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Lt. Cdr. Jadzia Dax

Deep Space Nine
by Artemis

When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (that's the awesome one) was first proposed, the would-be producers of the spin-off went on a shopping spree through the existing Next Generation episodes for anything they could use. Thus Bajor, the Cardassians, Major Kira (originally Ro Laren), Miles and Keiko O'Brien, a wormhole-as-valuable-trade-route, a Ferengi and, relevant to today's lesson, a Trill.

Diamond Select didn't spring for individual character bios on the packaging - not that I expect many of these figures will end up in the hands of people who don't know who they are anyway - Jadzia Dax but for the benefit of the curious: Jadzia Dax is a joined Trill, the combination of a long-lived symbiont, Dax, and a humanoid host, Jadzia, who has access to the memories and experience of all the symbiont's previous hosts (six of them, not counting the psychotic killer - everyone's got a family member they don't talk about). Six lifetimes' worth of learning, plus Jadzia's own intelligence and training, make her a fairish genius, and well qualified to be DS9's science officer.

For about the first year of DS9 Dax just sat around with a serene expression, as the writers interpreted "wise and all-knowing" as "boring," but eventually they realised the error of their ways and let her have some fun. The grey-shouldered Starfleet uniform on this figure places her in the fifth and sixth seasons, by which time she'd grown a sense of humour and a libido, and was keeping both of them occupied by shacking up with Worf. She stands a hefty 7¼" tall - Jadzia was notably tall - and the sculpt does a good job of showing an attractive physique beneath a thick cloth uniform. There are subtle wrinkles around her hips and shoulders for realism, but nothing that ruins the sleek look of the material, semi-poseable and the sculpt on the shoulders and the tunic beneath is reasonably crisp. She has a pronounced contrapposto pose at rest, favouring her left leg with her hip stuck out, and while she can look quite natural with her legs and body positioned in certain ways, there are limits to what'll look good that a more neutral posture wouldn't have imposed.

One of the deliberate casting directives for Dax was that she look as gorgeous and supermodel-like as possible, so as to have a young beautiful woman playing the traditional "wise old man" mentor role - which caused the casting director some headaches, as there weren't a lot of supermodel-like women around who wanted to spend the better part of the next decade filming a sci-fi tv show. Regardless of a limited field, Terry Farrell satisfies the supermodel requirement quite handily, being jaw-droppingly gorgeous from head to toe.

The facial sculpt captures Dax's personality, but not quite her beauty - it's unmistakeably her, wise and all-knowing and has her confidence and sense of fun, with her lips quirking up into a smile, but... it's just not as stunning as it should be. Perhaps that's just asking too much of an action figure face to be that characterful without acquiring a touch of caricature in the process. The paint on her face is clean and effective, with expressive lips, clear blue eyes, and eyebrows that are full enough to add easily-visible character, without being so prominent as to be out of kilter with the rest of the face. Dax's hair is pulled back in a twist ponytail, on which the sculpting is quite fine, and a subtle highlight gets her reasonably close to the right tone - her dark auburn is a tricky colour to match.

When first seen, Trill - like pretty much all aliens back then - had some bumps on their foreheads to distinguish them. Having hired Terry Farrell, I love you, beer! the makeup people then drove themselves nuts trying to redesign the Trill forehead so it wouldn't mess with her beauty, and in the end they admitted defeat and gave her - and all subsequent Trill - a pattern of markings along the sides of her face and neck, based on a tried-and-tested makeup used earlier to make Famke Janssen even hotter in TNG. They're not just circles, but rather a pattern of various lop-sided leopard spots and crescents all muddled together - Farrell had them applied by hand each morning, but while it probably can't claim the same amount of individual care, the paint application here does a decent job of representing the effect, from a distance or studied up close.

