Star Trek Voyager: Lt. Tom Paris & Kes by Playmates

It’s time to throw in my weekly dose of Playmates Star Trek love. I really should just bring back Star Trek Saturday, since I have so many of these damn figures to look at, but for now I’ll just keep tucking them into the week wherever there’s room. I don’t think I’ve looked at any of the Voyager figures here before, but last week I picked up a few more that I needed to fill out my collection of the crew. Ah, Voyager, while I would argue there were about a dozen episodes that were truly excellent, the show usually balanced that fine line between mediocrity and downright horridness. Today we’re checking out the ship’s navigator and Starfleet badboy wannabe, Lt. Tom Paris, and the annoying and useless Ocampa, Kes. I’m looking at these figures together, because that’s how I bought them, but I seem to recall they were an item for a while in the show, so that makes this pairing all the more relevant.

Paris’ packaging was pretty badly shredded, so let’s use Kes’ as an example for the in-package shot. The card styles have evolved a little since the days of the Next Gen and Deep Space Nine figures, but you can still see the lineage. You get the nice big series logo along with an animated looking version of the Voyager herself. The big bubble displays the figure, the Skybox collector card, and a bunch of accessories. The back of the card shows portraits of other figures in the line as well as a file card for the character and a look at the included accessories. The Voyager line really is the pinnacle of Playmates’ 4 ½” Star Trek figure efforts. They’ve cast off almost all the overly stylized and pre-posed bullshit and what’s left is just plain old action figure goodness. It makes me wish they revisited the Next Gen crew in this manner.

One crazy thing about Playmates’ Star Trek figures is they tend to develop a film on the plastic when left in the packages for too long. Paris’ legs were spotted and Kes’ legs and head were all frosted over. It’s good to have a magic eraser or an LCD wipe handy. After a little polishing the stuff doesn’t come back and the figures look new again.

Ugh, let me start with Kes. I hate Kes. She was a pointless character, and I’m sorry but Jennifer Lien was terrible in that role. I’ll refrain from generalizing about her acting skills because I’ve never seen her in anything else. Maybe she was trying to play it all alien and awkward, and if that was the case, well bravo. Playmates’ figure on the other hand is pretty damn good. The likeness is solid for the age and scale of the figure, although the sculpting of the ears makes her look as much like a Vulcan as she does an Ocampa. She’s wearing a typically boring example of 24th Century casual attire, and I’m surprised she doesn’t have a comm badge sculpted on her chest. I just noticed, she doesn’t have one on the Skybox card portrait either, so I guess it’s accurate. Sadly, there’s a major paint flub on the back of her left sleeve, but overall this figure is a solid effort on Playmates’ part.

Kes’ articulation includes a rotating head, arms that rotate at the shoulders, hinges in the knees and ankles, swivels in the biceps and thighs, and a swivel in the waist. Because of the design of her dress, there’s no hip articulation, so Kes is perpetually standing, which ironically conveys Ms. Lien’s stiff performance on the show. See what I did there? Zing!

In addition to her Skybox card, Kes comes with a computer terminal, a biological scanner, a medical tricorder, and a PADD. All her accessories are cast in an inappropriate dark blue plastic. Ah, Playmates! You and your ridiculously colored accessories… always a treat. She also comes with a personalized figure stand configured to look like the Voyager-era comm badge.

Moving over to Lt. Paris, I was excited to get him because he brings me one step closer to completing the Voyager crew. Now, I’m only missing Chakotay and the Doctor. Paris is a great looking figure, and exactly what I’m talking about when I say Playmates Trek figures hit their stride with the Voyager line. The proportions are excellent with no big ham hands or monkey arms. The Starfleet uniform buck looks great, right down to the cinching on the sides of the tunic. The head sculpt, may not be 100% Robert Duncan McNeill, but I can definitely see him in there, and that’s good enough for me.

Paris features all the articulation I could possibly expect in these figures. The head rotates, the arms rotate at the shoulders and feature swivels in the biceps and hinged elbows. The legs rotate at the hips and feature swivels in the thighs and hinges at the knees. He also has a swivel cut at the waist. Not bad. If I were to change anything it would be a straight “T” for the hips so he can sit without spreading his damn legs.

Along with his Skybox card and figure stand, Tommy boy comes with a portable computer, a PADD, hand phaser, and compression phaser rifle. Amazingly enough all of Paris’ accessories are sculpted in silver, which means they’ll be loaned out to a lot of my other figures who were unfortunate enough to get bright mauve or neon purple ones. I was really excited to get the Phaser Rifle, but it kind of sucks. The sculpting isn’t that great, and Paris can’t hold it for shit. It’s also odd that Playmates left the phaser beam on the hand phaser grey instead of the usual orange, but I’m snipping that off anyway so it really doesn’t matter.

And there we go. I have little love for the Voyager TV series, but being the shameless Star Trek whore that I am, I subscribe to the philosophy that bad Trek is better than no Trek at all. And so I need me my Voyager figures and these are two great additions to the lineup. Like most of Playmates’ Trek figures, these can be had for pretty cheap. I expected to get hit a little harder on Paris, since he’s a bit less common then the rest, but I still managed to snag this pair for $14 shipped, so I’m not complaining!

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