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

VARIANTS!!! Love them or hate them, they’re a fact of life when collecting action figures. In this case, Character Options unleashed a number of variants in their 3 ¾” Doctor Who line and relegated them to severe limitations in the UK. The figures instantly began demanding high prices on the secondary market and pissing off a lot of collectors. I’ll admit, I didn’t have a lot of sympathy for those collectors, because there was no sign of these figures ever making it over here. At least those people had a chance! Well, in a bizarre turn of events, the figures not only became available in the US through Underground Toys, but were actually delivered to specialty retailers as their own wave making them no more difficult to get than the regular versions. In fact, with many of the regular versions sold out, some of these variants are currently the only ones available at the moment. Crazy! The variants range from both minor and major paint variations and even some new sculpting. Today we’re kicking things off with a look at the new Cyberman.

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The packaging is identical to what we’ve already seen in this line and even the name of the figure on the insert still simply states, “Cyberman.” They’re regarded as variants because the package still states “6 Figures To Collect!” whereas if the variants counted, you’d now have 11 figures to collect. The Ice Warrior is the only one in the batch that doesn’t have a variant. Although word is that a second Dalek variant is turning up, so that would put the total number back to 12. God, this is confusing! The cards are generic across the line, although the back of the variant packages are updated to show two new “Time Zone” Playsets, in this case inspired by the episodes, “Hide” and “Angels Take Manhattan.” The Angels set is a peculiar choice, since it’s from the first half of Series 7 before the figures changed scale and before Clara became a companion. And yet there she is pictured on display in the playset! As you can see in the bubble, you still get the same “DWARTIS” style figure stand, which I still feel is a nice bonus.

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Referring back to my review of the original figure, I was overall pretty happy with these guys; certainly happy enough to army build them. Yes, they strike me as being rather undersized and the sculpt is rather soft in places, but overall I think they capture the details of the new design quite well for a figure in this scale. One thing that was conspicuously missing from the original figure was the arm gun and here we have one of the only two instances of new sculpting in these variants. This Cybie comes with a brand new right arm with the gun deployed and ready. The articulation is identical to the regular version, so while there’s no swivels in the arm, the ball joint in the elbow allows you to rotate the gun to the top of the arm and give him a more credible firing position.

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The other change to the figure is the addition of the blue paint app to light up the circle in the chest. I think it looks good on the figure, but it really screams “Arc Reactor” to me way too much. The new design already mingles a bit too closely with Stark Industries’ suit designs and adding the blue light in the chest completes a homage that I’m not eager to acknowledge.

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The paintwork on this figure is in line with the orginal release, which means it has its ups and downs. The silver paint that’s used is quite nice and certainly achieves a metallic finish for the figure. On the other hand, it has a lot of black swirls that make him look tarnished. I don’t mind that so much, but in this case there was a large and unsightly black mark on his face, which I needed to fix with a metallic silver Sharpie. Hey, considering I had to do the same thing to my $80 Takara Masterpiece Prowl, I’m not going to make a big deal about it for a $10 3 3/4″ Doctor Who figure.

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This 3 3/4″ line of figures certainly is lacking, but the Cyberman is one of the higher points and this variant is certainly a welcome release. In a perfect world I would have liked a Cyberman with the gun arm and no blue chest, but that’s something I can easily change myself if I want to. I will, however, argue that rather than be a variant, this is the way the figure should have come out originally. I mean, who wants Cybermen without their guns armed? People in the UK shouldn’t have to pay a premium for what should have been standard on the regular release. At the very least it should have been a common running change. That having been said, I’m happy to have him in my collection, and yes, I already have two more heading to me from the fine folks at Who North America. I’m happy to get them at regular price, but I certainly wouldn’t have paid a premium or lost any sleep over not getting him if he had stayed a rare chase figure.

