When NBC canceled the original Star Trek series in 1969, few imagined that syndicated reruns would generate enough fans to build one of the current tentpoles of Science Fiction. Before the series even aired, executives expressed concerns that the content would be too cerebral to become a hit. Still, the persistence of Gene Roddenberry and the crew behind Star Trek helped build the series into a grand franchise. Luckily, the fan support from the 1970s helped reunite the original cast in a series of films that launched the series to greatness.
Now, fans have a plethora of Star Trek media to indulge in. Over the decades, new Star Trek series launched, such as The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. Then, the films moved from the original generation to the next to a rebooted series that starred Chris Pine. Star Trek has also successfully launched books, comics, and video games. Above all, several toy companies have risen to the challenge of creating multiple toy lines for the franchise.
Even though Star Trek has moved on to new casts and generations, fans still love collecting the toys for the original series. Their love for the original cast that launched it all keeps these toys in high demand. So, which toys best represent the original series and its terrific cast?
Presenting the top ten toys that depict characters and vehicles from Star Trek: The Original Series
10. Pez’s Star Trek Limited Edition Collector’s Series (2008)
When delectable candy treats meet toys, the ever-popular Pez dispensers emerge. Unbelievably, the creator of these candies, Eduard Haas III, invented them as an alternative for smoking, which likely explains why they are so addictive. By the late 1950s, American distributors began decorating Pez dispensers with fun designs like space guns and Popeye. Over the decades, Pez has taken note of popular franchises, creating new dispensers in their likeness.
So, it should come as no surprise that Pez released a complete set of special dispensers that resembled the cast of Star Trek’s original series. In 2008, Pez created only 250,000 units of the Star Trek Collector’s Series. Within the pack, fans could pick from their favorite characters from the 1960s show, such as James T. Kirk and Spock. Other characters included Nyota Uhura, Pavel Chekov, Montgomery Scott, and Hikaru Sulu. There even was a dispenser that featured the U.S.S. Enterprise on it.
9. Playmate’s Star Trek Collector Edition Montgomery Scott (1996)
When it came to keeping the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 in top shape, no man was more crucial to the operations than Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott. While casual fans may remember him for the phrase “Beam me up, Scotty”, his duties included much more than acting as the main transporter technician. As chief engineer, Mr. Scott kept the warp drive engines running in top condition. His work on the Enterprise even led him to claim that he understood the warp engines better than even the men who designed them.
Above being a brilliant engineer, Montgomery Scott was a capable commanding officer who took command only when Kirk or Spock left their posts, whether on a planet or incapacitated. While he could competently handle command decisions, he held no ambitions of becoming anything more than an engineer. With his one true passion laying in engineering, he placed all his efforts in staying up to date with the newest technology and principles.
Playmates understood that any Star Trek collection would be incomplete without the Enterprise’s chief engineer. So, they made certain to include Montgomery Scott in their 1996 Collector Edition line of figures for the Original Series’ cast. This nine-inch figure resembled Mr. Scott as he appeared during the 1966 pilot episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. He came with a phaser, communicator, and tricorder. This figure also included a “Starfleet Action Base”.
8. Mego’s Klingon (1974)
Even in a utopian future for humanity, the Federation faced trials against reminders of Earth’s brutal past. Gene L. Coon understood that few would relate to his vision without a group that would reflect the evils that humanity has seen through history. Thus, he introduced the Klingons as adversaries to the Federation in the 1967 episode, “Errand of Mercy”. Their name originated from a man who served with Gene Roddenberry when he was a police officer, Lt. Wilbur Clingan.
Back in the original series, the Klingons lacked the iconic brow ridges that they are now known for. Instead, the species was known for having an oriental appearance with a hard edge. Thus, the crew applied shoe polish to the actors who portrayed Klingons on screen. As a warrior people, the Klingon ways appeared unnecessarily cruel to the Federation. Thus, the Federation opposed any incursion of the Klingon Empire during this era.
As such crucial opponents to Captain Kirk and his crew, Mego would have been remiss to leave out Klingons from their 1974 toy line. While their Klingon action figure did not resemble any specific character from the series, this toy easily portrayed the general appearance of the species. As in the original series, this toy lacked the brow ridges that would later define the species. Mego packaged this action figure with a single blaster accessory.
