Star Trek Micro MachinesMuch like the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which didn’t think to nominate Star Trek: The Next Generation for an Emmy until its final season was coming down the home stretch, it seems that the toymakers of the world didn’t clue into the popularity of TNG until well over halfway past the midway point of the series. Playmates struck gold, launching an extensive line of TNG action figures and accessories in 1992 (a line which later grew to encompass every other 20th century Star Trek series), leaving Galoob’s early line of action figures – launched and discontinued before the show’s second season – mostly forgotten. But Galoob got back into the Trek game with its legendary Micro Machines plastic miniatures.

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Enterprises: Eventually, Galoob’s Star Trek Micro Machines line included every incarnation of the Enterprise that had been seen on screen prior to 1996. The Enterprise-D and Kirk’s original Enterprise were obvious candidates, but even one-off appearances such as the doomed Enterprise-C (Yesterday’s Enterprise) were miniaturized.

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Excelsior!: The complete Enterprise family tree (as it stood at the time) also included the Enterprise-B from Star Trek: Generations, as well as the ship that inspired its design, the Excelsior (Star Trek III and VI); the Excelsior’s “NCC-2000” registry means that this is the Excelsior seen under Sulu’s command in Star Trek VI, since the ship bore the experimental registry NX-2000 in its first appearance.

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Star Trek Micro MachinesShuttlecraft: Federation shuttles were well-represented in the Micro Machines line, with the standard Galileo type shuttle from classic Trek (christened the Galileo II, so presumably this is the post-Galileo Seven replacement vehicle) and the TNG “Type 6” shuttle (eyebrow-raisingly christened the shuttlecraft Berman) joined by Star Trek: The Motion Picture’s Vulcan shuttle/warp sled combo, a vehicle fondly remembered by fans but mostly forgotten by toymakers. The DS9 assortment added a Runabout to the mix.

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Movie Era Stafleet Ships: The Reliant from Star Trek II and the ill-fated science ship U.S.S. Grissom from Trek III fill out the Starfleet ranks from the original series movie era; both of these ships were redressed for frequent appearances in TNG and later 24th century shows, giving the impression that the Reliant and Grissom configurations were somehow more enduring than the Constitution class (I have to confess that I never quite understood that idea).

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TNG Era Starfleet Ships: Though steeped in the movie-era aesthetic, the U.S.S. Stargazer – Picard’s previous command – was a TNG kitbash invention that managed to gain a life of its own, frequently reappearing in later TNG episodes and DS9. Unfortunately, the Micro Machines model is based on the desk model in Picard’s ready room, which means it’s bright yellow (anytime an actual Constellation class ship appeared on screen, it looked like any other Starfleet vessel). The Nebula-class Farragut was one of the ships responding to the evacuation of the crashed Enterprise-D at the end of Star Trek: Generations.

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All Good Things: The TNG finale merited its own Micro Machines assortment, featuring the three-warp-engine configuration of the Enterprise-D, and Captain Beverly Crusher’s U.S.S. Pasteur. The third ship in the All Good Things assortment was Worf’s alternate future Klingon cruiser (which later became a “present day” ship in use during DS9’s Dominion War), pictured elsewhere on this page.

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TNG Enemies: Introduced in Star Trek III, the Klingon Bird of Prey was established as the workhorse of the Klingon fleet during TNG’s second season; there wouldn’t be a completely new, distinctly 24th century Klingon ship introduced until the Klingon command cruiser was first seen in Reunion (its Micro Machine can be seen below). One of the least impressive Trek Micro Machines was the Ferengi Marauder, introduced in the fourth episode of TNG. It seems less detailed than most of the other models in the range, and the simple orange paint job with little variation makes the Ferengi ship seem more like a toy than a detailed model.

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Also appearing in miniature form were the Borg (one of the best, most detailed models in the entire line, and probably the best toy of the Borg cube that anyone managed to turn out) and the Cardassians, whose ships were more of a rusty orange on television but were painted a dark yellow to distinguish the Cardassian ship from the Ferengi ship.

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The Romulans’ 24th century fleet was represented, with the frequently seen Romulan Warbird sporting a lot of the ship’s wing-patterned detailing, and the Romulan shuttle – introduced in season 3’s The Defector – is a nice replica, and it doesn’t even explode less than two minutes after you first see it.

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Gowron’s command ship and Worf’s future Klingon warship from an alternate timeline (All Good Things) also got Micro Machines, though the limitations of paint application at the time gave the normally somewhere-around-olive-green Klingon ships more of a light “institutional green” paint job that just didn’t fit.

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Deep Space Nine: The TNG spinoff series Deep Space Nine spawned its own Micro Machines assortment, with the station and the runabout being no-brainers; the third piece in the DS9 pack was, naturally, the Defiant.

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Other Space Stations: Deep Space Nine wasn’t the only station to get some Micro Machine love. Deep Space Station K-7 (The Trouble With Tribbles) was part of one of the original series assortments, while a movie-era pack added the massive Federation Spacedock station to the lineup. Though the design is greatly simplified in this miniature version, Spacedock is the largest Star Trek Micro Machine by far.

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The original series was also represented well; in addition to the early movie-era ships and the K-7 space station, the original Klingon battlecruiser and the S.S. Botany Bay (Khan’s sleeper ship from Space Seed) was made.

The original Enterprise, a Romulan Bird of Prey (which I remember being disappointingly low-detail, a la the Ferengi ship) and the movie Enterprise (with the NCC-1701-A registry) were also available, the latter being exclusive to an all-inclusive box set that included every other Star Trek Micro Machines vehicle seen on this page. At the time the photos for this article were shot, those three could not be located.

One can only assume that something’s going down along the Neutral Zone somewhere.

More To The Story: Galoob continued its Star Trek line with another “big box” (also broken down into smaller three-pack assortments), with a heavy emphasis on alien ships from Deep Space Nine, a few ships from Voyager, and the Enterprise-E. In the late ’90s, Galoob continued making Micro Machines, but withdrew them from the American market; the foreign-only vehicles tended not to be from licensed properties (there were also sets of Micro Machines from Star Wars, Aliens, Babylon 5, Men In Black, Indiana Jones, and Predator, among others).

But by cutting off the Micro Machines brand in the U.S. before the 21st century, Galoob missed quite a few “big fish” in the Star Trek universe: the NX-01 Enterprise, the pre-Kirk-era Klingon and Romulan ships from that series, the obligatory Enterprise shuttle, and let’s not even mention the 2009 movie’s wealth of new vehicles from the alternate timeline that the franchise is now likely to follow.

There were also some curious omissions from prior series. Star Trek: First Contact introduced a whole fleet of new Federation ships in its opening battle scene with the Borg, none of which were made as Micro Machines. Latter-day Voyager ships such as the Delta Flyer were not represented. And seemingly obvious movie and TNG vehicles went untouched, including one of my favorite TNG designs, the original Andrew Probert-designed, rounded-off Enterprise shuttle.

These omissions are likely to go uncorrected. Galoob has since been gobbled up by toy giant Hasbro, which keeps the Micro Machines branding in play only occasionally for such miniature vehicle lines as its Star Wars Titanium Collection. The last Trek-related miniatures even remotely similar to the Micro Machines were several waves of Johnny Lightning miniatures, though there were a startling number of repaints and minor variations of the same vehicles in the short space of time that the Johnny Lightning Trek vehicles were being released. Johnny Lightning did release an NX-01 Enterprise, and some of its variations were clever (clear-molded “cloaked” ships), but most of the variations tended to be of the “different patterns of painted-on battle damage” variety.

It’s possible that FASA’s series of Trek gaming miniatures in the early 1980s may have featured an even wider range of ships, but those featured primiarily FASA-designed vessels never seen on film, and were lead miniatures not intended as toys and sold only in specialty hobby and gaming shops (one wonders if anyone ever tried miniature gaming with Micro Machines). Galoob’s tiny Micro Machines Starfleet (and its adversaries) remains the most widely-varied and comprehensive series of Star Trek vehicles to hit the toy stores.

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Earl Green ()