#1612: Cardassian Borg

CARDASSIAN BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Okay, we looked at the Borg of the species I like, and we looked at the Borg of the species I don’t know but that looks cool.  Now, we look at this Borg.  It’s not a Borg of a species I like.  It’s actually the opposite of that.  It’s the Borg of a species I actively dislike.  And it’s not even cool like the last one.  It’s…it’s just the third one, and I have this unhealthy need to finish things.  So, without further ado, here’s the Cardassian Borg.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Cardassian Borg, designated 3 of 3, is the final figure in the Borg: Assimilation line from Art Asylum*.  The Cardassian is the shortest of the three Borg figures, at a little under 8 inches tall.  He’s got 17 points of articulation, which includes moving arms on his left arm attachment, which is pretty cool, actually.  That’s probably the last time I’m using “pretty cool” in this here review.  Because this is a Cardassian, perhaps one of the most boring races in all of Star Trek.  This figure has an all-new sculpt, which is, from a technical standpoint, pretty solid.  The Cardassian Borg is probably the least borg-ified of the bunch, lacking the shoulder pads and more obvious technical implants, and also having his neck and one of his hands exposed, which keeps him looking more like a standard Cardassian.  Even the armor’s detailing follows the usual Cardassians design more closely than the others in this assortment.  Even the facial expression lacks that dead-ness that the other two figures have.  He’s got the same sort of a sneering expression that seemed to be a genetic trait of those wacky Cardassians.  The paint on this guy is pretty much on par with the other two, which is to say it’s honestly pretty good.  Hey, look at that.  I almost said “pretty cool” again.  Well, what do you know.  Like the other two figures in this assortment, the Cardassian Borg’s only accessory is that weird coin thing.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I really only got this guy to complete the set.  I’m guessing you probably could have gathered that from the review.  Honestly, just as a figure, this one’s the weakest of the three, but he’s not atrocious. It’s more that I just don’t really like Deep Space 9, and I sort of associate the Cardassians entirely with that show.  He could be worse, I suppose.

*There were actually four Borg figures originally designed for this assortment.  The fourth would have been a Ferengi, but for a number of reasons, the assortment was cut back to three figures.  The Ferengi would have likely been in a second series, had there been one.

#1611: Hirogen Borg

HIROGEN BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Okay, so this post isn’t brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend like yesterday’s.  I mean, it’s still inspired by her, since it follows a theme she set forth, but…yeah…

Today, we’re looking at a combo of two of the badassiest threats in Sci Fi!  Yeah, it’s not only a Borg, it’s also a Predator—what’s that?  Oh, it seems I’m getting reports that this is not, in fact, a Predator.  Apparently, it’s a Hirogen.  What’s a Hirogen?  Well, according to Memory Alpha, they’re “a nomadic species of hunters.”  Are we sure they aren’t just Predators?  Because they sound like Predators.  Ah, what do I know?  Let’s just look at the figure.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Hirogen Borg was officially designated 2 of 3 and was part of Art Asylum’s one-series wonder Borg: Assimilation.  Fun fact: this borg-ified variant of the Hirogen is actually the only Hirogen action figure in existence.  Yes, even in all of Playmates’ insane coverage of the license, they never ever made a single Hirogen.  I think that speaks to the obscurity, right?  Or to the fact that they were on Voyager.  Either way, no prior figures.  The Hirogen is the tallest of the three Borg figures, at 8 1/4 inches tall.  He’s also got 17 points of articulation.  The sculpt is once again all-new, and very, very impressive.  In particular, the texture work on the face is really sharp.  In terms of design, the Hirogen Borg is far more symmetric than the Klingon.  There’s still some definite asymmetry in a few spots, but by and large he’s a lot more balanced than the last figure.  His stance is also straighter, which is another nice change, helping to sell the differences between the two species.  He still keeps the slight stylization present on the Klingon, which is nice for consistency’s sake, and I believe makes for the superior sculpt.  As with the Klingon, the paintwork on the Hirogen is monochromatic, but still very much top-notch.  It’s impressive the kind of range AA was able to pull out of variations on silver and grey, but they certainly did a lot.  He’s a little cleaner looking than the Klingon, which once again seems to fit with the stylistic differences they were pushing with the sculpt as well.  Like his Klingon compatriot, the Hirogen’s only accessory is the weird coin thing, but, once again, he’s hardly hindered by it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Though I certainly checked out the Klingon figure when he was new, the Hirogen didn’t even cross my radar.  Chalk it up to me knowing nothing about the Hirogen in the slightest.  Upon seeing the full set of three figures in person, the Hirogen actually stood out to me the most of the three, and in hand he’s definitely my favorite of the bunch.  Not bad for a figure of a race I didn’t know a single thing about until a month ago.

#1610: Klingon Borg

KLINGON BORG

BORG: ASSIMILATION (ART ASYLUM)

Today’s post is brought to you by Super Awesome Girlfriend.  No, she didn’t buy me this figure, but she did point to this spot on my calendar of upcoming reviews, hold up today’s figure and say “you should do this one on that day.”  Who am I to argue?  Well, the owner and head writer of the site, I guess, but I’m really not going to push this one.

