Monday, September 12, 2016

50th Anniversary Cashgrab: The 2016 U.S.S. Enterprise 50th Anniversary Ornament Is Unimpressive!

The Good: Good sculpt, decent sound clip
The Bad: Vastly overpriced, Ridiculous coloring, Back-heavy
The Basics: The 50th Anniversary U.S.S. Enterprise ornament is a ridiculous collectible that poorly commemorates the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek.

I have been a fan of Star Trek since just before the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek. It astounds me to think that I have been a Trekker now for more than half my life. But having now lived through the 25th, 30th, 35th and 40th Anniversaries of Star Trek, I have watched how various companies exploit collectors during the anniversaries. Some companies make awesome limited edition items, while others rework previously-released items to have something to release and cash in on the hype surrounding the anniversary. Hallmark is going the latter route with the U.S.S. Enterprise 50th Anniversary ornament. For the 50th Anniversary, rather than coming up with something new and special, Hallmark released the U.S.S. Enterprise yet again (this is at least the third iteration) with an inaccurate, fairly unflattering gold finish.

For those unfamiliar with the U.S.S. Enterprise, this was the defining starship of Star Trek. Included in every episode of the original Star Trek (reviewed here!), the U.S.S. Enterprise is a science fiction icon. The home of the Federation crew whose mission was exploration and discovery, the U.S.S. Enterprise was popular with Star Trek fans and was the obvious choice for a starting point from Hallmark when they began producing Star Trek themed Christmas ornaments and, rather than spoil the new starship from the climax of Star Trek Beyond, Hallmark chose to simply remake the original Enterprise as an ornament yet again.


The "U.S.S. Enterprise" ornament poorly recreates the famed Federation starship in shiny gold plastic. The ornament, released in 2016 - as part of the show's 50th Anniversary celebration - perfectly captured the surface details of the original Enterprise, from the original model (not the CG-recreation from the Remastered Version of Star Trek). This was easy enough to do as the Enterprise had a rather simple mold and very few details. However, Hallmark created the starship with its distinctive bridge dome, engineering hull and warp nacelles, with the warp nacelles featuring the tiny needlelike portions at the front of the warp nacelle. Measuring six inches long, two and one-half inches wide and one and one-half inches tall, the U.S.S. Enterprise ornament is one of the essential Star Trek ships, but not in this form.

The Hallmark "U.S.S. Enterprise" ornament is made of a durable reflective gold plastic and has the starship on its own, as is typical for Hallmark's starship line of Star Trek ornaments. While it is called the "Pilot Version," the detailing on the nacelles is about all that defines it as being from "The Cage" on the sculpt.

The U.S.S. Enterprise is detailed adequately. So, in addition to details molded into the starship, like windows, phaser banks, plating on the saucer section and the deflector dish on the front of the engineering hull, but the Enterprise does not have a faithful paint job at all. The ornament is not detailed to include the running numbers and name painted on the ship. Instead, the coloring is completely inaccurate.

The U.S.S. Enterprise is a pretty easy ship to get right and Hallmark did a great job of sculpting it well, even if it was not colored at all appropriately.


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, the "U.S.S. Enterprise" has a sound function, but no light function. Fans of the ornaments are likely to be impressed by the audio clip. The 50th Anniversary U.S.S. Enterprise ornament comes with the three 1.5V watch batteries that cause it to play the sound clip. The Bridge dome on the Enterprise is a very well-concealed button. When the button is pressed, the ornament plays the opening theme to the original Star Trek. The sound clip undermines the idea that this incarnation of the Enterprise is from the pilot episode as the sound clip includes William Shatner performing the opening monologue to Star Trek. Given the fact that Shatner was not present for the pilot episode, calling this 50th Anniversary the "Pilot Version" and sculpting it that way makes little sense to include the sound clip with Shatner's vocals. Still, the sound clip is loud and very clear.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "U.S.S. Enterprise" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Star Trek Christmas Tree, a "U.S.S. Enterprise" ornament is an essential piece, but not this one. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top, aft portion of the saucer section.

The location of the loop is the best that Hallmark could reasonably do. However, this forces the front of the saucer up about twenty degrees as the nacelles weigh the back down some. As a result, this ship does not cruise straight through space, but rather is always ascending. The 15 - 20 degree upward pitch makes it look somewhat awkward when hanging on a tree.


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!). This Enterprise recreation is vastly more mass produced, but given its release during the collectibles-heavy 50th Anniversary, in combination with its $32.95 original release price, it was very hard for most collectors to justify spending on. As a result, it is still fairly easily available in the secondary market at the original issue price or a deflated one. Unlike what frequently happens when products are reissued, this Enterprise did not cause the original ornament to deflate in value. In fact, the ComicCon repaint exploded in value, while the gold common release has appeared to tank in the marketplace.


Fans of the Star Trek franchise, science fiction and the U.S.S. Enterprise specifically are likely to be utterly unimpressed by the overpriced, gold-finished 50th Anniversary U.S.S. Enterprise ornament.

For other Star Trek ship ornaments from Hallmark, please check out my reviews of:
2015 U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-C
2014 U.S.S. Vengeance Star Trek Into Darkness
2013 Battle Damaged U.S.S. Kelvin (Comic Con Exclusive)
2013 U.S.S. Kelvin
2012 U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D 25th Anniversary Edition
2011 U.S.S. Defiant (New York Comic Con Exclusive)
2011 Romulan Bird Of Prey
2010 U.S.S. Enterprise (Star Trek refit)
2009 Klingon Battlecruiser
2008 U.S.S. Reliant
2006 U.S.S. Enterprise (reissue)
2005 U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A
2004 Vulcan Command Ship
2003 Scorpion Attack Craft
2002 Delta Flyer
2001 Deep Space Nine
2000 Borg Cube
1999 Runabout Rio Grande
1998 U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E
1997 U.S.S. Defiant
1996 U.S.S. Voyager
1995 Romulan Warbird
1994 Klingon Bird Of Prey
1993 U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D
1992 Shuttlecraft Galileo


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

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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