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Chief Miles O'Brien

Deep Space Nine
by Apollo

A certain percentage of Trekkies have this idea in their heads that the creators of Deep Space 9 were unfaithful to the franchise - you know, things like Sisko being an accessory to assassination, Starfleet having its own Gestapo branch, pretty much everything Garak ever said or did, that sort of thing. And they're wrong. Could anyone who did not absolutely, utterly love Star Trek have made "Trials and Tribble-ations"? Not a chance.

"I lied to Captain Kirk! I wish Keiko could have been there to see it."

Don't worry Miles - Julian was there to see it, and that's all that really matters.

"Trials" was a wonderful gift to all Trekkies (even the complaining ones), but it was a stroke of good fortune for Art Asylum, too, since it gave them a valid reason to dip their toes into the DS9 market while still being able to cut costs by re-using the Original Series bodies they'd already worked up. Dax didn't work out so well, since there was only the one TOS Starfleet female body to work with, and the difference in height between Terry Farrell and Nichelle Nichols was enough to throw out the scales, but the men have more bodies to choose from.

Whoever's body O'Brien got (I don't have any of the male TOS figures, so I wouldn't know; Spock perhaps, since it's a tall one), it worked a lot better than Dax's did - at 7¼" tall he's exactly the same height as his TNG and DS9 figures. These TOS bodies use a soft plastic "vest" to conceal their torso articulation, and there's a very slight difference in sharpness of sculpt and finish between it and the arms; also, the inner discs of the shoulder joints are darker than the rest of the top. Those minor faults aside, the body is perfectly serviceable, with a realistic sculpt of the uniform's mild creases and folds, down to the trousers tucked into the boots, and all in all looks very close to the way they did on TOS - which, since the DS9 crew spared no effort in getting every detail right, is the way they looked in "Trials" as well.

One problem arises from grafting O'Brien's head onto it, though: the symbol within the chevron on the chest (then specific to the Enterprise, later adopted by Starfleet as a whole) is a star, indicating the command division, when it should be a stylised open cog kind of thingy, for ship's services (including engineering). It's not noticeable at a glance, but Trekkies obsess over these kinds of things.

The face is an excellent likeness of Colm Meaney - it doesn't just duplicate the actor's face, it captures the way he looked playing O'Brien, particularly in many scenes of "Trials" itself: worried, mildly confused, somewhat exasperated. His hair is styled for the '60s, to fit in with the old Enterprise crew, rather than being his usual look, and of course the sideburns are pointed. (Back when they were gearing up to make TOS it was suggested that all the actors should have "futuristic hairstyles," but they balked at having to put up with whatever horrors the hair department inflicted on them 24 hours a day as long as the show lasted; the pointed sideburns were settled on as an acceptable middle ground.)

Thanks to the torso style, articulation is actually more plentiful than is the case on later TNG and DS9 figures. The balljoint at the base of the neck has much more freedom than on the later uniforms, thanks to the lack of a collar, while inside the vest at about sternum level is another balljoint, mobile in all three axes - though obviously the vest itself limits how far it can be turned. O'Brien also has swivel ankles, at the boot tops, and swivel thighs, to add to the rest of the later-standard pattern: swivel/pin shoulders, swivel biceps, pin elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, peg hips, pin knees, pin ankles. All he's really missing are swivel/pin hips, for broad stances, and double pin elbows to let him hold the communicator up to his mouth properly.

That's the cue for the accessory count, and O'Brien has three to call his own, all TOS-style to fit his cover - a type-II phaser, a communicator, and a tricorder. All three are single-piece accessories, and while you wouldn't really expect the type-I phaser to detach from its pistol grip (not at this scale, anyway), it's a bit disappointing that the communicator and tricorder can't flip open and closed. The tricorder has a soft plastic strap, good for either shoulder, but since it weighs so little you'll need to use the figure's arm to push it down to get the strap tight - either a hand on top of it, or using the forearm to subtly hold it against the hip.

As do all of the figures in the "Trials and Tribble-ations" set, O'Brien also has a pair of tribbles. They're just little orange balls of fuzzy foam - varying colours would have been nice, especially when you get more than one of the figures and the tribbles start getting numerous (as they are wont to do), but if you just want to have O'Brien holding a tribble, it'll do just fine.

Who is Apollo? Find out here!

-- 04/01/09


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