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

PREVIEW: Star Trek (2009 movie)

So, via USA Today this week, Playmates Toys has leaked the first product photos of their items from the upcoming Star Trek movie. It’s an interesting cross-section to say the least: the figures are in multiple scales (though it seems to be clear that only one of these scales will have any significant number of characters in it). Let’s see what’s up in the world of Trek toys these days. 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

Doctor Who: Rose / The End Of The World

The Moxx of Balhoon, Cassandra and the Face of BoeCharacter Options doesn’t seem to have consciously built collections around these specific episodes of Doctor Who, but by coincidence, as their much-loved action figure range grows, the earlier seasons and episodes have been revisited enough that one can put together episode-specific subsets. In the coming weeks we’ll more or less randomly sample some mini-collections from the first two seasons of the new Doctor Who that have emerged. Continue reading

Indiana Jones 2008 Action Figures

Indy PackagingTwo words come to mind when you first see the new line of Indiana Jones action figures from Hasbro: Star Wars. And that’s a good thing. Either in an act of synergy or luck of them winning the likely bidding war, by choosing Hasbro, Lucasfilm practically guaranteed that these figures would be of the classic 3 3/4″ variety and not the increasingly common 5″ or 6″ sizes. And, frankly, as they have shown with their mostly excellent new “Anniversary” line of G.I. Joe figures, this is a great time for Hasbro to relaunch a figure line of this size, thanks to years of development of the Star Wars and pre-Sigma 6 Joes. The Indiana Jones line, encompassing original film (Indiana Jones and the) Raiders of the Lost Ark and the new film, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, takes some inspiration from both Star Wars and G. I. Joe, but leans more heavily on the somewhat less articulate Star Wars line. (More on that later.) Continue reading

Horrified B-Movie Victims

Horrified B-Movie VictimsEvery Star Wars diorama I set up in my bedroom as a kid had the same problem — a lack of extras. Ships and starring roles were never a problem — I had plenty of those — but what I didn’t have were the dozens of extra Stormtroopers needed to make a convincing scene from the Death Star. Darth Vader didn’t look near as menacing with only two Stormtroopers standing behind him, and my cantina scene looked downright sad with only Greedo, Walrus Man, Snaggletooth and Hammerhead hanging around the bar.

For fans of horror films and dioramas, Accoutrements has addressed this problem with the release of their Horrified B-Movie Victims. Continue reading