The Playmates Toys Star Trek: Deep Space Nine line kicked off in early 1993, which I remember because I was sitting on $50 from Christmas which I intended to blow on the entire first wave after reading about it in Tomart's Action Figure Digest. Kids in the 1990s ate up Star Trek just as much as collectors - Playmates sold hundreds of thousands of each figure in many of the early waves, numbers that toy companies would do damn near anything to get today. They would sell you their grandmother. Seriously, they would. Back then, the Trek franchise was white-hot with Star Wars largely out of sight and the market for "adult" space toys was completely untapped, and there were very few classic Kirk & Spock-era toys to be had. Quark came out in an area where toys for seaQuest DSV, ALIENS, Predator, and even Spawn were not only made, but sold at toy stores, aimed at kids, and the young people freaking loved it. People say now is a good time to have interest in sci-fi and genre stuff, but let me tell you, that's nothing. Your time was the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was awesome without being overwhelming - a kid with a small allowance could keep up for a lot of it, and have a good time for five bucks a whack.
For those of you who never saw it - both of you who made it this far - Deep Space Nine was a spin-off of The Next Generation and it ran in syndication, often on weeknights around the late evening. Quark was a successful attempt at revamping an alien species known as the Ferengi, who went from being the planned main antagonist of The Next Generation to a sort of ineffectual, impotent menace based in part on 1990s Americans. DS9 remade them as capitalists to the Federation's hippie, money-free future and that allowed for a lot of easy commentary and plenty of chances for wacky criminal antics between the "crook" Quark and the "cop", a shape-shifter named Odo. They brought out Wallace "Inconceivable" Shawn as the leader of the Ferengi, Grand Nagus Zek. A later episode of the series revealed Quark had action figures as a kid. Oh man, I ate this stuff up. This was the TV show for me!
In the early days, most Playmates Star Trek figures were sculpted around a common design - they're were 5-inches tall, generally had a great head sculpt, and most boasted about 12 points of articulation on a body that usually vaguely resembled that of the show. This may not sound like much, but remember that Kenner stuck with 5 joints on most of its figure lines for the 1990s, and the Playmates Trek stuff was an astonishing leap forward in terms of what an action figure was and should be expected to be for five bucks. I couldn't have been happier with this figure back in 1993, and 20 years later it holds up surprisingly well. This thing is incredibly good for modern standards at that price point, even considering inflation - the articulation is somewhat well-disguised, the fabric is painted nicely, and while the glossy boots may be a bit much I have to appreciate the painted wrinkles, ears, and other detailing on his face. Back then I rarely concerned myself with aesthetics - I wanted a Quark toy, so I got a Quark toy. I didn't give much thought to the fact my Ripley figure didn't look much like Sigourney Weaver and had 6 joints, but I was pretty stoked about Quark's range of articulation except for that superbly annoying v-crotch.
Quark's outfit, while looking like something on the show, doesn't seem to be an exact match to anything I've seen (or remembered seeing the last time I watched the show to look for it) but it looks appropriately Quark-y. This wasn't too uncommon on action figures then, or before, or now. Authenticity is not the reason to buy this figure - you bought it because you loved the show and Quark was a delight.
The good and bad thing about numerous action figure lines is the ones that don't surprise you generally can't delight you, but won't disappoint you either. I was pleased that the figure was painted well and had a bunch of gear, but to be honest I didn't need all of the accessories - most went into a plastic sandwich bag where they remained for 20 years, up until right now as I type this review. Do I need some weird alien pet? Nah. I just wanted the figure and maybe a mug or a glass. The Grand Nagus staff was a nice touch, the phaser wasn't ever used by Quark on the show that I recall, and the Latinum was a little small for his hands. The Playmates aesthetic was to make figures with slightly larger heads and hands for better interaction with accessories and a little more personality. Quark has no problems standing, but Playmates included a display stand anyway, presumably because they loved me. (After all, in the pre-Internet era I wrote them letters and got back dot matrix-printed replies with lists of upcoming product. They were awesome.)
I honestly don't remember how abundant Quark was in the 1990s, but as of late I've seen a lot of him and other 1992-1994 Star Trek figures show up en masse at comic shops and, if you can believe it, used book and record stores as people dump their collections. The figure is worth basically nothing, most eBay auctions end without bids and lots of figures average as little as $1 per in the package. It's disgusting to see what happened to one of the hottest collectible lines of the 1990s, but it happened with Beanie Babies too so it's not like there's no balance to the Universe. The low prices are here to benefit you - you can get them all pretty cheaply, and while they are primitive by 2013 standards these Trek releases were the star action figures of the early 1990s.
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