Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Toy Review – Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Doctor & Dalek Box Set: Evil of the Daleks from Underground Toys

I didn’t know how the heck to title this one.

Over the course of 2013 – the fiftieth anniversary of Doctor Who – Character Options/Underground Toys released eleven box sets to commemorate the Doctor’s regenerations and his oldest, most constant nemeses – the Daleks. I was very excited about these because they were newly repainted versions of each Doctor alongside mostly new versions of Daleks from each era. It was by far the most exciting toy-related occurrence of the Fiftieth.

Unfortunately these sets were prohibitively expensive and I had to pass. I think the first time I saw them listed they were something like fifty bucks a set. I can’t go for that. No. No can do.

But then, as sometimes happens, the first three sets got listed in Previews for a more affordable price. Subtract from that the discount I get for being a loyal patron of my Local Comic Book Shop (try it – you’ll like it!) and these became more do-able. Especially now that I’m not throwing money away on DC action figures that I don’t even like every month.
As with all things from Diamond these took a while to start trickling in, but the Second and Sixth Doctor sets have arrived. I’ll get to ol’ Sawbones Hex next week(ish), but for now I want to discuss Doctor Two.

Initially I wanted these to keep in the box and stack up as souvenirs of the big anniversary. But when I found out there was nothing special about the boxes and that they weren’t even labeled as part of the 50th I just wanted them to bulk out my Dalek army and complete my collection of loose Doctors. I have all eleven in the big TARDIS set; but only had Three, Four (lots of Four), Five, Seven, Nine, Ten, and Eleven loose. Now that I’ve got Two and Six I only need One and Eight and I’ll be all good. Though I really want the Pertwee figure with that half-invisible Dalek. Plus the Doctor in that set is wearing purple and green.

I’ve enjoyed the few Troughton stories I’ve seen. Well, I’ve enjoyed the casts of the few I’ve seen. For the most part I’ve found the stories themselves to be draggy and repetitive. We’re reviewing The Web of Fear tonight on Earth Station Who and I’m definitely excited to see it. I don’t want to totally bag on Troughton’s run because Tomb of the Cybermen is one of my favorite Doctor Who stories.

I haven’t actually seen Evil of the Daleks, but I’m sure we’ll hit it on ESW someday. I think parts of it are missing, but they keep finding lost episodes, so maybe it will be released, intact someday. Until then, I’ll have this tiny duo to battle one another.

I’m definitely disappointed that nothing special was done with this set. It’s not just the lack of “Fiftieth Anniversary” notation. The figures themselves are just regular, old 5” scale Doctor Who figures. No improvements in articulation or anything.
Which doesn’t make them bad. CO produces very nice-looking figures that have been satisfying my Doctor Who jones for years now. They’re very good – I was just hoping for slightly better.

This is the same window box as other recent releases. It has the snazzy, retro Doctor Who graphics. The use of the diamond shape combined with the outer space background brings to mind all eras of Classic Who; as well as perhaps unintentionally signifying the Fiftieth (Diamond) Anniversary. Since they were using this style prior to 2013 that might just be me reading too much into things.

