Having barely recovered from holding in my hand an action figure based on The Master as played by Anthony Ainley, Character Options delivered the rapid one-two punch by leaking photos of another Classic Master figure, this time the original as played by Roger Delgado. In a bewilderingly fast turnaround, leaked photos turned into finished product and scarcely a month later I now hold in my hands The Claws of Axos set, which is comprised of the aforementioned Master and a Krynoid… no, wait… I mean an Axon.
The Master and the previously released Ainley Master represent the first two non-Doctor figures from the Classic series based on actor’s likenesses (ie. not heavily costumed aliens). This is a big deal, because CO went on record a while back saying that this would probably never happen. Granted, they were speaking more about Classic companions than anything else, but I’m buoyed in my optimism that if we can get figures based on Ainley and Delgado, then Classic companions can’t be too far behind. I realize a lot factors into it, especially differences between securing the likeness rights between living and deceased actors, but I’ve never been more confident than right now that we will see Classic companion figures.
But besides being a milestone release, the Delgado Master is also an absolutely fantastic figure. The likeness in the headsculpt is excellent, even for CO, a company that has been known for producing very good likenesses. The paint apps on the face are extremely well done, with just a tiny bit of slop along the hairline. I especially like the darker pigments around his eyes and the streaks of grey in his goatee. Even the skintone is perfect for Delgado.
The body does not feature a lot of paint apps or sculpted details, but it is a great likeness of The Master’s iconic black suit. In fact, the only place below The Master’s neck that isn’t black is the little bit of white on his cuffs that peek out from under his sleeves. He’s even wearing black gloves. It may not be the most visually stunning outfit, but it is totally in character for The Master’s wardrobe. He comes with his Tissue Compression Eliminator, a ghoulish device that basically shrinks its targets, killing them in the process. The sculpt here seems a little too cylindrical, more like a black and silver Sonic Screwdriver, but I’ll take what I can get.
The Master’s articulation is on par with the current waves of Doctor Who figures. He has a rotating neck, rotating shoulders, hinged elbows and knees, universal leg movement in the hips, and swivel cuts in the biceps, thighs and wrists.
The Axon figure has a bit of a history to it, as it started life as a Krynoid and was even originally leaked as a possible Build-A-Figure for a forthcoming wave of Classic figures. It’s certainly big enough for a BAF, but in the end the idea was nixed and it was unknown whether we’d ever actually see this figure released in any form until now. And so, the Krynoid figure was retooled and repainted to be an Axon as a companion figure needed for a Classic Master release. It’s only fitting, though, since the Krynoid suit worn in the Seeds of Doom was a modified version of an old existing Axon costume. In other words, the fact that this Axon started out as a Krynoid does not bother me one bit. On the other hand, they could have bundled the Delgado Master with just about anything and I still would have bought it.
Regardless of his origins, the Axon is a very cool looking figure. There’s a ton of sculpted details on his copious body. In fact, there simply isn’t a spot on this figure that isn’t elaborately textured in some way. The tendrils are made of bendy rubbery plastic and protrude off of his body at various points. The main complaint here isn’t likely to be the amount of effort that went into him, but that the detail makes him look more like a plant than anything else. It’s also worth noting that the tendrils on the Axon costume were a lot thinner and more stringy. Still, we can blame that partly on the similarities of the costume, and partly on CO wanting to cut costs by reusing a mold. Hey, Hasbro and Mattel do it all the time, so I’m willing to let CO get away with it now and then. And either way, I’ll be happy to buy this figure again when CO inevitably repaints him green and releases him as a Krynoid.
The Axon’s articulation is a lot more limited than most other Doctor Who figures, but I blame this more on his body type than any lack of effort on CO’s part. He has a rotating head, universal joints in the shoulders and hips, and swivel cuts in the wrists and ankles. His waist looks like it contains a joint of some kind, but mine doesn’t move at all there. I’m guessing this seam may be a holdover from the figure’s BAF origins.
The Claws of Axos set retails at around $39.99, which I think is pretty good considering the size of the Axon figure and the fact that we are getting two completely new figures in the set. CO could have easily bundled The Master with another Dalek and put it out at the same price. Needless to say I am absolutely thrilled (and still just a little bit stunned) to finally own a figure based on this version of The Master, especially one that is so wonderfully executed. Now to let my wallet recoup a bit before the release of the newly revealed Revenge of the Cybermen set.