Retro Toy Review: 12" Lt. Commander Data (Star Trek Insurrection)

If you remember the good ol' days of Star Trek collecting in the 90's, you likely remember the craploads of 9" action figures (dolls?) clogging the shelves. Considering how much Playmates invested in that scale, the 12" scale was curiously avoided for quite a while. Maybe the 9" scale filled the doll segment of the Trek market well enough, or maybe it was thought that 12" figures would be cost-prohibitive. Whatever the reason, the 12" segment was eventually addressed in the waning years of the Playmates line, and Data from Insurrection was one of the lucky few to be realized in this scale. Let's check him out!

Data might not look like something from Hot Toys but he looks pretty sharp for a toy from the late 90's. The head sculpt is a good likeness of Brent Spiner, marginally better, I'd argue, than the recent Dragon release. The paint apps are sharp, although there is a slight discoloration in the face not visible in the pics that might be attributable to age. The body has a few relatively minor proportion issues: the waist is a little too thin, the chest is a little too muscular, and the hands are a little too big. The proportions work well enough regardless, and the figure isn't nearly as doll-like as the 9" figures.

Data sports the First Contact Starfleet Uniform, the coolness of which is only surpassed by the TNG Season 3+ uniform. A lot of attention to detail went into the figure's costume, which is also an improvement over the 9" line. The pips are actually separate metallic pieces, the stitching in the shoulders mimics that of the on-screen costume, and the gold bands on the wrists are stitched rather than simple decals. The combadge is also stitched, but it's weird-looking and a decal would have worked much better. The costume is removable via a velcro strip on the back, but considering how much trouble I had removing the costumes of the 9" figures, I just don't have the guts to take it off this dude. This Data won't be streaking across my computer desk anytime soon.

Although Data's articulation falls short of today's hyperarticulation expectations, it was great for the time. Data has a swivel neck, ball-socket shoulders, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, ball-socket hips, and hinge knees. The costume doesn't hinder the movement all that much, either. Swivel biceps and swivel thighs would have really improved the articulation, but thankfully my much-hated pet peeve is absent, namely ankle joints that so often conspire to topple many a figure on the display shelf.

Data comes with a tricorder, a phaser (which is the old "cobra" Type II phaser used for the series, not the "banana" phaser we saw in Insurrection), and a weird... something. I wasn't sure what it was at first... maybe some sort of gun that's fired from the shoulder. My first impression was that it's the bazooka that Worf sported in Insurrection (called an Isomagnetic Disintegrator), but they're obviously completely different devices. I managed to stumble upon it on the box of a 9" Insurrection figure, and it's actually a Son'a rifle. It's okay I suppose, although I'm not sure why Data came with it since I don't remember him using a Son'a rifle in the movie. And with that weird rifle stock, it's such an awkward thing for him to hold anyway. It makes me wish he came with Worf's bazooka instead: it might not be movie-appropriate for Data, but it's certainly much cooler.

I forgot how much this sample cost (I've been meaning to do this Retro Review for so long that eBay has cycled out the details of its auction). I can't imagine it was all that expensive considering how much of a tight-wad I am. You can pick one up on eBay for about $10 and at that price, it's a steal.

Tragically, the entire crew was never made in this scale. I guess with some creative costume-swapping and pip-replacement you can fill out the crew in their Starfleet uniforms a bit more: Worf, Data and Geordi were part of the 12" Insurrection line wearing their uniforms and can be used as-is; Picard and Riker, available in their dress uniforms, could wear Worf costumes as long has you add a few pips. But you're out of luck with Troi and Dr. Crusher. Although there was a 12" Troi figure in her lavender jumpsuit, there aren't any blue-collared costumes for swapping. And Crusher never saw the 12" scale at all. Oh well... Data is cool enough to stand on his own anyway.


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.