Character Options

Scooby Doo Mystery Mates
Scooby-Doo Mystery Mates 5 Packs
Scooby-Doo and the Monsters
2 Inch Scale
By: Character Options
Scooby-Doo is one of those timeless properties that hasn’t ever seemed to age. Sure, it’s been reinvented a time or two, but for the most part Scooby-Doo remains the same today as he was back in the 1970’s. In fact I think that’s part of the reason that Scooby-Doo has been so successful.

Scooby-Doo Figure Review

I remember watching episodes of Scooby-Doo as a kid and it was usually pretty hard to differentiate which incarnation of Scooby-Doo I was watching. It all flowed together seamlessly, to me. Obviously there were some exceptions, such as the 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.

Scooby Doo

I’m glad that Scooby has managed to live on and remain mostly unchanged. That allows for products such as the toy line from Character Options, to hit both the nostalgia market and the kids market. There’s something heartwarming about being able to buy your kids toys that remind you of things you enjoyed as a youngster.

Mystery Mates

For years I’ve wanted some of these smaller Scooby-Doo figures and when I saw the 5 packs for $5 at Toys R Us, I couldn’t resist. So today as part of our Halloween countdown celebration, we’re going to take a look at two different five packs of Scooby-Doo Mystery Mates.

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Character Building Mini Figure Review
Character Building Mini Figures (Series 1)
Special Ops, Black Knight
2 Inch Scale
By: Character Options

It’s 8 days into Mego Month and I haven’t gotten a single bit of Mego content up. That’s not exactly a good thing, but I promise Mego goodness is coming. Truth be told, I’ve sort of got caught up in the mini figure world, along with being really busy. Which brings us to a review for this morning, on something I found at the local Toys R Us by total surprise.

Character Building Review

It’s Character Building micro figures! You may remember I reviewed the Character Building 11th Doctor set a while back. Up until now, that set was either imported or carried in specialty shops. While over in the UK, Character Options had managed to get their brand of mini figures into stores, I never expected to see them in the US. Surprisingly it’s the generic figures that are showing up and not the Doctor Who licensed ones.

Expendables Mini Figure

Still, I love mini figures and I liked the Character Building Who figures, so at $2 per figure, I decided to give it a whirl. I went in completely unaware of what most of the figures are (they only showed 6 on the package) and I wanted to get the Frankenstein/Zombie guy. Alas, I didn’t score him… But do I like what I did get?

These come blind bagged, in a pretty simple bag similar to all the other ones out there on the market. Although it says 12 to collect on the package, only 6 are shown. This leaves half the figures as a mystery.

The back of the package is really plain. That seems to be a common trend with these mini figures or “Micro-Figures” as they’re called here. Honestly you’d think these companies would find something better to do with that space. It does mention that these are distributed in the US by some company called Jonic Distribution North America… Whoever the hell that is.

Inside is a double sided sheet that shows off the other figures. I think it’s a little strange that the ninjas aren’t advertised on the front. You’d think a ninja figure would be a big draw. Likewise, I think it’s a little odd that none of these figures are labeled with names. I do appreciate that they tell you which ones are rare.

I used the old tried and true method of feeling around to figure out which guy I was getting. I was able to figure out a Knight pretty easy (at the time I didn’t know there were two knights) but I failed at getting the monster man. I felt the vest of the Special Ops guy and thought it was the brain head of the monster zombie dude. Oh well, I was 1 for 2.

The bodies are a complete reuse of the simple bodies that we saw with the Doctor Who figures. This is the basic Character Building body. All of Series 1 use this very basic body, just repainted. So there’s no unique sculpting on the bodies themselves.

Knight armor

Each figure comes complete disassembled. I don’t really get the point of this, for the record. I guess it helps in keeping the “mystery” element alive, but it’s not like there’s a whole lot of fun in assembling these guys. It takes under a minute to pop them together.

