Dr. Who

Mapoo checks in tonight with a guest review for all the Dr. Who fans out there - what's the scoop, Mapoo?

About this time last year, in Britain at least, Doctor who sprung back on to our TV screens. Now I was a bit skeptical at the time, I hadnít really watched the show much in the past and my only really memory was of Sylvester McCoy, so not the best point of reference. But I watched on, hey thatís what geeks do isnít it, and I was impressed. I loved Christopher Ecclestonís portrayal of the Doctor, and was hooked on the series. So it was with great pleasure I greeted the news that Character Options would be making toys based on the show. After a few pre Christmas offerings; RC Daleks, Sonic Screwdrivers, Walkie Talkies and LCD games. Finally the good stuff has hit; the action figures.

Today I offer to you a look at the Doctor, the Slitheen and the Sycorax Leader. As usual if you want to email me about anything I say, you can do so here! (Sorry if anyone tried to contact me after my last review, my old e-mail kind of died)

Packaging - ***
In theory the packaging for these guys is pretty basic, itís just a card and bubble combo after all, however when you take a closer look youíll see a stroke of genius. The bubble on the front is actually a TARDIS, and it works brilliantly. Add that to the bright orange/red background and these things practically fly of the shelves into your hands.

In the bubble you also get a card insert telling you whish character youíll be getting, unfortunately thatís the only thing which differentiates them from one another. There are no character bios on the pack, and I feel that a trick has been missed here. Surely there is a wealth of information available about these guys and a little bit of information would have been very nice indeed. My only other complaint is that the card back is just too wide after the bubble. Itís not a major problem but if anyone wants to keep these guys mint, the size of the card wonít help them much.

The only other thing to mention is that on the back you get a show of, not just the other figures available, but a montage of some of the other Doctor Who merchandise you can lay your hands on. As I aid, I would have preferred a little character specific information, but this is fair enough.

Sculpting - Doctor ***, Sycorax **1/2, Slitheen ***1/2
The sculpting quality varies a fair bit across the board here, but the overall level is reasonably good. The Doctor is unsurprisingly the most basic of the sculpts; he is a simple man after all. The doctor I went with is the trench coat wearing version, you can buy him sans coat if you so wish. Everything is done very nicely on the Doctor, the face is most definitely David Tennant, and his clothes are as detailed and ruffled as you could want with them being covered with all manner of buttons, pockets and flaps. I do have a couple of problems with it though, I said the face looks exactly like David Tennant, which it does, but I forgot to tell you it looks like a severely depressed David Tennant. He looks almost suicidal; when I see the Doctor he is usually full of emotion so this bland look could easily have been improved on. My other problem is in the legs, the design of them seems slightly off, sure I can get him to stand relatively easily, but it just looks a little wrong. The feet donít lay flat, even in his most basic of stance.

Next up is the Sycorax Leader, easily the most detailed sculpt but ironically the one I liked the least. Now in theory everything is how it should be, his skeletal head has all the nooks and crannies in the right place, and all of the ornate bones and accessories draped over him are present and correct. So where is the problem? Well its tat they all seem to be rushed and done in a very haphazard way, nothing is as defined or as sharp as it could be. The head is probably the exception to the rule, but even that could be improved upon. Now I could be being harsh here, the paint job doesnít help, but ill go on more about that later.

Finally we have the Slitheen, my favourite of the bunch. With the Slitheen being all kinds of naked we have a lot of flesh on show, and itís incredible. Every fold and flap is there, exactly where it should be, and the muscles are defined really well. The small details on the hands and feet are really nice and the electronic device on its neck is done well too. But best of all is the face, I genuinely think it perfect, I have been comparing it with photos of the source and I canít see anything wrong with it at all.

One thing I thought I would point out is the scale of these guys. They come in somewhere between your average 6Ē figure like the Marvel stuff and the smaller Star Wars figures. Making them about 5Ē scale, so if for some reason you wanted them to fit in with any other collections you may have you may be a little disappointed.

