Doctor Who: K9 Mark II Quarter-Scale RC figure by Character Options

I don’t like to throw around the term “Grail Piece” all that often, especially with something that was first released as early as seven or eight years ago, but today’s feature brings me mighty close to it. I’ve reviewed at least a few K9 figures on FFZ before, but they were mere trifles compared to this one. Originally released in 2007, I didn’t even know this toy existed until several years later when I was viewing a picture gallery of someone’s Doctor Who toy collection and saw the robotic dog standing majestically on a display shelf towering over the regular figures. I quickly inquired as to what it was and I was told it was Character Options’ Quarter-Scale version of the metal mutt based on his NuWho appearance in “School Reunion.” WHA-WHA-WHAAAAAT??? I’m pretty sure that was my reaction. I instantly became obsessed with tracking one down, but I quickly learned that there were few available on the secondary market and the ones that I did find were prohibitively expensive and would also require shipping from Great Britain. For a while I let the dream die, but in 2014 CO tweaked the toy and re-released it as a proper Classic Who version. and in doing so, made me very happy dude.

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And there he is in his gloriously large window box. The package features the current style deco that CO has been using for the Classic Who releases. I honestly still can’t believe I’m the proud owner of this toy! To understand my pure joy, first you must understand my childhood adoration of The Fourth Doctor’s best friend, K9. The precocious dog first appeared in the episode “The Invisible Enemy” in 1977, the very same year that Star Wars was released. Of course, I probably didn’t first see the episode until four or five years later, sometime around the age of 12 or 13, but I do remember that K9 almost instantly replaced R2-D2 as my number one childhood robot crush. Ever since then I dreamed of owning a really good K9 toy. Fast forward almost 30 years later and I’ve got a few decent K9’s on my shelf, including a couple of the 5-inch Scale versions from CO and an Eighth-Scale figure from Biff Bang Pow! They’re perfectly fine figures, but I was yearning for something that would bring me closer to the neigh impossible dream of owning an actual full-sized electronic K9, and while he’s not full-sized, this bad boy certainly scratches that itch!

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Sorry, I got a little side tracked there! Getting back to the box, it’s pretty standard stuff for this toy line only a lot bigger than what we’re used to seeing. K9 is secured inside with his access panel off and a “Try Me” button that lets you sample just a few of his voice clips. I will take this opportunity to squeee at the fact that John Leeson’s name actually appears on a toy box. SQUEEE! There, I did it. Leeson, of course, was the original voice talent behind K9, and although he was briefly replaced by the late David Brierly, Leeson eventually came back to the role and even reprises it several times for K9’s apperances in NuWho as well as K9’s own (terrible) Australian spin-off series. Leeson’s K9 voice is as iconic to me as anything in all of sci-fi-dom so it’s just nice to see him get credit.

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Just look at the size of this box! I snapped a picture of it beside the 5-inch Scale K9 figure for comparison. I’ll also note here that getting K9 out of his box was a royal pain in the ass. He was screwed into four plastic retaining straps from the bottom and one of the screws was quick to strip. It probably took me a full 20 minutes to finally free him, but once I did everything was most satisfactory! Speaking of screws, it’s worth noting that while K9 includes the AA batteries to make his “Try Me” mode work, he does require a 9-volt for the remote control unit, so you’ll need to keep that screwdriver handy. Also worth noting, this US release features an FDC sticker on one of the compartments. It came off fairly easy, but I still need to clean some of the sticker gunk off of him. But before we get to the electronic features, let’s look at the toy itself.

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With a few exceptions, the attention to detail and screen accuracy of K9 is quite well done. Some particular points of note include his antenna tail, the black bumpers around his base, the multicolored collar and accompanying dog tag, and the pull handle under his neck. He has his keypad positioned appropriately on his back, his name is on his right side panel, complete with sculpted faux screws and he has his computer monitor on his left side. The proportions here look great and while the coloring may be a little darker than what I’m used to seeing on screen, it could just be from the studio lights. On the downside, the left side of K9 exhibits gray circular plugs to cover the screws. It’s a little unsightly and obviously not screen accurate, but then I tell myself if Hasbro had done a toy like this, they probably would have just left the screws exposed, so I’m willing to live with it.

