Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Initial Dax: The Playmates Lieutenant Jadzia Dax Figure Is A Good (Not Great) Start For The Character

The Good: Good sculpt, Good coloring, Decent variety of accessories
The Bad: Accessory coloring.
The Basics: One of the better first-run Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures, the Lieutenant Jadzia Dax Playmates figure is good, but not great.

It always surprised me when something I really like remains unreviewed around my house. When it comes to the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures, I am always surprised when I discover I have not reviewed one or two. From the first line of the Playmates Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures, I finished off my collection (and my reviews of them) with the Lieutenant Jadzia Dax action figure

Lieutenant Dax, for those who were not tuned in to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, was the Chief Science Officer of space station Deep Space Nine. She arrived on the space station as the only real friend Commander Sisko had in the universe. The Lieutenant Dax figure features Dax as she appeared in the first five seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!), before the uniforms were changed.


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1993 Collection of action figures contained nine figures and it focused on the primary command crew of space station Deep Space Nine, with Lieutenant Dax being one of the least exciting additions to the collection and only the second of two female figures. Lieutenant Dax is a Trill officer, a young woman who is looking at Deep Space Nine as a place to experience enough to keep her symbiont stimulated. Dax appears in her action figure debut as a very typical StarFleet officer, though she is a Trill and has the spots. She is attired in her black StarFleet space station jumpsuit. This was one of the least common action figures in the assortment and it remains fairly hard 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. As a result, she is one of the few that has appreciated in value.

The Lieutenant Dax figure is the Trill StarFleet officer as she appeared in seasons one through five of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with the black uniform and pulled back ponytail. Lieutenant Dax is attired in her black StarFleet uniform with the teal blue (for Medical/Sciences division) shoulders. The outfit is open at the collar, enough that her lilac undershirt may be seen. The outfit is colored appropriately and the figure is well-detailed with the spots.

Standing four and three-quarters inches tall, this is a surprisingly vibrant recreation of Lieutenant Dax immortalized in plastic. The character is molded with her hands ready to hold most of her accessories in a half-closed position. She was a completely new sculpt, though her arms seem to be recycled from a different figure, as they do not quite match the top/shoulder area in diameter. That said, her legs have a very neutral stance, so this figure stands up and looks like she 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. Lieutenant Dax has great balance off her stand, though she should be kept in a flatfooted position (so the stand helps with balance). 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 Dax has less detailing, including a lack of defined knuckles or painted on fingernails.

Lieutenant Dax's face is molded in an enthusiastic expression that looks very much like Terry Farrell. She has the Trill spots around her neck and head and her eyes are bright and appropriately blue with black and white pupils.

The paint job is great, especially for the spots around her face. The skin tones are monotonal white with no shading or subtlety. The figure's lips are painted an unnaturally bright pink that looks fine, especially given how her lips looked on the show.


Lieutenant Dax comes with six accessories, including the base, most of which had noticeably been recycled from Star Trek: The Next Generation figures. Lieutenant Dax comes with a tricorder, Trill symbiont, Biosample collector, field hypospray, portable computer gear and the base. The Action base is a StarFleet delta shield symbol with the name "DAX" stuck on it with a cheap, black sticker. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Lieutenant Dax's feet! When Lieutenant Dax stands flatfooted on the stand, she is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. The base is also enough to support Dax in more outlandish poses, which is nice.

The portable computer gear is essentially a big flat purse with a plastic strap which may be slung over Dax's shoulder. While it has the basic shape of a medical kit, it is utterly lacking in the surface details and markings to make it a computer of any kind. It is a monotonal purple which looks nothing like the equipment used in the show.

The Tricorder is a similarly light-on-details accessory. The 3/4" box looks like the scanning device used by Lieutenant Dax and it fits in either of her hands. This has the surface details of a tricorder, but it does not do anything.

The symbiont is troubling in that it is a purple worm-shaped is a 1” long purple piece of plastic that has the swirls and markings of the Trill symbiont seen briefly on the show. It does not, however, fit into the figure in any way, so it is somewhat disturbing to see it outside the figure.

Finally, there is the biosample container and field hypospray. These are two cylinders an inch long with varying diameters and shapes that are actually pretty good replicas of the obscure props used by Dax on the show.

There is, however, an unfortunate aspect of all five of Lieutenant Dax's accessories; they are molded in a purple plastic which looks nothing like what 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. Lieutenant Dax is over-accessorized and her accessories are pretty hideous colors for props they are supposed to represent.

As well, 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 Lieutenant Dax with a black starfield behind her (this makes for a great card to get signed by actor Terry Farrell, who played Julian Dax all six years!). The back has information on Lieutenant Dax and it's easy to see why card collectors happily hunted these down!


Lieutenant Dax continued a generally high playability quality from Playmates and she was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Lieutenant Dax is appropriately stiff, but has decent poseability. Lieutenant Dax is endowed with thirteen points of articulation: knees, groin socket, biceps, elbows, shoulders, neck, ponytail 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, Lieutenant Dax 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 her base, Lieutenant Dax is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses. She actually looks very dignified and ready to study the universe in her neutral display pose.


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for the first wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures and Lieutenant Dax was a fast seller of the assortment. As a result, she has appreciated significantly since her initial release almost twenty years ago.

That said, at least Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of her 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 Lieutenant Dax is #029402!).


The Lieutenant Dax figure is a good figure and even in the face of later sculpts, this is worth buying.

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


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

© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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