Tuesday, August 16, 2016

One Of The Worst: The Doctor Katherine Pulaski Star Trek Action Figure Fails! (My 100th Star Trek Action Figure Review!

The Good: Good conceptual accessories, Fair articulation
The Bad: Terrible sculpt, Accessory coloring, Low playability and collectibility
The Basics: Doctor Katherine Pulaski is, sadly, one of the worst Star Trek action figures Playmates ever produced, making a poor rendition of the character.

In the history of Playmates Toys's possession of the Star Trek license, there were some pretty lousy action figures. Most of the worst figures were cheap reuses of other figures' bodies with a different head plugged onto the body. Arguably, one of the worst of the line was their Doctor Katherine Pulaski action figure. A cheap reuse of a basic female body from Playmates Star Trek line, the Dr. Pulaski figure does not look like Diana Muldaur as Dr. Pulaski. And the basic body of the Doctor Pulaski figure does not even feature the character in her most-worn costume, making for a terrible figure in a crappy rendition of it.


The Star Trek 1996 Collection of action figures was a mix of Star Trek, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine action figures and contained eighteen figures when it was done. It focused on alternate versions of the main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation and supplemented the characters with memorable guest stars and aliens. This series seemed to recycle parts more and it was the series which was buoyed off the popularity of the "Tapestry" Picard action figure (reviewed here!), which was highly limited at the time. This series also contained the Doctor Katherine Pulaski figure which was a much better idea than it was execution. This is Dr. Pulaski as she appeared in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation (reviewed here!), though there were exceptionally few times she appeared in the basic Medical Officer's uniform instead of her alternate outfit with a very different cut.

Standing four and one-half inches tall, this is a poor likeness of Doctor Katherine Pulaski immortalized in plastic, from the head-sculpt to the costuming details. The character is molded with her fingers curved, but not closed, so Pulaski is able to hold most of her accessories. Pulaski's face is molded with a somewhat ridiculous smile on her face. The lips are very dark red and the light flesh tones of Pulaski lack any subtlety or shading. The figure includes Pulaski's curly hair, molded into the plastic, which makes her appear like she is wearing a helmet as opposed to having a good head of hair. The face and hair lack any sense of realistic toning. Her eyes are appropriately blue, but the pupils are white instead of black!

The paint job is mediocre. The skin tones are monolithic light tan and lack any shading or subtlety and the costume's color is not quite the right shade of blue as the uniforms from Star Trek: The Next Generation. This action figure does not look at all like Diana Muldaur as Dr. Pulaski, which makes it pretty much worthless to the fans who would actually want a Dr. Pulaski action figure.


Doctor Katherine Pulaski comes with five accessories, plus a trading card unique to this line of figures. The accessories include a medical scanner, Starfleet monitor, medical tricorder, and medical case as well as an action base shaped like a Federation Communicator badge. The Action base is just enough to support Dr. Pulaski and is a StarFleet delta shield with a little black sticker that reads "Pulaski" to help keep it straight from the other figures. The center of the base has a peg which fits into the hole in either of the doctor's feet!

The StarFleet Monitor is an odd accessory for this action figure. While Doctor Katherine Pulaski was frequently seen using one, this is usually seen on desks around the Enterprise, not in character's hands. With the right arm movements, Pulaski may hold her desk monitor - which looks very much like the ones on the show and has a sticker to represent what is on the screen - in both hands, but she looks strange doing it.

The Medical case is essentially a big flat purse with a plastic strap which may be slung over Doctor Katherine Pulaski's shoulder. While it has the basic shape of a medical case, it is utterly lacking in the surface details and markings of a StarFleet medical kit. It is a monotonal purple plastic which is not at all what the prop looks like.

The Medical Tricorder is a similarly light-on-details accessory. The 3/4" box looks like the scanning device used by Doctor Katherine Pulaski and it fits in either of her hands, though it may be held better in Pulaski's left hand. This has the surface details of a tricorder, up to and including that the scanning wand is molded into the top of the device, but it does not do anything.

Finally, there is the Medical Scanner. Like the tricorder, it fits into either of Doctor Katherine Pulaski's hands. However, there are no surface details and it is cast in the purple plastic without coloring details, like the black grip or silver-gray proper coloring.

Unfortunately, all of these accessories are molded in a dark purple plastic that is utterly lacking in realistic coloring detail. Given that one of the accessories cannot even be held, Doctor Katherine Pulaski is over-accessorized and with the lame coloring of the accessories, it is tough to get excited about the pieces intended to accent the character.

This action figure was released when Playmates was trying to synergize with trading card collectors and the figure comes with a trading card with a gold stripe. The card features a decent upper body shot of Pulaski and the back tells the story of her experiences in the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The card is very nice!


Doctor Katherine Pulaski continued the general quality of Star Trek toys from Playmates in its joints. Molded in an action pose, this is not a badly articulated version of Pulaski. Doctor Katherine Pulaski 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, 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, that allows everything below to turn and offers real decent poseability!

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


Playmates mass produced the first few waves of Star Trek: The Next Generation figures, but by the time it got to this wave, some figures were seriously limited, including Pulaski. Found carded still in the $10 range, this is one of the worst investment figures Playmates created, given that it can be found dirt cheap even now. There is some added value in that Star Trek trading card collectors hunt for the figure for the trading card! There was only one release of the Pulaski figure and none of the other action figure companies bothered trying to make a rendition of the character.

That said, at least Playmates attempted to make the figures collectible. Each figure has an individual number on the bottom of her 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 27,000 figures out there (my Pulaski is #026819!).


An interesting idea for an action figure, Doctor Katherine Pulaski is a poor rendition and not worth picking up.

For other Star Trek figures from the 1996 line, please check out my reviews of:
Captain Jean-Luc Picard As Galen In "Gambit"
Elim Garak
Grand Nagus Zek
Commander Worf
Benjamin Sisko As Seen In “Crossover”
Jadzia Dax As Seen in “Blood Oath”
Jem'Hadar Soldier
Odo From “Necessary Evil”
The Hunter Of The Tosk


For other Star Trek figures by Playmates Toys, be sure to visit my Playmates Star Trek Figure Review Index Page!

© 2016 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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