Monday, 20 June 2011

Doctor Who - Time Warrior Set

£34.99 from Forbidden Planet & .com

It's a strange world. Character own the rights to make Doctor Who figures, but 'classic' series toys don't sell too well in British toy shops. They do, however, sell quite well in America, where the 'collector' (/old men) market is much, much larger. As a result, American company Underground Toys gets Character to produce toys for them, which are then released here in the UK through the specialist comic shop(s) Forbidden Planet.

(Both Forbidden Planets. Explaining why there are two different chains of shops with the same name is long, complicated & not very interesting, so I won't bother).

Basically - you can only get this from FP, nowhere else.

I guess as a 'collector' set its not aimed at children, but the toys are exactly the same as those for the new series available everywhere so there's absolutely no reason why children can't play with them.

The set contains characters from the Jon Pertwee episode 'The Time Warrior', which featured the first appearance of the Sontarans. For your money you get the 3rd Doctor in a green jacket, Lynx the Sontaran, and a Sontaran ship.

The first question that comes to mind when you look at the big silver sphere is 'why do you get a toilet?' This is the first thing that comes to mind not only for adults, but also 2 and 4 year olds. Take note Character/Underground - it's not just old men being picky, it's children too.

Putting aside the toilet-ness, the ship looks exactly the same as it does in the episode. It doesn't look fantastic, but that's due to the 70s BBC effects budget. Thinking about it, this ship probably looks far better than the original model.

To keep costs down, the ship is hollow and it doesn't extend any further in than the toilet. This is a bit of a problem as a) the figure can't sit in the seat (/toilet) and b) you can't even close the door with the figure inside.

This is not good.

In fact it's really not good.

A very similar-looking set was released not too long again based on the Tom Baker episode 'The Sontaran Experiment' (hence the 2nd ship in some of the photos). At first I was slightly miffed at having to pay out £35 for what is essentially a set of repainted figures, however upon closer inspection I was happily surprised.

The Sontaran, Lynx, is actually quite different from his Sontaran Experiment friend, Styre. He has a different head, helment, boots, and a slightly altered upper leg to allow for a weapon holster. Okay, it's not a huge difference, but it's more changes than I would have expected.

Lynx, left, and Styre, right.

The ships are essentially the same, but with a differently coloured door. The Doctor...well, I can't actually remember exactly what the other 3rd Doctor figures were like off the top of my head, but I don't think any of them came in green (unlike the 4th Doctor in the Experiment set, which was exactly the same as an existing figure).

Saving Earth from the Sontaran invasion

Considering a single mass-produced Doctor Who figure now RRPs at £10, this set isn't quite as expensive as it first seems. Okay, it's not great if you already own the Sontaran Experiment one, but if you don't, then I'd recommend buying this over the other.

Plus points from the boys include the removable helmet (a removable helmet always makes a toy 10 times more cool) and the weapon holster. It's also great that they can throw the ship around with very little chance of breaking it.

There's only one real negative, but it's a biggie: the inability to put the alien inside his ship. I know why the toy's been made this way, but that doesn't make it any less unforgivable. 

Even the Doctor has to go sometimes.
It's been a while since I last saw it, but I think The Time Warrior holds up pretty well against newer Who stories. It features the first appearance of Sarah Jane - of Sarah Jane Adventures fame - and the DVD has the option to watch the story with snazzy new CGI effects. If you're buying this set for a child, then getting the DVD too wouldn't be a bad idea.

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