Doctor Who: The 7th Doctor and Renegade Dalek by Character Options

It’s long past time I revisit those Doctor and Dalek 2-packs that Character Options put out earlier this year. This time we’ll check out one inspired by the story “Remembrance of the Daleks.” A long time ago, CO put out another 2-pack from the same story with a different version of The 7th Doctor and an Imperial Dalek. They gambled that we crazy collectors would pony up for a similar set and in my case they were correct!

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There’s nothing new about the packaging so I won’t dwell on it very long. The figures come in a compact window box with a cool retro-style deco and a printed insert that shows a scene from the story and can double as a display backdrop. There’s no synopsis of the story, but we do get a little blurb about The 7th Doctor and the Daleks. Let’s start with The Doctor.

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This release is the third version of The 7Th Doctor that I have in my collection and it is definitely my favorite one. The first version features The Doctor with a smiling portrait and wearing his hat. The second version is a direct repaint of that one depicting him in his darker coat. This version is identical to the first from the neck down. The only difference is the portrait has a more serious expression and is sans hat. The 7th Doctor’s more memorable stories were when he adopted a sinister and plotting personality, so I think this figure suits him best. I also think the likeness to Sylvester McCoy is just a tad better than the alternatives.

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Yes, from the neck down it is the same figure, but it’s worth mentioning what a great job CO did on the sculpt and particularly the paintwork. In addition to his paisley scarf and matching tie, he has his handkerchief hanging out of his pocket, again fully painted. The paintwork on his question mark jumper is absolutely immaculate as is the plaid deco on his trousers. They even bothered to sculpt and paint in the gold chain for his fob watch. On the downside, CO couldn’t be bothered to toss in his umbrella. Since this figure will be the Number Seven that I display in my Doctor lineup, I just borrowed the brolly from one of the other Sevens.

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The Doctor may be a newer release, but he features the older standard style of articulation, and sadly that means no ball joints in the shoulders. Instead you get arms that rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. The legs have universal movement at the hips, swivels in the thighs and hinges in the knees. The head can rotate.

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Moving on to the Dalek, the story “Remembrance of the Daleks” featured two warring factions of pepperpots. The Imperials were the white and gold and the renegades were the gun metal blues, which is the kind included in this set. My favorite of all the Daleks were the ones from “Genesis of the Daleks” and this guy is pretty close to that deco with a few minor cosmetic differences in the shoulder slats and eye stalks. He may not be the flashiest Dalek out there, but the drab coloring makes him akin to a piece of military machinery and I just think that’s cool.

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I’ve looked at dozens of CO’s Daleks here on FFZ and there’s not a lot new to be said about this one. He has the same three wheels under his apron, the front of which can rotate 360 degrees. The gun and sucker arm are on ball joints, the dome can rotate 360 degrees and the eye stalk can raise and lower. There’s a tiny bit of slop on the silver mesh around the slats, but otherwise the quality of paint on this figure is quite good.

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This set was an instance where I actually bought it more for The Doctor figure than the Dalek. Don’t get me wrong, I can never have enough Daleks, but it was the serious and hatless Doctor that made this set a “must have.” At just under forty bucks, it certainly wasn’t cheap, but I’ve never been frugal when it comes to my plastic addiction and that goes double when dealing with Doctor Who figures.

Doctor Who: Captain Jack Harkness (Re-issue) by Character Options

The 5-inch line of Doctor Who figures isn’t exactly alive and kicking, but it is limping along and still sputtering out some offerings, most of which are repacks and minor tweaks of existing figures. In particular, Character Options re-released a number of figures from the Tennant Era in new packaging. A little while ago I featured this reissue of The Tenth Doctor in his blue suit and now we’re going to check out Mr. Fixed-Point-In-Time himself, Captain Jack Harkness.

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I don’t have anything new to say about the packaging. We’ve seen this plenty of times before. I will, however, take this opportunity to point out how much I miss Jack’s appearances on the show. I could never get into Torchwood, but seeing Jack pop up on proper-Who was always a treat. I’ll be the first to admit that NuWho becomes way too parochial, and by that I mean that with all of space and time to explore, The Doctor keeps running into a lot of the same people, but I feel sad knowing that Jack never got to come back for at least one episode to meet Eleven. I think that would have been fun. Jack’s character can be a bit much sometimes, but I still think he was a great addition to the Whoniverse and John Barrowman seems like a really cool guy. But, getting back to the figure, the only Captain Jack I have in my collection was the original one from way back in 2006(?) and that one hasn’t aged all that well. That’s ironic if you think about it. Anyway, let’s check out this update.

