(written from a Production point of view)
Bandai Co., Ltd. (pronounced BAN-dye) is a Japanese corporation specializing in toys, games, models, videos, electronics, and amusement parks. The company is best known as the international distributor of toys based on Japanese entertainment properties including Godzilla, Gundam, Tamagotchi, Sailor Moon, and Power Rangers.
Founded in 1950 to produce tin toys, Bandai has become the world's third largest toy producer (behind US companies Mattel and Hasbro) with holdings and subsidiaries all over the world. In 2005, Bandai merged with video game developer and producer Namco (best known as the makers of the Pac-Man video game) to become Namco Bandai Holdings, Inc., also known as the Bandai Namco Group.
Star Trek releases
Bandai was the exclusive UK and European distributor of the Playmates Toys line of Star Trek toys and action figures. The company marketed the figures in two versions. For the UK, French, and Spanish markets, the figures were released on similar blister cards to the US and Canadian releases. The German action figures were released in unique "windowbox" packaging.
Bandai also began to produce a Star Trek V: The Final Frontier video game in 1989 for use with the Nintendo Entertainment System but the game was not fully completed nor released to retail.
Star Trek starship model kits
Bandai produced a small line of Star Trek model kits during 2003 and 2004 which featured pre-painted, "snap-fit" (meaning no glue is required for assembly) models with lighting kits included. What made these kits remarkable was that they were Bandai originals and were not associated with traditionally-licensed model kit producers like AMT/Ertl or Revell-Monogram. The model ships were molded in different scales than most previous versions, too.
Bandai's designers were given access to the original studio models for their research and had the input of their Star Trek designers John Eaves, Rick Sternbach, and Doug Drexler. Their comments were included in the instruction sheets which helped the modeler to more accurately build the models. Unlike many original Japanese productions which are normally intended for the home market, these kits were created to be international releases with the instruction sheets translated into five languages.
|Starship Model Kit Line|
|USS Enterprise (refit)||1:850||2003||116192|
|USS Enterprise-A||2004||124915||Essentially a re-issue of 116192 with decals for sister vessels|
|USS Voyager||131434||Small production run, making this release quite rare|