Star Trek Series 1 Busts:
Kirk & Spock
Sometimes things are best in their classic, original versions. One example is Coca-Cola because 'New Coke' just didn't cut it (and was probably just a marketing play anyway). Another is Star Trek, where even though it had two worthy follow-ups (The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine), it has it's own version of New Coke in Voyager. Enterprise is sort of the Vanilla Coke version, not horrible but still kind of bland when compared to the real thing.
The original Star Trek blazed new trails in television, presenting true science fiction as quality entertainment. One of the problems that the show faced was that it may have been too smart for the core television audience, and while it had legions of loyal fans it wasn't exactly a ratings success. Science fiction was not an easy genre to sell to people in the 1960's, and so it suffered and was cancelled. However, once man landed on the moon in 1969 it was a different ballgame, and the show grew into one of the most popular and watched shows of all time.
The heart of the show was not the technology or the special effects, but the stories and characters. These still hold up today, and barring the dated special effects you can easily sit and watch classic Star Trek even today. Mature and often taboo themes were disguised in future settings and alien worlds, disguised from network executives but not shrewd viewers. Topics like racism and the Vietnam War were served up by some of science fiction's best writers (like Samuel Peeples, Theodore Sturgeon and Harlan Ellison) and had the first interracial kiss on television. Pretty good for a show that was cancelled more than once.
This is the first series of Star Trek busts from Sideshow Toy, and they logically started with the Original Series. Even more logically, they started with the two main characters of the show - Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock. Following them in July/August will be Dr. McCoy and Chief Engineer Scott, with plans to eventually cover the entire bridge crew. There is a web exclusive bust of the Gorn Captain from 'Arena' due to ship in June/July direct from Sideshow, and it will be joined later by a web exclusive Uhura and a web exclusive Captain Koloth.
The license for the busts extends to all the Star Trek movies and television series, and the line will quickly expand beyond the original crew. Busts of Captain Picard and Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation will be released in May/June/July to be followed by Lt. Worf and Geordi LaForge later in 2003. Tentatively scheduled for January 2004 are Commander Riker and Lt. Commander Troi, and web exclusives Beverly Crusher and Q are in the works.
Master sculptor Oluf W. Hartvigson created the first two busts in the Original Series line, and the next two (McCoy and Scotty) were done by Mat Falls. Oluf has the title 'master sculptor' and the term fits when you consider the many portraits he has sculpted for Sideshow Toy. His work is evident in many of the Universal Monster figures (both 8" and 12"), in the Monty Python figures and he'll be the key sculptor for the line of Simpsons busts.
The packaging for the Star Trek busts has two plastic windows to let light in and allow you to inspect the bust prior to opening and to display it packaged if you so desire. If you leave it that way you won't be able to see the base design, which is a simple classic design with a name plate at the bottom and an Enterprise delta shield. The shield has the appropriate department logo on it (command for Kirk and sciences for Spock), and Sculptor Oluf Hartvigson's signature is printed on the bottom of each bust's base, and each bust is individually numbered. The numbers on the base also match a number on the box, so if you don't want to open it you will still know what number it is. The Styrofoam in the box is designed with a subtle faux marble pattern that is easily missed, but shows the dedication to design that marks Sideshow's products.
The scaling on the polystone busts is similar to some other busts available, such as some of Diamond Select's busts and the Gentle Giant Star Wars busts. The Trek busts are just slightly bigger than the Gentle Giant ones at seven inches tall, and that doesn't even take the Kirk girth into account. Each of these busts is limited to a run of 5000, and that's much better than only 1701!
Sometimes fans like to debate which Star Trek Captain is best, be it Kirk or Picard or Sisko, but there really is no debate. Without Kirk, there would have been no other Captains to compare, and by this virtue alone he wins hands down. Add in the fact that he has an alien girl in every spaceport and he saves the universe in between trysts and you have an unbeatable combination.
James Kirk took over command of the Starship Enterprise after Christopher Pike, and helmed the ship on a five-year mission. The mission only lasted three years before cancellation (and the show was cancelled more than once, but grassroots fan movements kept it going) but that time was enough to indelibly place Kirk's constellation into the galaxy of popular culture.
