The Good: Collectible, Well-balanced, Good casting of the character
The Bad: A bit pricey, No special features
The Basics: Exceptionally detailed and well-balanced, the Hallmark limited edition Ilia Probe ornament is a surprise winner!
Sometimes, I manage to get a surprise by going out and looking around in the world. I had heard rumors, for example, of a limited edition Hallmark ornament from Star Trek in 2009 and by the time I had heard about it, they were long gone from the stores. And yet, the week before Christmas last year, I found myself at a Hallmark store in Syracuse, NY and what did I see staring back at me from the shelf? Yes, it was the Lieutenant Ilia Probe ornament that had not been there the other twenty times I had looked! And better than that, there were two, one in a mint box, the other in a banged up box (which made it perfect for taking out and hanging up on the tree!)
The Ilia Probe is a limited edition, exclusive Hallmark ornament, and it is not one of the usual mass produced ornaments from the series. Because of its limited nature, the best place to find it is on-line; trying to find it in stores is an almost impossible task given that they sold out at virtually every location that they were shipped to . . . last year. Though, every now and then there is the Christmas miracle of one or two being returned or resurfacing!
Hallmark Keepsake has a line of collectible ornaments from major franchises, like Star Trek. From the Star Trek line comes the Ilia Probe limited edition ornament. Fans of the Star Trek franchise will easily recall the Ilia Probe. After the Deltan officer was abducted by V'Ger in Star Trek: The Motion Picture (click here for my review of that film!), she was returned as an incredibly intricate machine. The gem on her throat - depicted on this ornament with a little plastic jewel - indicated the probe. Hallmark resurrects the character for the thirtieth anniversary of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and she looks great from her blank stare to the costume!
The Ilia Probe ornament recreates the replaced officer in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2009, is a fairly recognizable female character, at least for those who sat through Star Trek: The Motion Picture. She has somewhat tanned skin, faint rouge on the cheeks and a bald head. Her body is cast in a very neutral position, which is appropriate for the emotionless probe. Hallmark insisted on $15.00 for the ornament originally and it sold out surprisingly fast at that price. I write "surprisingly fast" because many Star Trek fans get collectibles to get signed and this is one which, unfortunately, fans will never be able to get autographed as actress Persis Khambatta who played Lt. Ilia has been dead for years. Given that the ornament was designed for fans, this is an ornament that appeals to collectors and the Ilia Probe is easily recognizable to them.
The Hallmark Ilia Probe ornament is made of a durable plastic and has her with her hands at her side and a blank expression on her face. In fact, this might be the best ornament where the eyes have a dead look to them! She is standing on a hexagon of V'Ger platform tile. Her feet are arranged in a solid stance and she looks good in her high heels.
The Ilia Probe is detailed exceptionally in the body, throat gem and on the costume. The Ilia Probe looks like she did in the movie, including a touch of color to her cheeks and the color of her eyes. She looks elegant and the red gem in her throat looks realistic in its detailing. Hallmark took a lot of care in decorating the Ilia Probe ornament.
As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Ilia Probe 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 is the Ilia Probe simply hangs. The Ilia Probe's gem may not be removed from her throat (easily and without leaving an awkward gap) and there are no additional accessories for the ornament.
If this ornament included the usual trading card, it was not present in the two I found on a lark.
As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Ilia Probe ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the Ilia Probe is very much a luxury; the Ilia Probe was not an essential character in the cinematic Star Trek by any means and any merchandising of the Ilia Probe is very much for the die-hard fans. The ornament has a brass hook loop embedded into the top center, slightly back, of the character's skull. From that hook, the Ilia Probe ornament hangs perfectly balanced. It is impressive 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 of that!). The Ilia Probe ornament is very limited and has already increased in price by about a third 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. Ilia Probe was short-produced, though the exact numbers have not been released, but it's pretty hard to meet the demand of all the Star Trek fans.
This is a great investment piece and it is already appreciating, so one suspects that even buying it now would be a good investment.
The Ilia Probe is surprisingly cool, which is something I did not expect from this ornament. It makes me glad I managed to snag two. Anyone looking to make a science fiction Christmas Tree might enjoy this one . . . good luck getting it out of the hands of the Trekkers who snagged them early!
For other Star Trek Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2010 U.S.S. Enterprise (Star Trek film refit)
For other ornament and toy reviews, please check out my index page!
© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.