Thursday, February 9, 2012

Leonard Nimoy Turns In His Grave With The Mr. Spock Minimate...Oh, He's Not Dead...

The Good: Decent articulation, They remembered the ears?
The Bad: Size, Terrible likeness, Posability, Playability, Concept, Everything!
The Basics: Sure, it has Spock's ears, but where is his soul for this cheap, pathetic "toy" in a line of weird collectibles I don't think I'll ever understand!

At one point in my life, my big goal was to meet as many of the actors from the cast of the original Star Trek as possible. I missed DeForest Kelley, but I succeeded with meeting all of the others, actually multiple times over the past decade. Whenever I've been fortunate enough to encounter celebrities from my favorite shows, I find myself usually lucky enough to ask them a question. Leonard Nimoy, who played Spock, was the last actor from the show of the main cast that I had to meet and I spent quite some time in anticipation of the event. I can only thank my lucky stars now that I met him well before the minimate craze hit the collectibles market. After all, I would have hated to waste my brief time, my one question to Leonard Nimoy with:

"What the hell were you thinking signing off on the minimate?!"

I mean, honestly, Nimoy can't be that hard up for money that he needed to sign off on this piece of crap. If Nimoy needs money, all he had to do was a guest stint on Boston Legal (reviewed here!) or appear in the next Star Trek film, which he's doing. For those unfamiliar with the concept and the issues I might have with minimates, allow me to explain.

Anyone who ever played with Lego building blocks will recall that eventually, some Lego sets began coming with little Lego people. 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. PA Distribution (Art Asylum and Diamond Select Toys) has the license to market Star Trek minimates and I wonder why they sully their reputation with this product. Art Asylum revolutionized action figured using body scans for the most accurate possible action figures yet. Minimates, they seriously do look like little Lego figures or toddler's toys, even Mr. Spock. Actually, with his comically disproportionate ears, especially Mr. Spock!

First Officer and Science Officer Spock of the original Star Trek (reviewed here!), is condemned to plastic as a minimate (usually in a two-pack with Captain Pike). The two pack is $6.50, making them affordable, but these are still seriously overpriced. This figure looks campy and were it not for the ears, this could be Dr. McCoy (both come with a tricorder). Indeed, I took this toy to a recent Star Trek convention, set it on the table and I was most amused when parents would bring their little budding Trek babies along and ask the kid who the person was. None of them could tell. Indeed, when one adult said, "It's Mr. Spock!" the baby defiantly said "No, it's not!" I'm with the kid on this one!

The Mr. Spock minimate is a two inch tall piece of plastic that vaguely resembles the Vulcan first officer. PA Distribution didn't even bother to give the head cylinder a slightly greenish tint to make him any different from McCoy in terms of pigment! Maybe the reason Nimoy signed off on this was that he didn't have to: you don't need to pay someone for their likeness rights when their likeness is basically a series of squiggly lines on a generic cylindrical head. The blockish figure comes with an attached tricorder accessory. It's not much of a choking hazard because it's a pain to get off the figure. Also, unlike the image here, the right hand of Spock is in the traditional Vulcan salute, so it does have that going for it. That also means it can only hold other minimates' accessories in its left hand.

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 posability of the figure. It needs to be stood flatfooted in order to remain up and as a result, the knee and thigh articulation are 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 Mr. Spock in a saluting position or even a dignified, rigid posture stance, but the scale is prohibitive for playing with others and the posability 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.

I tend to look at the Star Trek toy lines through the eyes of a collector. As a fan of the Star Trek franchise, toys from Star Trek that I've collected have to be pretty special and, well, collectible. I'm not sure what makes minimates collectible other than that Trek-fans are told they can collect them. In any case, 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 Mr. Spock minimate is neither limited nor an even passable likeness. First, the toy looks very little like Spock, save the ears. The terrible expression on the minimate makes Spock look more angry as opposed to vaguely satanic. As it is, the scale is too small for the minimate to create any realistic likeness and the generic expression on the same cylindrical head as every other minimate lacks any real definition that would define the character. In short, this is a dud for the likeness department.

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. One hand does not hold any accessory and that, too, limits the playability of the toy.

Some might wonder what might inspire me to take on such ridiculous toys for my reviews. Well, somebody had to. And if I can prevent even one Trekker from wasting their hard-earned fan dollars, well, then maybe I've done my job!

For other Star Trek MiniMates reviews, please check out my takes on:
Gorn Minimate
Khan Minimate
Captain Kirk MiniMate
Dr. McCoy MiniMate


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

© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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