Review: Underground Toys: Doctor Who: The End of Time Figure Series One

Our coverage of Doctor Who continues with the first reviews of the most recognizable licensed product, the action figures. In the U.K., the action figures are produced by a company called Character Options. Those figures are distributed in the U.S. by a company called Underground Toys. Putting a fitting cap on the 10th Doctor’s era, Underground has brought the figures based on the 10th Doctor’s final story, The End of Time, to the U.S. There are four figures in this series: The 10th Doctor, The Master, The Narrator and the 11th Doctor (Post Regeneration). This is the first figure of Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor! The figures will be reviewed based on three criteria: Accuracy, Articulation and Likeness.

First off, let me just say, the packaging for these figures is SPECTACULAR! It features a foil finished back card that features the TARDIS console in the center, exploding with energy. On the outer left edge is an image of half of the Tenth Doctor’s face. On the outer right edge is an image of the character in the package. Though, in the case of the Tenth Doctor, the other image is of the Eleventh Doctor. Now, onto the reviews.

Figure Name: The Tenth Doctor

Series: Doctor Who: The End of Time

Company: Underground Toys

UPC: 5029736034191

The first figure in the series is the Tenth Doctor. This is the final David Tennant figure to be released during his active time as the Doctor. This figure is taken from a point near the end of the episode, as the Doctor has crashed through the ceiling of the Gate Room of the Naismith Mansion. Landing, his suit torn and his face bloody, he comes face-to-face with the newly returned Time Lords and the Master, who has made thier return possible. Here is how the figure rates.

Accuracy: This figure perfectly captures the moment it is meant to represent. The face on this figure is cut and smeared with blood. The suit has sever tears on it. The knees are scuffed and the suit has patches of dust on it. The hair on the figure is also extremely accurate. The figure also includes the Tenth Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, which is indeed with him until the very end. SCORE: 5 out of 5

Articulation: The figure has a cut neck, cut shoulders, jointed elbows, a cut waist, t-cut legs, and knee joints. The sonic screwdriver accessory also fits perfectly in the figure’s hand. This is a ton of articulation for a 5 inch figure. My only gripe is a lack of foot articulation, which would have allowed for a few more dynamic poses. Also, I would have preferred a ball-jointed neck, but those are minor gripes. SCORE: 4 out of 5

Likeness: The Tenth Doctor likenesses have been getting progressively better, with the peak, in my opinion, being the Tenth Doctor figure included in the “Stolen Earth” set from last year. This likeness is amazing, with realistic looking scratches and smeared blood.  A great likeness for the end of the Tenth Doctor’s days. SCORE: 5 out of 5.

TOTAL SCORE: 4.7 out if 5

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Figure Name: The Master

Series: Doctor Who: The End of Time

Company: Underground Toys

UPC: 5029736034191

Next up is the only other living Time Lord, the Master. John Simm again plays the resurrected former Prime Minister. Using his ring, left behind when the Doctor burned his body following his death at the end of Series 3, some special potions whose instructions were written down in the “Secret Books of Saxon” and the genetic imprint of his former wife Lucy Saxon, a misguided cult of former supporters return the Master to the world of the living. Midway through the resurrection, however, Lucy Saxon throws a vial of liquid into the resurrection vortex that causes the building to explode. The Master flees the scene, but the resurrection is incomplete and unstable. The Master’s hair is now blond and he flashes in and out of a sort of “skeletal” form. He has gained the power to fire energy bolts from his hands, but he must eat constantly to keep his strength up. The Doctor tracks him to a wasteland and the discovery is made that the drums that have been in his head the whole of his life are real. touching heads with the Master, the Doctor is able to hear them. But, before he can get any further, the Master is kidnapped by Naismith. Arriving at Naismith’s mansion, the Master is shown the Immortality Gate, in the hopes he can make it work. He easily uncovers the machine’s purpose adn makes it work, with a few modifications. The Doctor and Wilf sneak into the basement of the mansion. As they uncover the Master’s plan, the Doctor races to the Gate Room just in time to see the Master use the Gate to transform everyone on Earth into him. However, there is a bigger plan afoot. The Time Lords have used the Master since to childhood to find a way to escape the Time War. They have planted the four beats in the Master’s head to use as a signal which they can follow to Earth. They send a diamond through a pathway to Earth, which the Master hooks to a computer to trace and broadcast the signal, creating a pathway the Time Lords can follow. However, the Time Lords arrive on Earth planning to purge all physical forms. The Time Lords tell the Master he is to be destroyed as he is diseased. The Master rebels against the Time Lords and disappears with them as the signal is destroyed and the link broken. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Accuracy: The figure perfectly represents the Master’s new “resurrected” look. Far from the tailored suits he wore when he was Harold Saxon, the Master is now forced to dress on a common homeless tramp. He wears a dingy back hooded sweatshirt, with a red shirt underneath, black jeans and shoes. The hair on the Master’s head is also now died blond. In addition, the sweatshirt and shoes are scuffed and dusty from the dirt of the wasteland the Master has had to live in. The sweatshirt also has a molded hand pouch in the front and a hood in the back. The figure is well done and well painted, though I have to confess I would love to have seen it come with a second, interchangeable “skeleton” head. This is a small gripe however, this is a really well done figure. SCORE: 4 out of 5.

Articulation: This is the first of the End of Time figures to feature incresed articulation. In addition to the points mentioned above in the Tenth Doctor review, the Master figure also features cut forearms, wrists and lower legs. This is a great addition to these figures and I hope it continues into the 2010 new series line. SCORE: 5 out of 5.

Likeness: The John Simm likeness on the Master figure is good, but not great. The face seems flat when you look at it from the front. You have to look a little harder than normal to see the resemblance. I personally liked the likeness of the Harold Saxon version of the Master better. It is still acceptable, but not as good as the others in the series. SCORE: 3 out of 5.

TOTAL SCORE: 4 out of 5

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Figure Name: The Narrator

Series: Doctor Who: The End of Time

Company: Underground Toys

UPC: 5029736034191

OH MY GOD! It’s Timothy Dalton! Yes, 007 himself was cast as the Narrator in the End of Time, later revealed to be the Lord President of the Time Lords, Rassilon. Desperate to escape the prophesied annihilation of the Time Lords and the destruction of Gallifrey at the hands of the Doctor, The Lord President plants a signal of four beats in the head of the Master as a child. Then, in the future, he sends a diamond ot Earth, which the Master uses to track the signal and open a path to Earth. Rassilon travels through the path and proceeds to restore Gallifrey. The Doctor stands against him. Rassilon says the Time Lords will move beyond their bides to become pure consciousness. The Master wishes to join them. Rassilon refuses. The Doctor shoots the machine keeping the pathway open and sends the Time Lords and Gallifrey back into the Time War. Rassilon plans to kill the Doctor, but the Master attack Rassilon and disappears with him. He is believed killed with the rest of the Time Lords at the end of the Time War.

Accuracy: The figure is very well detailed. The Narrator is wearing his signature red robes, with gold decorations. he also has on his flak jacket, black pants and shoes. He is wearing a silver gauntlet on his left hand. In the middle of the flak jacket is a medallion bearing the seal of Rassilon. The robe is made of vinyl and is glued to the figure’s sides. The figure also comes with Rassilon’s ceremonial staff, which is very intricately reproduced. A very faithful representation of what is seen on screen. SCORE: 5 out of 5.

Articulation: Because the robe has to be a full-length piece, the figure misses out on some of the articulation that the other figures have. This figure does not have a cut waist or cut lower legs. Also, though they are present, the t-cut legs are difficult to use to their full potential. All of the other points of articulation from the previous figure’s are included and work perfectly. This figure also has cut feet, unlike the others. Still, not as much articulation as the others, but perfectly adequate. SCORE: 3 out of 5

Likeness: I cannot say enough about how good a job the sculptors did here. The figure’s face is the absolute sptiing image of Timothy Dalton. There is no mistaking the face. Job Well Done! SCORE: 5 out of 5.

TOTAL SCORE: 4 out of 5

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Figure Name: The Eleventh Doctor

Series: Doctor Who: The End of Time

Company: Underground Toys

UPC: 5029736034191

This is the one we have all been waiting for. The first ever figure of the new man, the Eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith. Not seen until the very end of the episode, the Eleventh Doctor’s debut comes at the end of the Tenth Doctor’s explosive regeneration. After a short “feeling out” period where he takes the measure of his new body, the Eleventh Doctor hangs on for dear life in the destroyed control room as the TARDIS crashes to Earth, crying “Geronimo!” as a new era begins….

Accuracy: A picture perfect reproduction of the moment just after regeneration. Matt comes dressed in the Tenth Doctor’s suit, now free of rips and tears. He also comes with the Tenth Doctor’s Sonic Srewdriver, which will soon be traded up for a new model. It’s a great start toy-wise for the Eleventh Doctor. SCORE: 5 out of 5.

Articulation: The Eleventh Doctor has the same articulation as the Tenth Doctor. So, not surprisingly, the score is the same.  Still no ball-jointed neck. Still not ginger. SCORE: 4 out of 5.

Likeness: This is very impressive considering that this is the first ever sculpt of Matt Smith. Matt does not have an easy face to capture, but the team does him proud here. Like David Tennant, Matt has an interesting hairstyle, which is faithfully reproduced here. The 3-D scanning technology being emplyed for the 2010 new series line means that the faces will only get better. However, this is a stellar first effort. SCORE: 5 out of 5.

TOTAL SCORE: 4.7 out of 5.

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OVERALL LINE SCORE: 4.35 out of 5

These are great figures. Any Doctor Who fan should pick them up. They can be purchased at sites such an Entertainment Earth and Forbidden Planet, in addition to the Underground Toys and Character Options sites.

Here is the whole series displayed.

Thanks for Robyn Morgan and Matthew Wozniak at Underground Toys for their assistance.

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