Friday, December 28, 2012

The Annoying Inflexibility Of The Klingon Woman: Lursa Is A Tough Action Figure!

The Good: Good character, Generally decent sculpt, Generally good accessories
The Bad: Poor articulation, Poor balance, Accessory coloring
The Basics: Off her base, Lursa falls over and despite being less articulated, this is the only Lursa to date; as a result Star Trek fans will likely want this underwhelming figure.

There are very few villains in the Star Trek franchise that get the credit they deserve. The Klingon Commander, Kruge, for example, is so overshadowed by Khan that most fans forget that it was Kruge who killed Admiral Kirk's son and necessitated the destruction of the original Enterprise. Yes, Kruge is a badass who people largely forget about. In a similar vein, amid the pantheon of villains who form obstacles for the crews of Enterprises, the Defiant, Deep Space Nine and Voyager, many fans forget that it was two Klingon women, Lursa and B'Etor who destroyed the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D. The Enterprise-D, which had far more screentime than any other Enterprise was toasted by two resourceful women in their Klingon Bird-Of-Prey and they seldom get the props they deserve.

Indeed, the Klingon sisters, Lursa and B'Etor - seldom referred to on their own - are often more remembered for their Klingon armor, which exposes their breasts, than they are for their villainy. Well, Playmates Toys saw fit to rectify that with the Star Trek: Generations toy line, which makes sense as this was the final appearance of the Duras sisters. The Lursa figure is a good idea, but this entire toy line was botched by Playmates and illustrates an overall lower quality than prior Star Trek toys they produced, making this a tough sell to anyone who is not a die-hard fan.


The Star Trek: Generations action figure collection contained fourteen figures and it was released late in 1994 to coincide with the release of the film Star Trek: Generations (reviewed here!). This line-up included the Lursa action figure which was quickly bought up and sought by collectors. The Generations line of figures was plagued by action figures that were less articulated than prior Star Trek: The Next Generation toys from Playmates as well as a bevy of main crew figures who bore no resemblance to the uniforms they wore in the actual film! This problem did not escape collectors and most of them ended up as pegwarmers. Lursa was an exception to that. The reason was simple; Lursa had appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation and her sculpt as an action figure was not specific to Star Trek: Generations.

The Lursa figure is the Klingon head of the Duras household as she appeared in Star Trek: Generations. Lursa is dressed, as she always is, in heavy armor with a stiff skirt. Her breastplate - metal in the series, simply a keyhole cut out in her Generations armor - exposes the center of her breasts as well as internal sideboob. This is a suggestive, if impractical, outfit for a woman who antagonizes people and is likely to get into a knife fight. Still, it makes for an interesting action figure or conversation piece. Her hands are molded to be able to carry her accessories, so this figure is designed for play or display.

Standing at 4 5/8" inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Lursa immortalized in plastic. There is a fair level of uniform detailing, but to be fair, this was not the most detailed costume Lursa ever wore. Lursa looks appropriately stern and in command in her armor and the molding and paint details of her costume are good. Playmates went pretty light on the details of the costume, though they did capture such details as the Klingon script on Lursa's gauntlets, shoulder and a glyph on her neck. Lursa's face is molded in a peeved expression, which is character-appropriate. Her face possesses pretty decent amounts of details, with her lips being big and dark along with a fair amount of coloring detail around the nose, eyes and forehead ridges. The forehead ridges are molded in and colored with a realistic amount of shading. Still, on her chest and hands, the flesh tones of Lursa lack any subtlety or shading and her hair is monotonally colored.


Lursa comes with five accessories, plus a mini-poster: A Klingon isolinear chip, a Klingon blaster, a bat'leth sword, a Klingon sword and an action base which was the standard style for the Star Trek: Generations collection. Lursa is unfortunately over-accessorized, but given the way her hands are molded, she can carry any two accessories at one time. The Action base is enough to support Lursa and allows the otherwise tipsy figure to become a decent display piece. The action base is a StarFleet Delta symbol, modeled after the communicators which were introduced in Star Trek: Generations and a sticker in the center with the name "Lursa" on it. Near the center of the symbol is a peg which fits into the hole in either of Lursa's feet!

