Doctor Who: Planet of Fire 5th Doctor and The Master (SDCC Exclusive) by Character Options

For a while now, Character Options has been dancing around giving us certain characters from the classic show. We’ve gotten all The Doctors, and our share of aliens, but the “human” characters have been off limits. With the release of this set, we’re one step closer to breaking that unfortunate lock out. The “Deadly Assassin” Master previously released was all well and good, but I, like many fans, were waiting to get a figure based on one of the proper incarnations of this evil Time Lord, and now we have it. The Planet of Fire set gives us another version of the 5th Doctor plus The Master as portrayed by the late, great actor Anthony Ainley.

The packaging here is the same type we’ve been seeing on all the classic style two-packs. The logo and artwork is based on the 2005-2010 series and the figure is sealed in a clamshell. An insert on the bottom shows off images of The Doctor and The Master and the back panel has a blurb about the episode and The Master. The 2010 SDCC logo is printed in the upper right hand of the card. Planet of Fire has never been one of my favorite episodes, but it does introduce the appealing companion, Peri, and it is a pretty good final showdown between The 5th Doctor and The Master. Ainley would also reprise his role to face off against both the 6th and the 7th Doctors in future episodes. Oh yeah, Planet of Fire also sees the departure of Turlough… good riddance!

Before getting started, here’s a quick and possibly unnecessary disclaimer on The Master as he is portrayed in this set. Technically, this is not The Master, but rather the shape-shifting android, Kamelion, assuming the form of The Master, who was in actuality stranded in his TARDIS in a… um… diminished state. Its only really relevant because The Master never actually wore a suit like this and this was an opportunity for CO to create an Ainley Master while reusing some parts from the John Simm Master. Do I care? Nope. If CO sees fit to release a proper Master figure later on down the road, I will pick it up, if not, I’m perfectly happy with this one. Its amazing how easy I am to please when dealing with a figure I thought I’d never get.

At first glance, many thought that this Master’s body was a complete reuse of the body used for the John Simm Master, but that’s not entirely the case. The arms and legs are the same, but the torso has significant differences. The details on this new figure’s jacket are much better sculpted, he’s wearing a vest under the jacket, and the wrinkles sculpted into the back are more pronounced. The sculpting on the Simm Master’s coat looks really soft when compared to the crisp detail on this one. The head sculpt is obviously new and quite excellent. CO did a fine job capturing Ainley’s slightly evil smirk and his mesmerizing, piercing eyes. There’s a tad of paint slop on the goatee, but nothing that is unacceptable. All in all, this is an excellent figure.

The Master’s articulation includes a rotating head. His arms rotate at the shoulders, are hinged at the elbows and have swivel cuts in the biceps and wrists. His legs have universal joints at the hips and hinged knees. He is, however, missing the swivel cuts in the thighs that many fo CO’s Doctor Who figures have.

The Doctor is also a fantastic figure, although he features far less original sculpting than The Master. The body sculpt is virtually identical to the one used for the previous single carded release, with the only difference being the celery on his lapel. I suspect it is identical to the Doctor released in the SDCC exclusive Time Crash set, released a few years back, and it may be the same body used on the one in the recent Eleven Doctors Set, both of which also feature the ornamental vegetable.

The head on this figure is a resculpt, changed just enough to accomodate the hat, which is not removable. The paint on this figure is very crisp, with the only flaw I can see being a small red dot of paint on the left shoulder of his coat. I’m not someone really interested in collecting a lot of variants of each Doctor, but I was glad to get this one because of the celery and I think the hat looks quite good on him. Right now, this one is replacing my other 5th Doctor as my main display piece. That’s how much I like him.

The Doctor features the exact same articulation as his previous releases. He has a rotating head. His arms rotate at the shoulders, are hinged at the elbows and have swivel cuts in the biceps and wrists. His legs have universal joints at the hips, hinged knees and swivel cuts in the thighs.

The set only comes with one accessory and that’s a sonic screwdriver for The Doctor. The obvious miss here is the lack of a Tissue Compression Eliminator for The Master. Oh well!

The Planet of Fire set retailed at $39.99, which is exactly what we’ve come to expect to pay for these limited issue two-packs. Sure, some might complain about the reuse of parts on The Master, or that he’s actually Kamelion and not The Master at all. Others might complain that they have to buy another Doctor just to get him. Me? I’m thrilled with this set. Its actually the one SDCC exclusive that I decided I couldn’t live without. As it turned out, it was a pretty easy set to get and many e-tailers still have it available at the original MSRP.

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