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This is definitely the more modern Captain Jack and I’m guessing he would pass for a Torchwood Jack as well. He has his long coat naval with those stylish epaulets, which is cast in soft rubber. CO even took the time to do a nice sculpt underneath, showing off his suspenders and his sculpted, non-functional (boo!) holster. All In all, Jack’s ensemble is well executed and followed up with some really tidy paintwork, right down to the individual buttons on his coat.

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The portrait is decent enough, but I wouldn’t classify it as a homerun. It’s certainly better than the chunky noggin we got on the first Captain Jack figure. I definitely recognize the likeness, but the expression is rather blank. I guess that would actually be a lack of expression. His complexion also looks extra shiny. Still, I’m pretty happy with what we got.

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The articulation on this guy holds no surprises. It’s a repack so don’t expect any ball joints in the shoulders. The arms only rotate at the shoulders, but they do feature hinged elbows and swivels in the wrists. The legs have universal movement at the hips, hinges in the knees, swivels in the thighs, and due to the sculpt of the pants cuffs, there isn’t any articulation in the ankles. He can swivel at the waist and his head rotates. Like I said… no surprises.

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This Jack figure originally came with his trusty revolver and The Doctor’s hand in a jar. This time around you only get the trusty revolver. Cheap! J’accuse, Character Options! First no sonic screwdriver included with the Tenth Doctor repack and now no hand jar. That pisses me off! The pistol is a decent enough accessory and he can hold it pretty well in his right hand. You can even almost get his trigger finger through the trigger guard.

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That’s pretty much all I have to say about Captain Jack here. He’s a decent enough figure and I’m glad to get the opportunity to pick him up since I missed out on him last time. Now I can put my original Jack figure on my Ninth Doctor shelf and put this version with my Tenth Doctor figures. I paid about $15 for this figure, which is admittedly steep, especially when CO starts cutting accessories out, but my budget isn’t exactly getting blown on Doctor Who figures these days, so I was willing to splurge.

Doctor Who: The Eighth Doctor and Dalek Alpha by Character Options

As much as I bitch and moan about the demise of the 5-inch line of Doctor Who figures, the truth is that CO is still managing to deliver some product to the hands of us collectors. One little sputter of activity has been the release of a whole slew of Doctor and Dalek two-packs. While seeming to be mere repacks, each one of these sets actually does feature some form of new figure, either repaint or re-sculpt. While I will no doubt eventually collect all of these sets, some have garnered more attention and excitement from me than others and the one I’m looking at today was the one that had me quite excited indeed. Why? Because of it, I finally added the Eighth Doctor to my shelf!

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The window box here should be familiar to anyone collecting the line. It’s compact, collector friendly and it displays the figures quite well. You get a very vintage style Doctor Who logo on the front as well as the Doctor Timeline on the bottom. This set is somewhat unique in that the inspiration isn’t pulled from a TV story, but rather the comic strip “Children of the Revolution” which was published in Doctor Who Magazine. It makes sense, since Eight only made a single TV appearance (ok two if you count “Night of the Doctor”) so virtually any new set featuring Paul McGann as the Doctor would have to come from a comic or a Big Finish audio production. Oddly enough, the box doesn’t tell you anything about who Dalek Alpha is nor does it give you a synopsis of the comic, so I’ll step in here: To put it succinctly, Alpha was one of three Daleks genetically altered with a human element, a concept that dates all the way back to the Second Doctor story, “Evil of the Daleks,” and he was encountered by the Eighth Doctor in the comic.  Let’s bust open this set and start with a look at The Doctor.

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As far as I can tell, Eight has only been available in figure form by buying the huge Eleven Doctors set. As much as I wanted him, I wasn’t prepared to pay $100+ and get minor variations on all the other Doctors to do it. Yes, I am indeed the same person who twenty years ago would have sold one of my kidneys for Doctor Who figures and now I’m bitching about buying variants. There’s just no pleasing some people! Nonetheless, I decided to play the waiting game to see if CO would release him again later on down the road. They haven’t and that’s why this figure is such a welcome addition to my collection. Of course, he’s not the same figure that came in the box set, but at least I finally have Eight on my shelf.