Paint - Doctor ***, Sycorax ** Ĺ, Slitheen ***
While a lot of the paint work on this line is top notch, there are a few glaring errors which tend to bring the score down,
The doctor is for the most part painted very well. His head and facial features are al very accurate, and his is very detailed having many tiny pin stripes running all the way up it, these are for the most part amazingly neat, but there are problems. His fringe is missing some paint all together, there are a couple of random splodges of paint dotted around him, and those lovely pin stripes occasionally nip up just a little too far. Nothing to major I admit, I didnít even notice them at first, but definitely something that needs to be I proved on in later lines.

The Sycorax Leader suffers from the same problems that afflicted his sculpt; nothing is as neat or defined as it should be; now I know his character is relatively ďscruffyĒ but this doesnít mean that a shoddy paint job should be acceptable. The paint on his face runs over the skeletal headdress, his accessories are partly unpainted and when they are there is a fair bit of over run, and I just noticed that his hands are even the wrong colour.

Once again the Slitheen is easily the best of the lot. His body is actually cast in the green plastic colour of his skin, and this probably helps, but there is still a fair amount of paint going on. Most of the paint application comes in the form of dry brushing to pick out the crevices in the skin. Now this can often be over done, to detrimental affect, but here it is just right, making the Slitheen look nice and grubby as he should be. The detail on the face really impresses me, the teeth are picked out well and a gloss black is applied to the eyes to great affect.

Articulation - Doctor **1/2, Sycorax **1/2, Slitheen ***
The articulation is relatively basic on this line, and in some instances you can see why, however a lot of improvement could have been done. The Doctor has a cut neck, cut shoulders, pin elbows, ball hips and pins knees. Thatís not too bad but adding balls at the neck and shoulders would have improved him a hell of a lot, as it is there are only a few poses which you can get him in that look particularly good.

The Sycorax leader comes of even worse having only cut neck and shoulders, pin knees and elbows and T-hips, this gives him even less options than the Doctor where the same improvements could be made.

As usual our saviour comes in the form of the Slitheen who weighs in with a cut neck ball jointed shoulders and hips and pin joints at the elbows and knees. That may not sound like much more, but it shows the joy of ball joints and how much they can add to a figure. And the overall affect is much improved over the other two.

Accessories - Doctor *, Sycorax **1/2, Slitheen No Stars
This is easily the weakest section of the lot, the Doctor comes with a tiny sonic screwdriver, the Leader a whip and staff and the Slitheen has nothing. This is particularly rubbish. The sonic screwdriver is about as basic an accessory I have ever seen being not much more than a 1cm long bit of plastic, which is how it should be. The problem however is that so much more could have been included. 
The Sycorax comes with his obvious choice of a whip and staff, which is a decent amount, the problem here is that the same problems that afflicted the Leader himself affect the accessories. Poor paint and a rough sculpt.

The Slitheen comes with nothing, which from a character point of view isnít too bad, I canít think of much he (or she?) could come with. That doesnít mean that general Doctor Who type paraphernalia couldnít be included.

Value -  ***
I paid £6.99 for each of these and in this day and age thatís not too bad at all, I would have liked a couple more accessories, but at that price point I ant complain too much.

Things to watch out for - 
The only thing I can really suggest is the paint job, especially on the Sycorax Leader, as he was the biggest offender, but be careful when you chose as the odd spots on the Doctor means this might be a little problem with the entire line. 

Overall - Doctor ***, Sycorax **1/2, Slitheen ***1/2
Ok so I know I pointed out a number of problems with this line, there were a few paint and sculpt problems after all, but I still really like theses guys when they are together, and Iím supposed to be a grown up. And because I work in a toy shop I can also safely tell you that the kids love them too. So if youíre a fan of the Doctor, well the new stuff at least, these are a must have. 

Packaging - ***
Sculpting - Doctor ***, Sycorax **1/2, Slitheen ***1/2
Paint - Doctor ***, Sycorax ** Ĺ, Slitheen ***
Articulation - Doctor **1/2, Sycorax **1/2, Slitheen ***
Accessories - Doctor *, Sycorax **1/2, Slitheen No Stars
Value - ***
Overall - Doctor ***, Sycorax **1/2, Slitheen ***1/2

Figure from the collection of mapoo.

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