stub-09playsetWhen the J.J. Abrams reboot of the Star Trek film franchise hit theaters in May 2009, there was an influx of movie-related merchandise – Starfleet uniforms for Halloween and cosplay, toy phasers, communicators and tricorders, Enterprise models, and of course, action figures. Most major science fiction franchises over the past 40 years have had some kind of action figure line, from the immensely popular line for the Star Wars films dating back to the late 1970s, to Aliens, Terminator, Predator… even the short-lived television series seaQuest DSV had a line of action figures. Star Trek is no exception. While many of the fans who grew up in the 1970s carried on with their Mego-brand figures of the crew of the Enterprise, fans and collectors from the early 1990s fondly remember Playmates’ line of figures. From 1992 until 2000, every crewmember of the 1701 Enterprise, Enterprise-D, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, along with most of their allies and adversaries were eventually molded in the memorable 4.5″ plastic form and sold in stores. When the contract with Playmates ended in 2000, dedicated fans continued to make their own figures, swapping heads and painting bodies to make all-new, never released figures.

Interest was piqued by many collectors when Playmates secured the rights to make a line of action figures based on the “alternate-reality” characters from J.J. Abrams’ film. However, rather than return to the classic 4.5″ scale of the original line, Playmates opted to release three different scales for their 2009 Star Trek line – the “Galaxy” line (measured at 3 and 3/4 inches in height), the “Warp” line (measured at 6 inches in height) and the “Command” line (measuring 12 inches in height). The entire crew of the new Enterprise were represented in these new lines of figures, as were Spock Prime and Nero.

The “Galaxy” line also featured two playsets for the figures to interact with – one of the Enterprise bridge and the other of the Enterprise transporter room. In addition to being packaged with “landing party” gear, such as a phaser and a communicator, the “Galaxy” line also packaged pieces of the Enterprise bridge (chairs and consoles) or the transporter room -(three additional platforms to make the complete pad). The packaged Enterprise bridge only contained a floor-mat, the main viewscreen (which featured an image of the Narada), the two-front freestanding data screens, and the raised command platform which housed the captain’s chair and the helm/navigation console, not to mention a complimentary Captain Kirk figure. The transporter room was a bit more complete, aside from missing three pads and one of the consoles – it did however feature a bonus Scotty figure. To complete the entire bridge and/or transporter room, you would need to purchase the entire line of figures in order to obtain the other pieces.

The first wave of figures contained Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Uhura, and Sulu in their Enterprise uniforms, Dr. McCoy and Chekov in their cadet uniforms, plus Pike, Nero and Spock Prime. If one were to purchase the entire line and the two playsets, one would end up with the entire crew (plus an extra Kirk and Scotty), almost the entire transporter room complete (aside from one console) and about half of the bridge complete. To finish everything off, you’d need to get the second wave of figures, which was expected to be released to coincide with the release of the movie on DVD and Blu-Ray. Complicating matters further was the fact that in Canada, the “Galaxy” line did not include the bridge/transporter pieces. Canadian customers were assured by Playmates that “booster packs” containing the bridge/transporter pieces would be released alongside the second wave in order to complete their bridges/transporters. The only other alternative was to import the figures from the United States.

Unreleased second wave of “Galaxy” figures which would have contained the missing pieces for the bridge and transporter sets.

However, sales of the figures did not meet Playmates’ expectations and the second wave of figures was ultimately cancelled. Collectors everywhere were now left with a playset of the Enterprise bridge that was only partially complete. As the 2009 line of Star Trek figures inevitably made their way into clearance bins in retailers everywhere, many collectors were forced to either buy another bridge playset and the complete lines of figures again for spare parts to attempt to finish the bridge, live with an incomplete playset or simply dispose of their 2009 lines altogether. As a collector myself, I found this completely disappointing. Here I was, spending hard-earned money investing in a line of action figures to make an interesting shelf-display, that would now ultimately always be incomplete. My Enterprise bridge and 2009 figures gradually accumulated dust in the intervening four years, an object of disappointment.

Bridge playset with the unreleased pieces in place.

Recently however, I was able to obtain the prototypes of the unreleased pieces of the bridge and the transporter. While it is very unfortunate that these will ultimately never be mass-produced or marketed to collectors looking to complete their bridges, here’s a look at what might have been had the original 2009 line proven to be more successful.

Aft section of the bridge, showing Uhura and Spock’s stations along with the data screens and auxiliary consoles.

While the 2009 bridge playset is definitely not as sturdy as the 1993 release of the Enterprise-D bridge (also released by Playmates), the missing pieces really do make the entire set come together and had Playmates originally packaged all the pieces together, perhaps more people would have been enticed to purchase it.

Unreleased auxiliary science station manned by “Science Officer 0718” in Star Trek Into Darkness.

The unreleased pieces comprise the aft-section of the bridge, including Mr. Spock’s science station, Uhura’s communications station, the other two freestanding data screens (which Chekov consults in the 2009 film before presenting his plan to hide the Enterprise near Titan to Kirk), and the two stand-up consoles that “Science Officer 0718” is seen manning in Star Trek Into Darkness (the floor-plan identifies these stations as auxiliary science and communication consoles).

What was to be and never will.

So, while these final pieces will ultimately not be made available to the many disappointed collectors, perhaps another manufacturer will one day make a complete version of the (alternate reality) Enterprise bridge… or perhaps with the advent of 3D printers, maybe replicas of the unreleased pieces will find their way into the hands of the disillusioned…

Editorial by Kyle C. Haight for TrekCore

  • archer9234

    It seems more and more toy lines are becoming incomplete cause of low sales.

