Friday, 27 September 2013

Review: Stargate

Before Universe, before Atlantis, even before SG1, there was the 1994 Emmerich-Devlin film. It wasn't great. Independence Day, this film was not. But hey, it had a cool theme by David Arnold!

To tie in with the film Hasbro released a line of toys. Hoping, no doubt, for a repeat of the success of the Star Wars line, was this toyline as good as that? Or more like every other film toyline; barely breaking even and quickly forgotten?

The line consisted of 8 figures, 4 on each side. The facial likenesses to their actor counterparts are...well, they're not great. Kurt Russel is just about recognisable but that's about it. Even their outfits are a bit iffy as to whether they're the same as in the film or not. In many ways the figures look like they come from a non-existent cartoon spin-off of Stargate; a bit like Kenner's Real Ghostbusters figures, for example.

There are five points of articulation, which was common at the time: at the arms, legs & head. The arms are slightly bent so the figures don't have stiff-looking poses. The hands sort-of grip the weapons the figures come with. It's not perfect, but it's good enough. There are two types of weapons: a sensible, 'realistic' one and then a crazy, over-sized missile-firing one. Everyone comes with some kind of hat, Kurt's completely failing to stay on his head. The bad guys come with giant Egyptian headdress affairs, which, while not being 100% accurate to the film, do look really good and are my favourite part of the figures.

In addition to the weapons (and hats), each figure comes with an 'artifact'. This ranges from a mini pyramid, stargate, even a jeep. These accessories are a bit pants, to say the least.

Equally common of the era is the 5(ish) inch height of them. I like this scale. 3 3/4" which is prevalent today is a bit small and fiddly, whereas the other standard size of 6" is approaching too big and is problematic for vehicles. 5" is a nice compromise.

There are a number of vehicles in the range, sadly none of which I currently own and so can't comment on (yet). What's weird though is that there wasn't an actual stargate toy; something for the men to walk through to transport themselves to other worlds. For something that would be quite cheap to produce, I think it would have been quite popular. Bit of a missed opportunity there.

The Stargate range was a cheap cash-in on what everyone hoped would be a summer blockbuster. You win some, you lose some. The film wasn't particularly successful and it's the TV spin-offs that are known to most. The toyline contains nothing unique to place it above any other line - it even lacks any kind of gimmick. These figures are never going to be worth millions and most people will never know they even exist.

But I still like these little guys; the bad guys especially. Their little (actually, rather big) helmets look great. And everyone knows that removable helmets are key to a kick-ass action figure.

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