#1939: Gorn

GORN

STAR TREK (ART ASYLUM)

For an alien that only actually shows up one time in all of The Original Series, the Gorn sure does get a fair bit of toy love.  Every manufacturer to hold the classic Trek license has given us at least one of this guy.  And can you blame them?  Just look at him.  Isn’t he super awesome?  Well, I sure think so.  Among the toy love he has received was a figure during the Art Asylum/Diamond Select years, which gave us some of the most accurate and well-crafted figures that Trek has ever seen.  I’ll be looking at that particular figure today.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

The Gorn was released in 2002, in the third series of Art Asylum’s Star Trek: The Original Series line, as part of an alien-heavy assortment, which also included a slightly worse for wear Kirk variant, which paired off nicely with this figure.  The Kirk and Gorn were re-released in 2010 in two-pack form, as part of the “Dilithium Collection,” but the Gorn seen here is the original release.  The figure stands 8 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation.  The Gorn sported an all-new, totally unique sculpt.  It takes the design of the character as seen in “Arena” and idealizes things just a little bit, with the end result being a figure that keeps all of the important details you remember, while avoiding so costume accurate as to look goofy and fake.  He’s a large, hulking figure, with an impressive stature, and he’s packed with tons of detail all throughout.  The head is by far my favorite piece of the figure.  It’s sharply defined, and captures that sort of sneering menace of the character from the episode.  The cross-hatch pattern on the eyes is well-scaled to the rest of the head (earlier figures have been known to make it too large), and he’s just got a great likeness of the mask from the show.  The rest of the body is pretty strong in its own right, with the texturing of the skin continuing all throughout.  The garment he wears is slightly cleaner and smoother, but still has enough detail to keep it from looking jarring when placed next to the very detailed body.  There’s some slight mixed-media going on, with a rubbery material being used for the skirt piece.  It’s surprisingly thin and malleable, which is always a little concerning in regards to long-term integrity, but it seems to have held up in the 15 years since his release.  Gorn’s paintwork is actually some of the nicest that the line had to offer.  The base work is clean, and he’s got some very subtle, very well-applied accenting.  Definitely a very life-like appearance.  The Gorn was packed with the typical Gorn accessories, a spike and a translator, as well as the typical AA Trek accessory, a weird plastic coin.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Gorn is a figure I’ve wanted for quite some time.  In general, AA’s Classic Trek line was never easy to find at retail, and this set in particular was a fan-favorite.  I’d only seen this Gorn in person a few times, and he was always rather pricey.  I finally found him at Factory Antiques (the largest antique mall in the country!…or at least that’s what all the signs say), loose, and for a price I was willing to pay.  He’s a very nice figure, and perhaps the finest Gorn figure ever released.  Personally, I think he’s the best figure to come out of the AA Trek run, but I may be slightly biased.  Whatever the case, I’m just really happy to finally have him in my collection.

Advertisements

#1345: Star Trek Minimates

CAPTAIN KIRK, SPOCK, DR. McCOY, KHAN, & GORN

STAR TREK MINIMATES (ART ASYLUM)

I’ve spoken twice before about the original, larger-sized Minimates, the important stepping stone on the way to getting us the licensing behemoth that we now have.  Today, I’ll be touching on them yet again, this time looking at the one property to have graced both styles of Minimate: Star Trek.   After doing ‘mates from Crouching Tiger and some music ‘mates, and even some Bruce Lee ‘mates, Art Asylum turned their sights onto Trek mostly because they already had the license (they produced a Dark Angel Minimate for the same reason, but with less success).  Anyway, I’ve got a bunch of them, and I’ll be looking at them today.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These five were released in the first (and only) series* of the larger-scale Star Trek Minimates from Art Asylum.  There was also a Mugato in the series, as well as an accompanying ToyFare-exclusive “Trouble With Tribbles” Kirk, but I don’t yet have those two.  Maybe some day.

All of the figures featured here are built on the 3-inch Minimate body, which is a little different from the smaller body in terms of construction, mostly around the elbows and knees.  The assembly can afford to be just a touch more complex at the larger scale, and that’s really the source of most of the changes.  Nevertheless, it works the same as the smaller body from a basic functioning stand-point, and it has the same 14 points of articulation.

CAPTAIN KIRK

This was the first of the 14 MInimates of James T. Kirk.  He’s most prevalent of the Trek characters by far, though he’s got nothing on the likes of Spider-Man and Iron Man.  Anyway, this is the one that started it all.  This figure has three add-on pieces: hair, and both pants cuffs.  The hair was new to this guy (though it was also shared with the ToyFare variant, and would have presumably been used for the Mirror Universe version in Series 2).  I gotta say, I like this piece a lot more than the initial smaller Kirk ‘mates.  It’s still a bit more simplistic than more recent ‘mates, but that’s certainly not a point against it, and it’s definitely in keeping with the other ‘mates of this time period.  The paint work on Kirk is about on par with the rest of the earlier ‘mates.  It’s all pretty clean, but also rather on the simple side.  All of the important things, like the face and various uniform elements are there.  The face has a pretty decent likeness of Shatner (honestly, I think it was a bit better than later attempts), and the uniform details seem to be pretty accurate.  The colors are generally pretty decent, but once again, far more basic than later ‘mates would be.  Kirk was packed with a phaser (painted in all silver, rather than the proper silver and black), as well as one of the goofy puzzle pieces that they threw in with all of the early guys.

MR. SPOCK

Spock’s not too far behind Kirk on the variant front, with a whole 8 Minimates under his belt.  There does seem to be a little less variation to his, though.  Like Kirk, this figure has add-ons for his hair and pant cuffs.  Spock’s hair piece is fine, but I find his style of hair doesn’t translate quite as well to this sort of figure.  Later pieces worked a fair bit better, I feel.  I think his hair just needs more detail to it, otherwise it just ends up looking like a skullcap or something.  The paint on Spock is rather similar to Kirk’s, but once again, I don’t think it works quite as well.  The face definitely tries for a Nimoy likeness and, while it isn’t horribly off, I think the lack of any sort of line work for the cheekbones is really holding it back.  Most characters can get by alright without the cheekbones, but not those played by Leonard Nimoy.  In addition, the shade of blue chosen for the shirt is several shades too dark and far too greyed out for the blue shirts from Classic Trek.  This shade almost looks like something from the JJ Abrams films, which wouldn’t be released for 7 years after this.  Spock includes an extra right hand, doing the Vulcan salute, as well as a tricorder and the puzzle piece.

DR. McCOY

McCoy’s important because he finished out the show’s core trio.  Sadly, he always seems to be the one who gets overlooked.  It’s a shame, really.  But hey, he got this ‘mate and a few others, so that’s pretty good for him, right?  This guy is very similar to the other two, with the exact same cuffs on the legs and then a unique hair piece.  The hair falls somewhere between the other two, being not quite as strong as Kirk’s, but a fair bit more recognizable as hair than Spock’s.  It’s definitely not bad.  In terms of paint, he’s almost identical to Spock, overly dark blue and all.  On the plus side, the likeness on the face is the spitting image of DeForrest Kelly, surly country wisdom and all.  He includes the same tricorder and puzzle piece as Spock, but obviously loses the saluting hand.  It would have been nice to get one of his medical gadgets or something, but the tricorder’s enough, I suppose.

KHAN

Khan’s pretty popular for a guy who was only in a single episode of the show.  Oh, right, and there was that movie thing, I guess.  That might have helped.  Khan’s had a few Minimates, and not a single one of them has been in the same outfit.  This is one of his red outfits, likely chosen for it’s contrast with the rest of Series’ color schemes.  He’s got a hair piece and a skirt for the bottom of his tunic.  Both pieces are pretty solid, so that’s good.  Khan has one of the more complex paint schemes in the set (though not *the* most.  That comes later), and it’s generally pretty nicely handled.  My only real complaint is that his face is slightly off-center, which is a problem that occasionally cropped up with these early ‘mates, due to the hair peg being near the back of the head.  On the plus side, the likeness on the face is pretty decent.  Khan’s only accessory is the puzzle piece.

