Ask DST #261: Captain’s Blog

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Diamond Select Toys posted the next round of fans questions for their Star Trek line:

Diamond Select Toys has been making Star Trek toys for a long time now, and we get more questions about Star Trek than about most of our other licenses put together! DST president DSTChuck has been answering those questions since the beginning, and he will until the bitter end! Read on to hear the thoughts of the captain of this whole toy enterprise!

Andrew P.
Hi Chuck. I was just wondering when both versions of the Enterprise D are re-released will the copyright information be removed from under the saucer like it was on the current release of the E or will it still be there. Thank you.

DSTChuck: Andrew, legally they need to be included, all products that are licensed have them. We’re going to see if we can find a better place for them that the licensor will approve. So there is a chance it will change.

Jaime R.
Regarding the re-release of the HD original enterprise. Is there any new dialogue with this ship?
If not, would consider adding the phaser sounds and the other dialogue that you have on the non HD versions of the original enterprise?

DSTChuck: As of now, Jaime, there are no changes planned for the sounds.

David T.
Hello DST. Any update on shipping dates/product availability of the Star Trek III Phaser ? Separately- I’d like to put in a vote for a TNG Tricorder & TNG Phaser as the next Prop Replica please. Thank you.

DSTChuck: The ship dates are updated on the Facebook page and the Art Asylum site as often as we can – I think a new posting just went live.

Nathan M.
Hello! Will there ever be Star Trek phasers from TNG/DS9/VOY made by Diamond Select? Or dare I hope, phaser rifles from all/any series? Regards, Nathan

DSTChuck: Never say never, but the rifles are very doubtful.

Kevin M.
I don’t really have a question, just thanks. As a public relations guy myself I don’t envy your position. As a trek fan I know how bad we can be. You guys do marvelous stuff for an insane value. People forget these are still ‘toys’ even if they are jaw dropping. Thanks for your hard work DST/AA. I’m glad to be a continuing customer.

DSTChuck: Thanks for the kind words!

Kevin C.
I am a star trek figure collector and have noticed that the only DS9 figure made is Vic Fontaine played by James Darren. Are there any plans to produce one? Maybe they could do a limited edition run or a 2 figure set from the episode as it’s only a paper moon with nog. Thanks.

DSTChuck: Several years ago, we made many DS9 action figures. I would think at some point more will be included in the Select line as well.

Ron Z.
Are there any plans for a Klingon D7 or Ktinga Battle Cruiser? Thanks.

DSTChuck: Very few ships have been eliminated from consideration. Being honest, we’ve only had vague discussions about which ships we might do after the two we’re working on right now.

Kirk, James T.
1) Even though sales of your minimate USS Enterprise were not as you had expected, is there a chance we could see the following: USS Reliant with Battle Ravaged Khan! USS Enterprise D with Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the Shuttle Craft Galileo with Spock, McCoy & Scotty! In whatever way you decide, I hope that Star Trek Minimates return.
2) Please, PLEASE, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!! Reconsider sculpting in the windows on your ships rather than the more expensive process of tampo-printing. The ships look better, they are more adaptable for those who do want their windows painted in and my guess is that sculpted windows will last longer than tampo printing.
3) I have to say I’m not thrilled with the direction your Star Trek Select figures are going. With all the arms and accessories you’re putting in with Worf, wouldn’t it be easier (even though more expensive) to just put some decent articulation in these figures? I feel and I know that there is a general consensus over this that articulation is king when it comes to action figures. Youtube reviewers such as Shardimus Prime consistently praises good articulation as does Sean Long as a benchmark for a good action figure.
I think you guys need to make these Star Trek figures special so that fans WANT to collect them all. At the moment you’re giving many fans who would collect the entire series, many reasons for not collecting them. I would ask you to look at NECA, Funko and would you believe it; Hasbro’s Star Wars Black Series for examples of beautifully sculpted, painted and ARTICULATED action figures. Make this line something unique, Star Trek thrives off of the unique so lets have an action figure line to match! 5 figures per year, one from TOS, one from TNG, one from DS9, VOY & ENT. Fully articulated with character specific accessories sold in some beautiful boxes with character bio’s.
4) It has been a huge bone of contention with DST Star Trek fans that you’re not doing enough with the Star Trek brand. Personally I feel CBS/Paramount aren’t doing enough for it to warrant you busting a gut and putting out product that wont sell. However when it comes down to ships… You know where this is going ;)… Wouldn’t it be worth your while to excite fans by revealing the names of the ships you’re doing next with CGI renders of the ships you PLAN to release rather than waiting for prototypes? You say you were burnt the last time by revealing ships too early but I wonder, has that really hurt sales? The fans who “burnt” you last time still went out and bought your product because why wouldn’t they? So you’ve got to ask yourself, does remaining silent about future product do you any favours either? My guess is that you’re damned if you do and you’re dammed if you don’t.
I believe, as do many fans, that by staying silent is having an equally negative impact on your image as revealing ships that are still not 100% confirmed. And it’s not like fans are asking to see product, it’s that we are asking you to engage the fans by exciting them, teasing them, not pissing them off as you are doing now.

