The toy industry is undergoing a bit of a contraction, at the moment - less stores are carrying new product, and less companies are making it. I mean, when was the last time you heard anything out of ToyVault, Playing Mantis, or Stan Winston Creatures? Even a relatively big company like Art Asylum has been pretty quiet, lately. Quiet, but not dead. Against all odds, the third series of their classic Star Trek figures has just been released, giving us a rehashed Kirk, a green-skinned alien slave girl, one of those stupid original-series Klingons and a representative of the classic overlooked alien species, the Gorn.
The diehard Trekkies will tell you that Gorns are a reptilian race who evolved on the planet S'sgarnon, a Class M world with gravity 1.4 times greater than that of Earth's, that they prize strength and physical domination over all else, and that they belong to a unifying body known as the Alliance.
The rest of us will be able to tell you "oh, hey, yeah, that lizard guy."
The Gorn first appeared in the season one episiode "Arena" - and then promptly never appeared again. In any case, the episode came down to a one-on-one duel between Kirk and the Gorn captain, pitting human speed and intelligence against Gornish power and endurance. Whichever captain won would be allowed to leave, while the loser and his crew would be destroyed.
Gorn's costume is very typically Star Trek - it looks like some kind of hippy caveman thing. It's a yellow tunic with orange spots, held in place by a black belt, and he's got brown leather gauntlets. His skin has a slight texture, but it's not overly reptilian, which is fine: it's not really supposed to look like a giant lizard, it's supposed to look like a cheap rubber suit, and that it does.
The figure's chest is a bit too wide, but the rest of him looks perfect. His compound silver eyes are capped by ridged brows that curve back toward his little ear buds, and a third ridge runs along the top of his head. His mouth is open slightly, and he's got two gaping nostrils.
Articulation is a bit sparse, in terms of AA's other Trek product - the Gorn moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, wrists, elbows, shoulders and neck. This is an entirely respectable amount, yes, but the lack of any sort of joint at the biceps limits how you can pose him. If you've got a Kirk, then the articulation is enough to have your Gorn lumber around after him as he skampers amongst the rocks, but don't expect them to actually grapple.
Actually, that "alien" setting in which the battle takes place? The one we see so much of as Kirk runs like a scared little girl, with the Gorn captain tromping after him like a Terminator on quaaludes? It actually takes place at Vasquez Rocks in Bronson Canyon, right outside Los Angeles - one of the most overused locations in entertainment. There are dozens of shows and movies that shoot there - even The Next Generation beamed down for a visit. How terribly exotic!
If your Gorn does get his hands on Kirk,
he'll be able to do him some damage, because he's got a spike! Yes, his mighty spike! Well, that's what the packaging calls it, but it's actually the dagger the Gorn chiselled. Of course, why a brutishly strong monster with two-inch razorblades for teeth needs to chisel a dagger in the first place is one of those great unanswered questions from the original series, right alongside "why were Klingons originally just guys with beards" and "how the hell did a show this bad last this long?" In case that wasn't enough, he's also got a lightsaber.
[That's a Universal Translator, jackass. He uses it in the episode. --ed.]
Well, whatever it is, he can clutch it or the dagger in his right hand.
With Star Trek finally set to pass from this world, this may be the last time we get to see Art Asylum's great Trek figures. If that's the case, then action figure collectors will be losing a great line (shame we never got any TNG or DS9 product), but at least we got one of the most memorable aliens before it died.
What's your favorite original series alien? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.