When Star Trek: The Next Generation were new, that first year was an incredible experience. 10 all-new action figures from the best sci-fi TV show in ages! And then we get Lieutenant (J.G.) Geordi LaForge which was basically the first year's LaForge with a red torso and "spandex" uniform collar. Seven of the first year's ten figures came back with new deco and a couple of minor tweaks under the guise of being "season one" or "season two" figures. This one worked well as LaForge
The 4 1/2-inch action figure was a sensible choice, but irritating - in the 1980s toymakers were really good about giving most figure lines a really big cast of characters if they got beyond the first year. Kenner and Playmates really started to lean hard on heroes in the late 1980s and especially around 1990, when Batman and the four green teens were given countless outfits and repaints for years to come. Star Trek wasn't immune and popular kid- and fan-friendly characters like Data, Picard, and LaForge got a lot of toys - not all of which were exciting. But at least this one was different.
While keeping most of the same parts as his original release, LaForge got a new torso with revised rank and collar. The V.I.S.O.R. wasn't glued on, but the silver paint could basically adhere it to his face - mine had some excess silver that acted as an adhesive. Underneath he had painted white eyes. The gold pips were painted, and there was a subtle black outline to his comm badge - a really nice touch. His pants also had red trim to match the gold on his top and the lining around his neck. Given what was no doubt a mandate from corporate to reuse the molds, we got retreads of pretty much the entire bridge crew in their early season outfits - but no Dr. Crusher, or Wesley.
LaForge can stand, grip his weapons, and dagnabbit he looks great. This figure was only five bucks back then, and toy collectors seemed to understand that this was a good deal. Kenner's toys were $5 or $6 with less articulation and fewer (or no) accessories. This figure had bicep swivels, bending elbows and knees, swiveling hips and shoulders, plus a waist and a neck. The only place that felt weird at the time - and weirder now - are the "v-crotch" hips. Why they needed to be manspreading, I have no idea - it looked really weird in the playsets or vehicles, but at least they could stand nicely and use their display stands well. The sculpting looks like LeVar Burton, and sports cleanly painted eyes, lips, eyebrows, and hair. It's a decent figure by modern standards, and with inflation it would've been $8.64 - which, again, is totally bonkers by comparison. Volumes for figures were much higher in those days.
While in wacky metallic blue, Geordi's accessories seem appropriate to use as various diagnostic tools. Of course, he wasn't Chief Engineer in the first season so they'll have to do. His hands are designed to grip them well and unlike Data, the gizmos don't cheat with some sort of wacky grip ring or other attachment. They work fairly well, but I'd be lying if I said they were great - they were pretty good for the time, but the colors were just odd.
As toy lines go for collectors and children, few worked as well as Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was a bumpy ride with a lot of infamous missteps, but the general release product tended to be good for the asking price. Every time I pick one of these figures up, I think about finishing the collection - or bugging people to start a new "ReAction" line with the new shows in this style. They were great, and the price was right, but I doubt the stars will ever align for Trek to be popular enough to support a hugely popular mass-release toy line ever again. (Not a knock against Discovery, but rather its means of distribution.)
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