By the way, what are the new Star Trek ships you have planned for 2015? Romulan Bird of Prey from TOS and the USS Reliant from Wrath of Khan?

5) In honest terms, Is the future bright for DST Star Trek or has it reached a point where you can’t do much more with the licence you have?
My feeling is that CBS aren’t doing enough to ensure that the Star Trek brand lives on beyond the franchises 50th. A movie every three/four years isn’t enough nor are all these licences producing the same kind of product when you consider the clear strategic plan Disney have with Marvel and Star Wars and now Warner Bros. has with the DC Universe.

As a company, do you feel CBS could be doing more with the Star Trek franchise?

Thanks for your time.

DSTChuck: Okay, “Kirk,” I’ll do the best I can here, but some of these are not questions and might be better suited for some of the fan forums that are out there to dicuss Trek and Trek toys.
1. Since the sales were not where we needed them to be to proceed, we have no plans right now to go forward, and since the design process was not started I have NO idea which would have been considered.
2. Sorry, we have no plans to change how we produce the ship and if we made such a change I don’t think I’d be happy with how they all fit together. We think this method gives the best, most accurate look possible for the ships right out of the package.
3. Sorry you do not like the line so far. There is a cost celling involved, so even if, as you suspect (not confirming), more articulation would cost more we still have to deliver the product at the same price. Our prior figures in the Trek line had a fair degree of articulation and while that line did OK for some time it ran out of steam. The Select format has been very successful for us for years and while some of the lines are pretty well articulated, the guiding principle is look before articulation. When we looked at the market before we brought the figures back, we decided to keep the idea that the Trek figures would be posed on fans shelf’s more than played with like, say, a Marvel figure, so we designed the line with that in mind. So far, the sales have been good enough to go forward, so it seems to us overall the fan base is happy with what we are doing. While online reviews are cool and helpful to fans, and other feedback is great, we have found it often does not speak for “everyone”
4. While for sure you’re entitled to your opinion, and I respect that, we have a plan and we’re going to stick to it. We have access to more data then any single fan does, as well as sales staff, marketing folks and years of experience. Fans of anything will always want to know what is “next,” but when does next end? You’re saying that not saying which ship we’re shipping a year from now hurts our sales. I clearly disagree, and we’ll have to leave it at that.. Does not knowing what Santa is going to give you for Christmas diminish the joy you have when you open the present?
5. We’ve been doing Trek for a VERY long time – longer than most others. We’ve been here where there were shows on the air and when there is no new media (like now), we’ve been there in movie years and non-movie years. We love Trek, are proud of what we have done and feel truly privileged to work on such a property. Would we like there to be more new media? SURE, but it would have to be the right thing that the fan base responds to. There are too many shows, animation and movies out there that studios just put out there. I’d much rather wait for great new content that makes sense and fans can feel good about. We still have a pretty good roll out of Trek items every year, and I see no stopping. As long as CBS allows and fans are there to respond, we’ll keep making, ships, role play, banks, action figures, silicone trays, Minimates and more!