Sunday, February 12, 2012

Commander Benjamin Sisko: Leading The Charge Of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Figures!

The Good: Good sculpt, Good coloring, Decent variety of accessories, Balance
The Bad: Accessory coloring, Slightly overproduced, Very bland facial expression.
The Basics: A very average action figure, it's hard to get excited about the first Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Commander Benjamin Sisko figure.

With February upon us and my house-cleaning in full effect, I have finally managed to find a way to mix cleaning up my living area with Black History Month with my reviewing! As I make more space for my wife, I am putting away more of my decor, namely the Star Trek figures I have up all around and dedicating more space and such to her. So, while I still have some boxes of Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures to go through, I am focusing my efforts now on putting away my Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures. So, in honor of Black History Month, I'm doing some action figure reviews with the black characters from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine! Naturally, then, I felt I ought to start with Commander Benjamin Sisko.

Commander Benjamin Sisko, for those who completely missed the boat on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!), was the commanding officer of space station Deep Space Nine. And while every other Star Trek series has followed the exploits of a captain, Sisko began on Deep Space Nine as a Commander. The Commander Benjamin Sisko figure features Sisko as he appeared in the first three seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, before he was promoted to Captain.


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1995 Collection of action figures contained nine figures and it focused on the primary command crew of space station Deep Space Nine, with Commander Sisko being the obvious highlight of the collection. Commander Benjamin Sisko is a human officer, from Louisiana, and in addition to being the first black commanding officer whose story is fully developed in a Star Trek series, he was father to Jake Sisko (whose figure was not released until the second wave). Sisko appears in his action figure debut as a stern looking officer who is attired in his black StarFleet space station jumpsuit. Because he was the leader, his was one of the most common action figures in the assortment and it remains fairly easy to find even now. Still, 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 Commander Benjamin Sisko figure is the human StarFleet officer as he appeared in seasons one through three of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with the black uniform and with a head of closely shaved hair. Commander Benjamin Sisko 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.

Standing four and seven-eighths inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Commander Benjamin Sisko 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. Even so, Commander Benjamin Sisko 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 lessen, though at the hands, where Sisko has less detailing, including a lack of defined knuckles or fingernails.

Commander Benjamin Sisko's face is molded in a bland, neutral expression that actually characterizes well Sisko's initial emotional resonance. He was a low-key Commander and the lack of defined expression suits the character remarkably well. The hair is little more than a raised portion on the head which has then been colored black; there is little texture to it. Interestingly, while the skin and uniform are cast in a glossy plastic, Sisko's hair is painted with a black matte finish.

The paint job is fair at best, especially for the face. The skin tones are monotonal brown with no shading or subtlety. The figure's lips are painted an unnaturally bright pink which looks somewhat ridiculous. As well, Sisko's eyes are brown with white pupils, which is disturbing. On the body of the figure, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures seem to have been rushed to market as many of mine, including Sisko have chipped paint on the shoulders and communicator. Either the paint job was rushed or it chips off the figures, which is disturbing because mine went from their packages to a display with no play in between!


Commander Benjamin Sisko comes with five accessories, including the base, some of which had noticeably been recycled from Star Trek: The Next Generation figures. Commander Benjamin Sisko comes with a StarFleet phaser, a PADD, a StarFleet desktop monitor, an orb case and the base. The Action base is a StarFleet delta shield symbol with the name "SISKO" stuck on it with a cheap, black sticker. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Commander Benjamin Sisko's feet! When Commander Benjamin Sisko stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. The base is also enough to support Sisko in more outlandish poses, which is nice.

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. Sisko's hands are molded so he may carry the weapon in either hand.

The station desktop monitor is a pretty decent accessory for the administrative commander 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, Sisko 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 either of Sisko's hands.

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 Sisko figure features one of these boxes. Like the monitor, it will only precariously balance in Sisko's grasp with both hands under it. This is cast like the box, down to the jewels on the sides, but it is monotonally colored in dark blue plastic.

This is the unfortunate aspect of all three of Commander Benjamin Sisko's accessories; they are molded in an unrealistic navy blue/gray 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. Commander Benjamin Sisko 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 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 Commander Benjamin Sisko with a black starfield behind him (this makes for a great card to get signed by actor Avery Brooks, who played Benjamin Sisko all seven years!). The back has information on Commander Benjamin Sisko and it's easy to see why card collectors happily hunted these down!


Commander Benjamin Sisko continued a generally high level quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Commander Benjamin Sisko is appropriately stiff, but has decent poseability. Commander Benjamin Sisko 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, Commander Benjamin Sisko 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, Commander Benjamin Sisko is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses. He actually looks very dignified and stern in a neutral display pose.


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for the first wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures, but Commander Benjamin Sisko still seemed to be a slow seller of the assortment. Even so, the fact that he was the commanding officer and the fact that trading card collectors were looking for him, kept him from being a pegwarmer. Still, 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 45000 figures out there (my Commander Benjamin Sisko is #044862!).


The Commander Benjamin Sisko figure is a good figure, but in the face of later sculpts and the Captain Benjamin Sisko figure, he is underwhelming, especially now. I ultimately give a very soft "recommend" and that is only for fans looking for an inexpensive 4.5" Sisko figure for an initial Deep Space Nine crew display or play field.

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


For other toy reviews, please be sure to visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

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