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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old February 10 2013, 03:13 AM   #31
ZapBrannigan
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

Dantheman wrote: View Post
It probably wasn't until the success of Star Wars that companies made a concerted effort to keep a unified look for licensed merchandise like today, where you'll have the same package design as the action figures on bedsheets, coloring books, and toothbrushes.
This issue reminds me of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, which had a clunky logo on its original movie poster and LP that didn't match the onscreen version. Later the studio settled on the cooler one and stuck with it.






This is good music, btw.
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Old February 10 2013, 11:20 PM   #32
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

Dantheman wrote: View Post
It probably wasn't until the success of Star Wars that companies made a concerted effort to keep a unified look for licensed merchandise like today, where you'll have the same package design as the action figures on bedsheets, coloring books, and toothbrushes.
Odd thing about that is a property almost as old like Planet of the Apes had most, if not all of its merchandising use the official logo, whether it was on model kits, puzzles, trading card packaging, Power Records, View Master reels, rack toys or action figure packaging. Only in a few rare cases (ex. Marvel's comic magazine), did the official logo/title fail to represent the property.
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Old February 11 2013, 01:12 AM   #33
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

Yeah, it was like that with Star Wars even into the '80s. Kenner had their own versions of the Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi logos, while other licensees used their own versions, based on ones from the movie posters. I remember Pepperridge Farms, on their Star Wars cookies released to tie in with Return of the Jedi, used the triangular SW logo from the first film!
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Old February 11 2013, 01:24 AM   #34
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

I'm a child of the 80's, so I missed out on all this stuff, but I would have been very, very happy with some of the items I've seen over the years.

Man, if money was no problem...
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Old February 11 2013, 02:07 AM   #35
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

IMHO, most Star Trek related toys in the 70's and 80's really sucked. I'll never forget seeing those "phaser" atrocities drummed up by some incompetent fabricators. And when AMT made the Exploration Set models mini-size (in addition to badly inaccurate), I was sorely disappointed. I didn't like the Mego dolls, because they didn't look right to me and those light blue plastic phasers looked absolutely ridiculous. Later, Micro Machines did a fair job with the micro scale ships, but I never cared for what Playmates experimented with. Their phaser was alright, but still lacking. But now you're talking 1990's when companies started to make at least a half-baked attempt at doing something close to the original design.

Of course, today a lot of the vintage toys are considered collectible and some dolls will fetch a handsome reward. It boggles my mind. I still see it all as just poor crap. It wasn't until Art Asylum came out with their version of the TOS phaser when I could say "Yes, now THIS is what I would have liked when I was a kid!"
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Old February 11 2013, 05:54 PM   #36
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

It was a different era back then, maybe it depends on how old you were at the time, but all I needed was a representation that was fairly close to capture the magic. Today everything tries to be screen accurate, but I have never seen a Kirk figure look nearly as close to capturing Shatner as the old Megos. Those dolls were amazing and are, to me, the standard by which the others stand or fall. I loved all of those toys and have a decent collection of them today.
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Old February 11 2013, 08:16 PM   #37
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

Well, the reason for the scale of the Exploration Set model/props is readily apparent; they were intended for a child's hands. And since I was not yet twelve with a slight build, they didn't seem too undersized at that time.

As for their faithfulness to the on screen props, it looks as if they were based a bit more upon the simplified designs of the Filmation animated series. And, at least to me, the Mego figures seemed to resemble their cartoon counterparts more than the features of the original actors, particularly with Kirk and Scotty. Spock and McCoy, I will admit, differed equally from their drawn forms as they did from Nimoy and Kelley. Even Filmation didn't go crazy with Spock's ears as Mego did and McCoy looked more like Carl Malden in profile with that "ski slope" schnozz.