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K9’s head features a few other minor points of contention when it comes to accuracy. The antenna dishes used for the ears are solid plates, where they should be mesh, but I can certainly understand why that change had to be made. Secondly, K9’s blaster is positioned slightly lower than it should be. I believe the show prop had the blaster coming directly out of his nose. I’m guessing the change was made to make the mechanics easier to work with. Lastly, there’s no “mouth” slot for K9’s tape printer. It may sound like I’m nitpicking a lot, but honestly none of this concerns me or dampens my love for this toy. It’s just fun and worthwhile to point out the differences.

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K9’s removable panel lets you see his inner workings, although it’s really just a sculpted wall of components. It’s also clearly not been changed from the previous NuWho release and varies quite a bit from when we saw inside K9 in the days of Classic Who, which was usually just a mess of circuit boards, wire, and ticker tape. Anyway, taking off the side panel leads us into the electronics. When you first get him out of the package, you have to turn him from “Try Me” mode to the On position and doing so causes K9 to light up and go through his boot up routine. In addition to the lights inside the access hatch, the keypad on his back lights up and the red panel on his face lights up too. I’m going to break tradition, bust out my shitty phone camera, and get all video up in your faces…

Aw, yeah. That’s some good Leeson! The quality of the voice is absolutely fantastic. Once you’ve played around with the “Try Me” function and booted him up, it’s time to get serious and get out the remote control.

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It seems to be more or less the same remote that came with the 2007 release only it no longer has a huge antenna coming off of it. You get two control sticks to drive K9. Pushing both forward moves him forward, pulling both back moves him back, and combinations make him turn. He controls really well and I’m amused by the fact that the super loud electric motors in the toy sound about as obnoxious as the prop did in the show. The buttons activate different voice clips on K9 and some of them will say different things when pressed multiple times. I’ll bust out a video clip again as I run through his voice clips, but I don’t have enough surface on my studio desk to really drive him anywhere.

I like how the ears move when he says scanning now and I should point out that they also move whenever he’s in motion. It’s a shame they couldn’t get his eye to extend, but I guess that would have required a lot more engineering. You also have to be careful, because if you activate each button going up or down the controller you will unlock a secret little sequence where K9 goes absolutely berserk, rolls all over the place and babbles about detecting Time Lords and recognizing you as his Master. It’s a cool little easter egg.

Last, but not least, you have the blaster…

Like I mentioned before, the blaster is positioned lower than it should be, but I’m impressed at how far out it deploys and the sounds of it extending, firing and retracting are all spot on from the Classic show. Oddly enough, K9 will not move when his blaster is extended.

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Well, I’ve prattled on about my new robot pup long enough and all that’s left to say is he was expensive, but not unreasonably so. At $100, he’s a bit more than what I paid for either my 12-inch RC Dalek or Davros, but he does a bit more than those toys do. Is a hundred bucks a reasonable price for what you get here? Hell if I know. You see, even though now I have a huge display case overflowing with Doctor Who toys, I still remember that feeling as a kid when there was nothing at all. Without the Internet I didn’t even know those shitty Dapol figures existed. The best thing I had as a kid was an unpainted pewter K9 miniature intended for use with the Roll Playing Game and I thought that little piece of junk was pure gold. And so I still kind of have that mentality which could totally spawn conversations like this…

“How much would you pay for a Quarter-Scale Electronic K9 figure that’s remote controlled and talks.

Me: “A BILLION DOLLARS!!”

“It’s only $100”

Me: “SOLD!!!”

Yeah. So, when a measily three of them dropped onto the website over at Who North America, I jumped on it faster than you can say “Jelly Baby.” Considering how much the original 2007 toy went for on the secondary market, I’ve got no complaints. Indeed, I’m actually glad I never broke down and spent it, because I’m much happier with this Classic Who version. He’s not a perfect replica, but then he’s not meant to be. He is, however, a really solid and impressive toy, and I have a feeling that K9 will be residing on my desk for a long while before I finally find a place for him on my Doctor Who display shelves. That is, when he’s not chasing around the cat!

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Doctor Who: Daleks (3 3/4” Scale) From “Asylum of the Daleks” and “Day of the Daleks” by Character Options

If you haven’t heard by now, Wave 3 of Character Options’ 3 3/4” Doctor Who figures have officially become a Walgreens Exclusive, which is pretty cool because prior to that deal the figures were not available at any brick-and-mortar stores in the US. On the other hand, I’ve had no troubles getting the figures from my preferred Who online retailer and so I was a little worried how this deal would effect the US distributor (Underground Toys) and their ability to supply to online US retailers. Turns out it didn’t complicate things at all and I was still able to pick up most of the wave online. Today I’m checking out two more Daleks in this series, one from Classic Who and one from Series 7 of NuWho.

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Here they are both in the packages, which have been redesigned for this wave. While the re-branding has received a fair amount of criticism from collectors, I kind of like it. It’s bright, attractive and as quirky and kitchy as the show it’s based on. The Asylum Dalek is pictured on the back as part of the Wave, but the Classic Gold Dalek is something of a mystery because the Classic Dalek in this wave is expressly listed as the “Genesis of the Daleks” even on the back of the figure’s own card. Interesting! Maybe the Classic Dalek is a rotating slot of variants? I just don’t know, but I’m not going to complain about getting an extra variety of evil 70’s pepperpot. Both of these little fellas are repaints of figures that I’ve already reviewed HERE and HERE, so there isn’t a whole lot new to talk about, so I’ll pad things out by discussing the episodes a little bit. Let’s start with the Asylum Dalek…

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“Asylum of the Daleks” aired in 2012, (holy hell, has it been that long already?) and is one of my favorite NuWho Dalek stories. It’s creepy, it gives us some truly scary Daleks, and Matt Smith looked like he was having a blast doing it. It also gave us Jenna Coleman in that red dress and had a mind-blowing twist at the end that I sure as hell didn’t see coming. But perhaps best of all, it gave us all a sense of relief that the Skittles Daleks revealed in “Victory of the Daleks” weren’t going to replace the regular RTD Daleks after all. The Dalek zombies were a cool new idea that seemed like a great amalgamation of the 1960’s Robo Men and the 1980’s Duplicates that the Daleks have used in the past. Sure, some things about the story didn’t make a lot of sense (How is Skaro still around? A Dalek Parliament? Really??) but it was still a cracking good episode as far as I’m concened.

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What we have here is a regular NuWho Dalek repainted to look all warn and neglected. CO used some kind of heavy, greasy paint for the weathering and man, it stinks! I mean that literally. When I opened the package, it smelled like this guy really has been rotting in an asylum for a couple of hundred years! Apart from the initial odor shock, the weathering looks amazing and it even supplies some panel lining, which brings out the sculpt in a way the regular Dalek figures never quite did. You also get a symbol painted on the side of his dome. I don’t remember ever seeing these in the episode, but it looks good and it’s another nice little touch to separate him from the regular Daleks. It would have been nice to see a little more distress here, like maybe a missing ear light or a few missing sensor globes, but, for what is a quick repaint, this one works pretty well. You get the same old articulation, which includes a dome that can turn 360-degrees, an eyestalk that hinges up and down, and two arms that are on ball joints. The undercarriage has three wheels, two fixed and one that rotates 360-degrees.

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“Day of the Daleks” first aired in 1972, which coincidentally is the year I was born! It features a great time travel story about guerrillas from the future coming back in time to assassinate a politician and prevent their rather unpleasant future from ever happening. It’s a Third Doctor story, starring the late great Jon Pertwee, and prominatly features both UNIT and the Daleks, hell it even featured the rarely seen Ogrons… what more could you want? “Day of the Daleks” marked the first return of the Daleks to the show in about five years. Rumor has it that no one on staff knew exactly how to recreate the voices and so the Dalek voices heard in the episode are pretty annoying, out of character, and off-putting.

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The figure is a straight repaint of the “Genesis of the Daleks” release that I looked at just a couple of weeks ago. The body of this one is all metallic gold with black sensor globes and black trim around the skirt. It makes for a pretty attractive looking Dalek, but the paintwork on this one isn’t as good as it could have been. There’s some chipping around the neck rings and a little scuffing on the dome itself. I’ve thought about possibly trying to touch it up with a metallic Sharpie. It also looks like a couple of his rear sensor globes are leaking. But in fairness the Dalek props that were used in the show were often beat to hell, so I kind of think the scuffs add character to the figure. The articulation on this Classic Dalek mold is identical to the NuWho Dalek.

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Both the NuWho and Classic Dalek are easily the best molds that this 3 3/4” line has produced so it’s no surprise that these repaints would be great figures. These fellas set me back about ten bucks each, which feels about right to me considering that they are technically imports. I’m not sure there’s a lot more that CO could do with the NuWho Dalek in terms of repaints, but I’ll be interested to see the Classic figure reappear. I wouldn’t mind getting him in the original grey and powder blue coloring with the mesh slats replaced. In the meantime, I’ve still got two more figures in this wave to check out, so next time we’ll check out the 3 3/4” versions of Amy Pond and The 10th Doctor.

Doctor Who: “Genesis of the Daleks” Dalek (3 3/4” Scale) by Character Options

When it comes to toy hunting, hitting the pavement has long been a thing of the past for me. I will still sometimes go out of my way to buy groceries at Walmart or Target just to take a pass through the toy aisles, but these days, 99% of my toys come from online retailers. That’s not my choice, but that’s the way things have evolved due to the horrible distribution among the big chains. That having been said, I have been doing some little toy runs these last few weeks and to the strangest place one could imagine… Walgreens! For whatever reason the drugstore chain has decided to edge their way into the action figure market by offering a number of exclusive figures in lines that range from Marvel Legends to Game of Thrones to Star Wars. And they even have exclusive US distribution rights for an entire line of figures based on Doctor Who. Yup, Doctor Who action figures in an American drugstore. I’m still trying to wrap my brain around that one!

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In case you’re confused, what we’re dealing with here is just a rebranded continuation of CO’s 3 3/4” line. Wave 3, to be precise. These appear to be identical to the wave that is being widely distributed in the UK, only with an Underground Toys label slapped on the back of the card. I didn’t have a problem with the old packaging, but I kind of like this style too. It’s bright and colorful and it has an almost kitchy 70’s vibe to it that suits the show I love so much. This wave consists of The 10th Doctor, The 12th Doctor, Amy Pond, an Asylum Dalek, and this Classic Dalek taken from the 1975 story “Genesis of the Daleks.” Why toss in the one Classic figure? I have no idea. Maybe it’s a tie in to the older Daleks that had cameos in “Asylum of the Daleks” or maybe CO just wanted to capitalize on the crazy popularity of Daleks by including them in this new scale. Let’s bust this little hate-monger out of his package and check him out.

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Yup, that’s a Classic Dalek alright! And one of my all time favorites, too! The gun-metal-blue and black Daleks that amok during The 4th Doctor’s reign always looked so cold, utilitarian, and extra sinister to me. While a good portion of this 3 3/4” line has been mediocre at best, CO did manage to get the Daleks in this scale right from the start. They’ve done three variations of the NuWho Daleks and every one of them has felt like a shrunk down version of the excellent 5-inch scale figures. Well, the same can mostly be said of this little guy here. The sculpt is completely new and while it lacks a lot of the fancy panel lining and such from the current Dalek design, this little figure is faithful to their appearance back in 1975.

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The biggest thing that sets this guy apart from his 5-inch cousin is the ear lights. Instead of using clear plastic like they did for the 5-inch figure (and even the 3 3/4” NuWho Daleks) the ear lights here appear to be part of the dome and just painted over white. The ears are also the only part on this Dalek where the paint isn’t quite all it could be. It’s not terrible, but there is a bit of slop and rubbing. The rest of the paintwork is quite good and they even got some silver spray on the mesh in between his shoulder slats. Cool!

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If you own any of Character Options’ Daleks than you should know what to expect when it comes to articulation. This little guy rolls along on three wheels under his skirt. The back two wheels are fixed and the front one spins 360-degrees. Both the gun arm and the plunger arm are each mounted on ball joints, the eye stalk can raise and lower, and the dome will rotate 360-degrees. It’s basically all the articulation you can hope for in a Dalek.

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And that opens up the debate on whether or not all Classic Who is now fair game for this smaller scale. It’s true that this line doesn’t really impress me, but the idea of having Doctor Who figures that are more compatible with many of my other playsets and figures makes me a little more forgiving than I should be. It also leads me to be perfectly honest and admit that if CO were to start releasing the Classic Doctors in this scale I’d be all in, but that probably goes without saying. Right now, it could just be that CO recognizes the repaint potential of getting a Classic Dalek mold into the mix. Either way, I’m very happy to have this little guy in my collection.

