They say pre-production is the most important part of making a movie (well, when I say "they", I actually mean Kylie Ireland, who's a producer nowadays), and that goes double for TV shows, because when you lay the groundwork wrong for a movie it's only going to bite you on the arse for a couple of hours of screen-time, whereas a badly-planned TV show can continue to embarrass you for years. Just look at Voyager. But sometimes, if you're good and you're lucky and you can tap-dance like Richard Gere in Chicago, you can pick up a pre-made mess and wrangle it into something that really, really works.
"The Federation needs men like you, Doctor.
Men with conscience, men who can sleep at night. And you're also the reason that Section 31 exists: to protect men like you from a universe which doesn't share your sense of right and wrong."
A lot of people didn't much like Dr. Julian Bashir when he first showed up, and you have to say his creators were mostly to blame. Having set out to populate Deep Space Nine with interestingly flawed characters, they made Bashir the "tenderfoot" (in the early metaphor of DS9 as "Rifleman in space", the frontier town equivalent to original Star Trek's "wagon train in space"), the one who had enough book-learnin' to be cocky and know-it-all, but no actual field experience yet to teach him humility. Everyone in DS9 had their quirks, but in Bashir's case he had pretty much nothing else - he was only there because they knew they'd need a doctor, but no one had come up with any real ideas beyond "doctor" and "cocky twit." What happened later, though, was really unusual - they managed to turn him around, creating new backstory and ideas until he had evolved into one of the best characters in the cast.
(Everyone cites "Doctor Bashir, I Presume" as his big moment, but it's not - it laid in some new backstory, but the episodes that really marked the turning points were "Armageddon Game" where,
while Bashir was still annoying, the foundations for his friendship with O'Brien were laid, and "Past Tense", where Sisko only has Bashir to back him up in a dangerously unpredictable hostage situation, and Bashir proves himself absolutely reliable and level-headed under pressure.)
Art Asylum/Diamond Select's Julian Bashir, aptly enough, turned up in the line's second series, alongside his best buddy O'Brien - it just wouldn't be right to have one without the other. Since the two share so much - late-night drinking binges, historical battles on the holodeck, a running rivalry in 1960s espionage, and the 24th Century's greatest platonic manlove relationship - it's appropriate that they also share a body from the neck down (no, not a mad science two-headed man experiment, just re-use of the body,
which debuted as Sisko in series one). Strictly speaking, Bashir should have a slightly thinner frame than O'Brien or Sisko, but it's not really worth complaining about - show me an action figure line that'd really bother, with so minor a distinction - and the Dominion War-era uniforms like this were heavier than the early jumpsuit uniforms, so it all evens out in the end. The only differences with the body are paint/casting colour, for Bashir's darker skin, and the blue of his sciences division undershirt and cuff stripes.
Same articulation as always: balljoint neck at the base, swivel/pin shoulders, swivel biceps, peg elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, peg hips, pin knees and ankles. As always it's the legs that are the weak point, but if your plan (as mine is) is to just have all your Star Trek figures standing together on a shelf, the body language potential of the versatile arms and neck are sufficient for the purpose.
Normally the Star Trek line stands head and shoulders above much of the rest of the market - sadly, that isn't the case with Bashir. Granted Alexander Siddig (stage name since mid-DS9 -
he's still Siddig el Fadil on his passport, and when he directs) has one of those faces that's difficult to sculpt without it turning into a caricature, but that's sort of what's happened here - his strong, thin chin is making his face a bit too elongated, his clear cheeks are a bit too rounded, and I fancy his nose is a bit off. Under natural lighting his deeper skin tone looks more natural, which helps, but it's still a disappointment, especially coming from such a stellar line for likenesses. The neutral expression (pretty standard for action figures) is a drawback too, as Siddig rarely let his face go blank - whatever Bashir was experiencing he'd show it through his face somehow, even in tiny quirks of expression when something dramatic wasn't called for.
Like O'Brien, Bashir comes with a coonskin cap - it's the same accessory, but the minute vagaries of production have given Bashir's a slightly higher-contrast paint job, making it look slightly better. He also has the usual handful of equipment from the Starfleet Claw Machine - a hand phaser, and large and small DS9-style PADDs - and a couple of pieces more specific to him, a dermal regenerator and a raktajino mug for his regular lunches with Garak. Therefore, you're covered for pretty much everything Bashir needs to do - heal people, research stuff, be a soldier, have lunch with Garak, and argue about the Alamo with O'Brien. All that's missing is his beloved teddy bear Kukalaka.
The face is where it falls apart - everything else, body, paint and accessories, are well up to the standard you'd expect from a DS/AA Star Trek figure. But that's the reason I don't think too harshly of this one - that's a high, high standard. In Playmates' Star Trek movie line, this face would be considered good enough - it's not great, but knowing Bashir's face you can clearly see that this is him, and it's not hideously deformed or anything. He's good enough for me, as one of the collection (just Quark needed now - c'mon Diamond Select, you can do it! Oh yeah, Jake too, but let's be honest he was really more of a recurring character than main cast member most of the time), but if I were specifically a Bashir fan, I'd be a bit upset that this was the figure they faltered with.