The Knight is really cool, with the big bucket style helmet and the cross opening in the front. It’s not your standard generic knight. He has a little bit more flavor to him. The tampo work is really nice and clean which gives him a pop of color. It definitely works to brighten up the otherwise pretty monotone figure.

The shield is pretty basic, but the dragon on the front is great. It matches the dragon on his chest. The sword, although only one color, has some sculpting elements to it that are really nice. There’s even some detail on the hilt. He comes with a small cape as well.

The helmet is the full head. There isn’t another head underneath or anything. I think it looks good, although perhaps a little paint on the helmet would have made it stand out a bit more.

The Special Ops guy is a bit more boring to me, but he could work as a member of U.N.I.T. or something. Actually it almost looks like he’s been designed to be Barney Ross from the Expendables or something. Maybe it’s just me that sees that in the figure.

It almost looks like he has sloppy paint work on the face, but it’s actually a very detailed tampo application that makes the face streak paint look like it was actually done by hand. You can almost see fingerprints in it. It’s a very nice bit of detail on something so small.

His vest is a semi-hard rubber and it is removable. On the plus side, he’s got a shirt printed on underneath so you can have him go without the vest.

Or you can swap heads with another figure in this range.

The articulation is really basic with swivel neck, swivel wrists and hinged arms and legs. It’s basically the same amount of movement you can get with a Lego man. Although the way the bottom half connects, you can also get a swivel at the waist, but it’s awkward.

Posing is going to be pretty basic, but I do feel like these guys have a bit more heft and charm to them than a regular Lego.

Each figure comes with a couple of things and a stand.

The Special Ops figure has a black stand and a gun. His vest could also be an accessory. The stand is nicer than any of the other mini figure stands I’ve seen to date. It has a knife printed on it and a CB logo.

The Knight has a brown stand with a sword printed on it. He also has his cape, sword and shield. He’s got some nice gear all in all.

At $1.99, these are some of the cheapest mini figures around. I don’t know how well they’ll do in the United States, given that they almost come across as bootlegs. Not in quality, but in presentation. If you’d never heard of these guys, you’d think they were come cheap junk. However the truth is that these are very nice little mini figures. I think they have more charm than Legos, at least on the base level. However the choice of characters is pretty bland.

Score Recap:
Packaging – 5
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 4
Accessories – Sword, Shield, Stands, Cape, Vest, Gun
Value – 10
Overall – 8 out of 10

Black Knight Figure

These guys score a pretty high 8 out 10 for me. While they lack the depth in character selection of Lego, the base body appeals more to me because of it’s rounded features. Each guy comes with a couple of accessories and although I much prefer the Knight to the Special Ops guy, both are pretty neat. Part of me wants to get quite a few of these Knights. They could come in handy for some Doctor Who mini figure time traveling stories.

Doctor Who Rory action figure

Character Options has finally announced a Rory action figure in their Doctor Who line. It’s been what, a couple of years now? But I suppose it’s better to be late than never. Rory has been highly requested to be a figure since first appearing in the new 11th Doctor series.

Rory is up for preorder at the usual suspects in the UK and he’s expected to show up sometime in October. I would expect that he’ll show up in the US around that time as well but possibly later. I think the sculpt is quite good, although some people don’t like it apparently. The hair is a bit dark, but I don’t think the likeness is terrible or anything.

Doctor Who Rory exclusive action figure

The BBC shop in the UK will also have an exclusive version. It looks pretty good as well. No word yet if BBC America’s online store will carry it, though. It may end up distributed here as well, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Unfortunately I just don’t really care about either figure, to be honest. I wanted Rory over a year ago. It would have been exciting then. Rory shouldn’t have been a hard figure to get. It’s hard to get excited about a figure that should have been a forgone conclusion. It’s a decent looking figure and I’ll probably get it eventually, but I’m not going to go out of my way for it. That’s pretty much how I feel about the Doctor Who line these days.

