Star Trek: Voyager Seven of Nine 1/6 Figure
Voyager’s Borg gambit
Sometime in 1997, someone decided that Star Trek Voyager needed a sexy female in a catsuit. Voyager debuted in 1995 and became the first Trek series to boast a female starship captain as its lead character. Despite this empowering move, the show (like its predecessor, Deep Space Nine) struggled in the ratings, failing to match the viewership of the hit Star Trek: The Next Generation that had spawned both DS9 and Voyager. So maybe Captain Kathryn Janeway, played by Kate Mulgrew, wasn’t sexy enough?
DS9 had juiced its ratings by adding Michael Dorn’s popular Klingon character Worf in its fourth season in 1995, and Voyager producers Rick Berman, Jeri Taylor and Brannon Braga deduced that a similar Hail Mary move was in order for Voyager, so they introduced Jeri Ryan as Borg drone Seven of Nine in the episode “Scorpion, Part II” in September 1997. Seven is first seen in biomechanical zombie mode as a full-fledged Borg, but once disconnected from the Borg unimatrix and rehabilitated she becomes a loyal, if offbeat member of the Voyager crew.
The introduction of Seven of Nine could easily have been a jump-the-shark moment for the series, and in fact, it reportedly infuriated Kate Mulgrew, leading to a great deal of on-set tension between her and Ryan. While the idea of incorporating a Borg into a Starfleet crew was fascinating, Seven’s post-unimatrix garb of a form-fitting silver catsuit complete with high heels that hugged every inch of Jeri Ryan’s voluptuous body initially seemed to be the entire point of the character. Thankfully Ryan proved to be such a skilled and powerful performer and the writing of her character was so sharp that Seven quickly rose to the occasion and provided the kind of Spock-like outsider perspective the show had been lacking. In fact, the incorporation of Seven was so successful that when it came time to put the cast of the next Trek series, Enterprise, together, a cat-suited, voluptuous female character was apparently a given, although arguably Jolen Blalok’s T’Pol was less effective and more pandering than Seven of Nine.
Seven ultimately became popular enough to survive into the era of Paramount+’s Picard series, where Jeri Ryan’s presence has been one of the most consistently effective elements of the show—thankfully she no longer wears a catsuit, but she looks impressive enough to imagine she might still fit in one, and appears so comfortable in the command chair of the U.S.S. Titan that it’s pretty easy to imagine her commanding her own ship someday.
EXO-6 Seven Figure
EXO-6’s 1/6 scale Seven of Nine action figure captures Seven as she was seen on Voyager, although not as she was introduced. The character originally wore a metallic silver catsuit that was ultimately deemed too revealing even for this character; the EXO figure dresses her in her subsequent burgundy/lavender catsuit that has more of a Starfleet look. EXO-6 reportedly put a huge amount of research and engineering into this character to reproduce the look of Seven as closely as possible, and the results are stunning. EXO’s 12-inch scale is the classic Barbie Doll size so it’s easy for female characters, particularly ones with built-in glamour like Seven, to come off as nothing more than glorified Barbies.
The softer, more subtle contours of female characters are more difficult to capture in a sculpture, and Seven’s “cranial implant” around her left eye gives an asymmetrical aspect to her features. All that said, sculptor Sean Dabbs captures Jeri Ryan’s face flawlessly, and the make-or-break paint application delivers a likeness that is uncannily lifelike—this is Hot Toys-level work. Seven’s blonde-brown hair is pulled back into a tight braid, which eliminates the bane of female figures in this scale: thick plastic hair sculptures that extend so far down around the neck that they can even limit the mobility of the head. The only minor nit here is the slight gloss over the excellent paint job on the hair, which accentuates the plastic look. This is necessary to capture some of the highlights of real hair but it’s difficult to pull off the look in this scale. Interestingly, under some lighting conditions the hair has an almost metallic sheen.
EXO-6 put enormous effort into the engineering of this figure’s body and it really pays off, starting with the elegant, almost invisible joint where the neck meets the head, allowing for a decent range of movement without compromising the beauty of the character. EXO engineered a custom body for Seven to duplicate Jeri Ryan’s figure that includes seamless arms and legs to more realistically duplicate the character’s elbows and knees inside the tight-fitting costume. This results in a limited range of movement for these areas—both the elbows and knees can be bent to around a 90-degree angle, but the shoulders and hip joints boast a wider range of flexibility, so if you’re intent on putting Seven in yoga poses you might manage a few.
As a character, Seven of Nine had a more formal, Spock-like rigidity, so she’s not going to be moving like Spider-Man. Seven’s costume had an interior “girdle” that gave her abdomen a ribbed, semi-mechanical look, and EXO reproduces the look by building the ribs directly onto the figure’s body so that it moves underneath the catsuit. The fit and look of the catsuit costume is flawless—even from the rear it looks almost seamless, although a closer examination reveals a subtle seam running from the back of the neck to the middle of Seven’s lower back. There’s a decent range of movement in the figure’s waist too and the figure is balanced enough to stand easily on her high heels.
Seven boasts 9 different hands including 5 left hands that include a marvelously delicate reproduction of the Borg tech webbing or lacing seen on the character; one left hand even includes those creepy Borg assimilation tubes in case Seven needs to suck one of her fellow action figures into the unimatrix. Two of the hands are designed to hold the compression rifle—I would recommend attaching the hands and their wrist mounts to the rifle first and then inserting the hands into their respective wrists—the limited range of motion of the arms does come into play a bit here as there’s no twist joint in the upper arms which limits the ways Seven can aim the rifle.
There’s a foldable tricorder, a PADD for clerical work and weapons including a cobra phaser and a Buck Rogers-like compression phaser rifle included, and to keep Seven from looking silly with phasers and tricorders sticking to her catsuit, the character has a burgundy holster belt that matches her uniform and carries her equipment. The belt is flexible vinyl and pins together at the back; two circular magnets are attached to the belt with adhesive, and one downside is flexing the belt too much can dislodge the magnets, so take care you don’t pop one off as I did.
I’ll admit I was lukewarm on purchasing this figure—I wanted to have at least one character from Voyager and it was either Seven or Janeway. Most of the photos I’ve seen of the EXO Seven of Nine figure haven’t done her justice—while male figures often benefit from outdoor or direct, harsher lighting to highlight the craggy shadows of their head sculpts, softer lighting brings out the subtleties in Seven’s likeness. Between the amazing likeness and the stunningly engineered reproduction of the character’s physicality, Seven of Nine easily ranks as one of EXO-6’s finest figures. Reportedly so much work went into this figure that EXO ultimately lost money on Seven of Nine, but for collectors, the payoff is undeniable.
Given the character’s pivotal role in Picard and the promise that she may even move on to other yet-to-be-made Star Trek shows, this figure should appreciate tremendously in value, and it makes for a stunning addition to anyone’s collection. Unfortunately, the Seven of Nine figure sold during pre-order both at EXO-6’s website and Entertainment Earth. The figure may be available via other retailers or the secondary market.
The Seven figure is part of EXO-6’s Star Trek: Voyager collection, which also includes Janeway, Tuvok, The Doctor, and Chakotay. The Janeway figure is currently the only one still available to purchase at EXO-6.com.
A closer look at Seven
Jeff Bond is a freelance writer and book author who’s addicted to plastic models and action figures. You can catch up with him on Facebook and Instagram where he posts model works in progress, and takes commissions. His latest Star Trek book is Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The Art and Visual Effects.
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