#1514: Mystery Inc

SCOOBY DOO, SHAGGY, & VELMA

SCOOBY DOO (CHARACTER OPTIONS)

Almost a year ago, I took a look at a few Scooby Doo figures, which are a little bit outside of my usual reviewing bubble.  Not super far or anything, but just outside.  Of course, as anyone who reads this site with any regularity can probably tell you, all it takes is one figure and the next thing you know, I’m getting a whole set.  So, I had Fred, I had Daphne, and I had the Mystery Machine.  But the Mystery Machine needed the rest of its passengers, right?  I certainly thought so.

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

The figures included here are all part of the “Mystery Solving Crew” boxed set, which is part of Character Options’ overarching Scooby Doo line.  All of the figures available here are also available a few other places, but this is the most convenient way of getting the whole gang.  Included in this set are Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Daphne, and Fred, all based on their slightly modernized appearances from Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated.  Daphne and Fred are the same ones reviewed here and here.

SCOOBY

This is quite a landmark for me, because this is actually my first Scooby figure.  Handful of Scooby Doo figures, and not a one of them’s been the main character.  Yeah, I know, I’m weird.  Anyway, Scooby’s Mystery Inc design was one of the least changed; mostly he just had a few sharper angles.  The figure stands about 3 inches tall (since he’s on all fours) and has 10 points of articulation.  He gets a whole extra point thanks to that tail of his.  His sculpt is a pretty decent translation of the design from the show; I think Scooby’s design translates better to three dimensions than some of the others.  This results in a slightly less wonky looking figure than some of the others.  And when you really get down to it, it makes a bit of sense that Scooby’s figure would be the best, since he *is* the title character.  His paint is fairly basic, and there’s not a ton going on, but it’s certainly clean, which is better than the last two figures I looked at.

SHAGGY

You can’t have Scooby and not have Shaggy.  It’s just wrong.  So, here’s Shaggy!  His figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  He’s the tallest of the five, and also the scrawniest, both of which fit the character, so that’s good.  His sculpt is also a pretty decent translation of the show design, with only minimal changes being made to help him work in three dimensions.  I can’t really point to anything in particular being different on him the way I could with Fred and Daphne, and I think he’s second after Scooby in terms of a successful translation.  I like that they’ve carried over his distinctive posture, since the other four humans just got fairly generic standing poses.  Shaggy’s paint is also pretty decent, but it’s once again pretty simple, so there wasn’t a whole lot to screw up.

VELMA

Last up is Velma, the perpetual fifth wheel of the group.  Her figure stands about 4 inches tall and has the same 9 points of articulation as Shaggy, albeit with far more limited hip joints.  Velma’s redesign for Mystery Inc was actually one of my favorites, as I felt it injected some new life into the character.  I’m not sure how successful the figure was in that venture.  She’s rather similar to Daphne in that regard.  I think she still ends up looking decent, but it’s not as strong a sculpt as some of the others, that’s for sure.  Her head’s a little big, and the glasses seem a bit misshapen.  Also, her right hand is sculpted to hold an accessory of some sort (I’d guess a magnifying glass), but no extras are included, which is a little weird.  Velma’s paint is passable, and for the most part pretty clean, but it ends up missing a few details (such as the barrettes in her hair, which are just left brown), which is a little annoying.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

In my review of Daphne, I noted that I just needed to resist the urge to finish off the gang.  I’d like it to be noted that I managed to do so for a whole 10 months.  Kudos to me, right?  I found this set at one of the last K-Marts in the area, priced at $9.99, which I’m fairly certain was an error, since the two-packs with the monsters were $7.99.  Regardless, I wanted to finally have the whole gang, and even with the extra Fred and Daphne, this was the cheapest way to go about it.  None of these figures are amazing or anything, but they’re kind of fun, and I’m happy to have the set.

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#1289: Doctor Who Series 5 Set

RAGGEDY DOCTOR, PRISONER ZERO, & RORY WILLIAMS

DOCTOR WHO (CHARACTER OPTIONS)

Okay, let’s take a small break from all the Marvel stuff for a little bit (but fear not, dear readers, it’ll be back soon enough), and flip over to a slightly less frequent subject of review here, Doctor Who!  I know some people might not agree with me, but my favorite era of the show is the first season of Smith’s run on the show.  The figures I’m looking at today hail from that particular period of the show.  Let’s see how they look!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three make up the Series Five three-pack from Character Options’ Doctor Who line, which was released around the time of the show’s anniversary.  All three figures are re-released from earlier in the line, with Rory and Prisoner Zero being single releases and Raggedy Doctor being in a two pack with a basic Eleven.

RAGGEDY DOCTOR

This marks the fourth figure of the Eleventh Doctor I’ve looked at on this site, which pulls him into the lead, just past Ten, who’s sitting pretty at three figures.  This particular figure is based on Eleven’s appearance in his debut episode “The Eleventh Hour,” prior to his selecting a new outfit for himself.  As such, he’s still sporting the tattered remains of Ten’s clothes from “The End Of Time.”  The figure stands about 5 1/4 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation.  This version of Eleven was a mix of old and new parts.  The head is, of course, just the same standard head used on the basic Eleven from the Eleven Doctors set (among others).  It’s not a perfect Smith likeness, but it’s got a passing resemblance.  The legs are just the basic Ten legs, which makes sense, since it’s the same outfit and all.  The upper body is new; it does a pretty good job of capturing the Doctor’s raggedness, which is kind of the main point of the figure.  That being said, for some odd reason, the torso section of the shirt is an overlay, on top of a more basic torso piece.  It looks okay overall, but there are some pretty obvious joint lines, especially at the neck.  On the plus side, at least the details are still pretty sharp.  In terms of paint, Eleven is pretty much on par with most of my other Doctor Who stuff.  The work is generally pretty clean, and the colors are sharp, but there’s not a whole lot in the way of accenting.  Still, it’s pretty consistent with the other stuff from the line, which is good.  Even though his hand is clearly sculpted to hold a sonic screwdriver, this figure includes no extras.  To be fair, his screwdriver was broken for most of the episode, so he shouldn’t technically have it, and at least this way he *can* have one if you want him to.  Still, something extra would have been nice.