SDCC 2012 Winston Churchill Doctor Who, Victory of the Daleks

It’s been a while since I mentioned any Doctor Who figures around here, but Underground Toys have revealed their SDCC 2012 Doctor Who figure set. It’s Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill, along with a “Victory of the Daleks” Dalek. That’s sort of a re-release, but Daleks sell and this is a neat set.

I’ve heard a bit of complaining about the sculpt of Ian McNeice, but that’s absolutely absurd. This is one of the best likenesses that Character Options has done. Especially doing a likeness in such a small scale. There’s plenty to complain about here, but likeness isn’t one. I actually question using McNeice’s likeness, as they probably could have gotten more fans of Winston Churchill, had they used his likeness… But I’m sure that would have brought complaints as well. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t I suppose.

In addition to the two figure set, you get three phones, a desk, removable hat and glasses. The glasses look a bit rough, but glasses seem to be an issue in any scale. I appreciate that this is an entirely new sculpt for Churchill and not likely one we’ll see reused much if any. However the figure sports NO leg articulation. That’s a real step backward in my opinion.

Especially when you consider the figure comes with a desk. He looks okay standing behind it though. No word yet on pricing, but I’m guessing in the $60 range. Not sure if this set is for me. I more or less hated the last season of Doctor Who and while I liked Victory of the Daleks, I haven’t went out of my way to pick up much of the modern Who stuff. Moffat’s turn at the helm of the show just has left me largely underwhelmed with the figures, but that’s a critique more on the program than the little plastic men.

Anyway, this seems like a pretty darn good exclusive, even if it may not be for me. Plus it’s something for Ian McNeice to sign while he’s out on the convention circuit. Never a bad thing.

Doctor Who Character Building Mini-Figures
11 Doctors
2 Inch Scale
By: Character Options

Doctor Whosday returns! Today I’m taking a look at the 11 Doctors mini figure set from Character Options. Last year CO introduced the new Character Building mini figures, which are sort of like Doctor Who Legos. Shortly after, they released this set featuring all 11 Doctors. It’s a time traveler’s smallest, best friend!

This is not the first time that Character Options has released a set like this. They first released an 11 Doctors set in the larger 5 inch line. This makes a great entry into the smaller figures, though, and is to date the only “classics” in the Character Building line.

So for $40 you can get all 11 Doctors in a very small form. Is it worth it? Well you’ve got to read the review to find out!

The packaging is done in a rather unique way, almost indentical to the larger counterpart. It’s a TARDIS shaped box, which two opening doors. Unlike the 5 inch version, this one isn’t quite as good looking as it has a few more logos and such on the front. Still, it’s a great little package and it’s considerably smaller in hand than you might think.

I really like the package in general. It’s a handy way to keep these figures safe as well, if you want to put them back in. However the inner plastic can be a bit of a burden to slide the figures back into place.

Velcro holds the two doors closed. Inside is a great little bio of each of the Doctors. I really approve of this! It’s the little details that CO always manages to get right.

There isn’t a lot of sculpting that goes into these figures. In fact all of the figures more or less use the same base body. The head sculpts and the paint is what separate them. With a couple of exceptions, as some of their outfits feature a torso that has “tails” in the back, while others don’t. Beyond those minor exceptions, the figures are identical in many ways.

Thankfully Character Options has done a good job, as they tend to do. The First Doctor looks a bit more like Richard Hurndall than Bill Hartnell, to me, but it’s hard to say for sure since these are all stylized. The point is, he looks like the First Doctor.

The Second Doctor has a bit of a sardonic grin on his face, which is appropriate. He’s always somewhere between worry that the world is about to come to an end and glee that he’s outwitted his opponents. The Second Doctor is sort of the Columbo of the Doctors and it shows in the sculpt.

The Third Doctor has Pertwee’s crazy hair and green coat. He’s even got some lines under his eyes to make him look a bit more aged. Just watch out, he might karate chop you!

