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Eaglemoss Collections (also operating as Eaglemoss Ltd., Eaglemoss Publications Ltd., and the Eaglemoss Publishing Group Ltd., the latter two for print publications in particular) was a British publishing company that produced and marketed licensed magazines and collectibles (most conspicuously, their display models), and had offices in London, New York, Moscow, Paris, São Paulo, and Warsaw.

Originating in 1975 with the release of its first collection, Eaglemoss Publications merged with GE Fabbri in 2011 and continued to focus on publishing partworks that encompassed a vast array of subjects. It had created and distributed more than 150 collections in thirteen different languages, in thirty markets, across five continents. With GE Fabbri came Ben Robinson, already a veteran of several Star Trek-related partworks, who, as senior project manager, would continue to do so for his newly coined employer, already the subsequent year with the Star Trek: The Official Starships Collection, the first such partwork published under the Eaglemoss brand. With the addition of several further Star Trek collections, and even though it was only a small, very specific collector's niche market that was targeted, Eaglemoss managed to become the most prolific Star Trek merchandise producer for a decade in the time period 2012-2022.

It was owned by Eaglemoss Capital Ltd., a holding company comprised of private investors based in London and Paris.[1] The company marketed its product lines and subscriptions through its own international webshops[2] and a wide range of other retailers.

On 5 August 2022, the company was declared bankrupt, [23] ending its decade long association with the Star Trek franchise.

Hero Collector[]

HeroCollector logo
Hero Collector logo 2020

Alternate logo (2020)

Eaglemoss' science fiction, "genre", and pop culture collections, including its Star Trek books and products, were marketed under its Hero Collector publishing imprint and brand. Associated web portals and webshops were also operated under this trademark.

Noted Star Trek author Ben Robinson was the Editorial Manager of Global Developments for this imprint, and Chris J. Thompson, formerly of Titan, had been its Global Brand Manager.

Aside from the Star Trek one it held from ViacomCBS, Eaglemoss/Hero Collector had also entered into a substantial number of licensing agreements with other entertainment companies for their "Intellectual Properties" (IPs) as well, which included among others,

note: owner/holding/mother company listed first, followed after the hyphen by the IP(s) in question

One IP Eaglemoss did not succeed in getting licensing rights for, was Warner Bros.' Babylon 5, the erstwhile competitor of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and of which Robinson had also wanted to release a magazine/model partwork line akin to the lines from the other IPs already established under his auspices, starting with the Star Trek ones. [24]

Star Trek licensing[]

Eaglemoss Hero Collector staff on 2019 Vegas con bridge

Eaglemoss staff on the bridge set at the 2019 Official Star Trek Convention

Since 2012, Eaglemoss/Hero Collector has become one of the most prolific manufacturers of Star Trek collectibles ever, far outstripping its contemporaries by swiftly bringing quality products to market.[6]

Under a number of licenses from Paramount Consumer Products, its vast range of releases and frequent interactions with the online collecting community has made the company popular within the adult, yet relatively small as already indicated, segment of the collector's market.[7]

Miniatures[]

Market research conducted for predecessor company GE Fabbri's 2006 Star Trek: The Figurine Collection indicated that the public would be more interested in starship miniatures than character figurines and provided its successor, Eaglemoss, with the impetus to commission the The Official Starships Collection, which debuted in the UK in May 2012.

A side collection, called the Star Trek Starships XL Edition, exclusively comprised of larger models from the Official starship collection, premiered in the US in 2017.

On 31 January 2018, the company introduced the Star Trek: Discovery The Official Starships Collection partwork, which transitioned into the Star Trek Universe line in 2021, as is detailed below.

In Japan, many products from the Official and Discovery starship lines have been released by De Agostini, another partwork publisher, under its own imprint.

Another monthly partwork, the Star Trek: The Official Busts Collection, premiered on 4 October 2018, featured 4.5 to 6 inch-tall polyresin busts of a number of Star Trek characters, and concluded after the release of only twelve issues, reaffirming that interest in collectible Star Trek figurines was lackluster at best, as had already been established in 2006.

