Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Final "Minimates" Review Takes The Mugato To Task!

The Good: Looks pretty much like a Mugato, Articulated
The Bad: No accessories, Not collectible, Playability, Posability
The Basics: The final Star Trek minimate from Art Asylum, the Mugato looks like what it is supposed to be, but is no more playable than the others!

Perhaps one of the most enjoyable moments in the DVD presentation of the second season of Star Trek (reviewed here!) is when one discovers one of the easter eggs that features William Shatner joking about Star Trek. In the easter egg, Shatner describes the real way to defeat the dreaded Mugato, a furry beast that appeared in one episode of Star Trek and is now immortalized in at least two action figures, including the Minimate. Shatner declares that when being attacked by a guy in a furry suit, the key is to find a loose thread and unravel the demon! It's that kind of wit and charm that makes him so popular on the convention circuit and it truly is funny on the DVD.

The Mugato, here, is now a Minimate that is anything but furry, though it does look generally like the Mugato (or the Abominable Snowman from one of those ClayMation Christmas Specials . . .). Actually, the Mugato, which appeared in "A Private Little War" (reviewed here!) is one of the more distinctive aliens from Star Trek and the sculpt for the Minimate does include both the tail and the back ridges, which makes it look very much like the character it is supposed to embody.

Still, it's a Minimate and these toys are pointless and virtually unplayable! For those unfamiliar with these little slabs of plastic, "Minimates" are two-inch tall action figures that instantly remind one Lego people, the little "action figures" that made people a part of the Lego world so things like Lego cars, helicopters and houses could have more than just the joy of building associated with them! Star Trek briefly got into the Minimate craze, though that seemed to have (fortunately) died a quick death when Star Trek fans and collectors alike looked at the product, laughed and said "No freakin' way!"

In the Star Trek line, the Mugato is right up there with the Gorn as a fairly decent representation of the subject, made into a toy that is just plain terrible. Like the Gorn figure, this minimate rates a little higher than the others because it actually looks like the Mugato it is supposed to represent. Then again, it's not like the Star Trek universe is full of big, white creatures with monkey faces! I mean, outside the Mugato, this could pretty much only be a minimate of a Munchichi!

The Mugato minimate is a two inch tall piece of plastic that fairly resembles the animal from "A Private Little War." The blockish figure lacks any accessories, though the tail broke off mine rather easily. The Mugato doesn't truly need accessories, it was an animal on the show and wasn't all that sophisticated there!

The figure is articulated, I have to give PA that; the head, tail, 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 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 the Mugato to have it ready to jump on Captain Kirk or knock over Dr. McCoy, but the scale is prohibitive for playing with others and the poseability is pretty rotten for simply displaying. Indeed, in order to get this figure to stand up, many of the poses required me to lean the figure back so it was a tripod with the tail acting as a third leg! 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 Mugato minimate was not limited and while the likeness is decent, it's not like it was the most impressive alien Star Trek ever conceived, making it of very limited interest to the fans. While the figure is articulated at thirteen points, much of that articulation is pointless and cannot be used to pose the toy for displays in intriguing fashions.

Ultimately, those who love Star Trek (and I am one of them!) will be able to find a better way to spend their hard-earned fan dollars, though if you insist on wasting them on Minimates, this one or the Gorn are your best bets! May this line rest in peace (and never trouble collectors again!).

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


For other toy reviews, please check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the toys I have reviewed!

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