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Doctor Who: “Attack of the Cybermen” 2-Pack by Character Options

With the 5-inch line of Doctor Who Classics grinding to a standstill by the end of this year I am going back and hunting down some of the figures that I had previously passed on. So the irony is that while the line is only producing a few new sets in the months ahead, you’ll likely see a lot more DW figures covered here as I scramble to complete my collection before they start disappearing from retailers. Today we’re looking at a two-pack from the 6th Doctor story “Attack of the Cybermen” from 1985. I dig this episode a lot and not only because I love the Cybermen. The story is also a sort of redemption tale for Commander Lytton from “Resurrection of the Daleks.” It also features the TARDIS returning to Totter’s Lane with a temporarily repaired chameleon circuit and, of course, it co-stars Peri’s boobs. All those things conspire for a cracking story that also happens to be full of some pretty dark shit, even for 80’s Doctor Who.

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The figures come in a stylish and sealed blister pack. It’s the same packaging we saw for the “Caves of Androzani” set. The insert is a blue star field and features a Doctor Who logo that evokes the 70’s for me, although I believe it was the same style used for the 1996 TV Movie. Either way, I really love the presentation here, particularly the embossed lettering and diamond shaped bubble.

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The back of the insert has a shot of the lovely doe-eyed Peri and a Rogue Cyberman and features a blurb about the story in general and Peri’s character in particular. Naturally this package is as unfriendly to a collector as you can get, unlike the old window boxes that CO used to use. I think I prefer this style as there’s no temptation for me to fool myself into thinking that I have the space to keep the package. You’ll need a razor blade or scissors to get this thing open and get at the figures. And I’m about to do just that!

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Let’s start off with Peri. This is the third time we’ve seen her released in figure form, so I’m thinking someone over at CO must love Peri as much as I do. I mean you’d have to really love Peri to buy all three releases. Who would do that? If you guessed me, you’d be right and I especially like her here in “AotC.” The Doctor isn’t half insane and trying to kill her anymore and besides some residual bickering, I think they share some nice chemistry in this story.

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If you notice I’m not saying a lot about the figure yet, it’s because we’ve seen it before… more or less. Her outfit is a direct repaint of the Peri from the “Vengeance on Varos” set. What was blue is now painted pink, but the sculpt from the neck down is almost identical, with only the addition of a bracelet on her right wrist to set it apart. From the neck up, this does appear to be a new, or at least tweaked head sculpt. Her bangs are different and she’s wearing a hair band. All in all Pink Peri is still a nice figure, but probably not essential if you already own her. Plus, I’ll go ahead and say that while the likeness here is still plenty good, I think the head sculpt on the “Caves of Androzani” Peri is the best of the bunch. Unfortunately, that figure also shows the least amount of cleavage out of the three, so you’ll want to have at least one of each sculpt.

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Peri sports some pretty good articulation for this line. Her arms rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows, and swivels in the biceps and wrists. Her legs have universal movement at the hips, hinges in the knees, and swivels at the thighs. She can turn her head and also swivel at the waist.

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But as much as I dig Peri, she’s not the reason I bought this set. Nope, I bought it for… Creepy Rogue Cyberman! For reasons I cannot currently remember, some of the Cybermen on Telos were waking up Rogue and wandering the halls like zombies. For the most part, they were just regular Cybermen with some cobwebs and green goo on them. There is one scene, however, where The Doctor removes the face plate on one of them to activate its distress beacon. You don’t actually see inside, so this figure is CO’s delightfully imaginative take on what it probably looked like in there.

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Like Peri, the Rogue Cyberman is basically just a repaint with a tweaked head and the additional touch of completely re-sculpted boots. In this case, it’s a tweak of the “Earthshock” Cybie, which is my all-time favorite Cyberman design. The repaint consists of general weathering, which looks really nice, and some spattered green goo, which I always presumed were the spoiled organic contents starting to leak out. Ewww. The green is rather understated and all in all, this is very effective repaint if you want to display a Cyberman who has gone slightly off.

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The new bits include the new head with removable face plate. The ‘borgified skull inside is fantastic with lots of gruesome detail, although the faceplate isn’t all that great a fit. I can get it more or less on, but it’s prone to falling off fairly easily. You also get a brand new gun, which is similar in design to the one used in Earthshock but tweaked to make it more accurate to the guns used in this episode. CO could have just as easily tossed in the old gun and boots, so the fact that they bothered to do re-sculpts on these points to make the figure as show accurate as possible is just plain class.

