Old Playmates TOS Communicator, is it worth improvement ?

Kennyd

Well-Known Member
I rediscovered an old Playmates TOS communicator I bought many years ago. It's a bit tatty but I like the slimness of it compared to the fat bottom AA/Diamond Select version.

Ok hands down the AA/Diamond comm is still better, but is it possible, and more importantly worth it accuracy wise, to do a bit of budget modding to the Playmates comm to improve the look ?
Anyone tried this already ?
The only bit I would need to buy in would be a replacement antenna, the rest I can bodge and scrounge.
 
Just replacing the antenna will do wonders for it, but you would still have to replace the moire to get it to look half way decent. The last thing you might want to do is replace the lights, but you don't really have to.

I don't know if it is worth it in the time you wou be spending on it, but it will look a lot better when your done.
 
I am quite fond of my Playmates Comm and have seen many improvements made to them over the years. Of course a new antenna is an improvement but I have also seen the mic redone as well. I saw a unit where they builder dremmeled out the mic and ring completely. It was then replaced with the ring from a PC hard drive which fit rather nicely and is very similar to the actual ring used. A new moire of choice was added and with the new lid a rather nice prop was born. Also the belt clip was removed and replaced with velcro.
 
The Playmates Comm can be modified to look better but it takes a little work. I started on one before the diamond select comms were available and again never finished. The old moiré was cut out and the hole was replaced with styrene sheet. The molded mid plate was replaced with a piece of scrap aluminum. I took an old soldering iron and melted the battery cover to the main back piece. Everything was spot puttied, sanded then sprayed with wrinkle paint to simulate the old hair cell texture. As Captain Dave said a new moiré was made from aluminum rings from an old hard drive. The grill as seen in the closed comm pic is a piece of old speaker grill spray painted gold.

pm3.jpg

pm2.jpg

pm1.jpg

pm4.jpg



-John
 
That's a great job on the Playmates. I've always liked it, it's kinda large but it doesn't have the fat butt look of the DST. They clean up really well.

I did one back when they came out, I drilled out the fake yellow light and installed an LED. I also reworked the chirp to sound when the lid was opened, but unfortunately the sound chip repeats constantly until it's closed :lol I never did figure out how to fix that.
 
On a different note, anyone tried to shave down the fat bottom DST ?

I remember reading a thread and seeing the pictures of someone doing this, but it was on the STTE Comm, which looks the same as the DST and the MR, and it came out decent looking. If I remember correctly, it took a lot of work, the hardest part was getting the electronics to fit back it, which was one of the reasons the China factories went away from the shape of the prototype they were given to work from.

I don't remember what forum it was on, it was either ASAP or TPZ I think.
 
Ok hands down the AA/Diamond comm is still better, but is it possible, and more importantly worth it accuracy wise, to do a bit of budget modding to the Playmates comm to improve the look ?

I think really it depends on what the goal is. If the goal is making an accurite Comm the easiest way then get a kit and a hallmark Comm and install the electronics in the kit.

If the goal is to have a modified Playmates Comm (Like the awesome one Johnny Fever did) then go for that. It may be a bit hard to find Playmates mod parts now days though. Before any of the other Comms were out you pretty much had to mod what was available so people made parts. I think it may be hard to get a lid for it (unless you build all your own parts, then I say go for it :lol:lol:lol).
 
if you find a playmates comm, i say leave it alone and add it to your collection for what it is. if you are going to spend the time making a comm, i would think you'd buy a jlong kit, an hms kit or a kit from others who have made them over the years.

i never quite understood the desire to modify the toys -- so much additional work and, by the time you buy the metal parts and other accurate parts, it seems like you are spending close to what you would on a kit that does not require near as much work.

i imagine that this kind of mod has appeal simply to those that like to prove it can be done...and for that, I salute you!

my two cents.
 
if you find a playmates comm, i say leave it alone and add it to your collection for what it is. if you are going to spend the time making a comm, i would think you'd buy a jlong kit, an hms kit or a kit from others who have made them over the years.

i never quite understood the desire to modify the toys -- so much additional work and, by the time you buy the metal parts and other accurate parts, it seems like you are spending close to what you would on a kit that does not require near as much work.

i imagine that this kind of mod has appeal simply to those that like to prove it can be done...and for that, I salute you!

my two cents.

Big Facebook Style Like Here!!!
 
After some thought I've decided to not put any money into this. If I can locate a lookalike mesh I might have a go at making the antenna.

On the subject of mods right now i'm looking for a cheap STTE comm, with that all i'll do is change the moire, take out some of the lights and strip the paint off the antenna.
 
ok, modifying a few parts on the STTE comms I could see. The Entertainment Earth had one with gold chromed grid, which was nice.

I could see it worth being the effort to maybe upgrade moire and jewel lights....but again, to do much more than than, you should really save your pennies and buy one of the "screen accurate" kits that are out there and, if you want the chirp, get the hallmark comm ornament and have at it.

I suppose it all depends what you want it for -- to play with or for display only.

good luck.
 
It can vary, but the JLong kit is usually about $199.00 and comes with everything you need to build the Comm. From this kit you can build just about any version that was used on screen without buying anything else, except for the Hero Version. For that you would need to buy a stopwatch and the 2 moire's that allow you to make the spinning moire Hero.
 
you can also get one from roddenbery.com for $150...not as accurate as jlong, but grid is already pre-soldered. They also sell electronic upgrades.

TOS Communicator Prop Kit (Archived) - Roddenberry.com

but if you want one that looked like it walked off the set, jlongs is the way to go...and if you have a soldering iron/torch, the grid is not that hard to solder. i managed to do it, and I have little experience with such things.
 
here's a pic of my jlong kit that i built up -- i decided to go with the moire pattern as seen in MAKING OF STAR TREK book as this was the first picture I ever saw of the communicator prop and spent many an afternoon as a child starring at all the details trying to think thru how to make one myself. I also sent a letter to prop department at Paramount asking if they had any extras they could sell me, and they actually sent me an 8x10 glossy photo of the exact same picture...which I had for years in my STAR TREK SCRAPBOOK along with a cardboard package from PROMISE margarine that William Shatner was a spokesperson for their TV spots back int he 70's. Ahh, those were the days. :)

6120_1212076104653_1311273192_615680_1585503_n.jpg
 
That's a beauty :love
Thanks for the info, to be honest that's way over my budget. I'll just keep looking for a cheap STTE version.
 
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