Monday, May 9, 2011

Better Hands, Awesome Sculpt, Playmates Has A Winner With Its Locutus Star Trek: The Next Generation Figure!

The Good: Great sculpt, Good balance, Good accessories
The Bad: Overproduced (none, truly!)
The Basics: A great action figure, the 1993 Locutus Of Borg action figure is one of the benchmarks of quality in the Star Trek: The Next Generation figure line

For fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation there might not be a bigger geek-out moment than the climax to the third season. Make your eyes dead and monotonally say "I am Locutus of Borg . . ." and even the most stoic geek will smile and not knowingly. It is a shared cultural experience within Geek culture. So, that an action figure of Locutus would be made was pretty much a given. That it would be as good as the Playmates Locutus figure from their second line of Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures was not a given, but on this figure, Playmates got it all right making one of the best action figures they ever produced and an indispensable 4.5" Star Trek: The Next Generation action figure.

Like most of the 1993 Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation line, Locutus was released twice, once in the United States and once in Canada, in order to promote both the second line of figures (Playmates's second wave of Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures was released in 1993, several of which were re-released in a later line in Canada where the only difference was that the trading card that came with the twenty-three line was replaced with a SkyCap (a pog)). The figures inside were identical. For fans of the Playmates Star Trek line, there was only one Locutus sculpt, though later there was a ridiculous recoloring of the same sculpt for the "Holodeck" Edition figure which was a cheap attempt to cash in on the popularity of the character and this initial figure.


The Star Trek: The Next Generation 1993 Collection of action figures contained twenty-three figures and it broadened the line away from the main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation and supplemented the characters with memorable guest stars and aliens. The second series of figures contained a Locutus "Captain Jean-Luc Picard as a Borg" figure which was quickly bought up and sought by collectors. The entire run of these figures was overproduced, but still the Locutus figure seems to have been underproduced in relation to demand. This figure disappeared from shelves and has never been as prevalent as most of the others in the line.

The Locutus of Borg figure is the Captain of the Enterprise after he was abducted and "altered" by the Borg in "The Best Of Both Worlds" (reviewed here!). Locutus is the Borg-armored, pigment drained Captain Picard after he was assimilated. The figure works because the face is clearly Patrick Stewart as Locutus with all of the Borg-added technology to his face and body.

Standing four and five-eighths inches tall, this is an amazing likeness of Locutus immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with his fingers curled to hold accessories (which the figure does not truly have) and the ideal combination of hands that comes with Locutus has both hands armored with the appropriate extensions, as viewers saw in the second part of "The Best Of Both Worlds." There is an impressive level of uniform detailing, which is impressive because the armor for Locutus is fairly intricate. The hands especially have wonderful molded details like tubes and mechanical ports that look functional. Even the back of Locutus features ports on the shoulder pads that were barely visible in the episodes!

The paint job is excellent largely because the outfit is confined to colors in the black and gray spectrum and the flesh tones - for a change - are intended to be off. Locutus has an appropriate zombie-like pallor to him as the humanity has been drained from Picard. Thus, the monotonal white on the face is actually wonderfully realistic.


Locutus of Borg is a Borg and as a result, he does not truly need accessories. Still, Playmates equipped Locutus with two additional tubes, two hands, the action base, plus a trading card. That Locutus comes with very few accessories makes perfect sense as the Borg do not use external tools and Locutus was never seen holding any equipment. The Action base is just enough to support Locutus and is a Borg symbol made of red and black plastic that is ample for support. Near the top of the "eye" in the symbol is a peg which fits into the hole in either of Locutus's feet!

The tubes are just that: two 1 1/2" rubber tubes that may be inserted into holes in the back of Locutus. They take a little work to wiggle in but they enhance the look of Locutus as an assimilated Borg.

As for the hands, the Borg equip their drones with tools that are built into special arm units. As such, Locutus comes with two replacement hands, one for the left and one for the right hand. The replacement left hand is a mechanically-enhanced glove which looks armored and like it could crush a man's windpipe! The right arm is the attachment that viewers saw added to Picard in the episode! The mysterious scanning device that extends Locutus's reach pops into a socket where the right hand had been!

Here it is worth noting that Playmates got absolutely right the hands for Locutus. The hands easily pop on and off offering easy swapping of appendages without any real challenges. At the same time, the arms do not slip off so easily that they cannot be played with without the figure falling apart. Playmates finally found the right balance and the hands swap out with enough ease to eliminate the playability problems that plagued the standard Borg figures!

The 1993 line of Playmates action figures also comes with a very cool SkyBox trading card unique to the action figures. The Locutus card features a big headshot of Locutus with a warp field background that is quite striking. The back of the card has all sorts of vital information on Locutus and the figure is highly sought by card collectors who collected the cards and disposed of the figures.


Locutus helped continue a high level of quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Molded in an neutral, menacing pose that makes him look like a stalwart of the Borg invasion, this is a wonderful sculpt of Locutus. Locutus is endowed with fourteen points of articulation: knees, groin socket, biceps, elbows, shoulders, neck, wrists 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, Locutus 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!). Locutus is actually able to look like he lumbers along inhibited by the additional tubes and that works perfectly for the character the figure embodies.

On his base, Locutus is quite stable, making him a great figure for display as well as play.


Playmates mass produced the first few waves of Star Trek: The Next Generation figures, but still Locutus has retained his value on the secondary market. This is one of the figures almost never found below $10 making it one of the few Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation figures to remain above its original issue price. Playmates flooded the market with these figures and they are almost impossible to use as investment pieces, but Locutus is one of the few figures that is an exception to the rule.

Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of his 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 316,000 figures out there (my Locutus is #315992!).


This Locutus figure is one of the best Star Trek: The Next Generation figures Playmates toys made and it remains a surprisingly strong action figure even today when Art Asylum pretty much dominates the Star Trek figures. For this scale, this is the ideal and Playmates met the quality demands of fans to make a figure that still endures.

For other Star Trek: The Next Generation toys and figures, please check out my reviews of:
Ambassador K'Ehleyr
Galoob Worf
Generations Klingon Bird Of Prey


For other toy reviews, please check out my index page on the subject for a comprehensive listing.

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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