The Good: Generally good coloring, Decent variety of accessories, Cool trading card.
The Bad: Obvious reused parts for figure and accessories, Accessory coloring, No pog.
The Basics: A disappointingly executed figure of one of the more popular recurring characters on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Vash falls down.
In 1995, Playmates Toys restructured its Star Trek line in the middle of the year. After delaying some of the most anticipated Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures, the company created a new card (which would last for a few years) and released them all together under the new Star Trek line, as opposed to separating released out into the various shows. When they did that, they presented some new figures, like Picard from “Tapestry” (reviewed here!) and Counselor Troi as Durango. And for fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the oft-delayed Vash figure was finally released to market!
Vash appeared only once on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in one of the few, desperate attempts to get the Star Trek: The Next Generation audience to follow, in the episode "Q-Less" (reviewed here!). On that episode, Vash is rescued from the Gamma Quadrant by Bashir and O'Brien and she arrives on the station looking to sell Gamma Quadrant artifacts to locals aboard Deep Space Nine. Quark arranges an auction and things go horribly wrong. Vash was supposed to be in the earlier release of figures, but had been delayed and with the release of this (literally) lame figure, one almost has to wonder why they bothered at that point.
The Star Trek 1995 Collection of action figures contained twelve figures and it focused on filling in gaps from the main crews from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine while also offering alternate identities of the main cast and a handful of memorable guest stars. Vash was memorable on Star Trek: The Next Generation, but her one-shot from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is what was used to create her action figure likeness. And while Vash does not look bad and is one of the few female characters made into action figures, she is impossible to recommend in this form.
The Vash figure is the human archaeologist as she appeared in "Q-Less," wearing a navy blue wrap and skirt. The outfit looks generally decent with the blouse featuring the ribbing from the original and the smooth skirt looking tight.
Standing four and five-eighths inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Vash immortalized in plastic and that is the only real saving grace of the toy. The character is molded with her hands ready to hold most of her accessories as her hands are in a half-closed position. Her legs have a very neutral stance, but is poorly balanced and she does not stand up unaided. This, apparently, has nothing to do with the heels she is wearing, but rather leg flexibility issues surrounding the skirt. There is a decent level of costume detailing, including the molding and painting of the gold necklace Vash wore in the episode. Like most Star Trek figures from this time, Vash does not have molded fingernails or knuckles.
Vash's face is molded in a neutral, slightly peeved expression that is realistic for the character, but not the world's greatest likeness. While the figure features the big, gold earrings Vash wore in the episode, she looks more stern in this figure than Jennifer Hetrick looked in the actual episode. As well, Playmates chose a tough look to replicate as this version of Vash has short, spiky hair which did not translate so well to the action figure.
The paint job is fair. The skin tones are monotonal white with no shading or subtlety, save blush in the cheeks. The figure's lips are painted to look like they have lipstick and the look fits the figure and the character well. Vash's eyes are blue with white pupils, which is disturbing. For a figure showing so much skin - legs, a little cleavage - the lack of skin tone realism is disappointing.
Vash comes with five accessories, all of which were created new for her. Vash comes with a duffel bag, statue, crystal egg in protective encasement, dagger and the base. The Action base is a Federation starfield symbol with no other adornments. Near the center of the 2" by 2 1/2" oval base is a peg which fits into the hole in Vash's left foot! When Vash stands flatfooted on the stand, she is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance.
The duffel bag is perfectly appropriate for Vash, as she was seen in "Q-Less" trying to leave the station frequently with the massive duffel bag over her shoulder. This heavy plastic blob is 2" tall and 3/4" wide with a thin plastic strap which allows Vash to sling the bag over her shoulder. The only real molded detail on this is the string at the top and a reinforced handhold on the strap. This accessory may easily be slung over Vash's shoulder, but with its unrealistic bright red color, it is hard to want it to!
The statue is an inch-high plastic person which does not fit into either of Vash's hands. The statue has an Egyptian look to it and the front has wonderful molded details on the face and body which make it look pretty much like the one in the show.
The mystery in "Q-Less" centers around an artifact Vash brought back from the Gamma Quadrant and that artifact is the crystal egg in protective encasement. The 5/8" cube box opens up and inside is the round crystal which is red and recognizable to fans of the show. It may only be held by Vash if it is balanced in both hands.
Even the dagger, which is basically a pointed, inch-long piece of plastic with a tapered handle and hilt that appears to have a jewel in it, does not fit right in either of Vash's hands. The dagger, based upon the dagger Vash tried to auction off in the episode "Q-Less," looks almost nothing like the real prop as this is made of bright, red plastic.
This is the unfortunate aspect of all four of Vash's accessories; they are molded in an unrealistic bright red plastic which looks unlike what any of the props looked like on the show. Clearly Playmates went through some effort to sculpt the accessories realistically, but the coloring completely guts the sense of realism and clashes with the coloring of the figure. Vash is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is a huge drawback for the overall figure.
Sadly, while the earliest 1995 figures promised Vash on their pog checklist, Vash did not come with a collectible pog. She did, however, come with a pretty cool trading card with a gold stripe. The card features a decent upper body shot of Vash and the back essentially tells the story of "Q-Less." The card is very nice and in many ways superior to a pog!
Vash was part of the mortgaging of the high level quality from Playmates. The 1995 line, in addition to having some truly terrible sculpts (Dr. Pulaski looks nothing like what she is supposed to), it also featured some problematically executed figures. Vash has utterly terrible balance and she stands up only on her base. Vash is endowed with only ten points of articulation: knees, biceps, elbows, shoulders, neck, and waist. All of the joints, save the elbows and knees, are simple swivel joints. As a result, the neck turns left to right, but the head cannot nod. Similarly, the shoulders are not ball and socket joints and only rotate. Still, Playmates dealt with this limitation by having a swivel joint in the bicep, that allows everything below to turn and offers real decent poseability!
Moreover, for use with actual play, Vash may bend or extend at the elbows, which offers a greater amount of movement potential making her one of the more realistic Star Trek action figures to play with (for those who actually play with these toys!). On her base, Vash is stable enough and she may be posed in a few limited poses given that her feet may move, but her upper legs do not - the skirt inhibits movement and Playmates opted not to make the groin joint articulated for just that reason.
It is only the anticipation, relative rarity and the fact that Vash is one of only a very few women from Star Trek who ended up as an action figure that prevented this toy from being a complete pegwarmer. Fans bought Vash and she seems to have appreciated slightly in the secondary market a fair amount, but those who open her up or are discriminating in their tastes tended to be disappointed. One suspects if Art Asylum does a new sculpting of the figure, this one's remaining value will plummet entirely.
On the plus side, Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each Vash figure has an individual number on the bottom of her right foot. In the attempt to make them appear limited, they had numbers stamped on them, though one has to seriously wonder how limited something should be considered when there are at least 27,000 figures out there (my Vash is #026594!).
The Vash figure is an unbalanced action figure that looks vaguely like Jennifer Hetrick, but does not stand up. Accessory coloring also makes this a tough sell.
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© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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