Star Trek Posts

11 Wandering Tribes – Lost, Living, Exploring in Space

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

With Captain Picard about to head off on another voyage into space, it seems like a good time to think about other space travelers. More specifically, let’s think about those wanderers who live in space… not just sci-fi fare like Futurama where the characters travel a lot but live on a planet, but those who are truly living in interstellar RVs. Some are lost, some are fugitives, some are just out there trying to make the universe a better place. So even though they travel a lot, characters in franchises like Star Wars or Doctor Who don’t count here. And in hobbyDB fashion, let’s look at some collectibles from each!

star trek collectiblesStar Trek – We could do this entire list about the original 1960s TV series and the many spinoffs, sequels, prequels and reboots, but let’s call them one entity here (In fact, the combined entities were recently named to the Pop Culture Hall of Fame.) They are willing travelers for the most part, and only rarely touch the ground, usually by teleportation.

lost in space jupiter ii modelLost In Space – Years before Star Trek, Space Family Robinson became disoriented in the cosmos. Each episode of the show usually had the Jupiter II and crew land on a different planet, only to find a differently costumed reason for its unsuitability. Their biggest threat, of course, was always Dr. Smith. A recent Netflix series has revived the concept, but nothing will ever match the campy charm of the original series.

alien garbage pail kidsAlien – Ridley Scott’s 1979 masterpiece is widely regarded as more of a horror movie than a science fiction flick. The crew of the Nostromo takes one brief pit stop on a distant planet and all hell breaks loose. Spoiler alert… technically, most of them don’t “live” in space, at least not for the entire movie.

guardians of the galaxy popGuardians of the Galaxy – As comic book characters, the GotG were barely B-list stories, but as a pair of movies and counting, they were some of the best in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Funny, smart, and with a great soundtrack, viewers actually wanted to be stuck on their spaceship with them.

battlestar galactica collectiblesBattlestar Gallactica – The original and the remake were both stylish adventures in space, but the nod for the better stuck-in-space show has to go to the newer version. Why? The final season of the original series took place on Earth, allowing a major cost cut in special effects, which is not what we’re talking about here. Those shiny Cylons ruled though.

mystery science theater lunchMystery Science Theater 3000 – Not only is Joel (or Mike, or Jonah, if you dare) a prisoner in on a spaceship, but he is forced to watch cheesy movies, the worst they can find. Joel created his robot pals to keep him company at the expense of having any control over his situation. They do seem to have a lot of fun, though.

red dwarf gameRed Dwarf – There was something cosmically stupid yet brilliant about this BBC production in space. Perhaps it was the long time confined to a spaceship that drove the cast to such clever verbal madness.

hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy gameHitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – The books and movie start out on Earth, but that ends rather rapidly, doesn’t it? Douglass Adams’ four-volume trilogy was filled with robots, bad alien poets, and the dryest humor in the universe. Eventually, they would find the answer to life, the universe, and everything.space 1999 hawkSpace 1999 – Much of the action takes place on the moon, so does this count? Well, in the show’s pilot, an explosion sends the moon out of orbit and across space, making it in effect, an out of control spacecraft. In a way, that’s even cooler!

firefly action figuresFirefly – It’s 500 years in the future, but actually more than 15 years ago. Was this show really on for only two seasons? Refugees, explorers, interlopers… hard to classify the mission of the crew of the Serenity, but it was gripping stuff and gone from TV way too soon.

wall-e eve toysWall-E – In a way, this is the most horrifying and realistic vision of the future, with obese, immovable humans scooting around a giant luxury cruiser in space. That solution was easier than cleaning up the terrestrial world because Earth is too messed up to fix. Not so far-fetched, is it?

The Jetsons, of course, are not on this list. They don’t live in space, but in domed buildings on pillars high above the Earth. There is a theory that at the same time, the Flintstones live down on the Earth’s surface in the post-nuclear apocalyptic landscape, which explains why they know about Christmas. But that’s another story…

Know of any additional action figures, model spacecraft or other collectibles from these shows? Add them to our database!

