I tend to get carried away when I think about the scope of certain older toy lines. Sometimes there were lines that just covered so many figures to collect. During the 90’s Playmates had some control with a Star Trek license and they released a magnificent toy line that covered the vintage show, newer shows, and movies. Let’s look at one of the coolest characters from that toy line: Guinan!
Ok before we go any further, I have a confession to make. I never really watched Star Trek: The Next Generation. I caught a few episodes and they were really good. There were certainly some interesting characters for sure; however I just wasn’t a hardcore fan. Now the toy line was a different story though. I was all about the Star Trek toy line by Playmates. I wanted to collect as many of the characters as possible, especially Guinan because who wouldn’t want a Whoopi Goldberg action figure? I finally made that dream come true recently thanks to the wonderful world of eBay.
Guinan was released in 1993 and she was on the same card back as the first couple of series of Next Gen. figures. I love the color and design for this card. It just looks a bit all over the place, but it works. It builds some excitement! Each figure was individually numbered, which helped add to the collectability of this line. However I have always been confused by that, like the number on the bottom of a figure’s foot has never really meant much to me.
Guinan features some cool sculpting for a toy from 1993. First of all, there is a likeness to Whoopi Goldberg. The sculpting back then was pretty simple by today’s standards, but Playmates was able to make it somewhat unique and special. Each figure had different facial sculpting, so it was not impossible for these figures to look like their real life counterparts. Guinan also had a really cool outfit. From the hat to the coat, everything just looked really cool and futuristic. Plus I still can’t get over the excitement of having a figure that is based off of Whoopi. I grew up watching her movies! She is awesome.
Playmates made sure that collectors got more than just a figure with their purchase. A trading card, stand, and nice bundle of accessories rounded out the whole purchase. Guinan’s Starfleet gear included drinking glasses, chess set, and a ten-forward tray.
The back of the card was quintessential Playmates. A large line up of figures to collect? Check. Detailed section on the items included with figure? Check. Awesome clip and collect file card? Big check! (Gotta love those Clip and Collect cards.)
I loved the lineup of other figures to collect. Since I never really watched the show, these characters all just seemed so cool and interesting. Who were they? What was the deal with the Klingon forehead look? Could La Forge see through his cool visor? Would he be friends with Cyclops? Was William Riker single? I just had all these questions, and I wanted to own them all!
The Starfleet Gear tab was cool. I have always enjoyed the attention to detail that Playmates puts towards their toy packaging. I love the chess set pieces and how it is used for members of all cultures and races. That was one of the coolest things about Star Trek: the idea that all these different groups of people coexist in the same universe and live together and enjoy learning from each other. (Well, except for those who want a fight.) At the end of the day though, it is nice to know that even in space, chess will still be a game to be enjoyed by all. Chess is a damn hard game too.
The Clip and Collect files for the Star Trek line were also really detailed. Playmates simply didn’t play. They were serious about these cards! I love that Guinan’s age and species is unknown. I feel like she was quite possibly the coolest character from Star Trek. She was cool and you could confide in her with all your secrets. She was like a therapist, but wasn’t charging crazy prices. Works for me.
So there you have it, a look back at one cool toy. I am really glad to finally have this figure in my collection. She was pretty hard to find in stores from what I remember. I searched high and low through every K-Mart, Target, and Toysrus back in 1993 for this figure, so it is nice to finally have her. Plus, I feel like Whoopi herself is a cool dorky person and collector. That makes it even better. Could you just imagine? Being a collector and then all of a sudden a toy company makes an action figure based off a character you play? That would be so cool. Anyways, enjoy the Vintage Toy of the Month! Feel free to leave a comment about your own memories of this line. Vintage Toy of the Month will be back next month on the 15th! Take care everyone.