Star Trek Headed Back To Playmates

It has been the stated intent that the new Star Trek movie will move the venerable Trek franchise back into the broader mainstream audience. One area where this will manifest itself is in merchandising and TrekMovie.com has learned that a big step has been taken by awarding the toy license for the new Star Trek movie to Playmates Toys. This is actually a ‘coming home’ for Trek toys as Playmates held the license for much of the 90s but dropped it in 2000.

Details are still sketchy but sources indicate that (at a minimum) Playmates will be making action figures, prop toys and ship models from the new feature film. Work on prototypes has already started (at least for the figures). It is expected that an official announcement will come in February during the ToyFair trade show in New York. Toy retailers (but not the general public) may even be given a preview of the Playmates Star Trek line so they can make purchase decisions for winter 2008. Diamond Select/Art Asylum, who picked up the license for Star Trek after Playmates dropped it in 2000, will continue to carry the license for Star Trek items from the previous TV and film series.

Playmates is capable of getting Star Trek toys back to major retail stores which is very important if Star Trek is going to labeled as "cool again" by both fans and the general movie-going public. Playmates is one of the largest toy companies with distribution at all the major retailers such as Target, Wal-mart, Toys R Us, K-Mart, and Kaybee Toys. They made the toys for the recent King Kong movie and currently hold license for Teenage Mutant Ninga Turtles and Disney Princesses. They also manufacture the popular line of "Elite Force" military action figures and toys.


The Kirks from Playmates w/ more coming for the new "Star Trek"

Playmates long history with Trek
Playmates held the Star Trek license for much of the 90s and made toys from every Star Trek television show and film (except 2001’s Enterprise and 2002’s Nemesis when the license had transferred to Art Asylum/Diamond Select). Fan favorites include the Enterprise D bridge and Engineering playsets, prop toys like Dr. McCoy’s Medical Kit, Enterprise ship models and of course action figures. Over the decade Playmates released almost 700 different Star Trek figures of various sizes, including 4.5", 6", 7", 9" and 12" versions. Unlike the Star Wars figures from Hasbro, Playmates figures offered many more variations for each character.


Playmates TNG Tricorder and Enterprise D playest

Playmates Toys were probably at their best during the days of First Contact and Insurrection with an amazing variety of items. For First Contact they offered eleven smaller action figures, five 9" figures, phaser and communicator toys, plus models of the Enterprise-E, Zephram Cochrane’s Phoenix, and the Borg Sphere. With Insurrection Playmates offered a similar number of figures and toys plus a new Enterprise-E with Captain’s yacht.


Star Trek Insurrection Enterprise w/ Captains Yacht

Playmates Star Trek toys continue to be popular to this day, including a number websites dedicated to collectors (such as PlayTrek and TrekToy). Some rare toys are very highly valued . For example The "Redemption" Data (which was a JC Penny’s exclusive limited to 7,000) and the limited Tapestries Picard, Tasha Yar, and Reginald Barclay action figures (all limited to 1,701 each) are worth hundreds of dollars at auctions.


These rare figures will run over $400 each on Ebay

Diamond Select still with Star Trek
The new license for Playmates is limited to just the new Star Trek movie. This means that Diamond Select Toys will still continue with its line covering all other aspects of the Trek franchise (TOS-ENT + 10 previous films). In the last year DST has released a popular line of retro Mego versions and Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan action figures and will be releasing more Kirk, Sisko, and Picard era action figures, Minimates, starship toys, and role playing items this year. DST is also expected to announce additional new (non movie-related) Trek items at Toy Fair.

However, Diamond Select is a comany that best serves a niche clientèle of collectors. For Star Trek to be ‘big’ again it needs to be big with adults and kids. The deal with Playmates, along with the recently announced deal with Corgi International/Master Replicas, shows that the new Star Trek movie will be covered for all ages and all price ranges. Kids will have low-priced toys to play with and collectors will have high-end items to keep behind glass. But it is the Playmates license that signals that "Star Trek" may be on its way to being fun again!

Playmates, Paramount and CBS would not make any comment for this article. TrekMovie.com will continue to report on developments in Star Trek merchandising.


