Monday 28 February 2022

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 01

Release Date: February 2022
RRP: £19.99

As wonderful as it is to be getting new figures again, it's fair to say that the B&M exclusive Doctor Who range has gotten into a fairly predictable pattern when it comes to releases. History of the Daleks, three-packs, the odd Doctor/TARDIS two-packs…though the contents of the sets might still be a surprise the format usually isn't. Which is why it’s especially nice that Character Options have launched their 2022 range with something a little different from the norm – the Robot Collector Figure Set. Paying tribute to Fourth Doctor Tom Baker's debut story from 1974, this limited edition set features both the Doctor himself and the K1 Robot – a figure that's been long overdue a reissue.

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set Box 01

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set Box 02Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set Box 03Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set Box 04Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set Box 05

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set Box 06

While the box is a little different in shape from the usual ones we see in the B&M Doctor Who range the Robot Collector Figure Set still maintains the same graphics and design layout. Though the size and shape of the box is more akin to the various Doctor/TARDIS two-packs that have been released over the last few years, it isn't quite as deep and perfectly sized to fit both the Doctor and the deluxe-sized K1 Robot. The back of the box features some nice big stock images of the figures, alongside a typically lengthy synopsis of Robot. Open the box up and you'll find both figures neatly stored on a moulded plastic tray, and behind them a cardboard insert of scenery from the story. This is primarily comprised of exposed brickwork, with a "Keep Out" sign behind. Though rather generic, it's a good backdrop that would work well with any figures in the range and not just the ones specifically from Robot.

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 02

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 03Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 04Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 05Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 06

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 07Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 08Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 09Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 10

The Fourth Doctor figure is a reuse of the original mould released back in 2008, combined with the hatted non-smiling head sculpt from the Seeds of Doom version in 2010. While the original head with Tom's trademark manic grin was great, it's nice to get a more neutral version to compliment it. The newly repainted body features a brighter burgundy coat with brown elbow patches, together with a tan pattern waistcoat and green/black/white pattern tie. Despite not having the means to tool many new parts these days Character have really upped their game when it comes to intricate paint apps, the costume on this figure standing out as particularly vibrant. Wrapped around the figure's neck is of course the Fourth Doctor's iconic scarf – the paint apps largely unchanged from the original but maintaining it's impressive size.

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 11

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 12Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 13Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 14Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 15

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 16Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 17Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 18Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 19

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 20Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 21Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 22

As one of the oldest moulds in the classic range the Fourth Doctor is working with the most standard version of this line's articulation, which overall consists of; 
- Head, shoulder, waist, bicep, waist, wrist and thigh swivels 
- Hinged elbows and knees 
- Swivel hinge hips 
While the waist joint is there, between the soft plastic (but still relatively heavy) jacket and scarf pieces you're not likely to get a whole lot of movement out of them. Overall it's a lot of swivel joints which allow the Doctor to assume the most basic of poses – the hips allow for more wide-legged action poses but without any sort of ankle rocker or foot swivel they may not look particularly natural. It's also worth noting that the length of scarf also has a huge impact on the posing – while a long scarf is obviously a must for a Fourth Doctor figure the piece is so long that it basically acts as an additional support when posed any other way than standing up straight. Just a few millimetres off (or alternatively making it pliable – though that was never going to happen with this line) and it would have been perfect. With the way the hands are posed this would have been perfect for some Sonic Screwdriver action poses, but since that accessory wasn't included in the set you'll either have to borrow one from another figure or sadly go without.

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 23

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 24Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 25Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 26Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 27

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 28Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 29Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 30Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 31

The K1 Robot is notable for being one of the Doctor Who range's few build-a-figure releases, and the only one to have been done as part of the classic range. The pieces to assemble this figure were included with the very first wave of classic figures in 2008 (consisting of the Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Doctors, Sea Devil, Zygon, Voc Robots D84 and SV7 and Magnus Greel/Mr Sin). Not only is that a fair number of figures to collect to get all of the parts, but given their age now a complete K1 Robot can go for quite a bit on the aftermarket. That said, you definitely get something worthy of build-a-figure status, with the Robot towering over a lot of the figures in terms of height and completely outclassing them when it comes to. This is the first time the Robot has been reissued since it's initial release, and so the first time it's been made available as a complete figure. Some minor modifications have been made to the both the sculpt and deco, the most significant of these paint changes being replacing the deep red dome and shoulder colouring with a more screen-accurate purple-ish red. The neck is also now painted black as opposed to the original's silver, and as far as sculpt changes the right claw is now thinner than the left for a more screen-accurate look. The back of the figure also has new copywrite marks which further distinguish it from the original release. Also included is the Robot's disintegrator gun, which can be held in either of its claws.

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 32

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 33Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 34Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 35Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 36

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 37Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 38Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 39Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 40

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 41Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 42Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 43

As a build-a-figure release designed to be assembled by the collector, the K1 Robot's articulation feels quite different to the rest of the Doctor Who range. Altogether it features; 
- Head swivel 
- Swivel hinge shoulders and hips 
- Ball jointed waist
- Bicep swivels 
- Hinged feet
It definitely feels like a configuration more suited to a snap-together construction, but it gives the Robot a really nice range of movement even if some elements are slightly more restricted. The arms for example don't have a whole lot of shoulder movement because of how they plug into those huge shoulder sections. Unfortunately though the biggest concern with this release isn't how articulated it is, but rather how loose all of the joints are. As a 14-year old figure it isn't surprising that elements of the figure have suffered from some mould degradation, but at the same time it isn't like this figure has received multiple re-releases in that time. The waist joint is especially floppy and has a tendency to droop downward if not perfectly positioned, whilst the arms also struggle to stay at a 90-degree angle without sliding down – particularly annoying if you want to pose it aiming the gun. Thankfully a lumbering behemoth like this can look good in the most neutral of poses so it isn't hard to get a good-looking pose even with these issues, but if you're trying for something more extravagant (that you want it to stay in for more than five minutes) then you might need to consider fixing up those joints to make it a little more sturdy.

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 44

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 45Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 46Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 47

Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 48Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 49Doctor Who 'Robot' Collector Figure Set 50

Amongst all these new Doctor Who figures that are more significant retools/brand new characters it might feel like the straight repaints have much less to offer, but the Robot Collector Figure Set stands out as a particularly special release for a number of reasons. As well as being a long-overdue chance to pick these figures up if you missed them the first time around, £19.99 for both a Doctor and an oversized build-a-figure is INCREDIBLY good value. The loose joints on the Robot are a little disappointing, but the sculpt quality and paintwork on both these figures are more than enough to make up for it. The set is also notable for taking the B&M range in a slightly different direction, with the hopes that its success might see other larger figures re-released at a surprisingly cheap price point – Drashig reissue anyone? As a very significant piece in the Character Options classic collection, this is a brilliant first release in what will hopefully be another great year of Doctor Who figures.

No comments: