Doctor Who: “Spin and Fly” TARDIS (3 ¾” Scale) by Character Options

So far CO’s new 3 ¾” action figures aren’t exactly lighting my fire. In fact the first two we looked at, The Doctor and Clara, were barely passable and that’s even with me grading on a really generous curve on the count of I love all things Doctor Who. Well, today we’re cranking things up a notch with a look at the new 3 ¾” scale TARDIS. I am fortified with Jameson and ready to go…

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The TARDIS comes in a window box that reminds me a lot of the packaging for the last five-inch scale TARDIS I purchased. I believe that was the “Christmas Adventure Set.” In any event, the point is that the package still retains a lot of the same look as the older figures, right down to the now (thankfully) obsolete “DWARTIS” logo. Ok, BBC, enough with that shit already. Get rid of it! The window gives you a pretty good look at the TARDIS inside and the back and side panels point out some of the various features. There’s no “Try Me” feature, as the TARDIS does not come equipped with the three AAA batteries that you’ll need for the FX. The box is collector friendly and unlike the last TARDIS I bought, this one is pretty easy to get out.

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While I think I shall always prefer the super weathered and decrepit look of the 70’s TARDIS, I’ve become pretty fond of the one currently used in the series, particularly the return of the “St. John’s Ambulance” crest. CO’s new version is more or less just a scaled down version of the last 11th Doctor TARDIS, albeit there is a brand new illustration inside depicting the current console room interior. Seeing as how the Classic TARDIS toys haven’t had any inserts, I wasn’t expecting this, and it is a very welcome inclusion. The front doors are still independently spring-loaded and they will each lock in an open position. The door for the phone cubby doesn’t open, but that’s fine with me. The “Police Box” and “Pull to Open” signs are all stickers, which seem pretty strongly affixed. The coloring is nice and the wood texture is all sculpted in, making this a great looking toy with little detail sacrificed for the drop to the smaller scale.

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On the down side, CO chose to put the battery compartment on the back of the TARDIS instead of on the bottom, or perhaps inside. That means that while the toy looks great when viewed from three of the four sides, the back looks ugly, with a big seam running through the doors and an exposed screw head. In fairness, this was a problem on the some of the other TARDIS toys they’ve released. It’s not a critical flaw to me, as my TARDIS inevitably wind up standing in display cases with the back to the wall and out of sight.

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What’s that? You say you want gimmickry? Well, they don’t call this the “spin and fly” TARDIS for nothing. It comes with a clear plastic base that you can plug into the bottom so you can spin it! It does not, however, fly, and CO made the effort to point that out on the package! The spinning gimmick does nothing for me, but this is a line designed for kids, so it gives me no small delight to know that kids somewhere will be running through their houses spinning their little toy TARDIS with glee!

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The lights and sound are confined to the flashing lamp on the top and the demat and remat sounds. As with past TARDIS toys, the sounds are activated when you pick up the TARDIS or put it down. The SFX on this one are on par with the very first Flight Control TARDIS, which is a very good thing. Some of the recent SFX TARDIS releases have had a truncated sequence, but here it’s nice and long and I love it. The lamp flashes during the demat and remat sequences and then stays lit for a short while after and eventually goes into sleep mode.

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This new 3 ¾” scale TARDIS costs around $20 to $25 depending on your importer. I always recommend the amazing folks at Who North America for all you Doctor Who merchandising needs, but they are currently sold out. As for the value, I’m probably the wrong person to ask, because I’m willing to pay almost anything for Doctor Who toys and merchandise, so when you offer me a TARDIS that’s scaled with so many of my other collections, I’m happy to plunk down the Andy Jackson and not think twice. In the end, this is an excellent toy, possibly proving that there’s hope for the 3 ¾” line yet.

Ok… now let the crossovers begin!

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Doctor Who: Junk TARDIS Playset by Character Options

The Doctor’s Wife was easily my favorite episode of Doctor Who from part one of Season Six, and certainly ranks up there as one of my all time favorites of the 11th Doctor’s adventures. It was a wonderfully sentimental nod back to the Doctor’s relationship with his oldest and longest travelling companion, The TARDIS itself. We also once again got to see the console room used by the 9th and 10th Doctors and for the first time since Doctor Who returned in 2005, we got to see some more of the TARDIS’ labrynthine interior. If that wasn’t enough, the episode was also cool as it had The Doctor cobbling together a working console room out of the scavenged remains of an untold number of crashed, derilect TARDISes. The resulting Junk TARDIS design was even based on the winner of a Blue Peter contest. What’s better than getting your TARDIS design used in an episode of Doctor Who? Getting a toy made out of it as well!

