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Kira Nerys

Deep Space Nine
by Artemis

I remember very distinctly the first time I saw Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Local TV was airing The Next Generation, but lagging behind the US by a couple of seasons, so it was with no foreknowledge at all that I spotted DS9 at the local video shop and rented them - starting with "Past Prologue," since someone had evidently already taken "Emissary," the pilot episode, that day. I enjoyed TNG, and still do, but let's be honest, it's a bit boring - it's like reading a good novel you've read a dozen times already just before you go to bed, comforting but unchallenging, and that goes for the women too: Beverly, infinitely patient, caring and nurturing, and Deanna, likewise but with a silly voice.

So imagine the effect on an adolescent young viewer of having Major Kira dropped in my lap (not literally, unfortunately) - headstrong, volatile, independent, easily capable of taking care of herself whether it be in a raging argument with her commanding officer (who she obeyed only intermittently in any case) or a knock-down drag-out fight with a hard-as-nails terrorist, evidently a former comrade of hers, she having spent her formative years running around blowing things up with élan. Love at first sight, really.

Diamond Select and Art Asylum's Star Trek range isn't unsatisfying by any means, but they're careful not to over-extend themselves, evident in the measured pace of releases, and shepherding of common sculpts and accessories. So it is that Kira - normally clad in a Bajoran militia uniform distinct from her Starfleet colleagues - first appears in the line in Starfleet uniform herself, allowing the re-use of the Ezri Dax body from the neck down. If you weren't a DS9 viewer, let me assure you this isn't one of those Samurai Surfer Batman ridiculous variant situations: in the show's final season Kira was sent to Cardassia, ironically to teach them the very terrorist techniques she'd used against them years earlier in the Bajoran resistance, and so her new Cardassian "allies" wouldn't see just a hated Bajoran, she was given a Starfleet field commission, and indeed wore the uniform for the duration of her mission. Nana Visitor is also roughly comparable in figure to Nicole deBoer, so it's not like when the statuesque Jadzia Dax got her head stuck on pixieish Nichelle Nichols' body for the "Tribbles" figure and wound up looking ridiculous.

Being the same body as the already-reviewed Ezri, all the same comments apply - the rendition of the late-DS9 Starfleet uniform is very good, with ribbed blue-grey shoulders over a matt black bodysuit, contrasting with glossy boots. I fancy Kira's getting a bit of a freebie in inheriting Nicole deBoer's cute backside, since Nana Visitor is a bit more lean than that, but Starfleet uniforms - especially these later woollen ones - tend to average out figures a bit anyway, so it's not much of a concern. As has been the case with previous figures I think the bars of colour around the wrists could stand out a little more, but Kira's command red is high visibility compared to Ezri and Jadzia's teal blue, so she suffers less.

Both hands are sculpted well, with realistic grips that are suitable for various accessories, the right a pistol grip, the left more open for tricorders and PADDs and so on, or just to rest the barrel of a rifle on. One thing I've noticed recently, having acquired more Star Trek figures, is the variation in skin tone - that's a compliment, not a complaint - and Kira's body is set apart from Ezri a little more by a rosier complexion. As usual her Starfleet rank pips are just painted on - and on her thin neck, they appear rather oversized - three gold for Commander, near enough the Starfleet equivalent to her Bajoran rank, which by then was Colonel.

The head is obviously a big deal given the re-use of the body. By the seventh season Kira had mellowed out quite a bit (though never completely), and had finally let her regular close-cropped hairstyle grow out, adopting a stylish sweep, with her hair pulled tightly back on the right side and falling straight down on the left - quite striking by Earth standards, though not unusually so for a Bajoran. It's a fine style, and not an easy task for a sculptor to capture, but the effort here is quite good, with careful sculpting of the hair's texture brought out by a largely effective drybrush pass. It's not 100% though, and the hairstyle does have the effect of making her face look wider than it really is, and consequently a bit large for her smaller-sized body.

The face itself is up to DS/AA's usual Star Trek standard, a very good likeness - there are some angles where it's a little more vague than others, but there's nothing worth being harshly critical of overall. All the facial features are painted cleanly, with especially good lips, although I'd say the eye could've used just a touch of shadow beneath them - Kira wasn't one for dramatic makeup as a rule, but (more as a matter of TV visuals than characterization) she sported some outlining around her eyes that made them look larger than they do here. The Bajoran nose is recreated accurately, with four distinct ridges, the topmost being larger than the other three, and without the extra cross-ridge that Ro Laren had, but which was dropped from the general Bajoran look afterwards. Kira also has her earring in place, and again it's accurate to the real thing in sculpt (I should know, I've got one) - but it's gold rather than silver for some reason. It's a minor error though, and most of the time glancing at her you'll just see the shine, not the shade.

She has the same articulation as Ezri, and indeed all of the DS9 figures: balljoint neck, swivel/pin shoulders, swivel biceps, pin elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, peg hips, pin knees, pin ankles. I'd still like to see swivel/pin hips, as have been used to good effect on recent Battlestar Galactica figures and would allow more useful action poses, but in general terms - and since it allows the cost-effective body reuse, which helps keep the DS9 line going - I'm not unhappy with the posing possibilities. All my Trek figures are on the same shelf - 18 now, not counting the "Tribbles" and TOS ones - so I'm not looking for dramatic stances, just subtle variations in posture as they stand around together, and these bodies allow plenty of that subtle fine-tuning.

Accessories are always the strong suit with this line, and Kira doesn't disappoint. As a Starfleet officer (temporarily, anyway) she gets Starfleet-issue Type-II (pistol) and Type-III (rifle) phasers, both the styles contemporary to her field commission, the phaser a sleeker, more curved update of the regular TNG hand phaser, the rifle one of two DS9 used in place of the ungainly old TNG ones. The specific accessory is identical in sculpt to the darker one the Sisko figure had, but painted in a shinier silver finish, more akin to the (accidentally) smaller modified one with the Jadzia figure. Kira also gets some of her native gear, with a Bajoran phaser pistol, tricorder, and PADD. The pistol has a much narrower grip/trigger distance than the Starfleet rifle, making it looser in the hand, but it can be reliably held so long as you don't jolt the figure about. The Bajoran gear is cast in gold - closer to bronze for the PADD - and matches up with the Bajoran rifle included with Odo. Him being anti-weapon (and Kira's lover), I'm sure he won't mind her borrowing it.

I'm a big fan of the DS9 action figure line - you can tell from the way I'm buying all of it without exception - but I'm a much bigger fan of Kira herself, and I wasn't ready to accept a half-hearted attempt; indeed, the press photo of the figure gave me some misgivings. I'm happy to say that in person she's up to the standard I'm looking for - not perfect, but very good - and now, although I'm hopeful of getting all sorts of uniform variants on many of the characters, if worse comes to worst for this line, then DS/AA just has to get a Quark figure done before the end for me to be content.

-- 03/11/09


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