Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Klingon Vor'cha Attack Cruiser A Toy That Might Be Better Than A Model!

The Good: Cool sounds, Good light effects, Nice size and sculpt
The Bad: No stand, Lack of light effect, Decals
The Basics: The Klingon Attack Cruiser, Vor'cha class, is a Klingon fighting machine made into a very cool toy!

A long time ago - now, it seems - Playmates Toys had the Star Trek line of toys. Shortly after the twenty-fifth anniversary of Star Trek, Playmates began producing Star Trek toys, both the action figures and larger starships. The starships were about the size of a model, with lights and sound and they focused first on the starships of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

From the first wave of starship toys, collectors were given the chance to pick up the Klingon Vor'cha Class Warship. On Star Trek: The Next Generation, when the leader of the Klingon High Council left the Klingon homeworld, he appeared in "Reunion" (reviewed here!) in a giant, new, powerful ship. That was a Vor'cha class cruiser and it immediately left an impression with viewers. It was as strong as the U.S.S. Enterprise and while it would be quite some time before viewers saw one in action, it looked cool. It made for a pretty instant hit with fans and marketing it was a smart move.


Playmates toys released the Klingon Battlecruiser at the same time as it released a starship toy of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D and the Romulan Warbird (reviewed here!). These toys were designed to appeal to the niche of collectors who liked models, but were not married to the building of models. As a result, the Vor'cha class cruiser is just over fifteen inches long, ten inches and a half inches wide and just under four inches tall.

The Klingon Battlecruiser is a standard Klingon design with an elongated neck leading to the bridge section and front weapons cannons. The aft section has warp nacelles suspended below each side of the starship. Reflecting the Star Trek: The Next Generation sensibility of Klingon starships, it is a light green. This is actually one of the more intriguing designs for a ship in the Star Trek universe and the frequency of the ships' appearance on Star Trek: The Next Generation and subsequent spin-offs, makes for a reasonable first wave ship.

The hull of the Vor'cha class cruiser is detailed fairly extensively with hull plating that makes it look fortified and battle-ready. Because the ship is designed for warfare, it does not have windows and multiple light sources that needed to be detailed into the ship. This works wonderfully for the fans - and Playmates - because it needs to look like a fortress and this little toy does. The Playmates Klingon Battlecruiser captures much of this detailing with precision and an excellent amount of care. This is clearly a Vor'cha class cruiser and anyone who has seen the series will easily recognize it from Star Trek: The Next Generation.

It is somewhat baffling, then, that with such attention to detail for the sculptural lines and indentations, Playmates would resort to a decal for the Klingon symbol and 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, and at least Playmates does the work of applying the Decals. There are small multicolored Klingon symbols on the top port and bottom starboard sections and Klingon writing at the same place on the opposite sides, which are accurate, if not the most flattering aspect of this toy.

The light effects are not bad, but they are contained mostly to the warp nacelles and forward cannon, which are accurate and good. Unfortunately, the aft section has thrusters which are made of the same translucent red plastic as the lights on the nacelles and cannon, but they do not light up. This lessens the overall effect of the lights that do come on when the buttons are pushed.


Also disappointing is the lack of a stand. 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. Alas, the Klingon Battlecruiser has no stand and as a result, those who want to display it must either hang it from the ceiling, let it rest on a display surface or make their own stand.

The toy is outfitted with four buttons on the top of the neck of the ship which generates sounds from a sound chip. When pressed, the toy emits sounds of: Klingon disruptors, the Klingon photon torpedo, the ship decloaking, and a full volley. The best sound is the torpedo sound; it's quick, concise and an accurate recreation of the sound effect from the show. The sound effects are easily more memorable than the light effects and they make for an interesting selling point and conversation piece.

For fans of the starships, there is also a rather unsophisticated blueprint of the Klingon Battlecruiser included in the box.


The Vor'cha class Battlecruiser 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.

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 Klingon Battlecruiser is a good display piece, despite the the lack of a stand.


The most severe limitation to the collectibility of the Klingon Battlecruiser 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 Klingon Battleship 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 Klingon Battlecruiser 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 #009987 and so with at least 9988 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 loved my Vor'cha class cruiser when it was first released back in 1993. As time has passed and I have grown up some, I keep the Klingon Battlecruiser because it is a cool ship. Unfortunately, I keep it behind the shelves where the rest of my starships are displayed because there is no natural, easy way to display it. 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.

It's an average toy, but I recommend it for the simple reason that it's good, thought buyers who are looking to buy one need to be exceptionally careful about what they are buying. If the seller has left the toy truly mint in box, be sure to have some form of guarantee that if you open it and discover the batteries have bled, you'll be able to get your money back!

Anyone wishing they could conquer the galaxy, this is the toy to pretend it with!

For other Star Trek Playmates vehicle toys, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Gold Limited Edition U.S.S. Enterprise-D
U.S.S. Defiant
Space Station Deep Space Nine


For other toy reviews, please be sure to check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!

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