Monday, 2 January 2017

Into the Time Vortex 10th and 12th Doctors and Companions

Happy New Year everyone! I thought I'd start the year off with something non-Judge Dredd related as you'll be seeing a lot more Judge Dredd Miniatures Games stuff very soon. Late last year, Warlord Games brought out a few sets of figures from the Doctor Who TV series, having acquired the rights to produce figures and a game based on this considerably large property. These initial figure sets included Judoon, the Silence, Zygons and the Tenth and Twelfth Doctors with some of their respective companions. The Doctors and their companions interested me far more than the aliens and so I bought both sets. I'm sure that most of you are very familiar with who these characters are but for those of you who aren't, I'm supplying brief backgrounds taken from the boxed sets themselves.
Charismatic, witty and full of the joys of life on one hand, the Tenth Doctor (played by David Tennant) was equally capable of righteous fury in the blink of an eye. Arguably the most ruthless of the Doctor's incarnations, the Tenth Doctor was deeply aware of his dark, dangerous capabilities and uncompromising character, fully understanding the need for a companion to ground him. Whether facing Daleks, Weeping Angels, Sontarans or Cybermen, the Tenth Doctor does so with a ready quip, steely determination and great hair!
Rose Tyler (played by Billie Piper) started her adventure with the Ninth Doctor as he saved her from the Nestene Consciousness's Auton attack. During her time in the TARDIS, Rose was instrumental in making Captain Jack Harkness immortal and the inception of the Torchwood Institute. Rose will most fondly be remembered for her heart-wrenching separation from the Tenth Doctor in the new series 2 finale, Doomsday.
The Doctor first encountered medical student Martha Jones (played by Freema Agyeman) in Smith and Jones when the Judoon pursuing an alien criminal transported the Royal Hope Hospital to the Moon! Intelligent and independent, Martha would save both the Doctor and the human race from the clutches of the Master (Last of the Time Lords). She would go on to work for both UNIT and Torchwood after leaving the Doctor's side.
Outspoken and strong-willed, Donna Noble (played by Catherine Tate) would bond with the Doctor's spare hand to become part Time Lord - the "Doctor Donna" as the Ood had predicted. To save her mind from being consumed by the Time Lord/human meta-crisis, the Doctor wiped her memories of their adventures before returning her home to Chiswick.
Donna Noble's grandfather, Wilfred Mott (played by Bernard Cribbins) was unusually open-minded about the extraterrestrial. The strongly patriotic former soldier encouraged Donna to travel with the Doctor and then eventually joined them himself. Wilf had an almost paternal relationship with the Doctor, even willing to sacrifice himself in a radiation-soaked booth during The End of Time, although ultimately the Doctor takes his place.
With a face taken from the Roman Caecilius during the Fires of Pompeii episode to remind himself that the Doctor saves people, he is, like many previous Doctors, young at heart. Often to be found playing his electric guitar, the Twelfth Doctor (played by Peter Capaldi) aimed for a more minimalist look this time but is worried he now looks like a magician. The renegade Time Lord's twelfth metamorphosis is older than recent regenerations and his abrupt manner coupled with what he refers to as "angry" eyebrows conceals a troubled identity as he comes to grips with whether he is a good man or not. With Clara a distant memory after she wiped his mind of recent events the Doctor needs a new companion to keep him safe from himself.
Clara Oswald (brilliantly played by Jenna Coleman) is "The Impossible Girl". After all, how could she exist in several different points in time and space? Her modern day iteration developed a strong bond with the Eleventh Doctor - so much so that she sacrificed herself into the Doctor's time stream determined to save him in his past. Initially finding it difficult to accept the Twelfth Doctor's transformation after regeneration, the two would warm to his brusque character, once describing herself as his "carer".
Finally, are the Paternoster Gang, made up of Madame Vastra, Jenny Flint and Strax. Awoken from thousands of years of hibernation, Vastra (played by Neve McIntosh) went on a rampage to avenge her kin killed during the construction of the London Underground, before the Doctor persuaded the Silurian to instead integrate into Victorian society. Eventually earning the title "Madame", Vastra would also become known as "the Great Detective" as she aided Scotland Yard in many cases. Madame Vastra cannot shake her Silurian heritage and has been known to eat humans - albeit unpleasant ones like Jack the Ripper!
Madame Vastra's wife, Jenny Flint, (played by Catrin Stewart) works as her maid to conceal their relationship from Victorian society. Equally capable in unarmed combat and swordsmanship, Jenny is a formidable opponent, facing such foes as The Great Intelligence, The Headless Monks and the Crimson Horror. The Eleventh Doctor called Jenny "everyone's favourite lock-picking chambermaid".
To preserve the honour of his clone batch, Commander Strax (played by Dan Starkey) served as a nurse as a punishment for being defeated by the Doctor during the Sontaran invasion of Earth. Strax now serves Madame Vastra as a butler in Victorian London. Strax has a hard time differentiating genders and is prone to lapsing back into Sontaran warrior ways to solve problems with brute force and a typical Sontaran willingness to die in battle. On his day off, Strax would travel to Glasgow to pick fights with the "pleasant primitives."

