Star Trek: The Motion Picture Kolinahr Spock
TMP is back
Star Trek: The Motion Picture was the red-headed stepchild (no offense to redheads or stepchildren) of the Trek movie franchise for many years after its 1979 theatrical release, where it performed robustly at the box office but failed to earn the affection of critics and struggled to become profitable due to a budget larded with cost overruns from its troubled production and from previous attempts to relaunch the franchise, whose costs were added to TMP’s budget. The 1979 movie began as a script for a Phase II Star Trek TV series revival, and it owed more than a few ideas to previous TOS episodes like “The Changeling” and “The Doomsday Machine.” When it failed to live up to the expectations of fans due to a perceived lack of action and character development, the sequel was made by Paramount’s television wing, and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan largely remains everyone’s favorite Trek movie since its release in 1982.
Despite that, TMP’s reputation has gradually improved over the years—an ‘80s ABC television airing included unused footage that strengthened the film’s characters, particularly Spock’s, and a 2001 director’s edition began to address many of the flaws caused by the firing of TMP’s original visual effects team, Robert Abel & Associates, and the subsequent rush to get the movie in theaters. Last year the same team of Daren R. Dochterman, David Fein, and Michael Matessino revisited the director’s edition with help from visual effects archivist Gene Kozicki and others to do a truly transformative makeover of Star Trek: The Motion Picture that for this particular Trekkie at least finally turned TMP into a good movie.
EXO-6 figure is Spock at his best
EXO-6’s amazing line of 12” Star Trek action figures wrapped up 2022 with two special releases from TMP, Admiral James T. Kirk, and Kolinahr Spock. My Kirk figure is still in the transporter buffer but I do have a Kolinahr Spock in hand, so let’s talk about what is likely the finest figure of Spock produced so far. The Kolinahr Spock figure depicts Spock as he’s first seen by the Enterprise crew in TMP, stepping out of an airlock in front of security officer Chekov and seconds later appearing on the bridge so Sulu can say, “Why, it’s Mister—” and Kirk can finish the introduction with a classically Shatneresque “Spahhhhk…!” Spock is clad in his distinctive black, ceremonial Vulcan robes, a deceptively complex costume designed by Robert Fletcher. Leonard Nimoy’s performance is far more remote and mechanical than the one he gave in the series, indicating his attempt to purge his human emotions in the Vulcan Kolinahr ritual.
EXO-6’s approach to their TMP figures is specific and economical. Rather than the standard gray uniforms the characters wore throughout the bulk of the movie, the figures depict them in the unique costumes they wore for their entrances on the Enterprise. The figures don’t come with props—apart from a briefly-held tricorder, neither Spock nor Kirk use any props during their initial appearances on the Enterprise.
EXO-6 has rethought their packaging for these figures, refining and reinforcing their shipping boxes so the decorative figure boxes don’t require the little plastic corner protectors, which do their job but tend to spill out and make reinserting the figure boxes into the shipper boxes a bit of a chore.
The TMP figure boxes employ the rainbow poster look designed by artist Bob Peak and feature a striking gold-inlayed stripe along the top and gold lettering, evocative of the TMP titles. An ingenious piece of showmanship is revealed when you open the figure box’s folding, book-like cover—a full-length, custom image of Spock’s shuttle approaching the docking bay at the rear of the Enterprise’s bridge. It’s a great way to recreate the anticipation of Spock’s arrival in the movie just as you’re about to see the figure for the first time.
The Kolinahr costume dominates the figure, and EXO-6 has done masterful job recreating Bob Fletcher’s design in 1/6 scale, from the mauve Vulcan symbols placed vertically down the chest area (which match Spock’s light purple shirt visible at his collar and revealed when the front of the robe separates) to the black-on-black blend of smooth and felt-like materials that create depth and complexity on the outfit. The monk-like, draping sleeves of the robe contain interior wires that allow you to more convincingly create the look of gravity causing the material to hang, which adds considerable realism to the scale. Even the back of the robe features complex detail, with a central, rectangular spine piece matched by parallel, draping segments.
EXO has excelled recently in capturing the essence of these characters in their facial sculpts and paint details, particularly with their Mirror Spock and Sulu releases and DS9’s Benjamin Sisko. Kolinahr Spock sits very well within this group and perhaps even betters their Mirror Spock in the subtle differences in skin color, a hint of five o’clock shadow, a bit of cheek blush and Spock’s distinctive eye shadow coloring.
Compare this to Quantum Mechanix’s 1/6 Spock from a few years ago, where the facial coloring seems blotchy and overdone, obscuring the character’s distinctive eyes—by comparison Kolinahr Spock’s eyes are sharply drawn and arresting, highly evocative of the character’s cold introductory stare. There’s also a quite subtle but convincing reproduction of the cheek scar Nimoy somehow obtained in the intervening decade between the cancellation of TOS and the production of TMP—a remarkable little detail.
While the Spock figure contains no accessories, it does come with additional hands. The standard hands attached to the figure in the box could conceivably hold, say, a tricorder should someone reproduce one in this scale. The figure also comes with the obligatory Vulcan salute hand—admittedly something Spock never does on the Enterprise in the movie but something that’s just expected of any figure of the character.
More interesting is the contemplative “meditation” hands with interlocked fingers and the first and second fingers extended and pressed together. Like the Vulcan hand salute, this gesture originated on TOS and Spock is shown employing it while kneeling in his quarters in meditation—wearing his black ceremonial robes—in The Wrath of Khan—meaning with a change of shirt (Spock wears the distinctive white turtleneck undershirt while meditating in the sequel) this figure would serve as a Wrath of Khan Spock.
The meditation hands come as a single, unified piece with socket holes for each of the figure’s wrists. While it takes some dexterity to correctly drape the sleeves of Spock’s ceremonial robe, easily the biggest challenge for this figure is getting the wrist plugs pushed into both openings in the joined meditation hands, particularly since you’ll want the pivoting wrist joints matching so that the joined hands can pivot up and down to give you some posing options. The figure is poseable enough to position Spock kneeling as he does in The Wrath of Khan, although as a character in general Spock maintains fairly rigid, formal poses that are no great challenge for EXO-6’s bodies.
In lieu of accessories, Kolinahr Spock comes with a golden IDIC badge that can be mounted on the front of the transporter pad display stand with a provided mounting piece, although I suspect some collectors may be happy to wear the badge for cosplay.
Given Star Trek – The Motion Picture’s burgeoning reputation it’s a treat to see its characters get the EXO-6 treatment—priced at $175, a few dollars less than EXO’s standard figures, both Kolinahr Spock and Admiral Kirk were fast sellouts and are already going for far over their original prices on eBay and elsewhere. You can sign up for waiting lists for Kolinahr Spock at both Entertainment Earth and Sideshow Collectibles. You can also sign up for Admiral Kirk at Sideshow Collectibles.
EXO-6 plans a third Motion Picture figure, the long-awaited “Disco McCoy,” in March, which will likely be even more collectible than Kirk and Spock. While there’s a slim chance of an Ilia it’s probable that the TMP holy trinity will be all that’s released from the first Star Trek movie in terms of EXO-6 figures, and this company’s plans are so ambitious it’s amazing they managed to do even this small sampling of characters from a movie that’s still an acquired taste for many. But make no bones about it—Kolinahr Spock is so far the finest 1/6 interpretation of the character ever done, putting up a high bar for what will certainly be additional interpretations of the character going forward.
A closer look at TMP Spock