Ben Robinson of Eaglemoss at con Star Trek celebrities at Eaglemoss booth
Robinson giving away Discovery ship miniatures at a 2019 convention Michael Okuda, John Eaves, Anthony Montgomery, Doug Drexler, André Bormanis, Judy Elkins, and Rick Sternbach visiting company convention booths

In June 2020 and in association with Perfect World, the company debuted the Star Trek Online Starships Collection, which presented four to six-inch starship miniatures from Star Trek Online, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game.

Similar to DeAgostini's (short-lived) Japanese project, the company test-marketed the Star Trek: The Next Generation Build The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D partwork in the UK and US in early 2019, which featured a 70 cm-long "build-your-own" electronic and die-cast metal USS Enterprise-D model kit. Following Eaglemoss' decision to retool the model before initializing subscriptions, the 120-stage partwork premiered in March 2021 (in the UK, US, and EU) and was shortly thereafter test-marketed in Japan by De Agostini.

Due to the lack of availability of new CG starship assets (as of July 2020), the production of ships from the third season of Star Trek: Discovery was delayed, and resulted in the company's decision to suspend the Discovery partwork after the release of (numbered) issue 33. In October 2020, Eaglemoss further reported that it had planned to release more models from DIS in a future starship miniatures line, combined with ships from Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. [25] It was subsequently named the Star Trek Universe: The Official Starships Collection and launched to retail in March 2021. Additionally, large XL Edition models from DIS and PIC would continue as releases within the first (Official) starship partwork.

In June 2019, the company's project manager first indicated that the company intended to manufacture starships from Star Trek: Prodigy and the Star Trek XV film, at that point in time rumored to go into production anytime soon. [26] The company also confirmed that the first ships from its Star Trek: Lower Decks starships line would debut in January 2022, [27] actually doing so somewhat delayed in April 2022 as the Star Trek: Lower Decks The Official Starships Collection. Eaglemoss' bankruptcy four months later, put a definitive end to any notion of ever releasing a similar line for Prodigy and the fifteenth film, the latter steadfastly continuing to refuse to come to fruition.

The later, post-bankruptcy formal remainder stock owner (new) Master Replicas (see: below) has in 2023 deduced that according to them, the production of all IP model/magazine partwork collections (thus not only for Star Trek alone), consisted of about 3000 copies per regular issue, but substantially less so for "Exclusive" or "Limited" issue releases. [28] It served as a reminder that only a small, specific collector's niche market was served worldwide by the Eaglemoss model/magazine partwork product lines.

Books[]

The book publishing division of the company – formally known as Eaglemoss Publications Ltd. – publishes the Star Trek: Designing Starships series of hardcover reference books, compiled from starship design articles in the starship collections' magazines and supplemented with new material.

Later mass-market versions of these books as well as the subsequent ("in-universe") Star Trek: Shipyards, Illustrated Handbook, and the Star Trek Celebration series were published by Eaglemoss, utilizing Penguin Random House's Publisher Services division for the production and distribution of titles, under the Eaglemoss/Hero Collector imprint. The arrangement is reminiscent of the one entered into by Midsummer Books Ltd. when they partnered up with Eaglemoss' predecessor GE Fabbri for the launch of the Star Trek Fact Files. Largely based on material from the Star Trek Fact Files and subsequently updated and expanded, mass-market volumes of the comprehensive Illustrated Handbook reference book series were produced as well.

Non-English editions of some of these books have also been published by Cross Cult, De Agostini, and Egmont/HarperCollins Publishers. Eaglemoss partnered with Simon & Schuster in 2018 for a contest to cross-promote the DIS partwork and the first three novels involving the series. [29]

Eaglemoss began to publish volumes of the Star Trek Graphic Novel Collection in January 2017. This series of hardcover books was composed of previously published Star Trek comic books from a wide range of publishers and ran for 150 issues. The company also collaborated with IDW to produce a variant edition of the Star Trek: Year Five, Issue 6 comic book in 2019.

The company published the Star Trek Nerd Search: Quibbles with Tribbles puzzle book in September 2020, and released the Star Trek Voyager: A Celebration, Mr. Spock's Little Book of Mindfulness, and Star Trek Cocktails books later in the year. The 2020 titles stood out as works that were not based on previously published works, but were rather original works conceived by the editorial staff of Eaglemoss. Following suit as such were Star Trek - The Original Series: A Celebration, Star Trek: The Next Generation Nerd Search: Bloopers of the Borg and Star Trek Discovery: The Book of Grudge, which saw publication in 2021. Creating Star Trek: The Next Generation: A Season by Season Companion – Season 1: 1987-1988, the first volume of a new reference series, was scheduled for release in 2022, but will not see publication by Eaglemoss due to its bankruptcy (see: below) – if at all.

The Star Trek reference books became the template, both for contents and format, for the company's similar works that explored other notable sci-fi franchises, most conspicuously Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, and the satirical Star Trek homage, Galaxy Quest, using the same publication and distribution methodology as utilized by their Star Trek counterparts.

Other products[]

From a new advent calendar series that encompasses a number of other licensed entertainment properties, the company planned to release the Star Trek: Borg Cube Advent Calendar in late August 2021. [30]

Through its webshops, Eaglemoss retailed a number of Universe Publishing's Star Trek-themed calendars, including its groundbreaking Ships of the Line series.

In 2020, Eaglemoss' webshop began to retail Mego's Star Trek figures. It also marketed a number of other Trek products, including art prints and posters, dedication plaques, kitchenware, barware, decor, clothing, apparel, key chains, pin badges, lapel pins, and a variety of other novelties.

Bankruptcy[]

On 12 July 2022, it was reported that Eaglemoss Ltd. filed a "Notice of Intention to appoint an administrator", [31] typically done under the UK Insolvency Act (meaning a company is no longer able to pay off its debts) to manage a company's affairs – and usually a prelude to either a change of ownership, or worse and more likely in this case (as it was also reported that the majority of the executive staff had already left the company for greener pastures elsewhere [32]), a bankruptcy potentially accompanied by a liquidation of assets. This notification came shortly after almost all of Eaglemoss' worldwide customer service lines, webportals, and Facebook pages were suddenly disconnected.[8] It not only placed the future of the still running Official Starships Collection, Official Universe Starships Collection, and Official Lower Decks Starships Collection, besides The Next Generation Build The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D partworks into question, but that of all the company's other product lines as well, including their (Star Trek) book lines. [33][34] Customers who had taken out one, saw their subscriptions cancelled without any kind of notification, and were in general kept completely in the dark about the company's status. [35]

Ben Robinson, the project manager for the vast majority of the company's product lines, had already stopped communicating with the outside world the month before, which he had done through his Twitter feed previously, profusely so in effect. But on 8 August Robinson started tweeting again, clarifying that he was let go from the as of 5 August no longer existing company. [36] He also stated that he was in process of talking with third parties ostensibly "interested" in taking over some of the product lines with the buildup lines (such as the Build The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D collection) given absolute priority,[9] as Robinson "(...) hate[s] the thought of anyone being left with an incomplete model (...)", though conceding that he was unable to give any guaranties, merely that he was "hopeful" and "optimistic". [37] These actually might have included the aforementioned DeAgostini licensee, as several of their official Eaglemoss product lines sites were still up and running by September 2022.[10]

Robinson took it upon himself to try to make up for the complete lack of communication by Eaglemoss by giving several interviews to social media outlets, [38] as well as to Star Trek news sites, expressing his hopes for the future. In addition and even though he had not been part of the upper echelon management team, Robinson suspected that the company failed in the end because "(...) the owners of Eaglemoss pursued a strategy of very aggressive expansion and aggressive growth – with the intention of making the company as attractive to a potential buyer as possible. The way it feels to me is that they over-egged it," [39][40] an understandable sentiment, considering the substantial above listed number of IP licenses Eaglemoss had accumulated by the time of its bankruptcy. Robinson additionally opined at a later point in time, "We didn’t lose Star Trek customers - far from it. Eaglemoss’s problems were to do with being under capitalised, trying to grow too fast and needing the growth to fund current activity," [41] and, "It was an odd company - the creative people were passionate but it was run by the marketing and money people." [42]

Premium & Collectibles Trading LTD (PCT) purchased the intellectual property, customer databases, and multiple web domains for the Eaglemoss partwork build-up models right before they officially went into administration. PCT owns many subsidiaries, including IXO Models (IXO). PCT/IXO is the company responsible for the manufacture of most of the Eaglemoss' partworks, including the Back to the Future DeLorean, Ghostbusters Ecto-1, and U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D. By October 2022, PCT/IXO owned the rights to these products themselves and were working on reestablishing licensing and distribution to customers. [43] They also started to reach out to former Eaglemoss customers with a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) notice and a Google-survey.

Liquidation remaining Eaglemoss stock[]

On 21 January 2023 it was confirmed that the administrators had released the remaining stock of Eaglemoss for sale to customers. It was indeed DeAgostini, and not PCT/IXO after all, who had taken over The Build The USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D program as part of their "Fanhome" line, and the company expected delivery to customers to resume in February for Europe, followed a month later to those in the USA. Collectors had to take out new subscriptions with DeAgostini though.

Master Replicas relaunch logo

Master Replicas relaunch logo emphasizing the ex-Eaglemoss product lines

The remaining stock of display models lines, including the Star Trek ones, were bought by UK-based Heathside Trading, a distributor and self-proclaimed "closeout/stocklot business" specialist of toys, games, and collectibles. Heathside owner/founder Darren Epstein had already on 29 December 2022 announced on his LinkedIn account that he had acquired licenses belonging to Eaglemoss, and intended "starting to put some ranges up for sale," which he actually did in January 2023 when he started to sell the leftover stock from Eaglemoss' Alien figurine line through the main Heathside webstore. [44] The company expected resuming the online-sale-only of the other model lines sometime in 2023 under their own, re-instituted (new) "Master Replicas" brand (not to be confused with the original one, even though the brand-name itself Epstein had previously acquired from their administrators, after the original company too had gone bankrupt in 2020), and contemplated reviving the Star Trek line(s) with new additions of their own. [45][46](X)

The relaunched site went live on Sunday 19 March 2023, 7:00 pm CET. In an email sent to prospect customers who had opted to receive them, [47] Epstein announced the sale of leftover display model stock from all Eaglemoss collections, starting with those of Star Trek. It was also announced that these model issues were to be sold in waves of 25+ items, renewed every fortnight on Friday at 10:00 pm CET, and that issues would be included that Eaglemoss had not come around to releasing them itself, but whose production had already been started up nonetheless at the time of their bankruptcy. One such model concerned the Caretaker's array, the by Eaglemoss planned and produced, but ultimately unreleased Special issue 30 of The Official Starships Collection. Part of the deal struck with the Eaglemoss administrators entailed that Master Replicas would charge their customers the same retail prices Eaglemoss had charged at the end of their existence, [48] a condition Master Replicas faithfully adhered to, when it went online.

Towards the end of its existence, Eaglemoss was really struggling to get their products to market, [49] causing their release schedules for all their product-lines to go awry in a bad way, and that scheduled, yet already manufactured, display model releases became backed-up in warehouses. All this resulted in a relatively significant number of unreleased issues from the several collections, which included ten from the various Star Trek starships collections (six from the original Official Starships, one from the Universe, and three from the Lower Decks collections) in addition to twenty from the Doctor Who, five from The Orville, and four each from the The Expanse, Stargate, and Battlestar Galactica collections, as well as three from the Tron collection, only just launched at the time in the latter case. [50] It was therefore new stock owner Master Replicas, who became enabled to market these unreleased items – albeit without the accompanying magazines in all cases[11].

And while (new) Master Replicas managed to secure new licenses to continue some of the IP-lines, [51][52][53] they failed in their attempts to do so for the various Star Trek Starship Collection lines whose licenses also went to Fanhome eventually, and it were they who subsequently announced their intention to revive the line(s) somewhere in the third quarter of 2024. [54][55]

Appendices[]

Footnotes[]

  1. Eaglemoss was formerly a sister company of Data Base Factory when both were subsidiaries of the Financière Aurénis Group. [1](X) Data Base Factory was acquired by CCA International Inc. in 2015, but continued to perform several marketing-related services for Eaglemoss in the UK (and various non-English-speaking countries), under its new company name.
  2. At the turn of 2020/2021 Eaglemoss ran into severe delivery troubles for all their publications due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused substantial hold-ups at the EU/UK border and subsequent worldwide carrier problems. [2][3][4]
    The second major reason for the delays came with the fulfillment of Brexit when Eaglemoss, like so many other British companies with strong EU trading ties, opted to relocate their warehouse and distribution center to the European continent (from London, UK – that location being subsequently closed [5] – to Waghäusel-Kirrlach, Germany in Eaglemoss' case) in order to avoid their substantially larger European customer base (see this entry for further clarification) being hit with with hefty VAT taxes and import duties, besides circumventing the unavoidable longer customs hold-ups at the now reactivated UK/EU border. The German warehouse was originally slated to start operating on 13 January 2021, but did not open its doors until a month later, on 9 February. [6] The new warehouse was intended to serve both the UK and EU customer base, [7] though an auxiliary, smaller UK-based warehouse was apparently also reopened by the company in order to better serve Commonwealth customers, which also experienced severe delivery problems. [8]
    All this led to massive, worldwide delivery delays for subscribers and customers. Brett Coles, the head of Eaglemoss' Customer Service did his best to inform the customers as best a he could through both the service's dedicated Facebook-page [9] and a number of December-February emails sent to subscribers and those customers who had items on order at that particular point in time. Nonetheless, he was unable to avoid that customers were confronted with delivery delays of at least four months and more. When bad winter weather [10] and (Brexit-related) carrier problems [11] also came into play (for Commonwealth customers in particular), the situation became so dire that Cole felt compelled to sent out emails to customers in early February, offering to have their outstanding orders rescinded, accompanied by a discount code if they choose to reorder items at a later, more convenient time. While services had shortly resumed at a more-or-less normal level in late 2021, the (financial) ripple effects of the delays continued to wreak havoc on Eaglemoss' product release planning right up until its August 2022 bankruptcy.
    The July 2022 forced cessation of business activities however, had already been a stark and early indication that the company had never been able to overcome the cumulative effects of the difficulties it was faced with during the years 2020-2021. When the cessation came into effect, turnover had more than halved in the intervening years, form UK£68 million to UK£31.6 million per year, while operating losses had risen in one year from UK£0.9 million to UK£10.5 million at the end of 2020. [12]
  3. 3.0 3.1 An IP license carried over from predecessor GE Fabbri, whose product lines already fell under the auspices of Ben Robinson.
  4. Eaglemoss' licensed products from Space: 1999, the British cult favorite, debuted in 2021 after lengthy negotiations with the licensor. [13]
  5. The rights to the Firefly IP, a Sci-Fi franchise with a small, but rabid fan-following not unlike the one Star Trek has, had been one of Eaglemoss' most recent acquisitions with asset production actually already poised to start, though not a single item was release-ready when the bankruptcy occurred. [14]
  6. Anovos and ThinkGeek began to market a number of Eaglemoss Star Trek products, commencing in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
  7. In the past, Eaglemoss has surveyed collectors to evaluate their interest in sixty to eighty centimeter-long starship models with built-in lights, forty centimeter-long models with LED lighting (specifically, a USS Enterprise refit, a USS Enterprise-D, and a USS Voyager with movable nacelles), and a fifty centimeter-wide USS Enterprise-D bridge with electronic features, among many other items.