GORN

Okay, so I freaking love the Gorn, and this is like my whole reason for buying this set.  Because I desire to own every Gorn figure in existence.  I’m actually pretty close on that, so, yaaaaaay.  Gorn FTW!  This guy uses add-ons for his hands and his skirt.  There’s no piece for the head, which leaves the peg hole exposed, but it’s not huge issue, given the placement.  The add-ons are nicely sculpted and pretty cool looking overall.  The skirt piece is a little thick, so he splits at the middle a lot, but it’s a minor issue.  Gorn gets the most complicated of the paint jobs.  It’s still pretty simplified, but I actually really like it.  The face is pretty neat, and I like how they’ve translated his design onto the basic head block.  They’ve also done a nice job with the pattern on his tunic, so that’s cool.  He was packed with a spike, a translator, and that freaking puzzle piece.  Mine is lacking these, sadly.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

I always wanted to pick up a set of these back when they were still new, back when they would have been my first Minimates, but for whatever reason, I never got any of them.  I’m the reason the line failed, you guys.  I’m sorry about that.  I’ve been on the lookout for a set for a little while now, and I ended up finding these guys at Amazing Heroes, which was a cool toys, comics, and games store that my brother found just outside of Seattle.  I was actually pretty happy to find an almost complete set in one go.  I kinda dig these guys.  Kirk and the Gorn are the definite stars, and translate really well to the more simplistic style.  The others are pretty solid as well, if not quite as stand out.  Now, I gotta get that second Kirk and a Mugato….

*There was a proposed second series, which would have rounded out the main crew and given us a Klingon, but, like all of the 3-inch lines, Trek never made it past Series 1.

#0776: Gorn

GORN

STAR TREK REACTION (FUNKO)

GornReAc3

Remember how Funko holds the license to literally everything you love? Well, you can add Star Trek to that list. Unlike a lot of the stuff Funko’s added to their various lines over the years, Trek is hardly new to the world of licensed toys. Seriously, they’ve been getting toys since the 70s! In fact, they aren’t new to 3 ¾ inch figures either. Mego did some for The Motion Picture, Ertl had a few for Star Trek III, and Galoob’s Next Generation line was that scale. Playmates’ 2009 figures were also in that scale, but the less said about them, the better. To be fair to Funko, we’ve never gotten the Classic Trek characters in the smaller scale, so their ReAction stuff is new on that count. Plus, Classic Trek is also one of the better fits for the style, especially today’s entry, the Gorn!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

GornReAc4

The Gorn is part of the second series of Funko’s Star Trek ReAction line, alongside Kirk, Scotty, and Vina. He’s based on the Gorn Captain’s appearance in the Star Trek: TOS episode “Arena.” The figure is 3 ¾ inches tall and he has the usual 5 points of articulation. He may not have a lot of articulation, but he can sit, which is something the las Gorn I looked at couldn’t. Unsurprisingly, the Gorn got an all-new sculpt. The Gorn’s somewhat goofy, guy in a rubber suit look is right up the ReAction line’s alley, and the sculpt ends up conveying the design quite nicely. He’ obviously more simplistic than the Playmates or Art Asylum versions of the character, but he’s actually got a lot of detailing for a ReAction figure. His skin has some great texture work, the crosshatch pattern on his eyes looks really great, and the detailing in his clothing is pretty sharp. I will say, the sculpt is a little odd when viewed straight on, especially the head. He ends up looking just a bit off. With a slight rotation, however, the sculpt looks pretty spot on to the design from the show. The Gorn exhibits the cleanest paintwork I’ve seen yet on a Funko figure. Pretty much all of the detail work is right where it’s supposed to be, and everything looks pretty sharp. There isn’t any slop or bleed over, or anything. Very solid work all around. ReAction figures tend to be light on accessories, and the Gorn is no exception. He’s got a stone spike, which he can hold reasonably well, and that’s it.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

