Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Doctor Who Week: Toy Review - Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens - Auton as Roman Centurion By Character Options

This is the character I was least excited about getting when I preordered the set from BigBadToyStore. I liked the role the Centurions played in “The Pandorica Opens”, but I didn’t really need a toy of one of them. I didn’t even buy the one that was supposed to be Rory because I’m fairly certain we’re going to get a regular Rory figure soon – probably this year.

But I had to have the Pandorica, so now I have this Roman.
First Glance: This just isn’t a very exciting figure.It looks great, but like one of those historical action figures home-schooled children that are allowed to have toys play with.
Sculpt: It is, however, well sculpted. The head/helmet looks very good, as does all of the gear and uniform.
The articulation is the typical Character Options job; which means great below the waist and swivels on the neck and shoulders. The cloak and skirt are a softer plastic that don’t interfere with movement too badly and you can position the arms just as much as any other CO creation.
The actual detailing on the figure is nicer than your first look allows for. All of the armor parts have some nice patterns and the skirt piece looks very good. The leggings and sandals are well done and feature more detailing than I expected.
Design: There is more to the paint apps here than you might detect at first. In addition to the details on the armor, there is a nice coating of mud on the base of the cloak. The face is plain, but the eyes are centered and look good.
Just not much to say about a drab but well done paint job. This Auton looks exactly as it should.
Accessories: Each figure in this set comes with a piece of the Pandorica and a CD with part of a Doctor Who audio adventure. That may seem a bit strange, but Doctor Who audio stories and plays are what kept the franchise alive and current in the UK from 1989 until 2005 (the TV movie got mixed results). These audio-only adventures are hugely popular over there and are considered as in-canon as anything else, so it’s pretty neat that CO worked them into the Pandorica design.
That being said, the Pandorica is kind of a letdown. It is not a toy. It is a flimsy plastic box to keep your six CDs on. Once I need the room I won’t hesitate to take it off of my Doctor Who shelf.
Here’s another example of this figure exceeding expectations: it comes with a short sword, a broad sword, two functional scabbards and the cloak; all of which can be removed from the figure. This means you’ve got a troop builder that has a reasonable little bit of customization. The way that the scabbards fit leaves some minor but ugly holes in the skirt, but they aren’t too bad. The figure can hold the swords fine, which is important. You’d be surprised how many toy manufacturers (CO included) overlook this sort of thing. All of the accessories are sculpted well and have some nicely painted details. They are also all molded out of appropriate materials – the scabbards and cloak are softer and the swords are firm rather than rubbery.
Packaging: A plain old blister card, which is totally okay. There aren’t bios or anything on these – just a generic shred back. I don’t care because I opened these, but it might be a bit dull for those of you who keep stuff in the package. I like the plain packaging of Character Option’s main Who line, though. It means to me that they expect their toys to be opened and played with.
Overall: While I still don’t love this figure, it is great for what it is. And a great job on a dull character gets full credit from me.
4 out of 5
Just because I didn’t want it doesn’t mean it isn’t well executed. Honestly, the only thing that kept the Auton Centurion from a perfect score is the trademark sketchy upper arm/shoulder articulation. Please fix this in your next series, Character Options! Doctor Who deserves the best.
Until next time, stay creepy

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