Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Best Quark Action Figure On The Market Today (And The Only One!).

The Good: Good sculpt, Good coloring, Decent variety of accessories, Balance
The Bad: Accessory coloring
The Basics: Almost a perfect figure, Quark is brought down some by the poor accessory choices and the coloring of them.

When it comes to Star Trek (franchise) action figures, it always surprises me what gets made first and what gets remade by the new companies when they get the license. For a long time, Playmates Toys had free reign in the Star Trek toy universe and they used the opportunity to make figures of every major character before making tons of recycled parts figures. One of the few figures they only made once was Quark, the Ferengi bartender from Deep Space Nine. Rather bafflingly, now that Diamond Select has the license, they have not made a newer sculpt of the popular, though admittedly, expendable, character.

Quark, for those who were not tuned in to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!), was the Ferengi bartender on space station Deep Space Nine and one of the alien members of the show's ensemble. Quark is an alien businessman and one of the few characters to appear on three Star Trek series. The Quark figure features Quark as he appeared in the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, though his character - not being forced to wear a uniform - had frequent costume changes.


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 Quark being one of the highlights of the collection because he was not a bland, human officer. Quark is a Ferengi bartender whose sole motivation (outside survival) is to make profit. Quark appears in his action figure debut as an alien in a stunning suit. He is attired in his olive green and checkerboard business suit. This was one of the harder to find action figures in the assortment, but given how overproduced they were, it remains fairly easy to find even now. Even at the time, 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 Quark figure is the Ferengi businessman as he initially appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with the checkerboard shirt and alien visage. Quark is wearing a suit with a lapel pin made of gold pressed latinum. The outfit covers an equally colored shirt and he is wearing olive colored pants that are poofy and remind one of a pirate.

Standing four and one-half inches tall, this is a amazing likeness of Quark 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. As a result of the neutral stance, Quark has good balance on or off his stand (though the stand certainly helps). There is a decent level of uniform detailing, including the brooch on his chest being both molded into the figure and then painted on. The sculpting details lessen, though at the hands, where Quark has less detailing, including a lack of defined knuckles, though he has faintly molded fingernails.

Quark's face is molded in an excited, half-smiling expression which is enough to make his pirannah-like teeth visible. Quark is a Ferengi, so he has giant ears and no hair and Playmates got those details down perfectly. This version of Quark - the only version to date - looks great and he had wonderful detailing on the head bump's crevices as well as his face. There is no mistaking this figure for a generic Ferengi! It is Quark!

The paint job is excellent, especially for the face. The skin tones are monotonal tan with shading and subtlety on the ears, nose and brow. Quark's mouth is painted dark inside to accent his sharp, white teeth. As well, Quark's eyes are blue with white pupils, which is disturbing. In fact, the only painted element that is lackluster are Quark's fingernails. Ferengi fingernails are frequently painted and Quark's are most frequently seen with a green color to them. This figure lacks that level of detail, despite getting the molding done nicely.


Quark comes with six accessories, including the base, some of which had noticeably been recycled from Star Trek: The Next Generation figures. Quark comes with a Ferengi head cane, reptilian pet, gold pressed latinum bar, exotic beverage bottle, Ferengi hand blaster and the base. The Action base is a green Ferengi symbol with the name "QUARK" stuck on it with a cheap, black sticker. One end of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Quark's feet! When Quark stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. The base is also enough to support Quark in more outlandish poses, which is nice.

The Ferengi disruptor is recycled from the Ferengi figure. It is poorly detailed, basically being a little blue plastic piece in the shape of a disruptor with a beam extending an inch and three-quarters out from it. While this makes play easier, it is a tough sell as far as detailing goes. The buttons and displays are molded into the weapon, but it is not colored appropriately. At least the disruptor beam is colored pink, which is appropriate. The figure is able to hold the disruptor (more or less) in either hand. The thing is, the disruptor is ridiculously large compared to Quark's body. Ferengi disruptor pistols are actually quite small and this is ridiculously out of proportion with the rest of the figure, in addition to being cast in a silly pearlecent blue plastic.

The Ferengi Head Cane is a 3 1/2" long staff that has a tiny Ferengi head atop it. This fits in either of Quark's hands and looks good there, despite the fact that the wood grain of the actual staff is molded, but not colored appropriately.

The Reptilian Pet is a good idea, also from the episode "The Nagus" but is a somewhat ridiculous execution of the endangered creature seen in that episode (and one other). This looks like a little alien anteater, though it cannot easily be held by Quark and tips over when set down.

The "exotic beverage bottle" is little more than a rectilinear bottle which looks like a futuristic liquor bottle. This makes sense for the bartender, but looks somewhat ridiculous from the coloring. Still, Quark may easily hold it in his right hand, so it fits the figure well, despite the coloring.

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

The gold, however, fits the bar of gold pressed latinum. The bar is basically a 3/4" long chip of plastic which fits either of Quark's hands and makes him look like he is ready to do business. That accessory fits his personality and his hands well.

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 Quark with a black starfield behind him (this makes for a great card to get signed by actor Armin Shimerman, who played Quark all seven years!). The back has information on Quark and it's easy to see why card collectors happily hunted these down!


Quark continued a generally high level quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Quark is appropriately stiff, but has decent poseability. Quark 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, Quark 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, Quark is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses. He actually looks alien and compliments well any Star Trek action figure collection.


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for the first wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures, and Quark was one of the fastest sellers of the assortment. Oddly, though, he was produced in great enough numbers that he has not appreciated in value.

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 72500 figures out there (my Quark is #072113!).


The Quark figure is a great figure and were it not for the shoddy accessory coloring, this might have been a perfect figure. As it is, it comes close.

For other Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures from the original 1993 collection, please check out my reviews of:
Dr. Julian Bashir
Major Kira Nerys
Chief Miles O'Brien


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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