Doctor Who: 1:6 Scale Judoon Captain by Character Options

I’m more than willing to accept my share of the blame for CO bailing on their 1:6 scale figure line. I only own two of these things and I think they’re pretty amazing. So, its not like I did my part for sales, although I must say I’m tempted to pick up some of the others some day when I’m caught up on all my other wish lists. Nonetheless, last time we looked at their 12″ Cyberman, and this time its their even more impressive Judoon Captain. So, without further ado… Ma-Ho!

The Judoon comes in the same style box as the Cyberman. Its perfectly serviceable, very collector friendly and the window shows off the figure nicely. The back panel has a small blurb about the Judoon, although this figure was released before Series 4, so there’s nothing in there about them being the stormtroopers for the Shadow Proclamation. The box is also a lot thicker than the Cyberman’s box, as needed to accomodate this heavy brute of a figure.

Once out of the box, the Judoon Captain is a thing of absolute beauty. That is, if you’re partial to hulking, heavily armed space rhinos. The figure is, however, amazingly well executed in just about every way. The sculpt is phenomenal, from the head to the excellent detail on all the buckles and fringe of his leather outfit. Those of you who own the 5″ version of these guys already know that you had to buy the Judoon either helmeted (Trooper) or without the helmet (Captain). There’s no such compromise here, as this version comes with a removable helmet that locks into place quite nicely.

Two of the biggest drawbacks about the Cyberman were lack of accessories and articulation. The Judoon Captain fixes both of those. Besides his helmet, the Captain comes with a laser pistol that fits snugly in his holster and can be held in his right hand. He also comes with a language assimilator, which can be plugged into the port just under his neck, and he has a brainwave scanner. Both the scanner and the assimilator also clip onto his belt.

As for the articulation, the Judoon’s head does not turn, which is probably to be expected. His arms rotate at the shoulders and have some limited lateral movement. His legs have universal movement in the hips, his ankles have limited mobility and both his elbows and knees are hinged. He also has swivel cuts in the biceps, thighs and wrists.

I’ll confess that the Judoon are my favorite of all the aliens introduced in the modern Who series, so yeah, I’m a bit partial here. But I don’t think I’m overstating it when I say this guy is just awesome and is easily one of my favorite one-six scale figures in my collection. Character Options just nailed all the points and produced a great figure. The only thing that could have made this figure any better is if it talked.

The original retail was $29.99, but if you look hard enough, you can still find this guy for closer to $20. In fact, last time I checked even the Toys R Us was selling it on their US site, so there’s no excuse not to hunt one down.


Doctor Who: 1:6 Scale Cyberman by Character Options

Those of you who have been collecting CO’s Doctor Who figures for a while will no doubt remember that in addition to the 5″ figure line, the company also dabbled in 1:6 scale versions. There were quite a few of these made and since they’re rapidly becoming all but forgotten, I thought I’d parade out the only two of these figures that I currently own. Today, we’ll start with the Cyberman. DELETE!!!

The packaging is pretty nice, and should be instantly familiar to anyone collecting the CO Doctor Who figures from the beginning. Its got the 2005 style logo and the whole orange box motif with a nice big window to show off the figure. Its also very collector friendly, as you can slide the figure and tray right out and return him to the package for display if you desire. The back panel has a blurb about the new Cybus Industries Cybermen and some nice screen grabs from the show.

The thing that may stir up some discontent over this figure is CO’s decision to go with a cloth bodysuit worn by the figure under the armor pieces. The cloth is colored to look like its supposed to be mesh or some kind of flexible metal, but I know some fans have suggested that this looks more like what it is, fabric, and doesn’t do the figure much credit. I can see where critics are coming from on this matter, but personally, it doesn’t bother me. If you watch Rise of the Cybermen, you can see that there is supposed to be a more flexible material between the armor pieces. I think what CO did here was to avoid just making a larger copy of the smaller scale figure. Overall, I’m glad they did it, as it certainly adds some nice complexity to the figure.

The sculpted plastic armor, on the other hand, shouldn’t garner much criticism from fans, as its executed very well and is very faithful to the suits worn in the show. The head, in particular is very accurate. The raised Cybus Industries crest looks awesome, I love the pistons on his arms and legs, and the inclusion of the arm gun suggests these are based on the Cybermen seen in Army of Ghosts and Doomsday. Overall, this is a great looking figure.

