The Good: Decent concept with the accessories, Nice trading card, Balance
The Bad: Poor accessory coloring, Very bad sculpt, Poor overall coloring, Mediocre articulation.
The Basics: Neelix the Talaxian is a Playmates Star Trek: Voyager figure that the company got very wrong on the details.
In the annals of Star Trek figures, there are arguably fewer characters that are harder to translate to the small size, plastic figures as Neelix, the Talaxian. The character has facial hair that is hard to get right and prominent whiskers. Under the heading of "if you can't get something right, don't put it on the market," the Neelix The Talaxian action figure by Playmates Toys is a disaster. Looking back on the line of figures, which ranged from good sculpts with bad accessories to bad sculpts with bad accessories, the Neelix figure stands out as the worst of the bunch.
Poorly colored, with accessories that are also poorly colored, the only saving grace for the Neelix figure is that it stands up (literally). Being well-balanced gets some points and Neelix needs all of the points he can get!
The Star Trek: Voyager Collection of action figures (from 1995) contained only nine figures: the main cast of Star Trek: Voyager. This was the first series of figures from Star Trek: Voyager and because it contained only the principle cast, it tended to sell out quickly. Even so, Neelix and Harry Kim were the pegwarmers and while the Kim figures sold at conventions (Garrett Wang did a huge number of conventions while the show was on the air), the Neelix ones seem to be an example of how even fans craving something to get autographed will be discriminating. Neelix remains readily available in the secondary market even today as a result of the poor sculpt and coloring of this toy. The Neelix The Talaxian figure is the alien as he appeared throughout Star Trek: Voyager (reviewed here!).
Standing four and one-half inches tall, this is a poor likeness of Neelix immortalized in plastic. There is a decent level of uniform detailing, which is good because Neelix's outfit has a checkerboard pattern and this captures it well. Unfortunately, while the checkerboard is molded into the suit, the coloring of the squares of it is not painted on to look like the actual outfit. Moreover, Neelix's face is molded in a blandly neutral expression and it lacks much in the way of detail, though he does have the spots on his face that he is supposed to. Unfortunately, his yellow skin is brown here and the figure's flesh tones lack any subtlety or shading. The figure includes such important details as Neelix's tuft of hair atop his head and his bushy eyebrows, but they look entirely unrealistic. It looks like Bobby Hill got a tan and is wearing a Centurion's helmet! The face and hair lack any sense of realistic toning. His eyes are appropriately red (as the earliest promo shots had them), but the pupils are white instead of black!
The paint job is mediocre at best. The skin tones are monolithic brown and lack any shading, though the spots on his forehead are present. Neelix's hands are underdetailed - brown, no spots - and are molded open enough to hold all of his accessories.
Neelix The Talaxian comes with five accessories, plus a trading card: Tricorder, Talaxian phaser, SIMs beacon, Cooking pot and an action base shaped like a Federation Communicator badge. That Neelix comes with more equipment than weapons makes a great deal of sense, as his role on Star Trek: Voyager was that of ship's guide and cook. The Action base is just enough to support Neelix and is a StarFleet delta shield with a little black sticker that reads "Neelix" to help keep it straight from the other figures. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Neelix's feet!
The Talaxian phaser is poorly detailed, and I strain to recall if it was ever seen in the show. If it was, it was only in the first episode of Star Trek: Voyager. This little gun is essentially a one inch long, by half inch wide block with a few surface details molded into it. It does not look particularly imposing, especially considering that it is cast in a green plastic! The Talaxian phaser fits in either of Neelix's hands.
The tricorder is a three-quarter inch green molded plastic device that fits awkwardly into either of Neelix's hands. This accessory looks utterly ridiculous. The tricorder has realistic molding details, but does not open and close or have any sense of realistic coloring details for the buttons or panels.
The SIMS beacon is a light source which clips onto Neelix's wrist and the accessory does that appropriately. Unfortunately, with its coloring, the round little device stands out with an unclear purpose. Only fans will recognize what it is supposed to be.
Finally, there is a cooking pan, which is exactly like what it sounds like. This ridiculous one-inch in diameter pan has a flat handle which extends back from it. Unfortunately, that flat handle prevents it from being held flat by the figure, so Neelix may only hold this accessory as if he was tipping its contents out or wielding it like an ax!
Unfortunately, all four of these accessories are molded in an inaccurate green plastic that is utterly lacking in realistic coloring detail. Neelix is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is less exciting than it otherwise could be.
The 1995 line of Playmates action figures also comes with a very cool SkyBox trading card unique to the action figures. The Neelix card features a big shot of Neelix's head and upper body with a blue background that is quite striking. The back of the card has all sorts of vital information on Neelix and the figure is highly sought by card collectors who collected the cards and disposed of the figures.
Neelix disappointed most collectors of Playmates Star Trek action figures, even at the time. Neelix is endowed with twelve points of articulation: knees, groin socket, 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, for example, 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 posability!
Moreover, for use with actual play, Neelix may bend or extend at the elbows, which offers a greater amount of movement potential making him one of the more realistic Star Trek action figures to play with (for those who actually play with these toys!).
On his base, Neelix is quite stable, even in fairly ridiculous poses, making him a great figure for display as well as play.
Playmates produced the Star Trek: Voyager figures more conservatively than some of their earlier releases, but Neelix was the least popular of the bunch. As a result, this Neelix is virtually worthless. Found loose for less than a three dollars these days, this Neelix can often be found for less than $5.00 (which was even less than its original issue price in 1995!).
That said, at least Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of his left 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 10,000 figures out there (my Neelix is #009953!).
The Neelix The Talaxian figure remains one of the worst Star Trek: Voyager figures because the coloring and accessory coloring are so dramatically off. Fans should wait until Art Asylum gets this figure right, which they will undoubtedly do when they start making Star Trek: Voyager figures.
For other Star Trek figures, be sure to check out my reviews of:
The Emergency Medical Holographic Program
6” Jem’Hadar Soldier
Art Asylum Klingon Borg
For other toy reviews, be sure to visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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