Hi all, like many of you I have been waiting anxiously for WhoNA to get their shipment of the new 5" Character Options Figures. As of last week, that long, torturous wait was finally over, and I'm happy to say it was worth it! So far I have the Slitheen w/ Space Pig, The Autons 2 Pack, and the Black Clockwork Soldier. I have been trying to demonstrate some restraint when buying new toys, and thus my only having these 3 thus far, but I'm sure the kid in me when win out soon enough after which time I'll have all of them. In the interim, I thought I'd review these figures since I've found them to be truly impressive. So away we go!
A group shot of 5 of the new 5" figures from Character Options thanks to WhoNA. The Doc is here to show scale.
First off, Character Options has revised their packaging scheme to reflect the season (or series) that the contained figure(s) was featured in. So Series 1 says "Series 1" both on the back of the package as well as on the upper right hand corner of the front (which I didn't notice until I peeled off a warning label about there being a choking hazard for children under 3). But the biggest change - and one that seems somewhat odd to me - is that the background of the card which features the TARDIS exterior, now has a unique color for each series. Thus, Series I figure cards all have a red TARDIS, Series II has the good old fashioned blue TARDIS, and Series 3 - which hasn't shipped yet - is rumored to be green. I'm not sure what the logic was behind this as the TARDIS is blue and except for an odd incident with Pink Paint in The Happiness Patrol of the original series, it always has been. I would have thought that - if anything - the current series would be blue and the older series would be some other color. Anyway, enough about the color change - it looks nice and serves to make the figures stand out - so off to the figures we go!
I'll start with the Autons since these dudes are the oldest of the Doctor's enemies from the 3 I have. As near as I can tell, they are identical figures, but each one has a few features to make it different from its twin. For example, both "skin" tones are different, one is a dark flesh tone, the other is noticeably lighter. The darker one also has more stylish threads, courtesy of some paint to give it some of its own flair. All in all, they look very much in keeping with the store mannequins we saw in "Rose".
The "weapon" of the Autons - apart from being able to bring plastic to life - hides in the right hand of each dummy. There has been much debate as to if Character Options intended for the fingers section of the hand to actually come all the way off or if one is simply supposed to twist it around. Neither option is an exact recreation of what we saw on tv (i.e. the finger section simply flipped downward as it was on a hinge, leaving the gun nozzle exposed), and there's no instructions to guide you. Both of mine popped out relatively easy - tho not so easy that I have to worry about it happening on its own - and I'd have to say it *looks* more like the tv dummies if the section is totally removed from the socket. Now, I can certainly see where this wee bit of plastic could be a choking hazard for a young child, not to mention being very easy to lose. Personally, I think I'll be customizing at least one of these babies soon enough to look and work more like their tv counterparts.
All in all, the Autons are very well done, and look very much like what we saw chasing poor Rose in the first story of the new series. It's also very nice of Character Options to give us 2 figures to the package! They very easily could have simply released both individually as variants, so this is especially nice of them, and given that the Autons are definitely "army builders" (i.e. figures that you want more than one of to recreate the numbers you saw on tv).
As for improvement, the only thing I can truly suggest is perhaps painting more of the clothing on one or both Autons to make the difference between them even greater. Oddly enough, the figure ID picture that's included on every figure card does show the one Auton in a blue jacket!
Slitheen Yoga...hey, it's better than Slitheen Yogurt! :-)
Next up is a figure I have been waiting for for ages! Silly me didn't bother picking up many of the figures when the first came out and of course I kick myself daily (sometimes hourly) for this. The prices of the initial figures are outrageous now, and though everyone is hoping CO will make a run of these figures for the US market to help fans catch up, we simply don't know for sure what will happen.
In any event, the Slitheen was - IMO - the first monster of the new series to be a potential "iconic" monster in the mold of Daleks, Cybermen, Ice Warriors, etc. I'm not sure if they are there yet, but I certainly wouldn't mind them appearing again (hopefully with far less gastric problems and better CGI/Costume rendering). As such, I wanted a Slitheen action figure pretty bad. Luckily it was revealed that the SLitheen would be re-released, this time with a Space Pig accessory mini-figure, so I didn't have to pay the horrendous prices that the original Slitheen have escalated to, and I got a free Space Pig to boot! :-)
The SLitheen is without doubt an excellent action figure. The sculpting and detail are top notch, and the articulation is wonderful and makes the figure actually fun to play with! Yes, I said it, and I did actually "play" with the Slitheen for a little while, setting him in different poses and what not. His arms and legs both feature ball joint shoulder and thigh sockets - allowing for a tremendous range of motion. He is also well balanced - as you can see in the picture where he's doing SLitheen Yoga and balancing on one foot! I took that pic with nothing holding him up except himself, not tacky stuff to hold him to the shelf, so wire or anything like that. He so well balanced, in fact, and has a low center of gravity, so that he actually can hold two others figures in his outstretched claws and not topple over! Amazing! Oddly enough, I *thought* I remembered reading somewhere that his claws were retractable (i.e. slid into his fingers/hands) but this is not the case. I must have dreamed it or something. Regardless, this is one very cool figure, and one everyone should have for their collections even if you didn't particularly like the Slitheen or their nauseating habits.
The space pig is just as odd as the character was. I swear the pig looks like something from a Fisher Price "Family Farm" playset or something, except for the Space Suit of course. :-) It also goes that extra mile that Character Options so frequently puts in their products as both his "hands" and feet are joints and thus can turn. It would have been easier to just have them molded with the arms and legs, but as I said, it's that little extra attention to detail that makes CO's action figures absolutely the best action figures on the market today.
The Space Piglet has stolen the Clockwork Droid's wig - who is now chasing him down to get it back while the Slitheen makes rude noises by banging two plastic autons together.
Finally, for my collection (for now anyway <grin>), is the Clockwork Soldier. I chose the black one, and he's a beauty. The detail is amazing and all over, from the piping on his coat, to the painted details on his "weapon". It's interesting to me to note this is one figure that didn't actually need knee articulation - in fact, I like to pose mine with his legs straight up and down as it reminds me of their jerky, robotic movements. But he does have the extra articulation which, as mentioned above, is something Character Options puts in all their figures.
The big "fun feature" on this figure has to be the removable wig & mask. Just like on the episode, popping this piece off reveals the clear plastic head in which gears and such can be seen. At this scale, the gears aren't highly detailed, but nor are they dull or a let down. It's yet another cool feature that very easily could have been left out (and may very well have been if any other company was making them). In any case, the figure is beautiful, a true work of art and one that looks almost identical to what we saw on tv.
Okay, enough writing - I have to get back to playing with my figures! :-) If anyone has any questions or would like to see a figure in a certain pose, next to someone else, etc, let me know and I will be happy to oblige! :-)