PREVIEW: Doctor Who Classic Wave 2 (2010)

Doctor Who action figuresCharacter Options has published photos of the upcoming (and very surprising, I have to say) second wave of classic Doctor Who action figures. (Given that the only movement on the classic front in 2009 was in the form of high-priced exclusives and box sets, I assumed that the classic range was on life support at best.) It’s a small wave, it dispenses with the build-and-collect nonsense (I still haven’t even completed the K-1 Robot from the first classic wave, which is one of only two collect-and-build characters I give enough of a crap about to worry about completing; to date, Character has done four collect-and-build figures). Originally, word had it that the second classic wave would feature a collect-and-build Krynoid creature, but I’m not exactly weeping bitter tears over the absence of said creature).

I really appreciate the relatively small wave. I bet a lot of other folks do too; if the past year or so has taught us anything – even famously picky Doctor Who fans – it is that these are luxury items, not necessities. I also have to say that it’s nice to see these figures landing in general retail instead of being numbered limited editions at San Diego Comic Con prices (with or without it being tied to Comic Con itself – I’m lookin’ at you, plastic Pertwee). Now, without further doodoo, the goodies:

Doctor Who Classics Wave 2 (2010)

From left to right, fourth Doctor (Pyramids Of Mars edition with long coat and significantly different detailing), seventh Doctor (leaked photo, obviously), the Master (Deadly Assassin edition).

The new fourth Doctor is a UK exclusive (arrrgh!), soon to be an eBay exclusive I’m sure. This is a much more iconic “look” for Tom Baker’s Doctor, and I wish we’d gotten this one first (instead of the Revenge Of The Cybermen version), not that that’s any slouch. He comes with a “module from the TARDIS console”… huh? Would be nice to have, but I won’t break my back or the bank looking.

Seventh Doctor: must. have. A huge step up from the Dapol figure. The seventh Doctor remains quite possibly at the top of my “favorite Doctors” list (there are ten in all), so I will be getting this one, by hook, by crook or by time scoop. Technically we’re not supposed to have seen this figure yet, but a kind soul with access to one took this picture, and the genie’s out of the bottle. Even with the fuzzy photo, the likeness is great, and the costume details are outstanding. Only the hat is missing, but keep reading for the details on that.

The Master: very cool. Definitely getting. I’d still like to see some effort made toward getting Roger Delgado and Anthony Ainley (though I’d settle for Delgado alone if I had to pick one) turned into action figures, but I do understand that this is easier since it was a mask and thus no likeness rights have to be sought from an actor’s estate.

Doctor Who Classics Wave 2 (2010)

From left to right: Cyberman (Earthshock), Ice Warrior (The Ice Warriors), Morbius (The Brain Of Morbius).

Cyberman: must get SEVERAL. The ’80s Cyberman was conspicuous by its absence from last year’s Ages Of Steel figures, but what a fantastically detailed mold – the wait has been worth it. You can even see the silvery chin behind the translucent lower portion of the faceplate; I’ve never looked at that as cheap costuming, but as a grim (and not just a little bit horrific) reminder of the Cybermen’s organic origins). An army of these, if you please! I think this is the first monster figure from the Davison era, unless I’m completely off-base.

Ice Warrior: very nice. I might wait for a price drop on this one, as I’m not the Ice Warrior fan that every other diehard classic Doctor Who fan seems to be (in short: after a handful of TV appearances, fandom has seen fit to graft a standard-issue samurai code of honor onto the Ice Warriors, making them the Klingons of Doctor Who except with quieter voices…yawn). The figure is fantastic though – again, this is a character that Dapol made in the ’90s, and the detail difference between old figures and new is staggering. It’s also nice to see a monster that doesn’t hail from the Tom Baker era. The ’60s episodes were rife with inventive, iconic villains. Let’s have more Troughton-era baddies.

Morbius: must get. If only for sentimental reasons. The Brain Of Morbius was my first Doctor Who story back when my age was in the single digits. I’ve been wanting a figure of its chop-shop baddie since then.

Doctor Who Classics Wave 2 (2010)

Left to right: Mummy (Pyramids Of Mars), Voc Robot (Robots Of Death).

Both: BOO! I call a foul. Both of these figures were part of the “Fourth Doctor Adventure Set” released in the summer of 2009. I don’t really care that the Mummy has a different jar, or that the Voc’s eyes “glow red under light”. I’ll be passing on these unless I find them at unhealable deep-cut discounts.

Not shown: Paul McGann. Let’s see him, Character. I want the first ten Doctors before we move on to #11. However, it’s starting to sound like it may be a package deal: shadowy sources who have nailed every 2009 Doctor Who toy release at the rumor stage are repeatedly hammering home the rumor that the above seventh Doctor figure and the eighth Doctor will only be available in a massive “Eleven Doctors” box set, which will also be the first time the first, second and third Doctors are available at general retail. That’s a neat idea on paper, but given the $15+ price point (at least in the U.S.) of any given individual Doctor Who figure (and this doesn’t count the $40+ price point of exclusives like the individually-packed first through third Doctors), I’m not looking forward to the price tag. Surely this set could be split into two (I’d consider it a dandy deal if the cutoff point was a box set with the first six Doctors – which I could skip – and a box with Doctors #7-11).

But the insanity doesn’t end there – there’s talk of classic flight control TARDIS models with, respectively, another iteration of Tom Baker and another iteration of the seventh Doctor, this time with his hat and wearing the lighter jacket he sported in his first two seasons.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all over the Cybermen and Master from this new wave, but I’d like to be able to finish my lineup of Doctors without having to buy an entire new vehicle with each one (probably another $40 pairing) or having to sock back the cash for an enormous box set that could potentially top the $200 mark. There comes a point where we have to send Character Options the message that, as diehard as we are as Doctor Who fans, these items are, after all, a luxury.