Star Trek Next Generation
Worf and Riker

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. For over 25 years, Star Trek and it's many movies and television shows were at the top of the sci-fi heap. But over the last decade, they've dropped further and further into geek obscurity. If you need any evidence to just how far they've gone, look no further than a recent episode of American Dad. In it, they end up tracking a terrorist to a convention. They barge into a panel discussion, in which a large auditorium of geeks is debating which is the better, Star Wars or...Lord of the Rings. Ten years ago, that would have been a Trekker at the podium, not a hobbit.

But while the fervor has cooled, it hasn't gone complete stone cold dead. Art Asylum has produced a number of extremely high quality figures based on the license over the last few years, and they partnered with Diamond Select Toys this last year to keep things rolling.

The first release since the partnership is two characters from The Next Generation - Riker and Worf. While there are two characters, there are actually 9 - yes NINE - figures being released. Any Buffy or Angel collectors out there know how DST markets their product, with a small number of characters in a wave, but lots of variants.

There are four versions of Riker - red outfit Season 7, "Second Chances" Thomas Riker, "Nemesis" (movie based) Riker, and "All Good Things" Riker. For Worf there are five versions - a regular Season 7 version, an "All Good Things" Worf, a "Soldier of the Empire" Worf, a "Shattered Mirror" Worf, and finally, a "Nemesis" (film based) Worf. 

Of course, some of these are exclusives. The Mirror Universe Worf is an Action Figure Express exclusive, the Nemesis Worf is a New Force Comics exclusive, and the Soldier of Empire Worf is a Previews exclusive. The Nemesis Riker is a New Force Comics exclusive (and may come in a two pack with Nemesis Troi), and the All Good Things Riker is a Previews exclusive as well.

Whew. To make that simpler, regular cases of these figures will contain the season 7 versions of Riker and Worf, along with one per case of the Thomas Riker. These are the three I'm reviewing tonight. The other 6 versions are all exclusive to someone, but that 'exclusivity' is somewhat irrelevant, since many of them will be available at different websites anyway.

Expect to pay around $15 each at retail for these. Comic shops and online are your best bets, and I have some suggestions at the end of the review.

Packaging -  ***
If the packages have one fault, it's that they are slightly oversized. Regular readers know I hate packaging that's bigger than it needs to be, but the colors and designs here are good enough to overcome the slight amount of waste.

The combination of colors and graphics works well, and the slightly unusual shape makes it stand out on the peg. It shows off the other figures on the back, and you can see most of the accessories through the bubble. It's not packaging nirvana, but it's not bad.

Sculpting - ***1/2
Both sculpts are excellent, but to my eye, Worf is almost perfect. Riker has some extremely minor issues, particularly in the set and spacing of his eyes, but nothing serious enough to drastically hurt the almost perfect score.

These are the two standard (i.e. comes in normal cases) versions of Riker. The red suit is his Season 7 look, while the trombone player is the Thomas Riker version. Both sport the same uniform, with different paint ops, but identical sculpts. Notice that they have only two circles for rank on the Thomas figure, while the season 7 figure has three - that is a paint feature though, and not part of the sculpt itself.

Worf has a removable sash, if you really want to remove it (although I don't recommend it), sculpted of a softer rubber material. Unlike some earlier figures that had soft rubber tunics over their upper bodies, these figures have hard plastic upper torsos, more like traditional figures.

The head sculpt on Worf is amazing in detail. However, while it is tremendously realistic, it's also a bit expressionless, lacking some of the menace and danger that was usually apparent in his face.

Scale is a question, at least to me. Worf stands just a hair over 8" tall, while Riker is just a hair under 8" tall. These are advertised as a 7" scale, yet they'll tower over any 7" figure. I made a futile attempt to get the other Trek figures out of storage, driving over to the unit and digging in.  Unfortunately, those toys just are IN the storage unit, they're at the BACK of the unit behind and under about 300 other boxes.  Needless to say, I screamed Uncle.  These feel too big to me though, and if you measure your Kirk, etc., you'll be able to compare it to the 8" height of these two guys.  If that's actually a 7" scale, then Riker and Worf are around 6' 10" tall!

My only hope is that the original figures were actually larger than 7", and that DST hasn't screwed the pooch on the scale with these.  If they have, that would seriously effect my overall score.

UPDATE: - the scale on these IS larger than the TOS line, but is similar to the Nemesis figures, which allows TNG characters to fit in together.

Paint - ****
Both figures have excellent quality paint operations, with zero slop or over spray. The faces are particularly impressive, where small details like the hair lines, eyes, and facial hair is immaculate. Even the skin tone variation on Worf's ridges is perfectly done, which is a pretty impressive feat considering the scale.

The uniforms are very clean, with consistent broad colors. Reds and blacks can be very difficult to do consistently, but there's no issue on these.

Worth noting is the use of gloss paint on the shoes. This really differentiates them well from the black pants, and makes them appear very distinct.

Articulation - ***
While these figures aren't super articulated, they are an excellent example of appropriate articulation.

