Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Playing Mantis logo

Playing Mantis, founded in 1987 as Safe Care before its name change in 1994, was the parent company of several collectible toy and model companies that produced Star Trek-related products.

The company was purchased in 2004 by Racing Champions, which at the time also owned AMT/Ertl. The new owner eliminated the brand names "Playing Mantis" and "Polar Lights" in 2005 and 2006 respectively, though the latter was revived a year later when the product line was sold to Round 2 LLC.

Tomy, the current owner of Racing Champions (RC2), exchanged a number of brands with Round 2 in 2011. In 2016, the Johnny Lightning brand was licensed to Round 2, with the Playing Mantis logo appearing on its packaging.

Playing Mantis' subsidiaries have included:

  • Johnny Lightning, which made the Legends of Star Trek miniature ship line and multiple lines of die-cast collectible cars;
  • Polar Lights, makers of various scaled model kits, including various Trek models (production of new kits was halted after its acquisition by Racing Champions and only restarted under the auspices of Round 2)
  • Memory Lane, makers of collectible figures based on the Peanuts comic strip and the animated Christmas special, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

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