Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hard Not To Like "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion," Even With The Size Issue!

The Good: Interesting concept and gimmicks, Great chase cards, Decent solution to problems with box size.
The Bad: Card size, Expansion sets are a little annoying, Some problematically dark cards.
The Basics: A great set of trading cards - if you can even find the boxes any more! - "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion" still satisfies!

When Rittenhouse Archives was establishing itself, Fleer/SkyBox still owned the license rights to Star Trek to make trading cards and that company began to move away from the non-sports card market and as a result, they began to show less interest in creating a quality product than they had in their heyday. Paramount exacted a few restrictions on Cherendoff, the head of Rittenhouse Archives, on the first sets while the trading card license was still at SkyBox, but soon Rittenhouse Archives had its first set with "Star Trek In Motion" (reviewed here!). Soon after, they followed it up with "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion."

This second set was quite a bit more successful than the first set and solved a number of problems that the earlier set had. The "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion" set was a tough sell to card collectors at the time as the cards were not the standard size and most fans were not sure that Rittenhouse would not be a fly-by-night company. Now, with almost ten years passed and hundreds of card sets from some of the most popular franchises on the market - including Star Trek - Rittenhouse Archives has assuaged any doubt that they are here to stay. As well, the concept of "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion" made for an easier sell than the first Rittenhouse release because it focused on the women. Women in science fiction are the safest bet for virtually any collectible: women tend to identify with them as positive role models (at least the ones from the Star Trek franchise) and men lust after them as sex symbols. Either way, it's one of the easiest ways to part fans and collectors from their cash!

Basics/Set Composition

"The Women Of Star Trek In Motion" is a set of lenticular trading cards, cards where the images move! Every card in the common set and most of the chase sets has images that move using state-of-the-art card technology. Each card is actually made of thick plastic with ripples on the front. The back has a paper stuck to the plastic and the paper is actually made up of tiny lines. Thus, as one tilts the card, the light passes through the ripples on the front of the card and makes the image move. This is not an unsophisticated process and the images includes some rather full range-of-motion movements, like Lwaxana Troi removing her veil on card 19 or Intendant Kira striding down a corridor on card 24.

The thing is, the cards are all three and a half by five and one quarter inches. Some of the bonus cards are oversized non-motion cards measuring five by seven inches (like the DeForest Kelley Tribute cards in Star Trek In Motion!). The standard trading card is 2 1/2" by 3 1/2". We understand that this awkward large size was the result of the licensing agreement that allowed Rittenhouse to begin while SkyBox still had the trading card license, but these cards are still a little cumbersome, though nowhere near as bad as the original set had been.

Properly assembled, the "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion" set consists of one hundred twenty cards. The set is made up of thirty-two common cards and eighty-eight bonus cards, only thirty-nine of which are available in the actual boxes of "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion" cards. Boxes of these cards consist of twenty-four packs with three cards per pack. As well, each box had a separate "bonus" card section, which featured a sound card and an oversized autograph card and three Archive Portrait cards.

Common Cards

The common card set consists of thirty-two lenticular cards. These oversized cards were made with an impressive assortment of women from throughout the Star Trek franchise. At the time, there were the four television series's and the movies. This set does an amazing job of getting most all of the vital women from throughout the franchise included in the common set. The fronts each have a single moving image of the woman from Star Trek with the back describing the woman and how she fit into the franchise. The writing is interesting, but nothing extraordinary.

Rittenhouse rather nicely utilized different images on the back of each card to accompany the writing. The edges of these cards are remarkably easy to fray as part of the process by which they were cut and as a result, it is not uncommon to open packs of "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion" cards and find that they have little scratches on either side. What qualifies these cards as mint is also the subject of debate among many fans and collectors.

Rittenhouse Archives chose some great images and shots to use for this set. All of the vital women from the franchise (as it was when the set was released) are there: Uhura and Chapel from Star Trek, Troi and Dr. Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Kira and both Daxes from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Captain Janeway and Seven Of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager. As well, a number of significant and recognizable guest starring women show up in this set from Andrea and Vina the Orion Slave woman to the Duras Sisters and Saavik to Leeta and Kai Winn and Seska. Both Borg Queens are present in the set as are the Mirror universe versions of Uhura and Kira! The concept - motion cards - is an interesting one, but this set is rather expensive for a thirty-two card set, but it's worth it.

Still, in the common set there are some serious problems and it comes down to image choices. The set works best on cards like #13 of Lieutenant Ilia, where the card is bright and the image and motion are clear. Unfortunately, cards like #2 of B'Elanna Torres and #24 of the Mirror Kira are so dark the images are almost worthless. This problem is even worse on some of the chase cards.

