Saturday, September 8, 2012

The First Recast Borg: Series 2 Rerelease Borg Is More Flash, Less Accessories!

The Good: Good sculpt, Good accessories, Generally good poseability
The Bad: Arm-swapping issues, Coloring issues
The Basics: A decent recycled figure, the series 2 figure of the Borg has many of the same problems as the first release, with a few new problems!

Those collecting Star Trek franchise action figures will find it is hard to go wrong with Borg. Borg action figures, even those out of scale with whatever series one usually collects can be collected, played with and/or displayed by anyone who is collecting the figures because of how the Borg operate. They are monolithic, mechanized zombie armies that plague the universe assimilating technology and biological distinctivenesses to add to their own. In the realm of the Star Trek action figures, they are the frequent subject of both traditional action figures and concept figures. So, it is little surprise that when Playmates Toys released their first line, they had a Borg figure in that line-up (reviewed here!) and that in the assortment that followed a year later there was another one.

The series 2 Borg figure has no improvements on the prior Borg figure and all of the same problems. The figure is not even a proper recast; it is the same body of the Borg figure with one additional paint detail - the mechanical eyes have red in them - and only two arms, both of which are new. While this might seem like a benefit, the new arms are both cast in a silver, solid plastic that is remarkably brittle.


The Star Trek: The Next Generation 1993 Collection of action figures contained an impressive twenty-three figures and it focused on the main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation that had not been previously done, recast versions of the main cast and significant alien and guest stars. The second series of figures contained a Borg "Mechanically-enhanced Cybernetic Humanoids" figure which was less popular than the initial Borg figure and not a standout in this line-up, largely because there was a Locutus of Borg figure, too. The Borg figure is the armored automaton as they generally appear throughout the episodes they are featured in, like “Q-Who?” (reviewed here!).

Standing four and three-quarters inches tall, this is a decent likeness of a Borg immortalized in plastic, especially given the monolithic, armored nature of the entities in the series. The figure is molded with its left fingers bent, like a powerful mechanical claw ready to dig into flesh. This makes the Borg look menacing right off the bat! The Borg's face is molded in a blank expression and it lacks much in the way of detail, which is appropriate given the dead-eyed stare Borg give their victims on the show. Its lips are colored gray and the flesh tones of Borg lack any subtlety or shading and are a drained white. The left eye of the figure is covered by an enhanced eye and this release of the figure has those optic panels painted red which is also realistic for the Borg drones. The other eye is black and eerie in its glazed look.

The paint job is quite good. The character's skin ought to be monotonal and the armor of the borg looks appropriately mechanized. As well, it has little panels and accents that have been painted gray or silver to highlight the figure and give it a sense of depth. The coloring details on the boots the half-robot is outfitted with make them look heavy and given the stomping sound Borg make from their movement, that is an excellent detail!


Borg comes with five accessories: two hand attachments and three tubes as well as an action base shaped like a Borg symbol. That the Borg comes with little equipment makes perfect sense as each Borg is outfitted with a mechanical eye and a seemingly unique hand attachment. As a result, the fact that this Borg comes with multiple hand attachments that may be swapped out makes perfect sense and is a great detail. The Action base is more than enough to support the Borg and is a black Borg symbol with the red circuitboard background that seems to be the symbol of this enemy (this is like the negative image of the traditional Borg symbol coloring). The left side of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Borg's feet!

The additional tubes that come with the Borg are one and a half inch long rubber rubes which fit into tiny holes in the back and shoulder and leg of the Borg. These have the added benefit of adding more realism to the figure, as the Borg are noted for having tubes coming in and out of them all over. This also allows one to vary the figure's look some as they may choose to use the smooth or rippled tube in different holes. The problem here is that the tubes are a bit short and are a pain to get into the holes and keep them there.

The two arms of the Borg are cool accessories, though the material they are made of and their coloring is problematic. Each arm attachment must be pulled out - and herein lies the problem with the figure - and the replacement forced into the socket. Unlike other Borg figures, like Locutus, the knobs on these were tiny and the connection was very tight. Moreover, the arm attachments were made out of plastic that is brittle and hard and frequently fractured as fans attempted to negotiate the socket with them. Where the first Borg figure had hands that tore off at the wrong place, the series two figure had the same problem, save that the accessory snapped there! In other words, these were a real good idea that was a pain in the butt to execute.

The two arms included a hydraulic mechanical ram arm and a multifunctional rotation arm. The figure comes outfitted with the latter, which is a silver arm with a claw on the end and the claw rotates (or falls off). The claw does not open or close, but it looks pretty good, outside the fact that it is silver plastic that contrasts all of the rest of the Borg's appearance. The neat thing about this arm is it does have tubes in its base that then connect to the forearm below the accessory!

There is a replacement arm which is the hydraulic mechanical ram arm. This is a 1 1/2" silver plastic arm that looks like a battering ram and is completely unrealistic for anything that was in the television series.

The 1993 line of Playmates action figures also comes with a very cool SkyBox trading card unique to the action figures. The Borg card features a big shot of a Borg's head and upper body with a warp field background that is quite striking. The back of the card has all sorts of vital information on the Borg and the figure is highly sought by card collectors who collected the cards and disposed of the figures. Interestingly, the repackage that used the SkyCap often had multiple cards in the bag behind the SkyCap, so it can often save collectors money to pick up the figures that way for the multiple cards!


The Borg helped continue generally high expectations for quality from Playmates, despite the arm-replacement issue. This is not well-articulated version of the Borg, especially considering that the Borg seen on screen lumber around as if they are about to fall over anyway! The Borg is endowed with twelve points of articulation: knees, groin socket, left bicep, right forearm, 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, for example, 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 or forearm, that allows everything below to turn and offers real decent poseability!

Moreover, for use with actual play, the Borg may bend or extend at the elbows, which offers a greater amount of movement potential making it one of the more realistic Star Trek action figures to play with (for those who actually play with these toys!).

On its base, the Borg is quite stable, even in fairly ridiculous action poses, making it a great figure for display as well as play.


Playmates mass produced the first few waves of Star Trek: The Next Generation figures, so this Borg is virtually worthless. Found loose for less than a three dollars these days, this Borg is one of the few to appreciate on its card. It can seldom be found for less than its original issue price in the $5.00 range. Playmates flooded the market with these figures and they are almost impossible to use as investment pieces, though the Borg has held up over the years, possibly because fans bought more than one at a time when they purchased them originally.

Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of its right foot. In the attempt to make them appear limited, they had numbers stamped on them, and it might be considered pretty limited when there are at least 4,000 figures out there (my Series 2 Borg is #003845!).


The Borg is a great monolithic enemy, but Playmates Toys carried the weaknesses of their first release into the second release of this figure and actually managed to offer fans less value by offering only two arms for the figure as opposed to three. Still, most collectors will want one or two for their collection!

For other Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation figures from the 1993 line, please check out my reviews of:
Captain Jean-Luc Picard In StarFleet Duty Uniform
Commander Riker In Second Season Uniform
Geordi In Dress Uniform
Ambassador K'Ehleyr


For other toy reviews, be sure to check out my Toy Review Index Page for a comprehensive listing!

© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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