Kirk's character is a reflection of not only the era of his birth, but his creator. The 60's was a time for experimentation and free love, and combined with Gene Roddenberry's appetites Kirk is something of a womanizer. He's also confident, clearly in command and thinks first of his crew rather than himself. How else do you explain why he has to be the one to beam down to every single dangerous planet? Not all of them had women, you know.
Portraying Kirk is actor William Shatner, and there is no question that he is Jim Kirk. The actor took the reins when Jeffrey Hunter was un available to reprise his role as Chris Pike (later shown in the two-part episode 'The Menagerie') and he's been in the center seat ever since. He's well-known as cop TJ Hooker (and made a nice cameo in Showtime playing himself), and is the Priceline.com Spokesman. Shatner's relationship with Star Trek has been rocky over the years, but he's fully embraced it after lampooning fans on Saturday Night Live with his hilarious 'Get a Life' speech, and now continues to write Star Trek novels with Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. We shall not speak of his singing.
The bust covers the head and upper torso of the character, a good move considering Shatner's tendency to gain and lose weight over the course of the show. This is a thin Kirk in the classic gold duty uniform, looking out into the stars (or more likely checking out some female crew member). The bust is complete down to the badge on Kirk's breast against the deep gold command shirt. They didn't miss the pointy sideburns, a trademark of the classic crew (and the only concession to weird hairstyles the actors would make).
Every Skipper needs a little buddy, and on Star Trek Spock is the Gilligan to Kirk's skipper. Like Gilligan the character has lived on far beyond the running of the show, but unlike Gilligan, Spock was never the comedic sidekick. Spock is the number two guy on the Enterprise, and in addition to being Science Officer he's the head of the Enterprise Ear Cleaning Society (and treasurer).
Being partly Vulcan means that Spock tries to subdue and control his emotions because his human half means he actually has them (much to his chagrin). His stoic nature would at first seem to be distant, but this actually made him the most desirable and sensual character on the show, and the one that female viewers responded to most. Part of this is due to empathy and the belief that these women would be the one to get him in touch with his true feelings. Another part is the love secrets of Vulcan than make human women go wild. Rrrowwr!
Spock is part of a triumvirate including Kirk and Dr. McCoy, and he represents the intellectual side of the three. Being intelligent is just one of the things that sets Spock apart, the most important being his mixed heritage. He's half human and half Vulcan, and this means he really doesn't fit into either society. He's too human for the Vulcans, and too Vulcan for humans. Like a mix of metals in an alloy, his background is something that lets him become better than he would have been had he been simply human or Vulcan. And the extra driver's license is handy in case he loses one for too many tickets for speeding during Pon Farr.
Leonard Nimoy took on the role of Spock, and over the years he's had a love/hate relationship like much of the cast of the show. For a while he was not Spock, but now he is. He also played Paris on Mission: Impossible and he was born only four days after William Shatner. As he got older, Nimoy turned towards directing and in addition to a pair of Star Trek movies he directed Three Men and a Baby. More recently he has taken to photography in the book Shekhina (Hebrew for god's feminine aspect), and it has caused some stir over the images of nude women in it. If you look really hard you can see naked women in his face. Nah, but we made you look! We shall not speak of his singing.
Spock's face is emotionless and stoic, and that's just the way he'd want to be captured. His bust is the same height as Kirk's even though Nimoy is two inches taller than Shatner, not counting elevator shoes. The brow is furrowed in thought (though the one eyebrow up would have been good, too) framed by those pointy ears. His shirt is the deep blue of science and his blood is green. Not that you can see any blood...
Pictures of Captain Kirk
Pictures of Spock
|Where to buy the Star Trek Busts: The Captain Kirk and Spock busts are limited to editions of 5000 each, and retail for between $35 and $40 USD each. You can find them at Sideshow's web site, and at various specialty stores and online retailers.
Several such online stores are RTM sponsors Action Figure Xpress and Big Bad Toy Store. (Be sure to check the other RTM sponsors, listed on the Shop Center.)