DINKY 358 U.S.S ENTERPRISE (1976-1981):
The 358 U.S.S. Enterprise was the first Dinky model licensed from NBC’s Star Trek TV Series. It was the first Star Trek toy made from die-cast metal and Dinky had the worldwide rights.
It was soon followed by the 357 Klingon Battle Cruiser from the same series.
The model featured opening bottom bay doors which acted as a stand. In the bay was a a detachable plastic shuttle craft.
The model fired ‘photon torpedoes’, which were in fact yellow or white plastic discs which were propelled out of the front of the space ship by flicking the metal bridge at the top of craft.
There were 8 discs or ‘torpedoes’ provided.
Originally supplied with yellow discs later models had white discs similar to those provided with the 357 Klingon Battle Cruiser. The white discs had random letters on the top
Although the shuttle was approximately the right shape there was very little detail in the one piece orange plastic casting. It sat in a launch bay underneath the model and was fixed by an extended lug and could be easily removed. Hence this part is often missing from models on sale.
In reality the shuttle was not to scale, it was far too big. If it had been true to the actual prop, it should have exited from the ‘hangar doors’ at the back of the ship. The upside of this design was that the bay doors when opened acted as a stand.
Also provided in the box were additional decals and instructions.
MAIN ENGINE DECAL/STICKER VARIANT:
When the model was first introduced the main engines had decals rather than paper stickers. The variants with decals were only available with the all cardboard box although they could also have paper stickers with this box as well. The collector who provided this information suggested that the decals were short lived – perhaps for only one year.
Note the decal had a thicker font style.
The 358 U.S.S. Enterprise was modelled on the ship of the same name in the Star Trek TV series. In charge was Captain Kirk ably assisted by First Officer Spock whose pictures adorned the later version of the box.
PROP v ACTUAL:
The model was an accurate version of the actual prop. Irritatingly though the engines were bent downwards slightly giving the model a more stubby look.
The small plastic shuttle craft was based on the Galileo shuttle featured occasionally in the Star Trek TV series.
A pre-production pink version of the plastic front section was sold by Vectis Auctions.
In the 1980 trade catalogue a new version of the U.S.S.Enterprise was shown. This model was based on a later version of the Starship Enterprise which was featured in the first Star Trek Movie.
A comparison the the first and later version of the U.S.S. Enterprise.
ODDITIES AND RARITIES:
There were no known variants, although the model below, with yellow rather than orange nacelles and sensor was seen on an auction site but may be a Code 3 or with repro parts.
There were two box types, the first an all cardboard version (1976-78) and the second a window box.
There was a cardboard inner liner to protect the heavy model and the box.
The second box type was a window box
Under the heading ‘Three Great TV Series Gift Sets’, the 1978 trade catalogue announced the 306 Space Gift Set which included the 357 Klingon Battle Cruiser the 358 U.S.S. Enterprise and the ‘new’ 361 War Chariot in a never commercially released blue livery. This set was never released commercially.
By the time the 1978 consumer catalogue was released the set had been replaced with the 309 Star Trek Gift Set a far more logical (no pun intended) issue.
The 309 Set was released in a window box and the models and accessories were identical to those issued a individual models.
The rear of the box had a cut out and make ‘Star Trek Communicator’,
whilst the bottom of the box had landscape and badges to make.
The 309 Gift set also appeared in the Dinky 1979 consumer catalogue.
Comparing the size of Dinky 358 U.S.S. Enterprise with the Dinky 803 U.S.S. Enterprise.