PRISON ZERO

A perfect pairing with the Raggedy Doctor, seeing as it’s the primary antagonist for “The Eleventh Hour” and all. To be honest, it’s less a figure and more a glorified accessory.  It’s about 6 inches tall and moves at three places along the “body.”  The movement is mostly there to help you get the best possible balance for the figure, but I suppose you could get some slightly more inventive poses if you so choose.  Prisoner Zero sports a unique sculpt, which does a halfway decent job of capturing the creature’s CGI-rendered natural form from the episode.  In fact, I’d say it even looks a little bit more frightening than the creature seen in the episode.  I will say, not only are the joints on this figure rather obviously placed, they’re also not super sturdy; my figure already snapped off of its base at the joint, and I hadn’t even had it out of the box for more than a few minutes.  In terms of paint, Prisoner Zero is somewhat sparse; it’s mostly molded in clear plastic, with its joints molded in red so as to give it a nifty other-worldly quality.  There’s still paint on the teeth and eyes, which is all pretty good.  Prisoner Zero includes no accessories, but, like I said above, it’s more of an accessory itself than anything.

RORY WILLIAMS

Rory’s the one figure in this set I already have (reviewed here).  The other two figures are clearly from “The Eleventh Hour.”  While Rory was introduced in that episode, he doesn’t wear this particular get-up, which makes him seem a little out of place.  It seems a little odd to me that they chose to put him in this set, rather than giving the basic Amy a re-release, especially since she carries such a hefty value on the secondary market.  I mean, I own two Amys arleady, so I don’t have a real dog in this fight, but it just seems slightly odd.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was given to me by Super Awesome Girlfriend’s mother, in exchange for doing some IT work for her.  Nothing like a good old fashioned barter system, right?  This isn’t really a set I’d have picked for myself, if I’m honest.  The Doctor included is non-essential, Prisoner Zero isn’t really an action figure, and I’ve already got a Rory figure.  With that being said, the Raggedy Doctor is a pretty fun Eleven variant, and Prisoner Zero is an entertaining backdrop for my Who collection.  Not a super thrilling set, but a decent one.

#1206: Daphne Blake

DAPHNE BLAKE

SCOOBY DOO (CHARACTER OPTIONS)

daphneblake1

Hey, remember last week when I reviewed Freddy and the Mystery Machine?  Yeah, well, I bet it’s not a huge surprise to find out that wasn’t the only Scooby Doo purchase I’d made in recent history.  Scooby Doo has always operated by pairing characters off; Scooby and Shaggy, Fred and Daphne, Velma and…one of the other pairs, you get the point.  Anyway, since I had Fred, it just seemed wrong to not at least pick up his better half, Daphne Blake!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

daphneblake2Daphne was released a few different ways.  She was included in a five-pack of just Mystery Inc, a ten-pack with five classic ghosts, and in one of two two-packs, with either the Skeleton Man or the Witch-Doctor.  Since my figure was picked up loose, I can’t actually say which particular release it is.  Regardless, the figure stands about 4 1/2 inches tall and has 10 points of articulation (though the hair makes her neck joint essentially useless).  Like Fred, Daphne is based on her design from Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated.  It’s not a huge departure from her classic look; essentially, the main difference is some sharper angles here and there.  The figure’s sculpt does an okay job of capturing her design, though I’d say she’s definitely got a look that just doesn’t translate so well into three dimensions.  The head (especially the face) seems rather on the large side, as do the hands and feet, and her limbs just seem a bit stubby.  Where Fred’s design is a lot of hard angles, and is therefore a bit more forgiving of some slight slip-ups, Daphne’s is a bit more of a careful balance, which causes her to look a bit more off when one or two things are out of whack.  With all that said, her sculpt is certainly passable, and you can very easily tell who this is supposed to be and even which iteration of the show she’s based on without too much trouble.  In terms of paint, Daphne’s decent enough.  There’s a bit of slop here and there (and my figure’s exhibiting a bit of wear), but the application is pretty solid overall.  The purple on her skirt doesn’t quite match the rest of the figure (purple is a really hard color to work with), but aside from that, the colors look quite nice; she’s quite vibrant, which is always a plus.  Daphne included no accessories, but aside from her own ransom note, what exactly would you give her?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

After picking up Fred and the Mystery Machine, I knew I at least wanted a Daphne figure to go with him.  I was planning to track down one of the two-packs, but I was at Yesterday’s Fun and they had her loose for $3, which was good enough for me.  She’s not going to be winning any awards or anything, but for the price point we’re looking at here, she’s more than acceptable.  Now, I just need to resist the urge to finish the gang…

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#1199: Mystery Machine (w/ Fred Jones)

MYSTERY MACHINE (W/ FRED JONES)

SCOOBY DOO (CHARACTER OPTIONS)

mysterymachine1

In addition to being a comics geek and a sci-fi geek, I’m also quite a bit of an animation geek.  Obviously, I love the cartoons of the ‘90s, being the ones I grew up with and all, but access to the likes of Boomerang and Cartoon Network also afforded me an appreciation for a number of older cartoons.  Of course, it hardly takes an animation geek to be familiar with today’s subject of review.  Scooby Doo hit the airwaves in 1969 and there’s been at least one new iteration of it every decade since, keeping it pretty squarely in the public eye.  As I noted in my previous Scoobybased review, I actually don’t have a particularly large selection of Scooby Doo items in my collection, but as with just about everything there isn’t enough of in my collection, I’m working on it.  Today, I’ll be looking at one of the fixtures of the franchise, the Mystery Machine, along with perpetual driver of said machine, Fred Jones.

