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Topic: Star Trek Toys A Commercial Failure? Post ReplyPost New Topic
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 3:34am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

According to UK sci-fi magazine INFINITY, STAR TREK toy lines have never been world-beating. It mentioned decades of mismanagement and dodgy products, e.g. toy tanks rebranded with the STAR TREK logo or Mego making a Gorn from a reused PLANET OF THE APES figure.

Apparently, the TNG figures produced by Galoob were a damp squib, too.

INFINITY was reviewing Netflix series THE TOYS THAT MADE US. I believe model kits were popular, but nothing else has really set the world alight.

That baffles me, to be honest.

I grew up playing with superhero figures, Action Man, jungle playsets (they were cool!) and so much else. I enjoyed them. I do recall having some Kirk and Spock figures, too.

By the time Galoob were making TNG toys, I was past the point of playing toys. Had I been born a decade or more later, I might well have put in an "Xmas Toys Request" for TNG figures. They certainly look cool and well-made. 

I'd certainly have liked this:





So, I wonder why STAR TREK isn't "conquering the world" with its toy lines. They never really sold any by me - no internet back then - but I'd have definitely bought some, especially if I had been born later. Gorn/Ape hybrid figures aside, some do look good. Certainly, if you can Google the Galoob TNG figures, well what kid wouldn't want to play with those?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 6:44am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Toys are aimed at the wrong audience. Kids who would want toys at this level didn't really watch STAR TREK. The audience was teenagers, like me, and college kids. And some military, who got into the most basic tropes of the show.

The concept of "adult toys" -- not meaning dildos! -- is something fairly recent. And, significantly, those toys are not meant to be played with!

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 8:49am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

As an aside, Mego is trying to make a comeback, with new figures available at Target, including several Star Trek ones.



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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 3:57pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I was desperate for Star Trek toys when the show first appeared on the BBC in 1969. My solution was to make my own USS Enterprise from Lego and 'action figures' out of Plasticine. Even though in the UK we didn't get Trek until it had already been cancelled in the States, we still had a bit of a wait for the Dinky Enterprise (doesn't get a mention in the Toys That Made Us documentary) and Mego figures. Though they don't really count as toys, I remember Star Trek bubble-gum cards* being very popular in the school yard.

*We had the set with blue borders based on 'What Are Little Girls Made Of?'
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 4:55pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

In retrospect, it's annoying - and STAR TREK wasn't alone in this - how manufacturers just put a logo on something and fooled people into buying it.

"Oh, we'll just slap this Dan Dare or Star Trek logo on a frisbee. Or how about this ray gun that looks nothing like the guns used in this or that show? We'll just do that." 

Lame, man. Lame.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 5:22pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Confession: many of them fooled me!!
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 5:31pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Me too! 

Some merchandise was rather dubious, e.g. a van (I think it was pink) with a Hulk face on the side. I could have just painted the Hulk's face on one of my many Matchbox vans.
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Bob Simko
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 9:00pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I think the only thing ihad at some point would have been the model kit that
included the tricorder, phaser and communicator...which I'm not even sure why
or who bought it for me since ST wasn't really a thing for me as a kid.
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Andy Mokler
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 10:02pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

I don't know what it is for sure but I do know that the fans to toy collector ratio for Star Trek is terrible.

Plenty of fans, but few seem to collect toys/action figures.  And Star Trek had some really nice action figures for quite a while.  Not all of them and I agree that after Mego, much of it was pretty lousy until Playmates.  By which time, the damage must have been done.

To my eye, the dolls and action figures produced by them were beautiful.  But they were never as popular as Star Wars or popular at all from my perspective.  

Eaglemoss ships actually do okay for our shop but I don't think I've ever had anyone ask for Star Trek anything else.  The toys and comics just don't sell well.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 06 August 2018 at 10:51pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Compared to Star Wars and other collectible cash cows, Star Trek lags behind, but there must be some gold in them thar' hills for so many toy and comic manufacturers to keep taking up the license. 

Just the fact that there are so many and have been consistently for so many years points out that the franchise is not a "failure." It's just not what the majority of fans are into.

That being said, there is an antique store some miles away that has a complete set of that Mission to Gamma Hydra playset for sale at $350, if memory serves. I look forward to going to that store whenever I'm in the neighborhood or the mood to make the drive, in part because I know that set is always there... It's sadly not selling. 


Mego's Gorn head, by the way, is simply a recasting of the one they did for Marvel Comics' Lizard. The original was done in green and dressed in a costume with a fabric tail. They did not include a tail for the Gorn, nor should they have. The Gorn is dressed in the costume originally crafted for Mego's Klingon figure. It's body certainly looks like the one Mego came up with for their POTA figures. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 06 August 2018 at 10:52pm
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 August 2018 at 4:58am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

I quite like the look of the TNG figures by Galoob. Had I been born later, I'd have no doubt put in a request for those from Santa!

STAR TREK toys being popular feels like it should be a no-brainer. If I could have had an Enterprise playset, with all the main TOS characters, I would have (I don't recall anything like that as a kid). 

And then there's these:


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Andrew Saxon
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Posted: 07 August 2018 at 9:43am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Mego put out an Enterprise playset for their Mego figures. It wasn't entirely accurate but it gave us a bridge and a transporter room - imagination took care of the rest. Best of all, those toys were affordable. If you didn't get a Dinky Enterprise or the Mego Mr Spock that you wanted for Christmas or a birthday then you could save up your pocket money and buy them.

PS - Remember, that particular episode of The Toys That Made Us has an agenda to laugh and sneer at the Trek toys of yore. One shouldn't fall into the trap of wholeheartedly accepting its premise that everything Trek-related back then was awful.
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Robbie Parry
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Posted: 07 August 2018 at 5:30pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

True. I'm more surprised that the Galoob TNG figures weren't a success. They look so cool.
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 08 August 2018 at 1:33pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

Those Galoob figures...around in the early 90`s local
discount warehouse Hooty`s was selling them for 1 each!
I may have some in the loft!
In the late 60`s our only Star Trek `toys` were the
masks of Kirk, Spock etc printed on the back of cereal
packets!
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