Star Trek: Enterprise Andorian Imperial Guard Commander Thy’Lek Shran 1/6 Figure
Everyone has their favorite Star Trek series and their not-so-favorite Star Trek series. I’m a the-Saurian-Brandy-bottle-is-half-full kind of guy; I generally find something to like in each Trek series and focus on that rather than spending my life angrily fuming about what I don’t like. That said, there are some Trek shows I return to less often than others, and that affects my purchasing decisions where EXO-6’s excellent 12-inch action figures are concerned. EXO-6 is well into getting the entire Voyager bridge crew out, but I’m satisfied with having Seven of Nine represent that series. With Enterprise, I’m not even going to sample the bridge crew, and evidently, the powers-that-be at EXO-6 may harbor the same subversive opinion that I have: that the most interesting character on Enterprise wasn’t part of the Enterprise bridge crew, or even an NX-01 crew member at all. He was an Andorian named Shran.
As part of its attempt to depict the early days of Starfleet and the founding of the Federation, Star Trek: Enterprise introduced the blue-skinned, antennae’d Andorians in season one’s “The Andorian Incident” and the producers wisely chose an actor to play the lead Andorian character in the episode who had tremendous experience playing aliens on Star Trek: Jeffrey Combs. Combs was well-known to genre movie fans for his performances as Herbert West in Stuart Gordon’s horror film Re-Animator and as Crawford Tillinghast in Gordon’s equally crazeballs horror follow-up From Beyond. I knew within a few minutes of watching these two movies that I was in the presence of a master theatrical actor in Combs—his performances pop off the big screen in a way that perfectly matches the outlandish storylines and visuals in Gordon’s horror classics, and I was excited to see him join the Star Trek world portraying characters on Deep Space Nine, particularly the deliciously slimy Weyouns. I got several chances to interview Combs when he joined Enterprise and he immediately got me in his corner by raving about the acting style of the original Star Trek and talking about pushing his performances forward in a way that makes his characters seem to pop through, not only the heavy prosthetic makeup he often wore as Weyoun, the Ferengis Brunt and Krem, and several other aliens on DS9 and Voyager, but also through the television screen in a way that made all of these characters particularly memorable.
As Shran, Combs brought a fierce, hair-trigger temper and a terrorist’s zealotry to his Andorian character, performing through blue makeup and a forehead prosthetic that featured mobile antennae that augmented Shran’s attitude. Intolerant and resentful of both Vulcans and humans, whom Shran often addressed with the dismissive epithet “pink-skins,” Shran appears in only a handful of Enterprise episodes but his character arguably has the most interesting arc of any in the series as he gradually grows from a resentful opponent to someone who grows to respect and trust Scott Bakula’s Archer and eventually become a close ally in a development that will have strong repercussions for the foundation of the Federation. There’s a great dinner scene in “Proving Ground,” an episode deep in the third season Xindi arc, where Shran starts to reflexively call Archer a pink-skin—and then catches himself, sealing his evolution from suspicious enemy to something like an ally. Frankly, I groaned my way through the entire Xindi arc, which to me had nothing to do with the history of Starfleet and the Federation—but “Proving Ground” still stands to me as one of the best episodes of the series, and it’s Combs’ presence and performance that puts it over the top. Apparently, the late Manny Coto agreed with me—he stated in interviews that he would have made Shran a regular on the series had it gone to a fifth season.
EXO-6 Shran Figure
That’s my long-winded intro to this action-figure review! Shran turns out to be one of the first figures in EXO-6’s Enterprise line as well as the company’s first (and only?) Andorian figure and I am there for it. Let’s get the most important factor out of the way: the head sculpt absolutely nails the character and Jeffrey Combs’ features as well as Shran’s fierce, edgy attitude in his pursed lips and intense gaze. You don’t have to take that from me by the way—I spoke with Combs at the Vegas convention this year and when the subject of this action figure and its likeness came up, Combs immediately noted, “That’s me.” (He wants a figure, by the way!) The paint detail superbly recreates the blue skin tones and airbrushed makeup shadings as well as Shran’s white hairdo.
Shran comes dressed in his Imperial Guard uniform, a coverall with green fabric revealed covering his right arm and shoulder and the rest a soft black leather as well as heavy combat boots and a black leather sash. There’s a belt and holster for his plasma pistol and a variety of weapons including the pistol, a plasma rifle, and two nasty-looking, serrated Ushaan-tor weapons as well as two metallic gauntlets that can be slipped on to cover the figure’s shoulders and upper arms. Shran also comes with an Andorian communicator and scanner and six different hands as well as the standard EXO-6 transporter pad stand.
If there’s a downside to this figure it’s that the leather outfit and boots limits its articulation a bit. I was hoping to get Shran into a ferocious crouch to show off his sneaky, martial aspect, but the boots don’t allow for any ankle movement. The arms do have a much better range of movement, particularly the elbows, which flex a lot more than I expected given the excellently-scaled faux leather shirt sleeves. I did find working the gauntlet onto the left arm a challenge that really requires a tweezer and a lot of tugging of the shirt sleeve—that made me worry about dislodging the leather wrapped around Shran’s right upper arm so I left that gauntlet off, although it seems like the leather band on the arm is pretty secure.
I’ve been on the lookout for a good Jeffrey Combs 12-inch figure and Shran is not only a great representation of the actor but he’s also the only Enterprise character I’m interested in owning in 12-inch form. But I will absolutely purchase an EXO-6 Weyoun should that figure be produced. In the meantime the Shran figure adds a nice, non-Federation flavor to this line of figures that we should see broadened this year with the upcoming release of the spectacular figure of Klingon Lord Kruge from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock in late ’23 or early ’24.
The Shran figure is part of EXO-6’s Star Trek: Enterprise collection, including Captain Archer. Both are still available to purchase at EXO-6.com.
A closer look at Shran
Preview of upcoming figures
At Star Trek Las Vegas EXO-6 showed off some of their planned upcoming releases, including a line for Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.
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.
Find more Star Trek merchandise news and reviews at TrekMovie.com.