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Deep Space Nine
by Artemis

If there's a list of key requirements for a Star Trek show, "the outsider" is going to be high up there - the character who's not human (or not entirely), who stands apart from humanity and comments on it from a detached point of view. Spock fulfilled that role in the Original Series, Data in TNG, and DS9 ticked off their outsider box with Odo.

Odo (the bio text on the packaging would say, if there were any) is many things, but above all, he's a lawman. A shapeshifter, the only one of his kind ever discovered, he had no home, no people, and no history - all he had was an unbending sense of justice, and the determination to see that the guilty wouldn't go free on his watch. From being an unknown sample in a Bajoran laboratory, he learned to take human form, and made a life for himself, becoming the only arbiter trusted by both the Bajorans and their Cardassian oppressors. He kept the peace on Terok Nor, and when the Cardassians left and the station became Deep Space Nine, he stayed, because DS9 is his town, and he's its constable.

DS9 benefited from a strong cast of characters, but few would dispute that Odo was their trump card. He didn't necessarily have it all his own way: Odo he's not really an action hero, he doesn't have leading man looks, his gruff nature - while fun when directed at Quark - didn't make him especially endearing on first acquaintance, and his shapeshifting was an idea largely untested in Star Trek, both in terms of storyline use and visual effects capability. But the simple fact is that he had some of the best writing Trek has ever produced, and Rene Auberjonois put in matchless performances week in, week out. And now he's got an action figure which... you know what, it's perfect. Big call, I know, but hear me out.

Visually speaking, Odo didn't change much over the course of the show, even by Star Trek standards - aside from subtle refinements to his makeup (and, in a few episodes, the addition of a belt to his uniform), Odo in the premiere episode is Odo in the finale seven years later. His appearance is a simplified version of a Bajoran male (based roughly on Mora Pol, the scientist who first discovered what he was) - at first his inexperience with his abilities made him unable to more accurately duplicate humanoids, but even after he became more proficient, he stuck to his early "unfinished" appearance, since by then it was simply who he was.

Likewise his "clothing" is a basic approximation of a Bajoran security uniform - simplicity can be difficult in action figure form, but the sculpt carries it off, replicating the costume as seen on screen with commendable accuracy without looking toy-like. The material has realistic contours, but in terms of detail, simplicity is the word, from the cuffless sleeves to the basic collar, beltless waist, and the presence of only a few basic seams, down to the unadorned boots into which his trousers are tucked. He stands 7½" tall, taller even than Sisko or Dax, but that's appropriate - I don't recall exact height comparisons, but Odo was a tall man, though not otherwise physically imposing.

His face is remarkable. Granted, the prosthetics used to smooth out and simplify Odo's features straight from the burn ward gives him a distinctive look, which is often easier to capture than a human face without any particularly stand-out features, but whoever sculpted this put in one hundred percent. Every detail is reproduced: the heavy brow to the smooth nose to the lipless mouth, the semi-featureless ears, the harshly combed back hair - it'd Odo in plastic form. The set of his mouth - with a very neat paint shading to keep the thin indentation from being lost in the flat skin of his cheeks and jaw - is just right, while the shallow worry lines and the set of his eyes convey a veiled sympathy and compassion that tempered his abrasive manner. Under normal lighting, with shadows falling beneath his brows, and the light catching his forehead and jaw, the resemblance to the real thing is truly uncanny.

There's admittedly not a great deal of painting to do on Odo's body - there are only three main colours, the brown body, lighter tan shoulders, sleeves and pants, and the slightly more beige shade of his boots. Long story short, it's all spot-on - even the "skirt," the section of his loose uniform top below the waist joint, which is a soft rubber piece to allow his legs to move, is a perfect match for the colour on the hard plastic torso. His hands are a tiny shade lighter than the skin on his face, but that's actually to their benefit, as they stand out from the earthy uniform colours.

Articulation is the regular Star Trek set. Like Sisko, I has a bucket! Odo's neck balljoint is hidden at the base of his neck beneath his collar, leaving the entire head sculpt unbroken - the collar sits away from his neck more than Sisko's did, but that's true to Odo's costume. Balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, peg elbows and swivel wrists, swivel waist, peg hips (limited by the "skirt," but since it's soft, not as much as would otherwise be the case), peg knees, and peg ankles round him out. Considering how featureless his appearance is, the joints really blend in quite well - there's nothing to hide them, but the only joint that's really very visible is, unavoidably, the waist.

Like all of Diamond Select Toys/Art Asylum's Star Trek figures, Odo comes with more accessories than you'll know what to do with. Odo's been confiscating Gameboys Firstly, the most important: his bucket. Every eighteen hours Odo would need to revert to his gelatinous state to regenerate, and for most of his life, he did that in a bucket - later on, when he got quarters of his own and no longer needed it as a bed, he kept a plant in it. The bucket is reproduced faithfully, a touch under 1½" tall and just over 1½" in circumference at the base, in metallic gold plastic - black on the inside - with copper detailing. Odo also has a Bajoran PADD and tricorder, both of which are accurate to the real props and fit realistically into either hand - good accessories, especially the PADD, since he could often be found in his Constable's office glaring at one as he worked on some case or other (which often involved his petty criminal nemesis Quark, whose face appears on the PADD).

Rounding out the accessory allotment - Odo, seen here about to cap a snitch-ass nigger. he has four, rather than the five of the other figures, but the bucket is really quite large - he has a Bajoran phaser rifle, which he's technically capable of holding quite realistically in both hands. I say "technically" because Odo steadfastly refused to use weapons of any kind, and forbade them on the Promenade completely, so if you want to be picky, this isn't an accessory he should have. However it's a fine replica of the weapon, and since Odo himself isn't a character who habitually used gadgets of any kind much - aside from what he's got, the next best option I can think of short of going into single-episode accessories would be the plant for his bucket - I don't mind its inclusion, since it'll go to benefit any future Bajoran characters who get released (i.e. Kira, who certainly would use it).

Looking for flaws on this figure, you really have to scrape the bottom of the barrel (or bucket, if you like) - Noooo they be stealin' my Bucket there's a very slight lack of coverage on his hair paint app above one ear, the waist joint is kind of obvious, the right hand is sculpted for a weapon he wouldn't use (though as I said, the other accessories look fine in it, especially the tricorder), swivel joints at the boot tops would have been nice. If you wanted to be really harsh, you could complain that there's nothing to replicate his shapeshifting, but what DS/AA could have done there I'd like to know - swappable arms and suchlike would doubtless have damaged his usual form visually and detracted from articulation, not to mention the logistics of introducing them into an action figure range that's not even remotely geared towards that kind of trick, and unlike Reed Richards with his stretchy arms and whatnot, when Odo did shapeshift, he didn't tend to do it in the same way all the time. Bottom line, I don't think there's a single thing wrong with this figure that even deserves to count on his scorecard - he's perfect, and that's that.


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