THE VEHICLE ITSELF

mysterymachine5The Myster Machine was released as part of the latest iteration of Character Options’ Scooby Doo line, which hit last year.  While lots of places seemed to have the two-packs featuring the one member of the gang each packed with a ghost, the Mystery Machine seems to be a slightly rarer find (for me anyway).  The vehicle is 6 1/4 inches tall, 5 inches wide, and 9 1/4 inches long.  In terms of design, exactly what version of the Mystery Machine this is supposed to be is a little hard to place.  Near as I can tell, it’s not actually based on any specific design for the MM, but is instead a somewhat stylized take on the classic design.  I think a lot of this may be due to some mold re-use, as it appears this mold initially showed up as the “Goo’busters Mystery Machine,” which was a playset designed to go with a line of Superhero Squad/Galactic Heroes-style line of Scooby characters.  That would mysterymachine6explain the harsher stylization present here.  It doesn’t look awful, provided you aren’t looking for a really faithful recreation of the original vehicle.  The biggest complaint I have is that it’s rather difficult to get the full-sized figures into the front, since it wasn’t designed with them in mind.  Aside from that, it’s actually remarkably well-scaled, to the point that it was only after a considerable amount of digging around that I realized it was originally made for the smaller guys.  It’s worth noting that it’s clearly designed as a playset first and a functioning Mystery Machine second.  There aren’t any functioning doors (the figures are placed in the front through the hatch at the top), there’s no actual seating in the back, and the steering wheel doesn’t turn.  It does at the very least have actual moving wheels on the bottom.  From what I’ve read online, this mysterymachine3is a change from prior releases, so I guess they’re learning.  Yay!  The back of the van folds out into a…thing.  Not really sure what.  I guess it’s supposed to be a crime solving lab or something? The original release had some traps and stuff built in, but this one leaves those out, so we just end up with a lot of flat surfaces with printed on details.  It’s kind of cool, but a little confusing.  Also, the fold-out feature results in some rather ugly hinges running along the middle of the van, which is really unfortunate.  Could those not have been worked into the interior of the design?  The paint on the Mystery Machine is rather on the sloppy side, especially around the edges of the green sections.  Of course, actual paint is minimal; most of the details are decals.  By and large, this is a perfectly fine way of handling the details (since they’re mostly on large, flat surfaces anyway), but there are some peeling edges and, in the case of the flowers on the side, some issues with underlying paint showing through.  There’s a valiant effort to ignore a few of the sculpted elements to bring the design closer to the classic look, which works about as well as anything else on this thing.  For accessories, the Mystery Machine includes one main extra, and that’s….

THE FIGURE ITSELF

mysterymachine8….Fred Jones!  Fred (who, fun fact, was named after CBS executive Fred Silverman, who was a driving force for getting Scooby Doo, Where Are You? on the air) is the leader of Mystery Inc, the owner of the Mystery Machine in at least a few versions of the story, and above all, the guy usually seen driving the Mystery Machine, making him quite the sensible inclusion here.  The figure stands 5 inches tall and has 9 points of articulation.  Fred is based on his slightly updated design from Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated, where he was given a slightly more brawny physique and a more pronounced lantern jaw of justice.  I actually quite liked his redesign from that show, so I’m happy it’s the version they went with.  It’s transition into three-dimensions isn’t too terrible; he looks a little off from certain angles, but that’s the sort of thing you expect with action figures of two-dimensional designs.  The legs could stand to be a little longer, and the torso a little less tubular, and his chin should probably be a little less pronounced.  He sort of reminds me of the Kenner Batman: The Animated Series figures, being slightly off-model, but still pretty solid as an action figure.  The paint on Fred is a good deal cleaner than we saw on the Mystery Machine.  While he’s still not devoid of sloppiness, especially around his hairline, the overall appearance is a lot cleaner.  His eyes are also kinda goofy, thanks to no one really being very sure of how exactly this style of eye should be done in 3D.  He looks a bit surprised.  While my figure is pretty decent, I should note that I had to pick through four of this set, and finding a combo of good paint on both Fred and the Mystery Machine was pretty much impossible.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Fred’s my favorite character from Scooby Doo.  Prior to picking up this set, he made up half of my Scooby Doo collection (granted, it was a collection of TWO figures, but still).  So, when I spotted the two-packs last year, I immediately flipped through the rack to find the set Fred was in.  Imagine my dismay when I discovered they doubled up on Scooby instead of including him.  Now, all of my issues would have been resolved had there simply been a picture of the Mystery Machine and the included Fred figure somewhere on the packaging for the two-packs, but Character Options didn’t see fit to actually inform their customers what was actually out.  So, instead of tracking this set down early last year, I ended up stumbling upon it at the K-Mart near where my family vacations for Christmas.  It was even marked down to $15.  There’s a whole extra $10 they could have gotten out of me if I’d known this thing existed (to say nothing of me forking over the cash for the rest of the gang).   Ah well, I got my Fred figure, and that’s really what matters.  Ultimately, this is a more toy-etic set than I tend to go for in modern toys, but I can’t say I’m unhappy with the purchase.

mysterymachine2

#1176: The Eighth Doctor

THE EIGHTH DOCTOR

DOCTOR WHO

eighthdoctornotd1

It’s Day 10 of the post-Christmas gift reviews, and today I’m getting back to a franchise that no special occasion would be complete without.  Yes, it’s time for another Doctor Who figure!  I haven’t reviewed anything Who-related since January of last year, if you can believe it.  That’s okay, I’m making up for it by looking at a particularly cool figure!  This one is yet another figure of the under-appreciated Eighth incarnation of the Doctor, as portrayed by Paul McGann (who slowly, but surely has become, like, my favorite Doctor).  Let’s have a look!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

