Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Art Asylum May Have Done Him Better, But Security Chief Odo From Playmates Still Stands!

The Good: Good sculpt, Excellent coloring, Decent variety of accessories
The Bad: Accessory coloring, Few accessories actually fit his grip, Slight balance issues.
The Basics: A good Odo figure, the original Playmates Odo still tips over too easily for most fans to truly love this toy.

There are few characters whose action figures I had so anticipated like the way I did the first Odo figure. At the time, he was my favorite character on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and when Playmates Toys announced their 1993 toy line-up, I was thrilled to see that Odo had not been neglected as part of some terrible oversight. Since then, Art Asylum has remade the Odo figure with greater articulation and detail, but still, I cannot part with my Security Chief Odo figure from Playmates.

Security Chief Odo was one of the non-StarFleet characters on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!). His backstory was simple: he was a shapeshifter, discovered by the Cardassians and studied by the Bajorans in a laboratory. When he became sentient, he left the lab and came to Terok Nor (Deep Space Nine), where he began to investigate cases for Gul Dukat. With the Federation administrative takeover of Deep Space Nine, Odo remained aboard as security chief, slowly using StarFleet resources to learn about his possible origins!


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, along with the alien bartender, Quark, and two other aliens. Odo was one of the non-StarFleet command crew figures and his tan and brown uniform helped set him apart from the predominantly black costumes of most of the others. Odo was actually very popular and the figure sold fairly well, despite the fact that Odo was comparatively a pegwarmer. Like the rest of the figures in this assortment, it features a SkyBox trading card exclusive to the action figure, which made it hunted by trading card collectors as well. Even so, sales of Odo were not the best.

The Odo figure is the shape-shifting Constable as he appeared almost every time he was on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Odo is outfitted in his Bajoran uniform and boots. The security chief has a thin build and a ghoulish face with haunting eyes set back in their sockets. The outfit is colored appropriately and Playmates even did well on the facial details.

Standing four and three-quarters inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Odo immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with his hands appearing ready to hold any of his accessories, each 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 fighting or doing other action-oriented things. Odo has only fair balance off his stand and is actually one of the more problematic figures to get to stay on their stand. There is a decent level of uniform detailing, including the Bajoran communicator on Security Chief Odo's right breast. The figure's detailing only falls down at the hands, which do not have defined knuckles.

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, most of which were created specifically for this figure. Odo comes with a Bajoran PADD, Bajoran tricorder, Bucket sleeping chamber, Deep Space Nine desk monitor and the base. The Action base is a Bajoran Communicator symbol with a sticker that says "ODO" on it. On the end opposite the ball on the symbol, near where that sticker is, there is a peg which fits into the hole in either of Security Chief Odo's feet! When Constable Odo stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. The base, however, is not enough to support Security Chief Odo in more outlandish poses, so this is a problematically tippy figure.

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 red 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.

Odo's bucket sleeping chamber is unique to the Security Chief Odo action figure. The liability of Odo's race is their need to revert to a gelatinous state every day and Odo dealt with this by having a bucket to become liquid in. The bucket is a cool accessory, looking just like the bucket from the show, save in entirely the wrong color.

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 red plastic.

This is the unfortunate aspect of all four of Odo's accessories; they are molded in a unrealistic red plastic which looks disappointing. Clearly Playmates went through some effort to sculpt the accessories realistically, but the coloring guts them of any sense of realism. Odo is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is the only serious drawback for the overall 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 has a shot of Odo with a black starfield behind him (this makes for a great card to get signed by actor Rene Auberjoinis, who played Odo all seven years!). The back has information on Odo which filled in some of his backstory and the trading card looks excellent.


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 his balance issues make him less posable than he ought to be. Odo 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, 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 still surprisingly unstable and this is one of the few Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures which consistently tips over.


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for the first wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures, but with Odo appearing two to three per case, he was easier to find and ended up sticking around as one of the pegwarmers of the line. Still, trading card collectors helped buy these figures up because of the collectible card and fans are likely to find this figure a little harder to find now, mostly because Rene Auberjonois did a lot of conventions over the years and people bought these to get them autographed. Still, this is not the best investment figure and when Art Asylum made their sculpt of Odo, the value on this one depressed back down to its original price.

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 25,500 figures out there (my Odo is #025008!).


The Odo figure is a good figure of a great character from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but he still tips over. Honestly, I probably keep this one more for nostalgia and to have an Odo in this scale than actually loving this figure.

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


For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2012, 2010 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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