Monday, November 14, 2011

Despite Underwhelming Accessory Colors, The Odo From "Necessary Evil" Figure Is Cool!

The Good: Good sculpt, Interesting accessories, Decent balance and posability
The Bad: Accessory coloring issues, Not as detailed for the character.
The Basics: Odo from "Necessary Evil" is an appropriately bland action figure, but the accessory coloring makes it feel cheaper than it ought to.

The inside joke among fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine merchandise is that anything any company wants to make and sell with the Star Trek logo on it can be called "Odo." Odo, the security chief from space station Deep Space Nine, is a shapeshifter and he has the ability - refined as the series progressed - to assume any form. As a result, even if we never saw Odo assume the shape, virtually anything could be offered as an Odo figure! Playmates Toys, however, was never quite that greedy and when they made a second Odo action figure, they at least tried to make it a distinctive difference. To that end, following the very first Odo figure, Playmates did a recast of Odo as seen in "Necessary Evil." What are the differences? It's all in the uniform!

For those unfamiliar with the character, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Security Chief Odo worked for the Cardassians and in the episode "Necessary Evil" (reviewed here!), fans were treated to the first assignment Odo was given aboard the station. Working for the Cardassians, Odo began a murder investigation and that required him to blend in some. As such, he wore the muted gray outfit that made the Bajorans more cooperative with him. It is that uniform this Odo figure is cast wearing.

The 1996 Odo From "Necessary Evil" action figure is a decent casting for the 5" figure line from Playmates Toys and it fleshes out the portrayal of the character well!


The Star Trek 1996 Collection of action figures contained figures from Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager and the drive for collectors was to find one of the limited "Tapestry" Picard figures (reviewed here!), with little attention paid to most of the other figures in the assortment, like Odo from "Necessary Evil." While this was only the second of two Odo figures on the market, Odo from "Necessary Evil" sold generally poorly, arguably because there were so many recycled parts in this toy. Even so, this figure was seldom a pegwarmer because it had a collectible pog trading card. Card collectors hunted the SkyBox pog exclusive to the action figure, which helped sell the stock that action figure collectors did not buy.

The Odo figure is the shapeshifter as he appeared in the season two episode "Necessary Evil," with the gray outfit and darker vest. The outfit looks like a civilian outfit and does not have any rank insignias or distinguishing marks.

Standing 4 5/8" tall, this is a fair likeness of Odo as he appeared in "Necessary Evil," 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, as if he is stiff and uncomfortable, which fits the character wonderfully. As such, he has great balance and his pose is good for display or play. The sculpting details lessen on this Odo (whose head is recycled from the earlier Odo figure) at the hands, where Odo has less detailing, including a lack of defined knuckles, though this figure does have molded fingernails.

Odo's face is molded in an incredible likeness of the shapeshifter. The figure has subtle forehead lines and hair pulled tightly back. The proportions of his nose are slightly off - just like the character! - so there is an unsettling look to Constable Odo. As well, he has tiny blue eyes with white pupils and with his eyes sunken, Odo looks like he is staring constantly. It's weird to have an action figure that appears unsettling!

The paint job is as good as one could expect given the figure is based upon a character who is supposed to be more monotonal in his skin than most characters. The skin tones are white and lack any shading or subtlety. This does not look bad for Odo and Playmates even managed to get the figure's tight pink lips and monotonal hair looking good!


Odo comes with five accessories, including the base, only one of which was new for this sculpting! Odo comes with a List of Bajoran traitors, Bajoran PADD, Bajoran Tricorder, Deep Space Nine Monitor and the base. The Action base is a Bajoran Communicator symbol. On the end opposite the ball on the symbol, there is a peg which fits into the hole in either of Security Chief Odo's feet! When Odo stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. The base is also enough to support Odo in more outlandish poses, which is nice.

The List Of Bajoran Traitors is an accessory made uniquely for this action figure. In "Necessary Evil," Odo and Rom find the list in Quark's possession after he stole it from an abandoned office space. The accessory is a 1" wide by 3/4" deep hinged box which opens to reveal the list of names. The list is a sticker attached to the plastic accessory and it looks surprisingly good. Unfortunately, the rest of the box accessory looks ridiculous as it is cast in the unrealistic green plastic that Playmates inexplicably chose for this toy.

The Bajoran PADD is a distinctive Bajoran instrument and one which Constable Odo was shown with many times in the series. The PADD has all of the appropriate buttons as well as a little sticker where the screen ought to be. This is essentially a small green plastic chip 5/8" long and under 3/8" wide. This only fits in Security Chief Odo's right hand and only then because it has an additional ridge along the bottom which adds volume to it.

The Bajoran tricorder is amazingly cast for so small an accessory. Just over 1/2" long and just under 3/8" wide, this small device is segmented into the two parts of a Bajoran tricorder and is in perfect scale to the Odo figure. Unfortunately, it has wonderful surface details, but terrible coloring details and a screen which is not distinctive. As well, it cannot fit into either of Odo's hands as his grip is too open for that.

The station desktop monitor is a pretty decent accessory for the Security Chief of Deep Space Nine. 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, Odo may hold this with both hands, but it precludes using any other accessories with the figure. Sadly, it, too, was cast in an unrealistic green plastic.

Unfortunately, that's the way it is for all four of Odo's accessories; they are molded in a terribly unrealistic light green plastic. They feature no coloring accent work to make them match the coloring detail of the actual action figure. Clearly Playmates went through some effort to sculpt the accessories realistically, but the coloring minimizes the sense of realism and may clash with the coloring of the 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 pog basically features an image of Odo from "Necessary Evil" on the front in front of the wormhole graphic. The back merely has a checklist of all of the pogs which were intended to be made. This is hardly exciting, but the collectible value made it enough for the card collectors!


Odo continued a generally high level quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Odo is appropriately stiff, but has decent posability. Odo is endowed with eleven points of articulation: knees, groin socket, biceps, elbows, shoulders, 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 posability!

Moreover, for use with actual play, Odo 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, Odo is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses.


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for 1996 wave of Star Trek figures and Odo from "Necessary Evil" sold well-enough, probably because Rene Auberjoinis still did quite a few conventions a year and people wanted something different for him to sign. Even so, 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 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 16,000 figures out there (my Odo from "Necessary Evil" is #015561!).


The Odo from "Necessary Evil" figure is a good figure, but the accessory coloring knocks the figure down into average territory.

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