Thursday, November 14, 2013

Timey Wimey Toy Review – Doctor Who 3 ¾” Scale Cyberman from Underground Toys

Upgrade in progress...”
As I mentioned in my introduction to Needless Things’ Whoniversary, the Cybermen scare me. In my opinion they are the Doctor’s most dangerous and terrifying adversaries, not just in appearance but in motivation.
Their blank, soulless faces are a parody of the humanoids they once were. The large, hulking forms are reminiscent of a robotic Jason Voorhees or Michael Myers and they are equally as relentless as those two.
As far as their sinister purpose, they are intent upon converting all life into emotionless, hive-minded Cybermen. Whether that life wants it or not.
The evolution of the Cybermen over the last 47 years is a strange one. As their purpose and existence has grown more complex and evil, their appearance has softened. From the absolutely terrifying (but admittedly cheap-looking) original versions seen in The Tenth Planet to the upgrades in Tomb of the Cybermen to my personal favorite look in Earthshock, the Cybermen changed quite a bit over the course of the 1963-1989 run of Doctor Who. And then Russell T. Davies brought them back as the nightmare creations of an industrialist from another dimension.
I was okay with the story of these new Cybermen. I don’t find it as compelling as the origin from The Tenth Planet (particularly when you take the outstanding Big Finish dram Spare Parts into consideration), but it seemed to lend itself to modern concerns a bit more. The behavior of these new Cybermen was also a bit scarier. Gone were the minor physical and behavioral differences apparent in Classic Who. These were purely identical automatons – all operating under the command of the Cyber Controller. The spoke, moved, and attacked in perfect unison. The only thing I didn’t care for was the new look. They had big, goofy extremities and looked kind of like they came out of a 1950’s American kitchen. Their behavior was menacing. Their looks – not so much.
Finally we have this iteration of the Cybermen. Directly descended and evolved from the original Mondas stock of Classic Who, these Cybermen – first seen in Neil Gaiman’s “Nightmare in Silver” (which I reviewed here) – gave up on looking menacing and just straight-up jacked Iron Man’s style. They also stole the fighting style of the Raston Warrior Robot that made them look like a bunch of little bitches in “The Five Doctors”.
I didn’t like “Nightmare in Silver”, but I’m okay with the new look of the Cybermen and glad the franchise has seemingly ditched the Cybus models. If they could just streamline this new version a bit more I think that’s be great.
First Glance: I likened these to Iron Man, which certainly applies, but these could also be New 52 Cybermen; what with all of the extraneous seams and lines and whatnot. Still, it’s a pretty cool look and works extremely well as an action figure.
Articulation: Character Options have mostly preserved the articulation of the larger line.
Head – swivel
Shoulders – ball joint
Elbows – swivel/pivot
Hips – ball joint
Knees – pivot
The shoulders are slightly restricted by the thick armor plating, but in all honesty a Cyberman doesn’t need to move that much.
The elbows are great and I was surprised by the swivel at the top of the pivot. That’s a bit of above and beyond right there.
The hips are restricted similarly to the shoulders, but it’s fine. I’ve never seen a Cyberman squat or do the splits.
Sculpt: This is an amazing representation of the Cybermen from the screen. The sculpted detail is fantastic.
All of the armor plating is clean and angular. The facial detail is distinct and the form of whatever that handle is on the head is perfect. From the spine to the detail in the joints to the lines on the sides of the legs that are reminiscent of the original Cybermen, the profile of this figure is awesome.
The hands are sculpted in a neutral pose that I can’t say that I’ve seen very often. They aren’t open fists or flat palms. They look natural. I like them a lot. And the detail on those hands is just ridiculous. All of the joints and plating is sculpted into the design.
Everything is molded out of a solid plastic that works well with the joints and maintains shapes.
Coloring: Not much to speak of here. This guy is pretty much all silver. Though I will say that I like the silver they used quite a lot. Rather than just a flat color, they used a very metallic, flecked gloss. It looks great.
Unfortunately, the only real issue with the figure is here. The only spots with paint applied are the eyes and the mouth, and there is some slop on the left corner of mine’s mouth. It looks like it’s drooling oil or something, which makes it appear to be an imbecile Cyberman.
I have to admit, though – I kind of like it. Similar to the bad paint on the eyes of my Thun-DERP-unch He-Man, I feel like my Cyberman has a little more character. If I were going to buy several more (which I normally would) this would be fine.
Accessories: Like almost all of the figures in this line, the Cyberman comes with a stand. It’s in the shape of the “DW” logo and is a little chunk of “whatever”. The figure doesn’t need it to stand up, which is good.
I’m not one to call for extraneous accessories just for the sake of having a pack-in, but I don’t think it would have been unreasonable to throw a gun arm (which is part of a variant figure) or make a little floating cloud of Cybermites.
Packaging: A simple blister card. The packaging is exactly the same across this line except for the insert in the bubble. It’s eye-catching and easy to open.
Value: I think these worked out to about twelve bucks apiece, which is absurd. This is a seven dollar toy at best.
Overall: This is a must-have unless you’re just opposed to collecting this scale. We’ll never see this Cyberman in the 5” scale and this sculpt is the best way to fully appreciate the new design. If it weren’t for the one spot of actual paint being flawed it would be perfect. And your figure might not have that problem.
4 out of 5
I really don’t know if these will show up at brick and mortar retail or not. You can buy them from pretty much all of the online toy stores, though.
-Phantom
The next two weeks here on Needless Things will be dedicated to Doctor Who. I have Guest Posts, Toy Reviews, and more on the way. The site will be jam-packed – relatively – with content. Please share these links wherever you can and spread the word. And if you’re so inclined, throw a few dollars at the Needless Things family. I have to send you to the podcast homepage because Blogger doesn't want this sort of thing. Just check out the widget on the bottom right here.This is all out of pocket for me, so anything I receive during this time will got to site costs, hosting, and possibly new merchandise if I get really ambitious.

Also, you can buy the Limited Edition NeedlessThingsSite.com Luchador vs. Owlbear t-shirts here. I can’t say they’re selling fast, but once this style is gone, they’re gone forever. And I do intend on being famous one day, so wouldn’t it be cool to have the first shirt I ever designed?

Remember to check in every weekday between now and the 23rd for new, original content.
Finally, be sure and come out to the HUGE 50th Anniversary Party that TimeGate, Earth Station Who, the folks behind The Forgotten Doctor, and (others) are throwing at the Holiday Inn Select; the same location where TimeGate is held each and every year. There will be panels, games, Whovian carousing, and a LIVE recording of Earth Station Who immediately after “The Day of the Doctor” airs. You will literally never have another opportunity to attend a party like this!


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