Playmates commercials and fan videos

VOTE: Do you have Playmates?
So how many Playmates do you have (or did you have). Vote in our latest poll (right sidebar).

Sort by:   newest | oldest
CmdrR
January 27, 2008 5:58 pm

I want some!

Wooo-hoo! I’m 8 again!

NCC-73515
January 27, 2008 5:58 pm

I hope that they will also be available in Europe…

Chad N.
January 27, 2008 6:01 pm

I hope that the new Playmates will have the detail that Art Asylum / Diamond Select has to their products. Compare the Art Asylum Enterprise-E to the Playmates “Insurrection” version… worlds apart.

Jared
January 27, 2008 6:05 pm

I still remember xmas morning getting that first wave of TNG figure’s! my mom had hid the box and then when all the presents were gone she brought it out this big box full of them! And then a year later the TOS box set….although I can see the argument for Art Asylum type figs, I think playmates is great takes me back!

alexander
January 27, 2008 6:05 pm

playmates was awesome with thei trek stuff, I have a billion figures, a bunch of phasers, battle damaged Enterpise-d from generations (along with klingon BOP and enterpise-b) the med tricorder and main engineering set (I was around 6 when TNG ended – i LOVED that show – and still do! I hope to God they do a remaster like TOS) always wanted the bridge set as a kid, but it was hard to find according to my parents – I bet they just didnt want to spend the money

trekkie1701D (Brian)
January 27, 2008 6:06 pm

Cool. Overall Playmates did a good job, they lacked in some areas, but they did a good job releasing a variety of Trek stuff and of decent quality. Hopefully the prop toys will be a little more accurate than last time though.

January 27, 2008 6:08 pm

We all know that Art Asylum’s Star Trek line is much more detailed than PlayMates’ ever was. Does this mean PlayMates will step up their game to match Art Asylum’s quality? Or will we be getting more cartoonish firgures and Ship’s that aren’t accurate?

Don’t get me wrong, PlayMates was in full gear when I was young and getting into TNG. I have a ton of their ST toys. But after seeing what Art Asylum has produced, I can’t look at PM the same way again.

I’m glad at least that AS will still be able to produce stuff from all the previous ST’s though.

January 27, 2008 6:10 pm

As I am sure John could elaborate on much more eloquently…people should bear in mind that DST could never ever make enough and get distribution enough for a truly mass market (and most importantly) ‘kid friendly’ toy campaign. If you want ‘replica quality’ you will have stuff from Master Replicas. If you want ‘toys’ for kids to actually play with you will have Playmates.

and if you love DST they will still make trek stuff…just not for the movie

I AM THX-1138
January 27, 2008 6:10 pm

I would like to take this opportunity to pat myself on the back as I posted this rumor on Friday, although I can’t remember what thread. It was brought up on a different web-site that Playmates had accidently and prematurely announced their involvement in the movie. I saw it for a moment on Playmates website, then they pulled it. Self-congratulatory BS finished.

I have to concur with the sentiment that hopefullybPlaymates will bring more to the table as far as details are concerned. Their previous efforts were too “toy-like”. I like the DST AA stuff because I can display it. Corgi’s stuff to me just isn’t as good as DST AA, and Playmates was behind them all.

Fingers Crossed.

January 27, 2008 6:13 pm

Pictures of prototypes always leak out of ToyFair…

devolution
January 27, 2008 6:15 pm

yikes. i stopped by the playmates website to see the quality of the toys they offer and they look to be about the same as they were when i was a kid and TNG figures were everywhere. i love the idea of ‘star trek’ products being readily available (and likely more affordable), but i hope this doesn’t mean we are going to see a shift away from the realism and quality that later manufacturers have provided.

steve623
January 27, 2008 6:21 pm

“Pictures of prototypes always leak out of ToyFair…”

Only if the toys are displayed at Toy Fair to have pictures taken of them. But I’m sure Dennis knows more about Toy Fair than anybody else here too ;-)

section9
January 27, 2008 6:32 pm

What! No Agony Booth?

Pass.

