Thursday 30 September 2021

Custom Figure: 'Real Time' Cyberman

Custom 'Real Time' Cyberman 01

It's been a few months since the last custom figure entry on this site and whilst projects still remain Doctor Who-related, this one is a little different from the usual Dalek repaints that frequent my workbench. The Cybermen have gone through many different designs over the years, but there are also several more that have never graced television screens. From comics to audio adventures, these are the Cybermen variants we'll probably never see as part of the Character Options action figure range. However, thanks to some incredibly talented designers in the Doctor Who figure community its becoming easier and easier to plug some of those gaps in your collection, with characters like the Real Time Cyberman being a particular treat to bring into plastic form...

Doctor Who 'Real Time' 01

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Real Time is a Sixth Doctor story co-produced by BBCi and Big Finish Productions in 2002, released both as an audio drama and a six-part animated webcast. As well as featuring both the Cybermen and a version of the Sixth Doctor in a blue variant of his costume, the story is notable for the first appearance of popular Big Finish companion Evelyn Smyth (played by Maggie Stables). Real Time is also infamous for its unresolved cliffhanger, which saw Evelyn becoming the Cyberleader. Though the story was supposed to be resolved in a sequel, the plans ultimately fell through. The new design for the Cybermen was done by Lee Sullivan, a British artist who has worked in Doctor Who comics for many years as well as the likes of Transformers and 2000 AD. The story also featured a Cyber Controller, a variant of this design sporting slightly different body armour and the bulbous cranium seen on both TV interpretations of the Controller.

Interesting Character Options released a figure of the Sixth Doctor in his Real Time blue costume back in 20**.

Custom 'Real Time' Cyberman 02

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The head and shoulder armour were designed by Helleno Souza and 3D printed/released by NDW Design. Due to the size of these Cybermen a standard Character Options Doctor Who figure wouldn't really work as the base body, so instead a Marvel Legends "House of X" Cyclops figure was used. There are lots of Marvel Legends that would work perfectly as a base (many of which have tech-like detailing perfect for the Cybermen), but I wanted to keep things as close to the comic design as possible with a body that only had the defined muscle sculpting. Cyclops' gauntlets, though not 100% accurate by any measure, were also a close approximation to the Cyberman design. Both the body and 3D printed parts were spray painted using Tamiya Silver, with the 3D printed parts also receiving a coat of primer beforehand. The reason. I skipped the primer on the body was to not lay so much paint on the body that the joints rubbed it all off when moved. Parts of each shoulder also needed to be cut away in order to get the armour to lay comfortably on the body. Once everything was in place, the shoulders (along with the belt and smooth detailing down the torso area) were sculpted using standard Milliput epoxy putty. Once that had hardened, the body was resprayed silver again and all that was left were the finishing touches. The eyes were hand painted using Revell red, the dark grey detailing on the body the same using a Revell grey, and the mouth and shoulder armour was panel lined using Tamiya ink to give the sculpting a bit more definition. 

Custom 'Real Time' Cyberman 11

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Despite having done many custom Dalek repaints in the past this was my first time ever building a custom figure from scratch, as well as my first time sculpting parts using Milliput. While overall I'm still pretty pleased with the results, there's definitely room for improvement with future projects - the resculpting of the shoulders doesn't blend in with the original plastic quite as much as I hoped it would, and the other sculpted details could have definitely been smoothed out a bit more before leaving them to harden. Admittedly the design (as well as my own sculpting choices) do nullify that wonderful Marvel Legends articulation quite a bit, arguably it's still just as moveable as a Character Options Who figure - just in different places. It still has the following joints still working perfectly;
- Ball jointed head and hips
- Hinged neck
- Double hinged elbows and knees
- Swivel hinge wrists and ankles
- Bicep and thigh swivels
While the shoulder articulation is pretty much gone because of how low the armour sits, you can still get a little bit of movement out of them. Honestly it was never a figure I was going to do much posing with anyway, so I'm more than happy with how it's turned out.

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One of the best things about Cybermen is how the base design has changed and evolved over the years so I'm extremely happy to add the Real Time Cyberman to my collection, even if there have been some liberties taken in regards to accuracy. The chances of this design ever getting an official figure are pretty slim (even if Character have delved into the wonderful world of Doctor Who comics in the past) simply because of the sheer amount of new parts it would require, so this is probably the best it's going to get. Big thank you to Helleno and NDW Design for releasing their fantastic parts, as well as the other Doctor Who head sculpts and customisation kits they do. If you've ever thought about delving into the world of Doctor Who custom figures, be sure to check out their Facebook group to keep track of upcoming releases!

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