The only figure-scaled vehicle to see the light of day during Galoob’s brief license to produce Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures, this Shuttlecraft Galileo is a faithful reproduction of the impossibly-aerodynamic, futuristically curved Enterprise-D shuttles seen during the show’s first two seasons on the air.
Based on the gorgeous shuttle design devised by Andrew Probert, this shuttle – scaled to seat only a few of the 3 3/4″ Galoob Next Generation figures – gets most of the major external details right. Compared to the figures, it actually should be larger in scale, but to keep the ship economically priced, the size was reduced, and a few minor concessions were made in the shape of its forward “pod” to accomodate seated figures.
Playmates would later release its own Galileo shuttle after aquiring the Next Generation toy license, but that toy was based on the more angular, boxy shuttlecraft design seen from Darmok onward (early in season 5), which itself was inherited and modified from the full-size shuttlecraft sets and miniatures built for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
The switchover to the less streamlined shuttle on TV was a matter of economics: the Trek V props were available and easily reworked, and furthermore, the interior set matched the exterior, which was something that the show never quite achieved with the original Probert design.
In fact, the Probert design had been pushed into the background as early as season 2, during which (in the episode Time Squared) a new, two-seater compact-car sized “shuttlepod” was introduced, with its interior and exterior matching. Attempts to build even sections of the full-sized Probert shuttle design fell short of the producers’ expectations, as the sleek curves involved would almost have to be machined like the body of a car.
Everything was tried, from partial full-sized shuttle sections in the shuttlebay set which never matched up, to trying to matte the miniature into footage shot on the soundstage. As a result, the original Enterprise-D shuttles seemed to fade into an early retirement, and as such this is, if not the only, then one of the very, very few, attempts to translate the Andrew Probert design into a toy.
The not-quite-an-Okudagram attempt to mimic the Federation LCARS interface on the interior control panel decals looks a little more like something from an early Star Wars toy, with none of the display even remotely resembling English…or, for that matter, anything seen in the series.
A small cargo area in the rear of the shuttlecraft can seat more figures. (The few times this part of the ship was shown on TV, the rear of the shuttle had the traditional Star Trek sliding door/hatch, not a ramp. (Oddly, this ramp anticipates the actual set/miniature of the season 5 shuttle.)
A “sensor pod” – never seen on the show itself – can be deployed, rotated, or stowed away.
“Missile launchers” – again, not something ever seen on the show (the smallest vehicle seen to mount photon torpedoes wound up being Deep Space Nine’s Runabouts) – are tucked away on the sides of the shuttle.