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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Dorkmas Tree and the Star Trek Museum

I had some fun last week posting pics of my #Dorkmas tree on the Twitter.  I thought I'd post the pics here, with additions, as well as some pictures of my Dad's "Star Trek Museum."  (Click any of the pics to enlarge.)

First up, here's the JJ Enterprise, Thomas the Tank Engine and one of many Scarletts O'Hara my wife has:

Next, here's Lord Vader mere inches away from Yoda:

Clu's Light Cycle from Tron: Legacy near the USS Defiant:

Harry Potter and Superman:

Batman and Speed Racer:

Scooter (ornament circa 1979) checks out Scarlett's bustle:

Pewter Potter and little Godzilla:

Big Godzilla, with lights and sound:


The Battlestar Galactica (why not the Hallmark Cylon ornament?  Read this):

The One Ring:

And, finally, the whole tree:

I think you can guess which stocking is mine.

More after the JUMP:

Now, a few hours away, my Dad has a small Christmas tree he has adorned with all of the Hallmark Star Trek ornaments since 1991.  We didn't buy them all (of the 60+ released thus far, we have about 40), but we have every single ship they've put out as well as a few of the people and scenes.  In other words, there are far more Trek ornaments than you see on the tree:

Here you can see the 1701-D, the Klingon Bird-of-Prey, McCoy, Kirk, Borg cube and Voyager around to the left.

What's that?  What room is that?  Oh, it's the Trek Museum.  Yes, that's a bat'leth on the display case.  Yes, those are phasers and ships on the table to the right.  Yes, that's a K't'inga-class battlecruiser hanging from the ceiling.  I'll get to the museum in a moment.

That Enterprise ornament came out in 1991 and was the first Hallmark Star Trek ornament they did.  Not terribly accurate, but it's cool and still lights up.  Let me just Google here to see how much it's worth twenty years later ... wow.  OK, moving on:

1701-D in the upper left, a cool light-up transporter scene, Galileo below.  What?  Yes, that's a wall of Playmates starships back there.

Dad has a Defiant, too, along with a Runabout (top right) and a tiny Enterprise.  That little ship came in a three pack along with the 1701-D and a Bird-of-Prey in 1995.  If you look in one of the above photos, you may spot the Klingon ship.  (Finding that little green bugger on the tree was always a game we played.)

Here's a video tour of the tree, filmed by my father and creepily silent, save for the occasional ornament sound effect:

(Sorry for the low resolution.)

Now, the Museum.

This started a while back.  My father has been collecting Star Trek stuff ever since the show was on and he has loads of magazines and such from the pre-convention days of the late '60s and early '70s.  When the resurgence really hit high gear in the late '80s, thanks in large part to The Next Generation, that's when companies starting pumping out all kinds of merch.  So, Dad moved his TV repair equipment into a small room and this, the master bedroom, became the museum.  The pics below are several years old, but all that is missing, really, are the newer ornaments and stuff related to the 2009 film.

A pointy bat'leth sitting atop a display case (one of two) filled with collector's plates and other rare items.  Of primary interest here, though, is the film.

You see, in the old days when they edited a TV show, the scrap bits of film just got left on the cutting room floor.  Literally.  After a while, someone would come and clean it all out.  For Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry would frequently go to editing rooms and scoop all that excess film up and pile it into his car.  Later on, once his Lincoln Enterprises company was up and running, they sold strips of the actual show.  My dad belonged to one of the first fan clubs and he was sent a piece of film every year when he renewed:
On the left, a piece of "The Corbomite Maneuver" (you can tell because Uhura's uniform is gold, Kirk looks concerned and McCoy's back there).  Next, Spock by his station in "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" (his display screen has the self-destruct info on it).  Next, a close-up of Spock's screen from the same episode.  Then we have Spock talking to Droxine in "The Cloud Minders."  Finally, Kirk in the briefing room from, we believe, "Turnabout Intruder."

Books.  So many books.  Also note the standees and banners, too.  Know how we got those?  We asked.  Back in the '90s, we could walk into a book or video store and ask, "Hey, what are you going to do with that when you're finished displaying it?"  They'd usually respond by saying, "Throw it away."  That's when we would ask if we could have it instead and the clerks were usually perfectly happy to give us a call when it was time to pick it up.

Now, in 2009, I saw this fantastic set up at a Toys R Us:
I remembered the old routine so I talked to a manager.  This time, though, his answer was different: "We have to destroy it."

"I'm sorry, what?"

"Yeah, all the stores have to destroy promo material like this."

"But," I was befuddled, "I just want to have it in my house."

He nodded, "Me too."

So, that's that.

Playmates action figures.  They had hundreds, I'm sure, and we have most of them.  Except for a few, they're all still in unopened condition.

Another shot of the display cases and the plates.  There are many more plates not on display simply because we ran out of room.  The Kirk standee can be jarring in low light.  Those are some of the models my father and I made together back there.

