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"Generations" 25 years later: Did the figures hurt the line?

24 November 2019 - 11:50 AM




"Star Trek: Generations" opened on November 18, 1994, 25 years ago this month just to make you feel extra old, capping an impressive seven-season run of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." The film was sketched out in late 1993 and early 1994, and the shooting schedule actually overlapped with the filming of "All Good Things..." while the cast was still together without the distraction of all the other TV projects, and all the sets were in one piece even if in need of a few changes. 
Pre-production started in the spring of 1994 and, ahem, a new costume design was approved for the main cast, and all the uniforms were actually made. Even a few scenes were filmed in the first couple of days of production, with a few members of the bridge crew in the new uniforms. 
However, the new uniforms were almost immediately scrapped because they were too difficult to fit right, perhaps due to a wraparound design on the right side of the body. The crew ended up wearing a mix of TNG and DS9 uniforms to signal a transition instead, but apparently not before the tooling for the action figures was produced. The production process for this lineup of figures had been around 9 months from the sketches to delivery to stores, and despite the fact that it was obvious by June 1994 that the uniforms were changed from the sketches, the figure tooling, amazingly, stayed.
The figures were also created with reduced articulation, because Playmates was counting on the fact that 80% would remain in the packages anyway, and wanted to save some money in the process, knowing that it had a captive audience.
The figures landed to a mixed reaction: the original series bridge crew figures were scalped, while most of the TNG bridge crew took far longer to leave store shelves.
Needless to say, with the prototyping and manufacturing speeds of 2019 the uniform mixup would not happen today, but back in the early 1990s toy manufacturers required about a year to tool up a lineup of figures for a major movie.  At the time, around 1996, Playmates said that it could churn out one figure in about 4 to 5 months from the first sculpts to store shelves, which was an insane speed back in the day, but something like a whole lineup obviously required more time. The figure maker later went back and released a few figures on corrected DS9 uniforms in 1995, but far from the whole TNG cast.
Combined with the wrong uniforms and the reduced articulation, did the "Generations" figures:
1. hurt the lineup overall? 
2. help the lineup overall? 
3. neither hurt nor help it?
4. result in excitement for the lineup?
5. result in a disappointment?




Figure Color Variations

24 November 2019 - 11:40 AM



Ambassador Spock (1993)
This is a pretty well known color variation, even though it wasn't listed in magazine price guides in the same way as the Ferengi with black boot trim or without, for example. 
There were three variants of Spock: with a lilac body and light sleeves, with a darker gray body with darker spots and light sleeves, and with a darker gray body with a mix of light and darker colored sleeves. The middle one could have a mix of different sleeve shades, actually, that look like they came from different figures.
Collectors noticed this and wrote to magazines back in the day, but there wasn't really an early versus late color change going on, and price guides and stores didn't pay attention to its rarity. Realistically, they're all worth about the same, especially now, because this wasn't a super obvious change where something like first 1000 figures or so had one particular paint snafu. But, if you look closely at these, there are some pretty major differences.


Terminator: Dark Fate

09 November 2019 - 06:45 AM

Hi hello, how have you seen this film?


A lot of reviews are saying that it's the best Terminator film since the first two, which is surprisingly high praise these days when everything is getting recycled and turns out like the current crop of Star Wars films, but it looks like it's going to be a mild flop at the box office.


The plot: Sarah Connor and John Connor, who is now a stock trader, go back in time to 1991 to save two whales because.... ahh you're not buying this, are you?


Okay, but the reviews have been pretty good, even though some accuse of being a Cardassian repetitive epic.


Will you go see it or have you already seen it?



Toy Show Displays

22 September 2019 - 02:51 PM

Toy Fair 1998, display by the manufacturer.







If you look closely at the heads, you can tell that these are not the TRU set sculpts -- all the faces seem a little off. Check out Spock's square chin, for example, or Kirk's hairline. Chekov's head is also a little sculpted a little differently, it's more narrow. Sulu's head also seems different.


Here's the crazy thing: if you look closely at the tag it says 6-inch figures, so these were supposed to be released like the DS9 larger format figures with their various stations. Is this why the heads look different? Are we really looking at slightly scaled-up figures here in the 6-inch format, rather than the TRU set format?


At the same Toy Fair 1998 display Playmates also exhibited the larger format DS9 figures with their various USS Defiant stations -- I will show those later.





I never saw this set at retail, or just a couple of times. These were a strange attempt by Playmates toward 1998, I thought -- these were aimed squarely at completist collectors. They could have just done Guinan separately, since we already had Dixon Hill, albeit in a different suit color.





I never saw this set at retail either -- this is one of those things aimed at TOS fans or completist collectors, which by that time there weren't a ton of.





Another rare production set previewed, but the only exclusive thing here is the Data figure, cause Worf and Alexander had been done earlier as a two-pack. So, uhh, they just could have released the Data figure separately, but they wanted to make completist collectors pay for the whole 3-pack, which is kind of a cheap move on Playmates' part.






It's neat in retrospect that they did Keiko as a ninja, as opposed to Keiko from the early seasons of DS9 where she just sat around and recited cringeworthy lines to Miles.












Bandai branded figure and vehicle packaging

04 June 2019 - 03:25 PM

The Bandai-boxed figures themselves are pretty readily findable on eBay, but the vehicles, accessories and playsets can be either very pricey or extremely difficult to find. Here we'll take a look at some box art for those foreign-market Playmates figures, vehicles and accessories.



European-market Romulan Warbird, with German and French text.