Doctor Who: “The Caves of Androzani” 2-Pack by Character Options

Woo Hoo for more Who! Character Options has gone positively apeshit with their Classic Who reveals as of late. In addition to this set, the “Invasion of Time” set and the already released “City of Death” set, they have shown off pictures for 3-packs based on the enemies of the First Doctor, enemies of the Third Doctor, a set based on First Doctor serial, “The Chase” and two more based on the Fourth Doctor stories, “Image of the Fendahl” and “The Keeper of Traaken.” Holy crap that’s a lot of stuff and who knows what else they’re waiting to spring on us.

“The Caves of Androzani” set is based on one of my all time favorite episodes of Classic Who. Its well written, well acted, only has one goofy rubber-suited monster in it, and is ultimately a pretty deep story with a baddie, Sharaz Jek, that actually comes across as being sympathetic. It also ends with what I consider to be hands down the best regeneration of the show’s history as The Fifth Doctor lays down one of his lives to save Peri, a girl he hardly even knew. The set includes Peri (who last saw figure form as part of the “Vengeance on Varos” set) and her misguided and insane captor, Jek.
If you’ve picked up the previous Classics 2-packs then you’re in for a surprise with the packaging here. CO has deep sixed the compact little window boxes and went with a sealed clamshell similar to the single carded figure packaging that lasted up through “The End of Time” wave. While I will miss the little diorama inserts that came in the boxed sets, I am happy to see that CO has abandoned the 2005 logo in favor of a logo and overall deco that serves the Classic Series a lot better. It’s essentially the same style that was introduced with the single carded Leela figure, so make sure you have a pair of scissors or a razor blade handy if you want to get to the figures inside.
Obviously, CO has been squeezing every buck they can get out of their molds in order to make these relatively limited demand sets cost effective, and that means we have to buy variants of certain characters in order to get new ones. But Peri here is a prime example that CO isn’t always satisfied with a simple repaint, and is willing to do what they can to make a previously used mold as distinct as possible. Sure’ it’s Peri again, but there’s a lot of new work that’s been done on this figure to make her unique. In fact, while the lower half of this figure is merely a repaint, everything from the waist up has been resculpted in one way or another.
Below the belt, Peri featured repainted shoes and shorts. Above the belt, she’s got a brand new sculpted blouse, with longer sleeves, that’s tied around her waist. The checkered pattern is nicely painted and very clean. About the only complaint here is that the new outfit covers up too much of her, umm… assets. The head sculpt is also brand new, and while I had no problems with the previous figures’ likeness to Nicola Bryant, I think this one turned out even better. The hair sculpt is a vast improvement, now covering the ears, and the face itself is less gaunt.

Peri’s articulation is identical to the previous version. The head rotates at the neck; The arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivel cuts in the biceps, and hinged elbows; The legs rotate at the hips and have lateral hinges as well, hinged knees, and swivels in the thighs.
And then there’s the other figure, which requires me to take a moment and say. “Holy shit, someone made a figure of Sharaz Jek from “The Caves of Androzani”!!” Seriously, folks, can we now agree that nothing is off limits? There is a figure of Sharaz Jek. Who the hell knows what else CO has up its sleeve for 2012! This line never ceases to amaze me. Ok… moving on… Sharaz Jek led the  android-based resistance on Androzani Minor and was betrayed and badly burned by a mudburst on the planet, hence the reason for his stylish S&M mask. There isn’t a hell of a lot of detail on this figure, as Jek is just a thin guy in a leather jumpsuit, but the sculpt is certainly accurate to the character on screen, right down to the sculpting and paintwork on the mask.
Jek comes with a swappable head revealing his horribly burned face. Granted in the episode his real face was just a lump of melted flesh, I’m not overly impressed with the way the exposed face came out. Much like the additional head that came with the Weng Chiang figure, I doubt I’ll ever be using this one for display. Still, it’s a nice extra.
In addition to Jek’s swappable head, you get one other accessory in the set and that’s the android head. It’s kind of an odd accessory, as there isn’t a lot you can do with it, but Jek’s androids did play a pretty big role in the episode, so I guess it’s understandable.

Generally speaking, these 2-Packs have been running around $35-40, depending on where you get them. I paid just over $40 for mine with shipping figured into the price. Yes, $20 a pop is a premium for a 5″ figure, but when you consider that they’re Classic Doctor Who figures being purchased in the United States, I think the extra padding in the price is worthwhile. It’s certainly no less justifiable than the $20 a pop that people will be paying for the 3 3/4″ subscription figures from the GI JOE Fan Club. I’m certainly plenty satisfied with this set, particularly since Peri featured a lot more new tooling than I expected.

Only five more days until the Doctor Who Christmas Special, so I’ll be keeping the Who love going in just a couple of days with a look at that other Classics 2-Pack based on the “Invasion of Time”!

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