Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review: Doctor Who "Titans" Vinyl Figures!

Whether you're a fan of time-fiddler Doctor Who, or hipster blind-boxed vinyl figures - or heaven forbid, BOTH! - then you would be out of your gourd to skip over the new Doctor Who Titans vinyl figures which are travelling into specialty stores RIGHT NOW. I'm a casual fan of The Doctor, but a big fan of vinyl so when I stumbled across these late last week I recklessly snapped up ten of them.

Look at this charming box of mystery! What could possibly be inside?

I am going to crack all of these boxes open... after the jump!

Now you either "get" blind-packaging or you don't. It's not for everyone, but most hardened vinyl figure collectors lap it up. The question is really: are those same collectors fans of Doctor Who? And will the fans of Doctor Who make sense of the vinyl? 

Sadly, some of the comments I read while researching these still highlight some prejudice against blind-boxing - "I ain't payin' for no figure I ain't seen!" - which is a shame, because when it's a strong line up it shouldn't really matter too much, plus it allows the manufacturers to make more obscure characters that may not see release otherwise. Out of the ten I purchased I got three doubles, which isn't too bad a hit rate. Plus I have a lot of friends who are big Doctor Who fans so I knew I'd have no trouble shifting my spares. It wasn't really a gamble for me and I'm more than satisfied with what I ended up with.

I'm going to show you what I got in a second, but first let's look at what the box promises us...

Okay, so they are 3 inch figures (which is pretty standard), curated by UK artist Matt Jones (aka Lunartik) and there are 16 to collect in total. Which is sort of true... we'll put that to the test in a moment. Here's part one of what's on offer, as well as their rarities...

So far so good... some great alien figures there plus a mystery rare 1/40 chase version of the 11th Doctor.

And here's the rest of the figures on the other panel...

So mostly dalek types here (5 to collect with the "Supreme" Dalek being the rarest) and then three more rare chase figures which appear to be an alternate version of the Cyberman, Ood and the Tardis.

Okay let's talk about this line-up for a moment. The Tardis is kind of an odd choice as it's not really a character (I'm sure you could effectively argue otherwise) but it's still an iconic piece and it's pretty cool. It's those mystery chase figures I'm more concerned by. Nice to have a sense of mystery but we really do need more information as to what they entail. And a quick glance of the interwubz shows me that there's not a lot of information out there...

I've discovered that the variant 11th Doctor is wearing a blue shirt instead (kind of a dull switch there - I'd rather have him in a fez or his army coat) and the variant ood has a green orb and green eyes. I have no idea what changes have been made to the Tardis for its variant, nor do I know anything about the chase Cyberman. That's one is particularly problematic for me for reasons you will witness soon.

Interesting to note that the collection of 16 figures also includes all of the chase variants and rainbow coloured daleks. So really there are only 8 unique sculpts on offer here which is a bit limited for my tastes. There's a wealth of characters they could have included and I would have loved to see the roster fleshed out a little bit. The most noticeable exclusion for me is Amy Pond who I think would have worked really well in this style. Our Doctor is companionless I'm afraid.

Inside is an impenetrable foil bag that further hides the box's contents...

And once you get past that you're looking at one of these...

I really do like the style here and I think these are executed quite well. There's some minor paint misalignments, and I feel like the Doctor's head is a little narrower than shown in the accompanying artwork, but he still looks good, especially from certain angles...

Naturally his accessory is his sonic screwdriver which has a nice level of detail for the scale and fits firmly in his hand.

As you would expect he is one of the most common figures and I received 3 of him out of the 10 I bought, so he accounted for 2 of my doubles. Luckily, being the title character, he's the one most people will want the most.

As a comparison, here he is next to vinyl figures from Kid Robot's Futurama and Streetfighter lines, plus an Apocalypse Dunny...

As you can see, he seamlessly meshes into this collection and won't look out of place on my shelf with the rest of these buggers.

So what else did I get?

I think all of the alien figures are appealing and this Silent is no exception. I realise at this point that I'm going to risk pissing off Doctor Who diehards by getting all my info wrong, but I have actually seen these episodes. Once. A year or so ago. But I know what these guys represent. They are the totally spooky badasses who you instantly forget about once you've spotted one. So you could have seen one lurking behind you mere moments ago - and been horrified - but now you've suddenly forgotten. That's super creepy right. And they don't have mouths. There's a total slenderman vibe about them. Damn creepy snappy dressers!

