We’re just a few weeks away from the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. Sadly, Character Options hasn’t surprised us with the Classic Console Room Playset that I was secretly hoping for, but that’s Ok because I’m making my own fun by picking up some figures and sets that I passed on the first time around. Which brings us to today’s “Seeds of Doom” set. “Seeds of Doom” is a fantastic story that I don’t watch nearly as much as I should. Seriously, if I go through Tom Baker’s catalog of stories, I tend to pop this one in fairly infrequently, and I couldn’t tell you why because it’s an absolutely cracking adventure. From the beginning scene set at a remote arctic base, reminiscent of Carpenter’s “The Thing,” to a giant plant monster wreaking havoc in the English Countryside, it’s a regular rollercoaster ride of James Bond villains, horrific people-to-plant transformations, and general thuggery. It’s brilliant! When Character Options came out with their two-pack dedicated to this episode, I dismissed it as a mere repaint set and put it pretty far down on my “To Buy” list. Now that I have it, I can see that the assessment was only partially correct. Let’s check it out…
The set comes in a compact little window box that displays the figures nicely against an illustrated backdrop of the Arctic Base seen in the episode. I love these inserts because you can use them as a little display diorama for the figures. Granted, some are better than others, and his one isn’t all that exciting, but points to CO for carrying on this practice anyway. The box deco follows what we saw in the last couple releases using a “Doctor Who” logo that is somewhat reminiscent of the Jon Pertwee years and some of the diamond motifs usually associated with Tom Baker’s title logo.
The back of the package shows some stills from the episodes and a little blurb about the story. We also get to see a little of the late, great Elizabeth Sladen as Sarah-Jane Smith. While we got some figures of her from her own show, “The Sarah-Jane Adventures,” I think i’s a shame we never got a figure of her from her days as a companion, especially when CO has done so many sets based on stories hat she starred in. You obviously secured her likeness, CO… What’s the deal? Why no “Pyramids of Mars” Sarah? Why no “Seeds of Doom” Sarah? And most importantly why no Sarah-Jane and Eldrad three-pack with both male and female versions of Eldrad and a little tupperware container with Eldrad’s hand? WHY??? Ok, moving on… let’s start with the Krynoid.
Hey, that looks familiar! Well it should, because it is a repaint and slight re-sculpt of the Axon figure that was released with The Master over three years ago. Three years??? Holy crap how time flies! Anyway, before you cry foul about the repaint, it’s worth noting that the Krynoid seen in “The Seeds of Doom” was in fact a repainted Axon costume from “The Claws of Axos,” so it’s hard to gripe about CO reusing the mold for the figure when they reused the costume in the show. I seem to recall reading that The Axon figure was originally planned as a Build-A-Figure for a wave that was never released. I believe it because he’s a pretty substantial figure comprising a heck of a lot of plastic.
I loved this sculpt back then and I love it even more now. There is so much detail baked into this mold that I dare say it looks a lot better than the actual costume, which was more akin to a green bin liner with vines glued to it. While I think the sculpt itself looks more like vegetation than whatever the Axon was supposed to be, the superb paint jobs really set these two figures apart. I’m also particularly fond of the head sculpt on this thing, which is just vaguely humanoid enough to make it creepy. There is supposed to be a human at the core of that shambling mess (people turning into plants freaks me the hell out. It did in Creepshow and Swamp Thing and it does here too). It’s also worth noting that CO also equipped the figure with some new tendrils, so it isn’t the straight repaint that it could have been. That’s class, CO. Plus, for a giant, overstuffed bag of salad, the Krynoid has a fair amount of articulation. The shoulders and hips are ball jointed, and there are swivels in the wrists and ankles. The Krynoid can also swivel his head and again at the waist. Not bad.
And then there’s The Doctor as portrayed by Tom Baker. One of the reasons I was slow to pick up this set was because I already have almost a half-dozen 4th Doctor figures in my collection (and god help me, I have another in the mail to me as we speak). Yes, I wish I could send this feature back in time to my ten-year old self so he can hear me complain about having too many 4th Doctor figures. His little head would explode with jealousy and rage. Nonetheless, this figure does feature Baker in one of his more distinctive ensembles, so in the end, I was willing to break down and add him to my collection. Little did I realize that this one would be one of my favorites. That’s an odd notion for me to wrap my head around because for me the iconic 4th Doctor will always be him in his brownish-burgundy coat, not this light grey one. And yet, this figure is so wonderfully executed, it’s impossible not to set it up there among my top Tom Bakers.
Sure, there’s some parts recycling here, and to be honest, with six of these guys on my shelf now, I have no idea which one came out when or how or with what. I am pretty sure this is the same hatted head that was released as an extra with the first single carded release of Baker as The Doctor way back when. As such, it’s easily popped off, so if you want to make a version of this Doctor without his hat, it’s just a quick head-swap away. The portrait isn’t superb, but it’s Ok and to be honest it’s one that always looks slightly better in person mainly because of the eyes. Baker’s distinctive likeness must be hard to sculpt. CO has had some absolute spot-on likeness in this line, but Baker has never quite been one of them. The scarf is also a repaint of the same scarf that’s been recycled a bunch of times and the legs appear to be the same too. But here’s where we get into new territory.
The sculpted tie is new to me and the cross-thatch texture on the coat is remarkably striking. It could have been a quick and dirty repaint, but instead it really makes the figure look fresh and stand out among the other versions of this incarnation. And speaking of repaints, nothing on this figure is quick and dirty, well… except maybe the sloppy hat band. The shoes are beautifully painted, as is the plaid on his vest. Even the elbow patches and individual buttons on the coat show some superb work.
In addition to The Doctor’s ubiquitous sonic screwdriver, this set also comes with some accessories. You get a seed pod, which looks like a brussel sprout, as well as a hatching one with the vine coming out of it. You also get what the set refers to as a cutlass. I know my swords and I’m pretty sure a cutlass has to have a curved blade. Nonetheless, who doesn’t want a sword to go with their figures? I bought one of CO’s terrible Robin Hood figures just to get some of the weapons, and now I have two swords so The Doctor and The Master can dual.
And that, folks, is “The Seeds of Doom” set. This is a set that we all knew would be coming sooner or later when we first saw The Axon figure, but I’m sure I wasn’t alone in hoping that it would be packaged with a Sarah-Jane and not another 4th Doctor. That having been said, I think this turned out to be one of the best versions of him I have, and as you can see, I have plenty. I was able to nab these figures for $25, and I’m mighty happy about it. Other, less insane Doctor Who fans would be happy to add their sixth Tom Baker figure to the shelf and call it a day, but not me. Next week, we’ll revisit CO’s Classic Doctor Who line with yet another set containing yet another version of The 4th Doctor! Please have your jelly babies ready.