This is a good synopsis of the Second Doctor, but I think it would have been neat to have a more specific Dalek bio. Something that pertained directly to the story.
The interior has a neat-o backdrop featuring the Dalek spaceship or base from the story. Like I said above, I haven’t seen it so I’m not sure what that thing is in the background that looks like Tom Servo. I’m guessing it’s a Dalek Emperor maybe? Whatever it is, I want a figure of it, too.
While all of CO’s Daleks are similar, each one is accurately sculpted and painted to represent the look of the aliens from the respective story. As such, this one is just a bit different from any other Daleks I own, though it is closest to the ones from The Chase.
The sculpted detail is precise and beautiful. The dome (head) is flat black with translucent yellow luminosity dischargers on either side. I very badly want a Dalek in this scale upon which those parts actually discharge luminosity. This Dalek’s eye stalk has a very good sculpt, but is molded from a soft plastic, resulting in a rather embarrassing condition:
It bends a bit to the right.
A little hot water will fix that, but you know me – I want my toys ready for display straight out of the box. Well, unless they’re supposed to require some assembly. I love that.
The neck and upper body have all the nice mesh and plating. I love that even the rivets are sculpted onto these. The gun stick and manipulator arm are much more rigid plastic than the eye stalk and are not bent. They can be removed from their sockets.
The armored lower portion features the standard design of plates of armor with fifty-six perfect spheres embedded. The bumper at the bottom varies from Dalek to Dalek. This one is a single ridge all the way around.
This is the first figure of the Second Doctor that I have had the opportunity to examine up close. The likeness to Patrick Troughton is startling. I love that CO is able to produce such good likenesses at this small scale. 
From the detailed sculpt of the straw-like hair to the lines in his somewhat severe expression, this is unmistakably the second Doctor. The paint is excellent. The hair is a glossy black and the facial detail is precise. Those eyebrows are perched perfectly; sculpted rather than just painted on. The eyes are piercing and the lips have a slight hue to them to help them stand out.
The Doctor has a wonderfully baggy coat on that is a separate piece from the torso. The only issue is that the holes cut out for the shoulders are slightly too big, and you can see some of the blue shirt through the right shoulder. Otherwise the coat looks great, with its bulging pockets and rumpled lines. Aside from the gap on the right shoulder the sleeves of the arms match up nicely with the coat – color and shape-wise. The cuffs hang over the Doctor’s hands, adding to the oversized appearance. The striped handkerchief hanging out of the breast pocket is a well done touch, but I do wish there was a bit of gloss on the coat buttons.
Under that coat the Doctor has an equally rumpled shirt and his trademark crooked bow tie. The shirt is solid, pale blue and the tie has some nifty polka dots painted on. They’re slightly off, but so was the second Doctor. I’ll take it.
The Doctor’s trousers look absolutely fantastic. They’re the real eye-catchers of the figure, and that’s saying something on this one. They sit high on the figure’s “waist”, have a nicely baggy sculpt, and have amazingly detailed checkered design. Underneath the cuffs of those trousers are some standard-issue Beatle boots.
Sadly this set did not come with any accessories. I know that this Doctor used his Sonic Screwdriver infrequently, and I don’t know if he used his trademark recorder in this particular story, but it would have been nice to have a little something in here. Especially when both of the Doctor’s hands are posed for holding.
All of CO’s Daleks are a lot of fun. Besides the enjoyment you get out of wiggling their various proboscis around, they have those great, easy-rolling wheels underneath:
Not only are these nice-looking collectibles, they’re great toys as well. Not a lot of the action figures I review fit into both of those categories so well.
The Doctor has what I consider to be almost very good articulation. The shoulders are lame and there’s no way around that. CO knows it. That’s why newer-tooled figures have hinged shoulders. Unfortunately the company didn’t see fit to equip this latest run of Doctors with better shoulders and we’re left with a figure with only mostly good articulation.
It is still a fun figure, though. Thanks to that baggy coat his legs have a good bit more freedom than some other Doctors. He can almost assume a full sitting position. All in all there are probably enough joints here to keep most folks happy. And I did have fun posing these two figures together. Two figures in one pack is always better.
While this wasn’t quite the be-all, end-all, special edition anniversary set that I was hoping for it is still a solid set of a Doctor and a Dalek. If you can find it for a decent price it’s a good way to get each figure. And this is a unique deco for the Second Doctor, so if you need every variation of Troughton you’re going to have to get it.
I’m happy enough with it and actually somewhat glad it didn’t have fancy-schmancy packaging. I would rather have these opened anyway.

5 out of 5

Definitely check your Local Comic Book Shop. But also definitely buy one from Amazon and get Needless Things a little something on the side:

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