Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation Captain Picard in Duty Uniform Action Figure Playmates, 1994
Day #767: October 11, 2013
Captain Picard in Duty Uniform 7th Season (not Series) Collection
Star Trek: The Next Generation Year 3
Item No.: Asst. 6070 No. 6942 Manufacturer:Playmates Includes:Starfleet Monitor, Mug, Tricorder with Holster, Type 2 Phaser, Starfleet Action Base Action Feature:n/a Retail:$4.99 Availability: 1994 Other: Sample #10,494
In year 3, Star Trek: The Next Generation the toy line was butting up against the end of the TV series. Numerous Datas, Picards, and Rikers populated the line with varieties that are quite exciting to a collector, but a young fan in 1994 probably wouldn't appreciate Riker as a Malcorian or Data as a Romulan. (They didn't.) They would, however, understand the need for Captain Picard in Duty Uniform as his 2002 figure had the jacket with the grey shirt. It made sense from the perspective of adding some variety to the line, but it was wrong - this is Picard's uniform as it should be. Sort of.
The figure makes liberal use of existing parts, as was common in the line. The arms and body are LaForge's. The figure from the waist on down is Data. The head, of course, belongs to previous Picard figures. As a mishmash it works surprisingly well, except that the sculpt was lacking one key detail - the rank pips. The gold dots on the collar of his uniform look correct, but it's a slight fudging of the detail as three are sculpted dots, and the fourth is merely painted on.
With 12 points of articulation, this 5-inch release was basically an essential release - a plain, normal Picard was the kind of thing that you would think would have been consistently available from day 1, but it wasn't. At least it came out eventually, and even though the figure didn't bring a lot of newness to the table it was still exciting to see him on the pegs so he could go into the Bridge playset.
His accessories are mostly a bright blue color, except for the display stand and phaser. Picards usually came with a Type I, so the Type II included here was something of a novelty. It was silver, with a beam partially shooting out the front. The tricorder more or less fits in his holster, while the mug is, well, it's a mug. It's not his mug, but Playmates never really put a strong emphasis on properly colored accessories. Any deco was unusual, with most of the color coming from a sticker as was the case with the Starfleet Monitor. It's a good mix of extras, particularly for when these came out. Heck, even today - if you get one or more accessories, that's something of a marvel. Most superhero figures have none, and even sci-fi lines usually cap out at one or two.
Considering both inflation and what $5 or $6 can get you today (effectively nothing) the Playmates line was something of a marvel in its own time and unthinkable today. Figures stamped individually with serial numbers, with a half dozen accessories, decent articulation, from a sci-fi show for five bucks? This will probably never happen again. Today this release is pretty worthless, going for as little as $2 but often going for under $5. It's a great figure for the price, although it's not quite as large or articulated as the ones which would follow from Diamond Select Toys. Still, it's cheap, and as far as I'm concerned this line was and probably always will be the definitive line of Star Trek action figures. If anyone tries 3 3/4-inch or some other scale, it will always be compared to the Playmates 5-inch line.
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