When Star Trek: The Next Generation action figures kept coming, I got excited. I was picking these up as they came out, even if I didn't quite remember who everybody was - like Mordock the Benzite who is in fact not a band who recorded "All the Young Dudes." Did you know that? It's true! Mordock appeared on the show in 1988, and as of 1993 I hadn't yet memorized every episode of the series in syndication. Mordock was a guy up for entrance to Starfleet Academy, because that's all anybody wants to do in the future. He comes from a planet that demands he wear a breathing device off-world, and the pearlescent fishman comes with the gear built-in to his costume. Handy! He has big hands and a decent paint job, reminding me a bit of Monster Force Creature from the Black Lagoon [FOTD #777] from 1994. Playmates was making some great stuff back then.
The 4 1/2-inch action figure remains a curious choice of figure to create, because even though we got Wesley Crusher he wasn't in the costume from the first season. By 1993, Playmates could've done Mendon - who was basically Mordock in a Starfleet uniform, giving another handy figure to add to your bridge crew. This is a cool alien figure, but he has no real place in any team or shelf of your collection other than miscellaneous.
A co-worker recently quipped "today action figures are only bought by 4-year olds and collectors, everybody else is on their phones." Back in the 1990s, everybody was buying action figures - or rather, plus or minus 1% of the population if the numbers on the feet are to be believed. This afforded Playmates the ability to try some weird stuff, because unlike today they made one line. You didn't lose customers because there were super-articulated and standard figures, or 6-inch figures, or 12-inch figures. There was one Mordock - he has 12 points of articulation, and you bought it. Or you didn't. The notion of complaining for a second one later was totally alien, because the likeness was pretty good with the catfish-like head, fishy paws, and ribbed shirt with a silver undergarment. The best way I can describe the costume is Space Cosby - it feels very 1980s and wholesome, with the amount of edge you'd see on Lisa from Saved by the Bell. It's charming, and a slightly bulkier and beefier build than the actor provided to the show. He stands well, but has a display stand in case you want to do some action posing.
I dig the accessories, which at the time I thought were overkill - why do I need so many? He can hold most of them with minimal fuss, but there's a funky loop on the monitor that comes off easily. It doesn't help him hold it, which is annoying because the tricorder, phaser, and scanner all fit in his hand with no problem. I love looking at these older figures, because it's easy to forget what it was like to have an accessory 25 or 30 years ago. They came unpainted, and maybe you got a sticker if you were lucky - the phaser being a rare exception. The silver remote control/dustbuster spews forth an orange beam, and I always thought it was goofy. The idea of plug-in beams for blasters wouldn't come around until later, but given you got all this stuff in a $4.99 figure I have no reason to complain. In today's money that's about $8.59, and you wouldn't get anything nearly this good at Toys R Us in 2017.
The 1990s were a bonkers area for collecting with countless comics, trading cards, and action figures. Everybody was scrambling to figure out how to deliver something to the growing action figure collector market, which had previously been 12-inch G.I. Joe and Star Wars figures with Mego on the rise - 3 3/4-inch Star Wars really went nuts around the time Trek hit again, and then came Todd Toys and a number of startups focusing on half-naked princesses of Hell. The really wonderful thing is most toy lines were focused on one key scale - sometimes there was a spin-off on successful ranges, but Playmates' exaggerated hands and detailed heads gave us a wonderful format for adult collectors and even kids. (Seriously, my neighbors were buying these, and they were maybe 6.) It's really kind of amazing to see what a phenomenon action figures were 25 years ago, and how far they've fallen given how much better they tend to be. Today the figure is basically worthless, but it's pretty stunning with silver paint, black highlights, and colorful alien fish skin. It's a pity that there's no nostalgia boom for this format, I'd love to see Star Trek continue in this style.
16bit.com is best not viewed in Apple's Safari browser, we don't know why. All material on this site copyright their respective copyright holders. All materials appear hear for informative and entertainment purposes. 16bit.com is not to be held responsible for anything, ever. Photos taken by the 16bit.com staff. Site design, graphics, writing, and whatnot credited on the credits page. Be cool-- don't steal. We know where you live and we'll break your friggin' legs.