Doctor Who: Smiler, Francesco the Vampire and Dalek Drone by Character Options

It’s been a while, but we’re finally getting the next wave of carded Doctor Who figures from Series 5 in the States. As much as I love me my Doctor Who figures, I did some serious cherry picking on this assortment, opting out of buying The Roman Auton (already got him with the Underhenge set), The Looping Angel (I must be the only Who fan that doesn’t like the Weeping Angels all that much), The Progenitor Guardian Dalek (Got me enough regular Daleks, thank you), or Prisoner Zero (Seriously, CO? That’s an accessory, not an action figure!). Add to that, one of the figures I did buy, The Smiler, I mistaken thought was the forthcoming figure with both faces, so I probably could have skipped that one too. Plus, the Drone Dalek is a duplicate of the one I got in the Underhenge set, just because I wanted two. That leaves Francesco as the only figure I was really excited about. Yeah, so this wasn’t exactly a stellar assortment of figures.

The packaging is the same as we saw on the Wave 1 assortment from Series 5. The cards are a lot shorter and the bubbles are wider. The blue pattern more closely matches the vortex from the new opening credits, and of course it has the new series logo too. The back panel shows photos of the above mentioned figures. These cards are still something of a novelty to me, since I’ve only bought a handful of Series 5single carded figures this year. I still like it, especially since it’s a lot easier to get into than the clamshells that CO is still using for the Classics figures.

Let’s get the Dalek Drone out of the way first, since I’ve already reviewed this figure as part of the Underhenge Set and I don’t have a lot more to say other than he’s exactly the same and I still love him. Seriously, this figure has made me reconsider my whole distain for the New Paradigm Daleks. They may look kind of goofy on the screen, but they make awesome action figures. He’s just so pretty and his glossy paintjob looks amazing and there’s zero slop or bleeding. Seriously, CO, you should paint all your Dalek figures this well. Supposedly, CO has wised up and is bringing all the Power Ranger Daleks out in single carded versions, and I couldn’t be happy. I’ll take a case, please.

Next up is The Smiler from Episode 2, The Beast Below. Again, CO has a new version of this figure coming out in the next assortment that should have one face on each side, which is the one I really thought I was getting when I ordered it. My God, CO, you’ve released four figures from this episode (Hawthorne, Peter the Winder, Smiler #1 and Smiler #2) and still no Liz Ten. Wow. Just, wow. Plus, if this were the old days, you just know CO would have produced a deluxe version of this figure with a booth. But, I digress. The Smiler is a very nice figure for what it is. The head sculpt is excellent and he even has that little electrical component thing on the side. As expected, there isn’t a lot of detail to work with on the rest of the figure. He’s wearing soft plastic sculpted robes, so there isn’t a lot else to see on him.

The Smiler’s articulation is severely hampered by his robes. He has hinged knees and swivels in the thighs, but there’s not much you can do with his legs. His arms rotate at the shoulders and are hinged at the elbow and swivel at the wrist. His head rotates too. It’s not up to par with most of the DW figures released these days, but that’s more because of the figure’s design elements than fault on CO’s part.

Last up is Francesco the Vampire, as his name appears on the card. Kind of odd, since technically he wasn’t a vampire but actually an alien fishman from Saturn. But, seeing as how the episode was entitiled Vampires in Venice, I guess we get where CO was going with this one. At first, I was waffling on whether to get this one or not, but having him in hand, I’m really glad I did, because he looks absolutely great. CO spared no expense in their attention to the details of his Renaissance garb. I really like the attention to detail on his tunic and his sword belt. Original production shots of this figure showed him having a scabbard, but I guess this got taken out for the final figure. You can still slide his rapier into the belt, though, and it looks good. The head sculpt is excellent, and the paint apps are clean. I think the teeth could have been accentuated a bit more in the sculpt and paint just because they should have been more dominant looking.

Francesco has standard articulation for the current figures. His head rotates, his arms rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows and swivels in the biceps and wrists. His legs have universal joints in the hips, but his tunic inhibits most of the movement here. He does have swivels in the thighs and hinged knees.

With the exception of the Dalek Drone, I can’t say any of these figures are must-have additions to every collection. The Smiler is a solid figure, but he’s certainly not destined to be an iconic Doctor Who baddie. Francesco is an excellent figure, but being the one-off villain that he is, some collectors may want to pass on him. The good news is that these figures seem to be retailing for a lot less than the first Series 5 wave, which certainly may influence a lot of purchases.

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