Thursday, April 19, 2012

Often Overlooked, Over Accessorized, Morn Makes For A Cool First-Run Deep Space Nine Figure!

The Good: Excellent sculpt, Good coloring, Decent variety of accessories, Fairly limited
The Bad: Accessory coloring, Vital accessory does not fit in hands.
The Basics: With great balance, awesome detailing and above-average poseability, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Morn action figure is a real winner!

There are many things I pride myself on, or have in the past, and one of them which is probably evident to many who read my reviews is that I'm an Alpha Geek. Sure, I might be a Beta in mainstream society (Alphas go off and fight the wars, Beta's stay home with the ladies *wink, wink* *nudge, nudge*), but in the Science Fiction Geek subculture, I'm an Alpha. And, periodically, to assert my status among my fellow geeks (usually at Star Trek conventions), I am known to stump my colleagues with trivia questions. Like, for instance, "Who were the first three characters (not actors, characters), to appear in exactly three Star Trek franchise series'?" Even with the hint "all three appear in the same episode to get this status" as a clue, most of my peers remain stumped. Yeah, we're a fun little subculture . . . Anyway, one of the three is Morn!

Morn, for those not versed on their Star Trek lore is a barfly at Quark's bar seen in almost every single episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!). Following the darkness of the main Dominion War plot, in the sixth season, the silent character was given an episode of his own, a caper, called "Who Mourns For Morn?" It was cute and charming, but was not one of the all-time best episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. But because of his omnipresent nature on the space station, it is rather unsurprising that Morn was part of the first wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures. It is equally unsurprising that fans of the series were pretty much the only ones to buy up these figures. However, given that this was one of the shortpacked figures in the first assortment, this was not a problem. Ever since, Morn, as unlikely as he may seem, has been steadily increasing in value on the secondary market.


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1995 Collection of action figures contained nine figures and it focused on the primary command crew of space station Deep Space Nine, along with the alien bartender, Quark, and two other aliens. Morn was one of those two other aliens that helped the line avoid the monotony of a bunch of uniformed officers. Morn was actually very popular, despite the fact that the character did nothing on the show, save walk in the background and sit at the bar drinking (though, in later seasons there was a running joke that Morn would talk everyone's ear off . . . off camera). Morn was shortpacked in this assortment and he was never been recast or re-released, so the figure has generally maintained its value in the secondary market. Like the rest of the figures in this assortment, it features a SkyBox trading card exclusive to the action figure, which made it hunted by trading card collectors as well.

The Morn figure is the Lurian trader as he appeared every time he was seen on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, as well as in the background of episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager. Morn is padded vest and his thick wool pants, as well as the heavy gloves he is always seen wearing. The alien has a barrel-shaped frame and an elongated head with no neck. The outfit is colored appropriately and what is even more surprising is the quality of the coloring for the facial features.

Standing four and three-quarters inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Morn immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with his hands ready to hold most of his accessories in a half-closed position. His legs have a very neutral stance, so this figure stands up and looks like he is ready to be displayed, as opposed to slouching along the corridors of Deep Space Nine doing whatever Morn does when he isn't drinking. Even so, Morn has good balance on or off his stand. There is a decent level of uniform detailing and while the legs of the figure are very simple, the vest and arms are quite intricate. The vest is a copper color with a purple-brown support running up the front and down the back of the figure. The gloves have a star symbol, which may be a Lurian emblem, and the detailing is significantly intricate enough that the gloves have segments that look like knuckles!

Morn's face is molded in his unmoving, trademark frown that makes him look like a demented gray grinch. He has beady brown eyes with white pupils and along the chin, he has appropriate wrinkles and waddle which looks exceptional from the molding and the coloring support detailing is great as well!

The paint job is as good as one could expect given the figure is based upon a character who is defined by a latex mask. The skin tones are gray and lack any shading or subtlety. Even so, there are highlights in a few of the wrinkles and along the center of his skull, which gives the figure the appearance of realistic depth (the scale precludes putting Morn's whiskers on it). The figure does have several bumps on his head and the casting is great with decent coloring.