The Cybermen’s articulation is basic and does just enough to get by. No more, no less. The package claims 14 points of articulation, but I confess I haven’t been able to find them all. The head turns, the arms rotate at the shoulders, the legs rotate at the hips and there are hinged joints for the elbows and knees. The joints in the legs are also severely limited. For a 1:6 scale figure to not have better articulation is pretty much unforgivable these days, as it was a few years back when this figure was produced. In fact, its doubly irritating to note that CO’s 5″ figures nearly all have better articulation than this big guy. Still, there are plenty of companies out there producing what are essentially 1:6 scale statues and calling them action figures, so it could be far worse. Honestly some kind of swivel joint in the arms or elbows would have gone a long way to improve this guy.

I seem to recall paying around $29.99 for this Cyberman back when he was released. Yeah, that’s a steep price for a figure with limited articulation and no accessories, but considering its an import of a Doctor Who figure, its not a ridiculous sum. Even years later, there’s no shortage of these figures on the market and they can usually be had for less than the original retail. No doubt a big factor in CO’s decision to stop producing the figures in this larger scale. Still, its a great sculpt and a fantastic display piece. Not to mention it allows me to create some dream crossover scenes with my 1:6 scale Star Trek figures.

GI JOE Rise of Cobra: Sting Raider (TRU Exclusive) by Hasbro

During the tail end of the 25th Anniversary Collection, Hasbro re-released the classic Cobra Water Moccasin and renamed it the Sting Raider. The production and distribution on this toy were low and terrible and so if you managed to get one without getting raped on Ebay, you were very, very lucky. It was a real shame to bring back such a great old toy only to have it be so hard to get. As a consolation prize, Hasbro has brought it back once again, this time as a TRU Exclusive and with a completely new (ie. somewhat funky) paint job. Still, beggers can’t be choosers, so I grabbed this baby up as soon as I saw it.

I have no idea if this toy is supposed to be part of the Rise of Cobra or the Pursuit of Cobra. It says both on the box, but given the prominance of the RoC moniker and the style of the package, I’ll consider this one of those “expanded universe” type toys from the RoC movie line. Not that it matters either way. The box is amazingly small. In fact, it looks too small, like its some kind of optical illusion or something. Nonetheless, the mostly assembled boat is in there, along with two figures, Copperhead and Swamp Viper, and some accessories. All you need to do is attach the rear rudders, the gun on the turret, and apply the stickers. Yes! Stickers!! I love applying stickers!

The boat itself is a pretty simple toy, but its every bit as awesome as I remember it. Actually, I never owned this one as a kid, but every now and then my friend and I would swap a GI JOE vehicle or two for a week and I remember having a blast playing with this one for a short while. There’s not a whole lot of moving parts or features on it, but its a great looking little attack boat. The gun turret does turn and the guns elevate, the cockpit lifts off to get Copperhead inside, the rudders turn, the engine prop spins with the help of a thumb wheel, and there’s a detachable “torpedo” on the bottom. There are also two removable compartments that allow you to stow extra weapons and gear.

But with the good, it seems you have to take the bad. Or at least, the not so good. In the case of this Sting Raider, for most people that’s going to be the paint job. Its an odd green and red camo motif, which makes no sense from a tactical standpoint, but I have to admit makes for a rather striking looking craft. Its not my first choice for colors, and it may make fans still prefer paying out the ass on Ebay for the 25th Anni. release, but in this case, I’ll take it. There have certainly been some far more unfortunate color schemes in the world of JOE (*cough* Tiger Force *cough*).

The figures are a bit of a mixed bag. Copperhead is definitely cool, but not as cool as the version that came with the illusive 25th Anniversary toy. Its the same basic mold, but different paint apps. He has some curiously tight shoulder joints, but apart from that he’s a great figure. The Swamp Viper seems to be a cross between a HISS driver and Wild Weasel. I still dig him, despite his impossibly shaped helmet. Its also cool to note that both figures come with personalized display stands, rifles and combat knives that fit into the their sculpted sheathes.

This set retails at $19.99, which is a pretty great deal for what would be a considered a Bravo Class vehicle and two figures. Its even better when you consider how much the 25th Anni. Sting Raider would set you back. Yeah, you have to stomach a wild paint job, but honestly its grown on me to the point where I’m no longer tempted to go through the trouble of taking it apart and repainting it. Of course, it is a TRU exclusive, so finding it may be tough for some people, especially with how few TRU stores are left these days. If you can find it, I definitely recommend it.