7. Playmate’s Classic Star Trek Galileo Shuttlecraft (1996)
The crew of the Enterprise used more than their transporters to visit the various planets that they explored. Sometimes, conditions interfered with the stability of the transporter systems. Other times, certain crew members, like Dr. McCoy, disliked or feared the use of transporters. Otherwise, they may have planned to transport cargo that required a shuttlecraft over molecular scrambling. No matter the reason, the U.S.S. Enterprise occasionally deployed their Galileo Shuttlecraft over the transporter.
This shuttle first appeared in the episode “The Galileo Seven”, serving as Spock’s first command during an investigation of Murasaki 312. Unfortunately, the quasar effects from the star caused the shuttle to crash down on Taurus II. While the Montgomery Scott repaired the shuttlecraft enough that it achieved orbit, the shuttle was in no shape to return to the Enterprise. Thus, Spock had to jettison and ignite the shuttle’s fuel to create a distress flare. While the Enterprise successfully rescued the crew, the shuttle was unrecoverable.
In 1996, Playmates created a replica of the Galileo Shuttlecraft for their Classic Star Trek toy line. This toy helped celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the original Star Trek series. The toy opened to reveal a detailed cockpit, including co-pilot components. The shuttlecraft also came with a spring-powered laser cannon. Most importantly, Playmates packaged an exclusive Captain Kirk action figure along with the shuttlecraft.
6. Mego’s Lt. Uhura (1974)
Nichelle Nichol’s role as Lieutenant Nyota Uhura will forever remain pivotal as one of the first major roles for an African American woman on American network television. Not only did she play a leading role in the series, but she also held a respected position where her expertise guided the mission. As a communications officer, Lt. Uhura stood as one of the first positions to make contact with new and unexplored civilizations. Her understanding of linguistics and cryptology helped guide the crew as they investigated new planets.
On several occasions, Lt. Uhura took a lead role when other members of the crew were unavailable. For instance, she took charge of the search for the Galileo after it crashed with Spock on board. Her understanding of the communications equipment and mathematics gave her the expertise to try rewiring the communications systems when interference blocked transmissions. No matter the situation, Lt. Uhura proved to be a crucial component of the U.S.S. Enterprise’s command staff.
As an important character in and outside of the series, Mego made sure to include her in their 1974 Star Trek toy line. This action figure came with a light blue tricorder that slung over her shoulder, somewhat resembling a purse. Unlike the male Starfleet officers, the Lt. Uhura action figure wore her iconic red dress uniform.
5. Playmate’s Classic Star Trek Classic Communicator (1994)
Back in 1966, no one even fathomed the idea that telephones would become mobile, let alone smartphones. Still, radios had been in use for decades, especially during the last few wars. Thus, the production team behind the original Star Trek series dreamed up a hand-held radio communication device that the Enterprise’s crew would use when on missions. This small device would flip open so that the staff could communicate with each other.
Otherwise, the Enterprise came equipped with several communication panels on the walls, or sometimes on desks. Thus, the bridge could communicate with the various decks of the ship, especially engineering and medical.
In 1994, Playmates made certain to include a replica of the original hand-held communicator in their Classic Star Trek toy line. This toy could produce three sounds from the series: the opening activation, hailing, and high-frequency noises. The unit also came with working lights. Playmates even included a technical blueprint along with a certificate of authentication with the toy.
4. Playmate’s Star Trek Collector Edition Mr. Spock (1996)
In many ways, Mr. Spock stood as Captain Kirk’s equal on the decks of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Both commanded admiration and respect from the rest of the crew. Where Captain Kirk led with passion and enthusiasm, Mr. Spock followed the teachings of his people and let logic dictate his decisions. Still, Mr. Spock was only half-Vulcan, so his emotions would occasionally cloud his decisions. He even admitted that emotions confused him, partially because he rejected his human side as a child. With logic ruling over his decisions, Spock made an excellent Science Officer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. Likewise, he made an excellent first officer under Captain Kirk.
In many ways, Spock’s legacy surpassed any other Starfleet officer, including Captain Kirk. Spock was integral to the reunification of the Romulan and Vulcan people. After his time with Captain Kirk, Spock became the primary ambassador for the Federation, forging several peaceful relationships across the galaxy.
When Playmates created their Collector Edition Star Trek toys in 1996, they made certain to include Mr. Spock in the line. This action figure reflects his appearance in the original series’ pilot episode, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. Mr. Spock came with a federation-issued phaser and communicator, along with a Vulcan harp. As with other figures in this line, this toy came with a Starfleet Action Base.
