Tuesday, October 5, 2010

KHAN! A Great Character, A Mediocre Hallmark Ornament!

The Good: Collectible, Fair casting of the character, Balance is fine
The Bad: No special features, Overproduced, Underdetailed, Comparatively expensive.
The Basics: I kick off reviewing Star Trek character ornaments with Khan, a great villain, but a poorly rendered Hallmark ornament!

When Hallmark Ornament Preview Weekend exploded with new Christmas ornaments for collectors and Christmas enthusiasts everywhere back in July, I began playing catch-up with a few ornaments from prior years. One of the Star Trek ornaments that I am actually surprised I have not reviewed before now is the Khan Hallmark ornament.

The Khan is a Hallmark ornament released in 2005 as part of the anniversary for Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan. Despite that, the Khan ornament is actually a representation of the classic Khan from the original series Star Trek, Oddly, despite not being at all limited edition, it is not one of the usual ornaments considered # in a series. Instead, this is outside the regular numbering. To date, it is pretty easy to find in the secondary market because of how unenthusiastic the response was to the ornament's release.

Hallmark Keepsake has a line of collectible ornaments from major franchises, like Star Trek. From the Star Trek line comes the Khan ornament. Fans of the Star Trek franchise will easily recall Khan as he is often considered one of the best villains of the franchise. Reawakened by a chance meeting with the Enterprise in the episode “Space Seed” (click here for my review!), the genetically-enhanced human attempted to take over the Enterprise. Thwarted by the combined efforts of Kirk and Spock, Khan was exiled until the motion picture franchise returned him due to a counting error on the part of Chekov. Hallmark resurrected the character for the ornament line, hoping his popularity would sell their mediocre rendering! Sadly, it didn't largely happen for them.


The Khan ornament recreates the villain with superior genes in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2005, is a fairly recognizable male character, though this is nowhere near as good as it ought to have been. He has somewhat tanned skin, not nearly as dark as Ricardo Montalban’s distinctive character had in the episode and no good surface details painted on. His body is cast in a very neutral position, though his hands are in fists and his expression is a fairly angry one. Hallmark insisted on $17.95 for the ornament originally and it languished because most fans were disappointed with the sculpt. Given that the ornament was designed for fans, this is an ornament that appeals to collectors and while the Khan ornament is recognizable to them, it is only in context. Otherwise, Khan would appear to be a disturbingly pale Native American figurine.

The Hallmark Khan ornament is made of a durable plastic and he has his hands at his side and a blank expression on her face, though his eyebrows imply a scowl that is not quite cast into the lips. The ornament's eyes are brown with black pupils and they lack a realistic sheen to them. Khan's feet are molded into a very neutral position.

The Khan ornament is detailed poorly in the body and costume. Hallmark seems to have rushed making this ornament as the buttons on Khan's red outfit are not painted well on mine and they could not be bothered with molding it to have a textured look (the actual costume has a pillowy appearance). Instead, Khan here is muscular, menacing and only his belt buckle looks like it was well detailed, though even there mine has paint that was slightly chipped off.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Khan ornament could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament, a low-cost (comparatively) option for those who might not want to shell out for the starship series of Star Trek ornaments. This Khan ornament simply hangs and there are no additional accessories for the ornament.

By 2005, though, Hallmark Ornaments from the Star Trek line included a trading card (more like a gift card) and this does have that, featuring the picture from the box on a little cardboard card.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Khan ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, Khan is very much unnecessary. The ornament has a brass hook loop embedded into the top center, slightly back, of the character's skull. From that hook, the Khan ornament hangs fairly well. The feet hang slightly behind the chest as a result of the hook placement, but that may be compensated for with the hook one uses to attach it to the tree. The balance is good, then and the ornament sways when rocked, but otherwise sits stable in the right position!


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for my review!). The Khan ornament is a ridiculously common ornament that may often be found for less than its original issue price in the secondary market. At this point in the Star Trek ornament collections, the primary characters have all been done and the popular secondary characters are being explored. Khan was overproduced and with the death of Ricardo Montalban, who is no longer signing them at conventions, the value has dropped some.

This is a poor investment piece and it is unlikely it will appreciate in value.


The Khan Christmas ornament is a surprisingly poor outing from Hallmark Keepsake and those looking to make the essential Star Trek Christmas tree will likely be willing to pass this one by because of its poor detailing.

For reviews of other Star Trek Hallmark ornaments and ornaments of characters, please check out:
1999 Hallmark Gold Crown U.S.S. Enterprise blown glass ornament
2009 "The Menagerie" Ornament
2010 "Defender Of Justice" Iron Man 2 Ornament


For other ornament reviews, please check out my index page!

© 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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