Chase Cards

Breaking even on boxes has often come down to the bonus cards that are in each box. That makes it very easy to break even or make a profit on these cards, making it one of the strongest enduring sets for investors on the market. In "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion" there was a bonus card pack at the bottom of each box. There were several different bonus cards in this set: Heroines, Villainesses, Sound cards, Silver and Gold Archive Portrait and Autograph cards.

The Heroine and Villainess cards were inserted one in every four packs, so in the average box one pulled a complete set of each of the four Heroine and four Villainess cards. These were simply more motion cards of the best women on either side of the divide. As a result, there were different shots of Janeway, Jadzia, Uhura and Seven Of Nine and four new motion cards of Intendant Kira, the Borg Queen, the full-Borg Seven Of Nine and the Duras Sisters. The Villainess set is problematically comprised of almost impossible to see images that do not clearly portray their subjects. The darkness of the images is problematic. Otherwise, it is a decent concept, despite the emphasis on breasts, er, Seven Of Nine.

Then there were the sound cards. These cards were the same size as the others, but also were a quarter-inch thick (which is why they were placed at the bottom of each box, as opposed to in packs). Actually, these were six of the common, Heroine, or Villainess cards stuck to a book-like back. The card included a sound chip which played about thirty-seconds worth of sound from the episode depicted on the front of the card. When one opens the trading card, the sound chip was activated and some of them were pretty wonderful. For example, S2 has the dialogue from Worf and Dax after making love at the end of "Looking For Par'Mach In All The Wrong Places." Similarly, S6 has dialogue between Uhura and Sulu on taking risks from "Mirror, Mirror."

Every box had three Archive Collection oversized cards of each of the main women. Each one was limited to 999 in the Silver Archive Collection set and these are great for getting autographed by the celebrities on them! All of the main Women are present as well as secondary characters like Kes, Leeta and Tasha Yar! There were sixteen silver Archive Collection cards.

As well, there was a similar set with giant, unmoving images of the women of Star Trek, a set of Gold Archive Collection cards. These 5 X7 cards featuring giant images of Jadzia Dax, Kathryn Janeway, Seven Of Nine and Lieutenant Uhura replaced one of the Silver Archive Collection cards in about one in every six boxes, making them exceptionally limited! The Gold Archive Collection cards were limited to 500 of each and were also individually numbered on the front of each card.

Finally, each box had an autograph card. The autograph cards were rather evenly dispersed and with only five autographs, it might well be the easiest set to complete. When the set was released, this was the only place to get a Denise Crosby autograph on a trading card! Sherry Jackson (Andrea), Arlene Martel (T'Pring), Alice Krige (Borg Queen), and Terry Farrell (Jadzia Dax) also signed for this set. The autograph cards are also 5 X 7 cards with full bleed images, making for wonderful large signatures.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

Ironically, the bulk of the bonus cards cannot be found in the packs or boxes! First, the promotional cards for this set were extraordinarily limited. There were thirty-two, one for each common card. The promotional card set is easily differentiated from common cards by their backs. The back of the promotional cards are white without any pictures. They say "The Women Of Star Trek In Motion" Promotional Card. There are 500 of each promo card, but it remains a difficult set of promotional cards to complete.

As well, there is a casetopper sound card featuring a clip from "Dark Frontier" with the Borg Queen and Seven Of Nine talking with one another. This was only available in the full cases. As well, there was the sound card that was included in the factory-created binder, which was sold separately. The binder is nice and includes enough sheets to hold the common set of "Star Trek In Motion" cards. The sound card exclusive to the binder is one of Captain Janeway giving a little speech.

The other fifteen cards were exclusive sets that were mail-away expansions to the Archive Collection set. There were three sets of five limited edition cards that were each limited to 999 of each card, like the Silver Archive Collection Cards. One was only available in the United Kingdom and it was an expansion of Women Of Star Trek Voyager cards and it remains very difficult to find in the secondary market, despite how common it is. As well, there was a Seven Of Nine expansion set which was pretty rapidly gobbled up in the secondary market upon its release.

The last set is also the least sensible. Trying to capitalize on the popularity of the UPN wrestling crossover, "Tsunkatse," from Star Trek: Voyager, there is a five card expansion set from that episode. This set is easily the weakest as there are two great shots of Seven Of Nine from the episode in the set, two of The Rock's character and one that has Seven with her back turned facing off against the Pendari Champion. As a result, it is not even mostly women of Star Trek!


Still, this is an amazing set that manages to impress fans and collectors to this day. It's a nice idea and the execution set up a great model for collectibility, enduring value and decent product. It's too bad Rittenhouse so quickly abandoned that model. It was nice to be able to get a master set of cards by purchasing two cases! In fact, because so many people saw the value in the many parts of this set, it is one of the hardest to find boxes for anymore!

This set culls images from:
Star Trek
Star Trek: The Next Generation
The Star Trek Movies
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
and Star Trek: Voyager


For other card reviews, be sure to visit my trading card review page for an organized listing!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment