Friday 14 September 2018

Cancelled Kelvin timeline Playmates toys revealed

Back in 2009, the relaunch of the Star Trek movies with the first Kelvin timeline film brought with it the return of Playmates to Star Trek toys, coming with ambitious plans for a large range of of Star Trek action figures at multiple scales, role play props, and model ships. Alas those ambitions quickly became the latest chapter in Star Trek toys' long history of flops, and after the initial wave plans for expanding the collection were quietly forgotten, while the lingering remains of the first releases found themselves covered in discount stickers.

By the time Playmates pulled the plug they had already announced the line-up of a second wave of action figures, which would have expanded the available cast considerably, including the Delta Vega creatures! But it was known Playmates were already at work on further releases too, and now thanks to an eBay seller we can get a look at what they were developing. Kateunc2 is offering copies of several pieces of concept art, which were apparently "personally obtained via previous worker at Playmates"; they seem fairly credible, as they illustrate several lines Playmates were known to be working on. Continue below to check out what could have been.

Many of the pieces shown are versions of Spock, so I guess either Playmates were really keen on Spock variants, or whoever smuggled these out just had that preference. That includes Spock prime as we first met him in the movie, in his Delta Vega thermals. This design is for one of Playmates smaller 3.75 inch scale "Galaxy Collection" figures; in fact all the action figure artwork shown here appears to be for the smallest scale range Playmates were working on.

Playmates produced a different version of Spock prime, in his costume from the end of the movie, in all three scales they offered, but this particular costume remains unmade by Playmates or anyone else.

Young Spock meanwhile has never been made at all, but was in the planning:

An adult version of Kelvin-Spock in Starfleet uniform was also released in all three scales, but Playmates weren't content to stop there; their second wave was to include a Starfleet Academy instructor version of the character, and as we can see here, they were also looking to give us Spock as he appeared in his adult scenes on Vulcan:

Perhaps more curious is this version of Spock which is also labelled "Vulcan Spock", but appears to show a TOS dress uniform style costume, but with Kelvin-Spock props and reference photo. This is presented differently too, indicating a planned 2009 release rather than 2010 like the rest; so maybe this was a much earlier costume concept that Playmates had started working on?

Actual TOS designs are also among these pieces of artwork. Playmates had announced they intended to expand into the prime timeline in a separate series of 3.75 inch figures, which were going to be released in diorama two-packs:
These figures will be highly detailed with authentic life-like likenesses and feature over 16 points of articulation. Iconic scenes from the most popular episodes will be depicted in two-figure pack dioramas.
Naturally that series would have started with the main TOS characters:

This smaller scale has become something of a rarity in Star Trek toys of recent years, but did get another chance more recently when Funko released an assortment of more retro TOS designs in their short lived ReAction range.

Another announced line that never came to be was the Starfleet Defenders range of hyper-deformed characters:
The STARFLEET DEFENDER line includes a full array of movie characters articulated in small-scale in dynamic animated-style action poses. 
We can see here the designs for the Uhura, Nero, Spock, Kirk, Spock-prime and Scotty figures in the range:

Hasbro eventually did something a little like this with their range of Fighter Pods figurines in their assortment of Star Trek Into Darkness toys (which also didn't last long!), although while having a similar cartoon style, they were solid models rather than action figures.

Finally, another line that was announced but never came to be, were small scale model ships. Playmates had already suggested they were going to release the Enterprise, Kelvin, and Narada, and we can see here the Jellyfish was planned too.

Both sets of artwork here seem to show the new models scaled against the similar old Micro Machines models, and themselves shown on Micro Machines stands.

Both of these ships have had other releases, with the Jellyfish being the rareer of the two, available just as a Burger King toy, KreO mini construction set, and a top-notch Eaglemoss model. There are more options for the Kelvin, which was also rendered by Burger King, KreO, and Eaglemoss, as well as Hot Wheels, Hallmark, and a forthcoming model kit from Moebius. QMx were also going to produce a high end model of that ship, but I don't think it ever got released.

If you're particularly enamoured by any of the above art, Kateunc2 has copies available on eBay. And hat-tip to the gloriously focused Vulcan-loving blog Vulcanology for alerting me to these.

Meanwhile to keep track of all the current Star Trek toy releases, which do include new Kelvin timeline action figures from Diamond Select Toys, and fairly regular releases of Kelvin timeline ships from Eaglemoss, hit the "Models, Toys, and Games" button on my 2018 schedule page.

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