I picked up a ton of figures at last week's San Diego Comic Con. A ton. I shipped them back in three big boxes, and they turned out
to be about 75 pounds worth of crap...er...stuff. While 75 pounds isn't literally a ton, it certainly qualifies in my book.
And none of it was crap, at least not to me. Sure, my wife rolled her eyes, but everything I brought back was uber-spiff. I'll
be doing reviews on a lot of it, but only those items which really add value to the reader. For example, reviewing the Mattel exclusive
Batman wouldn't add much for the reader of this site, since I just reviewed the Zipline version, and this is just a repaint. On the other
hand, figures like the Thundar, Dick Tracey Mez-itz, or Dusty Trails Outlaw all represent upcoming lines that haven't hit the shelves
yet, and will give readers a good idea of what to expect.
Tonight's review fits that bill - the Art Asylum Star Trek Kirk. No, you can't just find him at the local store, but he's a good
representation of what you can expect with the entire line in terms of sculpting, paint and accessories. Don't worry, I'll still be
reviewing the rest of the line once I snag them all, but this early figure can tantalize us now.
Packaging - ***
The con packaging was pretty basic, a box with the figure inside, set in a form insert. The nice aspect of the box, while not particularly
graphic intense, is that it's much sturdier than most cardback packaging, and is less likely to get damaged on the trip home.
And it was also collector friendly, in case you feel the need to put Kirk back in his tomb at a later date.
Sculpting - ***1/2
Certain sculpts are hard to do, usually because the person has no extreme facial characteristics to allow the casual observer to instantly
recognize. William Shatner is one of those types. Art Asylum has managed to do a very admirable job capturing the likeness however, and
I prefer this version to any of the smaller Playmates versions. It's a tough call with the 9" and 12" versions - remember I'm talking sculpt
here and not paint ops - but this Kirk sculpt is easily one of the finest.
There's no lack of detail in the clothing and other sculpted features either. The torso is done in the same type rubber material
as the Enterprise uniforms, but the actual material is supposed to be a PVC instead of the kraeton. Hey, it feels the same to me.
This allows it to cover up the chest and waist joint, and hide a little of the shoulder ball joints.
It looks fine, although it gets dirty much easier than the rest of the hard plastic parts. I'm hoping we don't see rubber rot over
time, but for now the choice gives you plenty of articulation and still looks good.
One aspect of the sculpt that may draw fire is the scale. Kirk is smaller than the rest of the Art Asylum Trek lines to this point.
While I don't plan on displaying the various lines together, those that were hoping to have Kirk and Archer hanging out together may be
Paint - ***1/2
The paint application was clean and neat, with almost nothing to for me to whine about. The color of the rubbery material matched up extremely
well with the harder plastic arms, and the black of the boots and pants is differentiated through the finish. The boots are shinier,
which gives a little more realism to the all black lower body.
If I had a nit to pick, it would be the hair line. It's a little uneven, and isn't quite up to the quality I'd hoped.
The hands are slightly gloppy as well, something that is a common problem.
Still, overall the paint ops are extremely well done, and the average person will have little to complain about.
Articulation - ****
The figure has all the articulation I could ask for, all of it with a good range of motion. There's a ball jointed neck, ball jointed
shoulders, cut biceps, elbows, wrists, chest, waist, hips, knees, cut calves and funky ankle/half foot. It's a little lower than most ankle
joints, is well hidden, and gives you some good foot posing possibilities. The only problem I had was with the hips, since the legs didn't
move as far backward as I'd like. He will be able to take a great sitting position, if we ever get some form of bridge for him.
All the joints were tight, and all were well constructed. I had no trouble getting him to stand on his own, and hold a wide variety of
Accessories - ****
There are five accessories - his tricorder, phaser, communicator, phaser rifle, and extra right hand. The rifle is exclusive to this
version of Kirk.
All the accessories are extremely well sculpted, with great paint ops. All the detail is there, and I was particularly happy with the
tricorder. The strap is a soft rubber, but feels very sturdy and unlikely to break. It fits over his shoulder easily, looks excellent,
and holds the tricorder at just the right height.
Thanks to J. Jonah Jason from the Buzz Board for this next tip - the communicator is fully open, so that the lid and body are in a
straight line. That means you can tuck the top up under his rubber shirt with the detailed interior against his body, and it looks like
the communicator is attached to his belt - very cool!
The extra hand pops on and off easily, and is sculpted to hold the rifle a little better than the original hand. However, the
original hand will work as well, and it also works perfectly with the phaser. All the accessories fit into his hands fine in one
way or the other, always an important feature.
Value - ***
I'm cheating here, and not counting the value score for the exclusive itself but rather for this line since exclusive
prices are inflated by other factors. Find these figures for $10 in a store, and you'll have a great value. Pay $13, and you're pushing the limit.
Overall - ***1/2
I was once a huge TOS collector, buying every one of the 5", 9" and 12" figures Playmates produced. And I'm here to say that I'm
thrilled with where Art Asylum has done with the series. I'll be buying all of wave 1, and looking forward to wave 2. If you're
a big fan of the show, you're not going to be disappointed. I'll be boxing up my shelf of 5" Trek to make room for this new line,
so that gives you some idea how happy I am with them.
Where to Buy -
This particular exclusive will also be available at the Wizard World Chicago show on August 8th-10th. The overall line should be
hitting specialty retailers like Gamestop, Electronics Boutique or Media Play within the next week or so. On-line:
- Art Asylum just started a new
collectors club. Sign up for a one year membership, and you get all
kinds of cool swag plus an exclusive of your choice, one of which is the YSK.
- Amazon.com has the whole first series in stock and ready to ship for $10 each plus shipping. This is great if you want to
buy individual figures rather than the complete set.
- Entertainment Earth has a case of 6 for $70
plus shipping, which works out well depending on how the case breakdown turns out.
Figure from the collection of