Both have ball jointed necks, however the range of movement is limited by the sculpt. I really wish that Worf's head could tilt further in particular, and this is the only real complaint I have about the articulation.

The shoulders are also ball jointed, with a very good range of movement. Combined with the cut bicep joint, single pin elbows, and cut wrists, the arms have plenty of posing ability. There's also the cut waist, T hips, and single pin knees and ankles, rounding out the articulation.

The figures can sit great, but the legs don't move too far backward due to the butt sculpt. In general however, the sculpt and articulation compliment each other.

Accessories - ***1/2
The entire line has done a good job with accessories, but the inclusion of the new bases is a very nice touch.

These bases look fantastic, with lots of detail both in sculpt and paint. They take the figure about 1 inch off the ground, and would be very useful for a back row of figures. My one complaint is that the spread of their legs and the size of the base don't quite match up - the figure wants to stand outside the circle. With a little adjusting though, you can make it work. There is no peg on the base to attach the figure.

Each figure also comes with an extra set of hands, which swap easily enough. The posts are fairly sturdy, and swapping the hands doesn't require too strong of a tug. Worf's extra hands are closed fists, while Riker's are designed to work with different accessories.

There's also the required phaser and tricorder with each figure, and both Riker's come with the touch pad dealios, each with a different front. Better yet, these appear to be actually painted on, and not simple stickers.

For regular Riker, that's it, but Thomas Riker comes with a large trombone. There are no moving parts, but it fits in his hands pretty well. I never did quite come up with a way to pose it at his mouth, but I suspect that if you try hard enough you just might find a way that looks good.

Worf has an additional accessory as well, his phaser rifle. It fits nicely in his hands, and looks terrific.

Value - ***
Suggested retail on these is around $15, but most stores are selling them in the $12 - $13 range, tops. At that price point, you're getting an excellent figure with great accessories. Now, if I was a completist with this line I wouldn't be as generous with the value, since if you pick up all the variants you'll end up buying a whole lot of reused items, but if you consider it on a figure by figure basis, it's a solid value.

Fun Factor - ***
Okay, so there isn't a kid under the age of 10 left on the planet that would actually care about these characters. Add in the fact that kids under 10 were never big fans of TNG to begin with (TOS had more of the sex and violence those young whipper snappers love), and you can see where getting a kid to play with these might be a challenge.

But if you pretend kid's would actually like the license, then there's no doubt these are good toys. Solid joints and quality construction means they could stand up to most play activity, and the good articulation and accessories add to the fun. So don't feel bad when they catch you playing with them on your desk - just explain that they bring out the inner child.

Things to watch out for - 
Not a thing. These guys are sturdy, solid and well built, with little chance of breakage. A couple of my joints were painted tight, but a slow twist loosened them right up, and they never felt in danger of breaking.

Overall -  ***1/2
These are *this* close to four star figures. Had Worf been given a slightly more menacing and less zombie appearance, and Riker looked a little better from a dead on straight view, they would have gotten the full four no problem. As it is, they still almost squeaked by, and there's certainly nothing major here for anyone to complain about. 

I feel this review is lacking though, since I couldn't get to the older figures for a comparison photo and to check the scale.  If these are way out of scale with previous AA ST figures, it could drop my overall score by as much as a full star, and would be a huge disappointment.  I'm trusting that AA and DST wouldn't do something like that, but I'm interested in hearing from someone who has the earlier figures handy just how tall they are.

UPDATE:  Sure enough, I've heard from several folks, and the scale is definitely different.  Kirk is just a hair under 7", and Spock is 7.25", making these two figures tower above them.  I'm not going to revise the score - without seeing the scale issue in person that wouldn't be right - but I can tell you that this would have hurt my sculpt score, since I would want to place them together.  Of course, that might not matter to you, depending on how you display them and whether you will be buying figures from other shows and placing them in proximity.  These figures are more in scale with the Nemesis figures, which were larger, and which probably makes sense.  Too bad the Nemesis stuff was larger in the first place.

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ***1/2
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ***
Overall -  ***1/2

Where to Buy -
Online is your best bet these days:

- CornerStoreComics has the regular figures for $12 each, or special deals on sets.

- Amazing Toyz has the figures for $12, plus special pricing on some of the others.

- Alter Ego Comics has the Previews exclusive AGT Riker for less than $13.

- Action Figure Express has the short packed Thomas Riker in a set with the Worf for just $30.

Related Links:
I tend to be a STOS sort of guy, so most of my reviews focus on the old show:

- the last wave released to general stores included the Gorn and Kor. I also reviewed Vina, but separately, since it took me awhile to find her.

- check out the second wave of TOS figures to see how things have continued to improve.

- there's a great guest review of the first wave, along with a guest review of some of the Trek mini-mates.

- Enterprise wasn't left out - they were actually some of the first figures done by Art Asylum. 

- Art Asylum did their first yellow shirt Kirk as a SDCC exclusive.

- and let's not forget that long ago (not that long ago), Playmates did their Trek line, including the 9" figures like Amok Time Kirk and Spock.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour