Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Unphased with Playmates

They are now officially back with figures, starships and yes, roleplay accessories!

Playmates return to the Star Trek franchise has landed well and you never knew how much you missed them until new items dropped onto the market.

Alongside an initial eight figures and the classic TOS USS Enterprise is their Type 2 phaser also from the Kirk and Spock era.

Let’s make one thing straight. If you’re expecting Diamond Select level detail and features you will be disappointed. First and foremost this is essentially a toy. There’s no detachable Type 1 phaser on the top, the barrel doesn’t rotate for different beam intensity nor do the dials and grill on the Type 1 work. Fact: this is a robust item designed for kids, bought by adults. 

The packaging is absolutely on point and in keeping with the 90s version with the addition of the current Star Trek Universe logo. There’s a little hole to give a demo click of the trigger and the usual nice, glossy photos of the phaser too. Wisely there’s actually very little to the box with only a plastic insert tray for the product and an instructions pamphlet contained within.

Size-wise it’s near enough spot on with the classic grey/black colour combo that fans will be more than familiar with. In the show there were several different colour variants glimpsed but this remains probably the most recognisable. It’s lighter than the Diamond Select version too plus that always felt more of a display item than a useable toy if you will. That’s something Playmates have more than taken into consideration.

In terms of surface detail, each important element is physically reproduced where it should be if not functionally. Atop the clip-in Type 1 there are the setting and intensity dials as well as the silver grid. To the front of the phaser is the grey nozzle emitter which does light up dependent on the firing effect you choose. Playmates have also managed to distinguish grille features and line detail around the phaser with wonderful precision if albeit simplified for the toy market. Note for example the grilles to the rear are recessed versus the DS version’s which were raised. Again, there were several variants of the gun through the show at a time when consistency and accuracy in the franchise were not a high priority. 

Playmates have added in the gold ejection button for the Type 1 just behind the smaller unit and to the rear of the Type 2 we have the adjustable setting dial. Now this - apart from the trigger - is the only piece of functionality on the product. On the opposite side is the power switch and in this edition it offers Demo, Off and On.

Offering up three setting of Stun, Full and Overload, each is accompanied by its own light (dial and nozzle) and sound effect. Certainly my daughter got some good use out of the batteries running around stunning the cats but for fans of absolute 100% authentic detail it will be a let down.

I quite like it. The phaser is a solid item and perfect for cosplay with a cost that won’t make you sweat if it does get damaged. My only grumble is the horrible ‘other’ side that is riddled with reset screw holes and ruins the whole effect. Could these have been hidden? Probably and one would expect there to be some innovative fans out there who will cover them up to preserve full effect of the phaser. 

It's a good reproduction and although I can't compare it to the 1990's edition, I'm still pretty happy with the result given the cost. What I am now hoping is that the TNG Type 2 will not be as chunky a beast as previous and be more aligned to its TV version - but yes, I'll be getting it anyway.

More Playmates reviews on the way!

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