Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Captain Benjamin Sisko: Commanding, Overly-Posed And Well Accessoried As A 6" Figure!

The Good: Decent sculpt, Good accessory
The Bad: Poseability.
The Basics: Captain Benjamin Sisko makes for a decent figure, even if he is only designed to sit in his chair and look authoritative!

Now that I dusted off the two displays of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures I have prominently displayed in my living room, I figured it was a good time to start reviewing them.

Starting at the top has me evaluating Captain Benjamin Sisko, the 6" figure from the Playmates Warp Factor series line of action figures. This is an older figure and is actually fairly common in the secondary market, which is somewhat surprising considering that it is a rather decent action figure.


Beginning in the fifth season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the StarFleet uniforms were changed to a darker color scheme that made for a more generic appearance of the officers and it reflected the thematic darkness of the imminent Dominion War and the events of Star Trek: First Contact (reviewed here!). As a result, Captain Benjamin Sisko became marketable once again. Like the joke on The Simpsons about "Malibu Stacey" (she has a new hat!), the action figure company at the time, Playmates, saw fit to exploit uniform changes for new action figure releases.

The Warp Factor Series 2 set of action figures is led by Captain Benjamin Sisko in his new, darker uniform. Standing 5 3/4 inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Captain Sisko immortalized in plastic. The uniform is well-colored and well-detailed for the character and the face is a dead-on likeness of Avery Brooks.

Mercifully for the actor, Playmates bulked Sisko up for the figure and cut a little off the character's waistline. Sisko was never fat, but he was a sturdy man by the time this uniform change came about. The figure includes such accurate and important details as the four rank pips on his collar indicating he is a captain, the correct communicator badge for the uniform (with the square buckle-style backing) and a goatee with a tiny bit of texture to it, which is a great touch!

This is a decent likeness of Captain Sisko and there is no mistaking Sisko for anyone else in the Star Trek universe. Given how Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is largely neglected in the merchandising department, it is refreshing to see Sisko headlining a wave of figures.

The only down side I can see is in the paint job. My Sisko figure - and this is my second and I recall there being some imperfections on the first - has a few chips in the paintjob around the back of the collar and on the wrists where there are gold stripes. This is not a big deal, but it is worth noting that while Playmates got the coloring of the uniform and figure right, the paintjob is not the most secure or enduring.


Captain Sisko comes with only one accessory: his command chair from the U.S.S. Defiant. All plastic, the four and a half inch tall command chair swivels on its base and easily holds Sisko when he is bent to sit in it. Molded with different colored plastics to realistically detail the command chair, this is a wonderful accessory that allows collectors to pose Sisko in commanding positions perched atop his chair.

Captain Sisko comes with no sidearm, Tricorder or other accessory. It's refreshing to see a toy who is meant to command and thereby delegate to others!


Unfortunately, the specificity of the lone accessory, in combination with a low amount of articulation, makes this a very difficult toy to play with. Sure, it's a great toy for making displays with and truth be told the average buyer of this figure is more likely to be an adult collector as opposed to a child player, but it is almost impossible to play with this action figure.

Captain Sisko is blessed with only eight points of articulation: knees, groin socket, shoulders, neck and waist. Sisko is designed to be an inaction figure, all of his articulation serves to allow the figure to sit on his chair and nothing more. Because the elbows of the figure are not articulated and the hands face downward, the figure is designed to be molded to his chair. This allows him to look commanding with his arms on the armrests of his chair, but if he is stood up, there is no way to alter the arms without making the shoulders look terrible. As a result, a standing Sisko with the shoulders lined up based on the uniform will have him looking like he is posed for a bunny hop!

Moreover, the waist articulation seems almost pointless as it is almost impossible to get the toy to stand on its own, much less put in a pose involving him twisting at the waist. The hands are not designed to hold anything, but instead face down as if to clutch the edges of the arm rests on the command chair. Standing flatfooted, the Sisko figure balances pretty well, but he does look like he is squatting some and that lends a whole different interpretation to the mellow, dead-eyed quality to the facial expression.

In short, of all of the Warp Factor Series 2 6" figures, Captain Sisko appears designed as an inaction figure.


Playmates mass produced the Warp Factor Series 2 figures, including Captain Sisko. None of them appear to be more or less common than the others. To encourage collectors, every figure in this line has an individual number stamped on bottom of the toy's foot. It is hard to consider something with at least 16,000 pieces a limited edition (my Sisko's # is 015923), but Playmates made fans believe by putting the number stamps on each figure.

The problem from a collector's point of view is simple: there were no other 6" figures at the time these figures were released and there have been very few since, none from Playmates, if memory serves. As a result, the five figures in this line (along with the five from the prior line) more or less stand alone. This makes them generally less collectible because people tend to want to be able to put all of their figures together and these stand out like sore thumbs.


Still, it is hard to complain about anything Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and while these are overproduced and might never appreciate significantly in value, the figure looks good. Moreover, it does capture the likeness well, especially given the character. Sisko is a leader and he is seldom a fighter on a hand-to-hand level. This figure captures the commanding aspects of Sisko which make it ideal for fans of the show and its captain, but not as exciting for those who just want to play.

Ultimately, this is a perfectly average action figure.

This figure utilizes an image and style of Captain Benjamin Sisko as seen beginning in the episode "Rapture," reviewed here!

For other figures of Benjamin Sisko, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Commander Sisko
Sisko from "Crossover"
Captain Benjamin Sisko


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

© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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