Friday, October 28, 2011

A Very Good Basic Figure, The Playmates Dr. Julian Bashir Still Seems Unimpressive.

The Good: Good sculpt, Good coloring, Decent variety of accessories
The Bad: Accessory coloring, Slightly overproduced, Very bland facial expression, Balance issues.
The Basics: Very average, the Doctor Julian Bashir Playmates figure is more average than anything else.

I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It remains one of the few shows I truly miss now that it is no longer on television and it is one that I still actively collect toys, cards and other merchandise from. One of the characters who seems to be hard to get a good rendering of in toy form is Dr. Julian Bashir. For sure, Diamond Select got him right with their latest figure but even variant figures like the "Trials And Tribble-ations" Bashir seem to be riddled with problems. At the outset of making Deep Space Nine figures, Playmates Toys seemed to get Bashir done fine, but without flair. Dr. Bashir may be rendered fine but he is also terribly bland.

Doctor Bashir, for those who were not tuned in to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, was the Chief Medical Officer of space station Deep Space Nine. He arrived on the space station completely green and worked his way up to respectable with his love of "frontier medicine." The Doctor Bashir figure features Bashir as he appeared in the first five seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!), before the uniforms were changed.


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1993 Collection of action figures contained nine figures and it focused on the primary command crew of space station Deep Space Nine, with Doctor Bashir being one of the least exciting additions to the collection. Doctor Bashir is a human officer, a young man who is looking at Deep Space Nine to fill his life with adventure. Bashir appears in his action figure debut as a very bland StarFleet officer. He is attired in his black StarFleet space station jumpsuit. This was one of the most common action figures in the assortment and it remains fairly easy to find even now. Still, card collectors helped keep this from being a complete pegwarmer as it features a SkyBox trading card exclusive to the action figure, which made it hunted by trading card collectors as well.

The Doctor Bashir figure is the human StarFleet officer as he appeared in seasons one through five of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with the black uniform and slicked back hair. Doctor Bashir is attired in his black StarFleet uniform with the teal blue (for Medical/Sciences division) shoulders. The outfit is open at the collar, enough that his lilac undershirt may be seen. The outfit is colored appropriately, though one of the rank pips on the collar of the undershirt is wrong.

Standing four and one-half inches tall, this is a very bland recreation of Doctor Bashir immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with his hands ready to hold most of his accessories in a half-closed position. His legs have a very neutral stance, so this figure stands up and looks like he is ready to be displayed, as opposed to an action pose which made some of the earlier Star Trek figures more problematic for posing in displays. Despite having a very neutral stance, Doctor Bashir has poor balance off his stand and must be kept in a flatfooted position (so the stand helps with balance). There is a decent level of uniform detailing, including the communicator pin on the chest being both molded into the figure and then painted on. The sculpting details lessen, though at the hands, where Bashir has less detailing, including a lack of defined knuckles, though he has faintly molded fingernails.

Doctor Bashir's face is molded in a bland, neutral expression that does not have anything distinct to make him recognizable. In fact, his skin is colored much lighter than Siddig El Fadil's actual skin is. The hair is tough to capture for a Bashir figure as Bashir had hair that was puffed up and back, but Playmates made a fair go at it. At least it doesn't look like Bashir is wearing a helmet.

The paint job is fair at best, especially for the face. The skin tones are monotonal white with no shading or subtlety. The figure's lips are painted an unnaturally bright pink which looks somewhat ridiculous. As well, Bashir's eyes are brown with white pupils, which is disturbing.


Doctor Bashir comes with five accessories, including the base, most of which had noticeably been recycled from Star Trek: The Next Generation figures. Doctor Bashir comes with a medical kit, medical tricorder, PADD, DNA scanner and the base. The Action base is a StarFleet delta shield symbol with the name "BASHIR" stuck on it with a cheap, black sticker. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Doctor Bashir's feet! When Doctor Bashir stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. The base is also enough to support Bashir in more outlandish poses, which is nice.

The Medical kit is essentially a big flat purse with a plastic strap which may be slung over Bashir's shoulder. While it has the basic shape of a medical kit, it is utterly lacking in the surface details and markings of a StarFleet medical kit. It is a monotonal silver which is close to what the prop looks like, but it is a pretty bland accessory.

The Medical Tricorder is a similarly light-on-details accessory. The 3/4" box looks like the scanning device used by Doctor Bashir and it fits in either of his hands. This has the surface details of a tricorder, up to and including that the scanning wand is molded into the top of the device, but it does not do anything.

The PADD is essentially the Star Trek version of an iPad (actually, it's the other way around as Star Trek had them first!) and it is basically a flat chip of plastic. To simulate the screen, there is a sticker and that is more effort than most of the other accessories got.

Finally, there is the DNA Scanner. This is an accessory unique to Doctor Bashir. It was created for the second episode of the series and the prop is molded properly to look like the specific medical device. Like the tricorder, it fits into either of Bashir's hands. However, there are no surface details and it is cast in the silver plastic without coloring details, like the black grip.

This is the unfortunate aspect of all four of Doctor Bashir's accessories; they are molded in a silver plastic which looks like what the props looked like on the show, save that they lack highlights, details and accent colors. 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. Doctor Bashir is over-accessorized, but they are not the most hideous colors for accessories from Playmates.

As well, Playmates included a trading card unique to the figure from SkyBox which attracted trading card collectors to this figure in addition to toy collectors. The trading card has a shot of Doctor Bashir with a black starfield behind him (this makes for a great card to get signed by actor Siddig El Fadil, who played Julian Bashir all seven years!). The back has information on Doctor Bashir and it's easy to see why card collectors happily hunted these down!


Doctor Bashir continued a generally high playability quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Doctor Bashir is appropriately stiff, but has decent poseability. Doctor Bashir 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, 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 poseability!

Moreover, for use with actual play, Doctor Bashir 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, Doctor Bashir is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses. He actually looks very dignified and ready to save lives in his neutral display pose.


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for the first wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures, but Doctor Bashir still seemed to be a slow seller of the assortment. Despite having a guest starring shot on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Doctor Bashir was still a pegwarmer. As a result, he has not appreciated much since his initial release almost fifteen years ago.

That said, at least 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 45000 figures out there (my Doctor Bashir is #044602!).


The Doctor Bashir figure is a good figure, but in the face of later sculpts, this one is not superlative. Instead, it is average, but those collecting the 4.5" figures, this makes for a worthwhile figure to pick up.

For other Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures from Playmates, please check out my reviews of:
Major Kira Nerys
The Tosk
The Hunter Of The Tosk


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page!

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