Star Trek Mirror Sulu 1:6 Scale Figure
Is EXO-6’s Mirror Sulu the greatest action figure ever made? At this point, I might be too in love to speak impartially. Certainly, it’s in the running at least for the greatest Star Trek action figure ever made, and probably the finest of EXO-6’s impressive batch of 12-inch figures so far.
I reviewed EXO-6’s wonderful 12-inch Spock from TOS’s classic “Mirror, Mirror” episode a month or two ago (the company’s rapid-fire output over the past year is already straining fans’ wallets), so you know how much I love Jerome Bixby’s iconic parallel universe episode, a masterpiece of suspense and of creating an entire, savage universe with just a few tweaks to the original cast’s uniforms, hair and makeup and some painted Terran Empire pendants on the U.S.S. Enterprise sets.
If Leonard Nimoy’s Spock fits perfectly into the upside-down Mirror Universe simply by growing a goatee and issuing cruel orders with just the faintest edge to his normally impassive, emotion-suppressed voice, George Takei’s Sulu goes in the opposite direction with a fiendish, wonderfully sleazy approach that sees him blatantly sexually harassing Uhura, underhandedly spying on Spock (“Why are you monitoring my communications, Mr. Sulu?”) and leering at Kirk and his hapless Prime Universe companions as he tells Kirk exactly how he’s going to frame them for Spock’s assassination (“Regrettable. But it will leave me in command.”). Apart from his piratical Terran Empire costume finery, the changes to Sulu include a jagged hairstyle and a horrific scar running from his right temple to his cheek—life in the Mirror Universe ain’t easy, even for a sneaky little bastard like Security Officer Sulu.
It’s kind of an unspoken rule that facial sculpts for action figures like this feature neutral expressions—you never know how the customer is going to pose the figure or what other characters the figure will be posed next to, so a neutral expression is the safest way to go. Of course, with Mirror Spock, a neutral expression is a given, yet EXO-6’s Mirror Spock still has that cold, cruel glare that encapsulates the character. With Sulu, sculptor Pichet Pitsuwan has gone directly for that act three playoff with Sulu lovingly brandishing his Imperial dagger as he threatens Kirk—you can almost hear the tracked Gerald Fried music cue and see Jerry Finnerman’s camera push-in on Takei’s leering face. While it also perfectly reproduces the smug, entitled look of the character (he could almost be groping Uhura with the same smirk), this facial sculpt captures the Kirk-taunting moment with electrifying specificity.
“Prime” Sulu was one of the last Trek figures put out by Quantum Mechanix before they dropped their Star Trek 12” line, and while EXO-6’s Nanjin Tam was involved with that line (presumably along with some other artists who went on to work with EXO-6), it’s instructive to compare the QmX Sulu to the EXO-6 version. While we’re talking about a different character and attitude, there’s no doubt the EXO-6 facial sculpt captures George Takei flawlessly, leaving the QmX version looking positively generic, like a Sulu Barbie doll. Even a great face sculpt can be destroyed by mediocre paint work, but the paint job on Mirror Sulu is striking, from the hint of eye shadow and eyeliner to the subtle discoloration of his facial scar and the menacing glint in Sulu’s eyes. The body and neck also capture George Takei’s build better—at 11.5” tall, Sulu is half an inch shorter than Mirror Spock—Takei was (and is) a little guy.
Mirror Sulu is EXO-6’s first “red shirt”—the shirt material looks very similar to the one used on QmX’s Scotty but it does seem to be a somewhat deeper red. The color shows off Sulu’s beautifully-reproduced Imperial “medals of valor” strikingly, and the figure also sports the Empire’s piratical knee-high boots in nicely-scaled soft faux leather.
The equipment provided with the figure is standard Starfleet gear with built-in magnetic attachment points to duplicate the Velcro used on the series. The phaser is placed facing backward on the left hip gunslinger style, and an Imperial dagger and scabbard attach to the right hip (a communicator is included with a magnetic attachment point, although I haven’t figured out where it affixes to the figure yet).
Sulu also comes with an assortment of hands, to either grip his dagger, phaser or communicator or with an open hand to deliver the Imperial salute—or a devastating karate chop! The uniform is not removable but allows for some swashbuckling poseability, although I assume most collectors will want Sulu in his classic dagger-flaunting, Kirk-baiting pose.
Reportedly EXO-6 will be doing at least one more TOS Mirror figure, and they have an Uhura body in development that would even do credit to Nichelle Nichols’ six-pack abs in the episode if they decide to go that way—I would bet Mirror Kirk (yes, I know he’s actually Prime Kirk, just like Uhura) would be a more likely possibility—but we can dream, can’t we?
I’m not sure how long Mirror Sulu will hold the Greatest EXO-6 Figure mantle—their Lord Kruge figure from The Search for Spock looks positively staggering—but right now it’s pretty hard to beat. If you’re a TOS collector keep an eye on EXO-6 as word is they will be putting out an Admiral Kirk and “Kholinar Spock” from Star Trek – The Motion Picture relatively soon (a bearded “disco McCoy” has even been teased)—these figures will not have a pre-order and they’ll have a smaller run than the company’s previous figures so they may sell out very quickly. Mirror Sulu is in stock and available for immediate purchase now. They can be purchased directly from exo-6.com. and from Entertainment Earth.
Closer look at Mirror Sulu
Here is a short video giving you a look at the likeness.
More to come from EXO-6
The EXO-6 line of Star Trek figures continues to expand. Two of their latest announcements are figures of Captain Jonathan Archer from Star Trek: Enterprise and Locutus from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Both are available for pre-order. Find out more at exo-6.com.