Collecting Film and TV Memorabilia

A Guest Blog Post by David Limberg
This article was originally written for Rareburg, who in 2016,  joined forces with hobbyDB to provide an excellent source of collectible knowhow for the community. 

I feel like I have been collecting my whole life and when I stop and look at what I have done over the years, I realize I really have been collecting film and tv memorabilia since a very young age.

Back in the 1970’s, there weren’t as many TV shows and movies as there are today that related to Sci-Fi and Fantasy and there definitely wasn’t as much memorabilia then as there is now, although back then, these were just called toys.

I grew up on Star Trek, James Bond, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, UFO and ‘The Man from Uncle’, and one my favorites, Our Man Flint / In Like Flint (still an awesome couple of movies).

There was a local toy shop to where I lived and if I was a good boy I could have my Enterprise, Aston Martin DB5, UFO Interceptor or Thunderbird 2 Dinky or Corgi toy.

Dinky U.S.S. Enterprise Then came the late 70’s and we had Space 1999, Superman, The Hulk, Spider-Man and then there was Star Wars and the Star Trek movies.  This era was a defining moment in toy history, but only because of Star Wars did, which in my opinion revolutionized toy manufacturing.

Even though Star Trek The Motion Picture blitzed the market with toys, it was nothing in comparison to Star Wars which was everywhere all over the world with that famous opening line…

It was here that I feel true toy mania and collecting started, I know it was for me as I simply just had to have, well, everything and in some cases twice, unless it was a Stormtrooper then it had to be (ok, I think I will stop now).

From then on, more movies and TV shows were churned out and then the toy market exploded; the choice was endless and kids would compete with each other comparing what they had.

So from then till now, we have become a world of collectors. For some, it is an obsession, for others a hobby and for the rest, well they don’t get it; and it’s not just for kids, it’s also for the big kids with credit cards and jobs and families who we call adults.

For us adults, we still love all this ‘tuff’, the thrill and for many, it’s not just about the new items, it’s about getting the toys we had when we were young that we for some reason no longer have, these items are now called memorabilia and the fun is in the chase. So the hunt is on to find that rare Star Wars carded X-Wing fighter we had in 1978, boxed Dalek, Spider-Man action figure by EMGO or in my case a FAB 1 due to the fact that I had painted mine in black.

When I started my hunt for toys that I had when I was younger, there was no dedicated websites, no blogs, no groups, in fact, there was no internet, all we had was the occasional toy fair and if you went on holiday, be it in the UK or overseas, you might find a gem of a toy shop that stocked old, rare, unusual and unique memorabilia.

Today, it is so much easier to find what you want, go to a show, look around, check out websites, save searches, join a group, do a blog, in fact, it’s too easy and because of this, you need to be careful.  What I mean is, do your research, don’t just buy the first rare carded V.I.N.Cent The Black Hole Action figure you see just because you are looking at it, for starters, it might be overpriced, it might not be the exact one you received as a generic image is being used and if it is too cheap, again, don’t just buy it, read the description to see why, 9 times out 10 it will be an old toy with a modern reprint card.  In addition, check out the seller; see if you can find out if they have a good reputation.  

You can also go to Conventions, Film Fairs, Toy Fairs and again, be careful not to spend your money straight away.  I recall going to Westminster Central Hall back in the 1990’s and after paying my 50p entrance fee, table one had an Enterprise 1701 and Klingon Battle Cruiser set of DINKY toys in gorgeous condition to which I promptly got out my $120 and bought them both, I didn’t even ask for a discount I was THAT HAPPY, well I was for about 5 minutes until at another stall I saw the twin pack for $100 and then another pair for $80, AHHHHHH and I could not get my money back.

At some events, you might even get a chance to meet some celebrities.

Naturally, if you have done your research, you will have an idea of what something should cost and what you are prepared to pay, but again, there will always be the exception to the rule. Amongst my collection, I have a fondness for a TV show called ‘Automan’.  Like the movie Blade Runner, this show did not have much merchandise made on it and what there was, was in limited quantity, so when the hardly ever seen Scalextric style set came up for grabs of which there are only 7 that are known of in the world, I knew I would do anything to get it.  At the time, it was worth about $100, but I wanted it at any cost and was prepared to go 4 figures.  As it turned out I was lucky, $145 AND, the owner lived 6 miles from me so I went and picked it up.