Close up.  That's the Constellation up top, which was just an AMT Enterprise with transposed numbers and a Bic taken to it.  Just like they did for "The Doomsday Machine."  More models and pins ...  Bottom row, that's a lights-and-sound 1701-A on the left (with an apparent structural integrity problem in the starboard nacelle pylon) and the original 1701 on the right.

We made these models together mostly in the late '80s and into the '90s.  Usually on Saturday nights because I was with him on the weekends.  It's weird; I remember the smell and feeling of all those little Testors paint jars which we kept in an old Star Wars action figure case (like these).  We worked for hours on the models you see and others.  We spent the most time on that original Enterprise.

Now, the paint scheme is a bit off in places, thanks to my adult, purist eyes, but at the time, that's the way I wanted it done.  Dad, being an electrician, rigged up the lighting, including a couple of honking-huge LEDs (remember, this was 20+ years ago before LEDs became so advanced and ubiquitous).  We drilled holes into the hull for windows and glued typing paper to the inside to diffuse the light (after painting the interior hull black).  The Bussard collectors, though, are tops.  Watch this video:
In each nacelle cap, there are three twinkling Christmas lights that blink on and off independently of each other.  It's so simple and I love the way it looks.  Crazy to think that after more than twenty years, it still lights up.

We also made several Klingon ships that hang from the ceiling.  We lit up a D-7 class battlecruiser from the original series and a K't'inga from Star Trek VI.  Man, that one was pretty.  There's a problem with hanging models from the ceiling, though.  Sometimes they fall.  And shatter.

Here's how the ornaments are displayed outside of December.  Again, this is several years ago so many ornaments aren't on here.  From the top left: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Picard, Riker,  Data, Worf, Janeway, Seven, Doctor.  Second row: 1701, Shuttlecraft Galileo, 1701-D, Rio Grande, Defiant, Voyager.  Third row: tiny Bird-of-Prey, big Bird-of-Prey (yes, the guns are broken; we have a second, mint one elsewhere), Borg cube, Romulan Warbird, tiny 1701, Sovereign-class 1701-E, tiny 1701-D and the Delta Flyer.

Ah, Playmates.  Love their stuff.  Here's all the starships they had out at this time, from the top left: Borg sphere, Borg cube, 1701-D, Klingon Bird-of-Prey (huge bastard).  Next row: battle-damaged 1701-D (from Generations), Romulan Warbird, Klingon Vor'cha-class attack cruiser.  Third row: 1701-E (from First Contact and based on early designs, thus the significant changes from what we saw on screen), Defiant, Deep Space Nine, Voyager.  Last row, Excelsior (actually, 1701-B with new decals and released as Excelsior), 1701-A, 1701 and a Romulan Bird-of-Prey.

You can't see it much, but underneath, there are Micro Machines galore.  Remember those?  In the early '90s, they put out dozens of Star Trek sets.  And we have them all.  Somehow, I resisted the temptation to play with them or make a terrific chess set.

Captain Spock offers you a movie.  More plates and a glimpse of all the Trek comics.  At that time, every comic ever published for Star Trek.

Oh snap, son.  More Playmates.  Let's see, from the left: talking 1701-D, "All Good Things" transforming 1701-D, Galileo shuttle, TNG shuttle, a Runabout, Zefram Cochrane's Phoenix, ST:TMP phaser, "The Cage" phaser, TNG medical tricorder, TOS tricorder, TNG tricorder, TNG phaser-2 (First Contact), TOS phaser-2, STV:TFF phaser-2, ST:TMP wrist communicator, TNG transporter chamber (with actual beaming abilities!) ...
Let's start bottom left: TOS communicator, TNG phaser-1 (a bit bigger than it should be), TOS communicator (this one or the other can record your voice), TNG main engineering (with warp core breach!), TOS phaser-2 (this or the other has a detachable phaser-1), TNG phaser-2 (season 3 forward), ENT communicator, Bajoran tricorder, ST:G commbadge, ENT phase pistol, Klingon disruptor, TNG commbadge, TOS medical instruments and, of course, the giant TNG bridge playset.

Not pictured: Bajoran phaser, uniforms, Starfleet flag, show-used dilithium crystals, TOS Xmas lights, TOS bridge model, snow globes, promotional materials and so many more ... it's rather ridiculous.

Well, that's it for the Star Trek Museum.  I have a bunch of Star Wars stuff in storage and every single one of Flaggen Pehl's beautiful Lord of the Rings flags, but not enough for a full-on museum yet.

I hope you've enjoyed it.  Merry Christmas, Happy Life Day and so on.

Oh, and download my books.


  1. awsome stuff there .I'd like to buy to buy a few things in the last 2 pictures of your collection. but I have my own collection, a little one that is.

  2. Nice collection! I was wondering where you got the Battlestar Galactica? Is it an actual ornament? I've been looking for that and a Colonial Viper for a long time.

    1. It's a die-cast ship from the Titanium line a few years ago; not an actual ornament.

      Like this one: