Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Best Captain Benjamin Sisko Figure In The 4.5" Scale, Playmates Did Sisko Right!

The Good: Good sculpt, Interesting accessories, Decent balance and posability
The Bad: Chipped paint on mine, Accessory coloring issues.
The Basics: Captain Benjamin Sisko is a cool figure of an indispensable look of Captain Sisko, but it is far from perfect.

When Playmates Toys still had the license to create the Star Trek franchise action figures and toys, they had few Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures that would be considered "essential" to fans after the first line they released. But for fans of Benjamin Sisko, there were two that fans pretty much felt compelled to buy. The first was the initial release figure of Commander Benjamin Sisko (reviewed here!) and the second was the 1997 Captain Benjamin Sisko figure, which was Sisko after he was promoted and shaved his head. Outside the uniform, this was how Sisko looked for most of the series, so fans were excited to get the bald Sisko with facial hair and Playmates did a decent job with this one!

For those unfamiliar with the character, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Benjamin Sisko arrived at the space station as a Commander and through his hard work and success on missions, he was promoted at the end of the third season to Captain. Starting with "The Way Of The Warrior" (reviewed here!), Sisko appeared without hair on his head, but with a goatee. This gave him a more stern look and with the new "belt buckle" style communicator pin (were the oval behind the delta symbol was replaced with a bracket), Sisko proceeded to lead Deep Space Nine and the Defiant (until the next major costume change) with this red and black uniform and cool, bald look.


The Star Trek 1997 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 Dress Uniform Dr. McCoys (reviewed here!), with little attention paid to most of the other figures in the assortment, like Captain Sisko. But having succeeded in getting the rare figure early on, I soon started inspecting the other figures and while there is much to like about the Kurn figure, his coloring and sculpt illustrate how Playmates was already lowering its standards. 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 Captain Benjamin Sisko figure is the human 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 with a bald head. Captain 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 four gold rank pips on the collar of the undershirt.

Standing four and three-quarters 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. Captain Benjamin Sisko has excellent 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, though this figure does have molded fingernails.

Captain 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 commanding officer and the lack of defined expression suits the character remarkably well. The figure's tight-lipped expression works exceptionally well to capture the look of Avery Brooks, who played Sisko all seven years of the series.

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 unpainted and 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! To the credit of Playmates, the rank pips on this figure were painted on, not molded there, so the detail on them was excellent.


Captain Benjamin Sisko comes with five accessories, including the base, all of which were new for this sculpting! Captain Sisko comes with a Type-2 phaser, Phaser rifle, Interphasic compensator, Desktop monitor and the base. The Action base is a StarFleet delta shield symbol which does not have any markings or differentiating features on it. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Captain Benjamin Sisko's feet! When Captain 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 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 silver to the beam, then monotonally pink. Sisko's hands are molded so he may carry the weapon in only his left hand.

The station desktop monitor is a pretty decent accessory for the administrative commander of Deep Space Nine, save that he cannot truly hold it. About an inch and 7/8 wide and 1/2" both deep and tall, the desktop monitor resembles a wall panel from Deep Space Nine more than anything. This is a box which has molded buttons, but no actual painted details to it. 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 phaser rifle is the same phaser rifle accessory used since the first run of Star Trek: The Next Generation toys in 1992. Captain Sisko may hold this powerful weapon in two hands and because it has two grips, the 2 1/2" long gun looks cool and stylish in his grasp!

Finally, the interphasic compensator is specific to Captain Sisko. This looks identical to the prop from "The Visitor," which Sisko used to try to save the Defiant before disappearing into timeless space. Sisko may hold this key-like device in his left hand and balance it with his right to make it look like a good two-handed grip on the accessory and it is clear that Playmates tried to do something cool for the Captain Sisko figure by including this with it. The molded detail is good, even if the coloring detail is monotonal.

Unfortunately, that's the way it is for all four of Captain Sisko's accessories; they are molded in an realistic silver-gray 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 Captain Benjamin Sisko in a portrait orientation from fourth or fifth season publicity shot from the show. The image is big and clear and this makes for a great card to get signed by actor Avery Brooks, who played Sisko and does a fair amount of conventions when he is not busy teaching! The back has information on Captain Sisko, mostly from "The Visitor" and it's easy to see why card collectors happily hunted these down!


Captain Sisko continued a generally high level quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Captain Sisko is appropriately stiff, but has decent poseability. Captain Benjamin Sisko is endowed with fourteen points of articulation: knees, thighs, 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. 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, Captain 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, Captain Sisko is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses. He actually looks very dignified and ready to take charge of any situation in his innate pose.


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for 1997 wave of Star Trek figures and Captain Benjamin Sisko sold fairly well, probably because Avery Brook still did quite a few conventions a year (up until the last three) 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 4300 figures out there (my Captain Sisko is #004225!).


The Captain Benjamin Sisko figure is a good figure, he balances well, but he is essentially a recycled Star Trek Voyager body with a Sisko head and some underdetailed accessories. I like mine for the scale - despite the annoying scratches in the figure's paint - much more than I objectively consider it wonderful.

For other Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures from Playmates Toys, please be sure to visit my reviews of:
Leeta The Dabo Girl
Elim Garak


For other toy reviews, please check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing by clicking here!

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

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