Please share with your friends!
Once upon a time, there was a company named Quantum Mechanix (they still exist, but it sounds more dramatic that way). They picked up the license for sixth scale Star Trek figures, and working for them was a man named Nanjin Tam. He is an ultimate Star Trek geek - he loves the series, the characters, and the universe of shows and movies like no one else. While working with Qmx, he helped produce their Kirk, Spock, Sulu, Scotty, McCoy, Khan, Kirk's Chair, and TNG Picard. And the world was far better off for it.
But things happened, as they often do. Qmx walked away from Trek, and there was much gnashing of teeth and wailing of voices, at least around my house. But the fire to produce Trek sixth scale figures was ignited and burning bright within Nanjin, and he ventured off to create his own company to follow his dream. It was a herculean effort, but he obtained the world wide license for sixth scale Trek, lined up all the manufacturing and distribution, and is the driving force behind his own new company - EXO-6.
The first figure up for pre-order was Data from First Contact. The initial pre-order was up in January. Yes, January of this year. Just six months ago. While I received an early figure for the review, you can expect the majority of the shipments to go out in the next few weeks. One of the aspects of the industry EXO-6 wants to address is the long period we often see between pre-order and shipment, and they are hoping to keep it under 9 months consistently.
They are also looking at addressing cost. Remember, this is a very small operation, not a large organization. And yet Data came in at just $190! The next figure to ship, by late summer/early fall, is the First Contact Picard, who is also retailing at $190. Next up will be the Captain's Series, with a new Kirk, and a Janeway, Sisko, and Archer! Nanjin has big plans, and after seeing what he's been able to do over the last 24 months, I'm fully confident in his ability to do it.
Before you go on, I'd like to point out I made a major goof, the sort of goof that when other people do it, it drives me absolutely crazy. After I'd shot about 80% of the photos, I realized that I'd been putting the phaser and tricorder holsters on incorrectly. If it was anyone other than Data, they'd be right, but Data - duh - is left handed. Actually, as an android he's probably ambidextrous, but Spiner is left handed, so he wore the holsters on the opposite hips from everyone else. I did fix my blunder before I was done, but as is often the case, I didn't like those photos as much as the others when it came time to edit. I do have one or two with the right position, and I did figure it out, but it was still a serious Star Trek geek infraction.
EDIT - interesting side note. When I first thought "hey, wasn't
Data left handed?" while doing the review, I went back to the TNG
episode when Tasha died, knowing it would be easy to find a scene
where Data was wearing the phaser and tricorder. And yes, he was
wearing them on the opposite side from the rest of the away team.
However, I've heard that in the movie First Contact, he wore them as
I have them in most of these photos. An interesting bit of trivia!
Packaging - ***1/2
The box consists of a slip cover over an inner package. Take off the slip, and there's a window on the inner box to see the figure.
The graphics are nice - I really like their logo - and they've used various elements from the movie and poster, along with a mention of the anniversary. It's all collector friendly of course, and should stand up to normal handling and storage.
They also included a QR code on the back of the interior box. Scan
this, and it will take you to a page on their website for an instructional
video on Data. It's not there yet, but should be soon. While
Data is easy to work with, it's a nice touch that shouldn't go
unnoticed, and will likely be even more useful with future figures.
Sculpting - ****
There are two portraits with this figure, both based on his look in First Contact. The standard portrait is pretty much what you'd expect, but it is also absolutely stunning. No one in the industry, including Hot Toys, would have done it better.
I always talk about three aspects to any portrait - realism, likeness, and expression. The realism is particularly tough for this character, as he is an android, making 'realism' a slightly different cat to skin. There were wrinkles on Data's face, but there was also this very consistent skin texture, a slightly rough appearance, that was part of the make up effect. They've captured that perfectly, and the eyes, lips, and eyebrows add to the overall realistic appearance. You'll notice the hair isn't as detailed, which actually goes to the look they were going for on screen. I'll point this out again when we get to the second portrait.
