Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Collectible of the Week: Star Trek: Mission to Gamma VI Playset (Mego; 1976)
I recently featured here the Mego U.S.S. Enterprise bridge set from the seventies. In 1975, Mego also produced a great Star Trek toy to stand alongside it, the rare Mission to Gamma VI playset.
This Mego playset offered a landing party-style adventure for the young Star Trek fan, showcasing a an alien landscape and headquarters.
As you may recognize, the plastic mold of the giant alien statue or icon roughly resembles Vaal from the second season Star Trek episode “The Apple.” Still, there are some interesting variations here, namely the miniature “Gamma Creature” aliens, also described in a TV commercial of the day as “Lilliputians.”
This eighteen-inch high playset came with the mountain statue and throne, a platform and a trap door leading down to a subterranean cave It also included a giant lizard-like glove (or a “glove creature”) meant for grabbing and detaining your Starfleet crew. The statue’s reptilian mouth was also movable, and the eyes could glow-in-the-dark. The mountain is an impressive hunk of plastic, even today.
I must confess, however, that it always bugged me that the Gamma Creatures were out of scale with the Mego Star Trek action figures. It would have been a lot cooler if they had been of the same size, and not so cartoonish in design. They look kind of silly, frankly.
I remember how I purchased a second-hand Mission to Gamma VI playset in 1987 from a small dealer in Nutley, New Jersey. He sold it to me for fifty dollars, replete with box and also some loose Mego figures of Green Goblin, Iron Man, the Star Trek Neptunian, and the Gorn. Alas, I no longer own the box. It got thrown away when I was in college, in 1990, a fact which drives me crazy. (That was also the span during which I lost my box for the Kenner Imperial Shuttle from Return of the Jedi.)
My second-hand Mission to Gamma VI set was missing the subterranean cave architecture and glove. So it was really just the Vaal-like mountain, the inhospitable landscape, the platform, and the mini-aliens.
Still, my son Joel has gotten a lot of play out of it lately, as it remains proudly on display in my office. When his Decepticons or Renegades need a base, Joel uses the Mission to Gamma VI statue. He does so, he says, because it looks evil.
This is a relatively rare Mego Star Trek set, and I hear that it is difficult and expensive to come by. I would love to find one with all the pieces and the box, but I’m not holding my breath.
Below, you'll find the TV commercial for the Mission to Gamma VI statue. You'll notice that there it seem to molded in blue or gray, rather than green.