Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm A Grown Man And I Bought This: Doctor Who Enemies Of The Third Doctor Set

I first started buying Character Option's Doctor Who action figures around 2007. The original plan was to buy the Tenth Doctor and Rose and maybe a Dalek and that's all. You can probably imagine how that plan turned out, four years and several hundred figures later.

Today I'm featuring the Enemies Of The Third Doctor Set. In addition to offering figures based on the new Doctor Who series, Character Options has been pumping out figures from Classic Who as well.

For a while now the classic figures have come in sets of two or three figures. You usually get two newly sculpted figures and one older one, often with a different paint scheme. For the first time, all three figures in this set are brand new. It's reportedly been selling at a brisk pace, no doubt because it doesn't contain any recycled figures. Are you listening, Character Options? We don't like having to buy a figure we already have in order to get two we don't.

First up in the set is Omega, from the 1973 episode The Three Doctors. Here we see Omega posing in his smart blue-green ball gown. Omega was the first of the Time Lords (the Doctor's race) and invented the Stellar Manipulator, which enabled them to travel through time. He became trapped in an anti-matter dimension and began siphoning power from the Time Lord's planet of Gallifrey. The Time Lords allowed the Third Doctor to team up with two of his previous selves in order to defeat Omega.

Omega is very well done and looks exactly like he did in the episode. Kudos to whoever it was a t Character Options that sculpted him.

Normally I'm not a fan of "soft goods" clothing on smaller action figures like this one. It's tough to get fabric to hang properly and look right at such a small scale. It absolutely works in this case though. The fabric they chose is just the right thickness and recreates Omega's shimmering mu mu perfectly.

Omega has all the standard articulation featured in the line, so you should have no trouble posing him.

His helmet is even removable (sorry, there's nothing underneath it) so that you can recreate the pivotal scene from the episode, in which he reveals that the anti-matter dimension has eaten away his corporeal body, leaving behind nothing but his clothing and his malevolent will.

Here we see Omega doing his Marilyn Monroe impression from The Seven Year Itch. He's got a fully detailed body underneath his robes, which was a surprise. Character Options could easily have cheapened out here and given him a featurless, generic body. Nice to see they didn't. I have no idea if it's accurate and true to the episode though. It's been a while since I've seen it and I don't remember any scenes of Omega pulling his dress over his head.

Next up is an Auton from the 1970 episode Spearhead From Space. Autons are robotic beings made of living plastic, controlled by an alien called the Nestene Consciousness.

Autons most often resembled department store mannequinss. In later years it appears they've learned to recreate humans perfectly.

This is my favorite figure of the set. The sculpt is spot on and perfectly captures the Auton's creepy mannequin faces. The clothing is perfect as well, right down to the ascot. I don't remember the Autons on the show having silver boots (!), but I'll take Character Options' word for it. They no doubt have more reference material than I do.

Some have complained that the figure's neck appears to be way too long, but I think that only adds to its otherworldliness.

Most Autons are armed with a hand gun that is stored inside their right hand. Get it? Hand gun! I slay me! Past Auton figures had a hinged transforming feature built into the figure's hand. It was fragile, prone to breakage and just never worked very well. They finally wised up and included two right hands with the Auton; a normal hand and a gun hand. Just pop the normal hand off and stick the gun hand in the wrist socket. Works much better than the old way. Just don't lose the small pieces in the shag carpet!

Last up is a Drashig, from the 1973 episode Carnival Of Monsters. Drashigs are enormous snake-like creatures with six eyes on stalks. Their tough hide is impenetrable to even machine gun fire. They are able to consume most anything, even metal. Once a Drashig picks up a scent, it will never give up until it catches its prey.

Believe it or not, according to the episode the Drashigs are one of the most feared and deadly predators in the universe. This despite the fact that they look not unlike Cecil The Sea-Sick Sea Serpent.

The sculptors at Character Options no doubt have a tough time when working on characters from the Classic Series. Back then Doctor Who had an extremely limited budget and the show abounded with cardboard sets and paper-mache aliens. So what should they do? Should they sculpt classic monsters just as they looked, zippers and all? Or should they improve them a bit and try to sculpt them as they were supposed to look? So far it looks like they've decided to make them as they were, warts and all. I guess that's probably the best route. It still doesn't make the Drashig look any less goofy though.

For the first time since the Doctor Who line began, Character Options changed things up a bit– the Drashig figure is also a hand puppet! You can insert your hand into it and open and close its mouth and make it bite the heads off your other figures. Unusual in an action figure line, but it fits the character here.

All in all this is one of the best Classic sets Character Options has released so far, and I highly recommend it. As you can see, three out of eleven Doctors agree!

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