Transformers Power Core Combiner: Smolder and Chopster by Hasbro

Last time we looked at the new Power Core Combiners, it was one of the five-piece sets with drones. This time we look at the other variety, which is a single PCC Commander, Smolder bundled with his minicon partner, Chopster. Keep in mind that all the Commander figures can be combined with any of the drones, but if you don’t yet have any of the drone sets, you’ll have to be content with combining your figure with his minicon buddy. Deja Vous? Yeah, its Armada all over again… sort of. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The packaging here is pretty decent. Smolder comes carded in robot form beside his minicon, Chopster, also in robot mode. Its a simple, wide card and bubble, and not much to write home about. I was surprised to see Hasbro grade this guy as an Intermediate difficulty conversion. Don’t forget, these Commander figures are basically Scout class sized and honestly, they’re easier to transform than most of the movie based Scout figures we’ve been getting for the past year or so.

Smolder has a really nice and unique looking robot form. I really dig the way the cab of the truck forms his feet and I like the extensions for his shoulders, each with a Decepticon emblem. The only thing I’m not crazy about here is the way the bright blue combiner pegs are extremely visible and hang off his knees. Apart from that, I do like his red and black paint job and he has solid articulation for this size of figure. All in all, this is one cool Con.

In vehicle form, Smolder is a Fire Emergency Response Vehicle. Yep, he’s a Decepticon and an Emergency vehicle! Again, its a pretty good vehicle for the size. There’s decent detail in the grill and light bar. I also love the flaming Decepticon logos on the sides. There’s not much robot kibble unless you luck underneath him and he rolls along really nice. Smolder has a minicon peg on top so that you can mount Chopster.

The minicons in this series aren’t quite the same as what we saw in previous series like Armada. Instead of transforming into vehicles themselves, they’re more like triple changer Targetmasters, and that right there is pure awesomeness wrapped in cool, because I’ve always loved the whole Targetmaster concept. Its also a lot better idea than just sticking little vehicles all over bigger transformers to “power them up.” Chopster can transform into an energon axe for Smolder’s robot mode, a cannon for his vehicle mode, and he can also transform into power up armor that mounts onto the front of Smolder’s chest. Ok, so he’s actually a quadruple changer. Truth be told, the armor piece doesn’t look so hot, but the energon axe is really cool. Kind of sucks for Chopster, though, since he has to get smashed into Autobots all day. His robot form is about what I’ve come to expect from the minicon figures. He’s not terribly remarkable, but he does have a pair of gatling guns for arms, so he’s got that going for him.

I only have the one set of drones, the Combaticons, so we’ll have to settle for using them to show off Smolder’s combined form.

It works, but I don’t think he looks as good as Bombshock’s combined form. Then again, the color scheme is pretty off. I think he’ll look better combined with some of the Autobot drones, but that’ll have to wait until I get my hands on some more of these.

Smolder and Chopster retail at $9.99. I think that’s a pretty decent price. At first I wasn’t so crazy about the use of translucent plastic on the minicon, but I have to admit his energon axe mode makes it worth while. Smolder is a nice looking figure and he fits in really well with other Scout figures from Energon or Cybertron.

GI JOE Rise of Cobra: 1:6 Scale Baroness (SDCC Exclusive) by Hasbro

It’s time for another 2009 SDCC flashback. This time, I’m going back to last year to take a look at one of Hasbro’s GI JOE offerings, the 12″ figure of everyone’s favorite Cobra femme fatale, The Baroness. Or at least the character that passed for her in the Rise of Cobra movie. Hasbro had quite a few SDCC exclusives that backfired last year (meaning nobody seemed to want them), and Baroness was one of that unfortunate group. You could pick up this figure on their website months and months after the show, and there are still tons of them up on Ebay at any given time. I’m guessing her lack of popularity was because of her ties with the largely unpopular movie, but whatever the case… in the end what we have here is a pretty mediocre figure with some exceptionally nice packaging.


