Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Of The Best 4.5" Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Figures: Tosk Still Stands Tall!

The Good: Good coloring, Decent variety of accessories, Good balance, Rarity.
The Bad: Accessory coloring
The Basics: Despite the fact that Tosk has woefully miscolored accessories, this is a near-perfect Star Trek franchise action figure which enhances anyone's 4.5" figure collection!

There is something seriously annoying to me about action figures where the accessories are so poorly colored that it is virtually impossible to consider them perfect. Sometimes, the toy company Playmates managed to get everything almost completely right and some of their one-shot figures turned out to be their very best works. One of those early winners from Playmates Toys was the figure of the Tosk, from the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Tosk is an obscure character, so not recognizing his name is not necessarily a surprise, though die-hard fans know who he is. The lizard-alien appeared only in the first season episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Captive Pursuit" (reviewed here!). The alien character made one very memorable appearance as the first alien to come through the wormhole and visit space station Deep Space Nine. Playmates Toys captured this obscure alien perfectly with a wonderful sculpt that was surprisingly well-colored, making it one of the best Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures the line produced.


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1995 Collection of action figures contained twelve figures and it focused on recasts of the primary command crew of space station Deep Space Nine, with a few recurring guest stars like Tosk fleshing out the line. In a line with several disappointing figures made of entirely recycled parts, like the Thomas Riker figure, Tosk stood out as a real value and was gobbled up by fans right away. Despite being an obscure character only die-hards were likely to know, the Tosk figures did not last on the shelves. Tosk is a reptilian creature of an apparently unique (Tosk) race. The quality of this Tosk figure, the only Tosk action figure, encouraged fans to buy this one up, even though the accessories were incorrectly colored. In addition to action figure collectors, this toy was bought up by trading card enthusiasts because it features a SkyBox SpaceCap pog, which appealed to trading card collectors.

The Tosk figure is the Tosk creature in his flight suit from "Captive Pursuit." As a result, he is wearing the copper-colored flightsuit and he looks appropriately enigmatic. The outfit is colored appropriately, which has Tosk's costume unadorned by any pins or rank insignia. This is a distinctive figure and anyone who saw Tosk on the show would recognize the character fairly easily.

Standing just under five inches tall, this is an amazing likeness of Tosk immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with both hands half-closed, so he has a curious look to his face and may hold all of his accessories. Tosk's legs are posed in a fairly neutral stance, which makes him look right for either play or display. The sculpting details are exceptionally good all over the toy. The molding for the lizard's skin on the face is equally detailed on the hands, up to and including the fingernail on the thumb.

Tosk's face is molded in a neutral expression and this looks exactly like the mask and gloves that actor Scott MacDonald wore to define the Tosk character. The detailing on the figure's face, costume and hands are exceptional and they capture the surface details of Tosk well.

The paint job is similarly exceptional. The green skin tones have realistic shading and depth to the skin. The figure's lips are unpainted and back ridges on the skull are darker, like they are supposed to be. As well, Tosk's eyes have the reptilian slits like they are supposed to. The copper-colored jumpsuit has a clean look to it, but it also has realistic texture to it, making it one of the most impressive sculpts Playmates ever produced.


Tosk comes with four accessories, including the base. Tosk comes with a his crossbow-shaped rifle, collar and leash, mug and the base. The Action base is a simple ovular base with a sticker of the wormhole opening on it. About two and a quarter inches on the long side, the base is a good, generic base for this figure which has no symbol for his people. The base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Tosk's feet! When Tosk stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. Even off his stand, Tosk has decent balance.

The three accessories Tosk comes with are nicely relevant to the figure. The mug is a standard coffee mug seen on Deep Space Nine many times. A half inch tall and a half-inch in diameter, the mug may be held by Tosk in either hand, but is hardly the most exciting accessory. At least Tosk was seen having a drink with O'Brien at Quark's, so the mug is appropriate.

The collar and leash fits perfectly around Tosk's neck and it has minimal molded details. The original prop was simple and the 3" long plastic rope with the collar is appropriately simple. It is cast in a monotonal green plastic which looks unfortunately unrealistic.

The rifle that Tosk comes with is pretty awesome. This gun is 2 3/8" long with a bow-shaped barrel with a 1 1/2" span. The gun has great molded details and looks exactly like the gun from "Captive Pursuit," save in its coloring.

This is the unfortunate aspect of all three of Tosk's accessories; they are molded in an unrealistic teal green plastic which looks unlike what any of the props looked like on the show. Clearly Playmates went through some effort to sculpt the accessories realistically, but the coloring minimizes the sense of realism and clashes with the coloring of the figure. Tosk is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is a bit of a drawback for the overall figure.

Despite only having the three accessories, Playmates included a pog unique to the figure from SkyBox which attracted trading card collectors to this figure in addition to toy collectors. The SpaceCap has a headshot of Tosk with a wormhole image behind him. The back has a checklist of all of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures that were intended to have pogs come with them. While this is a fairly unremarkable pog, the added incentive did generate interest with card collectors.


Tosk illustrates a high level of quality from Playmates, at a time when many of their Star Trek figures were being produced with lower standards, Tosk came out looking golden. While other characters were either uninspired sculpts or made entirely of recycled parts, Tosk was a great sculpt with wonderful articulation. Tosk, one of the few completely original figures in this assortment, balances exceptionally well and it is virtually untippable on or off his base. Tosk is endowed with only twelve points of articulation. Tosk has joints at the: knees, groin socket, biceps, elbows, shoulders, waist and neck. All of the joints, save the elbows and knees, are simple swivel joints. As a result, the neck turns left to right, but the head cannot nod. 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 poseability!

Tosk may bend or extend at the elbows, gives him realistic arm movement. On his base, Tosk is stable and he can be posed well for action. He looks good and remains standing on his base flatfooted.


Arguably because of the amazing sculpt and coloring of the actual figure, Playmates made an investment winner with Tosk. The figure was not terribly common and each case had only one to two of the figure. As the only Tosk figure, fans bought it right up and it has doubled in value (or more) in the secondary market.

Playmates made this figure 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 10,500 figures out there (my Tosk is #010173!).


The Tosk figure is a great addition to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figure line and one of the nicest aspects of the figure is Playmates later made a Hunter figure which was equally good.

For other Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and alien Star Trek action figures, please visit my reviews of:
Chief Miles O'Brien
The Romulan


For other toy reviews, please check out my index page on the subject for an organized listing of all my toy reviews.

© 2011, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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