Star Trek Micro Machines

Star Trek Micro MachinesMuch like the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which didn’t think to nominate Star Trek: The Next Generation for an Emmy until its final season was coming down the home stretch, it seems that the toymakers of the world didn’t clue into the popularity of TNG until well over halfway past the midway point of the series. Playmates struck gold, launching an extensive line of TNG action figures and accessories in 1992 (a line which later grew to encompass every other 20th century Star Trek series), leaving Galoob’s early line of action figures – launched and discontinued before the show’s second season – mostly forgotten. But Galoob got back into the Trek game with its legendary Micro Machines plastic miniatures. Continue reading

Doctor Who: 1980s Cybermen

CybermenCharacter Options supplemented its selection of new series Cybermen in early 2009 with a wave of Cybermen spanning the history of their appearances in Doctor Who, from The Tenth Planet through their then-recent return in The Next Doctor, the 2009 Christmas episode. But there were two distinct Cyberman designs missing. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The New Dalek Paradigm

New Dalek ParadigmIn 2010’s Victory Of The Daleks the Daleks appeared in their most radically updated form yet, reflecting Doctor Who showrunner Steven Moffat’s desire to make them bigger, more dangerous and more colorful (hearkening back to his memories of the Daleks in the two 1960s Peter Cushing Doctor Who movies). What no one seemed to anticipate was the public backlash against the new design: the Daleks, with a maniacal drive for homogeny written into their very genes, seemed somewhat unlikely to outfit themselves with bright, candy-colored casings. (It’s a little unfathomable why, outside of the necessities of TV, any Dalek would look different from any other Dalek: why put a bullseye on your seasoned leader’s back by making him the only Dalek in a shiny white casing?) A frequent comment after the debut of the new Daleks was the the change happened solely to make a new range of action figures possible. Whether or not that’s true, Character Options wasted little time in unleasing the new Dalek army on the toy-buying public. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Master

The MastersThough introduced seven years into the lengthy run of the original Doctor Who, few characters had as much of an impact on the show as The Master. The Doctor had proven to have a different morality than that held dear by the human race by urging UNIT to ask questions first and shoot later, but here was an enemy with whom there was no reckoning. The Master constantly used Earth as a playing piece in a larger game. By maneuvering it and its occupants into danger, he could throw his lifelong mortal enemy, the Doctor, off his stride. At least initially, the Master had no hatred of Earth whatsoever; inviting a steady stream of alien menaces to invade the planet was a ploy to distract the Doctor – preferably enough that the Master could finally have his revenge on his rival Time Lord. Continue reading

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

PREVIEW: The Eighth Doctor revealed… on eBay!?

Doctor WhoSomething that’s been beaten into the ground in several of the reviews of the classic Doctor Who figures this year is that we might just get a complete set of all eleven Doctors this time around. And thanks to a rogue eBay seller (don’t bother to go looking – the auction has already been pulled from the site) who apparently had access to a prototype, we get to see the final piece of that eagerly-awaited puzzle: the eighth Doctor, as played by Paul McGann. 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