Thursday, May 24, 2012

Art Asylum's Slight Improvement With The Borg Assimilation Line With The Klingon Borg!

The Good: Interesting concept, Pretty cool sculpt
The Bad: Looks like a comic book character, Awkward size, Difficult balance
The Basics: A mediocre concept figure that has an awkward scale, a bulky build and an overall ridiculous look, only an obsessive Klingon or Borg fan will likely enjoy the Art Asylum Klingon Borg action figure!

Following on my review of the Cardassian Borg figure (that’s here!), I figured I might as well get on reviews of the other two Borg Assimilation figures. Today, that takes the form of the Klingon Borg, 1 of 3.

For those unfamiliar with Star Trek, The Borg are the terrifyingly indifferent nemesis first introduced in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Q-Who?" (reviewed here!) and achieved such popularity that they were the principle villains of the eighth Star Trek franchise film Star Trek: First Contact (reviewed here!). The Klingons have been around since the first season of Star Trek, though who and what they are changed drastically between the original television series and the films. Most notably, they received a face lift with a much more menacing appearance for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (reviewed here!). That look continued until the variant looks were finally explained in the fourth season of Star Trek: Enterprise. The Klingons are easily the most popular culture in Star Trek fandom for clubs (outside the Federation), so choosing a Klingon for the Borg Assimilation line makes some sense. The Borg Assimilation line of Art Asylum action figures was a series of concept toys meant to enhance the Star Trek universe.

Interestingly, there was a Klingon Borg in the background of Star Trek: First Contact, but this is not a replica of that. That is worth mentioning because Art Asylum's claim to fame was using body scans to create the most true-to-life sculpts for their action figures. As a result, most of their figures are incredible replicas of characters from the Star Trek universe.

Alas, this is not one of those. No, this is a concept figure derived from the imagination of the production team at Art Asylum. As a result, it is very much its own piece and this has both its strengths and its serious drawbacks.

Let's start with what's cool about this figure. The first thing would have to be the idea. The Borg are cool. They take living things, rob them of their personality and plug them into machines (it's a great capitalist model!) in the pursuit of the ultimate technological advancement. The figure is essentially comprised of hard plastic with Borg armor and a Klingon head, which has Borg tubes protruding from the right side of it. The tubes make the Klingon Borg suffer from underarticulation of the head, but most fans will not mind this as the Borg are not known for their flexibility.

The sculpt for the Klingon face is decent, but it is more indicative of one of the problems with the figure than its quality; the face has the pretty typical Klingon scowl and instead of appearing dead, the organic eye (the left eye is covered with Borg technology) is piercing and . . . well, Klingon in a very fierce way that should be absent from a Borg character. The coloring for the Klingon skin is completely drained, which indicates how attentive to detail the production staff at Art Asylum was with their concept; the Borg drain their victims of pigment, so they all take on a more pale, zombified look. So the coloring being pale works perfectly for the figure.

Finally, the Borg armature for the right arm is cool-looking, if impractical. The Klingon Borg is endowed with a closed claw that resembles a scoop or a shovel. It looks neat, but it's hard to figure out what it is intended to do for the Collective as it seems like as pretty basic tool. If only the Borg were into eviscerating their enemies, this might make sense! The detailing on the arm is excellent and it looks like it could have come right off the set of First Contact. But more than anything, that arm is stylish and for the five people in the world who will actually open the figure up (c'mon, the majority of buyers are going to be collectors and it'll stay Mint In Package) the scoop looks good and can be used to bowl over adversaries when playing.

Finally, the Borg armor has the detailing and plating that makes it look quite good and very much like what has been established within the Star Trek universe as Borg technology. But that's about it.

The armor reveals the first serious problem with the Borg Assimilation line, though it is not as extreme for the Klingon Borg as it was for the Cardassian Borg. The problem here is scale. The scale of this figure sets it apart from every other Star Trek toy and collectible I've yet found. At seven inches tall, it is far too big for the Playmates 5" figure line or the Art Asylum 6" toy line and it is far too short for any company's 12" figure line. In short, the three figures in this set are designed to stand apart and that makes them hard to display for collectors and annoying to fans who just want to have a reasonable play experience.

But both of those problems are exacerbated by the size and lack of flexibility of the Klingon Borg. The Klingon Borg has ten points of articulation: neck, waist, both shoulders, elbows, knees and thigh socket. Unfortunately, the Borg tubes prevent some of that articulation from being actualized. That allows one to put it in a few very limited poses, almost every one of which will cause it to fall over. The Klingon Borg is poorly balanced, designed to stand in a limited number of poses, most of which are more Klingon - and dynamic - than Borg. Like the Cardassian Borg, the Klingon Borg is a bit buff, but this is not so bad for the Klingons as they are pretty well built. The problem here is more how extremely muscular the legs are. That makes the figure look like it comes from a comic book, not the Star Trek universe!

The Klingon Borg is pretty hard to find these days, but when you do, it tends to be cheap because it seems Star Trek fans tend to like accuracy and replication of what they've seen more than variations conceptualized intending to flesh out the universe they love. Also, despite probable disinterest from younger children, the Borg Assimilation Klingon comes with no accessories that could be swallowed, making it pretty safe to leave lying around (again, for those who take it out of the package).

But it's not worth it. This was one of Art Asylum's few Star Trek disappointments. Interesting concept, poor execution. Sigh.

For other Borg merchandise, be sure to visit my reviews of:
Borg Head statue
Locutus Of Borg Playmates action figure
2000 Borg Cube Hallmark ornament


For other toy reviews, be sure to visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the toy reviews I have written!

© 2012, 2007 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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