Masters of the Universe Classics: Weapons Rack by Mattel

I was really jonesinig for an MOTUC fix this month, and while I wasn’t really interested in picking up Sy-Klone, I did take advantage of a second chance to pick up Moss Man. But we’ll talk about him tomorrow. Today we’re going to check out one of the other items offered for April: The Weapons Rack. I picked this thing up strictly as an impulse buy, since I was already paying shipping on the figure. I had absolutely no idea what to expect apart from what I saw on the little product image. In fairness, I was mildly interested in picking up the previously released Weapons Packs, but opted against it since they would likely just sit in a tote somewhere. By including a display rack, Mattel was smart enough to get my money afterall.

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As with all other MOTUC releases, the goods come in a big white mailer box that says Weapons Rack right on the front. Open that up and the rest of the whole shebang comes on a huge card with the weapons rack on the left and the accessories grouped into four separate bubbles on the right. The back of the card taunts you with a bunch of figures you can’t buy anymore. Ha! The card features the same type of deco we see on the figures. It’s a remarkably attractive presentation for something as utilitarian as this set.

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The rack itself is really nicely done. I really didn’t know what to expect, but the wood grain is beautifully detailed and the pegs that hold the weapons protrude from both sides so you can store gear both front and back. There are also hooks on each end of the crossbar. The logs on the end of each of the supports allow you to clip shields onto there. It’s a very detailed sculpt with paint apps to separate the wood from the metal fixtures. It’s not all that heavy, but it is definitely sturdy and stands well.

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You get nine accessories all together. They include a shield, three pole arms, a battle axe, a mace, two guns and a short sword. Some of these pieces I recognize from figures I own, for example the halberd from Scareglow, Man at Arms’ sword and pistol, and Buzz-Off’s battleaxe. The polearms are all cast in silver while the rest of the gear are metallic red. I would have rather had everything in silver, but at least there isn’t anything pink in here. Overall, I like the assortment of gear in here and I particularly like the way the rack is set up so that you can arrange the pieces any way you want, and there’s still plenty of room for more.

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The Rack retailed at $12.99 on Matty. I can hardly believe I’m saying this about a Matty online item, but this is actually a pretty decent deal, so long as you’re buying another figure with it to defray the cost of shipping. It just seems like I got my money’s worth with it and while I love the MOTUC figures to death, good value isn’t something I usually attribute to this line.

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Transformers Generations: Thundercracker by Hasbro

Closing out this week’s Generations trifecta is Thundercracker, a pretty highly controversial figure in the TF community and one that I am so happy to finally have in my collection. Thundercracker was one of the very first Transformers I got as a kid back in ’84 and I don’t mind telling y’all I was plenty pissed when it looked like I wasn’t going to get an updated version based on the Classics mold. For those of you who aren’t more entrenched in the TF community, Hasbro went and released Thundercracker in the US as part of a set of Botcon Exclusives. This made a lot of us mad, because we thought we’d never get to complete our updated Seekers. Of course, now there are a whole slew of fans who bought the Botcon “exclusive” Thundercracker that are pissed because they got roped into spending so much for theirs. Then you’ve got the Henkei Thundercracker owners who… ah, screw it. So what can we make of all this? Here’s an idea: Hasbro… don’t take a main character, one who is integral to completing a set, and even suggest that he’s going to be an expensive exclusive. It’s a stupid idea. And when you inevitably realize that and go ahead and release the figure to the mass market anyway, you’re going to piss people off no matter what you do.

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Ok, enough with the politics and nonsense. Let’s look at the figure. Funny thing is, despite how absolutely delighted I am to finally own this guy, I don’t have a lot to say about him because I’ve looked at this mold on FigureFan quite a few times already, albeit wearing a different paint job and sometimes different wings. He comes in the standard Generations packaging. Not much more to say here. Maybe Hasbro should have put a sticker on the bubble that says “No Longer An Expensive Convention Exclusive!!!” Thundercracker is carded in his jet form with his missiles and launchers mounted beside him. He looks great and has a nice little bio blurb on the back of the card.

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Yep, we’ve seen this mold before, and before that, and before that. If you count the remolds of the coneheads, I now own this mold no less than seven times over [Don’t forget Acid Storm!!! -FF] and that’s just because I haven’t gotten around to picking up the more G1 accurate repaint of Starscream. What else is there I can possibly say about it again? The jet mode still looks outstanding and Thundercracker’s paint job is sharp and beautiful. Well, there is one thing worth mentioning. Thundercracker isn’t saddled with a horrible looking rubsign. I realize that some collectors find nostalgia in those, but I just think they’re eyesores. Instead, Cracker’s got a couple of beautifully printed Decepticon insignia on his wings.