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This set was originally released at $40! Oh yeah, now I remember why I passed on it. As thrilled as I am to be more versions of Peri and Cybermen, this is still a lot to pay for tweaked repaints, particularly at a time when CO was releasing a lot more figures and taxing my budget. I was always all for supporting this line as much as possible, but even I had my limits. Fortunately, I was able to pick up this set last week for the far more appealing sum of $25. I will, however, hand it to CO. On the surface this could have been a far more quick-and-dirty release than it actually was. They could have easily gotten away with just repainting both figures and leaving it at that, but instead they invested in some new tooling, which does indeed help to justify adding it to my collection. Good on you, guys!

Doctor Who: Cyber Controller and Guards by Character Options

There aren’t many Doctor Who figures in my collection that haven’t been featured here on FFZ, but somehow this beauty of a set was missed. I’m dusting my shelves today, so I decided to pull it down and have a looksee. It was way back in 2006 that the Cybermen made their first appearance on NuWho with a two-part story called “Rise of the Cybermen” and “Age of Steel.” As much as I love the Daleks, I think I was more excited to see the Cybermen return and I really dig this story, particularly the way they were reintroduced in a parallel Earth. It was precisely the sort of creative story-telling that has been absent from a lot of the Dalek and Cybermen stories of old, which often resorted to, “Oh, hey look, it’s time to bring this enemy back… write me a story for it.” Nope, these were the Cybermen… but they weren’t… it was just the kind of mind-bending shit that I love in my Doctor Who. Lumic was a really great villain too. He was an interesting mix of a sympathetic character and bat-shit crazy megalomaniac. Of course, he got his comeuppance when he was upgraded to the Cyber Controller, who happens to be the centerpiece of this set.

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I’ve had this thing for a long time and the packaging is long gone, but I cribbed a picture off of The Ebays for reference. I can still remember being so excited when I got this thing. Back then I was still in shock that we were getting proper Doctor Who figures, and when CO started releasing larger sets like this, my mind practically exploded. The set came in a window box with deco inspired by the credit sequence that would stay with the show all the way to the end of Tennant’s reign as the 10th Doctor. It’s a great presentation and part of me wishes that I had saved the box because it’s perfectly collector friendly. Inside you get The Cyber Controller and his throne plus two Cybermen Guards. Let’s start out with the Guards.

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The Guards are just typical Cybermen, which is great for troop builders as they are identical to each other and any other standard Cybies released in the series. I liked the redesign of the NuWho Cybermen a lot and I’ll go one step further and say that I think these figures look even better than the onscreen counterparts because they don’t have the fabric bodysuit showing between the joints. Instead it’s sculpted to look more like wires or just flexible metal. These guys also have the wrist gun sculpted onto their right forearms and the Cybus emblem on their chests. The silvery finish gives them a nice metallic look without being too shiny. I probably have four or five of these guys total and I always regret not picking up some more.

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The articulation on this pair is pretty good, especially considering the Cybermen of the period were not terribly agile. You get a rotating head, which appears to have a tiny bit of up and down movement. The arms rotate at the shoulders, have hinged elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs are balljointed at the hips, have hinged knees, and ball joints in the ankles. I do wish you could swivel their arms to make their firing position a little more convincing. For some reason I want the gun arm on the top, but hey it still works.

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The Cyber Controller was unique to this set and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t been re-released since. I originally presumed he would be sculpted into the throne, but nope, he’s a bona fide figure. He’s basically a slight resculpt of the regular Cybermen we just looked with a brand new head. The only difference about his body is the lack of a gun on his arm and the six connection ports on his upper chest and shoulders. These are used to wire him into the throne. The head features a transparent dome with his brain exposed and the eyes are painted blue instead of black.

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The throne is one big piece of plastic with a ton of wires and cables sculpted into it and it has a little bit of an HR Giger feel to me. The chair itself has a rough texture and there’s a Cybus emblem near the base. The Controller doesn’t so much sit in it as lean back into it and bend his legs, but he will stay put pretty well and he looks great. Every now and again he’ll slip down so a tiny blob of blue tack on his butt helps him stay planted. The wires flexible wires all plug into his access ports to help integrate him into the chair.