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I haven’t read the comic, so I don’t know exactly what his costume looked like in it. This figure, however, gets by with a convenient repaint of the figure from the previous release. It’s the same Elizabethan style suit with a cravat, double buttoned vest, and a long overcoat. The coat this time is painted blue, the cravat is a sort of ochre, the vest is brown, and the trousers are tan. All in all the costume is sculpted quite nicely and the paintwork is all clean right down to the chain on his fob watch. I like the costume here well enough, but it’s worth mentioning that the paint on the original Eighth Doctor figure is much more interesting and dynamic.

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The portrait is certainly a passable likeness of Paul McGann, although I think it’s one of the weaker efforts among all the Doctor figures. I’m not saying it’s bad, I can certainly tell who it’s supposed to be, but it just isn’t a total slam dunk to me. Nonetheless, the hair is quite good and as with the rest of the figure, the paintwork on the face is top notch.

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Eight features the standard articulation for this line. The arms rotate at the shoulders, swivel at the biceps and wrists, and are hinged at the elbows. The legs are hinged at the hips for universal movement, swivel at the thighs and are hinged at the knees. Both the head and the waist can swivel. The Doctor’s right hand is sculpted to hold a sonic screwdriver and since he didn’t come with one, I leant him one from one of my many Fourth Doctor figures.

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Moving on to the Dalek, I have to once again confess to not having read the comic, so I can’t really vouch for how accurate this guy is, but he is certainly a cool looking piece. Alpha looks like he’s a repaint of one of CO’s “Destiny of the Daleks” figures with a new eyestalk and one of the original Dalek guns swapped on. For someone who has been a fan of the show for nearly 30 years, you’d think I’d be better at telling my Daleks apart. The deco on this Dalek is very striking. He’s red and silver with black sensor domes and skirt and I really dig finally getting a Classic-style Dalek with some color to it. He also as a silver Alpha symbol painted on his dome right beside his eyestalk. I’ve had a few issues in the past with the paint quality on my Daleks, but this one is done very well. There’s virtually no slop or bleeding and the silver and red paint on the mesh between his slats is downright impressive.

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In the end, the only downside to this set is the price tag. I got mine for $40 and I was lucky to get it for that, because of all these Doctor-Dalek sets, this one seems to be the hardest to find. My regular retailer sold out of it almost immediately, but I was able to get in on a second shipment that they received. At twenty bucks per figure, these two certainly aren’t cheap, but they’re quite unique and I don’t feel at all squeamish about dropping $20 each on figures from my all-time favorite property. Just the fact that figures like this exist still blows my mind, so I’m not going to quibble about the price.

Doctor Who: “The Claws of Axos” Collectors Set by Character Options

Hooray It’s Classic Doctor Who time! I got this set in the same box as “The Daemons” Set, which I looked at ages ago. Needless to say this one’s been sitting in my receivings pile for a while now. I think I put off opening because I know that aside from the Doctor-Dalek Two Packs, this is the last Classic Who set we’re going to get from Character Options for quite a while. In any event, I should point out that this set shouldn’t be confused with the other “Claws of Axos” based two-pack, which included The Master and an Axon and was released way back in late 2010.

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The set comes in the same style box as the last Classic Who multi-packs. You get a deco that’s fairly reminiscent of the 70’s Pertwee Era. There are some stills of the characters and a blurb about the story on the back of the box. The set includes another variant of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, a new version of Jo Grant, and an Axon in humanoid form. If you have a problem with double-dipping on characters, this set might not strike you as a good value, but as we’ll see this is a very different (and much better) version of Jo Grant and as for The Brig, well I can never have too many figures of the beloved Brigadier. Since he features the most recycled parts, we’ll check him out first.

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And here we are: Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. So, what we have here is the same basic body as the last Brig release only with a new head sculpt. It’s the first time we’re getting The Brig wearing his UNIT beret and I like it a lot. It just seems more natural to me that if he’s wearing his tactical sweater he should have the beret rather than his officer’s cap. As a result, I tend to consider the Brig in his full dress uniform and this one as the two essential versions. You’ve got one Brig for Sunday Best and one to go out in the field and shoot aliens up the bracket. Sure, the figure that came with “The Daemons” set is a nice variant, but largely unnecessary.

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This time around The Brig only comes with his handgun, and it’s the same gun we’ve seen twice before. After the cornucopia of accessories that came with the last Brig, some collectors may find this set a little stingy with the extras. I could argue that another swagger stick would have been welcome, but that’s Ok, at least I got one with the last release.

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The last time we saw a Jo Grant figure was in the Three Doctors boxed set. It was an Ok figure, but I think CO phoned in the head sculpt. It seemed like a weird mix of old and young Katy Manning. This new figure reuses the same hair, but the portrait is a vast improvement. The outfit consists of a purple skirt, purple go-go boots, and a really funky top. It’s 70’s chic through and through. The paintwork here is also top notch, right down to the silver paint on her individual rings. Yes, the previous Jo Grant figure had swap out arms and a removable jacket, and this one offers no such surprises. Still, I think I’ll retire the previous release in favor of this one on my display.

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Last up, you get the Axon in his humanoid form. This is the way these guys looked when they first arrived on Earth and were trying to dupe us stupid humans. I really dig the design here, even if in the show it was just a painted unitard and a gold mask. The design works even better in action figure form. I’m not sure if the unitard was supposed to be clothing or skin in the TV show, but CO recreated the costume on the figure with all the little wrinkles. The gold paintwork is well done and I think this Axon head sculpt is right up there with the Voc Robot figures in its accuracy and attention to detail. Very nice!

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Articulation on all three figures includes the more modern ball jointed shoulders that so many of CO’s Doctor Who figures sadly lack. The arms also include hinged elbows, swivel cuts in the biceps and swivels in the wrists. The legs feature a T-crotch which includes lateral movement, swivels in the thighs, and hinges in the knees. They can swivel at the waists and the heads can turn.

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It should come as no surprise that I love this set. The figures are all excellent and while two of the three are quite possibly characters that are already on every Doctor Who collector’s shelf, it’s still a set that is worth a look. The Jo Grant is definitely the better of the two versions released and I consider this version of The Brig to be a must have, right next to the one from The Three Doctors set. As for the Axon… who doesn’t want more Classic Who monsters on their shelves? Besides he displays real nice next to the Axon in its natural form. Still, opening this set has been bittersweet, because CO hasn’t shown off anything else quite like it, and it may very well be the last of these boxed three-packs from the Classic Series. And that makes me a very sad Whovian.

Doctor Who: Zygon (3 ¾” Scale) by Character Options

Guess what, folks? I’ve got 5-inch Doctor Who figures to look at! Yes, some of the newly released Dalek-Doctor two-packs have been landing on my doorstep and I’m very excited about it. But we won’t be looking at those today because I still have one more 3 ¾” figure to look at before slamming a lid on this most recent wave. It’s the Zygon because there were motherf’cking Zygons in the 50th Anniversary Special! Sure, they were almost totally superfluous to much of the plot but it was still good to see Zygons in NuWho and now we have figures!

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I’ve said my piece about the packaging. It’s totally serviceable for a 3 ¾” figure line but certainly nothing special. It just begs to be ripped open and thrown away. The Zygon comes carded beside his grey “DWARTIS” figure stand. Yes, grey! Why did you change these to grey, Character Options? What was wrong with blue?

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The Zygons in the 50th didn’t change much from their last appearance way back in 1975 and that’s fine with me. I always thought they were one of the best looking monsters from the Classic series and despite having been absent from the small screen for almost 40 years, they still tend to get lumped in with the recurring aliens. They must have really good agents. And that’s one of the cool things about these figures is that they can easily pass for classic Zygons. If only we had some classic Doctors in this scale to display with them.

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The sculpting here is quite good for the scale in general and exceptionally good for this line in particular. Well, to be fair, most of the aliens in this scale have been decent and the Zygon figure continues that trend. The head sculpt is very evocative of the way they looked in the 50th and the skin is appropriately laced with all sorts of ridges and suckers. Since the Zygon is technically nekkid, the paint is uniform over the whole figure. Nonetheless CO really nailed the grubby orange color of the Zygon’s skin.

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Articulation here is pretty close to what we got with the Ice Warriors and Cybermen in this scale. You get ball joints in the shoulders and hips, there are hinges in the elbows and knees, and there are swivels in the wrists. The ankles do have hinges, but they don’t really offer any movment. There’s no torso articulation and because the Zygon’s head is basically just a continuation of his torso, there’s no neck articulation either. Nonetheless, what’s here is pretty good and any limitations are more likely due to the design of the creature than shortcuts in the figure.

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The Zygon is definitely my favorite figure in this wave and that’s saying something because he was up against a couple of those excellent Dalek variants. Some of my love for this figure has to do with the fact that I’ve always liked the look of this particular alien menace, but also because CO did a genuinely fine job with him and he looks great on the shelf alongside the rest of the 3 ¾” menagerie of aliens. I picked up three of these guys and who knows if I’ll stop there. Yes, as Tom Baker would say, “Who Knows?”

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And… that’ll wrap up my look at this wave for now. It’s likely I’ll eventually double back and pick up the tweed jacket 11th Doctor just because there’s plenty of him around and these figures are pretty cheap. But for now, I can finally start digging into some of the new 5-inch Who figures that are on my receivings pile. I think I’ll start with a couple of the Dalek and Doctor two-packs and then maybe we’ll circle back to that Claws of Axos set that’s been sitting around here for what seems like forever.

Doctor Who: Assault Dalek and Imperial Guard Dalek (3 ¾” Scale) by Character Options

Today I’m pressing on with Wave 2 of Character Options’ 3 ¾” scale Doctor Who figures and we’re looking at Daleks! Yes, today I’m doing TWO figures because these Daleks are just very minor variants of the ones released in Wave 1 and I doubt even I could pad out the feature enough to give them each their own spotlight. In fact, this shouldn’t take long at all. But don’t think that speaks badly about them because these figures are fantastic! Army building the little Daleks has been the best thing about this line so far and these two new pepperpots are every bit as cool.

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The packages are mostly the same as the ones we saw with the 12th Doctor figure. The big difference here is the addition of the “Heritage Line” on the bubble insert. It seems to be a sub-line that will draw material from earlier periods of NuWho, as both of these Daleks come from stories that pre-date Matt Smith’s tenure. I would presume that the 10th Doctor and Amy Pond figures that were shown off at Toy Fair may be released under this moniker. The only other thing worth pointing out here is that the Daleks do not include stands, but they certainly don’t need them.

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If you haven’t clicked back to my review of the Wave 1 Dalek, just imagine that CO took their excellent 5-inch scale Daleks and shrank them down to this smaller scale. Nothing is lost in the translation as they are superbly painted and detailed and everything I could want in a tiny Dalek. Stand one of these next to the 11th Doctor figure in the same scale and there’s such a wide chasm of quality between the two they feel like they come from two totally different lines. And I don’t have to spell out how awesome it is to have Daleks roughly in scale with Star Wars or GI Joe figures, do I? Anyway, let’s press on to what makes these little containers of hate different from the regular Daleks.

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Both of these variants come from the 9th Doctor episode “Parting of the Ways.” First up we have the Assault Dalek. This figure is your basic regular Dalek with his plunger arm replaced by a claw arm that can double as a cutting beam. This was the Dalek that tried to cut the bulkhead to get to “Lynda with a Y” before one of his chums blew out the window to space and robbed him of the kill. That’s it! That’s really the only difference. There’s nothing else to say about this one except he’s awesome.

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Next up, we have the Imperial Guard Dalek. This little fellow’s plunger arm is replaced with a big sphere arm. It’s called a sensor arm, although I don’t think it was ever established in the episode what it was used for. The other notable difference is the repainted black dome. I honestly didn’t even know these Daleks existed until I re-watched the episode to specifically look for them. He’s an interesting variant, but I don’t dig him as much as the Assault Dalek.

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And that’s all I got on this pair. I told you today would be brief! Obviously these figures were pretty quick and dirty tweaks, but that doesn’t make me appreciate them any less. I’ve got a nice little army of Daleks building up in this scale so I’m happy to pad out their ranks with a couple of unique models. I’ll likely be picking up some more of the Assault Dalek and maybe one more of the Imperial Guard. Next week, I’ll wrap up my look at the figures I bought from this wave with the one I was anticipating the most… The Zygon!

Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor Regenerated (3 ¾” Scale) by Character Options

Getting The War Doctor as a 5-inch scale figure was a nice treat, but now it’s back to reality as CO continues to push the smaller scaled NuWho figures on us. If you haven’t been keeping track, I’ve found the aliens in this line to be fairly good to excellent, but the 11th Doctor and Clara were rather weak efforts. This new assortment is being called Wave 2, even though we Yanks got a complete wave of variants in between, which I suppose we’ll call wave 1-B. I guess numbering these waves properly will be as confusing as the new numbering scheme for The Doctor’s incarnations. Anyway, in addition to the figure we’re looking at today, this wave features a pair of new variant Daleks, a Zygon, a Weeping Angel, The 11th Doctor in his tweed jacket and what appears to be a straight repack of Wave 1-B’s red dress Clara.

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The packaging hasn’t changed much. You get a generic cardback with the TARDIS on it and a bubble insert specifying who the figure is. The back of the card shows off the other figures in the wave as well as a pair of those cardboard Time Zone playsets that we’ve seen before. All in all the packaging is serviceable and suits the smaller line of figures pretty well.

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As is often the case with the regeneration figures, this 12th Doctor borrows heavily from the previous Doctor figure. I will, however, give CO credit for not just doing a quick-and-dirty head swap. The torso has actually been re-sculpted to account for the fact that he removed his bowtie before regenerating. The collar on this figure’s shirt is open at the top button and properly sans bowtie. Apart from that what we get here is the same purple coated body complete with right hand sculpted to hold the sonic screwdriver accessory that is inexplicably absent from this package. There is one minor variation in paint worth mentioning, the vest is slightly lighter. Alas, I can’t tell what color his kidneys are painted.

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Of course, the biggest issue I had with the 11th Doctor figure was the poor head sculpt. You’d have as good a chance pulling a random mini-marshmallow from a bag and having it resemble Matt Smith more than that figure did. I’m happy to say that CO has upped the ante and this new Peter Capaldi sculpt is actually not bad at all. It’s a fairly detailed portrait for such a small figure and the likeness is undoubtedly there. We don’t have a lot to go on as to what kind of Doctor Number 12 will be, but CO went with a raised eyebrow and an offset smirk that seems to agree with what little we’ve seen so far. Even the paintwork here is quite good.

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Same body, same articulation, but let’s run through it anyway. The arms are ball jointed at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows, and have swivels in the wrists. The legs feature a simple T-crotch for the hips, hinges in the knees, and swivels at the boots. There is no waist or torso articulation and his head can rotate.

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While CO decided they couldn’t afford the few millimeters of plastic needed for the recycled sonic screwdriver accessory, we do still get a figure stand. It’s the same “DWARTIS” style logo as the previous stands only cast in grey plastic. Um, what? Why?? Laying aside the fact that my borderline OCD now has to deal with two different colored stands, why the change from the traditional TARDIS blue?

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I tossed this figure into my shopping cart just because I was buying a bunch of others and I just said, “why not?” As it turns out I’m mighty glad I did because I really dig this figure! The portrait is leaps and bounds above the last Doctor in this scale and it actually gives me renewed hope for this line. In fact, even if they just recycle this head again, I’m still really looking forward to the release of the proper 12th Doctor in his new costume. If CO can pull off this kind of Capaldi license, I’m thinking that their forthcoming David Tennant and Karen Gillian likenesses in this scale might not be so bad after all. It’s certainly possible that the first wave was just a matter of awkward first steps and we could start to see better. Here’s hoping!

Doctor Who: The Other Doctor by Character Options

The Day of the Doctor was a HUGE deal for me. Not only did it celebrate the 50th Anniversary of a show that I’ve been watching since I was about 12, but I also got to see it in a packed theater surrounded by kindred fans. It was a magical experience and one that I never in a million years could have guessed would come to pass back when I was just a wee lad crouched in my room in front of my shitty wood grain B&W television and fidgeting with a rabbit ear antenna. DotD also showcased the show’s ridiculous resiliency. Want to gather the last three Doctors but Christopher Eccleston is being a turd about it? Not a problem. We just upgrade to the brilliant John Hurt and fill in the blanks in a way we never would have guessed but still worked perfectly. I expected it to be a celebration of Tennant and Smith, but who could have guessed that Hurt would step into the role like he had been part of it all along? Of course like all good geeks, once the excitement of the thing had passed and once I’d watched it a dozen times, I lamented the fact that there would never be a War Doctor to stand among my 5-inch figures. Thankfully, Character Options did the right thing and brought the NuWho 5-inch line out of retirement to give us collectors what we wanted.

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The package is unlike anything we’ve seen for the 5-inch line, although the oblong plastic tube does bear a slight resemblance to the packages used for the Sarah Jane Adventures figures. It’s clear all around with a printed insert that reflects the show’s logo in beautiful foil lettering with a silver “50 Year” TARDIS emblem to boot. The package shows off the figure and accessories and the inner tray is set upon an illustrated backdrop of The Moment, the last of the forbidden weapons locked away in the Arsenal of Omega. Up until this story, I always assumed it was the Eighth Doctor who fought the Time War, but now we know different. My only gripe about the packaging is a small one. It identifies the figure as the “Other Doctor” while I vastly prefer the moniker of “War Doctor.” Still, maybe it’s a clever nod to the redemption the Hurt Doctor receives by the end of the story.  Let’s take a look at the figure.

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After suffering through a couple waves of the pretty shitty 3 ¾” figures, seeing CO work their magic in the 5-inch scale again is like a breath of fresh air. The War Doctor is absolutely stunning in every detail and it makes me weep even harder for the death of this line. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I love this character design so much. The Doctor dons his battle-worn coat, bandolier strap, scarf, and knee-high spats. He looks rugged and war-torn, threadbare and hardened. The coat is the usual soft plastic “vest” laid onto the figure with the arms sculpted as sleeves and it looks magnificent, largely thanks to the dry brushing that gives it that weathered look. Beneath it you can see the painted chain of his pocket watch and the silver plating of his bandolier. They even bothered to paint and sculpt the haphazard buttoning down the sides of his spats. Brilliant!

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More often than not CO succeeds with their portraits, and this Doctor is no exception. Hurt’s grizzled likeness is wonderfully recreated here with a solemn look as if he’s about to scold his future selves about their idiotic brandishing of their sonic screwdrivers. I think this portrait is among their best work. Even his eccentric peaked hairstyle looks perfect.

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It’s somewhat ironic that while having been the oldest person to play the role, Hurt’s figure is among the most articulated of all the Doctor figures we’ve seen so far. The arms feature the elusive ball joints that have only appeared on a handful of the 5-inch Doctors. There are swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs are hinged at the hips to allow for lateral movement, have hinged knees, and swivels at the boot tops. The Doctor can swivel at the waist and at the neck.

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The Doctor comes with two accessories. First, you get the sonic screwdriver, which should be obvious, but considering the last 10th Doctor figure I bought didn’t have one, I suppose it’s a welcome treat. It’s not much to get excited about, but it does appear to be a new sculpt and he can hold it in either hand.

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But best of all, you get The Moment, which looks like a Gallifreyan Hellraiser cube. I loved the design of this thing in the show and CO did a fine job recreating it here. Sure, it’s just a plastic box, but there’s plenty of detail and paintwork including gears and Gallifreyan writing. It’s a beautiful little piece of clockwork engineering and the next best thing to getting a Billie Piper Moment figure bundled in.

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And then there’s the inexplicable inclusion of the extra Paul McGann head. Swapping heads to make regeneration figures has been an old trick for CO, but this one just makes no sense. When McGann regenerated in Night of the Doctor the only common piece of his outfit was the bandolier strap he took off Cass’ body. So putting a McGann head on this figure doesn’t work as a regeneration figure. What’s more, when Sylvester McCoy regenerated into McGann he was wasn’t wearing anything so you can’t even pop the head onto a McCoy figure with any degree of reason. Why’s it here? I don’t know, but it doesn’t hurt the figure, so who cares!

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I was hoping CO would surprise us with something for the 50th Anniversary and in the end they did. In fairness I was banking on a Classic TARDIS Console Playset and obviously that didn’t pan out. The War Doctor isn’t nearly as grandiose, but he’s a welcome treat all the same. Of course, with the NuWho 5-inch line still dead, he’s also a bit of a tease. Does this mean that we can hope to see CO make some special exceptions in the future? Does it mean we can hope for a 5-inch Capaldi Doctor? Well, if anything this release shows us that anything is possible. And that’s appropriate, because in Doctor Who anything is indeed possible!

Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor (Blue Suit) by Character Options

For those of you wondering, I do still have the Classic Who “Claws of Axos” boxed set waiting to be featured, but it’s going to be the last Classic set for a while and so I’m holding off on opening it until the time feels right. Nonetheless, I felt like doing a Doctor Who feature today, so I’m digging into one of the other unopened figures on my pile. Late last year, Character Options began repackaging and reissuing some of their more popular figures and one of those included this version of the 10th Doctor that had so far managed to elude my grasp.

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The figure comes in a sealed blister pack with a deco quite similar to what we’ve been seeing on all the most recent releases. The only difference here is the embossed Doctor Who logo has the pattern from the original credit sequence printed on the insert and it looks so cool! I don’t have anything else new to report about the rest of the presentation, other than it’s my favorite packaging for the line to date. I have several 10th Doctor figures in my collection, but they’re all the same figure. It’s the long coated version sans glasses that was originally released single-carded. I have another one of those still carded because a well-meaning friend gifted it to me. Finally, I have a third example of that same figure, which came boxed with the remote control rusty K9. After amassing three of the same version of Number Ten, it seemed like I was long overdue to add another version to my Who Shelves.

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Once I availed myself of a sharp blade to open the package, I was treated to a nice whiff of plastic fumes and The Good Doctor was free of his prison. While the package may be new, the figure is still a repack and also shares a lot of tooling with the trench coat wearing version that’s already on my shelf. The basic body is the same only repainted blue and with newly sculpted sleeves to represent the coat’s sleeves. The suit jacket is layered onto the figure and it looks good, even if it does add a little extra bulk to the “proper skinny” Tennant’s body. The new paintjob is quite good, right down to the bright red used for his “sandshoes.”

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The portrait is solid enough, but it’s certainly not one of the line’s best. I can see Tennant in there and while I won’t say it’s better than the other one, it is a bit closer to the look that Ten adopted as being more iconic by the end of his reign. The hair does it’s best to approximate the “all sticky uppy” (as the wonderful Wilf would have said) style, although it kind of just looks like a lump of plastic. The glasses, on the other hand, are pretty well done. While they aren’t removable, they are a separately sculpted appliance and it can’t be easy to do that in this scale and make it look this good.

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CO’s Doctor Who line has never been known for being super-articulated, but going back to an early figure like this one certainly reminds me of just how many improvements have been made on that front over the years. While only a select few recent figures have earned the breakthrough of ball jointed arms, this figure is still missing the swivel cuts that eventually appeared in most of the figures’ biceps and thighs and they are pretty conspicuous in their absence. What you do get are rotating shoulders, rotating head, hinges in the elbows and knees, and hips that at least allow for forward and lateral movement in the legs. Honestly, there’s just not a lot you can do with him in terms of action posing.

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The most irritating thing about this figure is the omission of the Sonic Screwdriver. It’s such a tiny little accessory and one that has already been sculpted, so not throwing it into the package feels like a blatant slap in the face to us collectors. I actually found myself giving the tray a careful once over just because I couldn’t believe that it wasn’t hiding in there somewhere. It’s doubly disappointing since The Doctor’s right hand is sculpted to hold it.

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At $15 for this repacked figure with no accessory, it certainly feels like I’m back to paying a premium. That seemed fair enough back in the early days when the success of Doctor Who’s return was still a bit uncertain and the action figure line was untested. Now that NuWho has blazed through eight years like gangbusters and has supported a wide range of toys and action figures, one would think that we could have gotten a bit of a price break by now. Nonetheless, I’m very happy for another chance at this figure, and I’ll go ahead and admit that he will be replacing my other 10th Doctor on my main shelf right between Nine and Eleven. Or is that Nine and Twelve now? Whatever the case, this is a great addition to my collection, even if it does feel rather dated. I did pick up one more figure from this repack wave and that was Captain Jack Harkness to replace the rather mediocre first release of the character. I’ll try to get around to opening him next week.

Doctor Who: “The Daemons” Collector Set by Character Options

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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!