eighthdoctornotd3The Eighth Doctor is part of Character Options’ long-running 5-inch Doctor Who line.  While the line was supposedly abandoned in favor of the smaller 3 3/4-inch line, they seem to have kept is going, just a figure at a time instead of series by series.  Eight follows the current model, being a special single release, similar to the “Time of the Doctor” Eleven and the War Doctor.  The figure stands 5 1/2 inches tall (a little taller than his last figure, thanks to CO’s slowly creeping scale) and he has 22 points of articulation.  I really appreciate the steady increase of usable articulation in these figures, and this version of Eight really benefits from the extra mobility.  The last Eight figure was based on his appearance in the TV-movie, but this figure is based on his much cooler look from 2013’s “Night of the Doctor,” the short that showed Eight’s final mission and the origin of the War Doctor.  The McGann head included with the War Doctor figure was initially supposed to sort of bridge the gap between the first Eight and War Doctor figures, but somewhere along the way, CO realized that the NotD look and the War Doctor look really aren’t that similar.  I’m really glad they opted to release this look as a proper figure, because it takes Eight’s rather stuffy and sort of boring look and adds a nice flare of elegant adventurer to it, which really helps to redefine the character.  This figure’s sporting an all-new sculpt, which is very nicely handled.  It’s obviously very similar to the other Doctor Who  figures I’ve looked at.  There’s not a ton of texturing, but that actually results in a rather clean, and very consistent look.  He has some very nice fine detail work on the clothing, especially on the boots.  Seriously, I don’t really talk boots much, but those things are just a work of art.  The head is yet another new sculpt for Eight.  This one is definitely the best McGann sculpt we’ve gotten so far. The pictures don’t quite do it justice; it’s definitely one of those sculpts you need to see in person to truly appreciate.  The paint work on this figure is decent, but perhaps not as detailed as the sculpt deserves.  To be fair, the work is certainly very clean (perhaps too clean; Eight was a bit of a mess in the short), and the colors are all pretty good matches for the on-screen appearance.  The best work is once again the boots, which look quite lifelike and oh my god I’m talking about the boots again.  I swear, I don’t usually fixate on such things, but they’re just so nice.  Whoever was on boot duty at CO was on point when it came to this figure, that’s all I’m saying.  Eight includes the usual sonic screwdriver, the chalice given to him by the Sisterhood of Karn (which regenerates him into the War Doctor), and a bandolier.  Technically, he doesn’t put on the bandolier until after regenerating into the War Doctor, but who am I to complain about extra accessories?  Though, on that note, I wouldn’t have said no to a young War Doctor head, however unlikely that was.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Three guesses who I got this figure from.  First two don’t count.  Yep, this came from Super Awesome Girlfriend.  I’ve actually been eyeing this figure up since last January and ever so subtly (read: not at all subtly) bringing up that I wanted it when talking with Super Awesome Girlfriend.  I actually gave her a bit of a hard time on our anniversary when she gave my K-2 instead of this guy, since he would have continued the anniversary theme.  Needless to say, she gave me no end of (well-deserved) crap when I opened this guy up on Christmas morning.  I like this figure quite a lot.  I’d even go so far as to say it’s my favorite Doctor Who figure (though the War Doctor and Eleven give him a run for his money).

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#0815: River Song, The Narrator, & Donna Noble

RIVER SONG, THE NARRATOR, & DONNA NOBLE

DOCTOR WHO

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It’s day 14 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews. Fun fact, 14 is one more than the number of cannon incarnations of the Doctor. That’s not really related to anything, but there it is. Anyway, I’ll be doing one last Doctor Who-based review for this gift-giving season. This time, I’ll be looking at three figures (sort of…), none of whom are the Doctor. So, let’s dive right into looking at the three “R”s: River, Rassilon (aka the Narrator), and… Rdonna…

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These three were released as the Series Four boxed set. All three are re-releases of single-packed figures from earlier in Character Options’ Doctor Who line.

RIVER SONG

River Song is a favorite character for a lot of Who fans. She is not really a favorite of mine, however. I liked her fine enough in her first appearance “Silence in the Library,” but in all subsequent appearances, I just found her incredibly…grating. Fortunately, this figure is from her initial appearance, back when I didn’t dislike her. Yay. The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. As she’s from “Silence in the Library,” River is depicted here in her compression suit she wore for the entirety of the episode. The sculpt does a pretty nice job of translating her look from the episode into figure form. The suit has a nice amount of detailing and texturing, which makes the whole thing look pretty realistic. The proportions do seem just a touch skewed, though, especially if there’s supposed to be a normally proportioned person inside the sculpted suit. However, it’s not too far off. The head sculpt does a decent enough job of capturing Alex Kingston’s likeness. It’s not perfect, but you can identify who it’s supposed to be. Her hair is a bit perplexing, though; her hair in the episode is rather messy, but it didn’t quite look like this. She’s got this two-piece construction going on, which has a somewhat obvious seam. It looks alright from the front, but just looks odd from any other angle. The paintwork on River is decent. Nothing stands out as particularly good or bad; it’s just kind of there. Her eyes do seem a bit on the lifeless side, even more so than usual on a Who figure. Other than that, the paint generally goes where it’s supposed to. River is packed with a gun, and what appears to be a small sonic screwdriver (it’s been forever since I saw the episode, so I can’t remember what she has). It’s a bit perplexing that she doesn’t include her helmet for her suit, but the two included pieces aren’t bad.

THE NARRATOR

DWHOS4bRassilon is a rather minor character in the grand scheme of the show. He’s only in the last two episodes of Tennant’s run, and only actually plays a role in the story in the second part. Sure, he’s kind of involved with Ten’s death and subsequent regeneration into Eleven, but only kind of. Heck, his figure doesn’t even get his actual name! He’s just called “The Narrator.” I think most people remember him for being played by Timothy Dalton, which is probably one of the best things about the character. The figure stands 6 ¼ inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. There are parts of Rassilon’s sculpt that are pretty good, but there are also parts that are not as good. The underlying body is pretty decently handled; the torso’s a little flat, but the texture work on his outfit is pretty nice. His coat/robe is probably the weakest part of the figure. The main piece of it is reasonably handled (though lacking in texturing), but the arms are just very awkwardly constructed, and pretty flimsy to boot. At the very least, his metal hand is pretty well done. The headsculpt is overall pretty good, but not quite perfect. Looking at this guy, you can definitely see some of Dalton’s likeness, but it feels almost a little squashed, making the figure look more like Dalton’s lesser known brother. The paintwork here is pretty much on par with the rest of the line, which is to say it’s good, but not great. The detailing on the front of the robe is pretty nice, but the skintone used here feels a bit too yellow to be right. The Narrator includes a staff, which was a fairly key accessory for the guy.