The playset comes in a regular box with the Series 5/6 blue deco and logo. It’s covered with images of the playset and points out the various features. Unlike most boxed Doctor Who toys, there’s no window or anything to see inside, and that’s because most of the box is filled with a bunch of parts of plastic and a baggie of cardboard walls. I suppose CO could have put a window in the box to show the console itself, which comes completely assembled, but the box is certainly attractive enough the way it is. Unfortunately, the set up is not at all collector friendly. The set is definitely not designed to be taken apart once its assembled, so it’s never going back into the box again. The box makes several points of stating that there are no action figures included, and that’s one of the biggest wasted opportunities with this set. But we’ll get to that later on.
Building the set is pretty straightforward, but you definitely want to read the instructions because there are some steps that need to be done in the right order and once you snap some of this stuff together, there’s no going back. If you put together the 11th Doctor’s Console Room Playset, then you’ll be familiar with what its like to put the printed cardboard walls into the plastic framework. It’s actually easier this time around because none of them are curved or as large. The plastic is pretty good quality, although it was really tough for me to get the console plugged into the floor and once I did, it was clear it wasn’t going to come out again. I was hoping it would be removable like the console on the regular TARDIS playset, but I’m not about to risk taking it out and breaking the tabs.
Once everything is together, the set looks great. I’m normally not a proponent of using cardboard in playsets, but it worked fine in the regular TARDIS playset and it works even better here. The cardboard walls cover both the interior and the back exterior of the playset, and are very well secured in the framework, making the whole playset is very sturdy. Granted, a lot of that has to do with the set’s compact size. It seems to be scaled pretty closely to the on screen version, but it’s still designed to only accomodate two figures.
The console itself is mostly sculpted in one piece, although the Time Rotor can be removed and one of the hexpanels can be removed as well. The combination of junk controls and the overall look of the console and Time Rotor really make this feel like a fusion between the 11th Doctor’s console and one of the Classic Consoles. Once again, I really wish the console could come out easily, since it’s tough to appreciate the segments of the console up against the back wall.
The Junkyard TARDIS set me back $36, which would be an outrageous amount if this were a domestic release. It looks great, and has a few nice gimmicks, but it still feels like it’s missing something and that’s where the missed opportunity comes in. Call me crazy, but I really think CO should have included the Idris figure with this set, either instead of, or in addition to the single carded release. In the end, though, I think the real appeal of this playset will be the fact that it really does have a lot of characteristics of a Classic Console Room, and right now it’s the closest thing we’ve got. Either way, it’s a really cool display piece.

Doctor Who: The TARDIS Talking Bank (Second Series) by Character Options

[This coming Saturday starts Series Six of Doctor Who and for the first time, we Yanks won’t have to suffer a delay as BBC America will be broadcasting the series on the same day that it airs across The Pond. If you don’t already know that, then you probably don’t care and this week is going to be lost on you. But for everyone else who has the good taste to share my love and adoration for all things Who, I’m kicking off a Doctor Who Week. Now, I’ve looked at a fair share of Doctor Who figures and toys here on FigureFan over the last year or so, but I’ve got plenty in my collection that haven’t yet been featured. So sit back, grab a bag of Jelly Babies, adust the temporal spacial settings on your whastsitwhosits as we count down the days until The Doctor returns. -FF]

When I grew up watching Doctor Who the lack of decent Who toys meant that I had to make my own TARDIS. Seriously, I made it out of balsa wood, glue and blue paint using measurements taken from my dog-eared paperback edition of The TARDIS Technical Manual. Nowadays, you can’t swing a dead Cybermat without hitting a stack of different TARDIS toys. Here on Figurefan I’ve looked at a number of the ones released for use with the figures, but today we’ll look at one that’s a little different. It’s a bank!tarbank1

The first thing to note about the TARDIS bank is that it’s smaller than the Flight Control TARDIS’ and so it isn’t quite in scale with the Character Options figures. It’s close enough that I was able to use mine as a stand in for the figures until I was finally able to get my first Flight Control TARDIS, but it is noticeably smaller and probably closer to being accurate for a 4″ scale of figures. Aside from that what we have here is an excellent replica of the 9th/10th Doctor’s TARDIS that is capable of keeping your spare coinage. Unfortunately, this TARDIS isn’t bigger on the inside, so the amount of spare coins you’ll be able to keep in here isn’t all that much. The coin slot is located behind the front doors and there’s a plug in the bottom to get your monies out. Also behind the front doors is a graphic of the 10th Doctor standing with Rose against a backdrop of the TARDIS interior.

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The coolest thing about this bank is that it features electric lights and sounds and even some voice clips from the series, or more specifically from the Series Two premier episode “The Christmas Invasion” By pressing on the front doors, they spring open and you get a random voice clip of the 10th Doctor, which includes:

  • Did you miss me?
  • Remote control… but who’s controlling it?
  • No second chances. I’m that sort of a man.
  • Here we are then. London… Earth… The Solar System… I did it!
  • I’m him. I’m literally him. Same man, new face. Well… new everything.

Close the doors and you’re treated to the sound of the TARDIS’ grinding engines and the lamp on top flashes.

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If for some reason you don’t want to take the plunge and invest in the bewildering number of Doctor Who figures that are out there, this bank makes a perfectly fine desktop display piece that can usually be had for a fair amount less than the figure-friendly TARDIS toys. Of course having this in my collection served a much bigger purpose back when there was only one Flight Control TARDIS on the market and it was rather pricey and hard to come by. It’s not a must-own piece by any stretch of the imagination, but then can anyone really ever have too many TARDIS toys?

Doctor Who: Christmas Adventure Set by Character Options

It’s no secret that CO missed a few opportunities for figures based off of last year’s Series 5. Lord knows I’ve spent my fair share of time bitching about it in a few of my posts. One of those figures that I wanted pretty badly was based on Amy Pond as we first meet her as an adult. Whether you call her “Police Outfit” Amy or “Kiss-o-Gram” Amy, after a few wave revisions it seemed pretty unlikely that we were going to get her. Then, CO did that thing they do that sometimes irks a lot of collectors. They released her as part of a larger set, instead of on a single card. And thus was born the Christmas Adventure Set. The set includes a repaint of the 11th Doctor, Amy Pond, and a stripped down version of the 11th Doctor’s Flight Control TARDIS. It’s a set that could have been attributed to last year’s “The Eleventh Hour” but thanks to Amy wearing her Kiss-o-Gram outfit on the starliner in last month’s “A Christmas Carol” it becomes pertenant as a more current release as well.

If you’ve purchased any of the classic TARDIS sets, you’ll be pretty familiar with the packaging here. It’s a window box showing off the TARDIS and the two figures. It’s pretty collector friendly, although you’ll need a philips screwdriver to get the TARDIS off of the cardboard base. The back panel of the package advertises the Paradigm Dalek wave of figures, which hopefully will be landing on my doorstep any day now. The package includes a star-backdrop that can be removed and used to display the figures against.

I have very little to say about The Doctor figure as it’s the same 11th Doctor I already own with a variant paintjob. The vertical stripes have been taken off his shirt and his jacket has been made lighter with horizontal stripes added. I don’t really like the new style of the jacket, and it’s kind of hard to see the stripes on any of the stills I’ve seen from the episode. It’s still an excellent sculpt, but this Doctor won’t be replacing the one I got in the Time Crash set as my favorite. At least CO tossed in a Sonic Screwdriver and if by some odd chance you don’t have an 11th Doctor yet, then here ya go.

For me, it was the Amy figure that was the big draw of this set, and I’m not disappointed. It’s hard to capture the raw awesomeness of the real Karen Gillan in a sexy police outfit, but CO did a pretty good job. The head sculpt is a complete reuse of the previous single carded Amy and the Underhenge set Amy, which is by no means a bad thing, since it’s a pretty good likeness. The police outfit is nicely replicated right down to the checkered front, short skirt and low hanging belt. Her legs were left flesh toned, rather than giving them a tinted look to represent her stockings, although if you turn her around CO did paint the seams of the stockings running up her legs. All in all, I’m very happy with how she turned out.

Both figures feature the same articulation. The heads turn, their arms rotate at the shoulders, have swivel cuts in the biceps and forearms and hinged elbows. The legs rotate at the hips, have swivel cuts in the thighs and hinged knees. The Doctor’s hips have lateral movment for the legs, and while I expect Amy does also, her skirt prevents the joints from really working.


The TARDIS is probably the most controversial piece in the set as it’s pretty redunant if you already purchased the 11th Doctor’s Flight Control TARDIS. This is the exact same toy, which is really just a repaint of the original Flight Control TARDIS, only with all the electronics stripped out of it. That having been said, it certainly is a beautiful toy. The paint is awesome, very bright and clean, and I love the St. John Ambulance crest. The doors open and the inside features an illustrated insert depicting the Series 5 console room.


Considering the $45-50 price of this set, I think CO should have just kept the electronics in the TARDIS, but I guess they need to do anything they can to keep costs down. I can understand why collectors will be miffed to have to buy all this just to get their police outfit Amy. Is it worth it? Well, that’s for you to decide. It wasn’t too much of a bitter pill for me to swallow because I never did get around to picking up the 11th Doctor’s Flight Control TARDIS, and I’m content to just have it without the electronics. The only thing I really got stuck with hear was the extra Doctor figure, and I’ve come to accept that accumulating variant Doctors is inevitable. Honestly, I’m just really happy that CO made the Amy figure and that it didn’t turn up as some impossible to find convention or store exclusive.

Doctor Who: TARDIS Playset (Series 5) by Character Options, Part 2

So, the tension and recriminatinos are over. The playset is assembled. How is it? Pretty darn cool. CO managed to capture a lot of this new console room’s crazy architecture and multifaceted mystery with the use of some plastic and cardboard really well. It’s scaled pretty well for the figures, although it is by no means an actual recreation of the dimensions from the show’s set. For example, there’s significantly less room on the deck around the console. My guess is that CO was more interested in showing off the vertical, multilevel orientation of the new console room. Still, everything is pretty well represented.

One of my favorite things about the set is the way the console deck is raised and has all the space underneath. The 9th and 10th Doctors spent a fair amount of time in the crawlspace under their console, but that playset was designed with the console sitting on the floor. Here, you can actually have The Doctor tinkering underneith it all. The swing is also present, although the instructions contain a strange line about it being where The Doctor goes to contemplate things. In reality, it’s just a place for him to sit while performing maintenance on his sentimental old thing. The crazy curving floor is nicely recreated with the cardboard backdrop, and there’s actually a staircase that leads down to this area.

In fact, there are a lot of staircases in this new console room. It’s definitely not K9 accessible, unless like the Daleks, he’s overcome his inability to climb stairs. Most of these staircases just lead off to nowhere, so where they go is up to your imagination. One of the biggest liberties CO took with the layout of this console room is the relationship of the external doors. Here, they’re illustrated on the cardboard wall, along with the ubiquitous coat rack, on a lower level. In the show, the doors are orientated a lot closer to the flight deck. I do wish the giant viewscreen on the wall was better implemented. It’s the one The Doctor used to talk to the Dalek ship in Victory of the Daleks. The illustration on the wall for this feature is sort of just tucked in the side.

Naturally, the console is the most detailed piece of the set. I really love the way it extends above and below the deck, as it really conveys the idea that there’s some great mechanism at work here. The console and Time Rotor shaft can easily be removed from the playset as one piece.


The console is well represented, especially considering how many tiny bits of junk are on the actual prop. CO did a fine job shrinking it all down to this scale while still maintaining the highlights of the detail. The typewriter is there, along with the wiper fluid resevoir, handbrake, bell and the phonograph speaker. There’s even a socket to insert the Sonic Screwdriver. Each of the console panels are clear plastic laid over wires and circuitry to give the controls a more complex look.

The Time Rotor is the one thing I’m not terribly keen on in the new console room design, but it’s still recreated here really well right down to the blown glass interior. Nothing inside the Rotor moves, but it does look nice. The viewscreen, on the other hand, can be rotated around the console to face in any direction.

