Retro Toy Review: Captain Janeway and The Doctor (Playmates Star Trek: Voyager)

During its television run, I punted on Star Trek: Voyager after just two seasons. I was such a huge Next Generation fan that after TNG was cancelled, I considered the Star Trek concept to be effectively played out. That was also the time that I was getting really fanatical with Star Wars, with brand-new figures being released for the first time in 10 years. So I wasn't all that interested with giving Voyager a fair shake. But after watching through Next Generation again on DVD recently, I found that my Star Trek hunger wasn't quite quenched, so I moved on to Voyager. Despite my previous rejection, it turns out that it's actually a pretty strong Star Trek show. And with that newfound interest naturally comes an increased interest in the Voyager action figures. And for my first few purchases, I had to go with the most important characters, namely Captain Janeway and The Doctor. Let's check them out!

Unfortunately, the Doctor's card was so mangled that it wasn't worth taking pictures of it.

Year Released: 1995
Company: Playmates
Size: Janeway - 4.5"; Doctor - 4.75"
Price: Janeway - $0.99; Doctor - $5.50
Packaging: Carded
Production Number: Janeway - 020618; Doctor - 059732

The Voyager line is an interesting transition for Playmates Star Trek, with a movement away from the charming caricatures of the Next Generation figures towards a higher degree of realism. Playmates really nailed the countenances of both Janeway and the Doctor with surprisingly realistic sculpts and less cartoony paint apps. Their bodies are also improved, featuring sharper costume details and more neutral stances. It should be noted that while the style is more realistic, it's still similar enough to the style of the previous Star Trek waves to be compatible.

These Voyager figures feature the usual Playmates Trek articulation with swivel necks, swivel shoulders, swivel biceps, hinge elbows, swivel waists, swivel hips, and hinge knees. But they improve upon that already awesome articulation with the inclusion of swivel thighs, adding a new range of useful movement for the legs. And yet, the core problem of Playmates Trek articulation remains: the cut of the hips makes the legs bow outwards when they sit. That's a big problem considering these characters spend a lot of time sitting on their duffs on the bridge.

Captain Janeway comes with standard Starfleet equipment that you likely have many times over by now:
  • Card: Collecting these cards is kind of a fun sub-hobby along with collecting the figures.
  • Stand: The stand is the most useful of the accessories. It effectively keeps Janeway from toppling over on the table and it's combadge design is appropriate for the character.
  • Phaser, Tricorder, PADD: All of these would have been great accessories because they're used so often on the show, but that crazy hot-pink color conflicts with the realism of the figure.
  • Personal Computer: The PC is too table-top specific to be useful for an individual action figure. It would be great for playsets, but since there aren't any for Voyager, it's largely worthless. Still, it's a distinct sculpt from the TNG PCs.
Doctor comes with a similar set of accessories:
  • Card, Stand: See above. I approve.
  • Personal Computer: See above. I disapprove.
  • PADD, Hypospray, Medical Tool: These are all cool accessories useful to the Doctor (and some of them specific to his character), but as with Janeway's accessories, their coloration is difficult to reconcile with the design of the figure.

The Doctor's price of $5.50 is well within my price threshold for Star Trek figures, but Janeway's 99 cents is difficult to top. although sellers on eBay seem to think the Voyager wave is worth more than it really is, you shouldn't have much problem getting either figure for next to nothing if you're patient. It should be noted that it seems like the arms and legs of both are made of a softer, more rubbery plastic than their TNG cousins. I'm not sure what that means in terms of durability, but they seem strong enough.

Janeway and the Doctor are arguably the most important characters in the pre-"Seven of Nine" years of Voyager, which helps the coolness of these figures considerably. But I find that weird aliens are the coolest of Star Trek figures, and considering Janeway and the Doctor are just normal-looking humans, it's hard to say that they're really all that. Also, their costumes are the boring DS9 pajamas instead of the colorful and fun TNG uniforms.

Both Captain Janeway and the Doctor are great additions to a Star Trek collection, with excellent sculpts, slightly improved articulation, and easily affordable market values. Although their neon-colored accessories leave much to be desired, they're both strong figures, and if you're a Voyager fan you can't go wrong with either.

DISCLAIMER: All items reviewed on Dork Dimension were purchased by the reviewer unless otherwise noted. The opinions expressed on Dork Dimension are solely those of the author and are presented for entertainment purposes only.