This week in the world of collectibles we have yet another Trek product and licensee to add to the growing list, plus a look at a first for Star Trek: unified product packaging design. We also have a report from the recent Wizard World, including pictures from the Diamond Select Toys booth.
The Key "Chain of Command"
Underground Toys, makers of electronic toys and gadgets has announced their first Star Trek item this week. Available starting July 27th is a Star Trek version of their popular "In Your Pocket" voice key chain line. The new Trek key chain features six sound buttons and includes the phrases "Fascinating" and "Live long and prosper." (Mr. Spock) and the wisdom of "Worlds may change, galaxies disintegrate, but a woman always remains a woman" (Captain Kirk). The new “In Your Pocket" talking Trek keychain is available for pre-order now at UK retailers including Play.com. No word on if (or when) they will be available in the US and elsewhere.
The "Unification" of Designs
Even more interesting (and astute collectors might have noticed this) is that all the new Star Trek products seem to share similar design elements in their packaging. The four main new design elements are:
- Blue background with pattern
- Kirk and/and Spock image (usually in corner)
- TOS Enterprise with phasers firing
- Mew Star Trek logo & typeface (which is reminiscent of the TOS logo, but has modern detailing and a red border)
This new unified design for Trek products can be seen across companies (both new and established licensees) and on a variety of different types of new products. These include the above key chains, the upcoming Pez packaging, the Scene It? game, and new packaging from Diamond Select (at least for Minimates). The same elements can also be seen on the new 20Q website (and will likely appear on the packaging of the eventual 20Q device).
4 companies , 5 products (including the keychain) – 1 look
This unified look is a first for Star Trek. While previous Star Trek licensees occasionally utilized a unified logo and design within their lines (think of the Playmates Toys Generations or Insurrection action figures), never before has there been this kind of coordination of packaging between differing companies. It also appears that this Classic TOS style applies to all Star Trek items, regardless of which version of Trek is being featured (the TOS-like logo and a picture of Kirk are on an upcoming Minimate pack with TNG figures). This is an important and smart move by CBS Products. Star Wars has utilized this kind of unified packaging for decades. This new unified Trek marketing look helps show people how popular Star Trek is because recognizable elements are seen on various products in various retail locations. It helps to reinforce the idea that Star Trek is one franchise.
More from Wizard World
Speaking of Wizard World, Star Trek was well represented at this annual popular culture convention in Chicago, held last weekend. Diamond Select Toys was there with a booth that was heavily Star Trek themed, including banners and a contests for one of 300 "Gold" U.S.S. Enterprise 1701 toys. DST was showing off all the 2008 toys and one that was particularly impressive was the a prototype of the Enterprise D. The TNG ship might be the best toy offering from DST and it is about twice as big their previous TOS era 1701 Enterprise toys. [The D is available for pre-order for $49.99]
This autumn’s Borg Alcove line was also shown and the detailing on Seven of Nine is very good.
There was a placard announcing that there will be a TWOK phaser version this December, and Trekmovie.com will provide more details about this item as it is available. While the 1/4 Ultimate Kirk was not on display yet, DST did have the Star Wars versions of these 18 inch action figures. The detailing was impressive with the Obi Wan Kenobi action figure and hopefully this quality will be available with the Star Trek items.
Chase Masterson from DS9 and Of Gods And Men was also at Wizard World, helping to raise funds for her various charities. As usual, Chase was friendly and was excited to share her music with fans (her CDs are recommended and available at her website). It was especially great to notice that fans were dressing as Star Trek characters again, and there is nothing more fun than a fan dressed as Spock attending an American Gladiators panel.
More key chains to come…a return to a long Trek line
Underground Toys is a major company, with licenses for many franchises including Star Wars, Doctor Who, 24, and Transformers. Although it is just a talking keychain, this continues the trend of big companies marketing the original 1960s Star Trek in anticipation of the 2009 feature film. Collectors should also be on the lookout for the figural Star Trek key chains from the company Basic Fun which should be available this autumn.
The new keychain joins a long line. Star Trek sound key chains have historically been a popular collectible, with previous licensees including Applause during the 1990s. These previous key chains were either figural, miniprops such as key chain versions of tricorders, or sound effect squares from various Star Trek shows.
Trek key chain from the 90s
1701-D available now for pre-order at Entertainment Earth
|Star Trek The Next Generation U.S.S. Enterprise D|
(pre-order, available September)