Star Trek: The Next Generation Lt. Commander Data 1/6 Figure
Price: $190 ($230 with additional accessories)
Our favorite android
Just as Leonard Nimoy’s Spock became the face of the original Star Trek, Brent Spiner’s android Data encapsulated the appeal of 1987’s syndicated sequel series Star Trek: The Next Generation. Conceived as a kind of hybrid of Spock and the android Questor from Gene Roddenberry’s failed pilot The Questor Tapes, Data was a more innocent figure than the sophisticated and often sarcastic Spock, so much so that when the show’s writers attempted to recreate the pointed banter of the original series’ Spock and Bones McCoy with Diana Muldaur’s second season physician Dr. Katherine Pulaski, the dialogue came off as cruel and fans rebelled.
Brent Spiner’s casting as Data was particularly sharp. More of a Broadway song and dance man, Spiner was a naturally broader performer than the reserved Leonard Nimoy, and his work to contain his stage-bound mannerisms and expressions resulted in a perfectly contained demeanor for Data, who seemed to “hum” with controlled energy even as spoke in a gentle, near whisper of a voice. The android was prone to alien influences and had a malevolent “brother” constructed by Data’s fatherly creator, Dr. Noonien Soong—and with Spiner portraying all three characters, the actor had numerous opportunities to emote and slip into alternate personalities over the course of the series.
EXO-6 Data Figure
EXO-6’s line of high-end 12-inch action figures actually launched with a Data figure as well as Jean-Luc Picard—but depicted them as they were seen in the theatrical movie Star Trek: First Contact. EXO has cranked out a variety of figures over the past two years, all but completing a Star Trek Voyager line, adding captains from Enterprise, Deep Space Nine, and figures from Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and the Original Series as well as a Locutus and Q from TNG, but we haven’t seen any regular TNG crew members—until now. The TNG Data is long-awaited and EXO more than delivers on its promise with this sleek reproduction of the character in his familiar black-and-mustard Starfleet uniform.
The facial sculpt by Godwin Nerona perfectly captures the character’s neutral expression, which can be read as quizzical, quietly defiant, concerned, remorseful—whatever you want. Paint detail subtly reproduces an almost mauve skin coloration and adds a wonderfully inhuman glint to Data’s eyes under the right lighting conditions. EXO’s best figures tend to defy the camera’s ability to show off their subtleties—in hand Data looks just about exactly like a shrunken-down Brent Spiner and unnervingly alive.
The figure’s uniform represents the two-piece affair which I believe was introduced in season three rather than the early seasons’ tighter one-piece jumpsuit that reportedly caused the cast enormous discomfort and Spiner actual back injury. The resulting look is sharp and clean, and the looser fit affords the figure’s 30 points of articulation abundant maneuvering room to pose the character.
And while EXO could have cheaped out and simply provided the fold-out tricorder and cobra phaser they made for the First Contact figures, they step up here and add a TNG-appropriate tricorder and phaser that are just microscopically different in detail from their First Contact counterparts.
Data comes in two variations: an “Essential” $190 version that comes with the tricorder, phaser and their holsters, the usual transporter pad display stand, and four hands (two relaxed and two configured to hold the phaser and tricorder), and a “standard” $230 issue that includes those accessories plus a PADD and two head sculpts, one the same included with the “Essential” release and one featuring an opening panel in Data’s hair to show his cybernetic brain. The more expensive version also includes not one but two Spots—Data’s beloved(?) cat—one in a sitting pose, the other designed to drape over Data’s forearm as he holds the animal. Adorable!
Aside from EXO-6’s First Contact Data there’ve been a couple of other 12” figures of the character released over the years, including a Star Trek Insurrection figure from Playmates and Dragon’s release of the character, which seemed pretty neat back in the ‘90s but which is absolutely put to shame by EXO’s.
Picard and other TNG figures are in the pipeline from the company, although for 2024 it looks like we’ll be seeing more DS9 (Kira and Odo), Strange New Worlds (Pike and Spock), and movie figures (TWOK’s Saavik and Trek III’s Lord Kruge, both of which look to be spectacular figures). But if Data is any indication, collectors are in very good hands—this is a stupendous release.
The Data figure is part of EXO-6’s Star Trek: Next Generation collection, including Locutus and judge Q. The Judge Q figure is available at EXO-6.com. The Locutus figure can be pre-ordered at Entertainment Earth.
A closer look at Data
Jeff Bond is a freelance writer and book author who’s addicted to plastic models and action figures. You can catch up with him on Facebook and Instagram where he posts model works in progress, and takes commissions. His latest Star Trek book is Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The Art and Visual Effects.