The Fourth Doctor looks good, but perhaps his face needs something more. The hair is perfect, but he doesn’t scream Tom Baker as much to me. The little smile is nice, but if they were going for a smile, I think they should have made it one of Baker’s insane grins.

The Fifth Doctor looks great, just like the actor who played him, John Tesh. Whoops. I mean Peter Davison! And look, celery is included!

Colin’s Sixth Doctor looks okay, but again the outfit help more than the head sculpt. Clearly they skipped a lot of the details on the coat, but it’s still pretty obvious who it is. I’m not certain that they could have done a lot with his face, but there is some attempt to make the detail stand out.

The Seventh Doctor looks pretty good as well. He’s definitely stylized and he’s sporting the happy look. I’m always torn on which Doctor face I want, happy or somber. I wish we could get some more somber Seventh Doctor stuff.

The Eighth Doctor looks positively charming!

There’s definitely some hints of Eccleston in the Ninth Doctor, but he looks a bit like an Asian girl in the face. It’s a bit of a miss, but the hair is excellent. They really did a great job on all the hair sculpts.

The Tenth Doctor almost looks angry to me. I think they were going for quirky, but I’m going to say it’s just a bit shy of where it needs to be. There’s a bit of slop on the paint for his shoes, but in general the paint on all these guys is pretty good.

The Eleventh Doctor figure is no different than the previous releases of this guy. He looks okay, but not perfect. I think the unique features of Matt Smith’s face are likely not easy to capture in this sort of likeness.

These dudes are a lot smaller than you may think. You can easily lose them or their accessories. So be careful! I imagine my cats would have a field day with any one of the Doctors.

Each guy gets a few joints, similar to a Lego. The hands turn, the shoulders and legs are on hinges and the neck is on a swivel. Nothing fancy, but it’s enough to get the job done. These are aiming for a very specific aesthetic and generally seem to hit it in my view.

I do find that they are a bit top heavy and tend to fall over if their legs aren’t positioned just right. I could almost go for some heavier feet or ball jointed feet to help make them a bit more stable.

I guess the posing would be better if you had the little Lego-like floors that some of the sets come with.

Almost everyone comes with something, with only the Sixth and First Doctors being an exception. Honestly I’m not sure why the First Doctor doesn’t come with a cane or why the Sixth doesn’t come with his Sonic.

The sculpts for the sonic screwdrivers aren’t super detailed, but they do generally have the sculpts down pat. There’s a bit more reuse than in the larger line and no paint, but they’re still pretty neat.

Some of the designs don’t fit as well in the hands as others, but overall they work well. I suppose the flat nature of the Sixth Doctor’s sonci may have ben why they skipped it. I would have just made it a bit fatter.

Each figure also gets a stand. It’s shaped in the style of the modern Doctor Who logo.

Everyone fits nicely on their stand and it definitely ups the display value. This also comes in handy for posing, since they are prone to falling over.

At $40 this isn’t cheap, but I find that Lego figures and their many impersonators can run $2-3 a piece. Given that these aren’t blind bagged, I don’t think it’s a terrible value. I imagine if they’d been blind bagged, we’d all have 58 Colin Baker figures. That’s a scary thought. Then again, it might match my 5 inch collection!

Score Recap:
Packaging – 8
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 4
Accessories – Sonic Screwdrivers, Umbrella, Stands
Value – 8
Overall – 8 out of 10

These guys are a very specialized type of figure, but for the price getting all 11 Doctors in one swoop is a good deal. With the added bonus of the accessories and the decent stylized sculpts… This is a solid pickup if you’re into these sorts of figures. They are miniature Who fun!

My only complaint would be the lack of accessories for two of the Doctors and the fact that these guys tend to topple over. They’re very light and that doesn’t make them as poseable as I’d like them to be. Still, they’re fun for the desktop or neat for kids on a car ride!