The Good: Collectible, Well-balanced, Generally representative of the character
The Bad: A bit pricey, No special features, Poor facial sculpt, Terrible paint job
The Basics: The 2014 Hallmark limited edition Vina Star Trek ornament could have been fabulous, but is an unfortunate ornament “protected” from scrutiny by its inherent value!
Happy Ornament Premiere Weekend! This was, believe it or not, the first time in the last couple of years that I have managed to go hither and yon on Hallmark’s big ornament premiere weekend. Each year, I begin reviewing the new Hallmark ornaments as soon as they are released and this year, I picked up a whole slew, which should keep the reviews flowing well for the rest of the year. I am usually super-excited to begin my reviews with an ornament that I love from my favorite genre series’, but this year, that is not to be. The reason for that is simple: the first ornament that I was truly excited about getting this year turned out to be an unfortunate dud.
The reason I was super-excited by the Vina ornament was that for the past several years, Star Wars fans hav been treated to exclusive ornaments on Preview Weekend, but Star Trek fans have been neglected. In fact, the last two limited edition ornaments from Hallmark for Star Trek fans have been convention exclusives and they have been ridiculously lazy repaints of prior ornaments. The Vina ornament is a nice contrast to the disappointing Battle-Damaged U.S.S. Kelvin (reviewed here!) and U.S.S. Defiant Convention Exclusive (reviewed here!) in that it is a brand new, unique sculpt that shows that Hallmark still gives a damn about Star Trek fans. Unfortunately, the paint job on the Vina (the Orion Slave Woman) ornament is erratic and looks far sloppier than stylistically done.
The Vina is a limited edition, exclusive Hallmark ornament, and it is not one of the usual mass produced ornaments from the series. Because of its limited nature, the best place to find it is on-line; trying to find it in stores is quickly becoming a difficult task given that they sold out of most every location this past weekend. The Vina was the only limited edition ornament that I found sold out of any of the nine Hallmark stores I visited in the last twenty-four hours.
Hallmark Keepsake has a line of collectible ornaments from major franchises, like Star Trek. From the Star Trek line comes the Vina limited edition ornament. Fans of the Star Trek franchise will easily recall Vina. Vina was the incentive used by the Talosians in the pilot episode of Star Trek . When The Talosians wanted Pike to mate with Vina, they gave him the illusion that she was an Orion Slave Woman in “The Cage” (reviewed here!) and the popular alien version of Vina is the subject of the new Hallmark ornament.
The Vina ornament recreates the alien illusion of the character in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2014, is a fairly recognizable female character, at least for those who love “The Cage.” She has bright green skin, the strategically-torn dress, and long black hair. Her body is cast in a dance pose, which is appropriate for this version of the character. Hallmark asked for $14.95 for the ornament originally and it sold out surprisingly fast at that price. I write "surprisingly fast" because many Star Trek fans get collectibles to get signed and this is one which, unfortunately, fans will never be able to get autographed as actress Susan Oliver who played Vina has been dead for years. Given that the ornament was designed for fans, this is an ornament that appeals to collectors and the Vina is easily recognizable to them.
The Hallmark Vina ornament is made of a durable plastic and has her with her right arm raised and her left hand, palm up near her waist and an expression on her face that seems to be trying for seductive. The open lips do not look particularly sexy and the facial sculpt is way too equine (long in the face, horselike) compared to Susan Oliver’s rounder face. There is something strange about the distance between the nose and the top of the top lip as well, which distorts the character’s face in a way that makes it looks far less like the actress’s actual face. The character is wearing her rag-like dress, though it has far fewer holes and openings than the actual costume. To Hallmark’s credit and the credit of artist Valerie Shanks, there is texturing on the dress that insinuates the holes the outfit had. Strangely, Hallmark picked one of the descending skirt to print on the copyright information: on the ornament’s front! Vina’s feet are arranged in an action posed, as if she is in mid-dance step.
This version of Vina has the character’s bright blue eyes and the two I looked at were pretty creepy in that they seemed to be pointed in different directions, independent of one another! The unfortunate aspect of this Vina ornament, which is 3 7/8” tall, 1” wide and 5/8” deep is that it seems slightly out of scale with the other Star Trek character ornaments. On top of that, the green skin is painted erratically. The ornament appears to be a darker green/gray base (which, ironically, is closer to the olive green color Vina actually was in “The Cage”) with a brighter green paint covering it. The troubling thing is that the paint seems to be slapped on the skin of the character in a streaky way. No two of the ornaments I inspected were identical and the lines of the paint jobs were more slap-dash than stylistic to represent realistic depth and shading.
As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Vina ornament 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 Vina simply hangs.
As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Vina ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the Vina ornament is very much a luxury; Vina was not at all an essential character in the overall Star Trek franchise by any means and any merchandising of the Vina is very much for the die-hard fans. The ornament has a brass hook loop embedded into the top center of the character's skull. From that hook, the Vina ornament hangs perfectly balanced. It is impressive and the ornament sways when rocked, but otherwise sits stable in the right position!
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 (click here for my review of that!). The Vina ornament is very limited and has already increased in price by almost its original cost in the secondary market. At this point in the Star Trek ornament collections, the primary characters have all been done and the popular secondary characters are being explored. Vina was short-produced, though the exact numbers have not been released, but it's pretty hard to meet the demand of all the Star Trek fans.
Right now, this is a great investment piece as it may still be found at the rogue Hallmark Gold Crown store. For the rest, though, they are selling for more on the secondary market. The result is that some may still be found at cost and appreciate almost instantly!
Vina could have been amazing, but the paint job and face sculpt somewhat lessen the greatness of the limited edition ornament.
For other Star Trek ornaments of characters, please check out my reviews of:
2013 Legends Of Star Trek Commander Montgomery “Scotty” Scott
2012 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
2004 Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker
1999 Lieutenant Commander Worf
1997 Dr. McCoy
1996 Mr. Spock
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For other ornament reviews, please check out my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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