There's a fine line between collecting and obsessing, and I think I've crossed it with Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation figures. My previous lackadaisical habit of buying just a few TNG figures here and there has exploded into a completist fanaticism. But there are always gray areas so I needed a boundary to define what I consider to be a "complete" collection. I really only want figures that are TNG-specific and that are seen on screen, so I came up with the following definition: every 5" figure that is reasonably representative of a character from a Star Trek: TNG episode/movie and the costume/design for whom originated in TNG. I'm not going to worry about getting variants and all the accessories, for down that road lies madness. And as I work to complete my collection, I'll post Toy Tributes featuring TNG figures of a certain theme. For the first theme, let's start with the most distinctive TNG villains: the Borg!
BorgVersion(s): Gray Eye (Series 1), Red Eye (Series 2), Blue Armor (Interstellar Action Series, Series 5), Silver Armor (Holodeck Series Multi-pack)
Episode/Movie: Best of Both Worlds, Part I (Season 3)
Year Stamped: 1992
This guy is somewhat of an enigma. By my completist definition above, each figure has to be reasonably representative of a character from TNG. This Borg is supposed to be a generic drone, but the design had to come from somewhere. He's stamped 1992, which means that the episode featuring the Borg on which he was based must appear in one of the following episodes: "Q Who", "Best of Both Worlds", or "I, Borg". I eventually found that his body is very similar to first Borg who beamed on Enterprise bridge in "Best of Both Worlds, Part I" but his head remains a mystery. It's similar to many Borg, but not an exact match to any of them as far as I could tell. Regardless, I think that the "reasonably accurate" criteria is met.
The Borg drone mold was one of the most reused in the Playmates TNG line, with four variants in all. I opted for the first variant, as it's the most accurate color scheme.
LocutusVersion(s): Dark Grey Armor (TNG Series 2), Metallic Chrome Armor Silver or Gold (Holodeck Series, TNG Series 4), Light Grey Armor (Alien Series Twin-Pack 3)
Episode/Movie: Best of Both Worlds, Part II (Season 4)
Year Stamped: 1993
Locutus is one of my favorite figures in the entire line. In this form, I think he had a gloved hand on screen, but I prefer the color variation that the ungloved hand gives to the figure. (See, I'm not entirely a slave to screen accuracy.) It's a great sculpt that deserves revisiting, which Playmates did twice: once by adding vac-metallized silver or gold armor in Series 4 and once again in a Target Exclusive two-pack with a Borg drone. The first variant is the most screen-accurate... although given my propensity for shiny things, I think the vac-metallized silver Locutus looks pretty awesome and might squirrel its way into my collection eventually. It's important to note that Locutus sports one of the few unique Picard head molds.
Hugh BorgVersion(s): TNG Series 3
Episode/Movie: I, Borg (Season 5)
Year Stamped: 1994
Speaking of great sculpts, this Hugh Borg is rocking. This sculpt reflects Hugh from his first appearance in the episode "I, Borg", but I suppose it could be just as applicable to his costume in "Descent, Part II".
Borg QueenVersion(s): Warp Factor Series 5
Episode/Movie: First Contact (Movie)
Year Stamped: 1998
This Borg Queen figure is technically from the Voyager line, but the costume is essentially the same as the Queen from "First Contact". On screen, the Borg Queen was played by two different actresses: Alice Krige in the TNG movie "First Contact" and the Voyager finale "End Game", and Susanna Thompson in the other Voyager episodes. The face sculpt for this figure doesn't seem to represent either actress, which makes me think that Playmates was trying not to alienate either Voyager or "First Contact" fans by making the face actress-specific. The proportions and lacking articulation aren't of the usual Playmates Trek fare, but this was later in the line when Playmates copied the format of the insanely-popular Star Wars POTF2 line to try to win back its waning sales.
As a cool play feature, the Borg Queen's chest opens up so that you can remove her upper torso.