The rest of the paint is less impressive. A matte finish is used for the fabric of her uniform, while her boots are glossy and stand out nicely without being too attention-grabbing - your uniform's looking pretty sorry, there it's territory DS/AA are used to from their TNG figures. Unfortunately Dax can't claim the same level of care on her uniform as she can on her spots - the grey of her shoulders is pretty inconsistent at its edges, and the top of her dark turquoise tunic isn't too impressive either. The metallics on her comm badge are the right colour and sheen, but could be a bit cleaner, and while the bands on her wrists are clean, they barely stand out at all against the matte black - not a problem the real uniforms were immune to, but it might have been a good idea to lighten them a bit to get a better effect, even if it meant they weren't exactly the same shade. There are no sculpted rank pips - no doubt to allow the body to be reused for any tallish female Starfleet officer - and while the painted pips are clear and stand out quite well from the blue collar, they're wrong: there's two gold pips, signifying a Lieutenant, but Dax only wore this uniform after being promoted to Lieutenant Commander, which needs an extra hollow (gold with black centre) pip.

Dax is fairly well articulated, for a figure who likely wasn't envisioned kung fu-ing it up with Marvel Legends and Street Fighter - a balljointed neck, relatively unrestricted by her hair, balljointed shoulders, swivel biceps, peg elbows, swivel wrists, a swivel waist, peg hips, kness, and ankles. The ankles do a lot to keep her standing, so the absence of a base isn't felt too keenly, and the arms are quite versatile (though not quite enough to make her look truly natural with a rifle in both hands), but that preposed hip sway limits her. Oddly, the waist is a couple of millimetres below what you'd think would have been its obvious position, the bottom of her uniform jacket - presumably it's to keep the waist joint of the two-piece uniform figures at the same height as the earlier one-piece uniform figures, so they're interchangeable for future figures to be created from the same pieces, but it's a bit annoying nonetheless.

If there's one thing DS/AA's Star Trek figures deserve knifey to be remembered for, it's accessories - these days you're lucky if you get a batarang with Batman, but the Trek figures always have a plethora of toys to play with. Dax gets a veritable arsenal, with a type-2 phaser (the handheld model), a type-3 (the rifle), and a d'k tahg and bat'leth, both Klingon weapons befitting Dax's inherited ties to Klingon culture, via previous host Curzon, and her eventual marriage to Worf. Both phasers are of the designs commonly used on DS9, largely cast in colour with a few small paint applications to give them detail - they're perfectly serviceable accessories.

The d'k tahg (the small dagger) spoony is a simple but decent rendition of the weapon first seen sticking out of David Marcus in Star Trek III, but being just a single piece of plastic, the secondary blades can't be folded in against the primary. The bat'leth (the big mean-looking thing) is the accessory I was hoping Dax would have - it's not perfect, with the handgrips being sculpted as generic ribbed sections rather than wrapped with leather to create a true sword grip, but it's a sharp sculpt, the dimensions are good, and more importantly it's a touch over five inches long, which should put the fear of Kahless into any other action figure on the same shelf as Dax.

Representing her unofficial status as DS9's resident party girl, she also has a bottle to keep her company, but sadly it's not the good stuff, just raktajino - Klingon coffee. The spread of accessories is lovely, but it's all rendered a bit frustrating by Dax's hands, Dax is embarrassed by her own antics which simply aren't sculpted to hold them. Getting anything to stick is simply a matter of wedging it in between her palm and thumb and praying it doesn't fall out - the bat'leth isn't so bad, with both hands on the rounded grips, and the rifle is workable, but the pistol phaser barely sits where it should, the dagger will fall out of her grip if you even look at it wrong, and the bottle just had to be jammed in by the neck.

It's a pleasant surprise to be getting Deep Space Nine figures - great as it was, there's no denying the show's heyday is long gone. But fans have long memories, and Diamond Select/Art Asylum are doing well by the fans with their various Star Trek releases. This one could have been better in a few ways, but all in all it won't disappoint, whether the buyer is after Dax specifically, or just wants her as a step on the road to collecting the whole cast.


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