Playmates Done With Star Trek?

by Jay Cochran
December 08, 2023
The website TrekCore is running a story this week suggesting that Playmates Toys is once again done producing Star Trek figures. Playmates who had huge success with the Star Trek license in the 90s has made no official announcement about this and likely never will, but it's been pretty apparent at least to me from almost day one that this more recent line that Playmates launched last year wasn't going to have much longevity to it.

The current line was a mishmash of stuff mostly from old Trek shows clearly meant to try and cash in on the nostalgia of those that collected their original 90s line. Now if you look at how often Playmates re-releases old TMNT products which do seem to sell pretty well, it's not to surprising this is the route they went, however it was done in a very sloppy way with no real rhyme or reason to what Playmates was putting out. We got a few figures from Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan yet the Enterprise ship they released was from The Original Series. We got some random TNG figures and then to try and keep it modern we got a couple figures from the first and probably worst season of Discovery which is one of the latest Trek shows that is about to begin it's final season on the Paramount streaming service. They then announced that they would be doing both figures and ship from the new Prodigy animated series that then got significantly delayed, and while they did finally release the first wave of figures, the Hologram Janeway and ship they told us where coming will likely never see the light of day. It probably doesn't help that CBS announced they canceled Prodigy before the figures even hit shelves, though Netflix has been reported as picking up the series for at lease one final season.

The TrekCore article states that Playmates will continue doing ships and role-play which are basically re-issues of stuff they did back in the 90s, and honestly I would be surprised if we see them release anything else for that beyond the current TOS Communicator and Next Generation USS Enterprise D that has just started seeing release. You can get those at places like our sponsor Entertainment Earth. For those hoping for newer starships to be released like the USS Discovery or a Picard Season 3 Enterprise G, I wouldn't hold your breath.

It's easy to blame Playmates for fumbling the ball on this line but the reality is Trek has always been a tough sell on the toy isles and especially at today's market prices for these things I'm not sure anyone could successfully launch a Star Trek toyline at mass-market, especially since Trek in general is no where near as popular as it was back in the 90s. Even collector only lines sold exclusively online like Super7's Star Trek Ultimates don't seem to sell very well and there are rumors floating around that those are pretty much done as well.
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Comments...

Last 10 comments - ( Read All Posts )
MagnaPrime - 2023-12-13 @ 3:13 am

If they'd leaned into Picard I think this line would have done better

TheOtakuX - 2023-12-12 @ 8:10 pm
On 12/8/2023 at 5:11 PM, Batman89 said:

The line would have done a lot better had. They released Kirk Spock and whatever else character from The Original Series, in addition to not making anything after Voyager. Nobody buys Discovery stuff, I suspect that CBS has some kind of stipulation with the license that these companies have to produce unpopular product just to get access to a popular product.

It does make sense to make product for the current show, though. But saying that, I never saw anything in stores besides the TOS stuff.

Batman89 - 2023-12-08 @ 10:11 pm

The line would have done a lot better had. They released Kirk Spock and whatever else character from The Original Series, in addition to not making anything after Voyager. Nobody buys Discovery stuff, I suspect that CBS has some kind of stipulation with the license that these companies have to produce unpopular product just to get access to a popular product.

cvg_1876858969 - 2023-12-08 @ 9:21 pm

The Art Asylum figures are still the best ever made IMO.

TheOtakuX - 2023-12-08 @ 7:40 pm
2 hours ago, lordtom said:

Playmates suck, they cannot make toys for the modern market to save their life. Just stick to re-releasing their old stuff and leave it at that

Exactly, there's a reason their nostalgia bait figures sell great but they're more 'serious' figures don't. The Undercover movie Leo & Mikey figures have been sitting on the shelf at my local Walmart for ages, and I'd buy them if they'd hurry up and release Donnie and Raph, but for the most part, people don't want their less accurate 'collector' figures when Neca and Super7 are also producing figures of the characters with higher accuracy and quality. Not to mention how the brand seems to be everywhere now. DC Direct, Hasbro, and Mattel have all produced, or will soon produce, TMNT figures in various crossover lines.