  • Jon

    I’m sorry, but among the many things I did not care for in the reboot (and in particular STID), I have to say that the bridge and particularly the engineering section redesigns are simply not very appealing, and certainly not something that is going to sell well with either the adult or the younger crowds. And obviously, this observation is now borne out. When I was a kid, I LOVED the bridge of the original Enterprise and could not wait to pick up and play with that old Mego bridge set, but if I were a kid now, this set would not interest me at all. No colorful displays, very disjointed, etc….nope, very ugly design, IMHO. Not surprised at all that it did not sell well.

  • Dr. Cheis

    I would have bought the 2009 figures if they released a set at 4.5″ scale. I must have a hundred or so figures from the 90s. The new ones would look ridiculous next to them without being the same scale.

  • Rob-b

    Sorry you couldn’t complete your set. that really sucks and it’s too bad sales where so bad. I seem to remember when ST:TMP came out in ’79 that there were toys by MEGO that were promised, prototype boxes and vehicles were shown, but ultimately, sales where not that great and they got cancelled as well. At least, however, whatever they did release was complete. I think with Reboots they over do the products thinking it will be the same as the older shows and it just seems to take a few years for reboots of this type to sink in and then people want the merchandise. Eghads, remember the Star Wars: TPM pre-release of ridiculous amounts of tie in merchandise. Sold well until the movie came out. Then sales dropped incredibly and they NEVER released that broad range of stuff ever again for the next two prequels. Lucas didn’t…ahh…..get the hint….(Not the case here as the JJ films are incredibly more successful and have done well across the board.)

    • Benny

      they certainly overdid products with the 09 trek reboot. the amount of merchandise was just ridiculous. it’s no wonder than playmates pulled the line of figures, it was complete oversaturation of the market.

      as for into darkness – i can’t see merchandise related to that film doing particularly well. i didnt enjoy it at all.

  • Ah my childhood days with my bridge playset for good old 1701-D. Also had a transporter, engineering, and a shuttlecraft. Good times, good times. 🙂

  • Javi Trujillo

    When I first saw this article I read it too fast and thought it was about the bridge of the NX-01 Enterprise! Another potentially great set not complete! It’s too bad as the sculpts were amazing!

    • David Mc

      I will be building the helm in my computer for 3d printing.

      I have all of the bridge parts that were sold and everything I 3d print will be scaled to fit.

      As with all of my STL files it will be a free download on thingiverse.

      Just uploaded Kirk’s chair from TOS scaled for 8 inch figures.

      Archer fit well in that chair.

  • G-dawg

    Playmates completely mismanaged that line. Three separate figure lines? No one has that kind of money! Pick one and go for it. Hasbro does the same thing with its Marvel movie lines, too many duplicates and stuff never seen in the films, and the figures sit on toy shelves for YEARS. Makes you wonder who runs these toy companies. Kenner’s Star Wars should be the example to follow. They replicated what was in the movies (with a few exceptions) and it went over like gangbusters, often years after the films had been released. 🙁

  • Jamie

    I’m more concerned with the lack of Helm Bridge Base for the Travis figure from the run of Enterprise Bridge sets. I have Archer’s, T’Pol’s and Malcolm’s, it would have been great to have Hoshi and Travis’ stations and one for Trip to, although he wasn’t always on the Bridge.

    • David Mc

      I am working on a bridge for the TOS 8 inch figures and then I will be making the helm for Travis.

      This will be 3d printed and shared on thingivers for anyone with a 3d printer or if you wanted to have someone with one print it for you.

      They should have at least made the helm.

      I may make Hoshi’s station also.

      I wish they had made a Hoshi in a regular uniform.

      I forgot who all I had to mod to get all of the guys into uniforms.

      Not like a Mego body look good for Hoshi.

      She is for now stuck in a space suit.

      Kirk’s chair is already on line for download.

      Archer fits in the chair just fine!

  • Craig

    No wonder is didnt sell. Its just a mat with some things sitting on top of it. Geesh. Make an actual bridge set and then it would sell. What good is this when it has no walls or screens other than the viewscreen???

  • hypnotoad72

    Maybe the rest of it is in CGI; all one needs is to spend a little more for the computer system they used to render the backgrounds with… of course, $29.99 plus another $10,000 for the computer system might be a teensy bit much to appease lil’ Jimmy with for xmas…

  • Dickard1251

    You’re very lucky to finish the set. I became desperate later on and decided to buy many figures so that I can try to match the set. Have you ever thought about mounting the playset on foamcore so that you can have an accurate representation of the bridge?

  • David Mc

    I had to get extra figures to mod a McCoy and Chekov in the right uniforms to even be on the bridge.

    I have a 3d printer, so I am building a bridge for the old 8 inch Mego Star Trek figures.

    I already printed out Kirk’s chair. Just print out everything at 1.5 scale for the 12 inch figures.

    My models will all be on thingiverse as I build them.

  • Ringa

    I know this discussion is from three years ago, but being the 50th anniversary of Trek, I was doing some searching and found this. I wanted to share my bridge set, which has become one of my favorite Trek collectibles.

    I, too, was disappointed when wave two never came out. However, in my case it actually made this set more fun, as it inspired me to be creative and finish it my own way. Many have posted pics of their solutions. Here is mine.

    I waited for the sets and figures to make it to the clearance shelves and bought 3 bridges and several figures at next to nothing. Like others had done, I built up the floor levels using foamcore. Using photos of the actual movie set, I pasted them to sheet plastic and wrapped them around the back wall. I used the two remaining view screens and replaced the viewer image with bridge control photos to fill out the front.

    Since STID had no toy line to speak of, maybe the next film will, and be done right. Or at least have something that could be added to this original, incomplete line.

  • Ringa

    Here are photos to go with my post below them.