Again the head is quite thin from the side, which is a design choice, not a restriction of the box which has more than enough space. 

The Silent was my third double, and again should be an easy enough one to pass on to someone.

This next one is my personal favourite...

It's a rhinoceros like Judoon mercenary with a laser gun and a face full of aphrodisiac!

No outer helmet for this guy (it would have to be awkwardly massive to house this enormous noggin) but his head sculpt is wonderfully unique. He's a 1/20 figure and I'm glad to have gotten him. In fact I think he was actually the first one I opened.

And now for an iconic classic...

I think that the cyberman design works perfectly in this style and makes for a very striking little figure. I don't love the cybermen in the show but I do love this one. Here's where this whole "mystery chase variant" thing causes me curry though - how do I know if this is the regular figure or the chase? I say that because I wonder if the regular figure is painted a flat dull grey (as seen in the artwork) and the variant is the metallic silver? Or is the grey on the artwork simply how they have rendered the silver? I don't know really know what I've got here and that's a failing of the info on the box.

He's awesome though. Look at this lil' guy...

Love him. 

And finally, bring on the daleks... starting with the orange Scientist.

A hard figure to stylise but they've played around with the proportions just enough to make these feel fun and to fit in with the rest of the line. Daleks are an essential addition to any line-up and in retrospect these should be easy to find too, as they are considerably heavier than the other figures and fill up much more of the box.

My only criticism here is that the three weapons (the plunger, the thingy and the whatchamacallit) are packed separately (it wouldn't fit in the box otherwise) and you have to attach them yourself. That would be fine but they are made out of a very pliant vinyl and are incredibly difficult to poke into the (too small) holes on the front of the dalek. It's easy enough to get them in, but far harder to keep them in. I tried pushing and twisting and pleading but felt like all I was going to do was damage the paint. You'll be able to get them in so that you can display them but it's a little precarious depending on your dalek. Some worked better than others.

Wait... there are others? Yes! Here's the yellow "Eternal" and blue "Strategist" daleks as well...

And, finally, the seven "unique" figures I received assembled together...

I would love to complete the set (not the chases, but to get the Tardis, the Ood and the Silurian) but I felt like I was reaching that blind-packaging wall where it was too big a risk to continue. And they do fetch pretty high prices on ebay so I think that finding a friend who is collecting is preferable. Frustratingly, the retail store I bought them from had both an Ood and a Tardis on display but refused to sell them to me. Those sons of bitches! No plug or link for them!

So it's not a perfect series - I think the line up could be expanded, the chase figures could be clarified, and there could be a little work on the daleks - but I mostly love what I have and think these are full of potential. I'd really like to see a second (or third, or fourth) series and would support them in a heartbeat. Doctor Who has such a rich history to pull from. I'd love to see Amy, the 10th Doctor, the skeleton in the spacesuit, or a cat nurse, just to name a couple. See! I told you I'd piss you off by not really knowing what any of these things are called! But I'd still collect them.

And if you want to support an awesome store, then you can pick these up from our friends at Big Bad Toy Store right here!


  1. Just wanted to let a know that the chaser figures glow in the dark; all expect for the cyberman chaser.

  2. According to the pictures on ThinkGeek the Cybermanchase is a battle damaged Cyberman

  3. You are supposed to submerge the Daleks in warm water to loosen the holes to be able to fit the various attachments/arms/weapons. Which I think would damage the paint, but it's what Titan website is officially recommending. Oh and there is a trick that worked for me not to get doubles. The Daleks weigh the most, so they are easy to pick out, next is the Tardis and then you have the Judoon and the Cybermen, Bigger toys than the rest, so they weigh more than regular figures, but less than the Tardis and Daleks. You can easily get the Daleks, it just takes a little more for the rest. Or you can buy a full case and be pretty sure to get all of the figures. It's when you pick from different boxes you might have some problems. But here in teh States they are 10 bucks a pop, which is kind of pricey! 10th Doctor is next with only 12 figures, but chase ones as well.

  4. A little warm water shouldn't harm vinyl, nor damage the paint.