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Doctor Who: The Third Doctors

The Third DoctorThat’s not The Three Doctors, but rather the third Doctors. After displaying prototypes at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con, Character Options followed up that year’s Comic Con exclusive first and second Doctors with the Doctor’s third incarnation, as played by Jon Pertwee from 1970 through 1974. Setting a pattern that continues through the most recent limited-edition classic Doctor Who figures, U.K. distribution was exclusively handled by Forbidden Planet, with FP’s U.S. arm, Underground Toys, taking care of North American distribution. Continue reading

Doctor Who: The Chase set

The ChaseThe end of 2011 saw a sudden glut of classic series figure sets released by Character Options; common sense would seem to dictate that these were intended to attract last-minute Christmas shoppers, but in most areas they arrived too late for Christmas 2011. Some of these sets, rather predictably, landed in the Tom Baker era. This isn’t to imply a bias on Character’s part – there’s simply more of Tom Baker’s era than there is of any other Doctor’s reign, though Character does have an established bias toward masked characters so they don’t have to pay an actor for his likeness. Continue reading

Doctor Who: Resurrection Of The Daleks

Resurrection Of The DaleksAnother one of 2011’s surprise classic Doctor Who figure sets, this set hails from the early ’80s era of the fifth Doctor, and brings the classic version of a seemingly un-killable foe into plastic form. From Peter Davison’s only run-in with the Daleks, Resurrection Of The Daleks also reunited the Doctor with Davros – a reunion that both probably would’ve been happy to pass on. 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: 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: 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: Radio Controlled Dalek Battle Pack

Radio Controlled Dalek Battle PackThe first item released in Character Option’s lineup of Doctor Who action figures during the show’s first season back on the air in 2005, the RC Dalek Battle Pack consisted of two Daleks, their respective color-coded radio controllers, and an action figure of either the ninth Doctor or Rose. (Though almost identical to the individually-released figures – the Doctor sports a burgundy-colored sweater, and both figures have a slightly less detailed paint job – these figures beat the individual carded figures to the stores by several months.) The Daleks are the real stars of this box set, and as much as I loved Dapol’s endless fleet of Dalek figures, the attention to detail on these Daleks puts them in a whole different league. Continue reading

Doctor Who: Classic Dalek Box Set + Transmat Dalek

Dalek box set - photo copyright 2005 Earl Green / theLogBook.comIt’s safe to say that Dapol’s most popular Doctor Who toys were the dreaded Daleks. The first toy Daleks were introduced in time for the Christmas shopping season that followed the mechanical meanies’ second appearance in late 1964, and quite a few toy licensees have benefitted from the Dalek trademark since then.

In 2000, Dapol really only introduced three new toy products: a new version of its standard TARDIS toy, this time containing a sound effect chip; a boxed set of Daleks with specialized features hearkening back to their reign of terror in the 1960s; and another Dalek, this one transparent – as seen in two 1980s adventures – due to being in a state of “mid-beam-down.” Through the transparent casing, the hideously tentacled Kaled mutant – the true mind behind the Dalek – can be seen. Continue reading