Indiana JonesThere is one very important rule that you should remember and that is, buy the item for you, ok, you might purchase it as an investment as it is a sure thing, but, sometimes, prices go down as well as up and don’t forget, items today are manufactured in their thousand’, sometimes millions, so unless it’s a limited edition of 5,000 worldwide, that gorgeous looking action figure you want, may never be worth more than the price you paid and if you take it out of its packaging, well the value drops.

Very rare Blade Runner diecast model from ERTL worth far more if still boxed.

The next point to consider is, what do you want of the item or your collection? Must all items be mint in box (MIB)? They will be cheaper without packaging. Does it matter which country it was made (some items can be the same but made in different countries, not necessarily today, but older products).  Naturally the better the condition of the item, the more it will be worth, if that is a factor.  I mostly collect MIB but will happily buy a loose item, even if I have it i its packaging just so I can touch it, especially if it is very rare.

Eventually there may come a day where your collection takes over your home, even your life, try to see this before it is too late as some items might get damaged due to how you have stored them, such as in sun light or a heavy box on top of a light box but also because you great big beautiful collection is just a series of items in card board boxes which means you never get to see or enjoy your memorabilia and you place looks like the end scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark and putting your items into a storage place might not be such a good idea as this is very expensive.

I have a passion/interest for a great many Sci-Fi Film & TV shows and sometimes, it’s just because I like the item and not what it relates too.  Others dedicate themselves to one subject and sometime just the action figures from that show or movie or they only collect model kits or whatever tickles their fancy.

It can be an expensive hobby, even new products such as Hot Toys figures are several hundred pounds, but oh boy are they amazing.

There are times when you may need to sell some or all of your collection, but for whatever the reason is, once again, do your research on values, don’t let someone take advantage of your situation and if you have no clue, seek advice of a specialists, it might cost you for their time, but it’s worth it and they may even be able to make suggestions to help.

So, old or new, action figures, model kits, models, mugs, pins… whatever it is you like or want. Do your research before you spend your money. But, most of all have fun.

How Star Trek Changed Geek Culture Forever

A long time ago in a galaxy far from the Star Wars universe, there was one sci-fi franchise that had re-defined the rules for exploiting intellectual property and really changed two mediums forever; film and television. Of course, we’re talking about Star Trek.

star trek spock mural What people forget is that even during the original series’ legendary run on NBC from 1966-1969 when it was beset by less than stellar ratings and some scathing reviews from the critics, merchandising was somewhat ubiquitous for the time, even compared to popular shows like Davy Crockett (with its famous coonskin cap) in the ’50s and Bonanza in the ’60s. There were, of course, the juvenile novel “Mission to Horatius” and the early James Blish novelizations that Bantam Books published much to the chagrin of serious sci-fi author and editor Frederick Pohl, but the imprint was minting so much money, what did he care? And, of course, there were the legendary AMT model kits. In fact, the story is that AMT was so excited about the new space opera that, in exchange for the right to merchandise the Galileo shuttlecraft, they agreed to create a life-size Galileo shuttle and miniature for the cash strapped production. This would go on to become one of the great spaceships ever to appear onscreen.

star trek megoYears later, after the success of Mego’s Planet of the Apes line, as the series began to explode in syndication, the toy company under the aegis of Martin Abrams licensed Star Trek. They put out a line of action figures, followed by communicators, bridge and planetary playsets (like Mission to Gamma 4, loosely based on the second season episode, “The Apple” – without David Soul, of course) and, of course, the legendary Trekulator, an early calculator.

star trek cartoonstar trek technical manualBut other franchises had toylines, like the aforementioned Planet of the Apes, and novelizations as well. But Star Trek, as it would do for many decades, continued to boldly go where no sci-fi franchise had gone before. At the end of the second season, there was the legendary Making of Star Trek, an insider look behind-the-scenes of the making of the TV series, a book that like The Jaws Log a decade later, inspired a generation of kids to become film and TV writers (myself included). Years later, Bantam not only novelized the animated series with Alan Dean Foster’s marvelous Log adaptations which were also massive bestsellers but published the beloved Starfleet Technical Manual and Blueprints by Franz Joseph which gave fans an exclusive look at the technology of Star Trek, as well as the fleet itself.

