star Trek series will find that there are fans of any of the three characters or actors who are willing to buy up these sets, if for no other reason than they represent something fairly different to keep as a tribute to the late Doohan! One suspects in the future, the Legends Of Star Trek sets will be sold in the secondary market almost exclusively as entire series collections, so fans who simply have a favorite character will want to snatch up the releases when they first come out!

Still, it's disappointing and it feels less than the other Legends Of Star Trek sets that were released.

This set culls images from:
Star Trek, most recognizably "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "Space Seed"

For other Legends Of Star Trek cards, please be sure to read my reviews of:
Legends Of Captain Kirk
Legends Of Spock
Legends Of Dr. Leonard McCoy


For other card reviews, please visit my Card Index Page!

© 2012, 2009, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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