The likeness to Spiner as Data is perfect. It isn't close, it isn't approximate, it's dead on. There are absolutely no nits for me to pick.
When it comes to the expression, they went with a slightly quizzical but also fairly unemotional look. It works perfectly, because it fits the widest variety of poses without being out of character or too extreme.
The second portrait hits on all three aspects as well, just as you'd expect. Again, it's a perfect likeness, and the expression works great. The big difference here is this is the point in the film where the Borg have given Data some human skin. The sculpt has a more human texture, and even the hair on that side is now more detailed, and slightly messy. It's really impressive work, and a great way for EXO-6 to announce their arrival.
Data stands just a hair shy of 12" tall, just a smidge bigger than the Qmx Picard. While both actors are called 5' 10", I think that might be a little generous for Patrick Stewart. Still, the minor difference here isn't far off from what you see on screen, and is partly due to hair, and partly due to boots. The First Contact Picard coming soon should look perfect next to this data.
Paint - ****
To go along with tremendous sculpting, EXO-6 has given us tremendous paint operations.
The two portraits show off the subtle beauty of the work. The skin is glossy and shiny, not by accident as is too often the case, but on purpose. Data has a shiny look intentionally, another aspect that set him apart. His yellow eyes did this as well, and the bright, life-like appearance here is perfect. The second portrait goes one further, giving him the yellow right eye, but the blue left eye, where the Borg were doing their work. The human skin is a bit pinker too, nothing extreme, but enough to notice clearly in hand.
The lips and eyebrows have the precision you'd expect, and even the hands have the perfect paint application. This stellar work continues on areas of the costume, like the communicator and pips, and across the accessories, where the tiny printed controls and read out on the tricorder look amazing.
If I had one nit, I would say that the skin tone could be just a little - very little - whiter. The tricky part is lighting. In hand under certain light, he looked spot on. In other situations, he looked a little too dark. It's tough to get it just right in every instance, and it varies quite a bit on screen from scene to scene as well. You'll notice in the photo with Picard, he's clearly whiter, and I wouldn't want them to go to extreme with it.
Articulation - ****
The underlying body has been designed specifically to wear Star Trek uniforms, with a little more gap under the arms. It's extremely sturdy and hefty, with metal screws where necessary for strength.
The overall design is just about perfect. There's all the joints you'd expect: ball jointed neck with good tilt and lean; very complex shoulder/chest joints (sometimes referred to as 'butterfly' joints) which allow for a tremendous range of natural movement; rotating hinge shoulders, cut biceps, double pin elbows, and rotating hinge wrists that give you any natural arm pose you want; a ball torso and cut waist, perfect for breaking up unnatural straight lines in the torso; and ball hips, double pin knees, and rotating hinge ankles with plenty of rocker movement.
The body has several key, unique features. As I already mentioned, there's more room between the arm and the torso under the shoulder. The body is also quite heavy for a plastic version, which was done intentionally. Most of this weight is in the legs, so that the figure can better maintain stances without the need for a stand. The joints are all super tight as well, but I had no worries about breakage or damage.
The hands swapped easily, as did the heads. There's a couple extra wrist pegs in case, but the swap was easy enough that I wasn't worried, and the hands still head tight while posing.
By the way, the body in the photo below was a separate nude body sent to me. The costume is NOT removable, or at least it's not intended to be.
Accessories - ****
While it might seem like there aren't a ton of extras at first, when you consider the price point, what you're getting here is pretty amazing.
I already extolled the virtues of the second portrait, but it's worth noting here as well, since its inclusion is a big factor in the Accessories score.
There are several extra hands to go along with the relaxed set he comes wearing. There's a pair of fists, as well as two right and two left gripping hands. These grips are designed for specific accessories, and it works beautifully. For example, the left hand designed to hold the phaser is a perfect sculpt, with the fingers and thumb in the correct position.
There are two phasers - the hand held version, with the specific look from First Contact, and the rifle Data used in the movie. Both have perfect sculpts and paint, and the hand held phaser fits cleanly in the holster. This holster, along with the second holster for the tricorder, snap tightly to the body thanks to a very powerful magnet. If you own the Qmx figures you might remember they did this as well, and you may have had some frustration with the items falling off the figure too easily. That won't happen here, as the magnets are much better.
