Is it Tuesday already again?


Doctor Who Classics
The Master & Axon
5 Inch Scale
By: Character Options
$39.99

Although it seems like this figure was only leaked months ago, when SDCC came around and the Delgado Master wasn’t announced many people began to think it was a fraud. Another elaborate hoax played on the Doctor Who collecting community. Because of Character Options’ somewhat apprehensive relationship with fans, the announcement of figures is a bit like a guessing game. Now here we are some months later and the Roger Delgado version of the Master is here and he’s real!

He’s not alone either, he comes with a Krynoid Axon figure. As you may recall earlier this year a prototype of the Krynoid was released. It’s been repainted here and turned into an Axon. The exact opposite of how that went down in the classic series.

The Claws of Axos was the third story of Season 8 of Doctor Who. It was the first story written by Bob Baker and Dave Martin, who stayed with the series until the end of the 1970s. These episodes were originally called ‘The Vampires From Space’ but got changed to the current title because the BBC wanted to avoid the word ‘vampire’. A group of gold-skinned aliens land on Earth and offer wondrous technology in exchange for fuel. The Doctor, however, isn’t fooled, uncovering the Axons’ true nature and once again facing his arch enemy the Master.

Confession time, I’m not a huge fan of the Master. Especially his battles with the Third Doctor. It’s nothing against the late Roger Delgado, who did a bang up job, but moreso the stories in general. The Third Doctor is one of my least favorite eras, because so many of the stories are more spy stories than science fiction. The Master at his best is a great character, but more often than not in the 1970’s he comes across as Doctor Who’s answer to Snidely Whiplash. So why am I so excited to have the Delgado Master finally in my hands? Because he’s one of Character Options’ best figures in a long time.

Packaging:
Bucking the trend of every other two pack released so far, The Master and Axon come in a window box. I’m not sure if this will be the new way to release the figures (it does look nice) or if it was only necessary because of the size of the Axon. As you may or may not know, the Axon (Krynoid then) was going to be a BAF in the Classic Series Figures Wave 2. He’s quite large and hefty as a result.


The box is quite nice and features all the things we’ve come to know and love on the Classic Doctor Who packages, including the year and pictures of the characters. There’s an actual Underground Toys (US Distributor of Who) logo on the package, that’s not a sticker so they may have had something to do with this figure set actually seeing release. Also of note, is the fact that the figures still feature the old Doctor Who logo. That’s the logo used from the 9th Doctor up, but isn’t the Matt Smith logo. Not sure if that is now considered the “Classic Who” logo or not.


The back of the package gives us the skinny on the story behind the Axons and the Master’s involvement. Again we get nice pictures of each.


Inside is a hidden treat, a little cardboard diorama of the Axons and their cave/clam/spaceship/base thing. There’s even a couple of Axons around it. I say it’s a diorama, because it comes out of the box easily and nothing was attached to it. I’d like to see this trend continue in future releases!

Sculpt:
Designworks the company behind the Character Options sculpts, have once again risen to the occasion and have produced some really fine sculpted work here. From paint to lifelike accuracy, everything is well above the standard. The Master is one of their finest sculpts in recent memory and that’s saying a lot.


Roger Delgado always had a particular grimace on his face when playing the Master and you can see that here. He looks as if he’s in total disdain of the humans and wants to take the Doctor out once and for all. Considering that Delgado has been dead for decades, after dying in a car accident in Turkey, this sculpt had to be made off of reference photos and not digital scanning.


You’d never know it looking at him though. If I didn’t know any better I’d think that the team at Character Options borrowed the Doctor’s Tardis and traveled back to scan Delgado in his prime. Every wrinkle, crevice and cranny in the face of Delgado has been perfectly recreated here in tiny, small scale.


I’ve mentioned before that the Character Options team really puts LOVE into their figures, and that’s very evident here. While the head sculpt is an absolute knockout, the little details on the Nehru suit and gloves also show real dedication. Many people thought they might reuse parts of the Ood, but that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case. The black panel lining on the gloves are really incredible and complete an impeccable representation of the Master.


