Monday, December 5, 2011

Hallmark Gets It Absolutely Right The Perfect U.S.S. Defiant Ornament!

The Good: GREAT sculpt and detailing, Perfect balance, Great lighting effect, Seems more limited
The Bad: None!
The Basics: A perfect Hallmark Keepsake Star Trek ornament, the U.S.S. Defiant has perfect balance, light effects and enduring value, making it an ornament to get while you can!

So, as I prepare to leave to visit family for the holidays and wishing I could just drive out to see my new love instead, I am dropping one last review for the day. I am capping this little section of retro ornament reviews off with the best I am reviewing for now, the Star Trek ornament that I am happy to rate as perfect. Fans of my many reviews will find it comes as no real surprise that my perfect Star Trek ornament is from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And the ornament is the U.S.S. Defiant!

For those unfamiliar with the U.S.S. Defiant, this was one of the defining starships of Star Trek: The Next Generation era in the Star Trek franchise. Introduced in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Search" (reviewed here!), the U.S.S. Defiant instantly made an impression as the only Federation starship with a cloaking device. As well, the Defiant was an anomaly for a Federation starship; it is unabashedly a warship! Unlike other Federation ships, this one foregoes the saucer/engineering hull/warp nacelle design in favor of a sleek, compact starship that is maneuverable, fast, powerful and is one of the most distinctive starships in the Star Trek universe! The starship captured the imagination of fans and was one that made for an obvious choice from Hallmark and Hallmark got the sculpt perfectly!


The "U.S.S. Defiant" ornament faithfully recreates the dangerous Federation starship in solid gray plastic. The ornament, released in 1997, is a masterwork in terms of the amount of surface details and coloring. Measuring four and five-eighths inches long, three and five-eighth inches wide and barely and three-quarters inches tall, the U.S.S. Defiant ornament is one of the essential Star Trek ships and most fans of the ship and the franchise quickly realized that $24.00 was a steal for the ship, especially given the quality of this ornament.

The Hallmark "U.S.S. Defiant" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the starship on its own, as is typical for Hallmark's starship line of Star Trek ornaments. Like most previous Star Trek ornament releases, this one has the date painted on it, in this case on the bottom dome that houses the escort vessel's shuttlepod. This ornament plugs into the standard light strand of Christmas lights in order to light up.

The U.S.S. Defiant is detailed impressively. So, in addition to the warp nacelles and deflector dish being molded in different colored plastic (in this case blue and red) on the edge of the primary sensor array are pinprick holes representing a few of the windows on the battleship! As well, the U.S.S. Defiant has amazing surface paint detailing, like the ablative armor panels and sensor discs being painted right onto the surface of the starship. The detail work is actually incredible!

As well, the U.S.S. Defiant has a number of paint details that are faithfully recreated on the ornament. The starship - like most Federation vessels - has call numbers, the ship's name and such painted on. Hallmark accurately recreates every racing stripe and paint detail on the surface of the U.S.S. Defiant on this ornament!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the "U.S.S. Defiant" has a light function. Fans of the ornaments might be a little disappointed that this ornament has a light function, but no audio one. Many of the Star Trek ornaments both light up and play a sound clip. The "U.S.S. Defiant" does not and I think that's fine because I find the audio functions wear out the intrigue quicker than people think. It does, however, have a five inch cord that is attached completely to the underside of the ornament. This green electric cord is embedded into the bottom aft section and it allows the ornament to be plugged into a Christmas light strand.

Plugging the ornament in (one needs to remove a single light bulb from the strand, then slide the male end from the ornament into the female end on the strand) activates the light effect on the "U.S.S. Defiant." The light effects on this starship ornament are perfect, in part because the U.S.S. Defiant is not the most lit Federation ship we see of the franchise. Hallmark gets the light effect absolutely right in that the impulse drive lights, forward and aft warp ports, and main deflector dish all light up. As well, there are blinking aft running lights and white lights that come through the forward window holes, making this an incredibly realistic version of the Defiant. In fact, the only part that is not lit that would have to be to make this perfectly accurate is the bridge dome and it cannot be (see balance).

The light effects help establish this as a perfectly designed Star Trek ornament!


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "U.S.S. Defiant" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the "U.S.S. Defiant" ornament is an essential piece. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top of the bridge dome. As a result, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, hangs perfectly balanced from that loop.

As well, when plugged in to activate the light effects, the Defiant remains perfectly level, making it one of the few Star Trek ornaments to have the same sense of balance plugged in as it has simply hung!


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all of the major starships from the franchise- as well as some real minor ones - and they have all been more mass produced than that first one. The "U.S.S. Defiant" ornament was a commercial draw; fans bought it and some of the general public invested in it as well. The result was that it was gobbled up rapidly and this one seems to have been relatively less produced than many of the others, so it remains one of the harder ones to find on the secondary market. It has been years since I have seen a Defiant ornament at lest than the original issue price, with many dealers selling the small craft at $50 or more! In other words, this was a success for Hallmark and a decent investment for collectors.


Fans of the Star Trek franchise, the Federation and the U.S.S. Defiant are likely to be excited by this starship ornament and I can think of no better way to end (for now) my Hallmark ornament reviews than declaring the Defiant a perfect ornament and wishing all a happy holiday!

For other Star Trek ship ornaments from Hallmark, please check out my reviews of:
2011 U.S.S. Defiant (New York Comic Con Exclusive)
2011 Romulan Bird Of Prey
2010 U.S.S. Enterprise (Star Trek refit)
2009 Klingon Battlecruiser
2008 U.S.S. Reliant
2006 U.S.S. Enterprise (reissue)
2005 U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A
2003 Scorpion Attack Craft
2001 Deep Space Nine
2000 Borg Cube
1999 Runabout Rio Grande
1998 U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E
1995 Romulan Warbird
1994 Klingon Bird Of Prey
1993 U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D
1992 Shuttlecraft Galileo


For other ornament reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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