If there was any doubt that selling toys to adults was just as lucrative as selling toys to kids, Playmobil continues to expand its portfolio of playsets inspired by retro pop culture properties with a Star Trek USS Enterprise playset that is as wonderfully detailed as it is obscenely gigantic. You’ll need to clear more than just some room on your shelf to accommodate this one.
The USS Enterprise joins other Playmobil playsets created with the “kidult” market in mind, including the Back to the Future DeLorean, a massive Ghostbusters line that includes the Ecto-1, and even B.A. Baracus’ black and red van with the rest of the A-Team coming along for the ride. With the USS Enterprise, Playmobil seems to be testing just how far nostalgia-seeking collectors will go to relive the toys and TV shows of their youth. Set your expectations to high and your budgets to completely wiped out.
Just How Big Is It?
Although Playmobil gleefully boasts that its USS Enterprise playset is 39 inches long, you don’t really get a sense of its scale until it’s out of the (equally large) box and completely assembled. Here we see it absolutely dwarfing Playmobil’s 10-inch long Back to the Future DeLorean. Unless you have a spacious shelf, this thing is going to need to live on a desk or a table.
It Includes a Starfleet-Themed Display Stand
The Playmobil USS Enterprise is so large that it’s almost too heavy to hold, and as a spaceship designed to spend its existence floating in space, you can’t set it down without the whole thing falling over. So Playmobil includes a display stand — themed to look like the iconic Starfleet delta — that holds the USS Enterprise upright using four support structures. Also included is rigging allowing the playset to be securely suspended from a ceiling, although we haven’t been brave enough to try it out yet.
An Impressive Level of Accuracy and Detail
Playmobil could have very easily phoned it in on this one, and delivered either a partial section of the USS Enterprise (similar to all the disappointing Death Star playsets Star Wars has delivered) or created a replica of the ship with cartoonish proportions that prioritised play over accuracy. Instead, it’s delivered a model of the USS Enterprise that looks nearly perfect to what we’ve seen in TV shows and movies. With a little extra paintwork, this could potentially even pass as a screen-grade replica.
Lights, Sounds, and Buttons
The sounds of Star Trek are unique and instantly recognisable, so Playmobil has included additional electronic elements with this playset. Buttons trigger everything from engine start-up sounds, to phasers, to red alert status, to even quotes from characters like Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. There’s lighting too, with blinking and flashing LEDs recreating everything from the animated glow of the tips of the ship’s nacelles to the pulsing dilithium crystals in engineering.
There’s an App for That
The USS Enterprise playset can also be paired with a free accompanying mobile app over Bluetooth. The app includes games and augmented reality experiences, but the real reason collectors will want to download it is that it includes extensive controls for the playset’s electronic elements, including selectively triggering various sound effects and light-up features.
Fun Effects With Animated Lenticular Stickers
There are no self-powered moving parts in Playmobil’s USS Enterprise model, but to make it appear as if doors open all by themselves, animated lenticular decals are used, and as you change your viewing angle the doors to the ship’s bridge seemingly open and close. It’s a simple effect that feels fitting given the crude special effects that were a hallmark of the original Star Trek series.
The Captain and His Chair
Every Star Trek series is primarily centered around the ship’s captain, and the USS Enterprise comes with the first-ever Playmobil version of James T. Kirk, complete with claw hands, who can oversee everything going on aboard the ship from his command chair.
Command the Ship With Your Fingertips
Captain Kirk is flanked by Playmobil versions of Hikaru Sulu and Pavel Chekov, who sit on either side of a console with a glowing screen and three buttons that can be pressed to trigger the sounds of a photon torpedo being fired, red alert status, and jumping to warp speed, which also speeds up the animated LEDs on the ship’s nacelles.
Did Somebody Say Decals? Lots and Lots of Decals?
The Playmobil USS Enterprise actually has two play areas hidden inside, one of which is the ship’s bridge accessible by removing the roof of the ship’s saucer section. It includes banks of computers and display screens on either side, but most are decals, requiring lots of patience to carefully apply each one. Assembling the playset and applying all the various decals, inside and out, took about an hour.
The Crew’s All Here
The Kirk, Sulu, and Chekov Playmobil figures are joined by claw-handed versions of Mr. Spock, Nyota Uhura, Dr. Leonard McCoy, and Montgomery Scott, and the playset includes handheld accessories like phasers and communicators. The only thing missing is a red-shirted security officer that can be sacrificed to the family dog.
Forget the Borg or the Klingons, the most feared creatures in the Star Trek universe are the tribbles: small, furry, seemingly docile creatures that reproduce at an alarming rate thanks to the work of Starfleet scientist Edward Larkin. The Playmobil USS Enterprise comes with six of them, although I swear it was just four when I opened the box. Wait, do I count nine of them now?
A Place for Scotty to Call Home
The second play area is revealed by removing a large panel on the side of the USS Enterprise’s main hull: engineering. It’s a spot for Scotty to call home while he fiddles with various panels, light-up displays, and a dilithium crystal chamber that glows and slowly pulses when the ship is powered up. Remove the chamber with the crystal in it and the ship will go to red alert, and if you try to reinstall the chamber emtpy, the USS Enterprise’s engines won’t power up, which is a fun touch.
Brace for Sticker Shock
Playmobil’s other pop culture-inspired sets targeted at older collectors have been reasonably priced given the amount of accessories included and the level of detail put into models, like the Back to the Future time-travelling DeLorean, which retails for $US50 ($69). The Playmobil USS Enterprise playset costs 10 times that at $US500 ($694). Even for adult collectors and die-hard Star Trek fans, that’s far from an impulse purchase, but Playmobil has packed in a lot to make it hard not to beam this set into your shopping cart.
Want more Gizmodo news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.