Tuesday, March 19, 2013

One Of The Worst Repacks, The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Thomas Riker Action Figure Sucks!

The Good: Good sculpt, Good coloring, Decent variety of accessories, Balance
The Bad: Accessory coloring, Drastically overproduced, Obvious reuse of all components, Chipped paint.
The Basics: A terrible action figure, the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Lieutenant Thomas Riker figure recycles other action figures parts to make for a lousy and obvious cashgrab.

When Playmates Toys had the license for Star Trek action figures, they made some pretty terrible recycled figures. The peak of those poor action figures was the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Thomas Riker figure. The Thomas Riker action figure was an obvious reuse of the first Chief O’Brien action figure (reviewed here!) with a Commander William Riker figure’s head on the body. This is a pretty terrible reuse of prior components and fans responded to it as such.

Lieutenant Thomas Riker, for those who were not tuned in to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine appeared only in the one episode, “Defiant” (reviewed here!) . . . and he never appeared in the standard Deep Space Nine jumpsuit, as the figure has him.


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1995 Collection of action figures contained twelve figures and it focused on fleshing out the main characters and aliens of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in addition to making some cheap repackages of previous figures. This was one of the most common action figures in the assortment and it remains fairly easy to find even now. Still, card collectors helped keep this from being a complete pegwarmer as it features a SkyBox pog card exclusive to the action figure, which made it hunted by trading card collectors as well.

The Lieutenant Thomas Riker figure is the human StarFleet officer as he never appeared in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, with the black uniform and the standard William (or Thomas) Riker head. Lieutenant Thomas Riker is attired in a black StarFleet uniform with the mustard yellow (for Engineering division) shoulders. The outfit is open at the collar, enough that his lilac undershirt may be seen. The outfit is colored appropriately, including the three rank pips on the collar of the undershirt.

Standing four and three-quarters inches tall, this is a fair likeness of Lieutenant Thomas Riker 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. As a result of the neutral stance, Lieutenant Thomas Riker has good 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 Riker has less detailing, including a lack of defined knuckles, though he has faintly molded fingernails.

Lieutenant Thomas Riker's face is molded in a bland, neutral expression and hair that is ridiculously lifted. The hair is tough to capture for an Riker figure as Riker had somewhat spikey hair, but Playmates made a fair go at it with a wavy look to the molded hair. At least it doesn't look like Riker is wearing a helmet.

The paint job is fair at best, especially for the face. The skin tones are monotonal white with no shading or subtlety. The figure's lips are painted an unnaturally bright pink which looks somewhat ridiculous. As well, Riker's eyes are blue 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 Riker have chipped paint on the shoulders and elbow. 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!


Lieutenant Thomas Riker comes with five accessories, including the base, some of which had noticeably been recycled from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures. Lieutenant Thomas Riker comes with a StarFleet phaser, a scanner, tricorder and DS9 monitor, and the base. The Action base is a StarFleet delta shield symbol with the name "RIKER" 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 Thomas Riker's feet! When Lieutenant Thomas Riker stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. The base is also enough to support Riker in more outlandish poses, which is nice.

The StarFleet phaser is the same Type II phaser accessory that came with many of the Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures. It is a 2 1/2" long prop which features the dustbuster-shaped beam weapon with a bright pink phaser beam emitting from it. 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. Riker's hands are molded so he may carry the weapon in either hand.

The medical scanner is a 1" choking hazard which is a generally faithful replica of the equipment unique to “First Contact.” This is essentially a plastic alien PADD with a sticker for the screen. The alien PADD is recycled from an earlier figure and it not at all familiar to anything that Riker was seen with.

The tricorder is a three-quarter inch blue molded plastic device that fits awkwardly into Riker's hand. This accessory looks utterly ridiculous, though it is molded generally well. It, too, fits only in Riker's right hand.

As well, Riker comes with a Deep Space Nine monitor, one of the desk computers on the station. The screen is a simple sticker with a schematic of the station on it and it can fit in Riker's hands if he holds it with both hands. It looks strange there, though as this was a desktop computer in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine universe.

This is the unfortunate aspect of all three of Lieutenant Thomas Riker's accessories (save the phaser); they are molded in an unrealistic blue 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 minimizes the sense of realism and clashes with the coloring of the figure. Lieutenant Thomas Riker is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is a bit of a drawback for the overall figure.

Even so, Playmates included a pog 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 Thomas Riker’s head over the wormhole. The back has a simple checklist of the figures that came with pogs.


Lieutenant Thomas Riker was a cheap recycling of parts. Lieutenant Thomas Riker is appropriately stiff, but has decent poseability. Lieutenant Thomas Riker 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 poseability!

Moreover, for use with actual play, Lieutenant Thomas Riker 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, Lieutenant Thomas Riker is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses. He actually looks very dignified and ready-to-work in his neutral display pose.


Playmates seemed to gauge about the right amount of interest for the first wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures, but the second wave had a number of pegwarmers. Lieutenant Thomas Riker was an incredibly slow seller from the assortment as it was inaccurate and an obvious reuse of parts. Despite appearing on two Star Trek series, Lieutenant Thomas Riker was still a pegwarmer. As a result, he has not appreciated in value at all since its release.

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 60000 figures out there (my Lieutenant Thomas Riker is #059825!).


The Lieutenant Thomas Riker figure is a poor figure, not worth picking up . . . for anyone.

For other figures from this same series of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures, please check out my reviews of:
Doctor Julian Bashir In StarFleet Duty Uniform
Jake Sisko
Rom and Nog
The Tosk
Vedek Bareil


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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