Baroness comes in a black and white box with cutouts to show off the red Cobra emblem on the box inside that box. Her name is printed on the front and sides, flanked by the two pistols she used in the movie. There’s a small blurb about her on the back, which fortunately doesn’t chronicle any of that horrible crap about her being Cobra Commander’s brother or Duke’s fiance, so I can still pretend it never happened and still try to enjoy this figure. The top flaps open and you can slide out the inside box, which is glossy black and textured to look like leather or snakeskin and has a vague coffin motif because the corners are diagonal. Its a great looking box, with the gold Cobra emblem contrasting against the dark textured surface. The front flap is secured with velco.


Inside, the figure is nested in a molded red foam tray. Opposite the figure is an awesome 1940’s style Cobra propaganda poster with The Baroness showing off her, erm… hardware seductively. For me, this insert makes the whole thing worthwhile. It literally elevates the entire set, and it’s kind of a shame that it was wasted on any piece of merchandise that’s tied to this movie.


Normally, I talk price and value at the end, but I think it’s probably important to mention now that this figure retailed for under $30. These days when people think about 1:6 scale figures expectations are through the roof as well as the prices. So, now when I say this figure isn’t all that bad, keep that price point in mind. Luckily, The Baroness was one character who’s appearance didn’t change all that much for the movie, so despite the fact that the face is (allegedly) a likeness of actress Sienna Miller, this can still kind of pass for a classic style Baroness. Sort of. The outfit is pretty simple. She’s wearing a black bodysuit, which is designed to look like both fabric leggings and a leather corset. On top of that she has a trenchcoat, short in the front and long in the back and belted around her waist, with velcro on the front and the sleeves. The coat has some nice texturing around the collar and sleeves and is slit at various points along the bottom so that it doesn’t interfere with her leg poses. The outfit is rounded out by a pair of glossy black heels.



The portrait is more like a caricature of the actress. It’s certainly not great. It kind of looks like she got out of hand with the botox. But again, given the price range here and that Hasbro’s 1:6 Scale figures have never been terribly accurate representations of real people, it’s acceptable. Hasbro went with sculpted hair, which looks OK, and thankfully doesn’t inhibit the head movement, but it does float unnaturally above the shoulders. The paint apps on the face are good, and the glasses are removable. And yes, they look rather more like safety goggles than fashionable eyewear.


Baroness features a control box that’s attached to her belt. It can’t be removed, and it’s strategically placed to conceal the peg that holds the belt closed. I’m guessing this is the device she used to detonate the nano-whatever in Paris.




She also features her chromed pair of laser pistols, or whatever they were. These can be stored in holsters on her back and each holster has a retaining strap to keep them in place. These are pretty cool sculpts and the chrome finish looks good. Her hands aren’t as suited to holding them as tightly as I would like, but I was able to make it work.



Baroness also comes with a rather nice assault rifle with a shoulder strap and a scope.



I’m not going to tell you this is a great figure, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever spent thirty bucks on. As a fan of Dragon’s Danger Girl figures, The Baroness here sort of fits into that genre only with a lot fewer accessories. As a one-off figure for a questionable movie and a Con Exclusive, it is at the very least a curiosity. That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it’s all I’ve got. I don’t regret buying it, but I’m sure not going to recommend it.

Transformers Power Core Combiners: Bombshock by Hasbro

Hooray… in the Transformers aisles, The Revenge of the Fallen figures are finally subsiding in favor of some new, more original material. I’ll be the first to admit that I bought a lot more ROTF figures than I had planned to, so I’m not hating on them, but the movie has come and gone so long ago, its about time we get some more original stuff before Transformers 3 rolls out and we have to start this all over again. So what does Hasbro have in store for us between movies? They’re called Generations and Power Core Combiners. Truth be told, I was hoping to find some of the Generations figures, but I had no such luck, so today, we’re going to look at one of the later.

When I first heard about the Power Core Combiners gimmick, I was pretty skeptical. The idea of having one true Transformer combining with either minicons or non-transforming drones gave me fevered flashbacks to the days of Energon Optimus Prime. But then I saw some pictures of the figures, and I was willing to give them a chance. The transforming figures are called Commanders, and they come in two types of sets: One type pairs a Commander with a minicon, and another bundles a Commander figure with four drones. Today, we’re going to take a look at the first of the Decepticon sets, which consists of five military vehicles and are called… what else? The Combaticons!

The packaging is similar to the type Hasbro used for those exclusive repackage sets of the Energon Aerialbots and Combaticons a little while back, only smaller. The Commander figure, Bombshock, comes in his robot mode and is flanked by his four, nameless drones: An armored car, an APC, a rocket truck and a tank. The back panel shows the toys combining into their gestalt form. All in all, its ok packaging, only a little more derivative of the Revenge of the Fallen design then I would have liked. Its fairly collector friendly too.

