Christmas Reviews continue to merrily chug along today, with entry #4. This one is another venture into the world of Doctor Who, which I am still relatively new to, especially when it comes to toys. Prior to this Christmas, the vast majority of my Who collection has been related to David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor. The one lone exception was Amy Pond, first companion to the Eleventh Doctor. Well, now Amy should be just a tad bit less lonely. Today’s review covers a few of the villains to show up during Matt Smith’s inaugural season of the show.
THE FIGURES THEMSELVES
These six figures were released as a special “Pandorica Set,” based on the final two episodes of the Eleventh Doctor’s first season. Of the six included, only the Underhenge Dalek is actually new to the set. However, this is the first time I’ve seen most of these figures, so I’ll review them as if they were new.
The Daleks are one of the Doctor’s most recurring foes, and they undergo just as many “regenerations” as he does, if not more. The Dalek figure is a little over 5 inches in height and it features 4 points of articulation, as well as three functioning wheels at the bottom. Both of the Daleks in this set are based on the slightly changed design that first appeared in “Victory of the Daleks.” It’s not my favorite of the Dalek designs; it just seems a bit clunky. This particular Dalek is based on the “Underhenge” look, where one of the Daleks is turned to stone by the Pandorica. It’s the same sculpt as the regular Dalek in this set. The sculpt is certainly accurate to the design from the show, and it features some very nice, very clean work. All of the parts look properly machined, which is good. The figure has been molded in a very dark blue plastic, and a rocky finish has been applied. The paint has purposefully been done so as to leave clumps and such to make the figure appear as if it really has been turned to stone. It’s a solid effect, and it certainly makes the figure unique. The Underhenge Dalek includes no accessories.
The Roman Autons are probably the most storyline specific of the characters included in this set. They are created by the Pandorica (with a little help from Amy), and they aren’t seen again after the story wraps up. Mostly, they served as an interesting way to bring back Rory. The figure is about 5 inches in height and it has 18 points of articulation. Sadly, it predates the line’s move to better shoulder articulation, greatly limiting the figure’s posing potential. He doesn’t appear to be based on any specific Auton; instead he seems to amalgamate a few of them. It might have been nice if they had given him a Rory head to make this particular release a bit more unique, but it’s okay as is. The sculpt is a pretty nice piece of work. There are a lot of layers to it, and it sums up to look of the characters pretty well. However, it could definitely benefit from a bit more texturing to help spice it up a bit. The cape is a cool touch, and I guess it’s consistent with the rest of the sculpt. The head looks a tad too much like a portly English actor dressed up like a Roman, which makes it a bit difficult to take it seriously. The paint job is one of the shining points of the figure. There are a few spots of slop and bleed over, but nothing too major or distracting. What’s more, the figure feature some wonderful texture work on the armor pieces, which really makes them look like more than just chunks of plastic. The Auton includes a sword and dagger, both of which can be put away in the provided sheaths.
Amy is the one figure in this set that isn’t new to me. This figure is pretty much identical to the single release, which I reviewed a few months back. The one difference that I noted is that the skin tone on this one seems better than the last, which does a fair bit to improve an already good figure.
The Sontarans are another recurring foe of the Doctor, though they’re nowhere near as prominent as the Daleks, or even the Cybermen. Probably the most memorable thing about them as of late is Strax, the Sontaran who began making recurring appearances as one of the Doctor’s companions about halfway through Eleven’s tenure. While this figure is meant to just be a generic Sontaran, the fact that they’re all clones and therefore should look approximately the same means that this figure will be Strax, as far as my shelf is concerned. The Sontaran figure is about 4 ¾ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. Most of it’s pretty straight forward, aside from the weird ball joint thing they’ve used for his waist. I’m not sure why they didn’t just use the standard cut joint; the end result both looks and moves very oddly. Aside from that, the figure’s sculpt is really quite nice. The head has a wonderful amount of texture and really looks like one of the Sontarans from the show. The body, while not quite as impressive as the head, features some pretty solid work and has its fair share of little details that stand out. The paintwork is about on par with the sculpt; the best work is on the head, but the body isn’t bad either. The Sontaran includes his blaster-staff-thingy and a helmet. Sadly, neither of them is quite as good as they could be. He has trouble holding the staff, and the helmet simply does not fit within his collar.
UNDERHENGE ROMAN AUTON
Like the Dalek, one of the Roman Autons also found himself turned to stone by the Pandorica. Which, of course, translates to another action figure! Like the regular Roman Auton, this figure is about 5 inches tall and he sports 18 points of articulation. Structurally, he’s the same as the regular Auton, except this figure is missing the cape. It actually looks a bit better that way, if I’m honest. Like the Dalek, the Underhenge Roman Auton is molded in a dark blue plastic and has been painted with a rough tan paint. In the Auton’s case, this serves as an improvement to the figure on a few fronts. Most notably, it alleviates the issues of texture with the sculpt. It also helps to mask the somewhat goofy headsculpt and just works to give the figure a lot more character in general. The Underhenge Auton is packed with the same sword and dagger included with the regular version, with the handles done to match the rest of the figure.
So, after looking at the Underhenge version, let’s wrap things up with a look at the standard Dalek from the set. Like the ‘Henge version, this figure is just over 5 inches tall, has 4 points of articulation, and sports three working wheels on the bottom. The Dalek Drone has the same sculpt as the ‘Henge one, but now we’re free to see it more clearly. It really is a very well handled recreation of the Daleks from the show, and all of the parts look just about right. There are a few issues with mold lines being more obvious on this version, but so not bad that it ruins the figure. That paint on this Dalek is certainly more involved than the ‘Henge Dalek, but it’s not quite as well done. The head and “neck” are both extremely well-handled, but from there down, issues start crop up. The worst problem is with the spheres on the lower half. The paint on them is very sloppily applied, and there is more than a little bleed over. Viewed from a distance, it isn’t terrible, but it’s pretty bad at a normal view. The Dalek Drone includes no accessories.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
The Padorica set was a Christmas gift from my Super Awesome Girlfriend, Jessica (okay, technically from her parents, but she was the one who suggested it, and she’s the one who’s insanely supportive of my hobby, so I’m gonna give her a lot of the credit). I really like this set. The Amy included is a slight improvement on the last, Strax is really cool, and I can’t help but love the Underhenge figures. Seriously, I’d buy an entire line of Who figures done like those two!