JJ Abrams Tricorder

[FILE: 001 02082009 1210]

THE BEGINNING (or yadda yadda yadda.....)

When Star Trek rebooted in 2009, it was the talk of the town. Simply put, the reboot is to put a breath of fresh air to the becoming of serious and dark (and maybe, boring) Star Trek Franchise. With no new Star Wars material save for the Clone Wars animations, and with Star Trek having no new TV Series (since the Enterprise, my favourite got cancelled while it gained momentum in Season 4) it was going stale fast. There are only so much Trekkers can support and with the new Movie, they hoped to gain new fans into the fold.

So, when the movie came out, not only did it pleased the majority of the hard-core fans, it gained new followers as well. Like me, for instance. I was more of the Star Trek:The Next Generation, Voyager and Enterprise fan. But after seeing that movie, I am starting to have interest in the original episodes. Among the things that interested me were the props. Since I was a Tricorder fan, I was a bit disappointed because it did have very little screen time and also, like a small guy facing a towering 50feet tsunami, I was so overwhelmed with the movie that I completely forgot about the Tricorder until very much later.

And so, yes, I was one of the few who got the earliest Tricorder Toys that came to Malaysia, thanks to The Outpost . Until now, I am not sure if the size of the toy is as accurate as the original prop since Playmates (again) was doing them. I did remember them doing the MKVII TNG Tricorder more than a decade ago, and when it was compared to the original prop, it was smaller. But then, it was mainly aimed for kids's hands except that grown-ups like us keep buying them. Anyway, the 2009 Tricorder (It has no other name save for the label "Tricorder" on its cover) feels a bit small in my hands. But I did read somewhere that they wanted it that way so the actors can hold it with one hand as compared to the Original Series which required both hands to operate them.

Entrance to The Outpost

Its a place for Sci-Fi Fans to enjoy a meal, purchase items from Gundam to NERF to Star Wars to Star Trek and if need be, reserve a room for private functions


To tell you the truth, I am not a fan  of the Original Series as I could never get past the slow pace of the episodes nor the cheesy effects. But the props, I tell you, especially the Tricorder, is horrible. The word ugly can't even describe it. Its like looking at the prototype of the World's First portable Black and White TV. But once I watched the 2009 reboot (free Premiere ticket courtesy of The Outpost), I am starting to warm up to Kirk and Gang. When I was asked about the toys themselves, I was a bit apprehensive. I bought it before the movie came out and my line out thought was, "Oh well, although the Phaser is nice, I'll just have to say Yes to the Tricorder since I 'love' Tricorders".

"Phasers on Stun!" and "Captain, readings indicate......."

The new toy packaging from Playmates. They still have the fingering hole for the "Try Me" features.From far, the Tricorder looks very nice and functional.

 Captain, may I offer you a .....

You know what does the Tricorder reminds me of? Yes, a cigarette case.

I was hoping for it to look ala Enterprise such as this new design Cigarette case, which not only stores a limited amount of ciggies which you can eject with a sliding mechanism, but also has a built-in refillable lighter. However, if this design did get approved, a lot of people would be comparing it to portable tape recorders instead. I was thinking more on this PDA type since the last movie "Nemesis" and the Enterprise TV Series have scanners that just looks like a PDA.


Unlike the old Playmates toys which comes in a cardboard box, the Tricorder now comes in a plastic clamshell package. Which means, when you have cut the box open, the package is effectively useless. You cannot even close it back nor stack it on your collections shelves. Once its opened, its gone. Oh, there is also no "Collector's Edition" serial numbers and free blueprints in there.

Getting the Tricorder out from the box is not an easy thing as its stuck very tightly in the package. I was very worried about the chrome coming off it it was knocked about too often.


And just like that; there is no MK I, or MK II and so on. Just the word Tricorder. In the STNG Tricorder, there is a label which says "TR-560 Tricorder VII" aka MKVII. So, this is Tricorder MK-whatever.


I am not sure if its shown in the movie but here, on the Playmates version, once you push the slider button (1) upwards, the flaps/cover (2) will flip open and activates the Tricorder.


When the Tricorder is activated, it will give a nice activated sound and all the five LEDs will light up momentarily. Once it goes off, you can press the two black buttons for different LED functions or sounds. The STNG version needs you to flip a switch to activate it whereas in the TV series, flipping open the flap would already activate the Tricorder's scanning functions.


Compared to its first Playmates Tricorder, it is smaller. Here, in this picture, it looks a lot bigger because I photographed it wrongly.



And one more comparison against the STNG toy, you need to unscrew the battery compartment. Trust me, there is only one screw as the other one is just moulded into the cover to fool you into scratching the chrome away. Like all Playmates toys, the battery is included or else you can't use the "Play me" function while its in the package. If you do not use it for more than a few weeks, do take out the battery as the chemical that comes out are very damaging to both the circuit and the chroming.



And so, after playing with the pack of cigga.....er, Tricorder, I quickly got bored with it. Its just very hard to accept this design when I really loved the TNG flip-open designs which, to me, was more practical. You can hold a Phaser in one hand and use the Tricorder in the other to scan for stuff.

And so, I have an idea (yes, usually my ideas involve taking things apart and not necessarily putting them back in one piece)