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The transformation remains unchanged, making this a really well designed figure. It’s cool how much of the transformation routine is close to the original toy and yet the robot mode looks delightfully close to his animated counterpart and with solid articulation to match. I think the nosecone hanging off the back of the head has started to bug me a little bit more with each Seeker released, but at least it helps you turn his head. The paintwork is fantastic and I love the tiny little Decepticon logo that’s placed right below his neck. The paintwork on the face is top notch as well. Thundercracker is an awesome looking figure and he looks great standing next to his Seeker brothers. Except… damn, I really need to get that other Starscream.

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Keep in mind that this Thundercracker figure is not the same as the one released in that exclusive Botcon set, nor is it the same as the Henkei version. It’s the same mold, but there are key differences in the paintjob. So all of you who are lucky enough to own that figure can still crow about it. Also keep in mind that with the release of Thundercracker, Skywarp has now become the Seeker that’s expensive and tough to get, since he is now the only one of the bunch that has not been released on a single card, but rather as a Target Exclusive, bundled with a pretty pointless […at least he was at the time, before Fan Project released the Apex Armor and made him worth owning. -FF] repaint of Optimus Prime as Ultra Magnus. Might as well give him to us on a card too, Hasbro.

Transformers Generations: Warpath by Hasbro

I think one of Hasbro’s biggest missteps in the Classics inspired lines was taking the old G1 Minibots and turning them into much larger toys. The modern revamps of Powerglide and Silverbolt were decent figures, but as Ultra Class toys made them too awkwardly sized to interact with the rest of the line. Silverbolt looks OK standing next to Masterpiece Prime, but Classics Prime? Not so much. Both of these figures would have been so much better as Deluxes and that’s why I’m particularly pleased that Hasbro didn’t oversize Warpath. Warpath is a gorgeous and wonderfully designed figure, and as a Deluxe I’m happy to say he fits right in with the other Deluxes on my shelf. Let’s take a look…

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Generations packaging. We just saw it yesterday. Hasn’t changed much. Warpath comes carded in his tank mode with his missile mounted beside him. The character art on the card is ok, but it doesn’t make me feel all warm, fuzzy and nostalgic. Don’t let the Intermediate skill level fool you, Warpath is really easy to transform. The back of the card has the obligatory bio blurb, which sadly doesn’t have anything about his combustable speech impediment.

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Warpath’s tank mode is obviously different than his G1 version. It’s less earthy realism and more futuristic sci-fi…ism, but the homage still works really well thanks to the amazing sculpt and the very faithful color scheme. The hull is covered with tiny little details like panel lines, rivets and vents. The faux treads are molded and the toy rolls along on concealed wheels. The turret rotates 360 degrees and the turret will elevate a bit. He has a molded rocket launcher cluster on his turret as well as an actual firing missile launcher. The missile in the launcher has an unfortunately really long tail for safety reasons. I’m still considering giving it a little snip-snip. Of course, the best thing about the tank mode is the lettering on the sides, “K4-9OW” for “KA-POW” and “ZOW-333” for “ZOWEE.” Naturally, these are meant to pay homage to Warpath’s rather eccentric way of talking in the G1 cartoon. Warpath’s other favorite forms of involuntary exposition? Blammo, Bam, Boom, and my all time favorite, Kaplowie. I get the impression that Warpath spits a lot when he talks too.

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Transforming Warpath is really quite easy and yet terribly clever at the same time. The way his arms and legs fold out is particularly cool, although some may not dig the hollow nature of his forearms. Personally, it doesn’t bother me at all. By far, my favorite thing about this figure, though, is the way the barrel depresses into his chest to give him a robot appearance more akin to his G1 animated namesake, rather than the simple Minibot toy where the barrel stayed the same length. I’m particularly fond of the way his rocket and missile launchers land on his shoulders after transformation. And the headsculpt is a perfect G1 homerun. The rest of the robot form is equally amazing. He’s solid, has great articulation, and beautiful proportions and symmatry. This is without a doubt the Warpath toy I would have loved to own as a kid.

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In case you haven’t guessed, I adore this figure. It’s easily my favorite design to come down from Hasbro in a long while, and that’s saying quite a lot since there have been a steady stream of pretty awesome Transformer in this line for a while now. Nonetheless, Warpath has everything I’m looking for in a Generations figure. He’s a great homage, not too fussy to transform, and looks great in both alt and robot forms. Get this guy in your collection. He’s a must-have if I’ve ever seen one.

 

Transformers Generations: Wheeljack by Hasbro

I can’t tell you how difficult it’s been to score any of the newer Transformers in the Generations lineup. Forget about Reveal The Shield, those never even turned up in my area. There was a time when Transformers were the only toys I collected that I could actually find on the pegs anymore, but it seems like that hasn’t been the case for most of 2011. I’ve managed to pick up Kup and Scourge, but what about Perceptor? G2 Optimus Prime? Jazz and Tracks? Grapple? or Wreck-Gar? I did get Wheeljack, Thundercracker and Warpath last week, but that’s only because I pre-ordered them online and paid a bit of a premium to get them. There was no way I was missing out on Thundercracker and Warpath. But today we’ll start with Wheeljack, and he’s no slouch either.

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Ah, Generations packaging. It’s been a while and I’m actually glad to see it. So what was the deal with Reveal The Shield? Why did Hasbro bother? Why not just release Jazz and Tracks on the Generations card? Meh, I care not. It’s just something I tear open and toss. Wheeljack comes carded in his sportscar mode with his two tools/exhaust pipes mounted next to him. I like his bio, as it suggests his inventions are dangerous. He is, afterall, the one with the brilliant idea to create the Dinobots and make them stupid, highly destructive and easily swayed to the Decepticon cause whenever the writers needed a story idea. Nonehteless, I always loved G1 Wheeljack. He was like the crazy old irresponsible uncle who would let you play with his arc-welder in the garage.genjack4

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Starting off with his alt mode, Wheeljack is a really nice homage to his original G1 version. As mentioned, I don’t yet own Tracks, but it’s really hard to believe this toy is a repaint/slight remold of that figure. You’ll hear me say that again before this review is over. No, Wheeljack doesn’t look anything like a corvette. The tools clip onto the sides of the car as exhaust pipes and look pretty good in place. I love the transparent windshield and the green and red striping is perfect. I’m still going to worry about the white plastic yellowing over time, but I guess that’s unavoidable. Oh yes, and no f’ugly rubsigns, thank god, just a nice clean Autobot insignia right on his roof. Beautiful! The sculpting on the front bumper is pretty nice, but the tail end of the car looks like it could have used a little more something. Maybe a few more paint apps would have helped.

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Transforming Wheeljack isn’t too hard, although there’s some auto-transforming that takes place in the torso, which can be a bit tricky the first time you do it. Once you’re done you get a beautiful homage to the original Wheeljack’s bot mode. Again, this figure came from Tracks? Really? The only place where I find it obvious is in the design of the shoulders, and you can fiddle about with the tires to get a different look if you want. The head sculpt is very good, but then since we’ve seen quite a few good Wheeljack inspired headsculpts over the years, it’s nothing to get too excited about. Those of you who own Tracks will notice that Wheeljack’s leg construction is a bit different and creates stubbier legs to better replicate the G1 toy’s lower body issues. Of course, if you don’t already own Tracks, there’s a good chance you’re going to break your new Wheeljack figure, as the instructions show the Tracks leg construction and instruct you to pull on your figure’s legs until they extend outward a lot more than this remold is capable of. Thankfully I had a heads up from a friend and avoided ripping my new figure apart. It’s interesting how Tracks’ wings become similar to the two wings that G1 Wheeljack had on his shoulders in robot mode. Not quite perfect, but not bad. Hasbro really planned out everything with this guy.

Besides being tools that he can hold in his hands, you can also attach Wheeljack’s exhaust pipes to his back and turn them into shoulder mounted weapons. He also comes with a missile launcher (non-firing) that can either be mounted on his shoulder, if you want to go with the more Gee Wan look, or held in his hand like a gun.

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Honestly, Wheeljack wasn’t one of the new Transformers I was most excited about getting. That’s probably because Energon Downshift has stood in as my Classics/ Universe/ Generations Wheeljack quite nicely. And also probably because he was eclipsed by the sheer joy of finally completing my updated Seekers. Still, now that I have Wheeljack in hand, he’s really quite a nice figure, and the fact that Hasbro was able to create him and Tracks from essentially the same mold is a pretty incredible bit of planning and designwork. He’s a great figure and well worth hunting down, even if you have to pay a couple of extra bucks to get him.

Doctor Who: 10 Random Thoughts About The Impossible Astronaut

I had every intention of getting another Doctor Who figure review in to round out the week, but alcohol unavoidable distractions tripped me up. As a result, I thought I’d just punctuate the week with some random thoughts about the Series Six premier episode, The Impossible Astronaut. Overall, I enjoyed it, or at least I started enjoying it about 10 minutes into it. I didn’t want to do a review proper, since it’s one story and I haven’t seen the second part yet. So here we go…

  • Moffat, knock it off with “killing” and then “unkilling” the Doctor or dipping into the “OMG, he’s going to regenerate, oh wait, no he’s not” pool. You cheapen things so much when you do this, and it’s a terrible way to start a Series.
  • Matt Smith is still amazing as The Doctor.
  • So these guys are The Silence? Really? Seems kind of anticlimactic.
  • Rory is so awesome. For the love of god, give him more lines and don’t kill him off again.
  • How is William Morgan Sheppard still alive and looking so good? He’s been old in every movie I’ve seen him in going back for what seems like decades.
  • I thoroughly enjoy when the writers work the whole Doctor who? line into the script, but it should be used sparingly and never… ever… twice in one episode.
  • OMG, they mentioned Star Trek in Doctor Who… THREE TIMES!!!
  • I really hope this story arc is wrapped up in this two parter. I’m not interested enough to see it go on for all of Series Six.
  • Who is River Song? I’m thoroughly convinced that River Song is somehow a physical manifestation of the TARDIS. I know I’m not the only one to put forth this theory, but at this point it’s the only possibility that makes sense to me any more.
  • Ugh, it’s going to be a really long week.

Oh, and Happy Easter!!!

Doctor Who: The Supreme Dalek by Character Options

Rumor has it that the Daleks may be a no-show in Series Six, and I’m perfectly fine with that. It’s not that I don’t love me some Daleks, but the writers always run the risk of using them just for the sake of using them, and not because they have a good story to tell. I think it’s cool that they have other stories to tell and aren’t willing to drag in the Daleks if they don’t fit the plans. Or maybe they’re just trying to figure out a good way to nix the rather unpopular New Paradigm Dalek designs. Either way, I thought I’d toss in some Dalek loving this weekend with a look at one of the more unique Exterminators from CO’s Doctor Who line. He’s The Supreme Dalek as seen in the Series Four finale,Journey’s End. As has been the case throughout Who history, the Supreme Dalek has been a special variation on the regular flavor and this particular grand pooba of the Daleks is no different.

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I was pretty fond of the way this guy looked in the actual episode. Granted, he didn’t do a hell of a lot apart from gloat, temporarily exterminate Captain Jack Harkness, and try to melt down the TARDIS and Donna in a giant neutrino fondue pot. When I got the actual figure in hand, however, I wasn’t quite so impressed as in toy form I thought the design looked more like an overzealos fan’s kitbash. Time has mellowed me a bit on the figure, though, and I’ve warmed up to it quite a bit.

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The Supreme stands slightly taller than your average Dalek, and that added height mostly comes from the added ring between his shoulder slats and his neck. The apron and bumper portion are the same as any old Dalek, although the arm sockets are more blocky and pronounced. His shoulder slats are largetly concealed by the four pylons that are added at each of the cardinal direction points. What’s their purpose? Who knows? They’re accompanied by more pronounced gold discs surrounding his neck area. The head is fairly similar to the regular Daleks, only with his ear lights on platforms and a third ear light in the back. This third ear light bugs me about as much as the future Enterprise in Star Trek The Next Generation just having an extra warp nacelle glued onto it. It’s gratuitous and added just for the purpose of making him look different and more advanced. Hey, at least he didn’t have a flashlight duct-taped to his eyestalk like the Supreme from Planet of the Daleks, eh?

The Supreme has the same articulation features as the other Daleks. He has ball joints for his sucker and blaster arms, he rolls along on three wheels, the front of which rotates 360 degrees, his head dome can rotate and his eye stalk can look up.

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Getting past the extra bits glued on, there is undoubtedly a lot of nice detail in this guy. The red and gold color scheme looks really good too and there isn’t a lot of paint slop or bleeding on my figure, which has traditionally been a problem with some of the Daleks figures. For all my whining about kitbashing, the truth is this figure features a fair amount of geuinely new tooling to make the differences work and it certainly wasn’t hammered out on the cheap.

Unlike most Doctor Who figures, The Supreme Dalek was ridiculously tough for me to get at first. It was initially offered at many retailers for $20, which is pretty high for a non-exclusive, non-limited figure. Nonetheless, hesitation got the better of me and I missed out. I was lucky enough to eventually track him down and at the same price and you can bet I was quick to pull the trigger this time.

Doctor Who: The Empress of the Racnoss by Character Options

In the last year or so, Character Options has become a lot more selective about how many Doctor Who characters get made into figures. I can think of at least ten figures that should have been made from Series Five alone and yet never were. But it wasn’t always like that. CO used to happily make figures of almost anyone and anything appearing in an episode. Remember yesterday’s feature with the Space Pig? But, if you ever needed a good example of how bat-shit crazy CO was about making Doctor Who figures a few years back, well here it is. The Empress of the Racnoss!!!

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Featured in only one episode, and only appearing for a small portion of that episode, The Empress of the Racnoss was certainly an awesome looking alien menace. Part spider, part alien hell-bitch, she probably scared the poop out of any little kids that watched The Runaway Bride.Unfortunately, she’s also the only memorable thing about that episode, [Ok, so the TARDIS car chase sequence was pretty cool too. -FF] and as far as a nemesis for The Doctor is concerned, she was pretty lame. She stood there, made a bunch of really stupid puns that seemed completely out of place for such an alien creature and then ultimately either burned to death or got drowned, or maybe both, I can’t really remember. But it’s not the fact that The Empress got her own figure that’s so amazing, it’s how utterly gigantic this figure is, that really impresses. The packaging is long gone, but suffice it to say, she came in one pretty damn big window box.

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Out of the package, The Empress is impressive on every level, but let’s start with the size. The torso portion is the same size as any regularDoctor Who figure, so when you tack a proportionally sized spider body onto it, well, you get the idea of how big this figure is. When standing fully upright, you can easily stand a regular Doctor Who figure under her. No, she’s not quite to scale from the show, but I’ve got no complaints.

The sculpt and paintwork on this figure are both gorgeous. The headsculpt is one of CO’s best, right down to the multiple eyes and the finely detailed teeth. She has a pair of locust-like arms hanging off of her shoulders, in addition to the eight spider legs protruding from her giant body. The body is mostly hollow so the figure isn’t terribly heavy, and she’s got a huge web spinner on her butt.

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The Empress’ legs are each fully articulated at the body and again at one of the mid joints. Her torso and head can swivel and her arms rotate at the shoulder. The leg joints are all tight, so the figure can easily stand up on her legs with no worries.

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When The Empress figure was first released she came at a pretty hefty sum. Most e-tailers were selling her for $39.99. Now, I’m not saying that it wasn’t worth it, as this is a really nice figure, but it’s admittedly a lot to pay for a fairly inconsequential villain from a fairly poor episode. It wasn’t Fear Her kind of bad, but it’s The Runaway Bride is definitely not one of my go-to episodes when I’m looking for my Who fix. It didn’t take long for prices to get slashed, though, and nowadays you can still find this figure at some online retailers for about twenty bucks, and she’s definitely worth that. In fact, I really can’t recommend her enough. It’s just too bad she didn’t come with a dozen or so little baby Racnoss. I do, however, thank CO for not giving her a voice chip.

[It may be Friday, but Doctor Who week is going to cruise on through the weekend to properly celebrate tomorrow’s premier of The Impossible Astronaut and the kick off of Series Six. -FF]

Doctor Who: Slitheen and Space Pig by Character Options

So, last time I took a look at the Autons, the first enemies to be featured in the return of Doctor Who. It seems only fitting to move on to the first original new baddies to be introduced in the New Who: The Slitheen. Not a race, but actually a criminal family, the Slitheen came from the often mispronounced and damn hard to spell planet of Raxacoricofallapatoria. With the ability to wear human skins, and a goal to nuke The Earth and get rich off the resulting energy, the Slitheen have popped up again in both Doctor Who and the spin-off series Sarah-Jane Adventures. The figure itself was available in two carded varieties. One came with the remains of a human skin suit, but the one we’re looking at today came with a way cooler bonus: The Space Pig seen in Aliens of London.

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The Slitheen certainly are creepy enough. They’ve got this killer baby vibe going on, with their big soulless eyes, puffy cheeks, and sneering mouths full of sharp teeth. They’re also hulkingly huge. I can’t say I was in love with them as an alien threat, it was hard to take them seriously with all the fart jokes, but I sure dig their overall design. The figure does the design justice in every way. It’s big, excellenty sculpted and loads of fun to play around with. The arms are ridiculously large and their open clawed hands make it easy for him to pick up other figures. The mouth is sculpted open to show off those crazy teeth and the collar that allows them to mass shift for their human disguises is really well represented.

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The Slitheen’s articulation includes a rotating neck, ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, universal movement in the hips and hinged knees. This figure is proof positive that CO knows how to produce figures with ball joints, so why they haven’t incorporated it into all their figure articulation is beyond me, but it sure works well here.

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And a Space Pig? Oh yeah. In case you missed the Series One episode, Aliens of London, the Slitheen faked an extraterrestrial first contact by genetically altering a pig to make it look like an alien, putting him in a space suit, and having it crash a spaceship into Big Ben. Ok, it’s a long story, but suffice it to say the Space Pig figure is yet more proof that Character Options was once willing to turn anything into a figure, so long as it had a moment’s worth of screentime. And that’s pretty much all the poor Space Pig got. He woke up, freaked out, and then was quickly and unceremoniously murdered by a confused and overzealous soldier.

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The figure is a little pink and portly fellow in a black and gold space suit. The sculpting on his face and paws is pretty remarkable right down to his detailed hair and his goofy expression. That would be actually my only complaint is that this piggy astronaut looks a little too happy and not all that much like the terrified porcine on the show. But then this is a delightfully ridiculous figure to begin with, so there’s not much point in picking nits about his expression. Space Pig has a diminished level of articulation, which I guess is to be expected for such a little guy. His head rotates, his shoulders rotate, and his legs rotate at the hips.

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If you’re out to get a Slitheen figure, you can’t go wrong with either of the carded versions, so what you really need to decide is whether or not you need this Space Pig. Truth be told, nobody really needs this Space Pig figure, but then why the hell wouldn’t you want it? Even if you lay aside the short lived character its based on, the very concept of a genetically altered pig in a space suit is so wonderfully characteristic ofDoctor Who you might as well have this figure displayed on your shelf. Or better yet, pick up both versions. The Slitheen is an impressive figure and well worth owning a couple.

Doctor Who: Autons Two-Pack by Character Options

When Doctor Who returned back in 2005, he didn’t come back facing down the Cybermen or the Daleks or even the Sontarans. No sir, it was the Autons. Those loveable murdering hunks of plastic controlled by the Nestene Consciousness. Strange choice? I suppose. While The Doctor faced down the Autons twice in his third incarnation, they aren’t exactly the heaviest hitters in his pantheon of enemies. On the other hand, the legal rights to use the Daleks was still up in the air and you have to admit, as animated shop dummies, putting the Autons on screen doesn’t cost a lot. And making figures out of them ain’t too big a challenge either. As figures, the Autons came in two varieties. You could either buy one single carded, or you could get a two-pack. I’ve yet to pick up the single carded version, so today we’re going to look at the pair. Afterall, one Auton is company, but two’s an invasion. Ahem.

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In case you haven’t already guessed, both Auton figures are the same sculpt, and just utilize slight variations in paint jobs in order to differentiate them. Actually, there are just a few extra paint apps on the shirt of one of the figures. This allows CO to milk the mold for every penny and let’s fools like you and I army build with ease. Both figures are wearing almost all black, with a stylish collared shirt and blazer. Afterall, chances are these guys stepped right out of through the front window at Harrod’s so it’s only right they should be dressed to kill. See what I did there? Yeah!aut1

The head sculpts are left unpainted to make them resemble manniquins and they’re pretty creepy. One has a slightly darker colored head, which I’m assuming is to make them just a little bit more different. Of course, the Auton soldier’s main weapon is the blaster embedded in his right hand, which becomes active when the fingers in the hand flip down. Engineering a hinge on the figures’ hands probably wouldn’t have worked, so CO just had the front of the hand pull off to expose a hole that’s supposed to be the gun. In retrospect, I think it would have been better to leave the peg on the hand so it would look like the gun, but this way works ok, I guess.

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The Autons feature articulation that is a little less than what’s become standard for the Doctor Who line. The heads turn, the arms rotate at the shoulders and have hinged elbows. The legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees. What’s missing? The swivels in the thighs and biceps. I’m thinking that tooling was left out to lower the cost of the figures for the two-pack. I don’t miss it all that much, since the Autons were supposed to be rather stiff and lumbering, rather than terribly flexible or agile.

So, The Autons aren’t what I would consider must-own figures in the Doctor Who lineup. That’s not to say, however, that I’m not happy to have them in my collection, particularly since this pair can really stand in for either the modern series appearance or even the appearance from the classic episodes. It doesn’t hurt that this pair goes for pretty cheap online these days, so if you’re looking for a new alien menace for your favorite Doctor figure, this is a pair that won’t break the bank.

Doctor Who: Sarah Jane Smith and General Kudlak by Character Options

Today’s entry is a little late, (technically it’s yesterday’s entry) but with good reason. I scrapped what I had originally planned in favor of something different because of the sad news we got earlier this week. Elizbeth Sladen, best known for her portrayal of The 3rd/4th Doctor’s companion Sarah Jane Smith, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 63. It’s really hard to believe since she seemed so young in spirit and full of life when in front of the camera. She always had a special place in this Whovian’s heart, as the very first episode of Doctor Who I’d ever watched was The Hand of Fear and her presence as The Doctor’s companion was as much a part of Who for me than anything else. And at the young age of about 12, I’m not ashamed to say I had quite the crush on her as well. I was thrilled when she came back to reprise her role in the current series and equally happy to see her get a well-deserved and successful spin-off, especially since the orginal attempt, K-9 and Company wasn’t so successful. While I can’t say I was a huge fan of The Sarah-Jane Adventures, the fact that she was in it was enough to get me to watch it.

Despite this being Doctor Who week, the figures we’re looking at today are technically part of the short-lived Sarah-Jane Adventures line, also made by Character Options. These figures came in sets of two, which featured a different version of Sarah and one of the aliens from the show. This set came with the Uvodni General, Kudlak from the two-part episode, Warriors of Kudlak. The figures came packaged together in an oval, tube-like box with a deco reminiscent of the series and photos of Sarah and Kudlak on the front.sjskud1

Sarah comes in a cream colored jacket with a red top, blue jeans and boots. The likeness isn’t one of CO’s best efforts, but I can see some resemblance. I think if they had gone for a more serious expression rather than the broad smile, it would have turned out a lot better. I’m guessing the outfit is from the episode in question, but it’s been a while since I saw it so I can’t vouch for it one way or another.

Sarah has fairly standard articulation for CO Who figures. Her head turns, her arms rotate at the shoulder and have hinged elbows, her legs rotate at the hips and have hinged knees. She also has swivel cuts in her biceps and thighs. She comes with her purse. And yes, this is probably the only figure among hundreds of action figures in my collection that came with a purse. Good on you, Sarah Jane! Unfortunately, I have no idea where it is now.

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Kudlak represents an alien species called the Uvodni, which have not before been seen in the Doctor Who universe, which is pretty cool. SJAfeatured a fair share of Doctor Who aliens crossing over, so there’s always a chance the Uvodni may show up again in Doctor Who proper. Kudlak’s species basically look like humanoid insects with big heads. The makeup was really well done for Kudlak in the series, and he translates very well to action figure form, as the detail in the head sculpt is impressive.

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Kudlak features a sculpted red trenchcoat. I’m not sure if that’s the latest fashion trend on his home planet, but I tend to think it was just something he wore while on Earth. It’s sculpted in soft plastic, but it pretty much hampers Kudlak’s leg articulation. CO did a nice job detailing all the chains and straps on his boots, though. In terms of useful articulation, Kudlak’s head turns, his arms rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows and swivels in the biceps. Kudlak came with some kind of alien device, but it seems to have gone the way of Sarah’s purse.

The Sarah Jane Adventures figures go for a lot less than a lot of Doctor Who figures. The sets of two usually run around $15, so in terms of the Doctor Who line, that’s almost like getting two for one in a lot of cases. The entire reason I bought this set was to get Sarah, but Kudlak was a nice bonus and a really great looking figure to boot!

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[I realize that a passing look at a couple of action figures if hardly the send off, Elizabeth Sladen deserves, but toys are what we look at here, and so it seemed oddly appropriate. Either way, I loved you in all you did, Elizabeth, and somehow watching those old episodes of Who will be just a little bit sadder an experience, at least for a little while. In fact, I’m off to watch The Hand of Fear now and shed a tear or two. -FF]