DONNA NOBLE

Donna is the figure in this set I’ve looked at once before, as part of the Companions set. This figure does appear to have slightly better paintwork than the last one, but other than that, this is the same figure as before.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This trio was given to me by (who else?) my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who is deadset on getting me just as many Doctor Who figures as possible. I’m not the biggest fan of River as a character, but this figure is a pretty decent one. The Narrator could probably be better, but I like Timothy Dalton, and he’s really not that bad. All in all, not a bad little set.

 

#0813: Silent

SILENT

DOCTOR WHO

Silence1

It’s day 12 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews, and today I’ll be jumping back over to the world of Doctor Who. Amazingly, the 11 Doctors boxed set has failed to break my spirit in reviewing these guys! My collection of Doctor Who figures is made up mostly of incarnations of the Doctor, as well as a handful of companions for doctors 10 and 11. I’ve looked at a few of the Doctor’s otherworldly foes, but they are definitely in the minority. Today, I’ll be looking at one of the more recent additions to the Doctor’s rogues gallery, the Silent, who were added to the show during the second year of Matt Smith’s tenure. …Hold on. Sorry, was I saying something? I can’t quite remember….

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Silence2The Silent was released in Series 6 of Character Options’ Doctor Who line of figures. This figure is meant to represent one of the many generic Silence we see in the show. The Silent came in two different configurations: open and closed mouth. Mine is one of the closed mouth ones. The figure stands 6 ¾ inches tall and has 20 points of articulation. This figure towers over the rest of my Who figures, which surprised me at first, but a quick double check on shots from their appearances show that this height is fairly accurate. The Silent had a fairly basic look on the show, being another alien race that just went around in normal suits. The actual creatures look not unlike the main figure of Munch’s “The Scream,” which is certainly an appropriately eerie look. The figure’s sculpt does a pretty admirable job of translating the design to toy form. The proportions of the figure all look about right, and the main “alien bits” are all decent matches for what we saw on the screen. The sculpt would probably benefit from a bit more texturing overall, but he’s no less detailed than any of the other Who figures. The paintwork on this figure is Silence3decent all around. The best work is easily on the head and hands, which feature a nice bit of texturing and such, to make him look real. The suit is a bit less impressive, mostly because, for some reason, they opted to make the black rather glossy, as opposed to the slightly more matte finish it should have. Still, nothing about it is outright bad, so that’s good. The Silent includes two electricity add-ons, which attach nicely to his hands, as well as a packet of “flesh.” That last thing has nothing to do with the Silence, but is instead meant to be the stuff that made up the gangers from “The Rebel Flesh.” Each figure in this series came with a packet of this stuff. Yay?

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Silent was given to me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend, who is dead set on getting me as many Doctor Who figures as she can. The Silence have never been my favorite Who foes, but this is a pretty nicely done figure. Plus, I got to mess with people by pretending to forget what figure this was every time I turned the packaging over.

#0810: 11 Doctors Boxed Set

THE DOCTOR, INCARNATIONS 1-11

DOCTOR WHO

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Welcome to day 9 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews! We’ve gotten quite a ways into these reviews without seeing any entries from a regular fixture in all gift related reviews, Doctor Who! Today, I’ll be fixing that in spades!

One of the key elements of Doctor Who’s lead character is his ability to regenerate into a new body when he is dealt a fatal blow. In the real world, this has allowed the character to be portrayed by thirteen different actors (counting the War Doctor) over the course of fifty years. It’s a marvelous way of keeping the character fresh for all that time, and it doesn’t rely on everyone looking the other way in a similar fashion to, say, James Bond. So far, I’ve looked at figures of four(ish) of the Doctor’s incarnations, but today, I’ll be knocking out the other nine! I’ll be totally honest with you all, I’ve been dreading this review just the slightest bit, because I’ve never actually reviewed this many figures at once. Let’s see how this goes!

THE FIGURES THEMSELVES

These eleven figures were released as part of a special boxed-set following Matt Smith stepping into the role in 2011. It somewhat amusingly proclaims it “Contains All Eleven Incarnations of the Doctor!” That’s no longer as inclusive as it boasts, but it was all of them at the time. It’s not like they’re time travelers or anything….

FIRST DOCTOR

11Doctors2William Hartnell was the one who started it all, bringing the Doctor his first life back in the 60s. He portrayed the character a fair bit different, in a much more reserved, less eccentric way than those who would follow. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and has 18 points of articulation. The articulation is a bit more primitive than some of the more recent Doctors, but that’s acceptable given he’s an earlier release. Hartnell had more or less the same look for his run as the character, with varying add-ons. This figure presents him in his most basic look, without the extras, which was his primary appearance in the show, so it’s a good choice. The sculpt exhibits some pretty sharp work, in keeping with most of the other Doctor Who figures. There isn’t much texture work, but there is some very sharp small details. The head sculpt sports a pretty spot on likeness of Hartnell, giving an ever so slight smile, which feels right for the character. The First Doctor’s paintwork is quite sharp and well detailed. It’s somewhat monochromatic, but there’s a surprising number of levels to the greys, and it looks quite good. The paint on the face is decent, though he does have these odd red rings around his eyes. Maybe he didn’t sleep well last night? The figure includes the Doctor’s signature cane, which he holds quite nicely.