When I reviewed the Playmates version of this guy, I mentioned how much I love the Gorn as a character. When Funko announced the Star Trek ReAction figures, I wasn’t overly anxious to pick them up, but as soon as I heard they were making the Gorn, I was on board. I ended up finding this guy at a Barnes and Noble on the way to North Carolina. I’m genuinely impressed by this guy. I’ve enjoyed all the ReAction figures I’ve gotten so far, but they all felt a bit behind the figures they were attempting to mimic. I think the Gorn fixes that. He’s definitely my favorite ReAction figure to date, and a pretty fun figure in general!

GornReAc1

#0511: Gorn Captain

GORN CAPTAIN

STAR TREK (PLAYMATES)

Gorn1

When people think of Star Trek, more often than not, they’ll think of the show’s main crew members, or perhaps the scantily clad green alien woman. What tends to get overlooked, especially in the case of the original series, is the plethora of alien creatures that appeared on the show. In terms of toys, the aliens tend to get no respect. Often, they’ll be needlessly changed, or under produced, or even replaced by aliens made up by the toymakers. However, under the helm of Playmates in the 90s, the aliens actually did get a little bit of respect. Since the line was so big and they had to keep it interesting somehow, they turned to the aliens to liven things up. One such figure is today’s focus, the Gorn Captain.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Gorn2The Gorn Captain was part of the Classic Trek 30th Anniversary assortment, released by Playmates in 1996. The assortment was released in waves of 2-3 figures each. The Gorn was from one of the later waves, along with Environmental Suit Kirk and the Mugato. The Gorn Captain is based on the character’s lone appearance in the Classic Trek episode “Arena.” The figure is just shy of 5 inches in height and he features 9 points of articulation. He has less articulation than what was standard for the line, which, sadly, was true for quite a few of the aliens in the Classic Trek line. The removal of the bicep swivels and waist movement are both rather annoying. The figure manages okay without them, but their absence is just baffling. On the plus side, this figure actually ends up making the v joint on the hips work pretty well, which can’t be said for the rest of the line. The Gorn Captain’s sculpt is wholly original to him, and generally speaking, it’s actually very well handled. While Playmates was known to have trouble with proportions on the human figures, creature figures played to their strengths. Aside from the torso being a little bit flat, the figure’s proportions are a close match for the Gorn’s appearance on the show. The sculpt exhibits some stand-out texture work on the skin, something not often seen on a figure from this time. It really helps set him apart from the other figures in the line, and other figures from the time in general. The Gorn had a rather distinctive facial design, and the figure’s head sculpt is a spot-on recreation of the mask from the show. The figure’s paint is generally pretty straight forward, but it’s rather good for the time. Most of the base paintwork is cleanly applied, and there’s even a light application of brown on the figure’s shoulders, which helps to sell the reptilian look of the character quite nicely. The Gorn Captain was packaged with a stone spike, the cannon constructed by Kirk in the episode, three projectiles, a display stand, and a trading card.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Back in the 90s, when my dad was collecting the Playmates line, I vividly remember the purchase of the Gorn.  I was fixated on the figure, and have loved the character ever since. According to my dad, he actually went out and bought me a Gorn figure, with the intent to give it to me as a gift. However, it ended up going missing somewhere, so I never ended up getting one. In the years that followed, the Gorn figure always seemed to evade me. Fortunately, one of the dealers at this year’s Farpoint had one amongst a large selection of other Playmates Trek figures. So, I finally have my Gorn figure! Sure, he may not be the greatest figure of all time, but he’s definitely fun, and I’m just super thrilled to own one.

Gorn3

 

EDIT: Wow, I certainly lucked out in posting a mostly green figure for St Patrick’s Day, didn’t I?  I swear it wasn’t at all planned!