It was a forgone conclusion that when the new Star Trek spinoff premiered in 1993, there would be more than enough merchandising to support and promote it. Indeed, companies that had once shunned the dark horse Next Generation were now beating down the doors at Paramount’s licensing department to get a piece of the highly anticipated – and publicized – new show.
By this time, Playmates had made a success of its ongoing line of Next Generation action figures as well as its initial offering of Classic Trek toys, and the company was more than happy to add Deep Space Nine to its Trek toy commitment.
Where the initial wave of Next Generation figures stumbled with some rather caricature-ish likenesses, the initial Deep Space Nine figures hit the mark very close. The only real exception was Gul Dukat, whose figure originally started like as a generic Cardassian character (much like the first Next Generation wave’s Gowron, which originated as a generic Klingon). Dukat was later put to shame by an outstanding action figure of Garak.
I also appreciate that, especially with Major Kira, Playmates eschewed the tendency of many toymakers to, shall we say, exaggerate the chest of female characters. Though Playmates themselves had done this in the past, they seemed to be aiming for more realism with the DS9 characters. Perhaps, keeping in mind the rampant rumors of DS9 being a darker, more adult series, they were aiming for the collector’s market a bit more closely.
Things were definitely off to a good start, both for the new series, and for its first action figures, which didn’t hit the shelves until almost a year later.