SECOND DOCTOR

11Doctors3Patrick Troughton may not be the guy who originated the role of the Doctor, but he’s still an innovator in the role, being the first to emerge from one of the Doctor’s regeneration sequences. Had his introduction not worked, the very integral concept of the Doctor being played by many actors would have been lost. The figure stands 5 inches tall and has the same articulation scheme as the First Doctor. Troughton’s Doctor was to inject a bit of eccentricity into the character. He was somewhat disheveled, and embraced his goofier side with a bow tie. This figure replicates that look quite nicely. Like Hartnell, the Second Doctor’s sculpt is sharply detailed, but a bit lighter on texturing. The jacket has a ton of detailing, showing the various creases and folds in the coat, which successfully makes it look like the jacket has been rolled up in a ball before being put on. The head sculpt is a fairly spot on likeness of Troughton, right down to his mop top of hair. The paintwork is nice and clean, and it adds a splash more color than the First Doctor. There’s some pretty awesome work on the polka dots on the tie and the plaid of the pants, which gives him a bit of pop. There’s a little bit of slop around his pocket square, as well as the edges of the hair, but the ver all work is pretty sharp. The Second Doctor was the first to use the sonic screwdriver, but it wasn’t yet his main thing, so this figure includes his recorder, which is a well enough handled, but he can’t quite hold it right.

THIRD DOCTOR

11Doctors4After the Second Doctor cleared the idea of replacing the show’s lead actor every so often, actor Jon Pertwee was the next in line, becoming the third actor to bear the role. Troughton’s Doctor was a disheveled genius, with a very goofy strain deeply rooted in him. He was ever so slightly awkward. Pertwee changed things. While he kept his flair for the dramatic, and played up the eccentricities, he was also a suave charmer, of almost Sean Connery levels. The figure stands 5 ½ inches tall (tallest in the set. Pertwee was a big guy) and has the same articulation as the prior two. One of the things about Pertwee’s Doctor, in terms of looks, was that he didn’t really have one specific look, like his predecessors. He had a style, but the specific costume pieces changed from story to story. This figure seems to do a decent job of summing up the “character” of Pertwee’s Doctor. He’s got the smoking jacket, the boots, the ruffled shirt, and the tie, as well as an add-on part for the coat/cape, which can be removed if you so choose. The quality of the sculpt is definitely up there, though like the others, he doesn’t do a whole lot as far as texturing on the clothing. The head does a nice job capturing Pertwee’s likeness, and there’s some really nice work on his crazy hairstyle. One thing I did notice about this figure is he has a little difficulty staying standing, I think due to the shaping of the legs. The Third Doctor’s paint is definitely more colorful than the previous two, but it’s not quite as complex. There’s a lot of just solid patches of color, which looks perfectly fine, but isn’t the most exciting thing. On the plus side, his gerneral design is a bit more visually interesting, so it offsets it well enough. The general application is pretty clean, so that’s good. The Third Doctor is the first to include his sonic screwdriver, which is well sculpted and fits nicely in his hand.

FOURTH DOCTOR

11Doctors5For a large chunk of people, Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor is THE Doctor. He has the longest run of any actor in the role, and held the role during one of the show’s highest points for viewership (he was also the Doctor while one of my personal heroes, Douglas Adams, was the main story editor on the show, which certainly elevates him in my eyes). Unlike most of the others in this set, this was not the Fourth Doctor’s first figure in this line, due to his immense popularity. But, that doesn’t make this figure any less cool. The figure stands 5 ½ inches tall and has the same articulation as the others. He has the most detailed sculpt by far of all the figures in this set. There’s just a ton of fantastic work, especially texture work, that’s just very well carried out. A lot of it’s easy to miss or overlook, just due to the level of detail included. The coat and scarf are both separate pieces, with a nice flow about them. Under those parts, the figure is more inline with the other figures in the set, with a bit less texture, but still plenty of detail. There have been a few figures of the Fourth Doctor, so there have been a few stabs at his likeness, with various differing zany expressions. This one is slightly more reserved, but still somewhat goofy, and it’s a pretty decent likeness of Baker. The paintwork on the figure is rather involved, and there’s some varying quality throughout. The underlying paint is really great, especially the pattern on his vest. The rest of the paint is decent, but the scarf and coat and such show a bit of slop in a few areas. The Fourth Doctor includes his sonic screwdriver, which appears to be the same sculpt as that of the Third Doctor, but with slightly different paint.

FIFTH DOCTOR

11Doctors6Replacing a fan-favorite is no one’s ideal job, but that’s what Peter Davison came into when he became the fifth main actor to take the role of the Doctor. He had the task of replacing Baker’s defining turn in the role, which he approached by taking a more subdued stance on the character. Gone were the absurdly long scarf and the loud colors, replaced with someone who wouldn’t look out of place playing cricket at a prep school. The figure is about 5 ¼ inches tall, with the same 18 points as all of the prior figures. His sculpt falls somewhere between Baker and the others. His sculpt is definitely quite sharp, and there’s a lot of nice detail work. The hair and vest have some very well-handled texture work, but the rest of sculpt is fairly smooth, much like the others in the set. I do like that the vest is a separate piece. His likeness to Davison is definitely there, but not as strongly as some of the others. His paint is reminiscent of the First Doctor’s; it’s a bit monochromatic, but there’s lots of levels to those similar colors, which help to make him a rather impressively painted figure. He includes his sonic screwdriver, which is almost identical to the Fourth Doctor’s.

