Back in 1992, Playmates' relaunch of Star Trek: The Next Generation utterly crushed other toy lines in terms of wide interest from kids and collectors. Collectors were excited to get figures now that the show had become popular, which during the original 1988 line from Galoob, it wasn't yet. By 1991 kids were on board and interested, but that didn't mean that the trappings of the time didn't mean that the likes of Counselor Deanna Troi weren't hard to get. For some time, she was the most sought-after new release on toy shelves. Common wisdom was (and frankly, still is when you go into toy company meetings) that women as toys for boys don't sell. Back in the 1990s, many collectors specialized in buying women action figures since it was a great way to sample lines and, frankly, most lines didn't have more than one or two. Pick up Harley Quinn, Supergirl, a couple of Trois and a Janeway, and you're done for the year.
Troi was easily the toughest figure to get out of the first 10 Next Generation releases, with the Borg being tough to get in some markets - I had a hard time seeing Romulans. The counselor didn't share any parts with other figures in that first wave, which was handy, because she'd look pretty awful with Gowron's head. Troi did receive a straight-up repaint in 1993.
The 4 3/4-inch action figure did a lot of things right despite her proportions seeming closer to Barbie than actress Marina Sirtis. She has 12 points of articulation - arguably the best on the market at the time outside of G.I. Joe - plus a pretty good sculpt. Her hair, while glossy, was curly in spots and had a sculpted headband. Hair is tough to get right, and the fact they painted the hairband a different color than the hair shows a nice attention to detail. She also has a preposterously dense layer of make-up on, which shows that the company had the right idea with questionable execution. At a smaller size, you need to exaggerate certain features, lighten the skin generally, and enhance certain areas like the head or hands to bring the figure a little more life. Troi's face isn't half bad - but as the joke goes, it isn't half good either. Later releases, specifically the green "science" Duty uniform, would do better with a toned-down coat of face paint.
She has no problems standing, and includes a display stand if you want to do action running or combat poses. She has no phaser, so fighting isn't really her thing - you get computers, PADDs, and other items with special loops connected to the back so the figure's diminutive hands can hold the accessories without dropping. This sort of thing may not look pretty, but I want my figures to hold on to their accessories and Playmates actually did work hard to make sure that could happen. Each accessory comes in a bright green color - I don't know why - and come unpainted save for a clever use of stickers as screens. Like many figures in this line, the gear seems unnecessary but it does represent Playmates' ability to give you a lot for your money. Most action figures were $5 in those days, including Kenner's 5-jointed, one-accessory wonders. Kenner's 1995 Star Wars line was 5 bucks for a figure that was a full inch shorter, with half the articulation, and at most two accessories. These were a pretty good deal, and a lot of collectors had anticipated Kenner to produce a similar quality of figure when it came time to relaunch Star Wars. So you can imagine, there was a lot of disappointment when Kenner showed its smaller, stiffer figures.
Since Playmates eventually made a swell Bridge playset, it's worth noting that Troi can sit but that her v-crotch results in some truly odd poses. It looks like she's having problems with her chair but the joints do work and she can sit in the chair, it's just a little funky. Playmates would drop the V-crotch on their next TV sci-fi line, seaQuest DSV, as those had the traditional t-crotch with swivel thigh joints added.
I remember people running around paying/demanding the princely sum of $10-$20 for Troi in an era of $5 action figures, and today she's not quite worth $2. eBay sales go unsold, and in a large lot she averages about a buck. That's time for you. At a dollar or two each, Playmates' Star Trek action figure line may be the collectible bargain in the world of toys today. There are hundreds of figures, they're cheap, and they're largely worthless. Granted, there are better versions of Troi, but not too many. A dark muave version for "season 2" was sold in 1993, a "duty uniform" version was released in 1994 alongside a Generations movie figure, a version of her in a Western costume as "Durango" hit in 1995, and by then you all moved on to Star Wars. In 1997, we saw a young Cadet Troi and the line finished out in the late 1990s with a Target-exclusive Insurrection/Nemesis movie uniform Troi. Larger scale figures were also produced.
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