The first thing I noticed about Bombshock is that he’s smaller than I thought he would be. I was expecting the Commander figures to be Deluxe sized and the drones to be closer to Scouts. As it turns out the Commanders are definitely Scout classes and the drones are even smaller. Bombshock actually fits in really well with the Energon Combaticons, check him out standing beside Energon Blackout.

Size aside, there’s definitely an homage going on here, as Bombshock has a few similarities to the G1 Combaticon leader Onslaught, particularly with the way his two cannons sick up behind the back of his head. The colors are a solid military mix of green and gray with some yellow thrown in to brighten things up.

Bombshock is a little stocky, particularly in the legs, but he does have decent articulation, with ball joints in the shoulders, elbows, hips and hinged knees. You can also position his back cannons forward to give them a more functional position for his robot mode. As far as robots go, he’s nothing amazing, but he is a solid figure. He reminds me a lot of an Energon-era figure, which is not a bad thing and I’m happy to see the more boxy G1 style coming back over the bionicle-styled Bayformers.

Bombshock’s vehicle mode is a sort of artillery truck, much like his predecessor Onslaught. It rolls along on six wheels and has a rotating turret with guns that elevate. I think his robot form took priority over this form, because some aspects of it are a little sloppy, like the way the combiner pegs hang off the back bumper. Still, for a Scout sized vehicle, it isn’t bad.

I don’t have a lot to say about the four drones. They look decidedly less detailed and more toyish than Bombshock’s vehicle mode. They do have some decent paint apps, and each one has a Decepticon logo. As expected, they also don’t do a whole lot, except roll along and some of their weapons turn. They’re certainly more interesting than the drones that came with Energon Optimus Prime, and I can imagine that kids could have some fun with these.

Surprisingly enough, the combination feature works extremely well with this set. Getting Bombshock into his torso mode is pretty easy and once that’s done, all you have to do is peg on each of the drones to their appropriate spot. The rocket truck and tank form the arms and the armored truck and APC form the legs. You can switch them off left or right, but you can’t make a leg into an arm or vice versa like you could with the old Scramble City style combiners. The drones all have spring loaded mechanisms that transform them automatcally as you peg them in. It works well, so long as you aren’t holding any of the parts that need to transform.

The Combaticon’s gestalt mode (Bruticus? Ruination??) is pretty good. Yeah, his limbs look somewhat like cobbled together junk, but he’s much, much better than the Energon combiners and he doesn’t look any worse than most of the G1 combiners either. His head is definitely inspired by G1 Bruticus. What’s most impressive is that the gestalt mode doesn’t require any additional pieces, which is pretty much a first for Transformers combiners, and the result is a very solid figure. You can play around with the combined form without having to worry about bits falling off or limbs coming loose. Its very cool.

This set retails at $19.99. Considering that Scouts are going for around $7.99 at some retailers, I don’t think this is a bad deal. Sure, four of the pieces in the set don’t transform into robots, but I think the set is pretty well designed and comes across as one of the better combiner toys we’ve seen out of Hasbro in a while. I was iffy about it when I made the purchase, but I have no regrets after playing around with it for a while and I’m looking forward to picking up the future releases.

10 Random Thoughts About This Year’s SDCC

(Mostly Toy Related)

1. Holy Shit, USA Network is doing a prequel movie to Burn Notice with Sam Axe as the main character!!!

2. I saw nothing that made me want to get a Club Eternia Subscription for 2011. Sorry Matty. The core characters are drying up.

3. GI JOE will be getting a lot more of my money over the next couple of months then I had previously thought. Nearly all the figures are homeruns and most of the vehicles look great too.

4. Star Wars will be getting a lot more of my money over the next couple of months then I had previously thought. Those vintage style figures are sucking me back in.

5. The Transformers were treated like Hasbro’s red headed stepchild. Nothing new or interesting and I was totally unimpressed by the teaser clip from the new series.

6. Based on the new trailer, the next season of Weeds has a good chance of redeeming itself from the mediocrity of the last season.

7. I probably have ZERO chance of ever owning that amazing classic Tron figure. This makes me sad.

8. The Star Wars and GI JOE dioramas shown off by Hasbro made me wish I had a huge garage and mad skillz with paper mache.