Never the less, I loved them. Since Star Wars was still about 3 years in the future, the standard size for action figures were 12 inches (ala G.I. Joe) or 8 inches (like the rest of the Mego line and several smaller companies). Thus, a "Creature from the Black Lagoon" doll I had became a sapient aquatic alien. (Doing a bit of 'net "research" not too long ago, I discovered this particular "Lagoon Creature" having "pop together" roto-cast torso and head parts along with quasi "bendy" arms and legs was meant by the manufacturers to be a female creature, a gill-girl, if you will! They did not feminize the face at all, but that does explain why it had a somewhat "hour-glass" shaped torso.)

Sincerely,

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Old February 11 2013, 09:47 PM   #38
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

ssosmcin wrote: View Post
It was a different era back then, maybe it depends on how old you were at the time, but all I needed was a representation that was fairly close to capture the magic. Today everything tries to be screen accurate,
For its time, the AMT Exploration Set captured the basic details of the TOS hand props well enough. To this day, i'm not sure if anyone has ever written about the origin of the kit, or if AMT had access to surviving props to use as inspiraition during the design process, but it would interesting to know how the kit was developed.

That said, I think the kit is no less accurate than the wave of Star Wars toy lightsabers (slightly oversized with the telescoping plastic blade) on the market since 1999. They were oversized, suffered from a wealth of inaccurate details, but that did not stop the toys from being sold as accurate replicas.


but I have never seen a Kirk figure look nearly as close to capturing Shatner as the old Megos. Those dolls were amazing and are, to me, the standard by which the others stand or fall. I loved all of those toys and have a decent collection of them today.
You are 100% correct; after Mego's Kirk, from ERTL in the 80's, Playmates in the 90's, and finally Art Asylum/Diamond, and Sideshow in the 2000s, none have captured Shatner's features as close as Mego. That says Mego's sculptors--with 1970s skills--were damn near close to brilliant. On the other hand, today's talents--with technology now aiding these alleged "master" sculptors more than ever before--are sort of...half-asses in the sense that they pride themselves on the work, but fail miserably when it comes to ONE actor's face.
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Old February 12 2013, 02:52 PM   #39
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

The AMT Exploration set and the Remco Utility Belt were apparently cast from the same molds. The phaser shot discs and the tricorder face lacked detail, but for the most part, the Utility Belt was like getting a pre-assembled Exploration Set. With a great plastic belt (with the Gold Key Star Trek logo on the buckle) which would barely fit around my thigh today. I had a few of these and along with my Donmoor official Star Trek shirts, I was ready to go as a kid. You didn't need a $300 official uniform, with $2000 worth of Master Replicas props to be Captain Kirk. You needed, at most, $15 in 1970's money to be kitted up. Whatever the clothes and toys lacked, the imagination filled in.

Good times.
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Old February 12 2013, 03:49 PM   #40
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

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I had one of these. God what a dork.

This looks awesome, but what the hell is it?
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Old February 12 2013, 04:04 PM   #41
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

Amen, brotha'!

Since Kyle and I had the Exploration Set rather than the Remco collection, we didn't have a belt to store our gear. I nabbed the strap from my binocular case (which served as my "tricorder" before the model kit appeared) and threaded it through the hollow shell. It was just about long enough and thus resolved that issue. But the phaser and communicator, that was another story.

We'd usually push the grip through a belt loop. That actually positioned the gun similarly to what we saw in the show, but it was prone to sliding and falling to the ground. We wound up snapping off "emitters" and having to re-glue them. I usually just carried the comm' in my hand or stashing it within a pocket. Kyle tried rolling a length of adhesive tape into a "tube" with the sticky surface facing outward, applying it to the back of the comm' and slapping it to his belt to be a bit more authentic. Yeah, it usually pried loose from any movement.

Uniforms? well, Kyle initially had a light brown pull-over with a dark collar. Looked pretty decent as a "command" department tunic. I had a blue turtleneck, but it was almost navy rather than a mid range blue. Kyle had black pants, but I had to settle for beep brown. Kyle had some brown boots he tried turning black two different ways. One time, he got a roll of electrician's tape and "mummified" the footwear. Another time, actually tried to spray paint them!

