The Good: Nice sculpt
The Bad: Tips over insanely easily, Limited posability, Mediocre accessories
The Basics: Vina As Orion Animal Woman was a good idea, poorly executed as an action figure by Playmates for the 30th Anniversary of Trek.
Last year, as audiences flocked to see J.J. Abrams' vision of Star Trek (reviewed here!) on the big screen, I was home reviewing things. Having managed to get into a screening weeks ago, my wife and I are staying home and watching how it all started instead. This is convenient because we are also going through a number of boxes of my old swag and figuring out what to keep and what to sell off on the yard. As we go through the various boxes of Star Trek merchandise, she frequently stops and asks what things are or why I have them. One of the ones that got her attention was the action figure of Vina as an Orion Animal Woman. I suspect she was especially miffed that I have two (the classic Playmates figure as well as the newer Art Asylum recasting). I suspect some people going in to see the new Star Trek will be equally miffed over the green woman in it, so here's a public service guide to Orion Slave Women.
Back when Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek, he had a vision that was cerebral and intriguing that included aliens with giant heads using telepathic powers to keep humans enslaved. In manipulating the heroic Captain Pike and his crew, the Talosians tried to tempt Pike with the lone woman on their planet, Vina. Vina assumed several forms as a result of Talosian mental interference. One of them was the form of an Orion Animal Woman, a green-skinned alien with such potent sexual powers that it is thought no man can resist them. Gotta love Gene Roddenberry's vision! In celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of Star Trek, Playmates Toys made a very limited series of action figures just focusing on the original pilot episode, "The Cage" and Vinas As Orion Animal Woman was one of the figures in that line.
The Star Trek 30th Anniversary "The Cage" Collection of action figures contained only four figures and it was very much designed for the die-hard fans of classic Star Trek. The hardest figure in the line to find was the Vina As Orion Animal Woman, which was gobbled up by fans additionally because she is essentially a green alien bellydancer who is essentially an average man's wet dream. Immortalized in plastic, the figure was quickly bought up by fans and collectors and remains tough to find on the secondary market even today. The thing is, out of the package, this Vina is remarkably mediocre and average-at-best.
The Vina figure is the incarnation of Vina as an Orion Animal Woman, from one crucial scene from "The Cage" (click here for the review!). Vina is dressed, more or less, in the scanty dancing outfit from the pilot episode and she is cast in a pose that implies dancing.
Standing four and one-half inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Vina As Orion Animal Woman immortalized in plastic, until one looks closer at the outfit. The character is molded with her fingers extended straight, so Vina looks like she is ready to seduce a willing companion with a light tough. Unfortunately, the costuming detail is terrible. First, Vina's outfit was not gold, it was a darker shade of green, so the green woman looked like she was just covered in moss. This figure has a gold outfit on. As well, there was barely any outfit to be considered; the costume designer made a brilliant outfit that implied revealing far more than it showed by having many holes in the outfit through which skin could be seen. On this figure, the outfit has circles in it, which are filled with gold and do none of the work of the original outfit in that regard!
Vina's face is molded in a smiling expression and it lacks much in the way of detail, though the lips are colored red, the olive flesh tones of Vina lack any subtlety or shading. The figure includes such important details as Vina's bright blue eyes and painted silver fingernails. Still, the face and hair lack any sense of realistic toning. Her eyes are appropriately blue and her pupils are actually black, a fixing of a manufacturing problem that had been plaguing the figure line for years!
The paint job is mediocre at best. The skin tones are monolithic green and lack any shading or subtlety. Still, that Playmates included painted toenails is pretty cool and adds a level of detail most fans will appreciate even if they are let down on the costuming problems.
Vina comes with only three accessories, plus a trading card: A fountain, a torch and an action base shaped like a delta symbol badge. That Vina comes with almost no equipment makes sense as her role was brief and used very little in the way of accouterments. The Action base is more or less enough to support Vina and is a delta shield symbol with the big words Star Trek molded across it. The bottom left of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in Vina's right foot!
The fountain is a sturdy two and one-quarter inch tall three layered fountain that looks like one from in "The Cage" that Vina danced near. It is essentially a series of three bowls with a central column going through them and ending in a base at the bottom that makes it untippable. It's a nice idea and it gives Vina something to dance around, one supposes.
There is also a torch, a ridiculous-looking one and three-quarter piece of plastic that is a cone that has a flame-shaped tip at the widest point. It does not fit in either of Vina's hands. Unfortunately both of these accessories are molded in a nauseating puke orange plastic that is utterly lacking in realistic coloring detail. Given that she cannot hold either, Vina is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is tough to get excited about this. One wishes Playmates had just made the figure better, with more realistic detailing.
The 30th Anniversary line of Playmates action figures also comes with a very cool SkyBox trading card unique to the action figures. The Vina As Orion Animal Woman card features a big headshot of Vina and is an oversized card that annoyed collectors at the time, but seems distinctive now. The back of the card has all sorts of vital information on Vina and the figure is highly sought by card collectors who collected the cards and disposed of the figures.
Vina As Orion Animal Woman was part of a bit of a degradation in the Star Trek action figure line and she let down a lot of collectors who had been big fans of the line. Vina As Orion Animal Woman is endowed with only five points of articulation: groin socket, shoulders, and neck, and the neck is a pretty worthless joint. All of the joints are simple swivel joints. As a result, the neck turns left to right, for example, but the head cannot nod. At least, the neck could, if it could turn. Given that the hair is molded down on the Vina figure, the head cannot turn more than five degrees! As well, the shoulders are not ball and socket joints and only rotate. The result is a ridiculously inarticulated figure, especially by Playmates standards.
On her base, Vina is also unstable. This figure tips over easier than most any other Star Trek figure and her balance is quite poor, exacerbated perhaps by her lack of flexibility. This is a poor toy for play and her tippability makes her a poor figure for display as well.
Playmates mass produced the first few waves of Star Trek figures, but by the time they got to the 30th Anniversary, they were much more conservative with their production. As a result, this Vina figure is actually fairly coveted and has increased in value over the years. This Vina can not often be found for less than $15.00, so it was a strong investment for those who found them back in the day. Still, this is not the most limited Star Trek figure Playmates ever produced.
That said, at least Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number, though Vina's dainty feet necessitated the number being printed on a sticker on the box. In the attempt to make them appear limited, they had numbers stamped on them, though one has to seriously wonder how limited something should be considered when there are at least 24,000 figures out there (my Vina is #023929!).
This Vina is a subpar sculpt of an interesting concept figure. She could have been better and for those looking for a better Vina, there is the more articulated Art Asylum figure and that is much more worthy of one's time and attention than this one.
For other Star Trek toys from Playmates, please check out my reviews of:
The Keeper Talosian figure
Dr. McCoy In Dress Uniform figure
U.S.S. Enterprise with lights and sounds
For other toy reviews, please visit my index page!
© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.