The other thing is kids. TMNT has had content for kids almost constantly since the 80s. In the past 36 years, the only years without a TMNT movie or TV show were 1999-2002, 2010-2011, 2021-2022. 8 years out of 36. So even without collector's lines, they've had kids lines going to still move product. Star Trek, meanwhile, while having something of a child audience, has rarely been specifically AIMED at children. Sure there was Prodigy, but I don't know how popular that was with kids, and I never saw merch of it in the stores even though I know Playmates produced it.

DarthKane - 2023-12-08 @ 5:31 pm

It's a shame, but Playmates 100% screwed themselves on this. If they wanted to do retro figures, fine, but that should've been a secondary line that was more like the original 90's figures, and with the main line being a 6" more detailed/more articulated Star Wars Black Series/Marvel Legends-like series. Then they further screwed it up by releasing the figures with bad paint jobs, which they then tried to go back and correct, forcing people who wanted decently painted figures to buy them all over again. I said from the second they announced this line that it would fail. That's why I didn't bother to collect them. And I had every single Playmates figure back in the day

lordtom - 2023-12-08 @ 5:31 pm

Playmates suck, they cannot make toys for the modern market to save their life. Just stick to re-releasing their old stuff and leave it at that

Sean_C - 2023-12-08 @ 5:12 pm

I got that impression months ago. It was said the role play items seem to have done okay. The figures were not and there was iffiness on how the as yet unreleased previewed figures would come out. Now, maybe not at all.

The fact the new figures weren't even scaled to the 90's line killed even the slightest interest with me.

I think if any Star Trek line is to succeed, it has to be appeal with compatibility with 6 inch or 3 3/4" or 1:18. You have to get buyers of other things interested. Hardcore Star Trek fans alone don't cut it when it comes to supporting a Trek figure line and haven't since the 1990's.

And they need to think SHORT TERM, actually. Looks how this series will end, with no complete crew from any series, just a few leads.

JayC - 2023-12-08 @ 4:32 pm

The website TrekCore is running a story this week suggesting that Playmates Toys is once again done producing Star Trek figures. Playmates who had huge success with the Star Trek license in the 90s has made no official announcement about this and likely never will, but it's been pretty apparent at least to me from almost day one that this more recent line that Playmates launched last year wasn't going to have much longevity to it.The current line was a mishmash of stuff mostly from old Trek shows clearly meant to try and cash in on the nostalgia of those that collected their original 90s line. Now if you look at how often Playmates re-releases old TMNT products which do seem to sell pretty well, it's not to surprising this is the route they went, however it was done in a very sloppy way with no real rhyme or reason to what Playmates was putting out. We got a few figures from Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan yet the Enterprise ship they released was from The Original Series. We got some random TNG figures and then to try and keep it modern we got a couple figures from the first and probably worst season of Discovery which is one of the latest Trek shows that is about to begin it's final season on the Paramount streaming service. They then announced that they would be doing both figures and ship from the new Prodigy animated series that then got significantly delayed, and while they did finally release the first wave of figures, the Hologram Janeway and ship they told us where coming will likely never see the light of day. It probably doesn't help that CBS announced they canceled Prodigy before the figures even hit shelves, though Netflix has been reported as picking up the series for at lease one final season.

The TrekCore article states that Playmates will continue doing ships and role-play which are basically re-issues of stuff they did back in the 90s, and honestly I would be surprised if we see them release anything else for that beyond the current TOS Communicator and Next Generation USS Enterprise D that has just started seeing release. You can get those at places like our sponsor Entertainment Earth. For those hoping for newer starships to be released like the USS Discovery or a Picard Season 3 Enterprise G, I wouldn't hold your breath.It's easy to blame Playmates for fumbling the ball on this line but the reality is Trek has always been a tough sell on the toy isles and especially at today's market prices for these things I'm not sure anyone could successfully launch a Star Trek toyline at mass-market, especially since Trek in general is no where near as popular as it was back in the 90s. Even collector only lines sold exclusively online like Super7's Star Trek Ultimates don't seem to sell very well and there are rumors floating around that those are pretty much done as well.

lordtom - 2023-04-18 @ 4:05 pm

These are pretty good to be fair. The nephs will like em

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