SIXTH DOCTOR

11Doctors7And now we get to the two figures for which I know the least. This here is the Sixth Doctor, portrayed by Colin Baker, brother of prior Doctor Tom Baker (okay, not really). He took the more refined look of the Fifth Doctor, discarded it, and went for more the “I stole this out of a clown’s closet” sort of look. That’s all I know. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and has the same articulation scheme as the others. Six’s sculpt is reasonable, but not as good as some of the others in this set. A lot of that has to do with the basic build of the figure, which is somewhat off. His chest is a bit flat and rather squared off, his hips seem too far set apart, and he’s perpetually stuck leaning just a bit forward. The actual detail work does fair a bit better. His likeness is pretty spot-on to Colin Baker, and they even managed to capture that wacky head of hair. I’m not really sure what’s going on with his expression, but it works alright, I guess. The paint on this figure is certainly an undertaking. I think that CO managed to pull it off reasonably well, but he does still exhibit a fair amount of slop. The Sixth Doctor is the only figure in the set not to get an accessory, which seems a little unfair.

SEVENTH DOCTOR

11Doctors8And this here is the Seventh Doctor, portrayed by Sylvestor McCoy. He came after Colin Baker, and before Paul McGann. And now I’m out of things to say. He’s the shortest figure in the set, at just under 5 inches tall. His sculpt is reasonable enough, though I feel like the clothing is a little softer in definition than it was on the others. The coat sort of runs together with the scarf, and the tie, vest and shirt also run together a bit. He’s not a bad sculpt, just a sort of “meh” one. The head sort of looks like McCoy, but it’s a weaker likeness than the others. I think that may partly have to do with him lacking the hat that this incarnation of the character seemed to almost always have, which was certainly an interesting way to go. On the plus side the paint is really good here. The colors are nice and vibrant, and the various patterning on his clothing looks really cool. The Seventh Doctor is packed with an umbrella, which is quite a nice piece.

EIGHTH DOCTOR

11Doctors9After the show was cancelled during McCoy’s run, Amblin Entertainment did their best to bring back Doctor Who in the 90s, in a slightly more Americanized form. The venture was…less than successful. But, people generally liked Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, and the 50th Anniversary build up did a fair bit to give him a good storyline. This figure pre-dates those developments, but I won’t hold it against him. He’s about 5 ¼ inches tall and has the same standard articulation as everyone else. This figure’s sculpt also feels just a bit soft, though not as bad as Seven. There is some more definition between the parts of his clothing, but some of them do still run together a bit. His likeness isn’t too bad; you can definitely see McGann in there. However, I think the extra head included with the War Doctor might be a better example (even if it is from later in McGann’s career). The overall look of the sculpt sums up the Eighth Doctor pretty well, and this one feels like he’s better than the sum of his parts. The paint is a little bit of a step down. It’s much more drab than the others (which is accurate, to be fair), and there’s a couple of pretty obvious instances of bleed over. Eight includes his sonic screwdriver, which appears to be the same one included with Three, Four, and Five, just painted differently.

NINTH DOCTOR

11Doctors10Doctor Who finally made its way back to tv airwaves in 2005, with Christopher Eccleston as the ninth incarnation of the main character. The Ninth Doctor was a back to the basics, no nonsense approach, in both personality and design. He had perhaps the most reserved, average look of any Doctor incarnation, which actually kind of makes him stand out, despite his rather indistinctive look. The figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall. His articulation is similar to the others in the set, but he lacks the thigh swivels. This has to do with him reusing the torso and legs of the regeneration version of Ten. He does get new arms, so he keeps the swivels on the biceps. The overall sculpt is pretty solid, and is in keeping with the better entries in this set. The best work is definitely on the coat, which has some great fine detail work and texturing. His head has a pretty good likeness to Eccleston, and it’s at least good enough that he doesn’t just look like a random guy in a black jacket. The paintwork on Nine is pretty decent overall, but he does have a few missing spots on his hairline, which are a little obvious. The best work is once again on the jacket, which nicely replicates the look of a beaten up leather jacket. Nine includes his sonic screwdriver, which is totally different from the previous one, and does a good job capturing the look.

TENTH DOCTOR

11Doctors11After Eccleston’s rather short run as the character, David Tennant took over, and gave a turn as the Doctor that rivaled Tom Baker’s in terms of popularity. His Doctor was a bit more out there than Eccleston’s, but one of his signature characteristics was his ability to jump back and forth between comedic and serious in quick succession. He’s also one of the two Doctors in this set I’ve already reviewed. He’s roughly 5 ¼ inches tall, but he loses four points of of movement, two in his biceps and two in his thighs. This is mostly to do with being pretty much entirely a re-used figure. The torso, legs, and head (but not the glasses) are the same as the Doctor from the previously reviewed Doomsday set. Those pieces were good there and they’re still good here. As a positive, the addition of Ten’s longcoat does a good job of masking the slight bulkiness of the jacket. I also like the glasses, which aren’t as bulky and ill-fitting as most examples in smaller scales. One of the best parts of the Doomsday Doctor was his fantastic paint. This figure lives up to that, which I was definitely happy about. Ten includes his sonic screwdriver, which is the same piece as the one included with Nine.

ELEVENTH DOCTOR

11Doctors12Like Davison, Matt Smith had some big shoes to fill in taking over for fan-favorite David Tennant. However, unlike Davison, Matt Smith didn’t shy away from the more eccentric side of the character, and successfully earned a pretty size able fan base of his own, which was almost enough to rival Baker and Tennant. His figure stands 5 ¼ inches tall and has the same articulation as all the others barring Ten and Nine. The figure’s sculpt is definitely well done. He definitely captures Smith’s unique build, which sells who he is pretty well. There’s also some pretty nice texturing on his tweed jacket, and the basic details of his clothing are pretty sharp. The head sports a pretty good likeness of Smith; close enough that you can tell easily who it’s supposed to be. The bangs on his hair are a separate piece, and you can clearly see the seam where it joins the head, which is kind of annoying. Fortunately, that’s the only real issue with the sculpt. The paintwork on Eleven is pretty solid; the base work is all pretty clean, and the jacket has a nice wash which helps accent the sculpt really nicely. Eleven is packed with his unique sonic screwdriver, which is quite nicely sculpted.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

This set was given to me this Christmas by my Super Awesome Girlfriend and her parents, who seem to have also gotten into the swing of supporting this insane habit of mine. This set is a massive set. Really. But, it’s also a fantastic set of figures. Just all around a lot of fun.