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If you love your Cybermen as much as I do, you really need this set in your Who collection. I think it’s one of the coolest Deluxe sets Character Options pumped out during the time. I seem to recall paying about fifty bucks for it, which even now doesn’t seem too bad considering the Cybermen were often selling for around $20 each when they were available. Right now this set is just chilling on my NuWho shelf, but one of these days, when I get more display space, it’s going to be the centerpiece of my evolution of the Cybermen display.

Doctor Who: Cyberman Pandorica Guard by Character Options

It seems like an eternity since I’ve featured any Doctor Who figures based on the modern series, and that’s mostly because there haven’t been that many. Nonetheless I’ve been hankering for some NuWho figures and so I’ve started tracking down the “Series 5” inspired“Build The Pandorica” Wave. For the uninitiated, this was an assortment of Series 5 figures that originally came bundled with a Doctor Who audio CD adventure. The CD and case also doubled as a piece to the Pandorica. Honestly, I thought the CD was a pretty hokey idea, but when CO released the wave again, slightly cheaper and with non-CD Pandorica pieces that were sculpted and looked better, I new I’d get around to picking these up sooner or later. Did I mention they’re compatible with the Pandorica chair that was released last year? Well, they are!

Its going to take me a while to hunt down all of these figures, so I started off with the one I wanted the most. He’s the creepy, delapidated Cyberman that the Pandorica Alliance left behind to guard the Pandorica. The packaging is the same as we’ve been getting with all the Series 5 and 6 figures. You get a simple, generic cardback with the figure in a bubble. The Pandorica piece is behind the figure and the cardback shows one big Pandorica rather than other figures in the wave. You’ll also note the big sticker that points out the lack of a CD in the package. That’s pretty important because the back of the cards says there’s still a CD in there!
The coolest thing about this Cyberman is obviously the detatched open head. Its sculpted in the open position with the mummified skull inside. It comes detatched from the figure and you get a set of wire tentacles to plug into the neck hole if you want to display it off the Cyberman. The sculpt is pretty amazing, although I think it would have been cool if the skull was colored differently from the rest of the helmet. As it is its just all covered in the same rusty petina. Damn, this is a creepy sculpt. I like the missing right handle too. Naturally, you can unplug the wires and plug the head onto the Cyberman body.
The body itself is pretty well done too. Character Options could have gone for a cheap repaint here, but they actually introduced a lot of new tooling to the sculpt to show the damage. His chest armor is cracked, his arms are pitted.I guess my only complaint here is that it should be missing its left arm to be show accurate. But laying that aside, CO really went all out on this one.
The Pandorica wall plugs into the base of the Pandorica chair. If you don’t have the chair, you can get all six pieces to form the complete cube. I actually prefer the walls without the CD because they feature new sculpting and while you can tell they were designed to be CD cases, they still look more like the Pandorica walls and less like some dopey gimmick.
I picked up this figure for $13 shipped, which was a mighty fine deal. This Cybie was probably the most sought after figure of the wave. I suppose Kiss-o-gram Amy would be a close second, but she was previously available in the Christmas Adventure Set, so chances are a lot of the more dedicated collectors already had her. Some of the other figures in this assortment are going to be pretty hard to pony up for just to get the Pandorica piece, but I’ll get them all eventually.

Tomorrow, I’ll deliver the second in a one-two Doctor Who punch with a look at the “Destiny of the Daleks” set.

Doctor Who: Earthshock Cyberman Leader Helmet (LE 500) by Weta

I never thought a Weta product would ever land in my blog. It’s not that I don’t appreciate their products, quite the contrary, I love drooling over their new product images each time they come out. I especially love their line of trippy retro-style ray guns, but not to the point that I could justify their $500+ price tags. It’s just not in my budget, and the smaller scaled ones don’t interest me. Weta has been securing the rights to doing other licensed products. Recently, they’ve acquired the license to make products based off the District 9 movie, and they’ve had licensing agreements with the Beeb to do Doctor Who related items for a little while now.

One of Weta’s newest lines of Doctor Who based products is a series of limited edition scaled helmets. These have included a Sontaran helmet, an Ice Warrior, a Time Lord headpiece and cowl, and the Cyberman Leader head that we’re going to look at today.

