After a couple of years of virtually nothing, the Character Options 5 inch Dr Who range is back with a bang. New figures at Forbidden Planet, a new range on the shelves at Toys R Us and to top it off two exclusive figures only available from the Character Options Website.
The Missy figures were announced by Al Dewar via a YouTube presentation back in late September and pre-orders have now been dispatched and received by collectors. Both figures remain in stock at time of this article via the link HERE. They are limited to 4000 units of each.
As the figures share much of the same sculpt and articulation I am going to look at both of them during this review.
Missy arrives in the newly established boxed collector packaging, with its blue to red vortex background, white Doctor Who logo and blue flash character text. However, this is still different to the other 12th Doctor releases as it doesnt come with a clear side window, and on the Missy figures there is a Victorian Scroll design around the window - all of which will drive MIB collectors mad. The sides of each box are simply a repeat of the Dr Who logo and the character name in the blue flash, alongside a QR code.
The rear of the box is taken up with a couple of paragraphs of text about the character Missy and a quote taken from the series 8 two part finale where Missy made her debut. The text and quote are identical on both releases, the only variance being the image which depicts the figure itself - either the black or purple. The obvious miss on the packaging is any mention of its exclusivity, In other ranges this is often tackled with a stamp, logo or even foil type badge and feels like a miss considering the premium price on this for its exclusivity.
Inside each pack is the cog and clock-working cardboard background, and unlike the blue of the Doctor, this one is red. Missy herself is strapped into the perspex tray alongside an umbrella and her "Missy Device". MIB fans will be really frustrated with the amount of fabric ties used to strap Missy in place, and the choice of these being white rather than black that really stands out. As this figure is an exclusive and sold only online I see no need for the ties as I believe that in the main they are a theft deterrent (Hasbro stopped using these on the Black Series a good while ago).
At this point let's look at each figure in isolation. The first is the black version, which is a representation of how Missy was dressed in "Heaven" or the "Nethersphere".
Starting with the head sculpt, and this figure is probably the slightly weaker sculpt. The idea is to capture Missy's "manic" grin and to the most part they have achieved that, it is just ever so slightly off and from some angles looks more like a grimace. That being said it is a good resemblance, at this scale, to Michelle Gomez and the hair on this version is really nicely sculpted in a very intricate design.
Down to the outfit and this is quite plain on the black version. CO have sculpted a base figure for both versions, and the key difference is the rubber over coat. On "Heaven" Missy this coat is very plain with a couple of pockets to either side and 4 fairly softly sculpted buttons on the front. The arms are sculpted with a clothing seam down the rear and finish in a further 3 buttons. Both hands are sculpted very well and sport rings which is a nice touch that could have easily been left off. The coat runs down over a long skirt which and the figure is finished in high heel lace up boots, which are sculpted fully up to her knees under the skirt, and the upper thighs are also sculpted - these may or may not be a re-use from an older female figure like Astrid, Clara or perhaps Jo Grant?
The alternative Purple outfit is identical other than the coat which has an extra trim down the buttoned front and round the hems. It is also added to the coat pockets and around the sleeve of the arms - which then explains why on the black coat the sleeves seem to have a weird shiny band in this exact same location.
The head on the Purple version is the better sculpt as I mentioned earlier. The neutral look is much cleaner and a good likeness to Michelle Gomez. The hat sits naturally on her head, tilted forward and creating some shadow on the face, which then looks more menacing than the manic grin. The hair remains the same as the black version, albeit cut away at the front to allow the hat to be seated. The heads are designed to be interchangeable, allowing up to 4 looks to be achieved if you own both figures. The heads do pop off and pop on OK, but perhaps need a bit too much force and I suspect doing this too often will not only rub more paint on the neck, but also see wear on the paint of the head itself where you will grip the figure.
Paint on both versions is neat and well applied. The black outfit is by its nature naturally monotone, while the purple has the trim edge neatly picked out in a black finish. Both have a cameo brooch buttoning up her blouse at the neck, and this is neatly painted so you can pick out the silhouetted art-deco head.
The faces are both done neatly with eyes, eye-brows and lipstick all in the right place. They have also been quite subdued with the blusher which is there on the cheeks but not too much so that she looks like a clown, or someone who has just been slapped. The hair has the only real paint effect with a brown base colour and a darker wash followed by a lighter dry brush. On the hatted version the front floral display is picked out with at least 4 colours. My only paint gripe is on this hatted figure and round the back where I have a white patch in the hair, this may be paint, un painted plastic or more likely glue when the hat was added.
Articulation on Who figures has always been limited, but these 2015 figures have now reached 18 points of articulation - sadly on Missy not all are serviceable. The heads are on a peg system rather than a ball joint, so simply rotate at the joint. Like a lot of earlier figures, the hatted version is already showing signs of rub on the neck where it catches on the collar of the costume, this will look unsightly if you continue to move the head and why I prefer ball jointed heads onto fixed neck's.
The arms are now on both a swivel and a pivot joint so that they can both more outward from the body to either side, but also rotate fully. With the bicep swivel this means you can have Missy stood with hands on hips if you wish, which is a pose she often takes up in the show. The elbows bend at a standard joint, but now also rotate too in a similar design to the newer Star Wars 6" figures. The arm articulation finishes with a wrist swivel.
A waist joint under the coat does allow a bit of movement in turning Missy's torso to either side if you wish. Under the skirt you can see a hip joint, thigh swivel, knee joint and a rotation at the top of the boots. All of this is really redundant as its all blocked in by the skirt, it could have even been left off and maybe saved a few quid on development costs (my simplistic thinking - it's certainly not that easy I would assume). Unlike many of earlier female figures, particularly those on heels, Missy stands really well and is very solid standing.
Both figures come with the same accessory. First off is an umbrella, which on both of mine arrived bent due to the packing position. This fits neatly enough into the right hand, but most fans would have actually loved to see an open umbrella rather than the closed one - giving the ability to hit that iconic Mary Poppins pose. The Missy Device is quite small and fiddly, and although it would balance in the left hand I recommend putting it into the more secure right hand. Both accessories are painted with a gold tip on the umbrella and some red detail on the device.
There has always been some disparity in heights with the 5 inch range, but Missy looks spot on and stands the same height as River Song and therefore shorter than her nemesis, the 12th Doctor.
When it comes to scoring you have to bear in mind the value for money of this figure. Unlike the new Toys R Us range which has an RRP of £14.99, this one is retailing at £19.99 - which is comparable to what you would pay for a more detailed NECA 7" figure, or a better articulated Hasbro 6" figure - be it Star Wars or Marvel. Sculpt is good, paint is neat, the variant outfits are cleverly done and the only grumble for fans will be the lack of an open umbrella and any mention of exclusivity on the box for MIB collectors. To that end and with the value for money aspect I am going to score Missy 4 out of 5