Friday, February 18, 2011

Two Versions, One Figure: The Canadian Repack Of Ambassador K'Ehleyr Is Identical, Save A Pog!

The Good: Good character, Generally good accessories, Good balance
The Bad: Light on coloring details/Accessory coloring for some releases.
The Basics: Well balanced and well accessorized (as long as one gets the figure with the correct color accessories), K'Ehleyr is a great addition to anyone's Star Trek figure collection!

As the second wave of Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures from Playmates rolled out in 1993, there were several reasons for fans of the series and action figures to be excited. First, the toys were doing some real interesting characters who were recurring guest stars and memorable alternate personas of the main cast. Second, the figures focused on more female characters. While the first wave had only a single female from the series, the second wave had five, which was better proportionally. The convergence of highly sought-after recurring guest stars and female characters was exemplified by the action figure of Ambassador K'Ehleyr, the Federation ambassador to the Klingon empire seen in only two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She truly left her mark, though!

The Ambassador K'Ehleyr figure is a good figure, though of the four possible outfits for the character, this costume for the sculpt is a pretty obscure one. It was released twice, at least in Canada, in order to promote both the second line of figures (Playmates's second wave of Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures was released in 1993 and included twenty-three figures, several of which were re-released in a later line in Canada where the only difference was that the trading card that came with the twenty-three line was replaced with a SkyCap (a pog). This K'Ehleyr figure with the pog, then, is absolutely identical to the initial release save for the presence of the SkyCap. For fans of the Playmates Star Trek line, there was only one K'Ehleyr sculpt, though oddly there are at least two permutations on the colors of accessories she came with.


The Star Trek: The Next Generation 1993 Collection of action figures contained twenty-three figures and it broadened the line away from the main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation and supplemented the characters with memorable guest stars and aliens. The second series of figures contained a K'Ehleyr "Klingon Ambassador To The Federation" (Playmates has that mixed up, actually) figure which was quickly bought up and sought by collectors. The entire run of these figures was overproduced, but still the K'Ehleyr figure seems to have retained her value on the secondary market.

The Ambassador K'Ehleyr figure is the half-Klingon ambassador as she appeared the second season episode "The Emissary" (reviewed here!). K'Ehleyr here is dressed in the asymmetrical workout catsuit she was in in the holodeck scenes in "The Emissary." She has a distinctly feminine shape - nothing that actress Suzie Plakson wore as K'Ehleyr, save the Klingon armor, left her character without her feminine shape highlighted - and an obviously Klingon face. Her hands are molded to be able to carry her accessories and she looks good in her black, gray and red outfit.

Standing four and one-half inches tall, this is a decent likeness of K'Ehleyr immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with her left fingers extended straight, but cupped so she has something like a claw which allows her to hold her accessories. Her right hand is molded in more of a closed grip for holding things like her Klingon sword. There is an impressive level of uniform detailing, which is cool because the outfit is largely made up of black and red squares through the torso and left leg and this looks good for that. K'Ehleyr's face is molded in a determined expression, though they gave her a slight smile to the molding of her lips. Her face possesses pretty decent amounts of details, from her purple lips, dark eyes and the shading on the forehead ridges. Still the light flesh tones of K'Ehleyr lack any subtlety or shading. The figure includes such important details as K'Ehleyr's shoulder length hair and forehead crests which are both molded in plastic and given painting details for some realism.

The paint job is excellent outside the lack of color in the cheeks. Details like the knee guard on K'Ehleyr's left knee are good, but the skin tones are monolithic tan and lack any shading or subtlety. The uniform is appropriately colored and the figure looks awesome in that respect. The odd choice of costume for the K'Ehleyr figure is easily overlooked when one sees the quality of the detailing on the costume they did!