The helmet comes in a very nice illustrated box with a decor similar to what Character Options has been using for their Classic style figures. There’s a blue swirly background with the Doctor Who logo from the 2005-2009 series. Every panel of the box shows a photo of the helmet from a different angle, so you definitely can see what you’re getting despite it not being a window-type package. The back panel has a couple of paragraphs about Doctor Who in general and the side panel has a blurb about the episode, Earthshock and the Cyber Leader.

The first thing I noticed about this box is how freaking heavy it is. Before I could even get it all the way out of the shipping box, I began feeling a sense of satisfaction with my purchase. Inside the box, the helmet rests safely encased in two styrofoam trays with a QC sticker seal attached.

The helmet itself is cast in metal with a silver painted finish and encases the black, matte polystone stand from which it cannot be removed. The only seam that’s present is on the sides of the neck, which I believe is a detail copied from the actual prop and not part of the manufacture process. Either way there are no other visible seams in the sculpt, which is something I am particularly happy about. The mesh screen in the eyeholes is nicely reproduced, as is the segmentation on his “ears” and handlebars. The chin plate is transparent plastic revealing the black stand underneith. The appropriate rubber hosing protrudes from each side of the helmet and runs back to a socket on the stand, since the lower portion of the Cyberman where these would plug in is not recreated here.

The stand itself has a hexagonal base and the matte black finish really contrasts nicely against the silver finish of the helmet. The base stands on four protective rubber grommets and the bottom contains the production information, including the signature of sculptor, David Tremont and the production number, in this case 487 of 500.

The Cyber Leader helmet set me back sixty bucks. It is admittedly quite an extravagance for me since I’m not usually into statues or busts, and this piece definitely falls into both of those categories. Nonetheless, the Earthshock Cyberman has always been my favorite of all the Cyberman designs and considering the limitation of this piece to only 500, the price seemed like a good deal. Still, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure what to expect, but now that I have it, I can’t say as I have any buyer’s remorse. It’s a beautiful, well-crafted piece which will get a prominant place in my display case.

 

Doctor Who: 1:6 Scale Cyberman by Character Options

Those of you who have been collecting CO’s Doctor Who figures for a while will no doubt remember that in addition to the 5″ figure line, the company also dabbled in 1:6 scale versions. There were quite a few of these made and since they’re rapidly becoming all but forgotten, I thought I’d parade out the only two of these figures that I currently own. Today, we’ll start with the Cyberman. DELETE!!!

The packaging is pretty nice, and should be instantly familiar to anyone collecting the CO Doctor Who figures from the beginning. Its got the 2005 style logo and the whole orange box motif with a nice big window to show off the figure. Its also very collector friendly, as you can slide the figure and tray right out and return him to the package for display if you desire. The back panel has a blurb about the new Cybus Industries Cybermen and some nice screen grabs from the show.


The thing that may stir up some discontent over this figure is CO’s decision to go with a cloth bodysuit worn by the figure under the armor pieces. The cloth is colored to look like its supposed to be mesh or some kind of flexible metal, but I know some fans have suggested that this looks more like what it is, fabric, and doesn’t do the figure much credit. I can see where critics are coming from on this matter, but personally, it doesn’t bother me. If you watch Rise of the Cybermen, you can see that there is supposed to be a more flexible material between the armor pieces. I think what CO did here was to avoid just making a larger copy of the smaller scale figure. Overall, I’m glad they did it, as it certainly adds some nice complexity to the figure.

The sculpted plastic armor, on the other hand, shouldn’t garner much criticism from fans, as its executed very well and is very faithful to the suits worn in the show. The head, in particular is very accurate. The raised Cybus Industries crest looks awesome, I love the pistons on his arms and legs, and the inclusion of the arm gun suggests these are based on the Cybermen seen in Army of Ghosts and Doomsday. Overall, this is a great looking figure.

