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Deep Space Nine
by Artemis

Star Trek and Klingons go together like Doctor Who and the Daleks - they might not have been there from the very beginning, but as soon as they showed up they sat right down in their place in the Star Trek mythos and refused to budge for anyone. But while most everyone thinks of Worf first, he's actually a bit of an anomaly - raised by humans, he's an outsider to them, aspiring to prove his Klingonness almost the way Data wants to be human. For a real Klingon's Klingon, you look to Martok.

"They are soulless creatures fighting for no goal, no purpose except to serve the Founders. They take no pleasure in what they do... nothing is glorified, nothing affirmed. To the Jem'Hadar, we are nothing more than targets to be destroyed! I must not allow them to destroy us, Worf. I must not..."

Ron Moore - he of the fixation on hot blondes and toasters nowadays - was for years the "Klingon guy" at the Paramount offices, having written the seminal Klingon-centric episode "Sins of the Father," and as a result being handed virtually every Klingon-heavy story from there on. He was heavily involved in late Deep Space Nine, and among other contributions he solidified the vision of the Klingon culture he had brought to light all those years ago, most notably in the character of General Martok, a man who embodies the Klingon Empire in all its glory - and its weaknesses. On the battlefield Martok is a true Klingon, ready and willing to wade through blood to reach his enemies, slaughter them with his bare hands, and drink a merry toast over their heaped bodies. But while he's fearless to his foes (he lives up equally well to a Jem'Hadar First's verdict on Worf: he can't be defeated, merely killed), like most of his fellow Klingons he turns a blind eye to the treachery and corruption at the Empire's political heart - the centuries of tradition and ritual built up around the concept of Klingon honour are too much for him to defy, even when the honour itself has gone.

Mind you, that's not to say he's not utterly awesome in his own right, and with their standard Klingon soldier body on hand, Diamond Select/Art Asylum would've been mad not to run up a figure of him for the DS9 collectors. They're not mad, so here he is. The aforementioned Klingon body (the same kind used for "Soldiers of the Empire" Worf and Mirror Universe Regent Worf, with different soft plastic "vests" from the waist up; this one is the Regent version that commanding officers generally wore) gives him an imposing height of 8", and the physique of a professional brawler - he's a big man, and his muscles are for busting heads, not showing off at bodybuilding tournaments. Compared to Worf, Martok was a bit more barrel-chested, and while the body is obviously the same, the sash - fitted across the thicker C.O. vest - bulks out his upper body noticeably. All the paintwork is clean and sharp, with good definition between the various blacks, browns, and metallics without making them look too clean or toylike.

Martok's face is in the running for the best DS/AA have produced in their Star Trek line - I wish he'd had that grim sneer he does, where he chuckles and bares his teeth a bit, but even without that he's damned good work. His face is very faithfully reproduced, the scarred flesh covering his missing left eye (proof that this is the real Martok, not the Changeling that impersonated him) is suitably rough-looking, and unlike the various Worfs they even got the hairline right, with the ridged forehead coming to a peak at the top rather than a flat edge. He's got a straggly mane of hair spreading out over his shoulders, and it's quite a tight fit - the sash over his right shoulder makes it very tight, and the head is consequently difficult to move freely.

That immobility in the head (which has a balljoint neck hidden down in the collar) is the only real surprise in articulation, since this is a body we've seen before: swivel/pin shoulders, swivel biceps (at a natural seam in the costume), pin elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, peg hips, tilted swivel thighs (also a natural seam), pin knees and pin ankles. I really wish they'd taken advantage of the boot tops above the knees to put a swivel in there, but that's my one complaint, and for a thoroughly display-quality figure Martok's posing options are considerable.

Now then, accessories - and you know how I love to point out how lavish DS/AA are with their Star Trek accessories. Well, Martok ups the ante to an almost ludicrous level, with ten toys to keep himself entertained - and that's not counting the shoulder strap holster, which is removable. Naturally he's got a fair arsenal, having the option to go for melee nastiness with the trusty Klingon bat'leth and d'k tahg (sword and dagger), or ranged warfare with a disruptor pistol (which fits perfectly in the holster) and matching rifle. On top of that he's got a Klingon-style PADD, two extra hands to replace his accessory-grip hands with clenched fists, and - for drinking toasts over corpses - a mug and two bottles of bloodwine.

He may not have the name recognition of Worf, but Martok was one of the brightest in DS9's already-bright line-up of recurring characters, so I imagine there'll be a fair few fans out there who'll want one of these figures. They won't be disappointed; and to DS/AA: Qapla'!

-- 03/25/09

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