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.


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!


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.


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.





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.



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.



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.



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.


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.


“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!

Doctor Who: Warrior’s Gate Fourth Doctor and K9 by Character Options

Just about every Doctor made some kind of subtle change to his iconic outfit during the course of his tenure and CO has been doing a nice job getting all the different versions out, whether it be in these two-packs, exclusives, or in the massive Eleven Doctor set. This time around we get the long awaited Fourth Doctor donning his 18th Season outfit. CO chose the episode Warrior’s Gate as the basis for this set and bundled him with hit trusty tin dog K9. I could go on and point out that this was a missed opportunity to toss Romana in there too, but I guess CO isn’t quite ready for classic-era companions… yet.

If you’ve picked up any of the recent Classics two-packs, then you know what the packaging looks like by now. It’s the same old clamshell with illustrated insert. It features a blue swirly pattern, the figure is mounted against an orange backdrop and the package uses the 2005-2009 series logo. The back panel has a little blurb about The Fourth Doctor’s final days and K9. Of course, K9 doesn’t take up as much space as a regular figure, so there’s a lot of empty space in the bubble. I’m thinking CO maybe would have been better off mounting K9 higher up in the bubble to even out the presentation. Either way, I don’t really care, as I’m just ripping this thing open.
  The Fourth Doctor is not a mere repaint, but a completely new figure from he previous releases. He sports the long burgandy trench coat, buccaneer boots, and a brand new scarf, which this time is easily removable without having to pop off the Doc’s head like the original release. Alas, his shirt lapels are not sculpted over his coat, so he’s not showing off the question marks on his collar. I would have liked that. His head sculpt is completely new too. It’s leaner than the past release, which I suppose depicts the older Tom Baker in an accurate fashion. I definitely like this head sculpt better, and that’s saying a lot since the old one was pretty good too. Apart from the scarf, there isn’t a whole lot of dynamic paint work going on here, but what’s here is good. All in all, this is another excellent figure that really captures The Doctor perfectly.

The Doctor’s articulation is almost the same level we’ve been getting for a while now. You have a rotating head, arms that rotate at the shoulders, hinged at the elbows and swivel at the wrist. His legs have universal movement in the hips, hinges in the knees, but no swivels in the thighs. It’s an odd little omission, but I don’t think it hurts the figure all that much.

The Doctor comes with… no accessories. Seriously, CO? Seriously? You can’t throw a tiny little Sonic Screwdriver in this set? You’ve already got it sculpted, and yet you couldn’t just stamp out a bunch of them for this set? Yeah, it’s disappointing and almost insulting that the tiny little plastic rod wasn’t included in this package. Still, he can always borrow the one off my other Fourth Doctor, I suppose.

Ok, so I suppose K9 is more an accessory than an actual figure. He’s the exact same one that was released with Rose Tyler several years back, which is fine by me since it’s an excellent little plastic version of the tin dog. There’s really no articulation here, although you can press down on the computer bank on his back and his side panel pops off revealing his inner workings. His tail and ears are made out of bendy plastic to avoid breakage. I can’t think of much more CO could do to improve on this design, except maybe include a tiny little extended blaster to plug into his nose, but then it’d have to be so small, I’d probably lose it in a second. K9 also features the same pull back and go feature as the previous release. I really don’t mind owning two of these, since I can race them now! And besides, considering how badly I wanted to own a little K9 figure when I was a kid, it seems only fitting that I should have two now. [three, actually, if you count the rusty R/C version -FF.]

The Warrior’s Gate set sells for around $29.99 at most e-tailers. It’s nice that CO recognizes that K9 doesn’t weigh in at the same cost of a regular figure, and so this set was ten bucks less than the past Classic two-packs. On the other hand, he was a repack of an older figure, so they might have gone the extra mile and shaved off another five bucks, especially with all the money they saved not including the tiny Sonic Screwdriver. I don’t mean to sound bitter, I really love this set, and if you don’t already have K9 he’s a really great pick up. I can certainly imagine that there may be collectors out there only buying the Classic figures and if that’s the case, K9 would be new to them.

On a parting note, the Warrior’s Gate set was released simultaneously with another Classic two-pack based on Attack of the Cybermen. You won’t be seeing that one reviewed here, as it’s the first Classic figure release that I won’t be buying. I think it’s cool that CO produced it, but I already have that version of the Sixth Doctor, and I’m not so keen on owning the variant Cyberman that I’d spend $40 on the set. CO has also revealed Classic sets based on Revenge of the Cybermen and Remembrance of the Daleks, although confirmation of a US releases of these sets is still pending.