John Tenuto
January 27, 2008 6:43 pm

#7

Hello

One of the themes of Star Trek collectibles is their variety. There are $4 Johnny Lightning ships and $2000 MasterReplica versions. Yet, Star Trek has been very lacking in getting the youth friendly toys to retail stores. This is a very important aspect of making Star Trek popular again, bringing youths to the movies or television shows.

In the 1970s, Star Trek toys were for the children, especially MEGO. Somewhere in the 1990s and 2000s, as fans aged, Paramount didn\’t merchandise to the younger groups.

There is no doubt that DST toys are great, I have them all. I can tell you though kids do not play with them. Those action figures are not toys, not at nearly $20 each. Trekmovie.com\’s Youth Correspondent mentioned this with a recent article. Our five year old son Nicky won\’t touch the DST figures, yet he enjoys the Playmates very much.

It seems to me that we have the best of both worlds. DST continues with their Star Trek toys, and most importantly, Playmates Toys has retail versions of the characters. Those retail versions will sell more and advertise the film more. Also, don\’t be too hard on Playmates Toys. Compare Star Wars toys from Hasbro ten years ago with today. The technology has improved, and so will the toys.

January 27, 2008 6:47 pm

I had that tricorder! I remember wearing black sweat pants and a red sweat shirt taking that tricorder and a phaser I had on my own away missions in my backyard.

January 27, 2008 6:51 pm

#12: “But I’m sure Dennis knows more about Toy Fair than anybody else here too ”

Don’t feel badly – you probably know *something* about…well, something.

Probably.

Alex Prewitt
January 27, 2008 7:02 pm

It’s too bad Playmates is getting the new movie license. I don’t hold much hope that their quality will be anywhere near AA/DST.

NCC-73515
January 27, 2008 7:04 pm

The beginning of my collection was the 1701-D I got in 1992 for Christmas. Then I bought a TNG Type 2 Phaser and a TNG Tricorder.
Some years after that I got the Voyager – again for Christmas.
Years after that I got the TNG Type 1 Phaser from a friend and two Mini-Playsets (1701-D and Klingon be’rel) on my birthday.
And then I used eBay to get two TOS Phasers, a TOS Communicator, a ST1/2 Phaser, a ST5/6 Phaser, a ST9 Phaser, a TOS Tricorder and a TMP Communicator.
All these toys are from Playmates, and I am happy with them. My newest additions to this collection are the Art Asylum / Diamond Select TOS Phaser, TOS 1701, Nemesis 1701-E, and the STTE TOS Communicator from Las Vegas.

I live in Germany and the TNG toys used to be quite popular here in the 90s. You could buy them in any toystore. But nowadays Trek merchandise seems to be available in special stores only, which are located in only a few cities.
So I hope that I will find the STXI toys in the nearest store, which is 10 minutes away ;)

Sean4000
January 27, 2008 7:06 pm

I have EVERY one of the toys on this page except the ultra rare ones. The transporter toy is a bad ass little play thing.

Joel
January 27, 2008 7:12 pm

This is the best news since they announced the film. I have just been taken back to my childhood. To see Star Trek toys back in all stores, made by Playmates for the new movie will be an experience.

Bink
January 27, 2008 7:16 pm

Speaking of Star Trek Toys, here’s a version I spent the last two years designing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJe_luMt4J0
A toy that actually works!

January 27, 2008 7:24 pm

Cool. I don’t collect (I rip things out of the box and PLAY), so I’ll be looking forward to seeing what they do this time around :)

Kelly
January 27, 2008 7:32 pm

#18 – I bought one of my favorite Star Trek figures back in 1997 in Germany, a Deanna Troi. I remember when I was there how crazy it was that I saw Star Trek everywhere! We even went into a store that sold tons of the episodes on tape, lo they looked bootleg though.

T2
January 27, 2008 7:33 pm

Best news I’ve heard all day. I’ll never forget growing up watching TNG and always being surprised with a new figure here and there. Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, etc…every occasion it’s what people got me. Now I only wish I had kept some sealed instead of opened. (Especially the “Tapestry” Picard, “Yesterday’s Enterprise” Yar, and “Projections” Barclay.) I can’t wait to see what they do next.

Harry Ballz
January 27, 2008 7:33 pm

#9 I AM THX-1138 “I would like to take this opportunity to pat myself on the back”

Hmmmm………I could say a number of things right now, but since you’re a good friend let’s just leave it at……..

self-praise is no recommendation!

