Beyond the Black Nebula Part 2

When I first received the Knight of Darkness "doll" from my folks back in the late 70's, I was really taken by the strange and blunted "Vader-like" look of the helmet, as well as the silver and black color combination. Because I was also obsessed with Stormtroopers at the time, I thought the Knight also looked like some kind of elite version of the Empire's prime military force. Naturally, I expected to see other S.T.A.R. Team antagonists like the Knight show up at the toy store, filling out the "bad guy" ranks like Star Wars was starting to do. Each time my family traveled to The Maine Mall I was on the lookout for new S.T.A.R. Team recruits, but nothing ever materialized beyond the Knight and a few Zem 21 figures. This actually bugged me more than it ever should have, especially since legitimate Star Wars figures were starting to invade the shelves. The Knight of Darkness needed his own troopers to command!

I kept my original Knight of Darkness for many years, losing various pieces of its body as time rolled on. Eventually all that remained was the poor guy's head, battered and scraped from years of service. The Knight's noggin one day ended up on my work desk, while I had some cruddy enamel model paint opened up (80's kids know the kind). I thought back to my desire of seeing a trooper versions of the Knight and I applied some of that nasty enamel paint (a red color) to its worn out dome. Needless to say, the paint refused to dry, but for a small window I was able to sneak a glimpse of what might have been.

Fast forward to nearly 4 years ago, around the time I started to develop new S.T.A.R. Team (Project X) concepts with Toyfinity's John Kent (who now held the licenses for some of my most beloved Ideal toy lines including S.T.A.R. Team) and our long time collaborator Ralph Niese. During those extensive work sessions, we discussed how we could bring back the Knight of Darkness and give him an army of armored soldiers. The old "trooper" concept then resurfaced from my youth, and things began to fall into focus for the Knight's resurrection.

More to explore in Part 3!


  1. Really, I could not have done any of this without you, Matt, so it's been an incredible pleasure on my end to work on these projects together.

    My own relation to the Knight of Darkness, at the time it was released? I didn't have one, didn't know about him until much later in my toy collecting days.
    I think it's part of my birth year - I missed MEGO by a few years, so the classic "doll" style of figure isn't one that does much for me.
    I much prefer something in the 3 3/4 or smaller scale.
    Now, because I saw a loose figure first, I don't associate the KNight of Darkness with Star Wars - I associate him with another classic from the 70's: PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE.
    Whereas Winslow Leach's alter-ego wears a chrome-looking bird-inspired mask, the Knight of Darkness clearly draws inspiration from an owl's head.
    Such is the nature of things - inspirations came from other sources, which were inspired by sources, which....

    The great challenge has been to reinvision these characters so that the Knight is more than what he was before...
    and with the Darkness Soliders on the loose, the evolution of the S.T.A.R. Team begins here.

  2. Just that hint of concept ZEM on the side.

    The Darkness Soldier turned out great. Can't wait for the next one and to see what happens in Chariot's Keep next.