The Cybermen’s articulation is basic and does just enough to get by. No more, no less. The package claims 14 points of articulation, but I confess I haven’t been able to find them all. The head turns, the arms rotate at the shoulders, the legs rotate at the hips and there are hinged joints for the elbows and knees. The joints in the legs are also severely limited. For a 1:6 scale figure to not have better articulation is pretty much unforgivable these days, as it was a few years back when this figure was produced. In fact, its doubly irritating to note that CO’s 5″ figures nearly all have better articulation than this big guy. Still, there are plenty of companies out there producing what are essentially 1:6 scale statues and calling them action figures, so it could be far worse. Honestly some kind of swivel joint in the arms or elbows would have gone a long way to improve this guy.

I seem to recall paying around $29.99 for this Cyberman back when he was released. Yeah, that’s a steep price for a figure with limited articulation and no accessories, but considering its an import of a Doctor Who figure, its not a ridiculous sum. Even years later, there’s no shortage of these figures on the market and they can usually be had for less than the original retail. No doubt a big factor in CO’s decision to stop producing the figures in this larger scale. Still, its a great sculpt and a fantastic display piece. Not to mention it allows me to create some dream crossover scenes with my 1:6 scale Star Trek figures.

Doctor Who: Silver Nemesis Cyberleader and Cyberman by Character Options

Silver Nemesis was one of the very last episodes of Doctor Who to air before the show got shitcanned by the BBC in 1989. While impressions of its quality varies from fan to fan (The Doctor was up against 16th century time travellers, Cybermen and Neo Nazis!), it did give us the absolute final incarnation of the Cybermen until they were later recreated in 2006 for the modern series. This final version, though based heavily on the model that appeared back in the episode Earthshock and later Attack of the Cybermen, featured a number of key changes, well worthy of a brand new figure… or in this case, two!

The Silver Nemesis Cybermen come in a two-pack, mounted in a blister pack very similar to other recent classic-era figures. The front insert shows a photo of the characters and the back gives a brief synopsis of the episode, along with a timeline of all The Doctors. Actually, the timeline cheats a bit since it doesn’t have Sylvester McCoy retiring as Doctor #7 until his regeneration in the 1996 Fox TV movie. I don’t have much else to say about the packaging, we’ve seen it many times before, and it still works just fine. It is interesting that Character Options is still using the 2005-2009 logo for the Classic figures and have yet to adopt the current one from the Mat Smith era.


The figures represent a standard Cyberman soldier and a Cyberleader. They’re actually the same exact figure, except for the black paint on the Leader’s handlebars. They also both come with the same terrible, terrible weapon, which is basically a hunk of soft rubber that neither one can hold very well. Compared to the amazing detail that went into the Earthshock Cybie’s gun, I’m really not impressed with these accessories. But then the prop used in Silver Nemesis was vastly inferior to the Earthshock one as well.

So what’s different on these guys from the Earthshock figure? The biggest difference is in the body, which is a completely new sculpt. Gone is the chainmail style of the Earthshock Cybie (seen below on the left), and in its place are coils of wires on the arms and legs. The former Cybie’s big ski boots are replaced with smaller boots, but the newer versions have much, much bigger hands. Both figures have a nice level of detail, although the new version includes some wash over the paint, which makes the foil jumpsuit look more textured and realistic.

The cowl that hangs over their shoulders and chests are mostly identical, with the main difference being the black plate in the center of theEarthshock version’s chest. Obviously, the Cybermen got tired of people grinding up gold into these cheesegrater plates and did away with them. There’s also an extra helping of clear tubing that runs into the back of the Silver  Nemesis Cybies. As for the head sculpts, the only major difference there is the weapon or sensor cluster sculpted into the top of their heads and the fact that the chin plate on the older model is more transparent.

The articulation on the Silver Nemesis Cybies adds just two swivel cuts in the thighs that were unfortunately missing from the Earthshockfigure. Otherwise, you get rotating shoulders, swivel cuts in the biceps, wrists, and waist, hinged elbows and knees and universal movement in the hips. The heads do not turn, but then I’m pretty sure they couldn’t turn their heads in the show either. Basically, this is the level of articulation we’ve come to expect from this line of figures, and while ball jointed shoulders would be nice, what’s here isn’t at all bad.

