Friday, December 14, 2012

Very Cheap Cashgrab By Playmates: Gowron In Ritual Attire Is Not Worth Hunting For!

The Good: Generally good sculpt and balance, Rarity
The Bad: Recycled figure offering little to collectors!
The Basics: Gowron In Ritual Klingon Attire is a very average figure, but fans of Gowron and Robert O’Riley might like this recycled action figure.

Toy collectors are an interesting breed to me. After all, I know of no other group of collectors who are as open to variants and concept works and who seem to find value in the exceptions to the rules as opposed to finding perfection in a sculpt or such. I mention this because while I was collecting Star Trek action figures back in the day, the only ones people truly wanted were the ones which were rare or mistakes, even when the rare figures were thoroughly underwhelming. To wit, the Gowron In Ritual Klingon Attire is a poorly-disguised recycled figure which was thrown into the third line of Star Trek: The Next Generation figures produced by Playmates Toys. It is also one of the few from that collection that fans still hunt for because it was shortpacked.

In fact, it is surprising how very unimaginative Playmates was when creating this figure. The Gowron In Ritual Klingon Attire is simple the 1992 Gowron figure (reviewed here!) repackaged with the robes produced for the Klingon Warrior Worf faction figure (reviewed here!)! There is no difference in coloring, accessories or anything. This Gowron appears to be overstock of the original run repackaged on a new card with the robes from the figure which followed. It’s actually ridiculous that people hunt this figure as much as they do, but for those fans who simply must have everything, Gowron In Ritual Attire is popular.


The Star Trek: The Next Generation 1994 Collection of action figures contained nineteen figures and it fleshed out the alter-egos of the main cast while presenting new, secondary characters and aliens. Gowron “In Ritual Klingon Attire" was underpacked which made him hunted, despite the fact that this is made entirely of recycled pieces and does not include a SpaceCap pog like other figures in this line. Even so, as one of the few aliens in the line, Gowron is fairly popular and one that collectors tend to want in their collections. That said, recently Diamond Select released a Gowron figure that most fans will find to be vastly superior to this one.

The Gowron In Ritual Klingon Attire figure is Klingon leader as he appeared while wearing the robes of office beginning in the climax of "Redemption" (reviewed here!). Gowron is wearing silver Klingon armor, spiked boots and gauntlets. He has a broad chest and a Klingon head. His uniform is covered by a rubber robe which is gray and black and opens in the front. These robes are identical to the ones made for the Klingon Warrior Worf figure and as a result do not include Gowron’s medals and such which would make this an actually impressive and accurate figure.

Standing five inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Gowron The Klingon immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with his hands ready to hold the Klingon painstick in a thrusting motion, so his legs are most naturally cast so he is standing in an almost-squatting pose. There is a decent level of uniform detailing, including the cord cutting across his chest for the blaster holster on his thigh. Gowron's face is molded in a scowl and it lacks much in the way of detail, though the lips are curled out to reveal bright white teeth that are individually painted for distinction. The figure includes such important details as the distinctive Klingon head ridges and the facial hair molded into the plastic, though most of the facial hair detailing is simply painted on. The face and hair lack any sense of realistic toning.

The paint job is mediocre at best. The skin tones are monolithic brown and lack any shading or subtlety. The shading in the head ridges is simplistic (basically little black triangles) and the eyes are similarly lacking in details. The uniform is appropriately colored and the figure looks good in that respect. The holster on Gowron's right thigh is a nice detail and it adequately holds the Klingon blaster that the figure comes with.


Gowron, Leader Of The Klingon High Council comes with four accessories, outside the robes he is now adorned with: A Klingon pain stick, Klingon d’ktang knife, a ceremonial war club, and an action base shaped like a Klingon symbol. That Gowron comes with weapons makes a great deal of sense, as his role on Star Trek: The Next Generation was that of the leader of a warrior people. Still, things like the war club are ridiculous as they never appeared on the show! The Action base is just enough to support Gowron and is a Klingon symbol cast in bright red and gold. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Gowron's feet!

The Klingon d’ktang knife is poorly detailed, basically being a little gold knife with three blades. It looks like it is supposed to, save the coloring. It is an inch and a half long choking hazard which fits into either of Gowron's hands. Unfortunately, the knife cannot be attacked to Gowron any way other than having him hold it in his hands.

The painstick, on the other hand, is a pretty cool accessory. It is a 3 3/4" plastic tube with a nasty looking end for shocking Klingons. The staff looks mostly like a Klingon pain stick with a wooden handle and a business end that would electrocute a rhino. The figure is molded so that Gowron might hold the painstick in a two-handed grip. In this regard, the figure is well made and well-conceived. For the one pose, Gowron looks pretty awesome.

Then there is the ridiculous Klingon war club. There is some debate as to whether this was ever in the series - I suspect it was part of Worf's calesthenics program on the holodeck in the second season - but it was never seen in Gowron's hands, for sure. This fits awkwardly into Gowron's hands and looks ridiculous.

The thing is, all four of these accessories are molded in a silly gold plastic that is utterly lacking in realistic coloring detail. Gowron is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is tough to get excited about this.


Gowron In Ritual Klingon Attire continued a general level quality from Playmates, mostly because he was recycled from earlier parts, and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Despite being molded in a fairly limited, aggressive pose that looks odd in some collector's displays, this is not a bad sculpt of Gowron. Still, there is a figure from Playmates which offers one more accessory option and a new one by Art Asylum which is a more precise sculpt. Gowron In Ritual Klingon Attire 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, for example, 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, Gowron 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, Gowron is quite stable, even in fairly ridiculous action poses, making him a great figure for display as well as play.


Playmates mass produced the first few waves of Star Trek: The Next Generation figures, but by the time Gowron In Ritual Klingon Attire came along, there were some more limited figures and this Gowron was one of them. Even so, because this was entirely recycled, its price seems to have depressed of late. Before eBay, this was a great investment figure, but now its price seems to have collapsed to a reasonable level about double what it originally was.

That said, at least Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of his left 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 10000 figures out there (my Gowron is #09187!).


When I originally considered the first Gowron figure, I thought that Gowron In Ritual Klingon Attire might well be a better deal than the Gowron figure, but it’s pretty much a wash. This figure doesn’t have the Targ that Gowron came with, but it does have the d’k’tang so it’s pretty much a wash. Either way, it’s a very average figure and the only reason for one to hunt it is because they want a 4.5” Gowron. Otherwise, there’s the new Diamond Select Gowron for fans and collectors!

For other figures from this series, check out my reviews of:
Commander Data As A Romulan From "Unification"
Commander Riker As A Malcorian From "First Contact"
Ensign Ro Laren
Worf In StarFleet Rescue Uniform from "The Birthright, Parts 1 and 2"
Picard As A Romulan
Data In Dress Uniform
Esoqq The Chalnoth


For other toy reviews, please check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing of the toy reviews I have written.

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