Look at that, I just wrote a 3000 word review! I’m gonna go fall down now…

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#0801: The Curator

THE CURATOR

DOCTOR WHO

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Okay, well, it was. Provided, of course you view Christmas as the “most wonderful time of the year.” Which not everyone does. I’m getting sidetracked. Sorry! Point is, Christmas has just passed, and that means another round of Christmas reviews. However, before I can get to the Christmas reviews, I have to first do the anniversary gift, which is sort of kind of Christmas Review #0.

One year ago, I looked at the War Doctor, from the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Special (the surrounding promotion of which was my primary reason for getting into Doctor Who in the first place). Today, I’ll be going back to the 50th Anniversary another time, to look at another figure from that special. Yes, it’s the Curator, played by legendary Doctor Who actor Tom Baker, who may or may not be a future incarnation of the Doctor!

THE FIGURE ITSELF

Curator2The Curator is a deluxe release from the Doctor Who line from Character Options. Despite the line’s supposed move to 3 ¾ inch scale, there seems to be a continuous stream of new product at the larger scale. I’m not complaining, though. The figure stands about 5 ½ inches tall and has 22 points of articulation. He’s certainly taller than lots of previous figures from the line, but seeing as Tom Baker is 6’3”, that seems about right scale-wise. The Curator is based on Tom Baker’s cameo appearance from the very end of “The Day of the Doctor.” His sculpt appears to be all-new to him, though I’m not familiar enough with the Doctor Who molds to know for sure. The sculpt is, overall, not a bad piece, but he does feel like a slight step back in quality after the fantastic work seen on the “Time of the Doctor” version of Eleven. The best work is definitely the head, which has some fantastic detail work, and sports a wonderful likeness of an older Tom Baker. The rest of the sculpt is alright, if not amazing. He’s better than the vast majority of the line, for what it’s worth. His proportions are a little exaggerated, but they aren’t terrible. The thing that holds the sculpt back the most is the lack of any real texturing on the clothing. It’s in keeping with most of the line, so I’d give it a pass, except that was one area that the recent version of Eleven really excelled in. Still, the basic sculpt is pretty decent, and it’s a pretty good translation of the look of the character from the episode.  The paintwork on this figure is generally pretty good, but there are some issues that hold him back a bit. The biggest is the substantial amount of paint slop on his right ear, but there are also a few other places with some missed lines and slightly iffy application. That being said, it isn’t the worst I’ve seen from this line, and he looks pretty good overall, as a whole. The Curator includes a cane, which he carries for the entirety of his appearance. It’s a fairly basic piece, and he holds it pretty well. The other accessory is what makes this a deluxe item. It’s the “Galifrey Falls” painting, which has been done as a lenticular image, so that it can change to “Galifrey Falls No More” as it does in the episode.  It’s a neat addition, and the frame is very well sculpted, but the lenticular image makes it hard to really clearly see a fully formed painting. Still a cool piece, though.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

The Curator was an anniversary gift from Super Awesome Girlfriend. Isn’t it clever how she got me another anniversary special figure for our anniversary? And, since our anniversary is on the 24th, he’s also a pseudo-Christmas gift! So, the Curator’s not as cool as Eleven or the War Doctor, but he’s still a pretty neat little figure, and certainly a cool novelty item. Not a bad addition to the collection!

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#0676: Captain Jack Harkness

CAPTAIN JACK HARKNESS

DOCTOR WHO

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So, interestingly enough, before I got into Doctor Who, I actually gave the Who-niverse a try-out with the spin-off series, Torchwood. I liked the show well enough at first, but I decided it wasn’t for me when I got to the finale of the third series, Children of Earth. Just like the comic version of The Walking Dead, I found there are some storytelling techniques I just can’t move past. When I finally got around to watching Doctor Who proper, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Torchwood’s lead, Captain Jack Harkness, when he was given the chance to be a little more light-hearted than Torchwood had allowed.

THE FIGURE ITSELF

CapJack2Captain Jack was a special single release in the Doctor Who line. He was actually a re-issuing of the line’s first Captain Jack figure, which had become a little bit difficult to get a hold of in the years since its release. The figure depicts Jack in his gear from his second tenure on the show, during the Tennant run. It also happens to be the look he has for most of Torchwood. It’s a look with a lot of appearances, so it’s definitely a good representation of the character. The figure stands a little over 5 inches tall and has 16 points of articulation. Compared to some of the more recent figures from this line, he’s a bit lacking in movement; you aren’t going to get much more than a basic standing pose out of him. A fair bit of that comes from the somewhat restricting nature of his long coat, but even without that, the figure would still be a little stiff. Jack features a unique sculpt. It’s decent enough, over all. The proportions are mostly pretty good, aside from his somewhat alien looking fingers. Some of the areas, particularly the coat, are a little bit lacking in texturing, but that’s about the same, stylistically, as the other figures from this era, so he fits in pretty well. The likeness on the head sculpt seems like it’s pretty good, under the paint, but it’s hard to tell. As it is, it feels a little bit off. It’s still recognizably him, but not quite 100%. Also, the expression seems a little bland for Jack. I think a grin of some sort would be far more in character. So, what about that paint I was just touching on? Well, it’s best described as “adequate.” Not bad or anything; in fact, it’s remarkably clean. That being said, it just feels too smooth for a figure based on a real person. Also, it’s a bit thick in application, so things like the likeness on the face can be rather hard to make out. Jack includes a revolver, which is more than a lot of Doctor Who figures get, so that’s good.

THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION

Jack here was one of a handful of things bought for me by my Super Awesome Girlfriend while we were at Yesterday’s Fun. After purchasing a rather sizeable selection of figures myself, she came out of the store and presented me with another bag full of things, Jack amongst them. Jack was the one major Tennant companion I was missing, so I’m glad to finally have one, even if he isn’t a perfect figure.

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