The Good: Decent sculpt, Interesting light and sound effects (could always use more)
The Bad: Very limited appeal, Decals instead of painted on details, Not emblematic of anything from movie.
The Basics: A disappointing vision of the destruction of the U.S.S. Enterprise-D makes for a toy with very limited appeal or playability.
When it comes to Star Trek toys, there are few lines that could be described as "infamous." I mean, seriously, they are toys, right?! What would be so bad about a toy line to make it both the scourge of collectors and strangely sought after? Enter Playmates Star Trek: Generations toy line. Prior to the release of Star Trek: Generations (reviewed here!) Playmates designed their action figures based upon preliminary costume sketches for the movie. Unfortunately for Playmates and collectors, the studio went in a different direction with the uniforms. In fact, the studio didn't know what it was doing with the outfits, so characters' outfits change throughout the movie without any sense of rhyme or reason. But the important thing here is that they did not go with the original designs that Playmates had and used for their action figure line. So, there is a whole set of figures wearing uniforms that never existed in the Star Trek universe!
Unfortunately, either due to laziness or similar changes in the film, Playmates produced a battle damaged U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D to reflect the demise of the great starship in the movie. For those who didn't know - or see subsequent Star Trek films - the Enterprise-D meets an untimely end in Star Trek: Generations, but when it happens, the ship is split into its two modes: saucer section and battle drive. The Playmates Battle Damaged U.S.S. Enterprise reflects an entirely different scenario for the destruction of the Enterprise.
Playmates toys released the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D when Star Trek: Generations hit theaters and it is essentially a recasting of the original U.S.S. Enterprise-D toy (reviewed here!), save that this version has two spring-loaded blast away panels on the saucer section and carbon scoring painted on the ship to indicate the ship has been shot at quite a bit! 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 Enterprise-D is just over fifteen inches long, eleven inches wide and just under four inches tall.
The hull of the Enterprise is detailed fairly extensively with all of the windows that the ship had, along with the nooks and crannies for weapons and similar details. What it lacks are the light effects needed to make the starship truly work in a realistic fashion. The Enterprise-D is covered in windows from people's quarters, lit from within in a rather striking and obvious way. The toy does nothing close to that and as a result, the overall effect of the Enterprise is lost. However, as a result of the battle damage, when the explode-away panels are ejected, there are burn holes left that glow red with a new light effect. This is mildly entertaining (it is basically a big, square red piece of plastic with a very small light underneath it that throbs when the button is pushed, not even illuminating the whole blasted-away portion) but not an incredible effect.
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 Ten Forward's windows and the writing on the aft-top and bottom sections of the starship, as opposed to painting it on or making it part of the actual sculpt. This is nitpicky, to be sure, but it is annoying that Playmates does not do the work of applying the decals. The Enteprise-D is labeled in several places and it's annoying to have to put all the decals on; after all, if I had wanted a model, I would have purchased a model, not the toy. Even more annoying; some of the decals represent bars that could have been light effects.
The light effects are disappointing in that they are exclusively contained to the warp nacelles and the battle damage holes. Despite the deflector dish being made of translucent plastic, it does not light up. Neither does the bridge or any of the other lights. The light effects that the ship DOES have are decent, it just needed more to make the toy truly wow collectors.
Fortunately, this Enterprise does have a stand! Supported by a Star Trek: Generations communicator-shaped base, the stand raises and supports the Battle Damaged Enterprise about a foot 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 two buttons on the front of the saucer section of the ship which generates sounds from a sound chip. When pressed, the toy emits sounds of: the Enterprise being shot at and blowing apart. The sound effects are easily more memorable than the light effects and they make for an interesting selling point and conversation piece.
This Galaxy-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 flipping a little button in the battery pack that disengages the light effects. When the batteries begin to fade, the light effects take a real dive in quality.
The blow away panels make for interesting, if limited, play. After all, how many times can the ship get shot in the same area before kids lose interest?!
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 Battle Damaged Enterprise-D is a fair display piece, despite the decals and the fact that the Enterprise-D was never so damaged.
The most severe limitation to the collectibility of the Enterprise 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 Enterprise 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 Battle Damaged U.S.S. Enterprise-D 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 #006799 and so with at least 6,800 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.
I have been lukewarm on the battle damaged Enterprise-D since first seeing Star Trek: Generations and realizing this toy bore no resemblance to anything that happened in the movie. I've begun to get more disappointed by it as the decals peel and look progressively more ridiculous. Moreover, the light effects - especially - no longer impress me and it is a battery hog, so I almost never put batteries in and listen to it anymore.
Fans of the Enterprise, any Enterprise, are likely to find a better toy than this.
For other Playmates Star Trek toys, please be sure to check out my reviews of:
Space Station Deep Space Nine
For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!
© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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