While the overal 80’s Cyberman is still my favorite design, I don’t have a huge preference over the differences here. I will, however, say that the overall quality on my Earthshock Cyberman is a notch above these new guys. The sculpt seems a bit more detailed and crisper, and I think the detail in the body just pops more on the older figure. The new Cybies’ hands are a bit soft and I’ve already expressed my dismay over their reluctance to hold their weapons. Although, I will say that the added tubing on the new figures is very nicely done. In the end, its almost a toss up, but I’ll give the Earthshock figure the nod. I was considering buying a second set of these, but now I think I’ll just invest in two more of theEarthshock figures. Either way, Character Options did an amazing job incorporating every little detail of the differences into these figures.

While previous classic-era two packs have sold for $49.99, these Cybermen were released at only $34.99, which really isn’t that bad. Granted the previous fifty dollar sets all included a version of The Doctor. But considering the Earthshock Cybermen sell for around $15-18 each, this set seems to be priced just right. And army builders will be happy to know that just a few dabs of silver paint can turn your leaders into warriors. Now, all Character Options really needs to do is give us the model from Revenge of the Cybermen and we’ll be all set.

 

Doctor Who: Cyberman Voice Changer Helmet by Character Options

Quite a few years ago, Hasbro cooked up an affordable toy replica of Darth Vader’s mask, threw some electronics into it and struck gold. Since then, we’ve seen the “voice changer helmet” appear in all sorts of toy lines from Star Wars to Street Racer to Iron Man 2 to Transformers and yes, even Character Options got into the mix with their Doctor Who line of toys. When these things are done right, they can appeal to kids, as well as collectors who don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for a high quality studio style replica. And the Cyberman helmet is certainly done right.

Sadly, I don’t have an in-box photo of the Cyberman helmet, as I’ve had it for quite a while now and the packaging has long since been tossed. It came in an open style package, very similar to Hasbro’s helmets, complete with a try me mode that let you test out the electronics. If you’ve purchased any boxed toy from CO’s Doctor Who line, then you have a pretty good idea about the style of artwork.

The coolest thing about the Cyberman helmet is that the design hasn’t been altered to conform to any toy safety regulations. You know, like the way the visor strips on the Hasbro Clone Trooper helmets are ridiculously large or the eye holes on the Iron Man helmets are massive. As a result, you get a pretty good prop-style replica of the 2005 Series Cyberman and hey, if that means a few kids have to fall down flights of stairs because they can’t see while wearing it, I suppose that’s a fair enough trade off.

The electronics feature the ubiquitous voice changing gimmick as well as a number of pre-recorded phrases and sounds, which can be activated by pressing the somewhat discrete buttons on the left side of his chin. Pressing the buttons also cause the lights in his mouth to light up blue while the sound or voice is firing. The speech is pretty loud and sounds just like the Cybermen in the TV series, and there are quotes from the series as well as some original ones. Here’s what he says:

  • You must be upgraded. Upgrading is compulsory.
  • You wil be deleted. Delete! Delete! Delete!
  • You will be taken for analysis. You will be upgraded or deleted.
  • You will be taken for upgrading.
  • You will become identical. You will become like us.
  • You will become like us or you will be deleted.
  • I am unit five-oblique nine-eight. I am Cyberform. Once I was human.
  • Resistance is illogical. You will be upgraded or you will be deleted.

Of course, the toy is designed primarily as a roleplay item, to be worn as a mask. The helmet is a two-thirds style piece so that you really have to practically get behind it to see that it isn’t a fully enclosed helmet, which really improves the display value. It has an adjustable plastic strap inside so it will fit adults fine, but it looks awkwardly large when worn by kids. If you choose to display it, I highly recommend paying extra for this chrome metal Official Cyberman Helmet Display Stand.

Ok, actually that’s a paper towel holder from Target’s housewares department, but it really does work perfectly as a stand for the helmet and you can pick one up for about seven bucks.

The prices on this helmet vary anywhere between $30 and $50. Its been a while since I priced one so they may be getting harder to find, but for a while there it was often being sold online in the US at less than retail. There’s also a variant Cyber Leader style with black ear pipes, an exposed brain, and all new phrases. I haven’t tracked one of those down yet, mainly because I’m running out of room in my Doctor Who display case, but maybe one day.

