Star Trek Toys of the 1970s

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by ZapBrannigan, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    I had the Exploration Set as well, although I didn't use them as toys because they were so breakable. As I recall, the phaser grip didn't stay on at all.

    Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I didn't use them as toys after I broke them.

    My dad did most of the model assembly and as I recall, he had a lot of trouble with the decals. I believe some of them went on wrinkled. My mom got in on the act and painted some of the communicator buttons with red nail polish to add some variety. Probably not very screen-accurate, but I thought it was cool.

    I remember really, badly wanting the "Star Trek Communicator" (presumably the Mego one), which was very obviously a working device and therefore head and shoulders above everything else. Unfortunately I never got it. I did get some generic walkie-talkies within the next couple of years, but it just... wasn't the same.

    The generics were good enough to annoy the hell out of all the CBers in the neighborhood, though.
     
  2. Garrovick

    Garrovick Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2012
    Location:
    wallowing in a pool of emotion
    Were you ever able to get it to work? I never could get mine to fly right.
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    I was six or seven at the time, all I remember is it flying around in circles. :lol:
     
  4. Sir Rhosis

    Sir Rhosis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2001
    Location:
    Cincinnati, OH
    I had a couple of the Exploration Kits (they did break easily), a brown (why brown, I have no idea) Klingon ship, the working communicator walkie talkies, and something called a Trekulator -- a calculator shaped like one of the large pads. IIRC, it "chirped" whenever you hit the = key.

    Sir Rhosis
     
  5. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State

    Yeah! I thought I'd seen every episode of TOS, but I must be in for a treat because I still have to see the one where Spock wears that helmet. :guffaw:
     
  6. Metryq

    Metryq Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Deleted scenes from "Spock's Brain" where McCoy discovers that he forgot to reconnect Spock's dignity nerve. The first officer wore it while riding a tricycle around the corridors before security snagged him with a butterfly net.

    In HD, the helmet can be seen in the background of FIREFLY episodes along with the Han Solo in carbonite model...
     
  7. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  8. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Escaped from Delta Vega
    Great thread, Zap!

    Fond memories of 70s ST, as I had about half of the Mego line, inlcuding the Bridge playset. Other than Mego, I had the infamous Tracer gun, the Remco Phasers, and a viewer which turned a few panels of one of the Gold Key comic into a black and white film strip, among other items.

    Anyone ever notice how licensing art for ST was not as enforced as it would be by 1980? On some 70s products, the Gold Key logo would be used on toys having nothing to do with Western Publishing, the box photo from the AMT Enterprise was adapted as line art for Power Records and other toy packaging. If i'm not mistaken, AMT's box photo for the Klingon Battle Crusier was used as one of the targets for Mego's Phaser game.

    One of the 70s puzzles clearly lifted art from Gold Key.

    By the time of TMP, I believe the licensing of ST images and art was hardline, so one company's unique creation would not find its way on the products from another.
     
  9. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Escaped from Delta Vega
    That helmet kinda makes the use of a colander as head gear in "Spock's Brain" seem innovative and cool! Imagine if this kiddie helmet was the design??!!
     
  10. Dantheman

    Dantheman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    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.
     
  11. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Location:
    New York State
    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.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    This is good music, btw.
     
  12. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Escaped from Delta Vega
    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.
     
  13. Dantheman

    Dantheman Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2011
    Location:
    Michigan USA
    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!
     
  14. barnaclelapse

    barnaclelapse Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 10, 2009
    Location:
    Waverly, VA.
    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...
     
  15. Gary7

    Gary7 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    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!"
     
  16. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2002
    Location:
    ssosmcin
    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.
     
  17. Redfern

    Redfern Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2006
    Location:
    Georgia, USA
    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,

    Bill
     
  18. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    Escaped from Delta Vega
    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.


    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.
     
  19. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2002
    Location:
    ssosmcin
    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.
     
  20. heavy lids

    heavy lids Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2013
    Location:
    Denver
    This looks awesome, but what the hell is it?