Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Arguably One Of The Worst Recycled Star Trek Figures, The Deep Space Nine Q Flops!

The Good: Generally good coloring, Decent variety of accessories
The Bad: Obvious reused parts for figure and accessories, Accessory coloring.
The Basics: Impossible to recommend, the Q action figure is a big disappointment for fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine or Playmates action figures.

The 1995 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figure set from Playmates Toys was an interesting mix. On one hand, it presented new sculpts of neglected or desired characters from the television show like Jake Sisko, Rom and Nog and the Tosk (reviewed here!). But on the other hand, there were several recycled figures which were utterly disappointing, most notably the Thomas Riker and Q figures. Q, alas, was made from entirely recycled parts, so the only reason fans truly had to pick this toy up was for the collector's pog or because they were entirely a completist.

Q appeared only once on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, in one of the few, desperate attempts to get the Star Trek: The Next Generation audience to follow, in the episode "Q-Less" (reviewed here!). On that episode, Q appears around the same time as Vash and he causes trouble for all concerned, including getting into a boxing match with Commander Sisko. When it came time for Playmates to release their second line of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures, Q seemed to be one they threw into the mix simply because they had all of the parts available!


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 and aliens fleshing out the line. Q is an omnipotent being who takes human form. Q appears in his Deep Space Nine action figure form as a simple StarFleet officer. Most collectors quickly figured out that this action figure was actually a Benjamin Sisko action figure with Q's lower arms and head from the earlier releases of the figure. 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. Even that, though, was not enough to generate enthusiasm among most fans to get them to buy this toy!

The Q figure is the apparently human alien as he appeared in "Q-Less," wearing a black and red StarFleet uniform. Q is attired in his black StarFleet uniform with the red (for Command division) shoulders. The outfit is open at the collar, enough that his lilac undershirt may be seen. The outfit is colored appropriately, including the three gold rank pips on the collar of the undershirt - Q apparently demoted himself accordingly to operate around Sisko.

Standing four and seven-eighths inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Q immortalized in plastic and that is the only real saving grace of the toy. The character is molded with his right hand ready to hold most of his accessories in a half-closed position and his left making one of Picard's "make it so" gestures. 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. Even so, Q has good balance on or off his stand (though the stand certainly helps). 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 reveal just how recycled this figure was; the hands have defined fingernails on the fingers, which is something the newer sculpts in this series lacked!

Q's face is molded in a neutral, slightly arrogant expression that is realistic for the character. The detailing on the figure's ears and nostrils are decent and Playmates did capture Q's likeness very well. His hair is little more than a raised portion on the head which has then been colored black; there is little texture to it.

The paint job is fair. 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, Q's eyes are brown with white pupils, which is disturbing. Outside that, the figure looks fine.


Q comes with five accessories, plus the SkyCap pog. Q comes with a StarFleet type II phaser, a PADD, Starfleet station monitor, Orb ark and the base. The Action base is a StarFleet delta shield symbol with the name "Q" stuck on it with a cheap, black sticker. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Q's feet! When Q stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance.

The StarFleet phaser is the same Type II phaser accessory that came with many of the Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures. It is a 2 1/2" long prop which features the dustbuster-shaped beam weapon with a bright pink phaser beam emitting from it. The phaser has good molded details, down to the different buttons and a display screen, but is light on the coloring details. In addition to not having a black grip, the phaser does not have detailing on the buttons or power indicator, so it is homogeneously silver to the beam, then monotonally pink. Q's hands are molded so he may carry the weapon in either hand.

The station desktop monitor is a pretty decent accessory, but not for Q. About an inch wide and deep and tall, the desktop monitor resembles an open laptop computer. In fact, where the monitor ought to be, there is a sticker with a schematic of space station Deep Space Nine. With the hands of the figure arranged just right, Q may hold this with both hands, but it precludes using any other accessories with the figure.

The PADD accessory, Personal Access Display Device, is a 5/8" long by 3/8" wide chip of plastic which resembles the handheld computer device from Deep Space Nine fairly well. It has the controls molded into the bottom and a sticker for the display. In order to give the figure a fighting chance of holding it, Playmates made an inclined border around the bottom which allows it to fit loosely into Q's right hand.

Finally, there is the orb ark. The Tears Of The Prophets, a Bajoran relic introduced in the pilot episode, are kept in ornate boxes and the Q figure features one of these boxes. Like the monitor, it will only precariously balance in Q's grasp with both hands under it. Why Q was given this is a mystery, as his episode did not even feature one of these! This is cast like the box, down to the jewels on the sides, but it is monotonally colored in bright green plastic.

This is the unfortunate aspect of all three of Q's accessories; they are molded in an unrealistic bright 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. Q is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is a bit of a drawback for the overall figure.

Even so, 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 publicity shot of Q 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.


Q was part of the mortgaging of the high level quality from Playmates. The 1995 line, in addition to having some truly uninspired sculpts, also featured some terrible recycled figures which simply popped old heads on different bodies and did not have any sense of attachment to the show. Q balances fine and he stands up well on or off his base. Q 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, Q 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, Q is stable enough and he may be posed fairly well for action.


Arguably because of the terrible use of recycled parts, Playmates made a huge loser with this Q figure. The figure was incredibly common and ended up as a pegwarmer almost everywhere. Fans of Q and John de Lancie tended to prefer the Star Trek: The Next Generation Q figures and left this one alone. In fact, it was only when Star Trek: Voyager had a guest appearance with Q wearing this uniform (more or less; his had a different communicator style at the time) that these began to move again. This figure's price remains low, often found for at or below its original issue price of $5.99.

On the plus side, 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 32000 figures out there (my Q is #031029!).


The Q figure is a particularly disturbing action figure brought down by horrible coloring accessories and entirely recycled parts. The only reason it scores so high is that it actually looks like John de Lancie as Q.

For other Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figure reviews, please visit my takes on:
Vedek Bareil
Gul Dukat
The Hunter Of The Tosk


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

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