How could a young Star Trek fan forget leafing through the Technical Manual for the first time and not being blown away by the schematics of the ships in the fleet, including the Dreadnaught Class, and the UFP flag? There were even Fotonovels, indispensable episodic photo novelizations of several episodes featuring stills from the episodes with word balloons. Eventually, these faded away into obscurity in the early ’80s with the emergence of home video (as if the cheapo black and white Fotonovel version of Star Trek II wasn’t proof of that after the beautiful ST: TMP of 1979, one of the format’s highlights.).

star trek comicsIn comics, the imaginative and stunning Gold Key Comics series debuted but calling them Star Trek was a stretch. The artist, legendary Italian penciller Alberto Giolitti, had never even seen the series, so you had exhaust coming out from the Enterprise’s nacelles and those invaluable landing party backpacks the crew wore among other inconsistencies with established Trek lore. This gonzo series set the tone for the many Trek’s to come as the license later made its way to Marvel.

When Marv Wolfman left Marvel to jump to DC, he left a cliffhanger in his wake about a haunted house in space to be resolved by other writers. Later, after Marvel lost the license, DC jumped on the Trek bandwagon, only to have Malibu license later properties (full disclosure: I wrote many DS9 comics for them, my favorite being Deep Space Nine #0: Terok Nor, the favorite of the many comic books I wrote at the time) and revert back to Marvel after Malibu’s acquisition. Later iterations became the province of IDW, where the property remains to this day.

AMT_U.S.S._EnterpriseBy 1979, after the Star Wars juggernaut had shown the real power of licensed merchandising, Star Trek was playing a perpetual game of catch-up. And while the Mego ST: TMP toys were a bust, along with a lot of the other spin-off merchandise of the era, the first Star Trek feature film does have the distinction of being emblazoned on the first McDonald’s Happy Meal (interesting for a bald Deltan character whose oath of celibacy is on record). Although even the successful Wrath of Khan boasted some merchandise like official magazines and the last Trek Fotonovel, it wasn’t until the 1987 debut of The Next Generation that a robust licensing program returned. This not only mined the new series for a line of new novels but toys from Playmates from both the new show and classic series, Christmas ornaments, and many other merchandising offshoots.

But despite being a franchise that, at the time, trumpeted bringing over $2 billion into the coffers of Paramount, the master had truly become the learner, dwarfed by the sheer earning power of the Star Wars movies and massive merchandising program. Star Trek will continue to live long and prosper, but the force was clearly with Star Wars and will likely be for many generations to come. Next, included.

“Spock Leaning on a 1964 Riviera” is Coolest Hot Wheels Car Ever

"Spock Leaning on a 1964 Riviera" is Coolest Hot Wheels Car Ever

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

We’ve reached the final frontier in the search for the awesomest car in the Hot Wheels Universe…

Presenting “Spock Leaning on a 1964 Riviera,” a diorama featuring, well,  Star Trek‘s beloved Mr. Spock leaning on a 1964 Riv. This set is based on a black and white photograph of Leonard Nimoy, in costume, with his car in the parking lot of Paramount studios.

"Spock Leaning on a 1964 Riviera" is Coolest Hot Wheels Car EverThe photo inspired a meme about “coolness,” which means if you wait long enough, everything in geek culture eventually becomes cool. There are some other historical tidbits about the photo that you might not know, however… in the left side of the photo, you can make out the side of a C2 Corvette, which reportedly belonged to William Shatner. And speaking of Shatner, he allegedly once stole the Riviera as a prank.

As for the model, it’s 1:64 scale, and even though Hot Wheels has produced a ’64 Riviera model before, this is a new casting. It will reportedly be first available at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con in very limited quantities.