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I found this Dalek just lying on the shelf of a Walgreens that I was visiting while on the hunt for Marvel Legend’s Agent Venom. There didn’t appear to be a peg for the Doctor Who figures and there weren’t any other to be found. Nonetheless, I scooped him up. The price was $9.99, which is about what these figures have been selling for through my regular Doctor Who retailer. Right now he’s just a lone curiosity among my Who figures in this scale, but I’ll be on the hunt for the rest so if luck is with me, it’s very possible a few more of these Daleks will follow me home.

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: 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: “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!

Doctor Who: Sound FX Special Weapons Dalek by Character Options

I’m wrapping up the week with a Dalek Double Feature. Yesterday we looked at the Black Dalek Variant from the 3 ¾” line. Today we’re checking out this unique fella from CO’s 5-inch line. Yes, the Special Weapons Dalek! It turned up once in the 7th Doctor story “Remembrance of the Daleks” without any explanation or backstory. All we knew from that appearance is that this badass pepperpot is capable of destroying a squad of Daleks with one shot. He had a cameo appearance in the more recent 11th Doctor story “Asylum of the Daleks,” but you had to be pretty quick with the pause button to even see him. I like to think of this guy as the Boba Fett of the Doctor Who universe. People love him because he’s a mystery and looks cool, and similar to Boba Fett, details about the SWD have been fleshed out in “expanded universe” content of questionable canonicity. Sometimes known among the Daleks as “The Abomination,” he’s a Dalek that sports a weapon so powerful that his brain cannot be adequately shielded against its radioactive recoil. In short, every time he fires his weapon his brain gets dosed with rads and he gets angrier and crazier. It’s no surprise the Daleks only roll this guy out when the shit really hits the fan. It’s also no surprise that he wound up in the Dalek Asylum.

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The SWD figure was originally released in the “Remembrance of the Daleks” Collectors Set, which was never brought over to the US. As a result, this guy has been crazy expensive and hard to get for us Yanks. It’s been a sticking point for me for quite some time, but CO has finally made things right by releasing him as part of this electronic Sound FX Daleks. He comes on a small card with a bubble large enough to contain his Dalek supremacy. The deco uses the current series branding, including the “DWARTIS” logo. It’s also a little misleading because it  exclaims “SPEECH & SOUND FX” and “EX-TER-MIN-AAATE!!!” but in very tiny words it points out that the SWD doesn’t actually say anything. I’ll come back to that in a few ticks when we talk about the electronics.

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The back of the card shows the other SFX Daleks in the wave. I’m really tempted to buy some more of these, but they are rather expensive, so I’m trying to control myself. There’s also a ridiculous amount of warnings and information printed on the back of the card. You’d almost think you were buying a real Dalek.

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There’s no doubt that the SWD features a unique design. I used to refer to him as the WWI Dalek because he looks like a cross between a bunker and an early 20th century war machine. While the skirt is standard Dalek through and through, the top half is what departs from traditional Dalek design and makes him so distinctive. There’s no eye stalk, just a shallow dome with a deep set ring that looks like it has what might be viewports all around it. There are no shoulder slats or mesh, instead his middle section is just smooth. And the biggest change is the giant cannon that replaces the usual plunger and gun arms. This appears to be the exact same sculpt as the original UK release of the figure and I’ve got no complaints. Articulation includes 360-degree rotation in the mid-section and his cannon angles up and down. He also sports the same style of wheels under his skirt that we’ve seen on all of CO’s Daleks.

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While the sculpt here is fantastic, the paintwork was a sticking point on the original release of this figure. Many collectors complained that it was rather heavy handed, particularly the grease around the roundels. When the SFX version was announced I was hoping that it would receive a better paint job. Alas, this guy features the same caliber of paintwork. I think the antiqued brass or coppery parts look good, but the brushwork around the sensor domes is still pretty half-assed. It’s supposed to look like grease leaking from the domes, but instead it looks like just what it is, ham-fisted dry brushing.  It looks passable from a distance, but the more I scrutinize it, the more it falls apart. That having been said, it doesn’t ruin the figure for me at all. This guy is supposed to look old, decrepit, and ugly and he does. Besides, I’ve waited too long to add this guy to my collection so I’m willing to be rather forgiving.

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Obviously the big difference between this one and the original release is the added electronics. He has an On-Off switch under his skirt as well as a battery compartment. The SFX are activated by pressing a well concealed button comprised of one of the sensor domes on his left side. As already noted, the SWD doesn’t speak and I suppose that’s understandable since he never spoke in the episode, but I was still hoping that CO might have thrown in an “EXTERMINATE!” Maybe he’s not supposed to be capable of speaking. Anywho, if you press the button once it will activate a firing sound and if you double-tap it you will get both the firing sound and an explosion.

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Paint notwithstanding, I really dig this figure and while there are still more than a few variant Daleks for me to collect, this guy is the one most conspicuously absent from my shelves. Unfortunately, the SFX Daleks run at a rather pricey $27-30 a pop at most e-tailers. That’s not a bad price for this guy, since it’s a lot cheaper than hunting down the original non-electronic release. However, considering the other SFX Daleks are basically just a lot of the same figures we’ve seen before with added electronics, I haven’t been eager to hunt them all down.

Doctor Who: Retro TARDIS Collectible Set by Biff Bang Pow

Damn you kids these days. Back in my day, our playsets were made out of cardboard and we were damn happy to have them! Yes, I’m just old enough so that Mego made up some of the very first toys that I owned. And yes, that means that some of my very first playsets were made out of laminated cardboard, including the bridge of the USS Enterprise and various Planet of the Apes environments. Of course cardboard also carried over to the early Kenner Star Wars playsets like the Ice Planet Hoth, Land of the Jawas, and the pretty freaking cool Palitoy Death Star. Now that I think about it, with playsets having become almost non-existent, maybe the kids these days would be happy to have cardboard playsets too. Where am I going with all this? Well, Biff Bang Pow made a retro-style cardboard TARDIS to go with their retro-style Doctor Who figures. And today we’re going to check it out.

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The box is simple, fairly attractive and does have a smidge of retro charm. You get some illustrations and some photos of the playset inside. The back panel also shows the myriad of retro-style Doctor Who figures available from BBP. Wow, they made a lot of these. Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of these figures. Even with the whole retro-style thing going on I think most of them look pretty awful. I have The 4th Doctor, who turned out a bit better than I expected, and I have the Sontaran who is Ok, but sadly suffers from some QC issues, like some cracked armor. One of these days I may pick up the Leela, just so I can have a set that harkens back to the Denys-Fisher 4th Doctor and Leela. But that’s about as far into this pool as I’m willing to wade. Even this Doctor Who fanatic has his limits.

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Open up the box and inside you have… well, basically another box. The TARDIS is a very sturdy cardboard box with a glossy illustrated surface that replicates the familiar details of everyone’s favorite Type 40 Time Capsule quite well. But make no mistake, this is still basically a fancy cardboard box. Even the stepped lamp on the top is made out of folded cardboard and smacks of papercraft. There’s a little bit of depth to the sides, such as the doors are set in from the corner pieces, but everything else is in 2D but printed to look like 3D.

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The TARDIS opens along the right corner of the front side and the flap is secured quite well with magnets. The sides are designed to open so that they are straight with the sides that remain closed without putting a lot of stress on the creases and the bottom floor pieces will sort of lock open, probably more by coincidence than design. The inside of the TARDIS is decorated with printed roundels and the doors are drawn in on the left flap. I’m a bit surprised they didn’t draw in the viewscreen on the right flap. This is pretty basic stuff.

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Like the rest of this set, the TARDIS console is completely made of sturdy, illustrated cardboard and comes in two pieces. The base connects to the console with tabs. It’s also not secured down in any way, so you can move it around if you want. When BBP first revealed this set and the price, I was almost certain the console would be a rotocast piece, but in the end that wasn’t the case. It’s a shame, because even the Mego Enterprise and Planet of the Apes sets had plastic set-pieces. Nonetheless, it’s about the right height, but not broad enough to really be in proper scale with the figures. The illustrations of the controls, however, are very nice and even accurate when compared against the pages of my old dog-eared copy of the TARDIS Technical Manual. The Time Rotor, on the other hand, looks rather weak. It’s hard to do a convincing transparent tube with cardboard.

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One interesting gimmick is the inclusion of an electronic keychain that fits into the base of the console and can be activated to play the sounds of the TARDIS taking off and landing. You can use it with the set or just take it out and use it as a keychain to annoy your non-Whovian friends. On the other hand, my cell phone can do it better, so I guess there’s not much point. Still, it’s a clever way to add a little electronics to the set.

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The set also comes with a rotocast K9 figure and I’ll be honest, this bonus single-handedly tipped me in favor of getting this set. Yes, it’s a hollow chunk of plastic, but it is nicely sculpted and painted and I just adore K9 too much to pass up a chance to own him in almost any form. He’s nicely scaled to the retro figures and makes a very nice display accessory for my BBP 4th Doctor. Once again, if I ever get the Leela figure, this K9 will nicely round out the Denys Fisher homage.

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If I were to sum up this set in a word, that word would be “charming.” It really does remind me of the old Mego days, particularly some of my Planet of the Apes and Hal Needham sets, and that is clearly what the folks at BBP were aiming at. But I can’t stress enough how much nostalgia will be the key to making this thing a worthy purchase for anyone. With an MSRP of $59.99 you are really paying a lot for some cardboard and a rotocast K9. My 11th Doctor Console Room from Character Options was only ten dollars more than this and while it did have cardboard walls, it also featured a lot of plastic and a lot more detail. In short, this thing is ridiculously over priced. I don’t at all regret picking this up, but it should be pointed out that when it comes to Doctor Who merchandise, my fiscal sense can usually be summed up with the phrase, “shut up and take my money!” Still, there was a time when Doctor Who was niche enough that companies could justify expensive merchandise to cover their risk, but when you consider that I have a six-foot tall bookcase overflowing with Doctor Who toys and figures, I don’t think that flies anymore. In the end, this turned out to be a fun display piece, but too much money for too little.

Doctor Who: “City of Death” Collectors Set by Character Options

Oh boy… we’re exactly ten days away from the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who and I’m trying to pay some respects to the Character Options line as we head into the home stretch. Today we’re checking out a set of two figures from the 4th Doctor story “City of Death,” which originally aired back in 1979. It’s a fantastic episode and probably one of the most universally loved stories from the era. And why not? Because besides the great story that spans millennia, there really is a lot to love in this production. It’s got location filming (in Paris), which was a very rare thing for the show, a superb musical score by Dudley Simpson. Tom Baker and Lalla Ward bring their A-game and are joined by the delightful antics of Tom Chadbon as the punchy Duggan. This story also manages to tie Doctor Who into so many other nerd properties that it’s almost ridiculous. You’ve got the always delicious Catherine Schell (Space 1999) as The Countess, but more importantly… JULIAN F’CKING GLOVER in a mind bending bit of casting that ties Doctor Who, James Bond, Blakes 7, Star Wars, and Indiana Jones all together in a neat package of nerdgasmic glory. Not enough? Well let’s not forget that it was co-written by Douglas Adams of Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently fame!

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The compact little window box should be familiar to most collectors of this line, but the deco is a blast from the past. This set is from before the turnover to the 70’s style logo, so we get the Nu-Who logo that was used throughout the Eccelsten and Tennant periods. It may seem strange to see the modern logo on a Classic Who figure set, but back then all the toys and figures that CO turned out for Doctor Who were branded under the format of the new series and it makes sense to me that they would want to keep the brand recognition going for the modern incarnation of the property. The window shows off the two figures nicely, and as we can see it contains yet another version of Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor and Julian Glover as The Count Scarlioni… or is he Scaroth the last survivor of an alien race called the Jagaroth?? Stay tuned!

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Oh bugger, the back of the package kind of spoils it. Yes, you get some stills of the characters and a nice blurb about the story. The box is totally collector friendly and features an illustrated backdrop that you can use to display the figures if that kind of thing floats your boat. If Doctor Who was all I collected, I’d still have all of these boxes. But space is a rare commodity and so I’ve got to pitch them. It pains me to do so, because the backdrop features the awesome Jagaroth spaceship resting on the desolate landscape of the Earth long before humankind developed. I love the design of that ship!

