Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Art Asylum's Lieutenant UHURA!

Star Trek: The Original Series - Wave One by Art Asylum 2003

Oh my dearest Uhura, you brought class to the USS Enterprise, you had all the crew wrapped around your finger, and you paved the way for strong women in Sci-Fi (and in real life). My memories of Uhura are all fond ones.  I grew up in the 80's (without cable) and Star Trek The Original Series was a staple of late night PBS at the time.  My brothers and I would watch it from 11pm to midnight on the weekends and we were enthralled. I wouldn't call myself a Trekkie at all, I watched far more Scooby-Doo and Laverne & Shirley than Star Trek.  But the sense of nostalgia I felt was overwhelming when I saw these amazing Art Asylum figures.  She was destined to be mine. In researching the background of Uhura for this review, I learned a lot of interesting facts.  First off, her name, Nyota Uhura, loosely translates to "Star Freedom" in Swahili.  She was one of the first characters of African descent to be featured in a non-menial role on US television. Case in point, she served as a major inspiration to a young Whoopi Goldberg...

  who immediately exclaimed to her family "I just saw a black woman on television; and she ain't no maid!"  Uhura also was an inspiration to Dr Mae Jemison, the first black woman to travel in space with the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1992.  And as tribute to that inspiration, Jemison went on to guest star in an episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, as well as two Star Trek documentaries.  Lastly, back in 1968, Uhuru and Captain Kirk shared the first scripted inter-racial kiss on US television.
Times have changed, indeed.

On to the toy.  Lieutenant Uhura was played by Nichelle Nichols and Art Asyum has done a fantastic job capturing her likeness.  The sculpt is great all-around with excellent articulation and a subtle paint wash to give her red uniform a more realistic look.

An interesting thing about this figure is that it made me realize how cool Uhura's hair was.  My crappy TV in the 80's wasn't the best for small details I suppose.

Uhura came with a Phaser and a litte pad computer.  The rubber strap on her tablet is a nice touch and contours nicely to her body when she's wearing it.

Group picture time!

Here's a comparison shot with one of the Next Generation figures from Art Asylum.  It's unfortunate that the scale is so different between the related lines.  From what I've read, this Uhura was small even in comparison to her own wave when she was released. Oh well, she's still a beautiful figure, even on her own.


PS.  This is my sixth post in my Black History Month series.  Click to checkout the rest!

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