Diamond Select Toys have been involved in the Star Trek licence for a number of years, dating back to the Art Asylum releases and more recently being wrapped into their Select range with classic figures of figures like Kirk, Spock, Picard etc.
In this review we take a look at our first Diamond Select Star Trek figure - the December 2016 release of Khan from Star Trek II, The Wrath of Khan.
For anyone who collects Select figures, the packaging is very familiar using the same design as Select lines such as Marvel and Ghostbusters. This is an oversized blister on a backing card, with the left hand side of the card wrapping round the spine and onto the front of the blister.
The general colour scheme is a rich blue on this release, with yellow text and highlighting. The front wrap around uses the classic Star Trek text logo and under this sits a federation badge with a number 50 in it to represent this being the 50th year of the Star Trek Original Series. Above the Star Trek wording is the character name - simply listed as "Khan" in white text. The triangular flash that extends from the wraparound over the bottom corner of the window simply carries an image of the USS Reliant from the Wrath of Khan movie.
The left hand side of the packaging carries a blue shaded image of Khan Noonien Singh, as played by Ricardo Montalban. This is Khan as we find him in the 1982 Wrath of Khan big screen adventure. A further Star Trek 50 logo sits beneath this image.
Round the back of the packaging we have a blue backdrop onto which is dropped an image of the figure in a yellow insert. To the side of this sits an in-depth text bio of Khan and his history within the Star Trek universe from his first appearance in the Original Series to his big screen appearance in 1982.
Under this sits four "also available" slots detailing the other Select Star Trek figures released to date - Kirk, Spock, Picard and Worf.
The whole packaging needs to be pulled open to access the figure and he comes out in a large inner tray with all the pieces strapped into place with twisty ties.
The contents need to be unpacked carefully. Pulling them out through the fastened twisty-tie can result in paint damage. You will then be presented with a Khan figure and a number of other pieces - and then 5 other pieces that make up the diorama.
While this figure does come under the Select banner, it is very different in execution than say a Marvel figure or one of the new figures from Ghostbusters/Gotham. The Star Trek Select figures are more akin to a Kotobukiya statue with virtually zero articulation, and some dictated pose options using the parts required.
Because of the way the figure is presented, I am going to start the bulk of this review with the diorama piece and not the figure. This is because there is no way to review the figure without having it stood/sat on the base so it makes sense to build this first before we move on to Khan himself.
The diorama is the Captain's chair and a piece of the bridge from the USS Reliant, the Starship that Khan steals to go after his nemesis, Captain Kirk. There are five pieces to the diorama, and while there are no instructions it has been engineered to be simple enough to understand and put together. The two upright pieces slot to the back of the base, and the curved rail then slots into these. The chair is then placed into the remaining square slot on the base.
The chair is very nicely cast and decorated, with the circular embossed floor panels and the leather look padded segments of the chair. Like the Starfleet command chairs we see on Star Trek, the two armrests are complete with a number of controls and these are also hinged so they can fold inward over the legs of the Captain once he is seated.
The other feature visible on the diorama is a foot shaped depression with foot peg. And if we take Khan straight out of the pack you will find his bent right leg will line up with this socket. The fit is quite tight so there is a touch of force required to get the peg into the hole in the right leg.
Once in place there are no real points of articulation on Khan, his pose is quite rigid with just some very small movement in the arms and the head which can be turned.
The sculpt of Khan (first head) is a good likeness with the rugged features of Montalban captured within the sculpt and then shaded beautifully with varying skin tone shades. The eyes are very realistic and painted very well and are framed with Khan's bushy eyebrows. The hair is a mid-grey with washed black to bring out the depth, it flows back over the ears and hangs at the back of the neck.
The trunk of the figure is the only piece which can't be changed on the figure. This is also really well sculpted starting with the bare chest which is exposed and the various medallions and trinkets that Khan wears. The leather look tunic has the ridged collar and the lined panels and it is not a single tone colour, but instead is very dirty and dark.