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Let’s start with The Doctor, because I don’t have a lot to say about him. I’ve been a die-hard fan of this show for about 30 years and I grew up with Tom Baker in the role, but even I have trouble telling apart the little variations in his wardrobe. Ask me to describe his iconic costume and it’s no brainer that you’ll get: Well, he has a long coat, a really long scarf, and sometimes a fedora. But there have been a lot of subtle, and some not so subtle, variations in that formula over his long tenure on the show. Suffice it to say, this version of The Doctor doesn’t represent the stand-out variant that we saw last time with “The Seeds of Doom” set. In fact, he’s extremely similar to the version we got in the “Destiny of the Daleks” set, and that makes sense because the two stories were broadcast fairly closely to one another.

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The DotD Doctor is wearing his buccaneer boots, whereas this one has just regular shoes, otherwise the two bodies are virtually identical. The only other difference I can see is the CoD Doctor has his little artisan pin painted onto his lapel, but even that is totally concealed by his scarf. And speaking of the scarf, it hangs loose around his shoulders, rather than being wrapped tightly around his neck. At first, I thought it was a repaint of the scarf used for the Warrior’s Gate Doctor, and while they are very similar, this one does seem to be a unique sculpt. But don’t let the subtleties of this figure fool you into thinking I don’t love it. It’s a another fantastic rendition of The Doctor. He may not be a “must have” for the casual collectors of the line, but then I have to ask myself, are there really any casual collectors of a Classic Doctor Who action figure line? Probably not.

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And then there’s Scarlioni. He was a great character in that he was somewhat sympathetic in his goals to undo his critical mistake and save his race, but he was also quite clearly a suave bastard that was willing to prevent the human race from ever existing to succeed. He remains one of my favorite of all the one-off Doctor Who villains, so it’s very cool to have a figure of him, even if it really just a guy in a white leisure suit. The portrait is a good likeness to Glover and while there have been plenty of reports of the paint being a mess on this figure, I’m happy to report that mine, while not precise, is still pretty good. Scarlioni comes with a very tiny gun, which he can hold in one hand.

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Of course, Scarlioni was also Scaroth and under that dapper Julian Glover countenance existed his true form… an improbably large green squiggly head with one big eye. CO gives us the ability to do the same by popping off the Glover head and popping on the Scaroth head. Even in a show where rubber monsters were the order of the day, Scaroth still strikes me as one of the weaker aliens of the era, but the story is so brilliant it manages to pull it off with aplomb. Unfortunately, I’m not all that impressed with the Scaroth head. It’s definitely not some of CO’s best work, and I haven’t decided yet which head I’ll use for regular display.

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But wait, that’s not all. You also get a 5-inch scale Mona Lisa, which is an amazingly cool little accessory. The frame is sculpted and if you flip it over, even the wood grain on the backing boards is detailed in the sculpt. Plus, if you hold it to the light just right you can just make out the words, “This is a Fake” under the picture. Why? [Deep breath] You see, in the story Scaroth was splintered into a bunch of different aspects of himself and scattered through time, and in order to finance his time experiments so that he could eventually reunite all his splintered selves each Scaroth was both advancing the technology of the planet so he can create a machine that would eventually be used to age a chicken to death, while also raising capital to pay for the experiments and one of the ways he did this was to have his 16th Century self commission Leonardo DaVinci to paint a whole bunch of Mona Lisas so that back in the 20th Century he could sell them on the black market and make the money he needed, but when The Doctor traveled back in time to DaVinci’s workshop he wrote “This is a Fake” on all the blank canvases and left a note for DaVinci to just paint over them. [EXHALES!] Phew! Savy? So that’s why you get a Mona Lisa in the set.

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The biggest knock I have on this set is the same rather tired old song. It was a missed opportunity to give us Romana. Granted, the decision to instead hit us with another 4th Doctor variant probably goes beyond the ability to reuse parts. Securing the rights to actors and actresses can be at best expensive and sometimes literally impossible. I have no insider information about whether or not CO has gone after Lalla Ward’s likeness and failed, or if they didn’t bother. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt, since a Romana figure would sell like crazy and assume that they tried and just weren’t able to do it. It’s a shame, but that’s one of the annoying legal snafus that sometimes hurt us most as action figure collectors. The truth is that with CO slowing way down on this line, it’s very likely we’ve already seen most of the companions that we’re going to get. Yes, that can be depressing, but I prefer to be thankful for what we did get, rather than sorry for what we didn’t.