Toy Tribute: Geordi La Forge



I think Geordi La Forge was one of the more important characters on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Although he didn't have as many character-specific episodes as Data or Picard, Geordi was often featured somewhat prominently given his duties as Chief Engineer and his friendship with Data. Not to mention the fact that his VISOR was often a plot driver itself, either as a deus ex machina device that could be reconfigured to get the heroes out of a jam (The Enemy), or as a vulnerability that the bad guys could exploit (The Mind's Eye). That's why I was never a big fan of Geordi losing the VISOR in favor of ocular implants in First Contact... not only did they remove something that made the character visually distinctive, they also wrote off a good source for fun plot concepts. Anyway, let's take a look at Geordi's representation in plastic from the vintage 4.5" Playmates TNG line!


Geordi LaForge, Lieutenant JG (TNG First Season Uniform)

Series: 2
Episodes: Season 1
Year Stamped: 1992


Going in order of appearance of the show, we start with this Lt. JG Geordi from the first season. As with other first season figures, this Geordi has a sculpt that was reworked from the first wave, which means that the cut of the costume doesn't quite match the on-screen costume. The uniform on the show is a single piece jumpsuit but the figure wears a shirt similar to uniforms shown in later seasons.

It should be noted that the first season VISOR was a bit different from the VISOR shown in other seasons. The Season 1 VISOR looked much like a barrette: the rods alternatively projected from the top and bottom but didn't connect to the opposite side, unlike the later VISOR which had rods connecting to both sides. Also, the "visual opening" of the Season 1 VISOR had left and right edges that were squared off, whereas the VISOR of later seasons had rounded edges. You can compare the Season 1 VISOR here to the later VISOR in close-ups of Geordi in Aquiel (Season 6). These differences are way too minuscule to be picked up in the sculpt, though.


Geordi had a removable VISOR variant in the first wave, and although the VISOR was glued on in later waves, Playmates still detailed the figures' eyes as if it were removable. I guess Playmates guessed correctly that most collectors wouldn't be able to resist pulling off the VISOR, whether it was glued on or not.

The obsessive collector will notice that his pips are wrong: Geordi in the first season had one gold and one black pip.


Geordi LaForge, Lieutenant (TNG Second Season Uniform)

Series: 5 (Interstellar Action)
Episodes: Season 2
Year Stamped: 1992


This dude is interesting because he's one of the few relatively screen-accurate figures specific to Season 2. It's just a repaint of the Season 1 figure above, which in turn was a reworking of the first wave Geordi below. As with its Season 1 ancestor, the cut of the costume isn't quite right but it's close enough to be included here. This Geordi is also notable because, as part of the Interstellar Action series, it came with a cool-looking missile-firing phaser rifle that unfortunately misfired way too frequently.


Geordi LaForge, Lieutenant Commander

Series: 1
Episodes: Seasons 3-7, Generations
Year Stamped: 1992


This is the ancestral Geordi, the figure on which most of the other Geordis are based in one way or another. It's a cool figure, although I would have preferred a less action-oriented stance. If you're lucky, you can find a relatively rare variant that has a removable VISOR. If you can't, you can always just pry the VISOR off his face like everybody else (see above). Again, the obsessive collector will notice that the pips aren't quite right again, as Geordi had two gold pips and one black pip in the show.


Geordi LaForge, Lieutenant Commander (TNG Dress Uniform)

Series: 2
Episodes: Data's Day (Season 4)
Year Stamped: 1993


Here we see Geordi in his dress uniform as seen in Data's Day (I believe that's the only time we see Geordi in this uniform). If you have the Starfleet Officers Set, you'll realize this figure's body sculpt is identical to that of the Dress Uniform Picard and Riker included in that set. I'm not sure which came first, but I suspect it was Geordi because the figure reuses the Series 1 Geordi arms (as well as the head, of course). Although Data's Day was in Season 4, this figure technically has a Season 3 dress uniform (see the Riker Dress Uniform figure in his tribute for more details). The differences aren't enough to exclude the figure, though.


Geordi LaForge, Lieutenant Commander (Tarchannen III Alien)

Series: 3, Toyfare Mailaway
Episodes: Identity Crisis (Season 4)
Year Stamped: 1994


I always despised this figure when it was on the shelves because it was such a peg warmer but I've since grown to love it. Maybe that's because I love the episode featuring this dude, Identity Crisis, in which Geordi transforms into a light-bending alien creature. Here we see two variants of this figure. The first (above) represents the "natural color" of the Tarchannen III alien that Geordi became. In the episode, Geordi as the Tarchannen III alien is usually cloaked Predator-style, but you can catch a glimpse of the natural color in the instant in which Geordi beams down to the planet.


The clear blue version of the figure represents Geordi on the planet nearly fully transformed as Data shines ultraviolet light from his emergency beacon to make him visible. The main problem with this figure is that Geordi wasn't translucent in that scene, but the figure's effect works pretty well regardless. (Check out this Retro Toy Review for a more detailed look at this figure.)


Geordi LaForge (Retired)

Series: 5
Episodes: All Good Things (Season 7)
Year Stamped: 1995


This is Geordi as his alternate-future self in the TNG series finale, All Good Things. As relatively boring as this figure is, it's surprisingly accurate, down to the pattern on the shirt. The figure also sports the only other Geordi head sculpt (as a human, at least). If you're a particularly talented customizer, you might be able to use this head as a basis for a First Contact 4.5" figure, but you'd have to trim the hair a bit shorter and shave off the facial hair somehow.


Geordi LaForge, Lieutenant Commander (DS9 Uniform)

Series: 4
Movie: Generations
Year Stamped: 1994


This is one of my favorite Geordis. It's one of the few crew members properly depicted in a Generations-specific uniform (the others being Data and Picard). This figure is just a repaint of the DS9 Series 1 Captain Sisko body with the same old Geordi head, but even though it's a conglomeration of parts from different figures, it works really well. It even has the proper pips!


I was lucky Ensign Fletcher was there to grab me, it's a long way down to the bottom of the warp core.

Yeah Geordi, there are a few figures that should be pitched to the bottom of the warp core, given their inexcusable inaccuracies:
  • Geordi La Forge, Cadet: This was part of a wave that reimagined the crew as cadets. Since they were never seen on screen as cadets in these costumes, it's really just an Expanded Universe wave that doesn't belong here.
  • Geordi La Forge, Lieutenant Commander (Generations): The first wave of figures from the Generations movie featured the crew in costumes that were conceptual and never seen on screen.
  • Geordi La Forge, Lieutenant Commander (Transporter): The Transporter figures were fun exclusives, but totally inaccurate. The costumes were cut like the TNG uniforms but colored like the DS9 uniforms.


Captain, we've got a problem with the warp core, or the phase inducers, or some other damn thing.

And that's it for this toy tribute to Geordi La Forge! Although Geordi got a nice assortment of figures, there were a number of other character concepts that would have been awesome to see in plastic. I'm a sucker for Trek figures in period-specific costumes, so of course I would have liked to see him in his 19th Century outfit (Time's Arrow), as a Merry Man (QPid), in his Three Musketeers suit (Hollow Pursuits), and as Watson (Elementary, Dear Data, Ship in a Bottle). And of course Geordi in his First Contact uniform would have been great. Maybe the figure could have had a periscope eye like the vintage Six Million Dollar Man! It wouldn't be screen-accurate, but it would have been awesome anyway!


Resources

Memory-Alpha: http://memory-alpha.org/wiki/Playmates
StarTrekToys: http://startrektoys.com
Figure Realm: http://figurerealm.com
TrekCore: http://trekcore.com
IMDB.com: http://www.imdb.com

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.