As Al Pacino would say, HOOOOO HAAAAA!! :)

Smitty
January 27, 2008 7:34 pm

Fantastic!

If/when they do I hope they take more care when making them. My only real complaint was when they sat they were always in the lotus position!

Legs bend straight at the waist please!

-cs™

GARY NEUMANN
January 27, 2008 7:36 pm

Oh god NO

I AM THX-1138
January 27, 2008 7:40 pm

#21
I saw that on youtube earlier today. Nice work.

I just went onto Playmates website. I gotta say, I’m not that impressed with the quality of what they currently have. Back in the day, I had the TNG phasers and tricorder and was pretty happy with them. Although the small TNG hand phaser was way too big. The ships just didn’t do it for me. I’m a decent modeler, so I went that route but as I got older I came to appreciate DST AA for the detail and in the case of the TOS Enterprise, some always-on lighting. I never have done the lighting thing.

I still am keeping my fingers crossed that the Playmates quality will be good or that Master Replicas aren’t going to try price these for doctors and lawyers only.

Who will be producing the models for assembly? Maybe I’ll have to go back to my old ways.

AnnoyedFan
January 27, 2008 7:40 pm

I have all of the ships, every single one even the rare

trekkie1701D (Brian)
January 27, 2008 7:45 pm

Sooo, if the figures are leaked @ toyfair, does that mean we get to see UNIFORMS?!?

elmachocombo
January 27, 2008 7:47 pm

The one toy I always wanted was the transporter. They should make TMP version “what made it back didn’t live long” scene. Imagine the packaging on that sweet toy. “Includes exclusive Weeping Rand and Mutilated Ambassador action figures. Push the button to hear him SREEEEEEAM!” Oh, yeah. They HAVE to make a Checkov with Seti Alpha 6 ear creature too. Including a jar of ear goo. “Capteen, zey put creatures in our ears.” Oh, JOY! Can’t wait for the new toys.

January 27, 2008 7:47 pm

This is really great news, for all the reasons listed above. It’s critical to reach kids and get Trek movie toys to where their parents are shopping.

What a kick to see pictures of the E-D bridge playset and tricorder, which I still have! The only bad part is feeling old when I hear how everyone was 7 when they got their first TNG figures. :-) I was in my 20s (I swear I had a girlfriend too).

January 27, 2008 7:52 pm

Woo!
Now I can act like an 8 year old again!

January 27, 2008 7:52 pm

I think it is a safe bet that most of us here fell in love with trek when we were kids or young adults. For Trek to be big again it has to again capture the imagination of the youth. In the last decade Trek has become more and more of a niche, catering to an older and older crowd.

Problem with that….the crowd are eventually going to all die

StarTrekRocker
January 27, 2008 7:52 pm

Playmates had a surprising amount of good durable quality products! I welcome them back! And I agree with #19, that Transporter was way cool!

Buckaroohawk
January 27, 2008 7:55 pm

I have a number of the Playmates Trek action figures, but I was more interested in the equipment props (phasers, tricorders, etc.) and the toy starships. Many of them are still on display in my den, though they’ve become a tad dusty…

My fondest memory of the Playmates Trek action figures comes from a display a freind had in his apartment many years ago. He had several of the original TNG action figures that were made by Galoob (and were truly gawd-awful, by the way) in a semi-circle, kneeling in humble submission before a Playmates TNG Worf figure. A truly hilarious diorama, and the memory of it still makes me smile to this day.

