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Worf and Gowron

Star Trek Deep Space 9
by Artemis

This, it turns out, is why Diamond Select/Art Asylum don't normally do character bios on their Star Trek figures:

When the first Klingon to join Starfleet comes face to face with the leader of the Klingon High Council all bets are off! Featuring Lieutenant Commander Worf and Chancellor Gowron, this action figure two-pack delivers two of the mightiest Klingons to ever face each other in battle - but only one can emerge victorious...

Not great, is it? Half ad-speak aimed at kids, half spoiler (for events a couple of years after this Worf's uniform dates him to, at that), it's not really the kind of thing suited to selling collector-quality figures from a show that's been off the air for near enough a decade. Luckily I'm here, as among my other sterling qualities as a reviewer (well, "irreverent and sexy" sums it up, but what more do you want, really?) I know Trek, specifically DS9, like the back of Scotty's hand (*bonk*).

We all know who Worf is by now, and if you don't there's plenty of reviews of him already to choose from. Gowron is a newcomer, though - he's sort of the Klingon Empire's best collective shot at producing a Magnificent Bastard, although being Klingons they tend to get panache and indiscriminate violence muddled up, so overall he's not as deserving of the title as, say, Dukat. Putting Gowron and Worf together makes a lot of sense, though - much as Gowron wouldn't have liked to admit it, Worf is pretty much the king-maker of the Klingon Empire, having murdered Duras to put Gowron on the throne (not specifically, but that's how it ended up), supported him (despite various stints of discommodation, which is sort of a biannual tradition for Worf) through various wars and intrigues, until finally getting fed up and murdering Gowron to put Martok on the throne instead. The moral of the story: whatever you do, keep Worf on your side and you're safe.

Let's have a look at Worf first - he's 95% existing parts, since there have been plenty of Worfs already. All that's new in this figure is the torso above the waist, to give his uniform the front-seamed vest of the DS9 uniform rather than the solid-front TNG one, and the later-style combadge with a bar instead of an oval behind the arrowhead. From the waist down he's Commander Riker (which must've made Deanna feel right at home), ditto his arms - unlike the torso, where the slightly different uniform and combadge needed resculpting (though there are plenty of manufacturers who wouldn't have bothered, so let's give DST/AA credit), the arms work perfectly well with just the paint apps changed. That change, putting the colour over the shoulders instead of beneath them, makes the shoulder joints a little more visible than when they were dominated by black, but it's not a deal-breaker.

The head is naturally enough the same one as on the TNG Worf, and the Nemesis Worf, and the DS9 "Soldiers of the Empire" Worf - damn there's a lot of this guy around - a very good likeness of Michael Dorn plus prosthetic makeup, and in this incarnation I find the black wash on his forehead ridges particularly good, mitigating the flat hairline by playing up the central ridges. The baldric is identical to the TNG one, since although the House of Mogh (the lower of the two emblems) was stripped of its honour (by Gowron, in fact) slightly prior to Worf actually putting on the red uniform, he continued to wear the badge until Martok made him a better offer a couple of years later. There is one minor error, though: Worf wears three gold pips, which means full Commander, when in fact he was only ever a Lieutenant Commander.

Gowron, in turn, uses the exact same Klingon soldier body (with the "command" variant chest) used for General Martok and Regent Worf - which is probably a slight inconsistency, since Worf's huge and Robert O'Reilly's only 5'10", but they always used the costume to bulk him up anyway, so it's not a big deal. To differentiate himself from the rabble he's got his sash, thinner but more solid-looking than Worf's - it first appeared worn by Maltz (John Larroquette), I believe, in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, which also debuted what later became the Chancellor's coat, worn by Doc Kruge. Gowron comes with two pairs of hands - closed fists, and open hands, the right an accessory grip and the left more open.

The head is the new stuff, and as expected from DS/AA after all their previous Trek work, it's damned good. O'Reilly has a thinnish, angular face, which got bulked out considerably for Gowron with bristling whiskers and a comparatively huge set of forehead ridges, plus the usual sprawling untamed hairdo. The figure errs a bit more on the side of character than actor, making the face itself a little wider to bring it into line with that the makeup is doing, but there's still a pretty strong resemblance there, with the distinctive mutton chops putting the seal on it. His eyes are a very bright blue, and although the heavy brow casts them in shadow under normal lighting, it's still enough to give him that crazy wide-eyed look Gowron used to use whenever he was angry or exultant or confused or, well, anything really. The hair is a tight fit over the shoulders, especially with the baldric on the right, but it can be moved well enough with a little care.

The prototype photos for this set showed Worf with a type-IIIb phaser rifle and Gowron with a Klingon disruptor rifle, neither of which are actually included - but no mind, they've got plenty of other gear to play with (and let's face it, if you're collecting these figures in any kind of quantity, you've probably already got plenty of armoury options).

On the Starfleet side of the fence is a type-IIIa phaser rifle - the chunky-looking TNG sort, which saw plenty of use in DS9 despite the newer IIIb and IVa designs coming in - and a type-II hand phaser, of the slimmed-down DS9 style. The Klingon weapons complement consists of the usual d'k tahg (dagger) and bat'leth (big damn chopper), a disruptor pistol (for which Gowron wears a holster), and a new piece, one of Worf's mek'leth short blades, which Michael Dorn lobbied for in DS9 on the basis that the smaller your weapon is, the more badass a martial artist you are if you're still invincible with it. They're traditionally wielded in pairs, but Worf was often seen using just the one. Lastly, Klingons being the drunken berserkers of the galaxy, there's also a bloodwine bottle and mug.

You may look at this set and see a lot of re-use - only Worf's torso, Gowron's head and sash, and the mek'leth are actually new - and it's true that that's no doubt what made it an attractive option to DS/AA. DS9 may be a favourite for many Trekkies, but a decade on it's by no means a licence to print money, and this Star Trek line in general, I understand, is clinging to profitability by its fingernails; the planned Kruge/Maltz two-pack was even shelved due to lack of preorders. But re-use though they may largely be, there's nothing actually lacking here - sure it'd be nice if Worf had another mek'leth, and Gowron the big coat, but in any other line you'd consider yourself lucky to get more than one accessory per figure at all. These two figures don't cut corners - they may be convenient to make for re-use reasons, but they're exactly what they should be nonetheless.

-- 07/25/09

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