Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Even For A First Season Jake Sisko, The Playmates Action Figure Is Lame!

The Good: Generally good coloring, Decent variety of accessories
The Bad: Poor sculpt, Accessory coloring, Balance issues.
The Basics: A poor and obscure sculpt of Jake Sisko which literally does not stand up, this is one of Playmates Toys' lesser efforts.

There are, arguably, few characters in the Star Trek franchise that are more neglected in the merchandising than Jake Sisko. Of primary characters, Jake Sisko often meets the same fate as Kes, who survived only the first three full seasons of Star Trek: Voyager when it comes to things like action figures, photographs, trading cards and the like. Talk to manufacturers about their line up for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and mention Jake and usually, their reaction is, "Oh, yeah, I forgot about him!" Sadly, when Rittenhouse Archives made their "Quotable” Star Trek: Deep Space Nine trading cards (reviewed here!) they neglected Jake while making the Star Trek's Finest cards. As well, when they did their massive 40th Anniversary franchise retrospective set the sketch cards included recurring guest stars Majel Barret (Nurse Chapel) and Grace Lee Whitney (Yeoman Rand) from Star Trek, but no ArtiFex card of Cirroc Lofton as Jake. I wonder if Lofton wants those seven years of his life back or if he doesn't mind that virtually every secondary outlet forgets about his character.

Jake Sisko appeared in all seven seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!) and he was the station commander's son. This was intended to create both a more adult show - Sisko's family helped complicate his life - and provide a more human tether to the extraordinary as Jake Sisko was growing up in an environment where he was very much out of place. Aboard the station, he met the Ferengi, Nog, and they formed one of the two best friendships on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. So, when it came time for Playmates to release their second line of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures, the overlooked Jake was highlighted in the line!


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1996 Collection of action figures contained twelve figures and it focused on recasts of the primary command crew of space station Deep Space Nine, with a few recurring guest stars and Jake fleshing out the line. Jake Sisko is a human child, son of Benjamin Sisko and the deceased Jennifer Sisko. Sisko appears in his action figure (to date no other Jake Sisko figures have been made) based apparently on the first season cast shot and costumes. Sisko is basically a schoolboy, but because it is the only Jake action figure, he was bought up fairly rapidly and remains difficult to find on the secondary market even now. In addition to action figure collectors, this toy was bought up by trading card enthusiasts because it features a SkyBox SpaceCap pog, which appealed to trading card collectors.

The Jake Sisko figure is the human boy as he appeared in the first season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with his orange and brown casual clothes. The outfit is colored appropriately, which has Jake unadorned by any pins, rank insignia or anything that distinguishes the character from anything. This is a very generic action figure of a young black teenager who happens to be dressed in a orange and brown outfit.

Standing four and five-eighths inches tall, this is a poor likeness of Jake Sisko immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with one hand open, so it cannot hold an accessory and another hand half-closed. Jake Sisko's 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. Unfortunately, even flatfooted, this figure tips over very easily. The sculpting details are very light; while the outfit has ribbing, the hands do not have knuckles or fingernails.

Jake Sisko's face is molded in a cheery expression that makes the figure look somewhat like a little zombie. The detailing on the figure's ears and nostrils are decent, though they do not capture his likeness very well. His 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 costume are cast in a glossy plastic, Sisko's hair is painted with a black matte finish.

The paint job is fair. 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. Outside that, the figure looks fine.


Jake Sisko comes with five accessories, including the base. Jake Sisko comes with a baseball glove, a StarFleet desktop monitor, a Jumja stick, a schoolbag 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 Jake Sisko's feet! When Jake Sisko stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance.

The baseball glove is a decent concept accessory for Jake Sisko and would be great if it were only remotely correctly colored. The inch-long plastic glove fits on Jake's left hand and looks like a baseball glove, save that it is cast in bright green plastic! Even so, Playmates went to the effort of casting the glove with stitching and everything, so it does not look completely lame. Well, it does, but it is well-cast.

The station desktop monitor is a pretty decent accessory for the resident students on 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 jumja stick is a great idea with an absolutely terrible rendering. This inch-long mushroom-shaped accessory looks utterly ridiculous as on the show it is basically caramelized goo on a stick. Playmates replicates that as near as they can, but they poorly colored it, so it does not have any sense of reality next to the action figure.

Finally, there is the school bag. This plastic block has a plastic strap that may be slung easily over Jake's shoulder. It vaguely resembled a bag, though I do not recall it ever appearing in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It, also, clashes with Jake as it is cast in a solid green plastic.

This is the death knell of the figure; all four of Jake Sisko's accessories are molded in an utterly unrealistic bright green 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 guts the quality of the props and clashes with the coloring of the figure. Jake Sisko is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is a huge drawback for the overall 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 SpaceCap has a publicity shot of Jake Sisko with a wormhole image behind him. The back has a checklist of all of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures that were intended to have pogs come with them. While this is a fairly unremarkable pog, the added incentive did generate interest with card collectors.


Jake Sisko was part of the mortgaging of the high level quality from Playmates. The 1996 line, in addition to having some truly uninspired sculpts, also featured some terrible recycled figures which simply popped old heads on different bodies and did not have any sense of attachment to the show. Jake Sisko, one of the few completely original figures in this assortment, does not balance well and it is virtually impossible for him to stand up off his base. Jake 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 posability!

Moreover, for use with actual play, Jake 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, Jake Sisko is stable enough, but he cannot be posed well for action. He only looks good and remains standing on his base flatfooted.


Despite the terrible sculpt, Playmates made an investment winner with Jake Sisko. The figure was not terribly common and each case had only one to two of the figure. As the only Jake Sisko figure, fans bought it right up and it has doubled in value (or more) in the secondary market. Even so, one suspects that when Art Asylum gets around to making a Jake this figure's value will plummet.

On the plus side, 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 30000 figures out there (my Jake Sisko is #029872!).


The Jake Sisko figure is a particularly lame action figure brought down by horrible coloring accessories. If I had any other Jake Sisko option for my displays, I would ditch this one. But, as it is the only one for this vital character, I - like many Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fans and collectors - shall hold onto it grudgingly.

For other figures from this same series of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures, please check out my reviews of:
Rom and Nog
The Tosk
Vedek Bareil


For other toy reviews, please visit my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing of all the toy reviews I have written!

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

No comments:

Post a Comment