Thursday, April 21, 2011

Doctor Who Week: Toy Review - Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens Cyberman By Character Options

I can’t really pick a favorite Doctor Who monster, but I tend strongly towards the Cybermen. Well, the old Cybermen. I never totally bought into the new Cybus Industries models. I don’t hate them and I don’t even think they’re a bad redesign, they just don’t seem quite as creepy as the classic versions. Especially this one:
Tomb of the Cybermen” (which is where that guy comes from) is one of my favorite episodes of Doctor Who, and one that I think really captured the creepiness of the titular aliens.

Speaking of creepy, how about this guy? Nothing like a split-open head revealing a filthy skull. Not to mention the fact that said semi-bifurcated noggin was depicted several feet from its body. At least, until it grew tentacles and started trying to devour Amy Pond. If you’re thinking, “Aaaaaah!” right now; well I agree.
First Glance: I’ve got a lot of figures of Cybermen, so it takes something special to impress me. This one does right off the bat.
Sculpt: That head looks so damn good. The split helmet looks fantastic and is laid open just enough. The skull is a great sculpt and I can’t help but wonder if it’s the same as the Vashta Narada one. Either way, it looks great.
The body is the same old Cybus Cyberman body, but with some very nice damage on the torso. This is one of the better sculpts Character Options has produced, as the articulation is very good but barely noticeable. Granted, it’s always easy to articulate robots, but CO really took advantage in this case. The Cybus Cyberman figures have a far greater range of motion than almost any other Doctor Who figure and have a mix of clever articulation and well-placed softer plastic parts to thank for it. I think I like the Cybus figures more than the actual characters.
Design: I love how filthy this robot is. There are many layers of paint on this Cyberman and it looks fantastic. The skull stands out as having a different undercoat, but it matches the decay and grime all over the rest of the figure. Character Options may not be the best at articulation, but they wear the crown as far as paint apps go.
Accessories: Each figure in this set comes with a piece of the Pandorica and a CD with part of a Doctor Who audio adventure. That may seem a bit strange, but Doctor Who audio stories and plays are what kept the franchise alive and current in the UK from 1989 until 2005 (the TV movie got mixed results). These audio-only adventures are hugely popular over there and are considered as in-canon as anything else, so it’s pretty neat that CO worked them into the Pandorica design.
That being said, the Pandorica is kind of a letdown. It is not a toy. It is a flimsy plastic box to keep your six CDs on. Once I need the room I won’t hesitate to take it off of my Doctor Who shelf.
This Cyberman comes with the wiring to connect to the head while it is off of the body. The wiring fits perfectly and snugly onto the head and the head fits well on the body. This is one of the rare cases where a minimal accessory is okay with me. There really isn’t anything else this guy should have come with. I suppose you could argue that his arm should have been removable and you'd be right. But it doesn't really bother me. I guess it is removable; it's just going to be more permanent than you might like.
Packaging: A plain old blister card, which is totally okay. There aren’t bios or anything on these – just a generic shred back. I don’t care because I opened these, but it might be a bit dull for those of you who keep stuff in the package. I like the plain packaging of Character Option’s main Who line, though. It means to me that they expect their toys to be opened and played with.
Overall: I love this figure. I didn’t expect it to be my favorite of this set, but I think it is.
5 out of 5
This is one of the rare Doctor Who figures that I don’t think could be any better. I would go so far as to recommend it to a non-Who fan that collects toys simply because it is so creepy and well done.
Until next time, stay creepy
-Phantom

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