1979 Crafts by Whiting Kirk Paintable Figure

Today’s collectible introduces our first Kirk item:

I mentioned in last week’s Random, this is “a character who is from the Enterprise, yet not from the Enterprise, with a collectible that is complete, yet incomplete.” Since this is an Admiral Kirk figure, this is from a part of his career when he was not assigned to the Enterprise, and while the figure is unopened, it’s also unpainted and therefore paradoxically incomplete.

This was one of two figures produced by Crafts by Whiting, the other one being a Spock figure (as suggested by the picture on the card). I really like this piece, as it seems kind of unique, as a Star Trek collectible and in general. I haven’t seen many, if any, other “paintable figures”, Star Trek or otherwise.

This particular piece is hardly mint, but sometimes I enjoy having items that you can see have a story. Price stickers show that this was once for sale at K-Mart. Seasoned retail workers will quickly notice that the top of the card tore (as such cards often do), then someone simply jabbed the card back onto its pegboard hanger, punching a hole in it. That would have put it off center and it probably would have been getting in the way of adjacent items, so someone later came along, taped over the card’s tear and punched a hole in the tape, allowing it to be hung properly again. So while it’s far from perfect condition, its scars show that before it was a “collectible” it was once just a regular craft kit for sale at a department store.

Let’s take a closer look:

The back gives detailed instructions for prep, painting, and second-coating.
Battle scars from its time in K-Mart.
Being unpainted, it’s a little hard to tell just how good a likeness this is of Admiral Kirk.
A hole in the bottom reveals that this figure is hollow.
Brush made in Taiwan, figure in Hong Kong, but no word on the origins of the paint.
Branded “Crafts by Whiting, A Milton Bradley Company”. Let’s talk more about that below.

About “Crafts by Whiting”: Normally I like to include some manufacturer information with these posts, but “Crafts by Whiting” has stumped me. It’s “A Milton Bradley Company”. On the back of the package it is also listed as “Whiting Products, South Bend Toy Mfg. Co…” South Bend Toy Manufacturing Company was another Milton Bradley company, under which they also produced toys, including some Star Trek toys. For a final frustration, the back also says, “If you have enjoyed painting this figurine, you will be pleased to find other characters at your Whiting Crafts Center.” Again, I can find absolutely no information on Whiting Crafts Center. Maybe that just meant anywhere that carried their products, but the way “Center” is capitalized makes it seem like it’s the name of an actual store.

All the Crafts by Whiting items I find on Ebay and other online marketplaces look like they’re from the 60s or 70s. Milton Bradley was acquired by Hasbro in 1984, and I’m guessing that South Bend and Crafts by Whiting were discontinued as Hasbro already had toy manufacturing, but that is speculation. This figure and the paintable Spock figure seem to be the only two Star Trek items marketed under Crafts by Whiting.

Next on Zach Trek: Check back on Thursday for a very uniform collectible that will introduce another crewmember from the Enterprise to Zach Trek II.

2 thoughts on “1979 Crafts by Whiting Kirk Paintable Figure

  1. This surprises me. Who decided that Star Trek fans might like to paint a figurine? Maybe put together a model of the Enterprise, but not likely this. I wonder how many of these they sold.

    • Until the 1990s, Star Trek – The Motion Picture seems to have been the most marketed Star Trek movie (no doubt trying to duplicate the merchandising success of Star Wars). There are a lot of Star Trek items that came out for that movie, some of them kind of odd.

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