 

Doctor Who Figures, Classics Wave 2, Part 3

I saved the best for last in this final part of my look at the second wave of Doctor Who Classics figures The pair we’re looking at today are no doubt fan favorites and awesome army builders to add to your collection. These are also the only two figures in the wave that are not tied to Fourth Doctor stories. The Ice Warrior hardly needs any introduction, although since they haven’t been seen in Doctor Who since the early 70s, maybe they do. Only encountered by the Second and Third Doctors, they were at least mentioned in the recent Tenth Doctor episode, “The Waters of Mars.” The Cyberman is the last one we need to complete the major changes in the Mondan race throughout the series. This model first appeared in the Fifth Doctor episode, “Earthshock” and was used with minor changes throughout the rest of the classic series. It is without a doubt my favorite of all the Cyberman designs and one of my Top Five Who figures released thus far. Let’s check these bad boys out…

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The Ice Warrior is a fantastic recreation of the monster from the series, although as such he’s bound to look a little primitive to newcomers to the series. Reptillian, slow moving, and not to bright, the Ice Warriors were the fighters, while the Ice Lords were the thinkers. The sculpt here is really faithful to the old costume. The bulbous, turtoise armor is spot on, with tons of fine detailing to the sculpt, and I love the retro look of his simple claws. The only real flaw in this sculpt is that the head seems like it should sit lower into his shell than it does. Nonetheless, he looks fantastic standing next to my Second Doctor figure.
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Articulation on the Ice Warrior is pretty good, although there are some things about his design that hamper it. The head rotates, there are ball joints in the shoulders, hinged elbows and his claws swivel. From the waist down things get a bit more restricted. He has good joints in his upper legs, but the rubbery lower part of his shell make these all but useless. He maintains a permanent wide stance and can only move each leg a small amount forward and back. He does have swivel cuts in his thighs and ankles and his knees are hinged. I’m not blaiming Character Options for the articulation in the legs, its clearly there, but it’s just at odds with the design
Fair enough. Besides, Ice Warriors aren’t exactly ninjas, they lumber around like robots.
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The Cyberman is in a word, awesome. Granted, I’m a bit biased, since this remains my favorite Cyberman design of them all, but the fact of the matter is that this is one of Character Options best sculpts and it is so accurate its downright freaky. The use of the clear plastic for his chest plate and chin guard is really cool, as is the fact that his entire chest and shoulder assembly is molded as a separate piece. But what really makes this figure shine is the perfect head sculpt and the crazy amount of work that went into the detail of the suit. Every wire and hose and patch of chainmail has been recreated with painstaking care. Simply amazing.
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The Cyberman is missing some of the usual articulation found on the current CO releases, but a lot of this has to do with the character’s design. The head does not move, but then it didn’t in the show either. His shoulders swivel, and while I would have preferred ball joints, CO doesn’t tend to use them very often in the shoulders. Either way, I think the omission of ball joints in the shoulder is really the figure’s only flaw. There are swivel cuts in the biceps and wrists and hinged elbows. He can swivel at the waist, his upper legs move both up and down and laterally, his knees are hingd and he has swivel cuts at his boots. He is missing the swivel cuts in his upper legs. The articulation in this figure is by no means bad, its just a bit lacking when compared to some others in the line.
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The Cyberman comes with his gun accessory, which looks to be a pretty accurate sculpt. The gun features a shoulder strap, which works so long as you tuck it in under his shoulder armor. He can also hold the gun quite well in one hand or both.
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It’s hard to put into words how cool it is to have such great figures of these two iconic Doctor Who baddies. I would love to pick up at least one more Ice Warrior and two more of these Cybies, but I doubt that’s going to be possible. They sold out crazy fast and the only way I was able to get these, was because I ordered the entire assortment. I suspect these are going to be two figures that sell for a lot on the resale circuits because everyone is going to want to army build them, particularly the Cyberman. Maybe we’ll get lucky and CO will do some minor retooling to the Cybermen and release “Attack of the Cyberman” and “Silver Nemesis” versions. As for the Ice Warrior, he won’t be truly complete until we get an Ice Lord to stand by his side!