Morn comes with seven accessories, including the base, most of which were created specifically for this figure. Given that, at the time that this action figure was made, Morn was only seen with a drink in his hand, it is unsurprising that he comes with a glass. What is surprising is that this is one accessory he cannot hold! Morn comes with a drink glass, a laser gun, two Dabo dice, a strip of gold pressed latinum, a slip of gold pressed latinum and the base. The Action base is a simple purple circle which is an inch and three-eighths in diameter and features the same four-pointed star shape which is on Morn's gloves. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Morn's feet! When Morn stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance.

The glass is the only accessory based upon a prop morn was seen with in the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and it is a rectilinear plastic drinking vessel 3/4" tall and 1/8" on each side at the base. It is open at the top, so this could actually hold a liquid, though, given that it is not clear, it seems pointless to do so. Cast in a thick orange plastic, this seems unbreakable and it would be an ideal accessory for Morn if he could hold it in either hand. As it is, he may precariously balance the glass between both of his hands, but it remains very likely that it will just fall out of his grip.

The gun is a strange accessory, but is uniquely made to fit Morn's right hand. This 3/4" long by 1/2" tall wraparound blaster has a grip that Morn holds . . . and looks more ridiculous than menacing brandishing because of the coloring of the gun. The weapon's front curved surface is covered in square bumps which one assumes are supposed to be firing diodes, but a lot of imagination goes into making this accessory seem anything other than ridiculous.

Like the drinking glass, the two Dabo dice cannot fit into Morn's hands and they actually are about the size of Morn's hand each! The two four-sided dice are covered in alien writing and look magnificently molded like the ones on the show, but given the scale, they are impractical for either use with the figure or role-play with those wanting to pretend to play Dabo.

As for the gold pressed latinum accessories, these two plastic chips are based upon the Ferengi currency shown in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The larger is a bar, while the smaller is a slip and both are fairly nondescript pieces of plastic less than an inch long with an etched surface down the middle which resembles Ferengi script. These look much like the ones on the show, save that they are bright orange!

This is the unfortunate aspect of all six of Morn's accessories; they are molded in a terribly unrealistic neon orange plastic which looks absolutely terrible. Clearly Playmates went through some effort to sculpt the accessories realistically, but the coloring guts them of any sense of realism. Morn is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is a bit of a drawback for the overall figure.

Even so, Playmates included a trading card unique to the figure from SkyBox which attracted trading card collectors to this figure in addition to toy collectors. The trading card has a shot of Morn with a black starfield behind him (this makes for a great card to get signed by actor Mark Allan Shepherd, who played Morn all seven years!). The back has information on Morn which the series would later amend, but the thought is a good one and the trading card looks excellent.


Morn continued a generally high level quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Morn is appropriately stiff and, in fact, in the effort to make the figure appear more playable, Playmates made a rather ridiculous joint at the neck (this turns only about five degrees in any direction because of the length of Morn's chin and gullet. Morn is endowed with twelve points of articulation: knees, groin socket, biceps, elbows, shoulders, neck, and waist. All of the joints, save the elbows and knees, are simple swivel joints. As a result, the neck turns left to right (in its very limited range of motion), 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 poseability!

Moreover, for use with actual play, Morn 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!).

On his base, Morn is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses (mine is currently standing one-footed, arms up in the air looking like he's having quite a bit of fun).


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for the first wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures, and with Morn appearing only one per case (on average), he was harder to find and is a bit more limited than the command crew figures. As well, trading card collectors helped buy these figures up because of the collectible card and fans are likely to find this figure a little harder to find now, with the average price being about triple what it originally sold for when found now on the secondary market.

That said, at least Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of his 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 12000 figures out there (my Morn is #011584!).


The Morn figure is an excellent figure of an obscure character from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and it would be a perfect figure if only the accessories were better colored and would actually fit in Morn's grasp!

For other Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures from the original 1993 collection, please check out my reviews of:
Security Chief Odo
Commander Benjamin Sisko
Gul Dukat
Dr. Julian Bashir
Major Kira Nerys
Chief Miles O'Brien


For other toy reviews, please check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the toys I have reviewed!

© 2012, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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