In the early ’00s, after Playmates had held the Star Trek license for over a decade, the reins were passed to up-and-coming company Art Asylum.  Poor AA ended up with some of the worst Trek properties to merch (Enterprise and Nemesis), but still put out a solid selection of figures.  They weren’t afraid to experiment a little bit with things.  One of those experiments was their Borg: Assimilation line, which toyed with what non-human races would look like when assimilated by the Borg.  Today, I’m looking at the Klingon.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Klingon Borg, officially designated 1 of 3, was part of the first, and only, series of Art Asylum’s Borg: Assimilation line.  The figure stands a whopping 8 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  He’s a little restricted in terms of movement, but he was fairly decent for the time.  The big claim to fame of any Art Asylum figure was sculpting.  The Klingon Borg had an all-new sculpt, featuring a tremendous amount of detail work.  Every surfaced is covered with some sort of texture or small detail, from the ridges on his forehead, to the machinery of his Borg components.  This guy lives up to the Borg’s penchant for asymmetry, with one cybernetic eye, two differently shaped shoulder-pads, and one big honking claw arm to replace his right limb.  He loses the usual Klingon dreads, which impacts his design a bit; originally, he was designed with a bevy of cables that would replace the hair, but apparently this made him look too Klingon.  As it stands, he’s got just the one big wire, which is a decent halfway point.  His face is a good mix of Klingon and Borg sensibilities, with a determined, but still somewhat lifeless stare to his eyes.  It’s worth noting that this figure is a fair bit more stylized than many of AA’s Trek offerings, with a more pronounced set of features on his face, slightly exaggerated proportions, and a decidedly slouched pre-posed nature.  But, as a concept figure, this guy is more about what could be, outside of the limitations of a live-action sci-fi show’s budget.  Though his paint is somewhat monochromatic, it is no less carefully detailed than the sculpt.  His cybernetic sections in particular are rife with small detail work, showcasing a variance in silvers, greys, and brasses that keep him from looking too bland, and give him that nice “used future” feel.  For accessories, all this guy had was the weird themed coin thing that all of the AA Trek figures got.  This one’s red and has the Borg symbol on one side.  Not really much to do with the figure, but given the effort that went into the figure’s design and sculpt, the lack of real extras doesn’t hinder him.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I remember seeing this guy when he was new.  He seemed to hang around KB Toys for a little while.  I almost got him on several occasions, but kept passing for other things.  He and the rest of this series ended up being part of this year’s Farpoint charity auction, and it was that wonderful mix of being something I’d been looking for and also being for a good cause, so I went for it.  Though I’m hardly the world’s largest Trek fan, I can’t deny this is one cool figure.

#0480: Captain Picard & Borg Queen

CAPTAIN PICARD & BORG QUEEN

STAR TREK MINIMATES

Marvel Minimates are far and away the most successful of all the Minimate lines, but many other licenses have stepped up to try and take that spot behind it. One such line was Star Trek Minimates, which DST has given a fair stab, without tremendous luck. Pretty much, once the original line moved past the Classic Trek figures, it sort of started to taper off. This meant that the characters from the other series, such as The Next Generation, weren’t fortunate enough to get figures. When the line re-launched under the Legacy banner, it was kicked off with the Captain from each of the series. Sadly, the sales weren’t there, leaving the crews still widely unreleased. So, let’s take a look at the only Next Generation cast member released, Captain Jean Luc Picard and his pack-mate the Borg Queen.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

Picard and the Borg Queen were released as part of the specialty half of the first series of Star Trek Legacy Minimates. The two come from Star Trek: First Contact, widely viewed as the best of the Next Gen movies, and my personal favorite of the Trek movies. Like Wrath of Khan, it’s one of the distinctive movies in the franchise, definitely fitting into the Legacy aspect of the series.

CAPTAIN PICARD

Picard is the second of the three Minimate versions of the character. This one’s based on his appearance in his improved movie uniform, which first debuted in First Contact. Not only does he spend the majority of First Contact wearing it, he also wears it in the two films that followed, making it an important look for the character. The figure is roughly 2 ½ inches in height and he has 14 points of articulation. Picard is built on the standard Minimate body, with additional pieces for is collar and belt. Both of these pieces are re-uses from previous Trek ‘mates, and they’re pretty well done. The belt is really only practical if you’re storing his phaser, but it can easily be removed when the phaser is elsewhere. Everything else on Picard is handled with paint, and it’s done pretty well. The base paint is pretty clean and the colors are all well-chosen and well-applied. The detail work is clean and sharp. The piping on the shoulders is definitely a nice touch. I’m not sure about the likeness; it’s definitely got some of Patrick Stewart’s traits, but it seems to be more caricature-ized than other ‘mates. Picard is accessorized with a simple small phaser, a rifle, and a clear display stand.

BORG QUEEN

This figure marks the first Borg Queen Minimate, though it’s the second Borg in the line. As the primary antagonist of First Contact, she’s a good fit, especially packed with Picard. Her figure is 2 ½ inches tall with 14 points of articulation. She uses the basic body as a starting point, with a unique torso piece and an add-on for her head. In the movie, the Borg Queen’s head and shoulders are organic, while the rest of her is mechanical. This is demonstrated in her first scene when her head is lowered onto her body. The is figure has a special two piece torso, allowing the look to be replicated. It’s a neat, unique idea and it works pretty well, if maybe not as smoothly as they intended. The sculpted head add-on has been done to replicate the Queen’s “head-wiring” (for lack of a better term). As a full mask piece, it’s a little on the bulky side, but it’s not bad. Underneath of the mask is a standard head, painted silver, with some detailing to replicate the Queen’s skinless head from the end of the movie. It’s a pretty cool touch, though it might be nice if it were just a tad more detailed. The rest of the paint is pretty decent. Everything is clean, with no slop or bleed over, and the line work is nice and sharp. The face represents a good likeness of the character, and the body has some pretty nice texturing. The Borg Queen comes with a clear display stand.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Like yesterday’s Kirk and Khan, I got this set for a really good price during Luke’s Toy Store’s Black Friday sale. I had also fully intended to get this set at the time of release. Ultimately, I don’t feel quite as bad about missing out on this one. It’s not a bad set at all, but it’s sort of middle of the road, and a good example of why Star Trek is a hard property to sell without a consistent media presence.