I first encountered Star Trek in 1987, when I wandered into the living room one night to find my father watching an updated version of an old science fiction show he'd watched when he was a kid. It was called Star Trek: The Next Generation (ST:TNG, or just TNG), and the episode was "The Naked Now," the third episode of the series. I remember because I still have a vivid image of Levar Burton, as Geordi La Forge, holding a frozen corpse. That bizarre, creepy, and in hindsight, not so great episode was the beginning of a long obsession with all things Star Trek.
Ordinarily, I would now treat to an extended reminiscence about my childhood obsession with the show and the history of ST:TNG figures, but I'll spare you (for once) and link you to my review of Art Asylum's Nemesis Picard figure. You can also get some more background by reading Rustin's Captain Kirk review.
I was pleased when AA announced they would be releasing figures of the TNG bridge crew. These were the ones I was waiting for - the bridge crew of the Enterprise-D in their television-era uniforms. The first two figures released were Worf and Riker; next up will be Picard and Troi, then Data and Geordi. One hopes that Dr. Crusher and, yes, Wesley will follow. Each pair will be released with a plethora of exclusive variations.
But first up, we've got Worf. This is Worf as he appeared in the show's seventh season, when the wardrobe department had made the uniforms as streamlined and "cool" as they could get without a complete redesign. If you don't want Seventh Season Worf, you could always get Nemesis Worf (New Force Comics exclusive), Lt. Worf of the Klingon Empire (Diamond exclusive), decrepit old Governor Worf (Tower Records), or Regent Worf of the Mirror Universe (Action Figure Xpress). But where's DS9 Worf?
AA did a heck of a job on the packaging - it's huge, with some great graphics, but is it really necessary? Opening this package required a good deal of time, commitment, and tool use.
The sculpting on Worf is very good. The head sculpt is amazng, actually - it's dead-on, and AA really captured every little ridge on the Klingon's head. The rest of the figure seems a bit stiff somehow, design-wise... but that's arguably true to the show, which tended to be a bit stiff and staid itself. I've heard some complaints that the heads on AA's figures are a bit too large, but it looks fine to me. The one thing that does seem off is the communicator on Worf's chest; it looks a bit too small and is a little too far to Worf's right (Riker's is in the right place). I do like that the sash is a separate piece.
Worf stands just a smidgen over 8" tall, which means he's out of scale with the aforementioned Nemesis Picard and, I believe, Kirk. [He's not doing so hot with the "Trials & Tribble-ations" Deep Space 9 crew, either. --ed.] Which is definitely annoying and a bit confounding - AA and DST should have made an effort to make every one of their Star Trek figures in some kind of constant scale, but instead, there doesn't seem to be any comformity at all - every new release seems to only be true to itself. Fortunately, Worf's at least in scale with Riker; he's beefier and stands just a wee bit taller. Worf is just about the right size for the Aoshima Alien, too, for those who want some hot "Sci-Fi Property"-on-"Sci-Fi Property" action.
I'm wary of the paint.
The applications aren't bad; actually, they're very good on the face. Along the edges of the uniform, where the color meets the black, there's a little bleeding on both sides. But what bothers me more is the style of the paint; it's that flat, vaguely cheap-feeling paint that Palisades used on almost everything they made, and in my experience, this sort of paint tends to chip, rub off, and flake very easily. Be careful when storing these figures.
The articulation isn't awful, but it could have been better. The head is a balljoint, but it's hampered by the stiff plastic of the collar. The shoulders are balljoints, and there's a peg joint at the biceps, but it's one of those ugly bicep joins that look terrible when turned;
however, they're necessary for Worf to hold his phaser rifle. He has pin joints at the elbows, knees and ankles, a swivel at the waist and a rather disappointing T-crotch at the hips. However, I'll admit: how much posing does a Star Trek figure need? While Worf may be a fairly athletic guy, the Next Generation crew were never as active as, say, their occasional tag-team partners, the X-Men. If AA ever graces us with a TNG bridge set (and ten-to-one it will be an Enterprise-E set, unfortunately), Worf will look just fine standing at his station behind Picard.
Worf comes with a good number of accessories:
two alternate hands (fists, so he can pummel some jerk Kreel); a phaser and a phaser rifle; a datapad, and a "transporter" base. Sadly, Worf has no holes in his feet, so the base is a little pointless; I might have preferred another weapon. Also, while Worf can hold the phaser rifle very easily (and looks good doing it), the smaller phaser and the datapad won't stay in his hands (though you can jam the datapad into his left hand if you're careful).
Ultimately, for the $15 price tag, Worf is a pretty good deal. It's great to finally have well-sculpted, realistic ST:TNG figures from the television era, and I look forward to completing the bridge crew.
Photos courtesy of Bluesparrow. Visit his action figure blog at Neon Batman.
Think the line will last long enough for us to actually see Crusher? Discuss it over at The Loafing Lounge.