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Morgan

Member Since 05 Dec 2014
Offline Last Active Jun 17 2018 02:20 PM
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Topics I've Started

Your Top 10 favorite figures

13 May 2018 - 01:15 PM

Most of mine are from the early days of the license, aka The Good Days, rather than from the disjointed 1996 and later era when the line lost focus. In no particular order, here are mine:

 

1. Esoqq -- a mysterious figure and a mysterious alien, one that was underproduced due to low expected sales. Yes, weird aliens got shorter production runs, and Esoqq is about as weird as they get. These could be $80 back in the day.

 

2. Red Data -- a legend back in the day. The first true chase figure, and made doubly so by the whole Redemption error. I saved up $300 to buy mine in 1997 via mail from a shop that advertised in Tomart or Lee's. That was a BFD, as our former vice president would say. Hashtag priorities!

 

3. Thomas Riker, TNG -- one of the first true chase figures that was hoarded by scalpers bigtime. I still love buying these, esp in Canadian packaging. I remember these advertised for as much as $280.

 

4. Odo from Necessary Evil -- Odo was an early fave of mine, and this figure is still very nostalgic. I remember there was big anticipation for this wave of figures: Dax from Blood Oath, Sisko from Crossover, etc.

 

5. Nausicaan -- just a well-done, big alien figure that offers fun packaging variations. Like Esoqq, this was an slightly underproduced "bad guy."

 

6. Chekov Generations -- the classic characters + spacediving Kirk I never even saw in stores, that's how fast collectors & scalpers whooshed them off shelves. I didn't get the first classic Generations figure till 1997 or something, and paid dearly.

 

7. Ambassador Spock -- this was kind of an uncommon figure back in the day, and the first one I bought was numbered #000141. People forget that the 2nd release had a total of 3 classic characters -- this was Playmates trying to attract collectors.

 

8. Tasha Yar -- It was nice that the manufacturer went back and did this figure, and the fact that it was offered on 7th season card in Canada is pretty wild.

 

9. Ferengi -- an early favorite, and probably the wildest of the first release. I think I paid like $20 for my first one, which had no black highlights on boots.

 

10. Metallized Locutus -- Locutus is already a cool figure, but this rerelease was a nice and eye-catching update. Together with the backer card, this is one of the sharpest-looking figures in my book. Also, he may have been produced in smaller numbers that some of the others in that wave. It certainly seemed like that back in the day and it seems like that now.
 

 


Prototypes

09 April 2018 - 06:20 PM

10hreoi.jpg

 

Phaser Rifle (1994)

 

The history of the Trek product line has had its share of missed opportunities and blunders, but one early Playmates item that sticks out is the Phaser Rifle, shown in 1994, around the time that the TNG 7th season figures and the "Generations" line were coming out.

 

The most interesting aspect of this prototype is that it's not lamely scaled-down to a quarter of the original, but is actually pretty big and relatively well proportioned. The rifle would have included a pivoting "sight" screen, which popped up from the back half of the rifle just like on the actual prop, as well as light and sound effects. The biggest departure from the original was perhaps the slightly bulbous head, but that's about it. The toy would have had a clear midsection and tip that would have lit up when the trigger was pressed.

 

This seems like an obvious item that could have really helped the line, but after its appearance in 1994 alongside the palm phaser and the walkie-talkie communicators (ugh), the phaser rifle was never seen again.

 

Were commercial or retailer considerations to blame for its shelving?

 

The two phasers and the tricorder did pretty well at retail; unlike the ships and playsets there were seldom any items that hung around for a year and a half and got shelf-worn into oblivion. The big phaser, as you recall, was particularly sought after even though it was produced in big numbers, and the tricorder was cleared out pretty fast as well. The subsequent medical tricorder was produced in smaller numbers but also did well at retail. Based on this background it seems like the phaser rifle coming out in 1995 would have done well at retail -- it could have been packaged in a half-open box that would allow buyers to hold it and press all the buttons before buying it -- just like the various Kenner Star Wars blasters that also found buyers fast.

