Retro Toy Review: ToyFare Geordi Laforge As Tarchannen III Alien
In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Identity Crisis", Geordi is exposed to an alien parasite on Tarchannen III that transforms him into a weird alien. I was always a fan of creature-features, so this episode was one of my favorites as a kid... especially because the alien into which Geordi transforms was really cool, with glowing veins, freaky eyes, and the ability to make himself invisible, a la Predator. Playmates released a carded figure of Geordi as a Tarchannen III alien, but it warmed the pegs for quite a while. ToyFare then released the same figure as an exclusive in translucent blue plastic a few years later. Does the clear plastic do anything to alleviate the figure's peg warming stigma?
Year Stamped: 1998
Price: $5 in mailaway box from eBay
Although the carded version of this figure is accurate to the costume on the show (at least, in true light), the brown skin and blue circulatory system make it look like a veiny turd creature. Fortunately, this ToyFare exclusive looks way better, with clear blue plastic that works great with the light blue veins to create a weird alien appearance that's less scatological and more awesomical. I'm not sure if I would say the figure is screen accurate; the look is similar to when Data shone ultra-violet light on the partially transformed Geordi to make him glow, but Geordi wasn't translucent in that scene. Regardless, I'll allow that discrepancy; the look is fantastic.
The sculpt is also sweet, with a great likeness of the creature and veins that are sculpted as well as painted to give the figure a sick, organic texture.
Tarchannen Geordi has the usual Playmates Trek articulation: swivel neck, shoulders, biceps, waist, and hips; and hinge elbows and knees. It's pretty much all you'll need, but the only thing keeping it from perfection is the annoying angular cut of the hips that makes the legs bow outwards.
Geordi comes with a base shaped like the United Federation of Planets insignia, but I seriously doubt that Tarchannen III aliens are petitioning for inclusion in the Federation. He also comes with a flashlight, but it's not the long-handled UV flashlight that Data shines on Geordi, it's actually the Starfleet handheld light (like the one that Data flashes to reverse the crew's mind-control in the episode "The Game"). While this handheld light is cool to have because it was used in a few different episodes, it's not really relevant to Geordi as a Tarchannen III alien. (Although admittedly it was used by other Starfleet personnel on the planet.)
I got this super cool alien for just 5 smackers. Not bad! It's a strong figure, but the sparse accessories keep it from a perfect score. On a slight tangent, when I opened the baggie, Geordi was covered in some sort of weird slimy condensation. I'm sure that's because the figure was sealed in a baggie and didn't have enough room to "breathe", but it kind of makes you wonder what's happening to a figure in sealed packaging as it ages. Regardless, the slime washed off, so no worries.
This dude is one of the coolest Star Trek figures around. Translucent figures are always sweet, and Tarchannen Geordi's clear blue plastic and veiny alien look set him apart on the Star Trek shelf. He would have been absolutely perfect if the veins were glow-in-the-dark so you could replicate the freaky look when Data shines the UV light on him, but he's undeniably cool enough as he is.
Tarchannen Geordi is a great addition to any Playmates Next Generation collection. The clear blue plastic gives him a look that's super-cool (if not entirely screen accurate) to the alien on the show. More substantial accessories that are more appropriate to the character, as well as glow-in-the-dark veins, would have put this dude over the top. But the figure is certainly awesome as he is, and definitely one of my favorite Star Trek figures of all time.