3. Playmate’s Classic Star Trek U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 (1995)
Without an iconic ship, Star Trek may have wasted away in obscurity. Luckily, Gene Roddenberry and his production team designed the unique design for the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 would become the flagship for the series. Where many productions may have been content to show a spaceship with a saucer design, Star Trek’s creators decided to expand on the concept. They cleverly designed the ship’s dual warp engines to create a unique profile for the ship.
The NCC-1701 became the first Federation vessel with the Enterprise name. With its legacy of making several first contacts and being involved in multiple military engagements, the Enterprise became the flagship vessel for the Federation. While Captain Kirk set off the Enterprise’s self-destruct functions to prevent it from falling into Klingon hands, the ship’s legacy continued with the Enterprise-A. Even past Kirk’s time, the Enterprise name passed on, leading to Captain Pickard captaining the Enterprise-D in the Next Generation.
Playmates created the U.S.S. Enterprise toy of any fans’ dream in their Classic Star Trek toy line from 1995. This vessel boasted light-up and sound effects that helped the toy stand out on any shelf. The sounds included the photon torpedoes, phasers, warp drive, and bridge interior noises. Meanwhile, the engine nacelles lit up. Playmates also included a display stand for this vehicle.
2. Mego’s Captain Kirk (1974)
No matter the situation, the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise always knew that they could turn to the firm leadership of their captain for guidance. Captain James T. Kirk earned his legacy as a renowned Starfleet officer through his career of heroic and courageous acts, all in the name of peace. While Captain Kirk was a lady’s man, he always respected all no matter what gender or ethnicity they were. He also fought for equality and freedom on any planet that he encountered.
As captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise, Captain Kirk faced several trials that cemented his place as a historic captain. Above all, he was the first to meet Khan Noonien Singh and his group of augmented humans when they revived from their slumber. He saw the danger these relics from the Eugenics Wars posed to the rest of the Federation, so he exiled them to Ceti Alpha V. Later, Kirk once again had to face Khan as the man sought vengeance against the captain.
No matter the situation, James T. Kirk remained suave and composed. His charisma helped him maintain the respect of his crew and those around him.
Mego did not miss out on the chance to include an action figure of Captain Kirk in their 1974 Star Trek toy line. This action figure gave Kirk the standard appearance from the original series, especially past the second season. Thus, Kirk wore his standard yellow Captain’s uniform from the series. This toy also came with a single phaser accessory.
1. Mego’s U.S.S. Enterprise Action Playset (1975)
In addition to the multiple action figures of the crew, Mego knew that the bridge of the enterprise was an important set on the original Star Trek Series. Not only did many first contacts and showdowns occur in the bridge, but it was the major hub for all activity on the Enterprise. From the Bridge, Captain Kirk commanded the rest of the crew, guiding them through their various trials and tribulations. Each member of the command staff had a station present on the bridge as well.
Thus, Mego’s U.S.S. Enterprise action playset became an integral part of any Star Trek collection, especially ones with their action figures. While the playset did not faithfully recreate the bridge, it had enough elements to remain recognizable. Captain Kirk could sit down in his command chair while the rest of the crew sat at their stations. This version of the bridge had a single command console, unlike the show’s set.
While the transporter was not a part of the bridge on the show, Mego saw fit to include it in this playset. Thus, owners could place any Mego action figure of their choice into the transporter to have its spin-action make the figure vanish. Unfortunately, the actual technology to transport any object, even a toy, was not feasible in 1975. This technology sadly stays unfeasible.
What were your favorite Star Trek toys?
We have shared our picks for the greatest toys that brought the excitement of Star Trek: The Original Series to homes across America. We choose each figure due to its semblance to the show as well as its playability. Still, we would love to hear what toys excited you the most. Let us know in the comments below whether you agree with our list or not.
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Bio: I am the founder and owner of Wheeljack’s Lab pop Culture and Toy Shop. My vision has always been to reunite customers with their favorite childhood toys and pop culture, triggering fond memories, and reigniting their imaginations. Every day, I work in the “lab” where it’s Christmas 365 days a year. I scour the internet, like when we had the Sears Catalog of yesteryear, for the next great treasure. Then, I await the arrival of the postman as if he were Santa Claus himself and helping collectors worldwide with their own versions of Christmas. Every day as a vintage toy buyer is an absolute joy!