Wes
January 27, 2008 7:56 pm
Finally! Home again! I was 5 when the first slew of TNG figures came out, and I was so excited! Since, the only thing I could get up to that point was first season TNG galoob figures on discount at the toy stores, because they were a few years old. I was so excited to get that Bridge set in Christmas 1993! My grandma also bought me the Klingon V’ORCHA and the Warbird, Enterprise-D and the Transporter, she must have spent a fortune! My parents and friends bought me the action figures through the years, and I always kept them in good shape and with all the acc. I also bought 2 of each figure (when they were on discount!) because I wanted to open one and have the cover art. I am 19 now and I still buy all the playmates stuff, when I find it! I have almost 1000 (maybe over!) Playmates Items, all the ships, figures, role playing, and playsets. The great thing is, is that you could actually find them and afford them, unlike the diamond select and art asylum ones (except when Enterprise was cancelled, they ended up in the discount bins for 2 bucks!) I think that the retailers are afraid of Trek merchandise because they have been screwed over so many times with the failure of the art asylum ones, which were in all of my local KB toy stores, and the over saturation of the playmates stuff in the late 1990’s that… Read more »
star trackie
January 27, 2008 7:59 pm

Man, playmates had the absolute worst figure sculpts…from a collecting perspective anyway, the likeness of the characters really sucked. I guess it is good to have toys that look like toys for kids to really get into it. But it is very cool when a toy company like AA can put out a phaser that is so good it is used in the actual TV production and offer figures with scultps created by laser scans of the actor’s face.

I sure hate to see a step backwards to the clunky-non accurate prop/figure/ship reproductions that PLaymates offered. But that’s the collector in me speaking…maybe some kids will actually play with the new stuff instead of “collecting” them and never opening the box.

January 27, 2008 8:00 pm

#31
Don’t forget the ST2 Anamatronic Kirk Head. Just pull the string and hear the digitally remastered “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!”

elmachocombo
January 27, 2008 8:02 pm

With the echo, of course. That would be awesome.

elmachocombo
January 27, 2008 8:04 pm

And the scab faced Khan clenching his fist! Oh, I hope they do branch out and not stick to the new film exclusively.

Alex
January 27, 2008 8:06 pm

This is awsome news! I have them all, even the super-rare 1701-Picard, tasha Yar and Reg Barclay (I got them back in the day for $300 from ebay). Although no competition to the AA-Toys in detail, they remain my favorites to this day. I was never able to warm up with the AA figures, altough some of them (mostly the early ones, TOS, Nemesis and Enterprise) are on display in my living room. I remember having a wonderful time trying to get them all from ebay or in shops (does anyone remember the time when mainstream retailers actually had Star Trek toys on display?).

My initial skepticism turned into confidence with the trailer and into pure hype with this news. Let’s see what’s next. :-)

(Oh, and if they are going to anounce that the Star Trek Micro Machines are going to be ressurrected, too, I might actually get a heart attack…)

The Vulcanista
January 27, 2008 8:06 pm

Anthony’s got a new poll up. So far, four people have no Playmate ST toys.

Peace. Live long and prosper.
The Vulcanista }:-|

I AM THX-1138
January 27, 2008 8:11 pm

#38
That’s what I was getting at. Good for the kids-bad for me. I take my stuff out of the box and display it. Boxes are for moving and I’m not selling any of my stuff. My ex-wife trashed all my old stuff, so I aint lettin’ go.

#34-AP
“older crowd” ” are eventually going to all die ”

Not me! Never!!

January 27, 2008 8:11 pm

And the good news just keeps on coming.. :-)

Xai
January 27, 2008 8:11 pm

Off-topic, my apologies..

Where’s everyone else from? We are thinking about getting together regionally to view some movie called Star Trek in a few months.

Ok, our updated census shows

Xai, western Iowa,
JimJ, eastern Nebraska,
Vulcanista, Atlanta, GA
Lord Garth, Chicago, IL
THX-1138, eastern Washington
Commodore Redshirt, Seattle, WA

Where’s everyone else from? We are thinking about getting together regionally to view some movie called Star Trek in a few months.

January 27, 2008 8:15 pm

#42
I’ve got a ton of ST Micro Machines, two hand sized metal ships (1701 A and D (w/separating parts)) so if they do ressurect MM, I’m going to have a heart attack as well.
:)

Ralph
January 27, 2008 8:24 pm

#21 Too bad opening the grill can not be the answer mode.

Harry Ballz
January 27, 2008 8:31 pm

#46 “Where’s everyone else from?”

Harry Ballz, Toronto, Ontario

Xai
January 27, 2008 8:32 pm

Thanks Harry..

Where’s everyone else from? We are thinking about getting together regionally to view some movie called Star Trek in a few months.

wpDiscuz