So, last time I got a little sidetracked over my bromance with The Brigadier. Today, let’s set that aside and actually look at the figures. Having gassed on a lot about The Brig, I don’t want to sell the other figures in this set short, so I’m actually going to start with them and save Alistair for last. In fact, let’s get what is probably the least anticipated “figure” out of the way first. The Gel Guard!
Yes, it’s a lump of bubbles with a single eye and a crab claw, but I don’t want to hate on him, because I think he’s cool. The Gel Guards were globs of anti-matter that Omega was able to conjure up and animate with his pure will. He used them as scouts to venture into our Universe and further his plot to escape his anti-matter exile. One of the things I always loved about Doctor Who was the show’s unwillingness to just glue some ridges on a person’s nose and call them an alien. Nope, aliens were truly alien looking, even if that meant an actor crawling around in a bin liner. The Gel Guard represents all that is awesome about Doctor Who’s truly alien aliens.
Sure, he’s rotocast, which makes him a bit like a glorified hollow chew toy, but I can’t deny he looks great and he actually does feature one whole point of articulation, which is rather impressive for the design of the monster. You can even pop a small mag light in him and he’ll light up! It’s only natural that this guy would take a back bench to the other highly demanded figures in this set, but that doesn’t make him an unwelcome addition to my collection. In fact, I’d rather like two more, so CO can feel free to repack him with a Mike Yates or Sgt. Benton and I’ll fork over the monies.
And then there’s the lovely Josephine Grant. I’ll confess Jo was never one of my favorite companions, probably because I resented her for replacing Liz Shaw, even though it wasn’t Jo’s fault. Nonetheless, I will gladly scarf up every companion figure CO releases (yes, even Adric and Turlough… and Mel… well, probably Mel… well, maybe Mel… on clearance.) and Jo was part of UNIT so she can’t be all bad. Early test shots of this figure have been floating around the Interwebs forever and even actress Katy Manning played fast and loose with her figure by twittering it all around. Based on early shots, I was concerned about the head sculpt but now that the figure is in hand, most of my fears have been dissuaded. The likeness is ok, albeit not perfect. I think the eyes are too small and if you’ve seen Katy recently, I think you’ll agree that the figure looks more like her older self. Still, all in all I’m happy with the portrait.
Jo features the outfit she wore in “The Three Doctors”: A lavender outfit with a furry coat and her trademark platform Go-Go boots. It’s a good recreation of the outfit, and CO even went the extra mile by allowing collectors to display her with her jacket off. Yes, she comes with an extra set of arms without the sculpted jacket sleeves. All you have to do is pop out the arms, take off the jacket, and pop the other arms on. I think I like the jacketed look better, but she has better articulation without the jacket. Either way, the ability to display her in two ways is really going above and beyond for CO, especially considering this set doesn’t rely on repacks or repaints. My only complaint with Jo is that her left leg pops off rather easy at the thigh swivel. It plugs right back in, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
Jo’s articulation features ball joints in the neck and shoulders. Both sets of arms have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in her elbows, but the elbow hinges on the coat arms are virtually useless. Her legs feature movement at the hips, which is mostly marred by her dress, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees.
And then, there’s The Brig and he is one outstanding looking figure. The likeness to a young Nicholas Courtney is perfect, and he sports that wonderfully stoic look that only he can pull off when being faced with a weekly alien invasion. He has his peaked officer’s cap, which is not removable, but does appear to be sculpted separately, which means The Brig in a beret may not be far behind! Either way, I think this is one of CO’s best likenesses.
The Brig’s uniform is an amazing piece of work. Every little detail is sculpted on from the epaulettes, pockets and buttons, rank and medals, sidearm holster, gloves, belt and shoulder strap. Yes, even the UNIT patch on his arm is accounted for. It’s all here and he looks every bit the dashing hero! Aside from a small black mark on his left elbow, the paintwork on this figure is otherwise immaculate and there is quite a bit of fine paint detail, right down to the buttons and buckles. The Brig does come with his automatic sidearm, but sadly no swagger stick. I’ll also toss in that the holster is non-functional.
Alas, The Brigadier’s articulation conforms more to the older Who figures, meaning you don’t get ball joints in the shoulders. I’ll admit this is rather disappointing, since I was hoping to get some cool dynamic poses out of him. Let’s run down the articulation: The arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The legs have universal movement at the hips (although the tunic hinders it quite a bit), swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees. The head rotates. Part of me wants to bitch about the lack of ball joints in the shoulders, but when I look at how awesome and unlikely this figure is, I’m content to shut the hell up and be thankful.
There have been a lot of outstanding Classic Who Collector Sets, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that this is probably the best of the bunch. The sculpts are all excellent and the paintwork (black elbow mark notwithstanding) is among the best quality that CO has ever done. These figures are gorgeous! Between the overall quality and the great extra touches, this set really gives me a renewed confidence that CO will continue to pour the love into the Classic Who line even after the NuWho figures have gone to their new scale. And beyond the quality and the workmanship, this set crosses two very important characters off my need list and tosses in a cool monster as well. CO, if you guys were to produce only three or four Classic Who sets of this quality over the course of 2013, I would be a very happy Whovian.