Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Dr. McCoy In Dress Uniform Is An Oddly Animated Figure.

The Good: Fairly limited, Generally good accessories, Moderately good sculpt
The Bad: Some sculpting issues, Accessory coloring is bland
The Basics: Dr. McCoy in Dress Uniform is a very rare Star Trek figure whose rarity makes it easier to overlook the fact that the figure bears little resemblance to DeForest Kelley.

Playmates Toys, which held the license for Star Trek (franchise) toys back in the 1990s, started out by dazzling fans with the sculpts and articulation of their toys. They made amazing ship toys, like the U.S.S. Enterprise toy for the 30th Anniversary (click here for that review!). However, as the years went on and Playmates began to get overconfident - mostly because their belief that whatever they released would be bought up by a loyal fanbase of die-hard Star Trek fans turned out to be true - they began to make lesser products. One of the biggest disappointments came when Playmates created their original Star Trek action figures. They looked ridiculous, more like they we figures from Star Trek The Animated Series. After the initial set with the entire bridge crew, Playmates tried to fill in the gaps with other popular Star Trek The Original Series action figures.

In the 1997 Star Trek franchise figures, there were five Star Trek (Original Series) figures. One of them was the Dr. McCoy in Dress Uniform figure and it had the same problem as the earlier original Star Trek figures: it looked like a cartoon version of Dr. McCoy. Even so, this figure remains fairly sought after simply from the rarity and it was not the worst figure Playmates made, not by any stretch of the imagination.


The Star Trek 1997 Collection of action figures contained eleven figures and it included both alternate versions of main cast members and supplemental alien characters. This series of figures contained a Dr. McCoy In Dress Uniform "From The Episode 'Journey To Babel'" figure which was the chase figure - collectors were lucky if even one was packed in a case of these figures!

The Dr. McCoy figure is the Medical officer as he appeared in the second season episode "Journey To Babel" (click here for that review!). This is the same Dr. McCoy head that was originally made and distributed, but popped onto a new body. The uniform is easily recognizable to fans of the original Star Trek and it is an interesting concept for a figure, as McCoy wore the outfit for special occasions and often complained about it.

Standing four and one-half inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Dr. McCoy In Dress Uniform immortalized in plastic. There is a decent level of uniform detailing. Dr. McCoy's face is molded in a strangle amused expression and it lacks much in the way of detail, though the lips are colored pink and they are way too light. As well, the light flesh tones of Dr. McCoy lack any subtlety or shading. The figures hair is matted down, so it almost looks like a helmet, lacking and shading as it does. The face and hair lack any sense of realistic toning. His eyes are appropriately blue, but the pupils are white instead of black!

The paint job is mediocre at best. The skin tones are monolithic light tan and lack any shading or subtlety. The uniform is appropriately colored and the figure looks good in that respect. This includes the alternate badge on the Doctor's chest. What separates this Dr. McCoy from the original one is the chest which has a cross-shaped badges painted on in the place of McCoy's usual Sciences and Medical badge.


Dr. McCoy comes with five accessories: StarFleet tricorder, Hypospray, Anabolic protoplaser, starfleet communicator a StarFleet desk monitor, a PADD, and an action base shaped like a Federation Communicator badge. That Dr. McCoy In Dress Uniform comes with more equipment than weapons makes a great deal of sense, as his role on Star Trek was that of medical, not security. The Action base is just enough to support Dr. McCoy and is a StarFleet delta shield with the Sciences and Medical logo in it. The left side of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Dr. McCoy's feet!

The tricorder is a three-quarter inch black molded plastic device that slings over McCoy's shoulder with a thin plastic strap. Dr. McCoy's hands barely hold it, but it looks fairly natural on McCoy's hip when one has it slung across his chest. This accessory looks good and fits the character, if not his grip. 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 StarFleet communicator is the same communicator that came in the original package set for the bridge crew figures. It is appropriately gold and black and the inside even has a silver disc that is realistic. The communicator is molded open and as a result, it fits loosely in McCoy's hand, but it must be balanced there and because it is in proportion with the figure, it is somewhat awkward in his mostly-open grip.

The Hypospray is arguably the most appropriate accessory for Dr. McCoy as he frequently used the futuristic syringe. Unfortunately, the three-quarter inch long cylinder cannot be held by McCoy as his hands are too open to do anything but awkwardly balance the hypo there. It is homogeneously cast in black plastic and is not adorned with any paint details. It is also slightly out of proportion with the rest of the figure.

Finally, the Anabolic Protoplaser is a specific accessory to McCoy from "Journey To Babel." The inch long box with a pointed end is what McCoy used to treat Sarek, Spock's father. Unfortunately, it is both light on the molded details and absent on the painted details. At least it fits in McCoy's hands.


Dr. McCoy In Dress Uniform helped continue a high level of quality from Playmates as far as articulation went, even if his hands were molded too open and his face makes him look like he was from the "Animated Series." Despite being molded in a costume that was not the most universal, this is not a bad sculpt of Dr. McCoy. Dr. McCoy In Dress Uniform 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, Dr. McCoy In Dress Uniform 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, Dr. McCoy is quite stable, even in fairly ridiculous poses, making him a great figure for display as well as play. Off his base, he has decent balance as well.


Playmates mass produced every figure in this wave of Star Trek figures, except this one! As a result, this Dr. McCoy is exceptionally rare. Almost none of these figures were removed from their packages and they appreciated promptly and have remained at inflated prices. This is a great investment figure from the Playmates Star Trek action figure line.

Playmates made this figure very collectible, as it appears to be the Dr. McCoy figure had only 10,000 figures released. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of his left foot (my Dr. McCoy is #000531!). The individual numbers might not mean much overall, but collectors do seem to like them for the appearance of limited edition.


Outside being colored ridiculously simply and having a more simple (rounder face) sculpt and some recycled accessories, the Dr. McCoy in Dress Uniform action figure still makes a splash with a few unique accessories, good balance and the rarity of the figure. Still, this is a better investment piece than it is a toy.

For other Star Trek toys and ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
Funko Spock Wacky Wobbler
Gorn and Battle Damaged Captain Kirk Minimate Set
2010 "Amok Time" ornament


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2010, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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