Friday, January 17, 2014

Two Cool Accessories Does Not Adequately Sell The Commander Benjamin Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform Figure!

The Good: Good sculpt, Good coloring, Decent variety of accessories.
The Bad: Accessory coloring, Very overproduced, Very bland facial expression, Lacks skin depth and shading, No significant leg articulation
The Basics: The Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform is a decent display piece, but not a great action figure.

Sometimes, I find myself wondering just what the heck toy companies are thinking when I see the results of their work. In the case of the Playmates Toys Star Trek: Deep Space Nine toy line, there were some times when the manufacturer made some inexplicable choices. The Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform figure, for example, had knees that were articulated, but a groin socket joint that was not articulated. As a result, at best the figure could look vaguely like it was running (though Sisko would not be likely to run while in the dress uniform.

Commander Sisko, for those who were not tuned in to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (reviewed here!), was the Commander and then the Captain of space station Deep Space Nine. He wore the Dress Uniform on occasions like meeting the Wadi in “Move Along Home” (reviewed here!). He very infrequently wore the Dress Uniform as the Commander and later as the Captain.


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. Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform is the human officer, looking just as he did when he was forced to dress up for important events. Sisko appears in his second release figure (there were two Siskos in the second line) as an pretty generic red-uniformed StarFleet officer in Dress Uniform. He is attired in his maroon and black StarFleet Dress 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 Commander Sisko figure is the human StarFleet officer as he appeared in the infrequent episodes where Sisko wore the Dress Uniform, with the maroon uniform and with hair on his head. Commander Sisko is attired in his dark red (for Command division) Dress Uniform. The outfit is colored appropriately, including the single open gold/black rank pip on the collar, though there is no physical distinction between the body of this Sisko and the Riker in Dress Uniform figure (from the Officers Collectors Set).

Standing four and three quarters inches tall, this is a decent likeness of Commander Sisko 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 fairly straight-legged 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. Commander Sisko has good balance both on and off his stand, probably because he has so little leg articulation. 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, but not knuckles.

Commander Sisko's face is molded in a bland, neutral expression that makes Sisko looks bored and kind of dull. This is apparently identical to other Sisko figures created in the first two lines as it has hair that is molded on, close-cropped. Sisko looks more like he is wearing a helmet than that he has hair.

The paint job is fair at best, especially for the face. The skin tones are monotonal brown with no shading or subtlety. The figure's lips are barely painted and they are an unrealistic shade of pink. As well, Sisko'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 a result the bottoms of the pants lack the piping detail the actual uniform had.


Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform comes with five accessories, including the base, one of which is unique to this figure. Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform comes with a StarFleet carrying case, DS9 monitor, 3-D Chess board, Saltah’na Clock and the base. The Action base is a StarFleet delta shield symbol with the name "SISKO" stuck on it with a cheap, black sticker. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of Commander Sisko's feet! When Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform stands flatfooted on the stand, he is stable for balance and has a decent, neutral display appearance.

The StarFleet carrying case is a tube that may be slung nicely over the shoulder of the Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform figure. The tube was 1” long and 1/2” in diameter. It had a thin strap that makes the overall carrying case 2” tall. This is a monotonal navy blue accessory with a white StarFleet logo silk screened onto it. Outside its coloring, it fits the figure perfectly.

The DS9 Monitor is a 15/16” wide by 1 1/8” deep by 3/4” tall laptop computer accessory. These were seen on desks around Deep Space Nine and the screen on Sisko’s is a sticker that has an outline of Deep Space Nine on it. The monitor looks silly in Sisko’s hands.

The 3-D Chess Board is also intended for a nonexistent desktop. It’s a 1 13/16” tall chess board with four levels and a Knight piece on the top level. The board is monotonal blue, which is not at all realistic for the prop replica.

Unique to this figure is the Saltah’na Clock. The Saltah’na Clock was featured exclusively in the episode “Dramatis Personae” (reviewed here!). Commander Sisko built the Saltah’na Clock in that episode while under the influence of alien forces. The 1 3/16” long and wide by 1” tall three-plated clock looks exactly like the alien clock Sisko assembled, save that it is navy blue.

That is the unfortunate aspect of all four of Commander Sisko's accessories; they are molded in an unrealistic navy 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. Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress 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 Sisko’s head over the wormhole. The back has a simple checklist of the figures that came with pogs.


Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform continued a generally high level quality from Playmates and he was quite good at the time, pleasing collectors and fans alike. Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform is appropriately stiff and has poor overall poseability. Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform is endowed with nine points of articulation: knees, biceps, elbows, shoulders, and neck. 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, Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress 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, Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform is exceptionally stable, though the legs do not move enough to offer real posing variety. Off the stand, the figure falls over exceptionally easily.


Playmates overproduced the second wave of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine figures and Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform was a slow seller of the assortment. Commander Sisko had two different renditions in the second assortment and the Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform was still a pegwarmer. As a result, he has not appreciated at all in value since his 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 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 41000 figures out there (my Commander Sisko is #040463!).


The Commander Sisko In StarFleet Dress Uniform figure was not terribly flexible, but even though the accessories were poorly colored, they fit the figure surprisingly well (in terms of content, if not playability). This figure gets a very weak “recommend” from me as it is a bland toy.

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


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

© 2014 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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