  8. The company's official collector portal HeroCollector.com remained live for quit some time thereafter though, but was no longer maintained after 6 July 2022, before it too went defunct at that year's end.
    The majority of product sites maintained by licensee DeAgostini Japan remained live however, as it did not fall under the bankruptcy because it was a separate legal entity. This also meant that marketing licenses and any left-over stock remained formal DeAgostini property, out of reach of the Eaglemoss administrators who were only entitled to the pre-negotiated license fees DeAgostini had agreed to pay Eaglemoss.
  9. Similar to the Enterprise-D release, Eaglemoss was at that point in time also gearing up to start releasing a large 1:250 scaled Titanic buildup model partwork, [15] and were in effect already taking subscriptions when the bankruptcy occurred. The already famous ship was made even more famous by the 1997 film from Paramount Pictures, the production company of the Star Trek films.
    Another buildup partwork cut short by the bankruptcy concerned the already up and running Build the GhostBusters Ecto-1 collection, which missed out on completion by merely two issues. [16]
  10. When discounting the fact that Robinson as a mere unemployed British subject has no formal say whatsoever left (which is now the purview of the Eaglemoss administrators, and the administrators only; Robinson's only play is to privately talk third parties into contacting the administrators), his optimism might in addition be utterly misplaced as well, since Eaglemoss' bankruptcy could not have come at a worse time for the frustrated customer base. Still reeling from the economically adverse after-effects of the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic, the entire western world was confronted by the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine which started directly thereafter, and which could even entail far worse financial consequences. That war resulted in double-digit inflation rates not seen in the developed western world since World War II, meaning that because of the rapidly evaporating consumer buying power, an extreme economic recession has become a distinct possibility for 2023 and beyond, in Europe especially.
    That Robinson was privately harboring doubts himself at that point in time, despite him putting on a brave face in public, was exemplified when he shared a tooled prototype model picture of the cancelled Lower Decks Yosemite shuttlecraft issue. The prototype model was gifted by Robinson to Lower Decks creator, Mike McMahan [17] in itself an indication that Robinson was himself doubtful at the time whether or not the cancelled Eaglemoss partwork issues would ever see the day of light at all.
  11. By the time of their bankruptcy, Eaglemoss had maintained eight distribution stock keeping unit ("SKU") centers in the USA, UK, Australia, Austria, Germany, Poland, France and Holland. [18] This was on top of the stock still left at the Holinail Group, the Dongguan, China-based manufacturer, where most of the already produced new yet-to-be-released items still resided. These were the locations (new) Master Replicas received their stock items from. [19]
    Two additional printer-owned warehouses held an 100,000-copy stock of magazines that would have come with the models of the various partworks. This magazine stock (possibly also including magazines for the unreleased issues) too became property of Master Replicas under the bankruptcy settlement. However, the printer refused to release this magazine stock until debt owned by the bankrupt Eaglemoss was fulfilled in full – something the Eaglemoss administrators were unlikely to do. As the new legal inventory owners, Master Replicas had entered into legal negotiations with the disgruntled printer (who was legally prohibited to sell the stock on their own, regardless of how burning its desire to do so might have been), but Master Replicas was able to resolve the issue in August 2023. [20][21][22]
    Excluded from the bankruptcy settlement, was stock held by, or was earmarked for (if it concerned stock still residing at the Chinese manufacturer) licensee DeAgostini Japan, as it was their property legally, not Eaglemoss'.

See also[]

External links[]

  • Eaglemoss.com(X) – defunct official international webshop
  • HeroCollector.com(X) – defunct original official collector portal; domain-name sold after September 2022, now live as a business blog unrelated to pop-culture collecting
  • Wixiban.com – guide to most Eaglemoss partwork collections, including the various Star Trek ones
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