Sometimes the paint job fails a sculpt, but that doesn’t appear to be the case here. The Master is painted well, with a little slop and such (as usual for the scale) but mostly pinpoint precision. His skin tone is also considerably darker than most, reflecting some of the Spanish heritage that Delgado had.


While it’s very hard not to focus on The Master for his excellent sculpting, no one should overlook the Axon either. Although this sculpt is technically a Krynoid, it works well as an Axon. The original Axon suits were modified in the Krynoid serial, and this is the reverse of that. It’s only really noticeable on the head, which has a more humanoid appearance that the Krynoids had.


Even with that working against it, the lush colorations and rich sculpting textures really make this guy pop. He’s nasty and downright morbid to look at. I’m very impressed with the paint work, most of all, as there is just layer upon layer of great tones and hues.


This is an admirable job as a Axon and a really neat figure to add to the collection. It would be nice if we could have gotten a couple, but I completely understand how the business works and am content with just this one. I hope this sculpt is reused to make a Krynoid, as it’s really quite effective.

Articulation:
Because of the unique characters and creatures in Doctor Who, articulation isn’t always a priority. That said, Character Options always seems to give the characters more than enough to do what they need. That certainly seems to be the case here.


The Master has cut arms, swivel biceps, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, cut neck, cut waist, swivel hinge legs, cut thighs, hinge knees and his Nehru suit is spilt at the sides to allow for further articulation. It’s still all pretty minimal, no ball joints at all, but it works well for this character and the scale.


“How do you like my Venusian Aikido?”


The Axon surprised me a bit with pin/post ball joints at the shoulders and legs. His waist appears to be cut, but you can’t get much with it. His neck, wrists and feet also have cuts.

Accessories:
As always, accessories are limited in this line.


The Master does manage to get something, his tissue compression eliminator. It’s essentially a shrink ray, but it kills you in the process of shrinking you down.


It’s a tiny accessory, and not very exciting as it’s essentially just a little black and silver stick. However, much like the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver, it’s an essential piece of the character and an absolute treat to have here.


The Axon comes with nothing but plenty of bulbous ugly!

Value:
With the two pack running right at $40 here in the US (Cheaper in the UK) it at times can be hard to justify the prices on these items. How can I be excited about this figure, but upset at a Ghostbusters Egon for the same cost? There are a few reasons:

1. Love. This toy is crafted with love. You can see it all over the sculpt, the little details, even the packaging. Ghostbusters, by contrast, is created with only $$$ in mind. Cut corners, poor pack-ins, lack of accuracy.

2. Imports. These guys are a bit cheaper in their homeland. While the figures themselves may not be limited run per say, they are limited here in the states. An educated guess puts these figures at far less than 10,000 units for the entire United States.

3. Rareness. Doctor Who is a cult thing here in the United States. Doctor Who from 1970 is even moreso. Even in the UK, a figure of Roger Delgado isn’t exactly Iron Man. So I’m more willing to pay a little more for something like this, than I am a figure that could easily sell on any shelf in the country, but doesn’t because it’s manufacturer chooses not to take that risk.

Even with those things in mind, this hurts the pocketbook. As awesome as 2010 has been for Doctor Who toys (BEST YEAR EVER!) it’s also been a very strenuous year to collect it all and face the high prices. That goes without saying.


Score Recap:
Packaging – 7
Sculpting – 9
Articulation – 8
Accessories – Tissue Compressor
Value – 7
Overall – 8.5 out of 10

As is often the case with Who, this is a set that’s greater than the sum of it’s parts. The Master on his own, even at $20 is a 10 out of 10. Thirty years after his debut in Doctor Who and twenty seven years after his death, Roger Delgado’s Master is finally immortalized in plastic. He gets not only a fitting tribute, but is able to be reincarnated to a second life on toy shelves across the globe. It’s almost a plot right out of Doctor Who and you can’t put a price tag on stuff like that.


“You are deep in my trance now Doctor, and soon you will have to sit idly by as I destroy your puny ape companions and their home world. What’s that? Yes, I am going to enjoy every minute of it.”


This is a great set and while the Axon isn’t a must have, the Master is. Even guys like me, who didn’t always love the Master, have to appreciate the awesome sauce that is this figure. If you call yourself a Doctor Who fan, you shelf isn’t complete until he’s in your hands.

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