Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Ready For Action, Commander Worf Is An Excellent Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Action Figure

The Good: Good sculpt, Interesting accessories, Decent balance and poseability
The Bad: Accessory coloring issues.
The Basics: Commander Worf is a cool figure, but Playmates still could have done it better.

Few characters from the Star Trek franchise have been recast as action figures more than Worf. Actually, this is a perfectly appropriate thing, as Worf is the character featured in more episodes of Star Trek franchise shows than any other. Yes, Michael Dorn had a more prominent role than Colm Meany did on Star Trek: The Next Generation, which allowed him to edge out his peer from that show for the most hours logged in the Star Trek universe. Playmates Toys took advantage of this fact and one of the many figures they made a part of their 1996 collection of Star Trek figures was Commander Worf.

For those unfamiliar with the character, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Worf arrived following a sabbatical from StarFleet and Captain Sisko put him to work analyzing Klingon movements near the border. Starting with the end of "The Way Of The Warrior" (reviewed here!), Worf became the Strategic Operations Officer of Deep Space Nine and took up residence on the U.S.S. Defiant, as well as returning to the red Command uniform he originally wore.

The 1996 Commander Worf action figure is a decent casting for the 5" figure line from Playmates Toys and it fills in nicely the gap between the Star Trek: The Next Generation and "Star Trek: First Contact" action figure outfits for the character!


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, with little attention paid to most of the other figures in the assortment, like Worf. Because there were so many Worf figures on the market by the time this one was released, Commander Worf sold generally poorly. Even so, this figure was seldom a pegwarmer because it had a collectible trading card. Card collectors hunted the SkyBox trading card exclusive to the action figure, which helped sell the stock that action figure collectors did not buy.

The Commander Worf figure is the Klingon StarFleet officer as he appeared in season four and the beginning of season five of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with the black uniform and 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.

Standing five inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Commander Worf 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 an action-oriented stance, almost like a battle crouch. Even so, he has pretty decent balance and his pose is not as aggressive as the first casting of the figure. 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 Worf has less detailing, including a lack of defined knuckles, though this figure does have molded fingernails.

Commander Worf's face is molded in a sneer, almost like Worf is perpetually growling (just shy of showing teeth) and that characterizes well Worf's aggressive nature. He was an aggressive character and between the stance and the facial detailing, Worf looks like an angry Klingon, which suits him well. The Worf figure is sculpted with the usual Klingon forehead ridges and these have painted accents, which is nice.

The paint job is fair, definitely less impressive than the molded details, especially for the face. The skin tones are monotonal brown with no shading or subtlety. The figure's lips are unpainted and Worf's eyes are brown with white pupils, which is disturbing. To the credit of Playmates, the rank pips on this figure were painted on, not molded there, so the detail on them was excellent. Also, Worf's hair looks well molded and he even has the ponytail, even if the lacing that binds it is not painted.


Commander Worf comes with five accessories, including the base, most of which were new for this sculpting! Worf comes with a Type-2 phaser, StarFleet duffel, d'k tagh dagger, mek'leth knife and the base. The Action base is a StarFleet delta shield symbol which has a black sticker that says "WORF" on it. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Commander Worf's feet! When Commander Worf stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. The base is also enough to support Worf in more outlandish poses, which is nice.

The StarFleet Type II phaser is a new sculpting of the Type II phaser accessory and this one does not feature a phaserbeam. Instead, the inch long accessories looks like a dustbuster-shaped beam weapon and is much larger than it ought to be. One suspects that in order to reduce the choking hazard presented by one of these without the phaser beam, Playmates made it ridiculously large. 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 red, which is terribly unrealistic for the weapon. Worf's hands are molded so he may carry the weapon in either hand, though it looks better in his right.

The duffel bag is perfectly appropriate for this Worf, as he spent part of his first episode packing to leave StarFleet forever. The cylinder is connected to a thin plastic strap which allows Worf to have the accessory strapped over his shoulder. The red plastic has a white StarFleet emblem silk-screened onto it and it looks good, though it does not open.

The new d'k tagh accessory looks terrible. The red knife is molded with the two side-blades out, but the central blade is terribly short. In fact, with a 1 1/4" overall length to the accessory, the blade looks ridiculously small in either of Worf's hands. And while it is molded with great details like a leather-wrapped handle and spiked ball at the base of the hilt, the weapon is cast in monotonal red plastic with no painted detailing.

Similarly, the mek'leth sword is molded to be the 1 1/2" curved Klingon hand weapon with the blade guarding the hilt, but it is basically a flat curved piece of plastic that bears little resemblance to the actual sword from the show.

Unfortunately, that's the way it is for all four of Worf's accessories; they are molded in a terribly unrealistic red plastic, but then features no 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 trading card unique to the figure from SkyBox which attracted trading card collectors to this figure in addition to toy collectors. The trading card is a movie-sized card which has a shot of Commander Worf in a landscape orientation seated in the command chair of the Defiant with a purple background. The image is big and clear and this makes for a great card to get signed by actor Michael Dorn, who played Worf and does a decent number of conventions even still! The back has general information on Worf, but it is still a pretty cool card!


Worf continued a generally high level quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Worf is appropriately stiff, but has decent poseability. Commander Worf 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. Worf's head is inhibited some in its movement by the ponytail molded to the back of his head, which prevents the figure's head from moving more than a few degrees. As well, 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, Worf 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, Worf is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses. He actually looks very aggressive and ready for battle in his innate pose, which almost makes it a good thing that there was no Defiant command chair for him to sit in!


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for 1996 wave of Star Trek figures and Commander Worf sold fairly well, probably because Michael Dorn 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 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 35,000 figures out there (my Worf is #034185!).


The Commander Worf figure is a good figure, but the accessory coloring easily robs the figure of perfection. Even so, most fans of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and of Worf in general will want one of these for their collection!

For other Star Trek figures from the 1996 line, please check out my reviews of:
Benjamin Sisko As Seen In “Crossover”
Jadzia Dax As Seen in “Blood Oath”
Jem'Hadar Soldier
Odo From “Necessary Evil”
The Hunter Of The Tosk
Jean-Luc Picard As Seen In “Tapestry”


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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