Friday, December 6, 2013

The Recognizable O’Brien From Playmates, Chief O’Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform Is Mostly Recycled!

The Good: Good sculpt, Good coloring, Decent variety of accessories, Balance, Good uniform choice!
The Bad: Accessory coloring, Very overproduced, Very bland facial expression, Lacks skin depth and shading
The Basics: Playmates largely recycled parts to make a Star Trek: The Next Generation version of Chief O’Brien for their second Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Chief O'Brien figure (the O’Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform)..

Playmates Toys, while it was the primary producer of Star Trek action figures, was never a company to miss an opportunity to make money or recycle an idea. One of the figures that was announced but not released was a version of Chief O’Brien from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the second series of Playmates’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures, the Star Trek: The Next Generation version of O’Brien made its appearance as the Chief O’Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform action figure. The Chief O’Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform figure was largely recycled. In fact, the accessories are all identical to the ones from the first O’Brien figure Playmates released (reviewed here!).

Chief O'Brien, for those who were not tuned in to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!), was the Chief Of Operations and the only enlisted regular of space station Deep Space Nine. And while every other Star Trek series has had a miracle worker chief engineer, O'Brien was the Chief Of Operations on Deep Space Nine and the Chief Engineer on the U.S.S. Defiant. This was a big step up for him as he was a transporter chief on the U.S.S. Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform figure features O'Brien as he appeared in hit entire run of Star Trek: The Next Generation when he was the transporter Chief. Outside the scene in which he leaves the Enterprise (finally), O’Brien never actually appeared in this uniform on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.


The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine 1995 Collection of action figures contained twelve figures and it was largely made up of guest characters and obscure variants of the command crew of Deep Space Nine. Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform is the human officer, looking just as he did when he was the transporter chief. O'Brien appears in his second action figure as an pretty generic gold-uniformed StarFleet officer. He is attired in his gold and black StarFleet uniform. 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 exclusive to the action figure, which made it hunted by trading card collectors as well.

The Chief O'Brien figure is the human StarFleet officer as he appeared in seasons two through six of Star Trek: The Next Generation, with the yellow uniform and with a head of curly hair. Chief O'Brien is attired in his mustard yellow (for Engineering division) jumpsuit. The outfit is colored appropriately, including the single gold rank pip on the collar, though because the figure is a recycled body of a Next Generation figure, the figure has three pips molded onto it!

Standing four and eleven-sixteenths inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Chief O'Brien 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 spread-legged stance, so this figure stands up and looks like he is ready to be displayed or run, as opposed to an action pose which made some of the earlier Star Trek figures more problematic for posing in displays. Chief O'Brien 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 sculpted details include such finer details as fingernails and knuckles.

Chief O'Brien's face is molded in a bland, neutral expression that includes an uncharacteristically unfurrowed brow. The hair is tough to capture for an O'Brien figure as O'Brien had curly hair, but Playmates made a fair go at it with a wavy, textured look to the molded hair. At least it doesn't look like O'Brien 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 unpainted. As well, O'Brien's eyes are black 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 there is nothing truly unique with this figure. As well, the bottoms of the pants lack the piping detail the actual uniform had.


Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform comes with five accessories, including the base, all of which had noticeably been recycled from the first Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figure. Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform comes with a StarFleet phaser, an engineering kit, laser drill and portable fire extinguisher and the base. The Action base is a StarFleet delta shield symbol with the name "O'BRIEN" stuck on it with a cheap, black sticker. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Chief O'Brien's feet! When Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance. The base is also enough to support O'Brien 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. O'Brien's hands are molded so he may carry the weapon in either hand.

The portable fire extinguisher is a 7/8" long cylinder attached to a handle which fits into either of O'Brien's hands. The purple plastic device looks like a pretty traditional fire extinguisher and given all of the problems on Deep Space Nine, it is unsurprising that O'Brien comes with just such a device. As one might expect from a toy of a fire extinguisher, this has minimal molded details and no painted details.

The Engineering kit is an inch long by 3/4" tall case which looks like a ribbed briefcase. There is nothing that sets this apart as a StarFleet engineering kit. This case does not open and it only fits in O'Brien's right hand.

The laser drill looks like a hypospray with a slightly more defined nozzle. It, too, fits only in O'Brien's right hand and it compels the consumer to use their imagination as it does not do anything or have any laserbeam attachments emanating from it. It is pretty well detailed in the molded details, but it is a poor accessory for the coloring as it is a monotonal purple plastic.

This is the unfortunate aspect of all three of Chief O'Brien's accessories; they are molded in an 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 minimizes the sense of realism and clashes with the coloring of the figure. Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform 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 O’Brien’s head over the wormhole. The back has a simple checklist of the figures that came with pogs.


Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform continued a generally high level quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform is appropriately stiff, but has decent poseability. Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform 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, Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform 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, Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform is exceptionally stable, even in the most ridiculous poses. He actually looks very dignified and ready-to-work in his neutral display pose.


Playmates overproduced the second wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures and Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform was a slow seller of the assortment. Despite appearing on two Star Trek series, Chief O'Brien was still a pegwarmer. As a result, he has not appreciated at all in value since his initial release over fifteen years ago.

That said, at least Playmates tried to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of his left 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 19000 figures out there (my Chief O'Brien is #018689!).


The Chief O'Brien In StarFleet Duty Uniform figure is an average figure and serious collectors will want to pick up the Diamond Select 6” version instead.

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


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page for an organized listing.

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