19 December 2012
Beaming down some classic Star Trek diecast models from Galoob and Johnny Lightning. ...
In 1987, a new TV series appeared, ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. Set a century after the original series, it took place on the new USS Enterprise-D under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). The new crew included second officer Will Riker (Jonathon Frakes), Dr Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden), Lt Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Counsellor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), a robot named Data (Brent Spiner) and one of Starfleet’s former enemies, Worf the Klingon (Michael Dorn). The new Enterprise was twice as large as the original one, and there were accommodation facilities for the families of married personnel.
ST:TNG lasted seven seasons, after which it was spun off into a series of four movies, beginning with ‘Star Trek: Generations’, where the new team met a lost-in-time Captain Kirk. Meanwhile, two new TV shows were produced: ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’, set on a space station at an intergalactic crossroad, and ‘Star Trek: Voyager’, in which a Starfleet ship was stranded on the other side of the universe. After the conclusion of Voyager, the final ST series was produced, ‘Star Trek: Enterprise’, set in the early days of space exploration. After a four year gap, a new Star Trek film was released, which re-booted the franchise, starring Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock. A sequel, ‘Star Trek: Into Darkness’ is currently in production.
THE NEXT GENERATION MODELS
The Enterprise NCC-1701-D featured in ST:TNG existed about a century after the original ship, and was a much larger vessel with an oval shaped saucer and more streamlined design. One notable feauture of this Galaxy class ship was that the saucer section could separate from the secondary hull and travel independently. A model of the Enterprise D was produced in the 1990s by American company Galoob, best known for the range of tiny vehicles called Micro Machines.
Galoob had previously produced a wide range of plastic Star Trek vehicles, although this was the company’s first foray into diecast. The Enterprise D model was quite large, similar in size to the first Dinky toy. It was a very accurate replica, with lots of detail, painted in pale blue with red and gold trim. It also had a very unobtrusive action feature; like the real ship; the saucer section could separate from the rest of the craft. The model was all metal, except for a small catch to hold the saucer in place. This model is not easy to find, and does not appear to have been well distributed.
After a gap of several years, American company Johnny Lightning acquired the Star Trek license, and released several waves of small-scale ships under the banner of ‘Legends of Star Trek’. These were quite good models, but were all plastic, with only diecast stands. Apart from the Enterprise, in original and refit versions, there were some unusual ships included, such as USS Voyager, USS Reliant, USS Enterprise-E, a shuttlecraft, a Romulan Warbird and a Borg cube. Several castings were reissued in different variations including ‘battle damaged’ versions.
Corgi briefly regained the franchise in 2007, and released three large scale models: the original USS Enterprise, a Klingon Bird of Prey and USS Enterprise-D. These were quite good models, although for some reason they were also released as unpainted, raw-metal versions mounted on lighted display stands. Proposed versions of USS Voyager, USS Defiant and a Romulan Warbird did not make it to production.
Most recently, the license has been acquired by Mattel, which released a range of Star Trek models under the Hot Wheels brand. These were similar in size and quality to the Corgi models, but with a much wider range. These included the first Enterprise, in original and refit versions, USS Defiant, USS Enterprise-D, Klingon Bird of Prey, Enterprise NX-01 (from Star Trek: Enterprise), plus several battle-damaged versions of the same ships. The line also included the re-designed Enterprise from the recent reboot movie, and its nemesis, and ugly Romulan cargo ship called Narada. The Hot Wheels range will probably be expanded to tie in with the upcoming film ‘Into Darkness’.
THIS IS AN EXTRACT FROM AN ARTICLE ABOUT STAR TREK DIECAST MODELS IN THE JANUARY 2013 ISSUE OF COLLECTORS GAZETTE, WHICH IS AVAILABLE TO BUY FROM 21ST DECEMBER OR YOU CAN ORDER YOUR COPY ONLINE.