Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Incredibly Detailed, But Still Tragically Underlit, The Hallmark U.S.S. Voyager Ornament Is A Mixed Bag!

The Good: GREAT sculpt and detailing, Decent balance, Seems fairly limited
The Bad: Lighting effect is not as robust as one might hope.
The Basics: Hallmark Keepsake’s first Star Trek: Voyager ornament accurately recreates the U.S.S. Voyager in sculpt and coloring, but is not the brightest ornament on the strand for the light effect.

As I am now rewatching and reviewing Star Trek: Voyager, it seems perfectly appropriate to me that I would unearth my Star Trek: Voyager holiday ornament! I was actually surprised to discover that I had not yet reviewed this ornament (when I used to write for another website, I thought I had reviewed them all!). And yet, I missed the U.S.S. Voyager ornament!

For those unfamiliar with the U.S.S. Voyager, this was one of the defining starships of Star Trek: The Next Generation era in the Star Trek franchise. Introduced in the Star Trek: Voyager pilot "Caretaker" (reviewed here!), the U.S.S. Voyager was a brand new class of starship that returned to a more traditional design (as opposed to the ships in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, which ran concurrently) and featured an elongated saucer section. Given that it was the title ship of Star Trek: Voyager (reviewed here!), it was a somewhat obvious choice from Hallmark to make for a starship ornament and Hallmark got the sculpt perfect, but not quite all the light effects it ought to have!


The "U.S.S. Voyager" ornament faithfully recreates the dangerous Federation starship in solid gray plastic. The ornament, released in 1996, is a masterpiece of details pertaining to the sculpt and coloring. Measuring five and one-quarter inches long, two and three-sixteenths inches wide and barely one and an eighth inches tall, the U.S.S. Voyager 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 good deal for the ship, even though it does not have a sound function.

The Hallmark "U.S.S. Voyager" 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 backmost part, behind the shuttle bay. This ornament plugs into the standard light strand of Christmas lights in order to light up using an 8” cord.

The U.S.S. Voyager 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), every nook and cranny on the ship is molded into the surface. The U.S.S. Voyager has amazing surface paint detailing, like the racing stripes and lettering, as well as the StarFleet insignias on the warp nacelles. The detail work is sufficiently impressive to please fans! Even the exposed panel at the front of the ship looks wonderful in this rendering!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the "U.S.S. Voyager" 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. Voyager" does not. It does, however, have an eight inch cord that is attached completely to the underside of the ornament. This green electric cord is embedded into the bottom middle 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. Voyager." The light effects on this starship ornament are barely adequate. The U.S.S. Voyager ornament is one of the ornaments in the Star Trek line that is less brightly lit than other starships. As a result, the warp nacelles look sick and the main deflector dish is barely illuminated, even when the ship is plugged into a new strand. Sadly, none of the white lights – like the bridge dome – are illuminated either.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "U.S.S. Voyager" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the "U.S.S. Voyager" ornament is an essential piece. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top of the saucer section, right behind the bridge dome. As a result, the ornament, when affixed to a tree with a hook, hangs very well-balanced from that loop. On its own, Voyager’s front section is angled upward at a 30 to 40 degree angle, which makes the ship look like it is heroically ascending.

When plugged in to activate the light effects, the Voyager may easily be manipulated to remain perfectly level, making it one of the few Star Trek ornaments to have better 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. Voyager" 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 Voyager ornament at less than the original issue price, with many dealers selling the popular starship 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. Voyager are likely to be excited by the U.S.S. Voyager starship ornament, at least until they plug it in. Even so, it remains a solid addition to any science fiction or Star Trek holiday tree!

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
1997 U.S.S. Defiant
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!

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