Later, Kyle and I discovered shirts being sold at JC Penny's with starsip chevrons. They didn't have rank braids but rather black elastic cuffs that matched the collar. I think I read that they were sold as sleepwear. But dang it, to have an arrowhead breast patch that wouldn't dislodge (as we had used cardboard gripped with tape) was paradise! we could "forgive" the cuffs.

Sadly, about the time we had collected our somewhat more authentic ensembles, we both moved to different parts of the state and I didn't find anyone else with whom I could "pretend".

Sincerely,

Bill

Follow-up: Ah, I see ssosmcin and I discussed the same clothing. I did a wee bit of Google-fu and learned DonMoor made those cuffed Trek shirts.
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Old February 12 2013, 05:41 PM   #42
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

My dad helped me with the communicator fastening issue: he attached a metal belt clip to the back and there ya go! It was on my belt. I did the same thing you did with the phaser (belt loop) before I got the belt or after the belt had broken (it was pretty danged cheap). After a big snow and after my did shoveled the driveway, I climbed around the snow mounds shouting "a god need compassion! Mitchell!" The neighbors had learned to ignore me, as well as my constant shoulder rolls and Kirk Fights in the front yard, often by myself.

Oh and I had the Donmoor shirts as well as the pajamas. There was no stopping me back then.
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Old February 12 2013, 08:08 PM   #43
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

heavy lids wrote: View Post
Captain April wrote: View Post
I had one of these. God what a dork.

This looks awesome, but what the hell is it?
I wonder who that kid is and whether he ever admits to having modeled that thing.
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Old February 12 2013, 08:54 PM   #44
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

Other than providing an allowance my father didn't help me with my role-playing (back then we just called it, "let's pretend"). Obviously, I was not inventive enough to attach a clip to the communicator on my own or even consider the idea. Maybe I thought such would "ruin" the look; I can't remember.

I think the one thing that disappointed Kyle and I about the "Exploration Set" kit was the single unit aspect of the Type II phaser construction. We had hoped the Type I "pocket" element could be removed from the pistol grip section for those more diplomatic landing parties. We were certainly not skilled enough to cut awy the "pocket" phaser's features from the larger pieces and block in the gaping holes. So we just "beamed" onto the ""planet" armed to the teeth all the time.

Writing of rebuilding parts of the kit, I wonder which parents really helped to indulge their kids' playtime and modeled Trek field gear from scratch? You know, studying what few scant resources existed at that time, the photos in Whitfield's "Making of Star Trek" and the occasional publicity shot to construct phasers and comms milled from blocks of wood. Such props would have been far more durable than the hollow shells of brittle styrene that the AMT kit provided. But alas, my father was not a wood worker with a sense of whimsy.

Now THAT would be nostalgic. A middle aged man climbs into the attic to retrieve some item. He uncovers a box that he literally hasn't seen in decades. When he opens it, he discovers a group of three items acrved from wood, portions milled and/or lathed, glued together and highlighted with shiny accents, either metal or plastic. The paint has cracked and flaked in places from the years of dry heat. The glue has crystalized and thus some pieces have loosened or even separated. The metal pieces have tarnished, maybe rusted. But it reminds that person of a seemingly simpler time, bugging his father in his wood shop by thrusting a copy of Whitfield's book in his face and pleading, "Dad?! Can you make me a phaser? Stevey and I want to fight off the Klingons!" And while putting on a show of being grumpy, the father quietly relishes the thought his son came to him for help.

Good grief, that turned into a Norman Rockwell moment, didn't it? But the point is still valid. Did anyone's parents help you make some Star Trek toys?

Sincerely,

Bill
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Old February 12 2013, 10:37 PM   #45
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Re: Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

Outside of putting the clips on my communicator and fixing my Enterprise model after I sat on it, my parents left me to my own devices.

They were supportive of my love of Star Trek because they shared it. I got the whole family into it and it was a show we all watched together for a long time. So, as long as we had the money, or for Christmas/birthdays, getting Star Trek toys was no hassle. I do remember my dad putting together my first model Space:1999 Eagle. It took him days because he wanted to get it right. He did a great job on it.
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