http://www.blogger.com/logout.g Lex Petros: Playmates USS Enterprise NCC 1701 Review

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Playmates USS Enterprise NCC 1701 Review


It finally arrived. After several weeks of placing my order, I got my hands on the long awaited Playmates USS Enterprise NCC 1701 starship (from the new Star Trek movie). It's about 13" long, with lights and sounds taken from the movie. The new toy features pre-recorded phrases from the movie and amongst others, include "arm phasers, fire everything we got" and "manoeuvring thrusters Mr. Sulu". There are about 4 movie phrases and 1 effect sequence at the touch of the bridge activation button situated at top of the saucer module.

The Enterprise features a light-up saucer array and warp engines. Surprisingly, the rear impulse engines light up too, which is a usual feature of Art Asylum (now known as Diamond Select Toys) products. Not only that, the lighting sequence is actually electronically controlled and will execute in tune with the pre-recorded movie phrases. Unfortunately, unlike Art Asylum's starships, you can't cycle through all the phrases and effects by pushing longer on the activation button. Playing with it, I found out that the activation button sticks. This is consistent with other reviews given by fellow Trekkers in forums. Playmates, you should really have a chat with your QC department.


I was amused by the sequence that goes "Captain, engineering reports ready for launch" where the warp nacelles are charged and followed by a 'warp boom' with the impulse engines coming on. I though to myself, shouldn't the impulse engines be at station keep when warp engines come online instead of the other way round? The markings on the starship is visible enough. I can see the registry number on the saucer and stardrive sections. They are also painted on the warp nacelles. There is also a delta shield with two lines tapering down on the side of the star drive section, typical of any Starfleet vessel.

I expected more from Playmates. There are no port and starboard flashing lights like the Art Asylum predecessor. That brought realism to the collectible. The saucer module features a lit-up bridge dome and lower dome. Lightning seems to be spilling through the plastic hull, unlike Art Asylum's stuff. The battery compartments...and I add an "s" is literally so. For reasons unknown to me, there are 2 battery compartments, one in the saucer section (bottom) where it nestles 1 AAA size alkaline battery and the other is in the stardrive section where it nestles 2 AAA size alkaline batteries. Oh...batteries are NOT included, unlike the AA counterparts, yet another minus point.

The Bussard scoops on the warp nacelles in my view, could have used more detail. Albeit ,it does have a nice blue glow in the dark. On the silver screen, I noticed that the collectors have a rotating internal scoop. They could have achieved this effect by incorporating rotating LEDs or pulsating ones, just like what Art Asylum did. It wouldn't have been too much to ask for little bit more detail since this thing retails for USD34.99.

To display, this scaled rendition of the legendary starship is mounted on a ball-joint which supposedly allows 360 degree rotation. But I don't think the ship can remain balanced if it's not aligned with the delta shield stand on which the weight of the starship is supported. Plastic looks a little bit flimsy, so I'm exercising care when mounting and dismounting the starship from its base. I don't want to wear-off the ball-joint so quickly.

The structure is injection-moulded plastic and the quality is somewhat mediocre compared with the older Playmates Star Trek star ships, such as the original USS Enterprise, which I've had siting on my display shelf for almost 12 years now. The finishing is so-so. A little too "clean" for a starship. The Art Asylum versions are complete with hull-plating effects and details. This version is somewhere half-way between a toy for a kid and a collectible for true Trek fans. I had hoped that Playmates would come out with something astounding as what the producers and director did with the movie.

The silver lining : at least I can add another one to the rest of my starship collection.

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