Captain James T. Kirk
8 Inch Scale
By: EMCE Toys
I wasn’t sure where to start with Mego Month, but given that Star Trek just celebrated it’s 46th anniversary, I suspect this is as good a place as any. It sort of kills two birds with one stone and it touches on two very interesting franchises that refuse to die. Mego was starting to pick up steam when it decided to snag the license for Star Trek. At the time Star Trek had officially been off the air for a few years but was becoming something of a cult phenomenon in syndication. Couple that with a cartoon series that was aimed at kids and Mego had a smash hit with Star Trek.
It was one of Mego’s early forays into licensed properties, but it certainly wasn’t their first. Star Trek was a big hit and they apparently didn’t pay much to get the license, because nobody thought Star Trek was going to continue to be a “thing” for very long. According to Mego’s former CEO they paid a mere $5,000 for the entire Star Trek license! Thankfully for Trekkies and Mego fans, the gamble paid off.
In 2007 EMCE toys teamed up with Paramount and Diamond Select to bring these vintage Megos back to life with stunning recreations of the classic characters. These are reproductions that have been made to emulate the vintage figures quite well, although there are some minor differences. Is Captain Kirk ready to boldly go where no Mego has gone before?
The package is a recreation of the vintage card art with it’s painted portraits of the main characters released. It looks quite nice, but it’s done slightly different. The vintage figures were on basic blister cards, while this uses an oversized clamshell that you can “cut out” and then reseal. It works well enough but the cutting out makes the edges sharp and not particularly friendly.
The back is all new featuring a photo of the characters on a planet setting. It also has a bit about how this is the recreation of Mego and has a blessing from Marty Abrams on it. Abrams was both the mastermind behind Mego and the man who more or less destroyed the company with ridiculous spending and illegal money fraud. Hey, you win some, you lose some, I guess.
The original Mego figures were sort of a cross between the Star Trek cartoon and the live action series. The sculpts weren’t super sharp, but were pretty darn good for the era. The EMCE toys version is a great recreation of the vintage toys, but there is some added softness to the sculpt, particularly in Kirk.
Still, Kirk looks nice and you could easily fool a non-expert into thinking this was a vintage Captain Kirk figure. He has a brighter shirt and slightly different badge insignia, but for the most part it’s a faithful reproduction. There’s definitely some good Shatner in the likeness in the head.
Because this is an attempt to remake the old toy, it’s sort of slavishly beholden to the original model. This means that nothing has really been changed to make it a better toy.
The outfit is still secured only by one snap at the top of the neck which makes it look pretty crummy from the back and side.
One thing that does bother me about this figure is that underneath the clothes, he’s a variety of colors. While this isn’t a deal breaker (since Kirk shouldn’t be naked very often) it does sort of stand out. It limits what you can do with him in some regards, but I suppose it’s a minor complaint.
Mego actually made special legs for these Star Trek figures with the boot attached. This differs from a normal Mego in that respect. EMCE have recreated that here as well.
The head sculpt it still quite good even though it’s a tad softer than the original. Some of those vintage Mego Kirks have a bit of a fat head syndrome, and this EMCE version isn’t suffering from that. His skin tone is a bit dark, but nothing too problematic. Although the more rose colored flesh of the hands does stick out under close inspection.
The quality of the fabric is quite good, but the trim and the shirt itself is different in material than the vintage figure. I hate to say the new version feels cheaper, it’s just that it sort of does. I suspect it has more to do with the changes in the process of creating toys in the modern world versus the 1970’s more than any conscious attempt to use material with a bit less heft. It actually works quite well as a modern take on the classic Trek shirts, though.
Like the modern GI Joe reproductions, this is a very nice recreation of a classic toy. It’s not identical, but it hits all the right spots. It’s always been pretty amazing to me that we’re lucky enough to get quality reproductions like this. Hat’s off to the companies who make them.
Unfortunately the old phrase “they don’t make em’ like they used to” holds true here. I assume it’s something to do with the modern stringing process, but for whatever reason EMCE Kirk just doesn’t have the range of motion that a vintage Mego does. This is something I’ve noticed in a lot of the ReMego products out there.
The joints are nice and tight and work well enough, they lack the range that real Megos had. I suppose I could restring them to get more movement, but that’s a lot of work. Honestly this is one of the areas that I do wish EMCE and other toy companies doing this style of figure would go ahead and try to modernize the body some. You’ll see in some of our later reviews this month what a big difference that can make.
The articulation is pretty basic, but the tight arms reduce Kirk to mostly swivels at the shoulder. He can get some side to side motion, but nothing like what a true ball joint or swivel hinge would give you.
His legs have pretty good movement and don’t seem as restrained as the arms, but the Trek figures do lose the hinges at the ankles that most Mego figures have because of the sculpted boots.
I have long been a believer that Mego and Mego-like figures need accessories. They’re just not the greatest toys to begin with, so a little extra something goes a long way. Thankfully Mego recognized this with Star Trek and EMCE follows suit with their reproductions.
Kirk comes with his classic style phase, recreated in the same pale blue that Mego used back in the 70’s. It’s actually a pretty accurate sculpt for Mego.
Captain Kirk also gets a tricorder. The sculpt is slightly different than the vintage Mego one, but you wouldn’t know that just by looking at it. Again, it’s a decent sculpt of the actual tricorder of this era, but it’s very basic. The back side is hollow.
The communicator device is rather laughable, though. It’s recreated almost perfect by EMCE, but the original Mego design wasn’t much to look at. It’s a tiny blue rectangle. It almost looks like a little bar of soap. I imagine that kids lost this very easily in the 70’s and today they would as well.
Rounding things out is the belt that actually does a good job of holding the phaser and the communicator. It can be a bit of a pain to get the communicator back in and the belt itself is loose and a bit clunky, but that’s how Mego made it, so you can’t really fault EMCE for doing the same in the recreation.
James T. Kirk was one of the first figures out in this line and he was a hot item when he came out. I believe he was around $18.99 or so if you could find him packaged alone. I know that’s what he cost at the local FYE’s that used to carry these. In today’s market, Kirk is one of the easiest of the EMCE ReMegos to get, so you would probably pay a few bucks less. Overall he’s a solid figure and a neat example of what Mego was doing back in the day.
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 7
Paint – 7
Articulation – 7
Accessories – Phaser, Communicator, Belt, Tricorder
Value – 7
Overall – 7 out of 10
Captain Kirk is perfectly average. By being a recreation of a classic toy, he has all the faults of that toy. It makes him a harder sell in the 2000’s than he was in the 70’s. The EMCE model itself is mostly accurate but has a few shortcomings of it’s own, that leave this guy just being okay. Not the most amazing toy in the world, but certainly not terrible either.
EMCE toys have come a long way since what they did with Kirk and they’ve continued to expand the Star Trek line to the point where it’s much greater than what Mego ever did with it. Captain Kirk remains a shining example of how they have had the skills to make quality reproductions for a long time. Star Trek fans will likely love this one and it’s hard to deny that having Kirk and company all together is an easy recipe for fun. Keep checking back all month long for more of Mego Month!