Doctor Who: The First Doctor with TARDIS

The First Doctor with TARDISOfficially billed as an “Electronic TARDIS” with a figure of the first Doctor, this two-figure set breaks down another barrier between the new series and classic series toy lines by offering the first vehicle from the original Doctor Who. Some might consider this a bit of a yawner, since we’ve already had two different Flight Control TARDIS vehicles from new Who (and isn’t a Police Box just a Police Box?), but it’s a bit of a big deal to anyone who’s been around long enough to be a longtime fan of the classic series. Continue reading

Doctor Who: Voyage Of The Damned Gift Set

Doctor Who Voyage Of The Damned Gift SetReleased in 2008, shortly after 2007’s epic-length Christmas special set on a spaceship called the Titanic, Character Options’ Voyage Of The Damned gift set introduced a new look and a new direction for the company’s multi-figure Doctor Who box sets. At a time when many toy companies (and their retail store customers) were looking to downsize their packaging in order to have more product on the shelves, the Voyage set scaled things up: all four figures are in a massive window box, affording front, top and bottom views of the products within, and an impressive double-sided paper insert. As usual, the exterior of the paper backing offers bios of the characters included; but the flipside of the insert offers an impressive still shot of the aforementioned spacefaring Titanic as a backdrop for the figures inside. In short, this set was one that could be enjoyed even if it was never opened. Continue reading

Sarah Jane Adventures Figures

Sarah Jane Adventures figuresIt’s hard to explain to anyone who wasn’t alive for a good stretch of the original Doctor Who series and then “wilderness years” where the character was represented only in print and audio form, but the current state of the Doctor Who universe – three thriving (and, more to the point, usually consistently enjoyable) series running more or less simultaneously is a marvel. A decent line of Doctor Who action figures which not only brings the new series characters to our toy shelves but is veering dangerously close to producing all ten (soon to be eleven) Doctors is even more of a marvel; that both of the spinoff series have action figure lines compatible with the Doctor Who toys is practically an embarrassment of riches. Continue reading

Doctor Who: 2009 San Diego Comic-Con Exclusives

The first and second DoctorsA curious thing happened after the diehard-fan-pleasing first wave of “classic” Doctor Who figures was released in the summer of 2008: absolutely nothing. Fans who expected the range – focusing exclusively on Doctor and adversaries from the original series – to make enough of a splash to merit a second wave at Christmastime were a bit disappointed with the outcome. Now, to put this in perspective for future collectors who might be reading this years from now, the Doctor Who toy range at this time had a worse enemy than the Daleks: namely, a recession that hit economies around the world. The average consumer was suddenly pulling back and making fewer frivolous purchases; in light of that development, Character Options also held off on further additions to the Doctor Who toy range. The only new arrivals in the early part of 2009 were the figures comprising the Ages Of Steel mini-range of Cybermen. Continue reading

Doctor Who: Ages Of Steel

Doctor Who: Ages Of SteelReleased in January 2009 to coincide with the buzz that followed 2008’s The Next Doctor Christmas special, the Ages of Steel line (which seems to be an internal designation since it doesn’t seem to appear anywhere on the actual packaging) is an interesting experiment in blurring the lines between the classic and modern Doctor Who series. With completely unique packaging to match, Ages of Steel is a mini-series of action figures of Cybermen down through the ages. It’s also a thing of beauty. Continue reading

Torchwood action figures – Wave 1

TorchwoodIt’s only slightly less likely that an actual time-space rift forming in Cardiff that the first wave of Torchwood figures not only exists, but is compatible – more or less – with the Doctor Who action figures. Two different companies handle the two different ranges of products, and the audience is wildly different: Character Options’ Doctor Who figures aim for playability first and collectability second, while Scificollector.co.uk was clearly aiming at the collector’s market with Torchwood: neither the show nor its gun-toting toys are really meant for the kids, but rather for adult collectors who want the characters from their other favorite show to grace the same shelf space as their Doctor Who toys. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Sontaran Stratagem Set

Doctor Who: The Sontaran Stratagem SetReleased not too long after the two-parter that reintroduced the classic series villains to the new series’ mythos, the Sontaran Stratagem set is, hands-down, my favorite boxed set of Doctor Who figures to date. I was originally a little skeptical of the Sontarans’ redesign, but their appearance in the two episodes won me over – and if that wasn’t enough, they make great action figures. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Stolen Earth Set

Doctor Who: The Stolen Earth SetReleased shortly after the climactic two-part finale of the new series’ fourth season, the Doctor Who Stolen Earth set is the action figure debut – at least in the new scale used by Character Options – of a major villain with a classic series pedigree. Originally intended to be an exclusive to this set (a decision quickly reversed in the face of what was expected to be a grim 2008 Christmas toy-buying season), Davros is the evil genius behind the Daleks’ creation. Horrifyingly disfigured in an incident never chronicled on screen (but dramatized in the I, Davros audio series), the lower half of Davros’ body is paralyzed, forcing him to rely on a mobile life support unit – the inspiration for the means of the Daleks’ movement. Continue reading

Doctor Who: Classic Dalek Collector’s Set #1

Doctor Who: Classic Dalek Collector's Set #1In 2008, the news became official that Doctor Who collectors had scarcely hoped for: Character Options, makers of the roughly-5″ scale action figures from the new series of Doctor Who, would at last be stepping in the past and creating figures of characters from the classic series. While fans may have thought it was a long time coming, Character’s long-delayed entry into classic series merchandise was fraught with difficulties to which most of the fans weren’t even privy: another company, Product Enterprises, had the classic series merchandise license locked down, forcing Character to sublicense through them with the BBC’s permission. And even with the license secured, it wouldn’t be an easy road, with many a participant in the original series no longer living – getting likenesses approved or denied would prove to be a headache, as some actors’ estates simply didn’t consider this merchandise a priority. But one of the earliest assurances, thanks to the BBC’s part-ownership of the designs, was that there would be a boxed set of various styles of classic series Daleks. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Steven Moffat Collection

DON'T BLINKWe’re doing something a little bit different in this ToyBox review of Doctor Who goodies; rather than focus on a specific season or product wave, we’re focusing on figures from the stories written by Doctor Who’s future show-runner (and record-breaking three-time consecutive Hugo winner) Steven Moffat. With his uncanny knack for bringing real watch-from-behind-the-sofa psychological horror into the Doctor’s family-hour comfort zone, with an economy of post-production trickery, Moffat has more than earned his new gig. Since his first episodes as executive producer don’t begin until 2010, now seemed like a good time to pause and look at the collectible characters that have emerged from his scripts. Continue reading