Every so often the Playmates Star Trek: The Next Generation action figure line would branch out from the main crew of the Enterprise to explore the secondary officers. Although Playmates never got as obscure in its character selection as you often see in Hasbro's Star Wars line (unfortunately), it did manage to include many of the more prominent secondary characters. Let's check them out (in order of appearance, of course).
Natasha YarSeries: 4
Episodes: Season 1
Year Stamped: 1995
Here we see Tasha Yar as depicted in the first season of Next Gen. This figure's one-piece uniform is a bit more accurate than some of the other first season figures like Geordi and Data, which have an elastic band around the waist (a vestigal remnant from reusing the sculpts from the first wave). Interestingly enough, this figure holds the phaser rifle that came with the Romulan figure so well that it seems like her hands were sculpted specifically to carry it... even though the phaser rifle was introduced a few seasons after Tasha Yar died.
Miles O'Brien, Transporter Chief (TNG Uniform)Series: DS9 Series 2
Episodes: Seasons 3-6
Year Stamped: 1992
Miles O'Brien was a part of the Enterprise D crew since its first mission to Farpoint Station, but the character didn't expand beyond being a simple background dude until Season 2 when he became a common sight in the transporter room as Transporter Chief. This figure (which was actually released in the Deep Space 9 line) depicts O'Brien as he appeared starting with Season 3 through his last TNG appearance in Rascals (Season 6). The head sculpt of the figure is great but I wish they sculpted a unique body instead of reusing the same old Series 1 Geordi.
Reg Barclay, LieutenantSeries: 3
Episodes: Hollow Pursuits (Season 3), The Nth Degree (Season 4), Realm of Fear (Season 6), Ship in a Bottle (Season 6), Genesis (Season 7)
Year Stamped: 1994
Among the larger than life regular cast of the Enterprise, Lt. Barclay was in many ways the most relatable. He was the "everyman" of the Enterprise crew, pretty much the only character with significant flaws and insecurities. This figure does a good job of capturing the character, introducing a new "skinny" body template that Ensign Crusher shares (see below). My friend Jason says that this body should have been used for the Picard Duty Uniform figure (the body of which was kit-bashed from Geordi and Data from Series 1), and I agree. The proportions work much better than the beefy POTF2-esque sculpts from the first wave. One little nitpick, though: this figure has two gold pips when Barclay actually had just one gold and one black pip.
Wesley Crusher, EnsignSeries: 3
Episodes: Menage a Troi (Season 3) through Final Mission (Season 4)
Year Stamped: 1994
As mentioned above, this Ensign Crusher figure uses the same body sculpt as Barclay. I suspect the body was made for Barclay since it has two pips sculpted on the collar (Wesley only has one pip painted, which is accurate to the show's costume with its one gold pip). This sample might seem to have one black pip, but I suspect it was actually painted gold and has rubbed off a bit.
Wesley Crusher, CadetSeries: 2
Episodes: The Game (Season 5), The First Duty (Season 6), Journey's End (Season 7)
Year Stamped: 1993
After leaving the Enterprise for Starfleet Academy, Wesley returned periodically for cameos. In each episode he had a different number of pips that presumably correspond to his year at the Academy:
- The Game (Season 5) - No pips
- The First Duty (Season 5) - 2 pips
- Journey's End (Season 7) - 3 pips
Since this figure has two pips, it specifically represents Wesley's appearance in The First Duty, but I'm not quite the "pip stickler" to think that it can't represent Wesley in the other episodes too. As far as I can tell, the body is unique to this figure, which is great considering Playmates could have reused so much of the Ensign Wes figure here.
As a side note, this figure did not come with a Starfleet Academy stand. I got the stand shown above in a lot that included a figure from the Starfleet Academy assortment and I thought it worked well for this figure.
Miles O'Brien, Transporter Chief (TNG Dress Uniform)Series: DS9 Series 2
Episode: Data's Day (Season 4)
Year Stamped: 1995
Here's another O'Brien figure released in the DS9 line that is also welcome in a Next Generation collection since he appeared in a dress uniform in the TNG episode Data's Day. This figure's sculpt is substantially different - and better - than the other TNG dress uniform figures like Picard, Riker, etc. O'Brien here wears the Season 3 dress uniform, given the style of the gold band on the shoulder. I think he wore the Season 4 uniform in Data's Day (see the Riker tribute for more on the dress uniforms), but it's not enough of a flaw to keep the figure from being included here.
Ro Laren, EnsignSeries: 3, 4
Episodes: Ensign Ro, Disaster, Conundrum, Power Play (Season 5)
Year Stamped: 1994
Although Ro appeared in many episodes from Seasons 5 through 7, this figure represents Ro from the 5th season episodes listed above. Other episodes featured the character with drastically different hair styles: in Cause and Effect, she had shorter hair with bangs; she wore a head band in The Next Phase (Season 5) and Rascals (Season 6); and she had yet another hairstyle with bangs in Preemptive Strike (Season 7). It looks like the figure reuses the body sculpt from the Yesterday's Enterprise Tasha Yar (see below).
Data, I'm only going to tell you this just once: it never happened.
That's right, Tasha... there are a few figures from the Playmates Trek line that just never happened, and there are others that aren't true TNG figures because they didn't originate in a TNG episode or movie:
Katherine Pulaski, Doctor (Series 5): At first, I included Pulaski in this tribute, but Bravo pointed out in the comments below that the figure lacks Pulaski's skirt shirt, which is certainly a big enough deviation to knock her off the list. I was never a big fan of Dr. Pulaski anyway. She was Dr. Crusher's replacement in Season 2 but unlike Crusher, Pulaski seemed little more than a rip-off of Dr. McCoy. That doesn't mean that she didn't start to show signs of becoming an intriguing character in and of herself as Season 2 played out, though. It would have been interesting to see in what direction the role would have taken if Pulaski had permanently replaced Crusher.
Julian Bashir, Doctor (DS9 Series 1): While I was compiling the list of figures to include in my core TNG collection, I came across this guy. I wanted to collect all the figures from TNG episodes and movies, which would technically include Dr. Bashir since he appeared in Season 6's Birthright. But I really just wanted a collection of TNG-specific figures, and since this character and costume originated in another series, the figure was disqualified.
Keiko O'Brien (Warp Factor Series 4): Although Keiko appeared a few times in TNG, she was never in this outfit. I suspect it's from an episode of DS9.
Tasha Yar, Lieutenant (ToyFare Exclusive, Transporter): Unlike other Transporter figures, this Tasha wears a legitimate Starfleet uniform. The problem? The uniform is the style from Seasons 3+, which Tasha never wore.
Tasha Yar, Lieutenant (1701 Series, shown above): This figure was supposed to represent Tasha's appearance in an alternate timeline in Yesterday's Enterprise (Season 3). But the uniform isn't consistent with the alternate timeline at all: the altered uniform has a different collar and black-tipped sleeves, and includes a phaser belt. Not to mention the alternate universe Tasha had a drastically different hair style.
You've reached the end (of your journey), Wesley.And that's it for miscellaneous Starfleet officers! Although that doesn't nearly represent all the officers we saw on the show, the assortment does a good job of covering the most important secondary characters. On the other hand, there are plenty other Starfleet officers that would have been awesome as action figures:
Acting Ensign Wesley Crusher: This grey suit was Wesley's first official duty uniform that he wore from Where No One Has Gone Before (Season 1) through Menage A Troi (Season 3).
Lieutenant Junior Grade Jae: At first, you might think this is the very definition of an obscure background character since Lt. Jae didn't even have any speaking roles (that I'm aware of, at least). But she was a certainly a common sight on the Enterprise: she not only appeared in 58 episodes but also 3 movies.
Captain Edward Jellico: This is the jerk who took over the Enterprise as captain when Picard was captured by Cardassians (Chain of Command, Season 6).
Ensign Robin Lefler: Robin Lefler is mainly remembered as Wesley's love interest in The Game.
Commander Keiran McDuff: Commander MacDuff was really a Satarran that disguised himself as an Enterprise crew member to try to trick the crew to attack the Lysian Central Command (Conundrum, Season 5). Although he wasn't a real Starfleet officer, he would have made a cool figure regardless... especially if his face and chest could be removed to reveal his true Satarran nature.
Nurse Alyssa Ogawa: I'm actually surprised this figure never saw the light of day. Even Diamond Select made a nurse Ogawa figure.
Commander Shelby: The Borg expert from Best of Both Worlds (Season 3, 4) would be great for a Borg battle diorama.
Lieutenant Daniels: There weren't many notable Starfleet officers in the movies besides the main cast, but Lt. Daniels was the tactical/security officer in First Contact who Picard commanded to fight the Borg "hand to hand" if he had to. He also popped up in Insurrection in a small role.
Lieutenant Hawk: This guy had a pretty significant role as the conn officer in First Contact who accompanied Picard and Worf to the deflector dish. Playmates could even have made a half-assimilated space suit version of the character.
Ensign Kell Perim: Perim was the Trill ensign in Insurrection. She got a few lines (if I remember correctly) and was visually interesting enough to make a cool Starfleet action figure.
Whew... quite a list. What Starfleet officers would you have liked to see?
Figure Realm: http://figurerealm.com/