 

The manufacturer's decision, I suspect, may have had something to do with "large items" like the Transporter, which was not selling well at all, but which took up a lot of space.

 

The small phasers and tricorders were an easier sell to stores since their boxes were small, but the phaser rifle would have required at least two feet of shelf space, in essence becoming a victim of its own realism. The big ships also did not do well at retail, at least the ones that were produced in any quantity. The phaser rifle would have been longer than the boxes of the Enterprise-D and things like that, and it would have been priced (I would think) around $30.00 or more. Would that have been the deal-killer right there? Playmates had acknowledged at that time that something like 70% of their Trek items are bought by adult collectors anyway, who presumably don't have to beg their parents for $30.00, but I can see how retailers would not have wanted a large item with a high-ish pricetag on shelves.

 

Still, more than 20 years later it seems this was a very obvious crowd-pleaser that the line passed up to its detriment.
 

 


Dan Curry is auctioning collection of props, sketches

07 April 2018 - 12:55 PM

curryauction-head.jpg

 

Dan Curry is auctioning off some items from his personal collection including models, creature props, and sketches this month. Notable items include a Galaxy-class prop saucer, "Conspiracy" aliens, and a study model of the Borg Unicomplex.

 

Curry's items: https://entertainmen...8259 4294967090

 

Brief article: https://trekmovie.co...up-for-auction/

 


Toys R Us stores closing down

17 March 2018 - 07:40 PM

Toys R Us stores are shutting down, with 735 TRU and BRU stores expected to close within 60 days. 200 of those top-performing stores could stay open in certain markets, under bankruptcy reorganization.

 

https://offspring.li...-now-1823836209

 

The circumstances of the decline of Toys R Us are a bit in dispute. "Accounts differ," to quote Tyrion Lannister. The retailer is said to have been driven to money troubles by having to service several significant debts to the tune of several hundred million a year, but at the same time it is said to have entered into those debts as a result of its own business decisions, put into motion years before its stakeholders had driven the retailer to expend much of its revenues on servicing its debts.

 

Plenty of news outlets, and TRU itself, blame Target, Wal-Mart, as well as The Amazons and The eBays for its demise, pointing to an outdated business model with an expensive footprint in the half-abandoned malls of the America.

 

In a way, it's wonder that TRU had survived into the late 2010s at all. The 735 TRU and BRU stores alone (how many is that per state?), seem like an oversaturation of the market, at a time when many retailers had taken the need to stop at a standlone big box store just to buy toys out of the daily routine of most parents.

 

Indeed, given the shellacking that most other "80s" and "90s" retailers have taken, TRU can be seen as a lone survivor of sorts, one which has weathered the damage inflicted by Wal-Mart and Target well over the years, despite all odds.

 

The last time I was in a TRU was somewhere in the early 2000s, by which time the stores had already started to seem eerily empty, but not quite as abandoned as Sears stores seem today. The selection was still okay, but it didn't differ from the toy aisles of Target -- it was hard to find something remarkably different at TRU than at the other big box stores.

 

Meanwhile, major toymakers like Lego, Mattel, and Hasbro are expected to take significant hits in distribution as the stores close down. JC Penney and Kohl's, of all places, are expected to beef up their toy aisles to grab a slice of the toy pie. (I didn't even know those two sold toys).
 

 


Galoob Figure and Vehicle Values

25 January 2018 - 08:05 PM

Shuttle Galileo, in unopened box, sold for $30.00 + $9.26 shipping.

 

A bit on the high side.

 

However long this link lasts: https://www.ebay.com...353.m1438.l2649

 

 

Ferengi Fighter, opened but with box, sold for $13.0 + $9.26 shipping:

 

 

However long this link lasts: https://www.ebay.com...353.m1438.l2649