The real controversy over this set was CO’s decision to leave out the electronic lights and sounds featured in the previous console set. It’s an understandable sticking point considering that this set is roughly about the same retail price as the earlier electronic one. I won’t deny that I’m disappointed. Even a sound chip in the console with the familiar VROP VROP of the engines would have been nice. When you get down to it, as impressive a piece as this set is, it’s hard to see where all the $65 went. But chances are, if like me, you grew up starved for Doctor Who toys when you were a kid, you won’t balk too much at the price.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no buyer’s remorse. I would get it again in a second. It’s simply awesome. But while the playset is very solid, I don’t think it would survive very long as an actual playset. In other words, if I was a kid, I would probably end up beating the hell out of this thing. So if you get one, be sure to keep it pristine, because I don’t think there will be many of these in great shape ten years down the road.

Doctor Who: TARDIS Playset (Series 5) by Character Options, Part 1

It’s a crying shame, but US toy companies don’t believe in making playsets anymore. There are still exceptions, and some companies, like Hasbro, have managed to blur the line between vehicles and playsets to throw us a bone now and then, but it sure ain’t like the good old days. Thankfully, our friends across The Pond at Character Options haven’t given up on the playset yet. A few years back they gave us an amazing playset based off the 9th and 10th Doctor’s TARDIS console room, and now they’ve done it again for the 11th Doctor. Granted, this time around, CO had to scale back on the bells and whistles (not to mention the lights), but the result is still a really cool piece.

It should also be noted that the TARDIS console room’s design for Series Five has been met with some mixed emotions by fans. It’s different, it’s multistoried, and it seems to defy logic and reason. But above all, it could not have been simple to design and build a playset based off of its M.C. Escher meets Doctor Seuss environment and I think CO did a remarkably good job translating it.
Pardon my carpet, but I couldn’t get a good shot of the box against my usual neutral backdrop. The playset comes in a fairly sizeable box that does nothing to hint at just how big this set is when completed. It’s nicely illustrated with plenty of photos of the playset complete and displayed with and without figures. I was expecting a window-box with at least the console set up, but once I looked at the mess of parts inside the box I saw that such a presentation would have been impossible. Still, CO makes no bones about showing you what you’re getting on almost every panel of the box.
I suppose I could have taken a few snaps of all the parts laid out and ready for assembly, but I think this shot does it just as much justice.

Holy shit. It looks like they just poured the parts in there. If you bought that second hand at a toy convention, you bet your ass you’d want to dump it out and check out all the pieces first. It’s a pretty scary site, considering how much there is to assemble and the fact that a good amount of this playset is made up of delicate cardboard backdrops and floor panels. In fact, it’s impossible to overstate how important it is to be careful taking this set out of the box. One misstep, one bad crease, and you could be looking at a disfigured console room. The transparent floor is particularly thin and comes in its own baggie, which could easily be discarded if you aren’t paying attention. This playset really is like a trip back in time to the old 1970’s Mego Planet of the Apes or Star Trek sets where plastic and cardboard collide. And even those sets usually used heavily lamenated cardboard. It’s delightfully nostalgic, but at the same time, it could be unbelievably disappointing for someone who isn’t expecting it.

And therein leads me to mention a bit about the assembly process. In retrospect, I should have taken a Xanax before doing it, because I was seriously nervous about screwing up. It’s a pretty unforgiving assembly and the instructions could have been a lot better. There are over a dozen pieces that make up the console room’s structure. The floor and the walls all require you to carefully lay in the cardboard and secure it under tabs. It’s very difficult to do without mangling the edges, but with patience and care, it comes together just fine. The design is actually ingenious at parts, the way the plastic framework supports the cardboard. The end result feels a lot sturdier than it has any right to be, and everything locks in really well. You can easily move the set once it’s completed, without worrying about it falling apart. Still, there are some edges of the cardboard that aren’t reinforced by plastic, so the potential for crunched edges or corners is there. It would have been cool to have some long plastic edging to cap off these panels.

Now that it’s all together and sitting proudly (and safely) up on a pedestal in my Library, I’m going to breath a sigh of relief and have a stiff drink to calm my nerves. Tomorrow, I’ll be back with a detailed look at the playset and all its different goodies.

