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Spock in Enterprise Uniform

Star Trek
by Artemis

Of all the examples of executives foolishly meddling in creative endeavours, it's difficult to think of one more damning than the fact that NBC tried to get Gene Roddenberry to take Spock out of Star Trek. Sure, and while we're at it, Star Wars doesn't need Jedi, and those silver robots are just cluttering up Battlestar Galactica, aren't they? Jesus. Luckily they lost that one.

The first Vulcan to attend Starfleet Academy, Spock is regarded as the finest officer in the fleet. His father is a Vulcan ambassador, his mother a schoolteacher from Earth. Spock's Vulcan nature is constantly at war with his human side. Because he was never able to fit in on either Vulcan or Earth, Spock considers Starfleet his true home.

Not to downplay the importance of Kirk, hamminess and all, but Spock has always been the heart (ironically) of Star Trek. He was the one who understood V'ger's plight, who gave his life for the Enterprise, and in turn who the Enterprise itself was sacrificed for. Same for his ideological descendants: Data's quest for humanity gave TNG some of its finest moments, Odo was the one who finally brought the Dominion War to an end, and Voyager was going nowhere until they spray-painted Jeri Ryan silver and had her slinking around in every scene. Well, it didn't help the show's quality much, but at least there was something to look at while we waited for it to go away.

And so we come to Zachary Quinto, who - just like Spock - wasn't the lead actor in the new movie, but was in many ways the most important one. (He did great, if you were wondering.) His action figure stands out from the crowd too, mainly because he's the only blueshirt in the first Warp series, McCoy still being in his burgundy cadet uniform - aside from the colour, though (which I fancy is a bit darker than it should be), it's the same officer body as the others, although Spock scores one further point by having a unique alternate right hand: it is, of course, the Vulcan salute.

Articulation, same old story: swivel neck, swivel/pin shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, swivel/mild tilt sternum, peg hips, pin knees, swivel boot tops. With the salute hand the range of the elbows becomes a bit of an issue - they don't reach a full 90°, so in order to have the palm facing forwards the upper arm has to be raised quite a way. On the plus side, they're just fine for Spock's other trademark look, hands clasped behind his back.

Quinto looks freakishly like a young Leonard Nimoy - there are differences, but if you limit your pool of candidates to actors good enough to perform the role, you'd probably only get closer by plastic surgery. These figures have been typified by their neutral expressions, but for once that's no bad thing: Spock, of course, maintains a neutral expression much of the time, so the facial sculpt does a fair job of capturing how he looks in character, as well as just the broad features of his face in general. His eyebrows are notably Spock-like - a bit more than was the case on Quinto, even - and though there's a slight lack of coverage on the hairline, it's not bad enough that it leaps out at you.

Besides the alternate hand Spock has just the standard accessories: away mission belt, communicator, and phaser. His base is the silver officer version, with its central peg going into the right foot - which means if you want him centered on the base, it has to be facing sideways; that tends to make these figures look a bit odd as a group, since having the arrowhead facing forwards would be much more natural.

This concludes our coverage of the first Warp (6") Series of Star Trek figures, so what's the verdict overall? Well, there's no doubt that they fall short of the Diamond Select/Art Asylum Star Trek line in several areas: size, facial likenesses, range of accessories being the main offenders. On the other hand, they are cheaper, and around Sydney at any rate Playmates has managed to get its products into stores like nobody's business - if you want a Star Trek figure from DS/AA you'd have to order them through a comicshop, or hope for them to show up in one of a couple of local specialty stores, but Playmates has got Toys R Us, Target, Kmart and so on playing ball, with the result that its Trek wares are pretty much as universally available as those from Star Wars, the benchmark in the field. On the other other hand, with the 3¾" Galaxy series presumably aimed at the "playable toy" market, these are effectively the collector's option, and by that standard the so-so quality just can't be ignored. They're okay, but they won't go down in any history books.

-- 05/14/09


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