At times Playmates Toys really delivered the goods. The Star Trek: The Next Generation action figure Lieutenant Barclay is a shining gem in a line packed with gems. Not only does it have an exceptionally good and expressive face sculpt, but the accessories are all brilliant selections - and nary a dull phaser or tricorder in the bunch. Sure, they're all green, but nothing is perfect. Imperfection being a core value of the character, a flawed individual on a ship of Starfleet's Jazz-loving Shakespeare-quoting public broadcasting-supporting valedictorians. While they study the classics, he dives into a MUSH/MUD or an MMO.
On The Next Generation Dwight Schultz stuck to the gold support uniform with the two pips - sadly mine appeared to have been unpainted at the factory. The figure has a decent built and no tricorder holster on the pants. His default pose is pretty plain, with hands designed to hold his accessories quite nicely. He has no problem holding the sword or other gear as needed - the pallet is more of a ground accessory, though. Everything is pure green, which is a bit of a bummer as mono-color accessories don't really age well. Even at the time, in a "collector" line like this, they seemed pretty out of place.
The costume is mostly smooth, generic enough that it could be used for almost any human male. It's clean, it's fine.
The head looks great - most of them are good, but this one is really good. The barely-receding hairline, the sharp nose, the painted lips, and barely-accented wrinkles on his forehead give us a figure of a middle-aged Starfleet schlub. Given this is a 1994 release, it's kind of amazing to see tiny wrinkles around his eyes too - especially since Star Wars would relaunch at Kenner a year later with worse likenesses and even less specific attention to facial detail. Heck, most mass-market action figures released today don't have the kind of attention we see in Barclay's head.
The final episode of The Next Generation aired in 1994, along with this wave of figures. The brand started to focus on a unified "Star Trek" logo with more variety between series and less specific focus on the most popular show in the franchise. It seemed to fizzle pretty quickly after "All Good Things" aired, but we got some totally spectacular figures on the line's short slide to mediocrity. Figures like this make me pine for new "retro" figures in the same style for Star Trek Discovery or Orville, because they're just so good. At $5 in 1994 this figure felt like a great deal, at today's secondary market prices it's basically available for the same price. Give or take inflation, of course. If you like the character, this is a figure you really owe it to yourself to pick up soon.
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