The Good: General sculpt (it’s obvious who it is), Can be found dirt cheap!
The Bad: Overproduced, Unbalanced, Lousy accessories, Terrible coloring and detailing, Virtually everything.
The Basics: The early Star Trek: The Next Generation Captain Jean-Luc Picard action figure might well be one of the worst action figures ever produced!
In the rush to make money off of Star Trek The Next Generation back when it first aired, Paramount Pictures was generous with the licensees. As one of the few early investors in the show’s merchandising, Galoobe easily won the bid to produce the first line of Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures. Unfortunately, most of them were utter crap.
One of the four most common Galoob Star Trek: The Next Generation figures was Captain Jean-Luc Picard. Captain Picard was not an instantly popular character on the show and his figure was such a slow seller that it was easily found in the Clearance bin of major toy stores for years after its release (and into the Playmates Toys run of Star Trek figures)! Even now, one of the worst action figures ever produced for a genre television show, the Galoob Captain Picard figure is an utter dud without nostalgic or collectible value.
The Star Trek: The Next Generation 1988 Collection of action figures contained six figures (though two were quite rare and another four were later released) and it focused on the essential characters and villains of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Enormously overproduced even then, Captain Jean-Luc Picard was one of four figures that was so common by 1989, most toy stores were trying (unsuccessfully) to blow their stock out in the dollar bins. Jean-Luc Picard suffered additionally because Picard was undermined as a character pretty consistently until the third season, when Patrick Stewart’s character was given more to do off the Enterprise.
The Captain Jean-Luc Picard figure is the Command officer as he appeared in the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (reviewed here!). Jean-Luc Picard is wearing the maroon command uniform with the piping on shoulders unique to the first two seasons.
Standing three and a half inches tall, this is a poor likeness of Captain Jean-Luc Picard immortalized in plastic. The character is molded in a generic standing position that makes him look like he is in a coffin. He is molded with a phaser in his left hand, so he is ready for combat, so long as it is straight in front of him! This Jean-Luc Picard figure has a terrible level of detailing, with the head being disproportionately small compared with the rest of his body. As well, the uniform detailing is poor with accents like the piping on the pants and shoulders not being painted on. To add further insult to collectors, some of the painting is sloppy like the communicator pin, which is not clearly defined by the coloring, only the molding! Jean-Luc Picard's face is a generic, neutral expression that contains no emotions. His eyes look dead and are little more than black dots on the white fields of the eyeballs. Jean-Luc Picard’s skin is also monotonally colored, so there is no depth or shading realism to the figure’s features. He is obviously the Captain, but the molding and paint details are so minimal. Even the band of hair on the back of his head is so erratically painted on that it looks unreal!
Captain Jean-Luc Picard comes with only one accessory, considering that the phaser is molded into his one hand. That accessory is a tricorder and it comes with a strap that was never used on the actual tricorders on Star Trek The Next Generation. Instead, this looks like a generic phone from the late 1980s hanging on a plastic loop. The accessory is light on molding details, looking nothing like a tricorder, and is absent any coloring details. As such, it is just a slightly gray plastic piece that hangs from the figure’s shoulder.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard is terrible as a toy, for several reasons outside just its sculpt. First, Jean-Luc Picard has terrible balance, light articulation and the molded phaser limits the play options as one whole hand is unavailable for posing or holding items (if there had been more accessories), unless one wants to have Jean-Luc Picard shooting someone. This was pretty lousy as one of the few playsets Galoob produced was a shuttlecraft and it is hard to imagine Jean-Luc Picard effectively navigating that craft if he only had one hand available to do it with! Captain Jean-Luc Picard is endowed with five points of articulation: groin socket, shoulders, and neck. All of the joints 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.
Jean-Luc Picard, unfortunately, is topheavy with his broad chest and as a result is poorly balanced. This Jean-Luc Picard tips over and I’ve not found a way to get him to stand unless one has him leaning back from the waist, so it looks like he is doing a groin thrust! This is a terribly balanced toy and the inability to stand is the final nail in the coffin for this figure.
Galoob mass produced the four figures from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and made the others exceptionally rare. Jean-Luc Picard was one of the four ultra-common figures and this Jean-Luc Picard is beyond worthless. Found loose for less than a dollar these days, this Jean-Luc Picard can often be found for less than $3.00 Mint on card! Galoob flooded the market with these figures and they are almost impossible to use as investment pieces.
The Captain Jean-Luc Picard Star Trek: The Next Generation figure from Galoob is one of the worst figures from a bad line of early Star Trek: The Next Generation toys.
For other Captain Picard figures, please check out my reviews of:
1992 Playmates Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Captain Jean-Luc Picard In StarFleet Duty Uniform
Playmates Locutus Of Borg
Picard As A Romulan
Picard As Galen
For other toy reviews, please visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.