Lursa, of course, comes with several weapons, but most are weapons Lursa never used in the series or in the film. Still, she comes with the obvious Klingon weapons and it is unfortunate that her Klingon blaster does not have a holster or attach to her hip in any way. This one and a half inch gun fits perfectly into either of Lursa's hands and is very detailed with molded details. Devoted collectors will notice that this is the same Klingon blaster that Gowron figure came with. The Klingon disruptor is well-detailed, but is a little brown-orange gun that bears little resemblance to the Klingon firearms shown on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

The ceremonial Klingon sword fits in either of Lursa's hands and is a pretty faithful replica of the sword other Klingon women, most notably K'Ehleyr, used on the holodeck in the television show. The Klingon Sword is a two and three-eighths inch long sword with notches in the blade which make it look wicked and Lursa ready for action when it is placed in her hand.

The bat'leth is a curved Klingon sword molded with appropriate hand grips and four points. It looks realistically cast. Still, there are no coloring highlights for the bat'leth and it is almost impossible to get this into a two-handed grip for this figure.

The isolinear chip is a half-inch plastic block which bears no particular resemblance to either the isolinear chips from the show - which would be tiny with a figure this scale - or the one shown on the package which was actually in the movie. Instead, this is a silly little textured piece of plastic with etching that could be circuit pathways. This barely fits in either of Lursa's hands because it is so thin.

Unfortunately, all four of these accessories are molded in a brown-orange plastic that is lacking in realistic coloring detail and cheapens the overall appearance of the figure. Lursa is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is tough to get excited about how many options there are for her.

The Star Trek: Generations line of Playmates action figures also comes with a mini-poster unique to the action figures. The Star Trek: Generations poster resembles the packaging from the action figure line and is a 9" x 11 1/2" poster folded up featuring Kirk, Picard, the U.S.S. Enterprise-D and a Klingon Bird-Of-Prey.


Lursa was part of a rushed line of action figures from Playmates and she was a real letdown at the time. One suspects this figure only sold so well because there was only one Lursa figure and there are so few females from the Star Trek franchise encapsulated in action figure form. Molded in a stately pose that makes her look dignified, but less active, this is a decent sculpt of Lursa. Lursa is endowed with a pathetic four points of articulation: shoulders, waist and neck. 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. Actually, the head cannot turn more than ten degrees, because Lursa's hair prevents movement. The shoulders are not ball and socket joints and only rotate. Not truly a joint, the top of the boots, which connect to the underside of the skirt, rotate a few degrees, but this does not stabilize Lursa in any way.

Moreover, for use with actual play, Lursa may not bend or extend at the elbows, so she is horribly inarticulated for a warrior. This makes her more of a display piece. Unfortunately, away from her action base, this Lursa figure tips over ridiculously easily. It is almost impossible to get her to stand up. Conversely, on her base, Lursa is quite stable, making her a fine figure for display.


Playmates mass produced the first few waves of Star Trek figures, but by the time the Star Trek: Generations series came along, they were a little more conservative in their production. With this toy line, they overproduced the main cast, so villains like Lursa were underproduced within the line. As a result, this Lursa has actually appreciated! Seldom found for less than $10.00, Lursa continues to grow in value as the years pass by.

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 18,500 figures out there (my Lursa is #018472!).


Lursa may be an obscure figure from a movie where the merchandising was largely botched, but the only reason to pick this Lursa figure up is that it is the only one. As soon as someone else makes a better, more balanced sculpt (nudge, nudge Art Asylum!), I'll probably "not" recommend this one. Until then, fans will want to get their hands on this if they truly love the Klingons!

For other figures of female characters from Playmates’s Star Trek toy line, please check out my reviews of:
Ambassador K’Ehleyr
Leeta The Dabo Girl


For other Playmates Star Trek figure reviews, please check out my Index Page on the subject!

© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
| | |

No comments:

Post a Comment