9. With the possible exception of the TRU Exclusive Mego-style figures, I probably won’t be buying any more of Mattel’s Ghostbusters figures. Oh, and the idea of needing a subscription for this line is laughable.

10. As much as I tell myself I’m done with Marvel Universe, I think I have to have those Galactus and Sentinal figures.

And that’s really all I came away with based on the news feeds we’ve been getting. On a side note, I did make a trek up to Toys R Us this morning and found all kinds of great stuff, including some of the new Transformers. I could have easily dropped $150 without even thinking about it, but luckily I was able to restrain myself and just pick up a few things.

I should have a couple of new posts up tomorrow.

Transformers: 25th Anniversary Soundwave (SDCC 2009) by Hasbro

What with the SDCC going full guns as we speak, I thought it would be cool to take at my favorite SDCC Exclusive from last year’s Con: Hasbro’s 25th Anniversary Soundwave. I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that Soundwave was one of my all time favorite G1 characters. He was cold, calculating, had a cool voice, and he was the only Transformer that carried his own menagerie of pets around wherever he went. Sadly, Soundwave hasn’t gotten all that much love in the post G1 years. He got turned into a missile truck for G2, a jet in Energon, and the closest he’s come to appearing in his G1 likeness was as a goofy little guitar playing robot in Transformers: Animated. Yep, poor Soundwave.

The packaging on this set is absolutely stellar. The deco is definitely G1 inspired, and the silver Anniversary tab makes the package really stand out. The back shows great photos of the toys as well as a complete biography. The figures are all packaged in their robot forms, which makes for a striking presentation, with Soundwave centered and his cassette minions: Buzzsaw, Laserbeak, Rat Bat and Ravage flanking him on all sides. What’s more, the packaging is completely collector friendly, which is awesome because in the past year, I’ve had this set in and out of the box more times than I can count.

Soundwave is exactly as I remember him, albeit just a tad looser than I would have expected a new toy to be. His stickers come already applied, which is fine because they were applied pretty well. He’s simple enough to transform and while his alt mode may be hopelessly outdated, his robot mode always did a fine job resembling his animated counterpart, which was more than a lot of the original Transformers could say. Soundwave comes with a gun that has three chromed rockets and a shoulder cannon, both of which convert into “batteries” for his cassette player mode. And of course, any of the cassettes can be stored in his spring loaded chest compartment.

Buzzsaw and Laser Beak are of course repaints of the same figure. Buzzsaw was the tape that came with the original issue Soundwave, although Laser Beak was the one that got most of the screen time in the cartoon. I’ve always been impressed with their robot bird modes, as they look great and even offer a fair amount of articulation. Each figure comes with the two chromed thruster-gun assemblies that mount on their backs.

Ravage is still a cool little figure, but unlike the birds, he’s just as two-dimensional in his jaguar mode as he is in his cassette mode. His two chromed side pieces do help to add a little depth, but as a figure, he’s always come up a little short, especially when compared to the newer version that came with Classics Hound.

Rat Bat is a really nice treat in the set, since this is the first time he’s been available in the US market. Needless to say, this is the only tape in the set that I never owned as a kid. He has a really solid robot mode, with gold plated attachments that make him stand out from his fellow cassettes.

Each of the cassettes also come with a little plastic storage case too!

This Soundwave set was a real bitch to get for those of us not attending the Con. Hasbro put it up on their site at $49.99 and it sold out almost immediately. Since they have a habit of letting their exclusives out a little at a time, I just happened to check the next day and hit the very small window when more were put up for sale and I was able to get one. Considering all the set includes, I thougth fifty bucks was a steal. In fact, the only thing I would have done differently was include Rumble instead of Buzzsaw. Apart from that, this set was a great pick up for my collection, especially since Soundwave is pretty much in scale with Classics Megatron and the Decepticons.

Doctor Who: Silver Nemesis Cyberleader and Cyberman by Character Options

Silver Nemesis was one of the very last episodes of Doctor Who to air before the show got shitcanned by the BBC in 1989. While impressions of its quality varies from fan to fan (The Doctor was up against 16th century time travellers, Cybermen and Neo Nazis!), it did give us the absolute final incarnation of the Cybermen until they were later recreated in 2006 for the modern series. This final version, though based heavily on the model that appeared back in the episode Earthshock and later Attack of the Cybermen, featured a number of key changes, well worthy of a brand new figure… or in this case, two!

