I spent some time digging some random shit out of totes today, and I came up with some figures that I had almost forgotten even existed. The Star Trek Warp Factor series. I still have fond memories from the 90’s of hunting down Playmates 3 3/4″ Trek figures, mostly from The Next Generation, but I had forgotten all about these larger scale figures and so I thought I’d take a look at some of them here today. My totes are really badly sorted, so lets just go with the random four I came up with: Captain Sisco, Chief O’Brien, Jadzia Dax, and a Jem’hadar.
These figures come on pretty nice cards, although the cardbacks on these seemed to be really vulnerable to creases and… yep, warping. Ha! I own quite a few of these figures still on the cards and I don’ think there’s a really good one in the batch. The front does a good job of showing off what you’re getting and the back panel has a bio card for the character and a few pictures of other figures. If I recall correctly, this line cast its net far and wide across the corners of the Trek universe, and no franchise was spared getting the Warp Factor treatment.
The sculpts on these figures are not bad at all, or at least not bad for Playmates standards. Let’s face it, most of their 90’s era Trek figures went more for a stylized look rather than realism and these figures are no different. I think Sisco’s sculpt is the best, they really captured his likeness well, and after that its a close race between O’Brien and Dax. I think Dax gets a little edge here because O’Brien’s noggin seems way too big. Either way, they’re all pretty good. The uniforms look good and I like how they took the time to sculpt O’Brien’s sleeves rolled up a bit. I do think they could have made Dax’s spots a little clearer. The Jem’hadar’s likeness is ok, but then he’s just a generic alien. He does have a cool tube coming out of his neck to pump in doses of that white shit that they were addicted to. It also looks like he has flowers molded on his uniform. Weird. Either way, I really hate this figure because he’s pre-posed, but I’ll get to more on that in a minute.
The articulation on these four are a really mixed bag. O’Brien and Dax come out on top. Their heads rotate, their arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivel cuts in the biceps and have hinged elbows. Their legs rotate up at the groin, have swivel cuts in the thighs and are hinged at the knees. Not bad, not bad at all for figures of this vintage. Sisco is curiously missing a lot of the others aritculation, which is surprising. He’s got no arm articulation below the shoulders and no swivel cuts in the thighs. He looks really bad standing because his legs are pre-posed in a ridiculously wide stance. The reason here is so that he would look better sitting down (more on that in a minute) whereas neither Dax or O’Brien can be seated without spreading their legs really wide like they’re doing some kind of freaky yoga. Seems like you can’t have it both ways with these figures.
The Jem’hadar’s articulation is useless. He has all five points of articulation that a vintage Star Wars figure would have, plus a hinged elbow in his left arm. What the fuck? Why? If you’re going to put a hinge in one arm, why not the other? What’s worse is that his right arm is bent really tight and all I want to do is straighten it. He looks like he’s made to be holding a weapon that he didn’t even come with. Oh yeah, he can swivel at the waist, which none of the other figures can do. His legs are bent a little at the knees and one foot is bent so you can pretty much pose him in a slight action stance, but nothing else.
You would expect big figures like these to come with all sorts of cool gear, like tricorders and phasers, or disrupters, but no, Playmates decided to give each one a big accessory and stiff them on everything else. Sisco comes with his Defiant command chair, Dax comes with the Defiant’s helm station, O’Brien comes with an engineering station and the Jem’hadar comes with some weird control columns, which makes me hate him even more. Sisco’s chair is easily the best of the bunch, but it pretty much has to be since the only decent way to display him is sitting in it. But hey, at least he looks really great sitting in it. Its also made entirely of plastic and not some half plastic, half cardboard construct.
Yeah, because Dax and O’Brien’s console stations involve you folding cardboard cutouts to make up their stands, which works ok, but still feels kind of cheap. And while O’Brien’s was easy to make, you practically have to be an Origami Wizard of the First Order to get Dax’s to come out right. Don’t get me wrong, the plastic portions of these consoles are very cool, especially with the beautifully detailed stickers applied to look like the controls. Although, I’m thinking the stickers should have come pre-applied because without them the carded figures look like they have random hunks of plastic next to them. Oh yeah, and keeping consistant with his shitty figure, the Jem’hadar’s consoles suck. They don’t even lock together or anything so they just wind up toppling all over the place. I hate this fucking Jem’hadar figure.
I appreciate what Playmates was trying to do with these consoles, but using cardboard on part of them was just half assed. I would have rather either paid a few dollars more to get a proper console, or just got some fucking phasers and other shit instead. Remember the 3 3/4″ figures and how much shit they came with? Sure most of it was molded in some crazy color like neon orange or purple, but at least they had accessories. Dax and O’Brien would have been excellent if they had just come with some weapons and accessories. And with a little better tooling and articulation, Sisco would have been able to stand without looking like a total jackass. As a result, even the best figures of this bunch leave me disappointed. Still, I’m kind of intrigued now to check out some more of these.