Playmates Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Chief Miles O'Brien Action Figure Playmates, 1994
Day #1,048: November 10, 2014
Chief Miles O'Brien The First of Many
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Wave 1
Item No.: Asst. 6200 No. 6204 Manufacturer:Playmates Includes:Trading card, Starfleet base, Type II Phaser, Engineering Kit, Laser Drill, Fire Extinguisher Action Feature:n/a Retail:$4.99 Availability: January 1994 Other: Sample #2,899
For a character that appeared in Encounter at Farpoint and recurred on The Next Generation for years, it took until Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to get Chief Miles O'Brien as an action figure. An enlisted man - an uncommon thing in these shows - he was the kind of guy that had to roll up his sleeves to get things done. It's appropriate that he did this on the show, and the figure did it too.
At 4 3/4-inches tall, O'Brien is spared the indignity of some of the wacky poses - but he has huge, huge hands. Huge. These are useful for holding his accessories, which were the standard one-color affairs of his day. Let's face it, very rarely are you buying these figures for their gear - the figure itself was quite nice, though. The face sculpt looked more than a little bit like Colm Meaney, and while the hair could stand to be darker it otherwise did a good job of replicating the character. THe face has a few sculpted wrinkles, subtle paint on his lips, and multiple paint applications for his eyes that would be good by modern standards, let alone standards of 1994. The head deco is actually quite good when compared to other similar smaller figures on the market today, which is both astounding and depressing all at once.
As the guy who showed up every week to do his job - and then get horrible treatment on the show - the figure is similarly designed to work out well. The v-crotch moves easily, each joint rotates without too much fuss. I expect few people today will look at this figure with awe, but 12 points of articulation on a $5 figure was still pretty amazing in the early 1990s. Granted by 1994 fans were probably hoping Playmates would bring them to the next level - or perhaps use the t-crotch joint - but it's hard to complain too much about a figure that looks like the actor, can stand without assistance, and generally gets it right the first time.
The mostly-black uniform matches his look in the first few seasons nicely, with the rounded, TNG-style commbadge. His rank pip is accurate, and I assume the rest is because it's hard to see details in an all-black outfit on the space station. It's darker than the Enterprise, after all. The figure is relatively free from excess wrinkles - today, I'd argue most toy companies overdo it a bit. The area around the collar with the "gold" seems to be the most textured with the figure coming in quite smooth and glossy. This would change a bit in subsequent series.
This was the first O'Brien figure, and Playmates would later put him in a dress uniform, a TNG-style duty uniform, and even the original series uniform from Trials and Tribble-ations. Playmates were the masters of head swapping, which is pretty amazing when you consider that these figures often had runs in the tens or hundreds of thousands. Why the reuse? Well, because they could - the repaint parade was a little less common in the 1990s, which is why I loved the first series of Deep Space Nine figures so much. 9 all-new figures? That sort of thing is a rarity - I remember I lucked into all of them at once, and it was a real treat to have them in one fell swoop. That sort of thing is hard to come by, and if you think you might like this kind of figure allow me to assure you that you will. It's a good one!
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