This first set of standing legs are a little less impressive as they do look quite plain. Up close there are sculpted panels and rips, but the colours used are grey on a slightly lighter grey so they are not as visual.
The first set of arms we get out of the box are the "folded" set, or more accurately the left resting on top of the right. These arms are as equally well sculpted and decorated as the core trunk of the figure - the paint job of the clothing remains consistent and the skin tone still has varying shades to help define the musculature. The right hand is gloved and painted in a brushed steel effect. The left hand is uncovered and beneath this we have a wrist and and a bronzed coloured rope piece that snakes back up the forearm to the sleeve of the tunic.
The next look we will explore is seated Khan, so do to this we need to apply some force to pop the existing legs off the torso. Once done the seated legs slot and pop into position. The seated legs are sculpted as a single piece and have a flattened base to allow Khan to sit on the command chair. They are identically painted and decorated vs the standing legs.
The seated legs sit securely on the chair, with the weight of the figure holding it in place. It is worth noting that the feet don't quite meet the floor when Khan is seated, and that can look a little odd from some angles. The leg position also means Khan is sitting forward on the edge of his seat so the back does not touch the back of the chair - that is the pose he takes up for much of the movie scenes when he is commanding the Reliant.
Our next look is to change the neutral head for what I think is meant to be an angry version. Like the legs there is a touch of force needed to pop off the head and you can then snap the replacement onto the ball joint.
While the neutral head is a good likeness to Khan, I am less impressed with this second version. I guess the intention was to capture the angry Khan as he is ranting at Kirk towards the end of the movie as the Reliant and the Enterprise face off in the Nebula. Diamond haven't quite captured this and for me the look is more like Khan is surprised than angry. Again its painted really well with carrying skin shades and the now open mouth has nicely painted white teeth and a pink tongue.
The final options for Khan are the arm variants. These probably take the most force/time to remove as its difficult to get a grip on the folded arms to then pull them out. The plastic is quite tough and can take a bit of pressure to finally coax them out.
The only other left arm option see's it moving from being folded to being bent at 90 degrees and straight up. With the fisted hand that comes with it you can almost see Khan shouting at Kirk and shaking his first at him. With a small degree of movement thanks to the shoulder joint you can raise this arm up and down to pose it where you want.
The right arm gets two further options, the first of these being a mirror of the left one where it is bent at the elbow and the hand is open palmed. This arm does have a further joint at the elbow so you an swing the forearm back and forth to either be across the stomach, out in front or out to the left hand side.
If the fist is not acceptable, the left hand is also interchangeable and a finger pointing version is included. Again this is a pop out joint and the new one slots in easily and can be rotated as you wish.
The third alternative for the right arm is a straight version with virtually no bend at the elbow at all. With this one, it probably best suits the standing Khan as it can hang down to a point where the hand is almost resting on his thigh. Out of all the arm options, this looks the least realistic and the most awkward a there is just something a touch off in the shape and the position being held.
This straight arm will work with the seated position, and you can either have it resting on his knee. When you do this you will have to have the arm rests of the chair folded out. You can of course raise the arm using the shoulder joint and fold the arm rest in and then bring the arm back down to rest on the arm rest.
This is my first Star Trek figure from Diamond and I have thought long and hard on the scoring I should give as it will obviously set a precedent on reviews of similar figures. The term action figure is probably not an overly fair description of this release, with Khan being more akin to a statue. He does have about four/five points of very basic articulation depending what configuration you use for posing.
Articulation aside, the sculpt and paint job is excellent - better in many ways than other Select figures. The only downside is the angry head which doesn't quite work. The diorama is impressive, but is quite big and will take up some pressure shelf space - and unlike other Selects, this diorama base can't really be dropped to save space otherwise the figure won't be able to stand or sit. It isn't even possible without some custom work to have the chair on its own?
For under £20 this is an impressive piece, but you have to be clear you are buying more of a statue than a figure. I score Khan Noonien Singh a heady 4 out of 5 stars.