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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Lieutenant Sulu - Star Trek The Original Series
One:12 Collective action figure

Mezco Toyz
Date Published: 2016-07-18
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Introduction

This is one of those reviews when I get off subject at the start...bare with me or skip to the Packaging, you've been warned. And if you've been living under a rock the last couple weeks, the following info could be a spoiler, albeit an awfully minor one.

Over the last couple weeks, there's been some brouhaha over the sexual orientation of a beloved Star Trek character - Mr. Sulu. It seems that in the new film opening this week, it will become apparent that he is gay. It won't be a big thing, or a plot point, or critical to the overall story in anyway. The word is that it is simply a scene that shows him at home, with another man and their adopted daughter. Of course, everyone lined up on either side to argue the issue.

George Takai, who played Sulu and is gay, came out saying this was a bad idea. His point was that the character was intended as straight by Roddenberry, based on conversations they had on the subject. While Takai didn't come out for many years later, he did approach Roddenberry about the possibility of any character on the show being gay, and was (rightly) told that it was simply impossible to do that on network television in the 60's. But it's not the 60's any more, and I'm disappointed in Mr. Takai's response.

Personally, I think it's brilliant. Others have suggested having a new character that's gay, but that's simply tokenism. Others have said that Sulu can't be gay - he was obviously not! Uh, no, that's not true. Never in the old show did they give him any sort of clear orientation, one way or the other. You might have ASSUMED he was straight, since assuming others are straight is pretty much standard behavior for heterosexuals, but that doesn't MAKE him straight. Need proof? Watch "Muds Women" and tell me your absolutely sure Sulu is straight based on his actions...

The beauty of this is that because he never had any sort of behavior to indicate his orientation, he wasn't 'closeted'. It simply wasn't important, which is absolutely perfect in the Star Trek universe. It wasn't important then, it's not important now. The scenes that reveal his family life will be no more unusual or specific than any showing the family life of any other character on the show. They might be shocking to the viewer, but it's the viewer carrying that baggage, not the character or the universe of Star Trek.

And that's the beauty of this approach. By using a long term character who has never expressed his sexual orientation before in any way, they impress upon us that his sexual orientation NEVER MATTERED within the Star Trek universe. It didn't matter to his colleagues, or his leadership, or his friends. He was treated like any other person by the others within the show. It simply was, no different than if he was heterosexual. And that is perfectly fitting for this show and this mythology.

I'm not saying that it doesn't matter to viewers. It will. But this is very much like when Kirk kissed Uhura. Within the context of the show, there was nothing about it that had to do with her being black and him being white. Within the context of the show, it was not treated as something unique or taboo because of their race. That didn't mean it wasn't seen that way by viewers - it was. And the idea that Sulu is gay will annoy and piss off plenty of people who merely assumed he was straight and are now upset that their assumptions are being toyed with. Too bad for them, bravo for the rest of the world.

Back to our regularly scheduled review that ignited my comments - Lieutenant Sulu from Mezco!  As part of their on-going One:12 Collective series of high end figures, they've just released another in the Star Trek license. Getting him before McCoy or even Kirk is a great sign, indicating we are much more likely to get the entire bridge crew.

You can snag this guy for around $70 at most retailers, and he's in stock and shipping right now.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Packaging - ****
The exterior of the box matches his uniform color, and includes the nifty 50th anniversary logo. Everything is collector friendly of course, and there's a classy feel to the simple design.

Something you can't see in any photo but is a huge plus - these boxes are VERY sturdy. None of that cheap thin cardboard here. These can withstand handling, storage, and shipment without fear of damage.

Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Sculpting - ***1/2
Mezco is doing a terrific job capturing sixth scale quality likenesses at half the size. This is Sulu, pure and simple.

It is a slightly unusual portrait though, at least in terms of accuracy.  When it comes to realism, there's nary an issue. There's even a slight pocking to the skin, something so subtle and small that you have to be in the right light just to see it, but it adds a tremendous amount of realism to such a small figure.

It's quite lifelike too, especially the alternate head sculpt. Yes, like Spock, Sulu has two head sculpts. His standard has a good, stoic, serious expression, with just enough life to avoid looking like a mannequin. The alternate head has his trademark grin, as much a part of this character as the raised eyebrow look is to Spock. While it's extreme, it's not silly, and works well with a number of different poses.

But both head sculpts are slightly odd in the accuracy department, as I mentioned earlier. Look at the photo below and tell me that's not Sulu - it's excellent. But at other angles and other light, he's not quite as perfect. It's close, and some will say I'm splitting hairs, but it's not quite as striking - to me - as the Spock portrait. Still, it's the finest Sulu we've gotten to date, and that's saying quite a bit considering the scale.

On the plus side, it's also worth noting the finely stranded hair, something you might not see in figures twice this size. On the negative side - which, along with the slight accuracy issue pulls him down slightly - is his height. I understand that getting multiple bodies in this scale at this early of a stage is not easy, but he comes in at almost 6 1/2" tall, just a smidge shorter than Spock. He needed another 1/4 inch shaved off to be really accurate.

Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Paint - ***1/2
The paint job supports the excellent sculpt beautifully, with an consistent skin tone, clean lipes and eyebrows, and even a nice, sharp hairline. The work on the regular portrait is dead on four star stuff, but I did deduct slightly due to a wonky left eye on the smiling portrait. Unlike the regular head sculpt, the two eyes don't quite line up exactly. It's pretty minor, but when you're playing in the 'high end' market, minor counts.

Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Articulation - ***1/2
Since Sulu has his sword, I figured I'd pull the shirt off this time and include a shot. You can see that the neck is a ball joint, but it's really a double ball, with a joint at the top and bottom of the neck post. It's not really designed to be nekkid, as there's some gapping at the torso that allows for greater mobility, but he can still go shirtless if you desire.

You can also see the rotating hinge shoulders and elbows, as well as the double rotating hinge wrists. He can turn, tilt, and lean at the chest, and the double rotating hinge hips, double pin knees, and rotating hinge ankles give him plenty of lower body movement. There's even some rocker action in the ankles, although not quite as much as I'd like. The joints are designed for fluid, like-like poses, and you should have no trouble finding a great look for the shelf.

Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Accessories - ****
Like Spock, Sulu is loaded with goodies. Anyone that knows me knows that an extra head sculpt is always going to boost the Accessories score way up there, but Sulu adds in a number of other great extras.

As I've said more than once in this review, there's a second smiling portrait. The heads swap easily, and both look great.

He also has a number of hands, although not quite as many as Spock, of course. He has a set of fists he comes wearing plus a set of relaxed grips, a set of specific grips for accessories like the phaser and communicator, and one extra right hand, designed to hold the sword. The hands also swap easily, with no fear of wrist peg breakage.

Also like Spock, he has his phaser, communicator, and tricorder. Again, I can't impress upon you enough how amazing the detailing is on these considering the itty bitty size.  Of course the communicator flips open, and the tricorder opens as well, just like we saw with Spock. While this is clearly a case of re-use - and I certainly expect to see all three of these again with McCoy - it's a case of sensible re-use.

He has one additional accessory that's all his - a rapier! Perhaps one of his most iconic scenes came in season one in the episode "The Naked Time". In it, a spore infects the crew, removing their inhibitions much like alcohol. Sulu becomes a swashbuckler with a sword, and this accessory is designed to mirror that. The design is fairly close to the sword originally seen on screen, and the thin plastic blade is light weight but soft enough not to easily break.

Sulu also has the same small black belt we saw with the regular release Spock, packed in with the little plastic bad they provide to hold your accessories.  It's nice to have, but not high on my list since it's not a look that really fits with Sulu.

Finally, he comes with the emblem display base, but in his yellow color.  This base can be used with the clear plastic support rod, but it can also be used as a standard foot peg base, which I think is more appropriate for figures in this scale.

Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Outfit - ***1/2
The outfit is fairly basic, but the tailoring and fit rival something twice this scale.

The tunic is done in his brighter yellow color, with nice work on the emblem and sleeve insignia. The stitching is very small, and the fabric pattern is appropriate for the scale. The stitch along the bottom of the shirt is a little wobbly, but overall the quality is extremely good.

The pants are long enough to keep the boot tops covered in almost any pose, and again, the tailoring is excellent. The boots are sculpted, but avoid the skinny ankles we saw with the very first Toy Fair Spock.

Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Fun Factor - ****
These figures are a ton of fun. You'll spend half the time amazed at the sculpt and paint, and the other half finding cool scene specific poses. This is a figure that will please you for years, not something you'll lose interest in after you have it on the shelf. And yes, older kids can handle these figures without fear of damage.

Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Value - ***
These aren't cheap figures at $70 each, but they are in the right ball park considering the quality. This is a new category of collectible, and it blows away anything currently in the 1/12 market. And yes, I'm including pure action figure lines like Figurarts or Movie Realization, which are similarly priced.

Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Things to Watch Out For -
As always with nylon type materials be careful and keep the clothes away from sharp edges that could snag. Otherwise, you should be good to go!

Overall - ***1/2
Another winner in the One:12 Collective line up, and a much needed addition to your overall Bridge Crew.  With Kirk, Uhura, and McCoy pretty much a lock, we only need Scotty and Chekov to finish off one of the most iconic teams in the history of television. As the second greatest starship captain would say..."Make it so!"

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ****
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Accessories - ****
Outfit - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2

Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has him at $70.

- also has him for $70.

- is also at $70.

- Entertainment Earth is even at $70 - sensing a pattern?

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
I've covered both the One:12 Collective regular Mr. Spock and Toy Fair Exclusive Mr. Spock. Other One:12 Collective figures released so far include Dredd and his Lawmaster, the NYCC exclusive Judge Dredd, the DKR Batman and Mutant two pack, the Batman exclusives, and the initial DKR Batman.

And if you're a big ST:TOS fan, but want something a little larger in your figures, check out the superb sixth scale Spock and Kirk from Qmx.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Mr. Sulu Star Trek One:12 Collective action figure by Mezco Toyz

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2016, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved.