(written from a Production point of view)
Lesney Products & Co. Ltd. was a British manufacturer whose core business had been the manufacture of die-cast and metal automotive products.
It branched into producing injection-molded plastic model kits and produced and marketed Star Trek model kits between 1979 and 1980.
Founded in 1947, the company became best known for its Matchbox brand which it introduced in 1953. That name originated from the fact that the models produced under that brand name fitted in a matchbox and were for years marketed that way, with the models being packaged in (or with) actual matchboxes.
Following the energy crisis of 1973, Great Britain experienced a series of adverse economic periods which also affected the business of Lesney. In an effort to broaden its economic base in order to counteract declining sales, Lesney decided to branch out into the market for injection molded plastic model kits in the mid-seventies. Arriving relatively late to that market, it was a big gamble as the company had to compete with the absolute market leader of the time, Airfix. To that end and to counteract its lack of experience in that market, the company acquired the well-established US-based model kit manufacturer AMT in 1977. The model kits that it produced retained the "AMT" brand in the US but were marketed in Europe as "Matchbox-AMT" to capitalize on Matchbox's established brand in Europe.
Despite the quality of the model kits produced, Lesney was unable to stem the tide of economic adversity and the company went into bankruptcy in June 1982, having sold AMT to the Ertl Company a few months earlier.
Star Trek releasesEdit
Through the acquisition of AMT, Lesney became associated with the Star Trek franchise, though due to the bankruptcy it only lasted four years. To customers in the US, the state of affairs remained pretty much the same. In Europe, Lesney started to release some of the classic kits under its new "Matchbox-AMT" brand as part of the "Yellow Crown Range" range in 1979.
Nonetheless, thanks to the release of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, it was Lesney that marketed the first significant expansion of the Star Trek model kit line in 1980 with the release of three new kits based on the movie.
|Star Trek model kit releases under the Matchbox brand|
|USS Enterprise||1:650||1979||PK5102||"Yellow Crown Range" imprint|
|Space Station K-7||1:7600||PK5105||"Yellow Crown Range" imprint|
|Romulan Space Ship||1:650||PK5106||"Yellow Crown Range" imprint|
|USS Enterprise (refit)||1:537||1980||PK5110||"Yellow Crown Range" imprint|
|Klingon Cruiser||PK5111||"Yellow Crown Range" imprint|
|Vulcan Shuttle||1:187||PK5112||"Yellow Crown Range" imprint|