Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Esoqq: Powerful Obscure Alien Fleshes Out Star Trek: The Next Generation's Playmates Toy Line!

The Good: Generally good sculpt and balance, Fairly rare, Interesting accessories
The Bad: Decreased poseability from sculpt, Obscure character
The Basics: When Playmates released the obscure Esoqq the Chalnoth figure, it became a hit, which makes this underproduced figure one that is still highly sought-after!

There are very few Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures from Playmates that have managed to hold their value over the years, largely because so many of them were either overproduced or simple resculpts of the most obvious bridge crew characters. So when the 1994 Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation toy line included the obscure alien Esoqq, a member of the Chalnoth race as part of its 7th Season line-up, fans were simultaneously surprised and pleased as they began a hunt for the figure. Esoqq, as it turned out, was drastically underpacked in the cases of 7th Season figures and because it was so different from any other Star Trek: The Next Generation figure, did not last long on the market. Add to that, it was harder to find, making it a challenge to find initially.

From one of the more extensive lines of Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures by Playmates, Esoqq the Chalnoth is a massive, hairy beast that was formidable as an adversary. For those unfamiliar with Esoqq, it is no surprise; Esoqq - indeed, any Chalnoth - only appeared in a single episode and it was never one of the most popular ones. Esoqq is a captive, like Captain Picard, in the third season episode "Allegiance" (reviewed here!). His race was featured as a bulky, fierce race with giant teeth extending from an underbite, so he makes for an intriguing action figure.


The Star Trek: The Next Generation 7th Season Collection of action figures contained twenty-one figures and it focused on the main characters and undercover assignments of the bridge crew from the U.S.S. Enterprise, along with a few memorable adversaries from the series. Intriguing as an alien and a figure, Esoqq "A member of the Chalnoth Race," was a highly sought-after figure. Esoqq was well-underproduced, making him hard to find initially and one that offers a clear contrast to most of the figures in the collection now.

The Esoqq The Chalnoth figure is the armored, bulky alien as he appeared in "Allegiances." He has flaming orange hair and a gold breastplate that looks just like the alien on the show did. His teeth are jutting out and this is a pretty incredible likeness. As well, costuming details like the rings on the legs are present and this looks impressive, top-heavy and powerful in a way that none of the other Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures look. This is a good sculpt.

Standing five and one-quarter inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Esoqq The Chalnoth immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with his left foot bent in an action pose, like he is about to spring like a cat, so the most natural pose for the figure is having Esoqq with his right leg bent to compensate. There is a decent level of uniform detailing. Still, some of the painting is sloppy; the breastplates are monolithic in their tone details and the hair is similarly one-color. Esoqq's face is molded in a scowl and while it initially looks like the skin tones are blandly presented, the head ridges have shading and the eyes have nice coloring detail.

The paint job is mediocre at best. The skin tones have some shading, but the uniform is colored in large patches. The belt's paint job on mine is sloppy in the back and the figure looks almost like an animated version of Esoqq as opposed to a live-action version in the coloring.


Esoqq The Chalnoth comes with five accessories: A knife leg-sheath, a knife, food ration, a Chalnoth communicator and an action base shaped like a section of log. That Commander Esoqq comes with weapons makes a great deal of sense, as his people are supposed to be quite violent. The Action base is just enough to support Esoqq and is a random piece of wood, though it is molded in bright magenta plastic. The base has no reference from the episode Esoqq was in, but looks pretty good, despite the coloring.

The food ration is a ridiculous purple disc - like a hockey puck - with a bite taken out of it. This is directly from the episode "Allegiance," though Esoqq could not eat it. The communicator is pretty cool looking, despite being little bigger than the food ration and also molded in dark purple plastic. It looks realistic for the device and both accessories fit either of Esoqq's hands.

Then there is the knife and the leg sheath. The knife is a two inch long knife that looks like the one Esoqq menaced his cellmates in "Allegiance" with, save that it is in purple plastic. The knife fits best in the figure's right hand and looks wicked there! The knife-sheath is a simple holster that clips onto either thigh and the knife may be slid into it at any point.

The thing is, all four of these accessories are molded in a terribly inaccurate purple plastic that is utterly lacking in realistic coloring detail. Even though Esoqq may hold all of his accessories at any given time, they look ridiculous on him as none match the rest of his body or his armor!

This figure was released during Playmates's obsession with pogs and there is an Esoqq of Chalnoth "Space Cap," which is basically a pog. This has a headshot of Esoqq and made the figure desirable for trading card collectors as well!


Esoqq The Chalnoth helped establish a new level of quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. This is not a bad sculpt of Esoqq and because it looks unlike any other figure in the line, it is distinct. Esoqq The Chalnoth is endowed with twelve points of articulation: knees, groin socket, biceps, elbows, shoulders, neck, and waist. All of the joints, save the elbows, 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, Esoqq The Chalnoth 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!). The head, however, has very little play while turning whatwith the way the hair is molded.

On his base, Esoqq is quite stable, though only in limited ways. Because of the bulky upper half, Esoqq is a bit top-heavy and he falls over fairly easily if not attached to his base or his foot comes off the peg on the base.


Playmates mass produced the first few waves of Star Trek: The Next Generation figures, but by the time it got to this wave, some figures were seriously limited, especially this Esoqq! Found carded still in the $50 - $30 range, this is one of the best investment figures Playmates created! There is added value as well in that Star Trek trading card collectors hunt for the figure for the Space Cap!

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 4100 figures out there (my Esoqq is #004068!).


Despite the ridiculous coloring of the accessories, Esoqq is a cool enough figure to hunt down and enhance anyone's Star Trek: The Next Generation toy line-up with!

For other Star Trek: The Next Generation figures from Playmates, please visit my reviews of:
Geordi In Dress Uniform
Ambassador K’Ehleyr
Locutus Of Borg


For other toy reviews, please check out my index page on the subject by clicking here!

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

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