Friday, 13 December 2013

A Collectionary of the Trek

We've been following the Star Trek Collectionary for a while across Facebook and Pinterest as well as their primary website so why not let others know about this pictoral paradise for franchise fans?

So what? Anyone can throw a Pinterest page together about Star Trek. What this page is doing is perhaps a little bit more than that. It's about Things rather than glorious pictures of the Enterprise in The Wrath of Khan or Janeway and Seven on the bridge of the Dauntless in Hope and Fear. On here you're more likely to find the model used for that movie shot or the control console in the still beside the two Voyager regulars.

It's a fascinating look into the "real" world of Star Trek if you will. From collectible watches from the Franklin Mint to prop or reproduction phasers through to prototype starship models and pieces of the original sets themselves you're very likely to find it on here. The Collectionary really does give a massive pictoral history of the franchise and even more so it shows what is physically left on Earth from almost 50 years of Roddenberry's Trek to the stars.

Admittedly these guys have more than just the Star Trek Collectionary under their internet belts and while the others do give insights into other fandoms and cultures I have to be totally biased and say the Star Trek one is the best. In fact it's very easy to spend ages just looking through page after page of unusual, kitsch or instantly recognisable items from every corner of Star Trek.

It's fairly easy to navigate with a side menu which separates the collection out into a number of sections:
  • Autographed
  • Comic Books
  • Screen Used Props
  • Models and Model Kits
  • Action Figures
  • Books
  • Ships
  • Costumes and Apparel
  • Drinkware 
  • Ornaments
  • Plates
  • Prop Replicas
  • Film Cells
Without a question the best part to trawl through is the Screen Used Props - be it stunt Borg from First Contact or a personal favourite, the Data head from Time's Arrow. The shame here is that the selection is quite limited considering what must be out there...somewhere. 

The selection of autographed stills and images is much more extensive as is the comic book and model kits although there do seem to be some repeats along the way which make it feel like an odd case of deja vu but with such a large range of models I'm sure that's something that's hard to avoid. The trouble is that this trend continues into Books. Once again the selection is extensive but there are just too many repeats which turn it from being a collectionary into a massive jumble of publications. I would made the suggestion that perhaps each book title should be "clickable" with then each of the available items listed under it. Nor is anything in alphabetical or series order which makes looking for a specific items a little chore if nothing else.

Ships then seems to be a clash with Models and Model Kits and also is dominated by the new Eaglemoss Official Starships Collection some of those listed aren't available in the UK let alone the USA. Indeed the remainder of the categories are much of the same; items are listed with no apparent order which sort of goes against the concept of a Collection Dictionary which is what the Collectionary is supposed to be according to information provided by the guys who oversee it.

Now I can openly say that when I first dropped onto the site through its social media I was quite impressed and the concept of being able to create your own item "Wish List" if you will is great because it allows you to build up a nice selection of some really odd items (anyone fancy splitting the cost of a Deep Space Nine console with me?!) but the moderation needs to be stepped up to make this much more accessible and less cluttered;. Also it's great that you can search through them and arrange the collection by "New", "Rising" (in interest) or "All Time" (interest) selections which will make views a little more organised.

in some ways it's very much like having a stroll around an antiques shop - if that's the feel they're heading for then it's perfect. Sadly if you want to find anything you'll be here for some time. even more frustrating is the occasional merchandising gun photo which has several items in one shot which just leaves me head-scratching as to why it's there/why they aren't listed separately here.Some shots are out of focus or poorly aligned which again detracts from what should be a smooth and visually interesting experience.

I understand the goal is effectively to create an auction-style site for people across the globe to find that elusive item but there don't, at the moment, seem to be that many unusual ones that would draw me back again and again. In some cases it also seems this isn't so much a collection as a collection of links to worldwide auctions so many of these items may not be on here forever which doesn't instil me with a lot of faith - although I'm sure there would be a way to archive these and A- Z them perhaps for future generations?

I would also hope that going forward the team will be able to seek out the odd command chair, original screen model Enterprise and the like to build a bigger visual history of Star Trek that's not totally relying on what people are selling.. The screen used props could be the jewel in the crown but as the moment it languishes behind just due to the low volume of entries.

The challenge will be to keep this site fresh, interesting and exciting going forward and I know they are actively looking for moderators and I would guess contributors to increase the number of items listed. There is a huge level of potential to be had here with some extra love and attention but their efforts so far should not be derided. There's a lot of work ahead but there's also been a great amount of effort to get to this stage and achieve the number of fans on social media networks so well done Collectionners.

I have to admit I went through a lot of the screens mentally ticking off figures, books or models that I owned and yes, there were even one or two things that I might have considered adding to a "Want List". Maybe one day...but not just yet.

I truly hope that the Collectionary team make some bold moves forward and take this piece of their online network to the next stage. I can see this becoming a must-go-to experience in the future but for the time being it comes across more as a work in progress that's great to stop by and view but not somewhere I would be checking into each day to seek out what's new and what I might want to buy to enhance my own collection. For anyone of an experienced level there might be one or two items here that would interest as it's very merchandise heavy and sadly not actual "real" Star Trek item heavy. For anyone who is perhaps new to the franchise or wants to find out more than the TV episodes or movies they might have seen over the years then this will definitely open their eyes to the larger picture that exists and just how many facts Star Trek has bled into over the decades.

You too can visit the Star Trek Collectionary now and begin to seek out your next aquisition...

All images courtesy of the Star Trek Collectionary

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