Saturday 25 May 2019

Review: Star Trek Select Borg action figure

Diamond Select Toys have just released the latest character in their Star Trek Select range of action figures; a Borg drone. Being a generic alien rather than a specific major character, this is a bit of a change for the range. The format is also a little different, a fully articulated figure, rather than the more sculptural style featured in most of the previous releases, and a lot of modular components instead of the scene setting props that most of the other characters in the range have come with. Does this new approach make for an appealing action figure? Continue below to find out...

The packaging matches that used for previous releases, which without a large diorama element makes it a little spacious (see a few more views of that further below). Once you pop it open you will find thirteen parts, including multiple heads, eye-pieces, and arms, which allow you to make numerous different Borg drones.

By my reckoning there are no fewer than 392 possible unique combinations of these parts! That's a lot of different drones, ranging from a pretty straightforward slim humanoid to a fully armoured and arm-replaced bulky drone. Here are just a few of those possibilities:

Both heads have hollowed out pupils, allowing the included ocular implants to be plugged in, but also not leaving noticeable holes when left uncovered as they just look like eyes. One of the heads is possibly Human, but it does have a slight ridge down the center, so maybe it's meant to be Bolian? This one has extra holes which the piping from some of the eye-pieces slot into. It looks good when they're attached, but does leave it a little holey when not. As Borg typically have quite scared and marked skin I think this passes ok anyway though.

Three of the four eyepieces can connect to this head in one way or another. Including the option of no eye-pieces at all, I found six possible variants with this head - Although having both eyes with implants does seem a little over-the-top!

The second head is distinctly Klingon, and has a lot more implants built on, making it look a bit tougher too; this also helps hide the one dark attachement hole other than the eye, which is on the side of this head.

All four eyepieces fit on this head, one of them even works on either eye, so you can get eight different combinations from this head!

The set comes with regular Borgy hands for either arm, which both have nicely articulated wrists for a good range of poses. And then there are two big mechanical arms; one a sort of claw, the other looks more likely to zap or stab you. They all attach at the elbow, and the mechanical arms fit on the left or right side, so the four pieces can be configured in seven different combinations. Although again the options with implants on both sides do look a little over the top.

Here's a closer look at the hand elements:

In addition to the multiple choice pieces, the figure also comes with a shoulder pad type of armor, which attaches via a plug into one shoulder, and a large chest plate, which hangs loosely over the top of the figure. These really help to bulk out the figure, and in some combinations, especially with the big arm elements, make it look a lot more balanced. They're the trickiest parts to make work well though, the shoulder pieces doesn't always plug in that easily, and I'd have liked the chest piece to fit a little snugger ideally.

Alongside all these changeable components, the core body is very well articulated, with the upper torso able to twist dynamically, a good range of movement at the shoulders, and lots of points of articulation down the legs. Thanks to the design of the Borg these are all very well integrated, and with the exception of the rotational joints mid-thigh (and a non-moving join line mid stomach) are pleasingly unnoticeable.

It seems almost excessively posable for a being that's range of movement is most often portrayed as very steady and plodding. The figure can certainly reproduce just about any pose you might want a drone to take on.

Here's a more exhaustive look at the packaging:

I'm a big Borg fan, so was pretty pleased when I heard a new Borg figure was on the way; I was more excited still when I learnt it was a modular design. Having now played with that modularity it is just as fun and pleasingly varied as I'd hoped. It's impressive how many Borg you can create from this, and how different some of those options are. The only thing I could really ask for to improve it, would be more! If the set came with a few more heads of key Star Trek species you could have great fun Borging up Vulcans, Andorians, or whomever else. Or if it came with a second torso, so you could squeeze two whole drones out of it. On a less greedy note, I'd have really liked a hand with assimilation tubules protruding out; so this image would look that bit more dramatic:

At any rate, I think this is a great figure. It's well made, intricately and accurately detailed, and very well articulated. But most importantly, it's really fun! While this definitely isn't a action figure that would withstand a lot of play - The swappable components just come apart too easily - It does encourage a lot creative exploration when deciding how to make it up, which is much more engaging that your average action figure.

If you got several of these new multiple-choice drones you could build quite an impressive collective of different Borg. But I already have a few other drones to keep him company; so I couldn't resist digging out what are possibly my favourite ever Star Trek action figures; Art Asylum's (which was itself assimilated by DST) fantastic Borg Assimilation series. These three alien drones are a little more characatured and textured in comparison to the newest member of the collective, which is rather more screen accurate. But I think they just about work together.

This is actually the second Borg in the Star Trek Select range, as at least a few parts of a drone were included in a previously released Captain Picard figure set; which would make a nice companion to the newer release. You could also expand your TNG scene with the previous Worf figure in the series. I'd love to see more Borg stuff thought; surely Seven of Nine or the Borg Queen are worthy of Star Trek Select figures? Or better yet, now DST have dipped into generic aliens, I'd love a new Species 8472 figure to pair with this!

While we wait for that, the new Borg drone is available now, including at Amazon, Entertainment Earth, and Things From Another World.


rfoy007 said...

Thank you for still doing trek reviews and news.

Elvis Shatner said...

Kind of surprised that DST has decided to take another stab at Borg figures, since the Assimilation line didn't seem to be too popular when it released.... Hope it does well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such an interesting review It was very thorough

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