2014 is slated to be a pretty slim year for Classic Who action figures, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at January, because this month two new sets have landed at my door. Technically released at the tail end of 2013, “The Daemons” and “The Claws of Axos” boxed sets didn’t make it to me until last week and it took me a few days to get the time to open the first of them up. This week we’ll take a look at “The Daemons” and I’ll save the Axos set for next week.
“The Daemons” set comes in the now familiar Classic Who window box with a timeline on the bottom pointing out that this is based on a Third Doctor story originally broadcast in 1971, the year before I was born. There are plenty of production stills of the characters and a little blurb about the story on the back. Inside the box you get the animated gargoyle Bok, as well as brand new versions of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and The Master. I make it no secret that Jon Pertwee’s portrayal as The Doctor is one of my favorites so naturally I’m going to be partial to this story. Nonetheless, it’s one that I usually only watch once a year, and always in October. Since 2005 we Whovians have become used to the idea of Christmas Specials, but if you’re ever hankering for a Doctor Who Halloween Special, “The Daemons” is most definitely the story you’re looking for. Let’s start things off with The Brigadier.
Character Options first gave us a figure of The Brig last year fully kitted out in his UNIT dress uniform. This time around we’re getting him in his tactical sweater and I’m thrilled because this is The Brig in action! He’s out in the field, and trying to blow the piss out of alien scum. The most surprising thing about this release is just how few reused parts that are here. The legs are the same, the hands appear to be repainted, but the rest of the figure is brand new. The green sculpted pullover features pads on the elbows and shoulders and a new web-gear style belt with a (sadly non-functional) holster.
You’ll note that I didn’t include the head sculpt as one of the recycled parts and that surprised me more than anything, particularly since both Brigs are wearing their officer’s caps. Now, I had no issues at all with the original figure’s head sculpt, but after putting these guys side-by-side I have to go with this new one as being considerably better. The uniformed Brig looks a bit more like a mannequin to me. The sculpt is not all that drastically different, but when you combine it with what is a generally better paint job, this new Brig just looks more lifelike.
Alistair features the same articulation as the last release. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders with hinged elbows and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have universal movement in the hips, hinges in the knees, and swivels in the thighs. There’s no torso articulation, but The Brig can rotate his head. Anytime CO works ball joints into their Classic Who figures I am a very happy camper.
Accessories! The Brig comes with three accessories. First off you get the same pistol that came with the original Brig; you get a swagger stick; and last up you get a set of binoculars, which can hang around The Brig’s neck. The binoculars are a tad oversized, but still appreciated because he can use them to observe just how little damage the air strikes do to whatever alien UNIT happens to be fighting. I’m also thrilled that we got a swagger stick for him to tuck into the crook of his elbow or to point menacingly at poor Seargeant Benton.
Next up is Mr. Magister… aka The Master. As much as The Brigadier figure is an example of a thoroughly fleshed out new version of his character, The Master feels more like a quick-and-dirty cash grab. He appears to be the same Delgado Master figure we’ve already seen twice only with soft plastic robes permanently attached over him. CO’s likeness of Roger Delgado is among their best so naturally the head sculpt is as good as ever, but the robes don’t look quite right. What’s more, because of the robes the figure features almost no useful articulation. His head can turn and his arms can move just a wee bit up and down but any other articulation is rendered moot by his plastic costume. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining, because I’ll gladly buy any version of The Master that CO deems worthy of production, but there were other versions I would have preferred to see over this one.
Finally we get Bok, who is the only figure in this set that is one hundred percent new and he looks truly fantastic. As an animated stone gargoyle, CO combined a great sculpt with some cool paintwork to give this guy a really convincing stone finish. The head sculpt is quite accurate to the costume used in the show, right down to the tongue sticking out. For all you people who think the Weeping Angels are frightening, I don’t mind telling you that this little f’cker creeped me the hell out when I first saw “The Daemons” as a kid. It moved around like a demented monkey and the atmospheric lighting combined with the B&W picture just made him all the freakier. Oh yeah, and don’t bother not blinking because he’ll still freaking kill you even if you happen to be looking at him.
Naturally everyone wants their little stone gargoyles to be super-articulated and Bok delivers with some pretty damn good poseability. He has ball joints in his shoulders and hips. His arms feature hinged elbows and swivels in the biceps and wrists. His legs have hinged knees and swivels in the ankles. The tail and wings aren’t articulated but are made out of softer plastic.
I’ve been eagerly awaiting this set since the day it was announced and now that I have it in hand I’m not at all disappointed. Sure, I think The Master’s robes could have been executed a little better but I’m not going to complain about getting another Delgado Master. Plus, The Brigadier and Bok are both such great figures that they alone easily justify the purchase of the set. It’s crazy to think how overjoyed I was last year to finally have a figure of The Brigadier and now I have two fantastic variants. And next week when I open “The Claws of Axos” set, I’ll have three! Of course, I’ll have to keep them on separate shelves to avoid setting off the Blinovitch Limitation Effect. And to anyone who got that joke… Cheers!