Doctor Who: The 7th Doctor with Electronic TARDIS by Character Options

Last week was busy for Doctor Who collectors, and for many it was also a disappointing one. In one day we were hit with the 7th Doctor & TARDIS set, the 4th Doctor & TARDIS set, and a brand new version of the 1st Doctor from the pilot episode, An Unearthly Child. Besides dealing with the cost, these toys were issued in pretty limited supplies Stateside and as such unless you were lucky enough to pre-order what you wanted, chances are you missed the tiny window in which these remained on e-tailers’ websites. In many ways it was a similar experience to what Masters of the Universe fans face on Matty Collector’s site just about every month, only we Who fans didn’t even have a specific time as to when these would be available for purchase.

I was lucky enough to get a pre-order in for this, the 7th Doctor set, the one I wanted the most, but I would have liked to have picked up theUnearthly Child figure as well and I’ll have to bite the bullet and hunt him down somewhere. The 4th Doctor & TARDIS set is pretty cool, but I just couldn’t justify dropping $100 on two TARDIS sets in one month, so I went with the 7th Doctor, mainly because he’s a new version (albeit just a repaint), whereas the 4th Doctor is the exact same figure I already own.

Let’s get the figure out of the way first.

The 7th Doctor’s early stories were pretty flippant and silly, but as time wore on, they took on a much darker style and his outfit evolved to portray that change. His jacket went from cream to dark brown, his paisely scarf got darker, even his tie got darker. This repainted figure reflects those changes really well and the quality of the paint job is excellent. Unfortunately, CO didn’t take the opportunity to give us a new head sculpt, and while a smiling Sylvester McCoy may have been appropriate in the outfit from his more whimsical days, its pretty out of place in this darker attire. This figure should have definitely been issued with a more serious and somber head sculpt. Apart from that everything is the same as the previous release. He has the same articulation and the same umbrella accessory. Its a great figure, and I think the repaint makes him well worth owning in addition to the previous release.

And now… the TARDIS.

Casual and newer fans of the show may be surprised to learn that the iconic Police Box, the one constant throughout the entire series, wasn’t so constant. Sure, the TARDIS remained a Police Box, but the prop saw a number of variations over the years. You can actually go mad studying the slight (and some not so slight) differences in the TARDIS props. The package says this is supposed to be the TARDIS from the episode The Curse of Fenric, but it actually better matches the one used for the 7th Doctor’s earlier stories, or even the later 6th Doctor stories. Either way, its significantly different than the one used in the 2005 series as its slightly shorter, considerably narrower, has much smaller windows, and the sign on the door is blue instead of white.

One thing you should know about this toy is that it is not just a redesigned version of CO’s previously released Flight Control TARDIS. Its a much simpler and somewhat lesser quality toy with fewer features. There are no interior lights, which actually makes sense, since the windows on the classic TARDISes didn’t have that interior glow like the ones in the current series do. It still has the take off and landing sounds, activated by picking it up or setting it down, and a flashing lamp on top, but there’s no more vortex sound or humming when its at rest. Consider this, a stripped down version of the Flight Control TARDIS.

The doors on this model are designed to work in a similar manner to the Flight Control TARDIS, but they don’t. There is still an opening cubby for the phone, but its bigger on this model, and so that door won’t open in very far at all. The other door is designed to lock in an open position and can be released by pushing a button on the floor. Unfortunately, the door usually won’t stay open at all, instead it just springs closed. I’ve gotten it to stick open a few times, but its not as solid as my other TARDIS.

Probably the most frustrating thing about this TARDIS is that Character Option chose to leave the interior completely unfinished. Open the door and look in and its just an empty box. It would have been easy for them to include an insert of the classic console room to brighten things up.

All things being equal, its a bit tough to justify the $50 price tag on this set. Unfortunately, it had a very limited production run and even fewer than those came Stateside, so if you missed out on the initial offering, you’ll probably have to pay a premium. Some may seriously regret dropping more than fifty bucks on this set once they get it in hand. Don’t get me wrong. There was a time when this set would have been like a dream come true and I probably would have paid double to own it. But since then, Character Options has given us a huge number of fantastic Doctor Who figures and toys and now I’ve come to expect better. It just goes to show how far we’ve come that we can be so discriminating about a set of Doctor Who toys.