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1 of 3 (Klingon)

Star Trek: Borg Assimilation
by yo go re

Let the geeks argue about "Original Series" versus "Next Generation" all they want: both versions of Star Trek had good and bad points. But whatever your preference, you have to admit that TNG had better makeup: in the original, the Klingons were guys with brown hair and beards; by the time of the sequel, they were much more alien. And you know there was no way the Borg would even have been conceivable back then.

The Borg are the absolute personification of evil in the galaxy. Their singular goal for biological and technological perfection compels them to assimilate all that stand in their way. They destroy without mercy, reason or conscience. Once assimilated, each alien species contributes their biological and technological distinctiveness to the collective, and help bring order to the chaos... Resistance is futile.

One thing that always bugged me about Borg back in the day were the human hosts for the technology - if they came from the far side of the universe, shouldn't they have had some trippy alien bodies under all that Radio Shack refuse? But no, plain humans. How boring.

When Art Asylum grabbed the Star Trek license, one of their first announced projects was a line of Borg figures. Since they had done the wonderful 9" Alien Combat Series Borg Drone in the '90s for Playmates, fans knew they could expect something great. Then, more plans trickled out: the line wouldn't just be Borg; it would be called Borg: Assimilation and feature the alien species of Trek in the tech.

There was much "if it's not in the show, it doesn't count" grousing from some of the hardcore Trekkies, but for fans like me, the news was great. Not only would we get detailed sculpts, they'd be something new. The first series was to include a Klingon, a Hirogen, a Cardassian and a Ferengi. The Ferengi got pushed back a series to make a three-figure series (and then subsequently cancelled due to low orders), but we did get the others.

Standing 8" tall, the Klingon Borg (technically his designation is "1 of 3") fits perfectly with AA's new Trek scale; bravely discarding the scale precedent set by Playmates, AA bumped up the toys' size as well as their detailing. The figures are in a 7" scale, but the Klingons have always been big mofos, so 1 of 3 can still look down on the puny humans.

Unlike some other toy companies, Art Asylum has never been afraid of articulation. The Klingon Borg moves at the ankles, knees, hips, waist, elbows and left wrist. He also has balljoints at the torso, shoulders and neck, and a hinged claw on that big right arm of his. The only downside is that a few of the joints have pipes or tubing running from one side of the joint to another, and that can somewhat limit their mobility: for instance, you're not going to turn his head very far to the side for fear that the tubes will tear.

The sculpt by Patrick Pigott and Peter Kelly is amazingly detailed, making all those tiny metal plates look like separate pieces. Everywhere there isn't a giant metal plate, bundled copper wire can be seen. Tina Wang's paint design really brings out all the detail, from weathering on the surface to tarnish beneath. If you look at Nelson X. Asencio's original control art for the figure, the right arm would have played up the "Klingon-y-ness" of the figure by having a bat'leth strapped to the side and a d'k tahg dagger in place of the claw. Sadly, those ideas were nixed from the final production.

Included in the package is a sheet with two small, circular stickers. The wrong size to fit on any of the Borg's three robotic eyes or the port at the base of his skull, the stickers are kinda lost in limbo. Some instructions, even just provided on the website, would have been nice.

I have no interest in the Cardassian (and I don't even know what a Hirogen is) but the Klingon Borg is a terrific toy - in today's market, if you're not providing both an intricate sculpt and plentiful articulation, you're dead in the water. With quality like this, Art Asylum proves that it is no longer an "up and coming" company; it's already here.

-- 05/15/03

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