Speaking of the tricorder, it too has the two piece design we saw with the earlier Picard, but the sculpt and paint are slightly different to fit the film. Again, the tricorder pops open and an magnet holds the bottom piece very tightly to the top. The simplicity and efficiency are really quite impressive.
I'm not a big user of bases, so I normally don't spend too much time discussing them. But things are a little different this time, thanks to the attention to detail from EXO-6. The black hexagonal base has a clear plastic cover that snaps in place. Under this clear plastic cover you can have one of two different plastic cards. The first is the blue circle, which is the center of the TNG style transporter. The second is a white section, part of the larger overall transporter.
The idea behind the second is simple. Each figure they produce will include another section of the large scale transporter base. There are black clips included to snap the bases together, and you can then create the full transporter floor for the overall base for a group of figures.
That's not all to discuss with the base, however. They've also included a 'signature' card. This plastic identification card is designed for you to take it to a convention and have Brent Spiner autograph it. There is another clip, this time clear plastic, that attaches to the base and will hold the signature card for display.
That's the sort of geeky attention to detail that I love. And it's the sort of thing you can expect from EXO-6 with all their releases.
Outfit - ****
While there's not quite the same level of complexity with a Starfleet uniform as some costumes, getting it right is very difficult.
And get it right they did. Nanjin will scour the earth looking for the perfect materials in the perfect colors, and this sort of obsession with detail pays off. This is the First Contact uniform of course, and I hope we eventually get a Data in his earlier TNG duds. But this is a beautiful version, with perfect stitching and tailoring. The square shoulders look fantastic, and the fine stitches along the gray are straight and properly scaled. The hidden zipper is also properly in scale, and the stirrups around the foot - just like on screen - keep the pants tight and smooth in any position. The boot sculpt is fairly simple but clean, and the pips are nicely spaced and sized.
I mentioned the magnets holding the holsters earlier, but it's worth noting them again here. These work much better than the earlier releases from Qmx, and I was reminded of this while I was shooting Data with Picard.
Fun Factor - ****
This is a great figure on his own, with plenty of useful accessories, two portraits, and even an interesting base with lots of future potential. Add in the upcoming releases, particularly Picard (who we should have by the end of the summer), and your Star Trek display is going to really shine.
Value - ****
Most sixth scale figures are over $200, at least for licensed products. Some companies are regularly charging over $250, and even when we do get those below $200, it's generally expected that some feature or features - sculpt, paint, accessories, costuming - will be of lesser quality than the best in the industry.
At $190, EXO-6 is giving you a licensed figure at the level of
quality of the very best on the market. It's astounding.
Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing. I had no worries while working with the body or the accessories. When swapping heads make sure you pay attention to the collar, so you don't push it down into the neck. It's not hard to avoid, but you do have to notice.
Overall - ****
This is the nicest first release from any sixth scale company - ever. We've seen others start out okay and progress to greater stuff, we've seen others start out okay and stay that way, we've seen others start out okay and drop off in quality, and we've seen others start out okay and disappear. We've never seen anyone come out of the gate this strong.
If you're a Trek fan and a figure collector, jump on these. Don't wait to see what they make, don't wait to see what gets announced, do it and do it now. This is a company started by a man who loves this license dearly, a company whose only purpose is to create Star Trek figures that you will love. They won't suddenly start making other licenses and ignore Trek. They won't make one or two and get distracted by some other shiny, new opportunity. They are committed to the franchise, and they love it as much or more than you. If anyone deserves the support of the fans and collectors to make this dream a reality, it's EXO-6.
And if they can circle back to STTOS and make an Uhura and a Chekov so I can complete my bridge crew, I can die a fulfilled nerd.
Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ****
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ****
Overall - ****
- Entertainment Earth is at $190 with free shipping.
- or you can search ebay for a deal.
You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.
Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!
Please share with your friends!