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Sulu in Enterprise Uniform

Star Trek
by Artemis

Once you put someone on the Enterprise, it takes a lot to dislodge them again. Chekov had a go at first officering on the Reliant and came scurrying back, Scotty was offered the chief engineer's position on Starfleet's brand new transwarp prototype and sabotaged it rather than transfer, and a couple of generations later on Riker was offered command of other ships on a weekly basis and kept turning them down, until it was clear there wouldn't be any more TNG movies anyway so who cares. The only one ever to move out and make it stick was Sulu.

Sulu is a highly skilled pilot who mans the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Seemingly quiet, Sulu is equally skilled at close-quarters combat and makes a formidable opponent in battle.

Like most of the TOS cast, Sulu wasn't really the most developed character - the show was basically Kirk, Spock, McCoy, And The Rest, so all he really had to do was sit at the helm, look ethnically diverse, and have fun in the one or two scenes per season when he got to have some fun. Likewise the current movie: Asian pilot, Asian pilot, swordfight!, Asian pilot. He didn't even get to strip to the waist for the occasion, though perhaps that was just lingering nerves at what happened last time when Shatner got in a huff because Takei looked more buff than he did with his shirt off.

Chris Pine needn't have worried - at least in action figure form - since "Warp series" Sulu is identical from the neck down (aside from having a single rank stripe on his sleeves, rather than Kirk's three) and thus shares the same somewhat cubist chiselled torso under his soft rubber shirt. Being a full officer rather than a cadet, he's got the proper colourful shirt, with its arrowhead pattern and angled seams over the shoulders, and a black undershirt beneath, visible on the figure only as the raised collar. Like Kirk, Sulu's sleeves - molded in hard plastic rather than soft - are sharper than the torso in their sculpt, but don't quite match in colour, being a bit darker and richer gold.

John Cho got the nod to play Sulu in the new movie, and ranks as one of the more vague likenesses among the recast cast - like Simon Pegg's Scotty, it's not so much that he looks like the original as that he acts like him, and you forgive the difference since he does cool stuff like skewer people with a fold-out sword. The figure's facial sculpt, like the other Warp series ones, is a decent likeness, but suffers from a bland, neutral expression, and simplistic (though clean) paint apps - it's a good face for a "toy" action figure, but you see much better on "collector" action figures like Diamond Select/Art Asylum's work.

Same body as Kirk, same articulation: swivel neck (why?), swivel/pin shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, swivel/useless tilt sternum, peg hips, pin knees, swivel boot tops. The generic officer body is more versatile, by a bit, than the generic cadet one, but it's still nothing to write home about, and considering that the hips look a bit rubbish anyway, it would've been good to have just gone all-out and made them swivel/pin balljoints, with a thigh swivel down where the trouser legs have a horizontal seam anyway.

Sulu doesn't get much in the way of accessories: the standard silver officer base, a phaser pistol, and a communicator, plus the away team belt to hold them in. Granted he's not in his skydiving suit (maybe they're saving that for series two), but it would've been really nice to have a sword.

And that's about it for the future captain of the good ship Excelsior - nothing glaringly wrong, but pretty middle-of-the-road.

-- 05/12/09

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