The Silver Nemesis Cybermen come in a two-pack, mounted in a blister pack very similar to other recent classic-era figures. The front insert shows a photo of the characters and the back gives a brief synopsis of the episode, along with a timeline of all The Doctors. Actually, the timeline cheats a bit since it doesn’t have Sylvester McCoy retiring as Doctor #7 until his regeneration in the 1996 Fox TV movie. I don’t have much else to say about the packaging, we’ve seen it many times before, and it still works just fine. It is interesting that Character Options is still using the 2005-2009 logo for the Classic figures and have yet to adopt the current one from the Mat Smith era.

The figures represent a standard Cyberman soldier and a Cyberleader. They’re actually the same exact figure, except for the black paint on the Leader’s handlebars. They also both come with the same terrible, terrible weapon, which is basically a hunk of soft rubber that neither one can hold very well. Compared to the amazing detail that went into the Earthshock Cybie’s gun, I’m really not impressed with these accessories. But then the prop used in Silver Nemesis was vastly inferior to the Earthshock one as well.

So what’s different on these guys from the Earthshock figure? The biggest difference is in the body, which is a completely new sculpt. Gone is the chainmail style of the Earthshock Cybie (seen below on the left), and in its place are coils of wires on the arms and legs. The former Cybie’s big ski boots are replaced with smaller boots, but the newer versions have much, much bigger hands. Both figures have a nice level of detail, although the new version includes some wash over the paint, which makes the foil jumpsuit look more textured and realistic.

The cowl that hangs over their shoulders and chests are mostly identical, with the main difference being the black plate in the center of theEarthshock version’s chest. Obviously, the Cybermen got tired of people grinding up gold into these cheesegrater plates and did away with them. There’s also an extra helping of clear tubing that runs into the back of the Silver  Nemesis Cybies. As for the head sculpts, the only major difference there is the weapon or sensor cluster sculpted into the top of their heads and the fact that the chin plate on the older model is more transparent.

The articulation on the Silver Nemesis Cybies adds just two swivel cuts in the thighs that were unfortunately missing from the Earthshockfigure. Otherwise, you get rotating shoulders, swivel cuts in the biceps, wrists, and waist, hinged elbows and knees and universal movement in the hips. The heads do not turn, but then I’m pretty sure they couldn’t turn their heads in the show either. Basically, this is the level of articulation we’ve come to expect from this line of figures, and while ball jointed shoulders would be nice, what’s here isn’t at all bad.

While the overal 80’s Cyberman is still my favorite design, I don’t have a huge preference over the differences here. I will, however, say that the overall quality on my Earthshock Cyberman is a notch above these new guys. The sculpt seems a bit more detailed and crisper, and I think the detail in the body just pops more on the older figure. The new Cybies’ hands are a bit soft and I’ve already expressed my dismay over their reluctance to hold their weapons. Although, I will say that the added tubing on the new figures is very nicely done. In the end, its almost a toss up, but I’ll give the Earthshock figure the nod. I was considering buying a second set of these, but now I think I’ll just invest in two more of theEarthshock figures. Either way, Character Options did an amazing job incorporating every little detail of the differences into these figures.

While previous classic-era two packs have sold for $49.99, these Cybermen were released at only $34.99, which really isn’t that bad. Granted the previous fifty dollar sets all included a version of The Doctor. But considering the Earthshock Cybermen sell for around $15-18 each, this set seems to be priced just right. And army builders will be happy to know that just a few dabs of silver paint can turn your leaders into warriors. Now, all Character Options really needs to do is give us the model from Revenge of the Cybermen and we’ll be all set.


Star Wars: Super Deluxe AT-AT Walker by Hasbro, Part 2

Ok, so last time we looked at the packaging and the exterior of the toy. This time, we’ll see what’s going on inside. I’ve had a hell of a fun time digging out my totes of Star Wars figures and setting them up in and around this beast. We’ll take a look at each of the three main components of the AT-AT, namely its head, body and rear garage.

The Head:

The head’s cockpit opens up similarly to the old Kenner toy. You just lift up the hatch to reveal the inside. The early boasting point of this toy’s size was that the head could hold six figures. Can it really? Well, yeah, but only if they’re packed in like sardines. Plus, there are some early reports that the new Vintage Collection General Veers is too tall for the head!

