Dinky Mini-U.S.S. Enterprise and Mini-Klingon Cruiser

Dinky 371/801/803 Mini U.S.S. Enterprise and Dinky 372/802/804 Klingon Cruiser (1980-1980):

This is one of the more convoluted stories and timelines for a Dinky product designed and released as the factory headed towards closure in late 1979.

The story starts in the late 1970’s after the production of the ‘large’ 357 Klingon Battle Cruiser and the 358 U.S.S. Enterprise for which Dinky had the licences from Paramount TV which owned the rights to the TV Series. Note the 803 Enterprise model was based on the ‘new’ U.S.S. Enterprise which was used in the movie and the 804 Klingon Cruiser was also upgraded from the D7-class to the K’t’inga-class.

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Prop mark 2 v 803 mini U.S.S. Enterprise

The large Enterprise was approximately 9.5 inches (24 cm) long whilst the mini version was 4.2 inches (11 cm)

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Mini 803 U.S.S. Enterprise and 358 U.S.S. Enterprise size comparison

The 804 mini Klingon Cruiser was also released at the same time as the 803 Enterprise and its history is very similar. The 804 was based on the updated prop used in the movie.

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Prop v 804 Klingon Cruiser

The large Klingon Cruiser was approximately 9.5 inches (24 cm) long whilst the mini version was 4.2 inches (11 cm)

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Mini 804 Klingon Cruiser and 357 Klingon Battle Cruiser comparison

The first prototypes for the mini Enterprise and Klingon ships were produced in 1979 and were initially numbered 371 and 372 respectively, which was numerically close to their bigger brothers (358 and 357). The models were branded ‘Paramount TV‘, on the bases, both were die-cast metal and had a crude firing mechanism for a single missile launching from the front. The Klingon Battle Cruiser became just a Klingon Cruiser.

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Meccano Magazine October 1979

The October 1979 edition of Meccano Magazine advertised the original models and indicated they ‘will have firing plastic missiles’.

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During this production phase it came to the attention of Dinky management that the first Star Trek Movie – ‘Star Trek – The Motion Picture’, was due to be released in December 1979 and it decided to tie in the release of these mini models to the film. At the same time it appears Dinky were thinking of augmenting this mini spaceship range with additional models under the series names of Star Chasers (see Space Prototypes and Pre-production 1979-80 link). The models were renumbered to 801 for the Enterprise and 802 for the Klingon Cruiser. Artwork and cards were created featuring the Star Trek – The Motion Picture branding and the models were re-badged with ‘Paramount Pictures Corp’. Samples were then produced for the sales teams.

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801 U.S.S. Enterprise and 802 Klingon Cruiser (Vectis Auctions)

Unfortunately, just at this time, a child in America was injured in his eye by another toy company’s model firing a missile (Mattel’s Battlestar Galactica Viper fighter) and the inevitable lawsuit followed. The missile firing version went back to the drawing board and new non-firing versions, now numbered 803 for the Enterprise and 804 for the Klingon Cruiser were hurriedly created. The ‘Firing Missile!’ star banner was replaced with the slightly less exciting ‘Die-cast Metal’.

However as it seems a significant number of the missile firing version had already been made, these were now modified for sale as well as the bespoke non-firing versions

Because of the business situation in the U.K. at that time it was decided to commercially release the 803 and 804 models in the U.S. only. Although the 1980 UK Trade catalogue advertised both the missile (801/802) and the non missile firing versions (803/804).

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Dinky 1980 trade catalogue

A Dinky Ad from the period also mentions pocket sized Star Trek ships that  fire missiles.

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There are two slightly different 803 mini Enterprise models, one seems to retain the top button firing mechanism and is capped with a paper disc over the hole at the front and of course no missile. This version has a plastic base, marked ‘Dinky Toys’. The second later version has no Dinky reference, a filled in firing button and also has the firing hole capped.

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803 U.S.S. Enterprise versions, top with un-marked base and bottom marked Dinky Toys 
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803 U.S.S. Enterprise versions, top with ‘active’ firing button and bottom with this plugged

The ‘Bridge’ – the top-most section – had slightly differing castings including a depression, rounded top and rounded top with a cross.

The Klingon Cruiser was always an all metal model.

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The 804 Klingon Cruiser was also marked with the Movie branding ‘Paramount Pictures Corp’

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There were two card types produced for both 803 and 804 , one with the model angled at 45 degrees and the other horizontal on the same front facing artwork. However the rear artwork had two versions for the horizontal version. Apart from the images being at the top rather than the bottom, the card stated that it  was manufactured in England with the card being printed in the U.S.. The other version stated that it was manufactured in the U.S.  Note that all the models’ castings stated ‘Made In England’. It appears that raw castings of some of these pocket models were shipped from Liverpool to Texas, and painted and packaged there.

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The 803 Enterprise had the same card formats.

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And the U.S connection is reflected in the text on the rear artwork where there is an advert for THE DINKY CLUB OF AMERICA based in Hewitt, Texas. Membership cost $1

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A box full of 803 Enterprises from the Texas distribution hub

10 thoughts on “Dinky Mini-U.S.S. Enterprise and Mini-Klingon Cruiser

  1. Hi Mike, thanks for your input. I’ve lost the original source material of the transfer of dies from Dinky but acknowledging your expert status in this area I’ve updated the entry here.


  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this article and especially the catalog page showing the large refit Enterprise prototype. I saw that page once in a model shop in 1979 and never saw it again! I’d been searching the web periodically for years trying to find it. I can finally convince doubters that I did not dream it up.


    1. A pleasure! The 1980 trade catalogue comes up for sale on eBay from time to time. It’s a great mish-mash of classic models, terrible ideas and stuff that never came to be.


  3. Boy, they really skimped on the underside of the Enterprise’s saucer didn’t they? When I first got one in 1979, I thought a piece was missing. Then I got another and discovered they were the same.


  4. A great article from an expert who at last explains all the different variations of these models. I have always wandered why each model had three different reference numbers, Now I Know.

    Thank you Kevin


  5. I have a Star Trek collection containing an 803 STTMP Dinky, with Variation 1 front and back packaging, and active firing button type. However, no “NCC-1701” decal was ever placed on the top. The package is original factory sealed, and no remains of a decal are present. Has this ever been a variation, or is it a manufacturing flaw? Thanks.


    1. Hi Charles, Thankyou for sharing this. I would guess that this was either a factory error or more likely that Dinky had run out of decals. Dinky were in financial trouble at the time and suppliers were withholding credit facilities so the last models to be produced often had missing details. For example the 353 Blue Shado 2 was released at the end without stickers. I would love to see a photo! Could you send via dcmtvspace@virginmedia.com. Cheers Kevin


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