Since it was first broadcast in 1966, well over fifty years ago, Star Trek has grown and grown. Developing from its original series, Star Trek became an enormous franchise, stretching across other TV series, movies, books, and even video games.
To match the sheer amount of Star Trek in existence, lots of different collectibles and toys have been made to tie in with the vast universe and lore of the show, depicting its characters and situations.
Some of the most popular collectibles were the Playmates Star Trek toys, which was a large and varied range of licensed Star Trek action figures, vehicles, and assorted accessories. But where are the Playmates Star Trek Toys manufactured?
The general answer is either in America or China. However, there’s more to it than that, and we’ve got all the further answers for you!
In our handy guide below, you’ll find out all about the Playmates Star Trek toys and where they were manufactured, as well as information about their history, with all the different releases and series covered. Read on!
Where Are Playmates Star Trek Toys Manufactured?
To get things started, let’s answer the big question: where do Playmates produce their Star Trek action figures? Wellm Playmates Toys Limited originally had its founding in China.
Opened in Hong Kong in 1966, they started out making dolls for other companies, which isn’t far off from how they continued to operate.
In 1977, the company opened an American subsidiary, which operated out of Boston in Massachusetts. This proved a success, so Playmates then opened up another outlet in California in 1983. Their first large-scale success came a few years later, with a robot doll in 1986.
This was six years before they began their wildly successful run of manufacturing Star Trek toys, started in 1992 while Star Trek: The Next Generation was airing its fifth and sixth seasons on television.
So where does this mean the Star Trek toys were manufactured? Though Playmates was founded in Hong Kong, China. They started producing Star Trek toys after they had launched their American subsidiaries. Therefore, it’s possible that some of their toys are produced in Boston and California.
A key benefit is that they then wouldn’t have to ship the action figures far, at least not to reach the American Trek fanbase However, many other boxes of their figures say “Product of China”, so clearly they still manufactured a lot there.
When Did They First Make Playmates Star Trek Toys?
The Next Generation
Playmates originally started making their beloved Star trek action figures in 1992. The TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation was currently on television at the time, just beginning its sixth season.
This proved a perfect time to tie in the toys, and for that reason they began their toy line by only focusing on The Next Generation.
Nearly the entire crew got their own action figures, usually with accompanying toy accessories like phasers and communicators. On top of that, a shuttlecraft was made that you could then put one of the action figures in.
The range of toys had some good success, so they decided to manufacture more in the following year, still capitalizing on the ongoing popularity of the TV series that was continuing on screens.
However, in 1993 they also produced a special boxed set of the Original Series and its key crew members – ones like Kirk, Spock, and Bones. Seven figures came with it, and the box was labeled “Classic Star Trek”. The boxed set today goes for about $90 online!
The popularity continued to grow, and introducing figures from the Original Series seemed to be a step in the right direction. Therefore, 1994 saw Playmates introduce action figure characters from another Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine (DS9).
Then, in 1995, the range was extended with not just more characters from DS9, but more additions from The Next Generation and the Original Series.
Furthermore, figures from the 1994 movie Star Trek Generations were produced. In a way, this was the ideal film for the toys, because the film already featured combined characters from the Original Series and The Next Generation.
There were now so many different ranges that in 1996 many of the separate toy lines were all put under one “Star trek” banner. That is, all but separate sets for the 1996 movie Star trek: First Contact and the 1998 movie Star Trek: Insurrection. On top of that, Playmates even made a Star Trek video game in 1995.
However, popularity slowed down by 1998, and 1999 saw the proper cancellation of Playmates making any more Star Trek toys. Until…
The Revivals Of Playmates Star Trek Toys
The 2009 big screen revival reboot of Star Trek from JJ Abrams brought back Playmates’ Star Trek action figures, if only briefly.
It was first reported in 2008 that the company would again be making toys for the beloved franchise, and sure enough the next year saw the release of toys modeled on the characters and sets from the new film.
These were technically old characters, being characters like Kirk and Spock from the Original Series, but the reboot film cast new actors in the roles.
Therefore, these new toys looked quite different from the toys that Playmates had originally made for the Original Series. I actually have a few of the 2009 toys myself, and I always liked the quality of the figures! Unfortunately, a second wave was canceled.
It wasn’t until 2021, when a host of new Star Trek shows were on screen, that Playmates would have their second revival and announce plans to release new Star Trek toys in 2022 and beyond, covering new shows like Picard and Discovery.
Playmates manufacture their Star Trek toys in Tuen Mun, Hong Kong. With offices in California, USA America.