There are two seats for the drivers (but remember, you only get one!) and then six pegs total in front of and behind the tactical screen. The idea here is that you can get two figures in front and two behind. I’d say the maximum capacity of the head without getting ridiculous is more like five, as I can comfortably fit two guard types behind the screen and one in front, or vice versa and have it look ok. Don’t get me wrong, this is a huge improvement over the original Kenner AT-AT’s two-seater roadster head.

The tactical console has a button that will activate a number of phrases, some of which will cause the screen to light up blue. There’s a sticker of the Hoth shield generator that can be applied, but if you choose to leave your AT-AT less scene specific, the light up effect of the screen still looks pretty cool without the sticker. I’m actually considering removing mine. The rear hatch that supposedly leads into the neck is really well done and actually looks like it should open.

There is a concealed handle in the top front of the AT-AT’s hull that works the head movement. When it is concealed, the head locks in a position so that its looking straight. Pull out the handle and the head goes somewhat limp so that it can be moved up, down and side to side by the handle. It would have been cool if the chin lasers could be operated with this device, but those are operated with slider switches under the head itself. The handle also has two fold out cannons so that you can leave it out and it will still look as if it serves a real purpose on the vehicle. That’s a nice touch. There are also three buttons near the handle, which activate different battle sound effects.

All in all, the head upgrade is about on par with what Hasbro did with the recent Millenium Falcon cockpit. Its definitely roomier, fits more figures and adds a load of play value to the toy.

The Body:

The main body of the Walker opens up on both sides in a gullwing fashion. The bottom portion folds down to form a platform with pegs to hold extra figures. These can also be used as boarding ramps, if you have a surface about the right height, as well as staging platforms for the winches positioned on each side for ferrying troops up and down to and from the surface. The winches are mounted on arms that swing out. A single button drops them and a disc can be turned to raise them back up. Each lift can hold two troopers at a time.

The inside cabin features a trench with a ladder on the wall, a lower platform area, and a raised platform area with a console and a window that looks into the rear garage. The console has a button that activates various phrases, some of which cause the red alert light in the cabin to flash. There are plenty of pegs, two side rails, and two removable console posts, that I chose to leave out because they tend to get in the way. The trench leads to the trap door in the belly of the Walker, which also has a winch, and can be used to recreate Luke’s demolition of the AT-AT in the film, or as another venue for getting troopers down to the surface.

Again, the main cabin is a huge improvement over the old toy. Both toys hold a lot of figures, but this one definitely holds more than the electronic POTF2 or Endor AT-ATs and provides a more interesting play environment. The fact that both sides open also makes it easier to get to everything inside.

The Garage:

The back of the walker opens up to reveal the speeder bike garage. A button deploys the platform that the speeder locks into, accompanied by a sound effect. You can also store more figures in here if you choose to leave the speeder out. There are also windows that can be opened on either side to give your Stormtroopers some much needed target practice.

The speeder bike itself is ok, but it suffers from the very flimsy rubbery plastic that make up the handle bars and the stabilizer boom. I definitely prefer the older one I have that’s closer to the old vintage Kenner toy. Either way, the new figures don’t sit all that well on it, but you can work something out if you’re determined enough. Its a nice enough bonus to round out the package, but nothing special.

I will admit, I was a little worried about buyer’s remorse when I pre-ordered this beast, mainly because I just don’t collect Star Wars toys like I used to. It took me a lot of waffling before buying the huge Millenium Falcon last year, but I never regretted that, and the same is true with this monster of an AT-AT. It seems only slightly less substantial then the Falcon, but that’s probably because a great deal of this toy’s size comes from its legs. And to be fair, its debuting on the toy shelves for about $50 less than the Falcon did. Either way, I’d say it was well worth the price and I highly recommend it, unless you’re willing to wait for the vintage style packaging on the TRU exclusive later on down the road. Detractors may well point out that its still not close to scale, but the only time I find this really apparent is when its seen next to the Snowspeeder. As far as the figures go, its plenty big enough!

While my Star Wars collection is a far cry from what it used to be, this AT-AT makes a nice addition to my showpieces like the big Falcon and the Imperial Shuttle. I’m also very glad I hung on to most of my Imperial figures because now they have somewhere to live.

The only thing I’m afraid of now is that owning this is going to pull me back into collecting a lot more Star Wars figures and toys this year than I had previously planned.