Ambassador K'Ehleyr comes with four accessories, plus a pog: A spiked glove, a life support mask, a Ceremonial Klingon sword, and an action base shaped like a Klingon symbol. That Ambassador K'Ehleyr comes with very few accessories as she used very little equipment in "The Emissary" and most of it was on the holodeck. In fact, the only other accessory K'Ehleyr could have come with that would have worked would have been the tube she arrived on the Enterprise in! The Action base is just enough to support K'Ehleyr and is a Klingon Empire symbol made of red and yellow plastic that is ample for support. Near the top of the spike in the symbol is a peg which fits into the hole in either of K'Ehleyr's feet!

The Life Support Mask slips over K'Ehleyr's head and looks just like it did on the show, effectively obscuring her head ridges while allowing her eyes to be seen through the mask. The head ridges are not entirely obscured, but the mask looks proportionally correct. It is essentially a ring with a face plate and the face plate has detailing for buttons and breathing apparati. The mask has additional paint details, which are basically black highlights on the silver-gray plastic.

The ceremonial Klingon sword fits in K'Ehleyr's right hand and is a pretty faithful replica of the sword she used on the holodeck. It is a two and three-eighths inch long sword with notches in the blade which make it look wicked and K'Ehleyr ready for action when it is placed in her hand.

The spiked glove fits only K'Ehleyr's left hand and it is a very good looking accessory for this figure and completes the outfit the way it was presented in the first episode K'Ehleyr was in. The spiked glove was mostly used for defense and it is adequately detailed for fans of the series and the action figure. However, it lacks painting details, which would have been nice. The glove was only black and sliver in the show and that this lacks black highlights is disappointing.

That said, there is something any buyer of a K'Ehleyr figure ought to look for and that is the accessory coloring. K'Ehleyr appears to have been released with at least two different color molds of her accessories. The mask is always - so far as I have found - silver. However, the sword and glove in some of the figures comes molded in a terribly inappropriate and tacky lavender colored plastic which is just horrible.

The original release of the K'Ehleyr figure features an exclusive SkyBox trading card with the ambassador's head on a blue "warp field" background. The Canadian release of the 1993 line of Playmates action figures also comes with a SkyBox SkyCap pog unique to the action figures. The K'Ehleyr pog features a small headshot of K'Ehleyr with a starfield behind it. The back of the pog simply has a checklist and notes on how to play with pogs. Interestingly, the repackage that used the SkyCap often had multiple cards in the bag behind the SkyCap, so it can often save collectors money to pick up the figures that way for the multiple cards!


K'Ehleyr helped continue a high level of quality from Playmates and she was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Molded in an action pose that makes her look like she is ready to spring into action, this is a wonderful sculpt of K'Ehleyr. K'Ehleyr is endowed with twelve points of articulation: knees, groin socket, biceps, elbows, shoulders, neck, and waist. All of the joints, save the elbows, are simple swivel joints. As a result, the neck turns left to right, for example, but the head cannot nod. Similarly, the shoulders are not ball and socket joints and only rotate. Still, Playmates dealt with this limitation by having a swivel joint in the bicep, that allows everything below to turn and offers real decent posability!

Moreover, for use with actual play, K'Ehleyr may bend or extend at the elbows, which offers a greater amount of movement potential making him one of the more realistic Star Trek action figures to play with (for those who actually play with these toys!). K'Ehleyr is one of the few female Star Trek figures who is posed to look like she is ready to DO something and that is a nice touch.

On her base, K'Ehleyr is quite stable, making her a great figure for display as well as play.


Playmates mass produced the first few waves of Star Trek: The Next Generation figures, so this K'Ehleyr is virtually worthless. Found loose for less than a dollar these days, this K'Ehleyr can often be found for less than $5.00 (which was even less than its original issue price in 1993!). Playmates flooded the market with these figures and they are almost impossible to use as investment pieces.

That said, at least Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of her right foot. 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 17,500 figures out there (my K'Ehleyr is #017330!).


This K'Ehleyr is awesome and it is only the ridiculously high standards I have for my toys that makes me think it is not a perfect figure. This is close, but not quite there.

For other Playmates Star Trek franchise action figures and toys, please check out my reviews of:
Vina The Orion Slave
Dr. McCoy In Dress Uniform
Generations Klingon Bird Of Prey


For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my index page for a complete listing of toy reviews I have produced!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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