Friday, May 3, 2013

Unimpressive Character, Terrible Sculpt, No Good Reason To Go After The Commander Trip Tucker Ornament!

The Good: None that I can find!
The Bad: Not a great likeness of Commander Tucker, Expensive for the quality, Balance issue.
The Basics: Unrecognizable from the face, the poorly balanced Commander Tucker ornament is hardly worthwhile, even for Star Trek fans!

As the Star Trek franchise began to sink, some of the merchandising just became desperate to the point of sad. There was something frantic about the way Paramount went from trying to deny Star Trek (like, for example, naming the last spin-off Enterprise) before trying far too late to get back the core audience they had mortgaged (changing the name in the third season to Star Trek: Enterprise). With the merchandising, suddenly Enterprise was being pushed, from the action figures to the 8x10s to the Hallmark ornaments. It was, however, too little, too late and some of the attempts were just pathetic.

For those unfamiliar with Commander Charles Tucker III, he was the Chief Engineer aboard the NX-01 Enterprise for Star Trek: Enterprise (reviewed here!). Played stiffly by Connor Trinneer, Trip Tucker became a beloved character by those who liked Enterprise. Therefore, it makes some sense that Hallmark would make Commander Tucker the third in its series of Star Trek: Enterprise ornaments right behind Captain Archer and Subcommander Breasts, er, T'Pol. Unfortunately, this incarnation of Commander Tucker is a poor showing. In fact, it might well be the worst Hallmark ornament in the Star Trek character line produced by Hallmark Keepsake.


The "Commander Tucker" ornament poorly recreates the Chief Engineer of the Enterprise in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2004, is a thoroughly disappointing work, lacking in detailing, realistic shading or even a pose that is essential or insightful for Trip. Measuring five and a quarter inches tall, two inches wide and one and one and one-quarters inches deep, the Commander Tucker ornament is a poor representation of the engineer and a lousy excuse on the part of Hallmark to demand $20.00 from the fans of the series. Dressed in an environmental suit with his helmet off, the only part of the ornament that is distinctly Tucker is the head and that is such a poor sculpt as to be utterly unrecognizable even by fans of the character or actor!

The Hallmark "Commander Tucker" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the engineer standing alone, helmet in hand, in an environmental suit. His suit is colored correctly with the copper-colored plastic that it has on the show. However, the head and face are poorly done. There is no realism to the flesh color and the eyes are completely dead. In fact, the sculpt looks equally like Lt. Reed (Chief of Security) as it does Trip Tucker!

Commander Tucker is detailed adequately, in the body, if not the face. Star Trek fans tend to be a bit more demanding, though. Tucker is not granted a facial expression reminiscent of anything the engineer ever had on the television show. He has a vague smile and it is a poor way to portray the character. This ornament remains ridiculously easy to find in the secondary market, due largely (one suspects) to its lack of popularity when it was released, owing to the poor "construction" of it.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, Commander Tucker could have a function like a sound chip or light effect, but does not. This is just an ornament, a low-cost (comparatively) option for those who might not want to shell out for the starship series of Star Trek ornaments. This is Trip Tucker simply hangs.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "Commander Tucker" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the "Commander Tucker" ornament is one that may be safely avoided. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the character's head. This, too is somewhat distracting for fans who might want a Trip Tucker ornament.

As well, the Commander Tucker ornament is unbalanced. With the helmet in his hand, this causes the ornament to be weighed down more on the right side, so the character leans when hung from the brass loop.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (reviewed here!). Since then, they have made ornament replicas of almost all of the major starships and many of the characters from the franchise and they have all been more mass produced than that first one. The "Commander Tucker" ornament was a pegwarmer that went unbought by fans as well as by the public at large. There were few fans who bought it and almost no investors or general fans of science fiction picked it up. It is one of the easiest ones to find on the secondary market and its value has plummeted.


Fans of the Star Trek franchise, Connor Trinneer and Commander Tucker are likely to be largely disappointed by the Commander Tucker ornament; it is a poor recreation of one of the most enjoyed characters from one of the worst science fiction spin-offs in recent history. Everyone deserved better treatment from Hallmark than this. It was certainly within their ability, but perhaps they just knew how fast the ship was sinking . . .

For other Star Trek ornaments of characters, please check out my reviews of:
2011 Legends Of Star Trek Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy
2011 Legends Of Star Trek Spock
2010 Legends Of Star Trek Captain James T. Kirk
2009 Limited Edition Ilia Probe
2005 Khan
1997 Dr. McCoy
1996 Mr. Spock


Check out my other ornament reviews at my Ornament Review Index Page!

© 2013, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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