Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rising To Average, The Legends Of Star Trek Hikaru Sulu Ornament Is (Mostly) Recognizable!

The Good: Fair price, Good balance, Detailing on the tricorder
The Bad: Overproduced, Animated look, Skin coloring.
The Basics: The 2014 Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu ornament is a disappointing ornament to celebrate the character of Sulu or the career of George Takei.

Every year, Hallmark comes out with a new Star Trek character ornament and for the past few years, Hallmark has been making original Star Trek characters under the banner Legends Of Star Trek. This year, it’s Lieutenant Sulu’s turn and it is something unsurprising that the ornament continues the trend of ornaments that the Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu ornament has an animated look to it.

Starting out at $14.95, the Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu ornament looks only like Sulu in a general way; outside the yellow shirt, all that really makes this ornament a Sulu ornament is the fact that the subject is not a Caucasian (this is Sulu by virtue of not being Kirk or Chekov).

For those unfamiliar with Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, he was the helmsman aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise for most of Star Trek (reviewed here!). Played wonderfully by George Takei, Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu is so seminal to Star Trek that casual fans seem unaware that Takei missed a huge chunk of episodes (mostly in the second season) and did not have a first name until Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country! The "Legends Of Star Trek" series gives Hallmark a chance to cast Sulu for the first time, though he was minimally rendered in the Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan bridge ornament.


The Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu vaguely recreates the Helm Officer of the Enterprise in solid plastic. The ornament, released in 2014, is presented very generally, with a problematically undeveloped sculpt for the face and head. Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu is fairly recognizable to genre fans holding up a tricorder and a communicator. Molded to be recognizable, the ornament still has a more animated look for the character than one might hope for. This comes, arguably, from the character’s rounded head and very generalized colorscheme that lacks realistic depth and shading. Sulu’s skin is not at all realistic to the fleshtones of George Takei! Measuring four inches tall by one and one-quarter inches wide by one inch deep, the Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu ornament has been selling slowly at my local Hallmarks since its Preview Weekend.

The Hallmark Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu ornament is made of a durable plastic and has the human officer standing in his yellow shirt, tight black pants and shiny black boots. The face is sculpted much more angularly than George Takei's is. This ornament is molded without deep attention to detail, like fingernails.

Conversely, Hallmark went to create painstaking detailing for the tricorder, getting it and the communicator in perfect proportion with the rest of the ornament. The tricorder is exceptionally detailed in both sculpt and coloring. Oddly, the same cannot be said about the head.

The Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu is colored correctly with his yellow Command shirt, outside his skin tones. Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu has very pale compared to the actor’s skin tones. I was impressed that the boots were a glossy black, while Sulu’s pants were appropriately matte in their finish. While the tricorder and communicator in his hands and the rank braids on his forearms are well-colored and detailed, the skin is much less impressive or realistic in its detailing.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu 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 or mural series of Star Trek ornaments. This is Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu, standing alone with a communicator and tricorder as opposed to behind his helm console. Having the ornament without any features might disappoint some collectors.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, the Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu ornament is a necessary one, given that Sulu is an iconic character. The ornament has a brass hook loop that comes out of the top, center, of Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu's skull. To its credit, Hallmark's Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu is very well-balanced from that point.


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 and when they started on the personnel in 1995, though this is the first Sulu ornament. The Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu ornament was not a fast-selling ornament since its release in summer of 2014.

Given the precedent from the prior Legends Of Star Trek ornaments, combined with the already-slow sales of this ornament, this is unlikely to be a worthwhile investment piece; hold out for it to be on the clearance racks at the season’s end.


Fans of the Star Trek franchise, George Takei and Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu are likely to not be wowed by the Legends Of Star Trek Lieutenant Hikaru Sulu ornament. Even so, this Legends Of Star Trek ornament is not one of the worst Hallmark has produced!

For other Star Trek ornaments of characters, please check out my reviews of:
2014 Vina The Orion Slave Woman
2013 Legends Of Star Trek Chief Engineer 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
2005 Khan
2004 Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker III
2003 Subcommander T’Pol
1997 Dr. McCoy
1996 Mr. Spock


For other Christmas ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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