Toy Tribute: Next Generation Klingons


Klingons were the quintessential villains in the classic Star Trek series but they weren't given any sort of real depth until Next Generation. Worf, the first Klingon main character in a Trek series, was an easy conduit into exploring what the Klingons were and what they represented. The result was a transmogrification of the Klingons from the slimy mustache-twirlers of the Original Series and the brutal warmongers of the early movies into a more nuanced species. I must admit though, my eyes often glazed over during the Klingon Next Generation episodes because they usually dealt with political strife within the Klingon government. Political strife is a tough sell in any science fiction, to which anyone who has seen the Star Wars prequels can attest. Anyway, let's take a gander at the Klingon figures that were available in the Playmates Next Generation line.


K' Ehleyr

Series: 2
Episode: The Emissary (Season 2)
Year Stamped: 1993


First is K'Ehleyr, Worf's love interest and Alexander's mother. The figure is wearing her holodeck workout costume from her introductory Season 2 episode, The Emissary. She wore a surprising number of costumes in that episode: a probe arrival outfit, a red/maroon casual attire, the previously mentioned holodeck workout outfit, and a Klingon ritual attire. I'm glad Playmates decided to make the holodeck outfit; it's the most dynamic and interesting of the costumes. That said, Playmates didn't quite nail the look. The red grid pattern of the costume in the episode continued through the entire left sleeve, whereas the figure's sleeve is just straight black. Also, the grid of the on-screen costume was very organic, almost like animal stripes, whereas the figure's is more geometric. Still, it's close enough for inclusion in this archive.


Gowron the Klingon

Series: 1
Episodes: Reunion (Season 4), Redemption Part I (Season 4), Redemption Part II (Season 5)
Year Stamped: 1992


Speaking of K'Ehleyr, Gowron's first appearance was also the episode in which she was killed by Duras (Reunion). This Gowron figure features the traditional Klingon armor that the character wears before he seizes control of the Klingon Empire and becomes the Leader of the High Council, after which he wears a ceremonial robe over it. The coloration of this figure is a little bit off: the gloves should be black and the belt buckle should be gold, but other than that, it looks great. This Gowron is one of my favorite Playmates Trek figures. I love the face sculpt and the body has a pretty cool gesture, with arms that are sculpted to hold a bat'leth relatively well.


B'Etor

Series: Generations
Movie: Generations
Year Stamped: 1994


B'Etor and Lursa were the sisters of Duras who battled with Gowron for supremacy in the Klingon Empire. This B'Etor figure is wearing a costume specific to her appearance in Generations. I would have preferred to get a figure of her sporting either her costume from Redemption or First Born, which had red and green accents (respectively) that made the costume much more distinctive than the colorless uniforms that Klingons normally wear. The look of the figure works, but there is an important paint app missing: the gloves on her hands are sculpted but not distinguished from her skin color. Not to mention that B'Etor's hair in Generations was much longer. Despite these concerns (as well as the figure's limited articulation), there's a lot to like, particularly in the sculpt. It might even be the star of the Generations wave (which doesn't say much, but still).


Lursa

Series: Generations
Movie: Generations
Year Stamped: 1994


And finally, we have Lursa, the sister of B'Etor. My commentary on B'Etor applies here, too: the sculpt works well even though the costumes from Redemption or First Born would have been more interesting; the gloved parts of the hands need to be appropriately painted; the articulation is lacking; and Lursa's hair was longer in the movie. But again, it's a fun figure regardless.


You cannot tarnish a rusted blade.


Keeping in mind my criteria for inclusion in my core collection (namely, that the figure has to be reasonably screen accurate and originate in a Next Generation episode or movie), there are only two Klingons in the Playmates Trek line that didn't quite make the cut.
  • Gowron, Klingon Ritual Attire (Series 3, shown above): This Gowron is really just a repaint of the Worf Ritual Attire figure swapped with a Gowron head. As such, it just doesn't work from an accuracy standpoint. The Klingon armor with Worf's distinctive baldric clearly doesn't apply to Gowron. The robe is a repaint too, which means that Playmates had to paint on the ornamental "badges" that are on Gowron's High Council robe instead of sculpting them. Not cool.
  • Kurn, Captain (Deep Space 9 Series 5): Worf's brother Kurn is a character from TNG, but the figure (not pictured) represents his appearance in the DS9 episode, Sons of Mogh. At least, I guess it does. I couldn't seem to find a screen shot that matches the figure's costume. Regardless, it's not TNG-specific so it fails the criteria to be included here.


Do you hear the cry of the warrior, calling you to battle, calling you to glory like a Klingon?

We only got four Klingons in the classic TNG line, but there are loads of others that would have made great action figures. The Season 2 episode A Matter of Honor had a bunch, like Captain Kargan and Klag. A proper TNG-specific Kurn would have been great, as would Chancellor K'mpec. And let's not forget Kahless from the episode Rightful Heir. But at least we got the (arguably) most important Klingons.


Resources

Memory-Alpha: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Playmates
StarTrekToys: http://startrektoys.com/
Figure Realm: http://figurerealm.com/
TrekCore: http://trekcore.com/
Catalog of Playmates Star Trek Figures: http://betty.efmods.com/

7 comments:

  1. i am into all of these figures. the klingons are one group i'm trying to complete. just won a lot with koloth in it... i think kang might be the only one i need.

    it always seemed weird to me that they made generic romulans, ferengi and borg but never a generic klingon. when i was a kid i just used kruge as my generic klingon. after all, kirk had to disintegrate someone.

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  2. Kruge, another lazy effort by Playmates...Warrior Worf's body used again!
    Gowron's armor's "spine" was strange to me, exaggerated and almost looking like it was a seperate piece.

    And the DS9 Kurn figure is funny and lame at the same time. Funny in that he includes a ceremonial dagger intended to be used on himself during a ritual psuedo-suicide. Lame in that the figure is episode, maybe even scene, specific.

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  3. Side note, I was digging around in my boxes (of hate) and found a Gowron mint on card. The card is totally creased at the top of blister bubble. Forgot I even had it.

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  4. I just bought for 1 dollar the B'Etor figure, could someone tell me if it was a good buy??

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  5. Playmates Star Trek figures are often worth very little, and I think B'Etor is among those that isn't worth much. It's certainly a buyer's market, which is great for those of us who are completing our collections but I wouldn't expect to be able to turn around and sell these figures for a profit.

    So, to answer your question, $1 is a great price for any Star Trek figure, and I doubt you'll get any for less. But you probably won't be able to turn it around and sell it for much more.

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  6. What about a figure of Duras? We got his sisters but never a figure of Worf's worst enemy? A shame.

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  7. I agree it would have been great to get a figure of Duras. But he appeared in only two episodes, while the Duras sisters were in three (that were arguably more distinctive), a DS9 episode, and a movie. I can understand why Playmates made the sisters and not Duras himself.

    That said, Duras has way more significance than my suggestions for figures that should have been made, so kudos. ;)

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