It is fair to say that these figures have come in for a bit of criticism from some gamers. Some thought they were too tall and/or too static and others were not happy with Warlord Games issuing "cease and desist" orders to companies such as Crooked Dice Games and Heresy Miniatures for making unofficial figures from the Doctor Who series. My view is that I dismiss all of these criticisms. I have nothing but the highest praise for this new range. The figures are roughly 35mm tall, but they come with very thin bases, which puts them level with a 28mm tall figure mounted on a slottabase. Also, being slightly larger than normal I have to say that made them easier to paint and I thoroughly enjoyed painting all ten of them. As for them being too static, I don't see that as being a problem. Doctor Who is more about solving problems with his brain than fighting. As for the three companions who are more used to violent solutions, Vastra, Jenny and Strax, they all look ready for a fight as Vastra prepares to draw her katana, Jenny holds her dagger menacingly and Strax raises his right hand in a clenched fist. None of the other companions were noted for their fighting prowess so their poses capture them perfectly. As for the "cease and desist" notices I can't blame Warlord Games for wanting to protect their property. I have most of the non-Doctor Who figures and I must say, they are not as well sculpted as these ten I'm showing here. Others may disagree and they are perfectly entitled to their opinions. I have no problem with that. But the bottom line is that I love this new range and I can see me buying a lot more as and when they are produced. I am particularly looking forward to getting the plastic Cybermen and Daleks sets, as well as the Into the Time Vortex rulebook later this year.
I should mention that I was particularly pleased that Warlord Games chose to release figures for the Tenth and Twelfth Doctors. David Tennant is my favourite Doctor and Peter Capaldi my second favourite. Yes, I do prefer the new series to the old series. Also, I was especially thrilled to get a near perfect figure of Clara Oswald, my favourite companion of all time. In every episode she appeared in she was, in my opinion, the star of the show. My love for Clara is surpassed only by my love for Vampirella, which is my highest praise possible.

28 comments:

  1. It is interesting that you like the new series in preference to the old series. Personally I am a Tom Baker Dr fan and think all others pale in comparison. After all who does not like Jelly babies. (I know I do). I have not seen Peter Capaldi playing the good Dr. I did like Christopher Ecelstone but when he would not do a second series I lost interest in the New Dr Who. The stories seemed to be to complicated and contrived and somehow "Artificial". I am not sure you can use the word "Artificial" with regard to Dr Who. But for me that is just how they felt. Which is a shame. To me though they just "New and Improved it " far to much. Sorry that is my whine over.

    But your choice is your choice. Figure wise I also like the Crooked Dice sculpts. Rose in particular is a very nice sculpt.

    Nice to see them all realised by you though. And I very much look forward to seeing some more.

    Post script: This was posted early this morning. I hope you are sleeping OK!

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    1. Thanks, Clint. I am well aware that many of my followers prefer the old school Doctor Who series and Doctors. That's fine. I just happen to take the opposite view. In the end, we're all Doctor Who fans. You'll certainly be seeing a lot more of this range on my blog.

      PS. I woke up at 3.00 this morning and couldn't get back to sleep so I finished this blog post off to pass the time. Then slept soundly till 9.00. All's well!

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  2. Wonderful posting Bryan, and blimey have you cranked these out quickly - there's a good few weeks' worth of work on show at my painting speed :-) I must confess to not liking the "Warlord Games" Dr & TARDIS crew minis as much as the monster models, with the Zygons being my fave by far. However, as you point out, there's nothing actually wrong with the sculpts (except imho the 12th Doctor with a guitar). I think much of the criticism is due to the fact they're a bit hard to mix in with all the old 'Not-Who' models - again a very understandable stance by "Warlord Games" who want you to buy their official figs. I have a size comparison photo coming with my next Classic Who' posting, which should illustrate the point somewhat.

    As to the best Doctor, well we could argue that all day. I think I'm one of the few who like Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor the best. Yes, his TV stuff wasn't great overall ("Attack Of The Cybermen) probably being his best, but his audio adventures, officially licensed through "Big Finish" are terrific imho, and, having toned down his abrasiveness, really let the character shine :-) Plus having met him several times, he's a top bloke!

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    1. Many thanks, Simon. They got painted so quickly because they were such a joy to paint and I put my heart and soul into them. It only took me a week to paint them all, which is fast by my standards. I will be getting the monsters, so watch out for my reviews of them.
      I would never have guessed you like Colin Baker's portrayal of the Doctor the most. I'd have put you down for another Tom Baker fan. Still, I can understand that having met Colin more than once that must have had quite an impact on you. What a lovely story.

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    2. I still remember being gutted Colin was sacked from the show, and managing to spend a few minutes with him after seeing him shortly afterwards in "Doctor Who: The Ultimate Adventure" in Portsmouth. in addition, he did have a cartoon I drew of him in his bathroom (on the walls of which he apparently kept a lot of his fan artwork). Another time he signed a drawing of my Rambler character for me (which I based upon him) and told his daughter off when she tried to charge me for the autograph :-)

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    3. He sounds like a great guy, Simon. I do like to hear of famous people who are so nice to their fans. No wonder you hold him in such high regard.

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  3. Tom Baker for me all the way, it was my childhood after all. The new doctors are quite fun but Chris Eccleston has to edge it for me, I thought he was brilliantly cast.

    Bryan these are extremely well painted, some of your best work imho.

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    1. Cheers, Andy. I did like Chris Eccleston but I was put off by him after he quit after only one season. For the record, I also loved Tom Baker's performance. Oh, and I'm old enough to remember the original Doctor, William Hartnell. That's showing my age!

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  4. Really nicely painted models Bryan, have watched all the versions of Dr Who and only disliked Sylvester McCoy as for me it was always about the monsters, got to meet Paul McGann several times teaching his kids to wargame

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    1. Thanks kindly, Dave. I'd have to agree with you about Sylvester McCoy being my least favourite Doctor. Nice to hear you got to meet Paul McGann, the "forgotten" Doctor. I say that only because he appeared in just one episode.

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    2. Indeed, thought he did a good job though

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    3. I can't argue with you, Dave. There was nothing wrong with his performance at all. It was just a shame it was far too brief.

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  5. Whilst I appreciate that everyone is enttiled to their own opinion, your blanket dismissal of all criticisms that people have levelled at both the figures and the way Warlord Games have handed the Doctor Who licence seems slightly blinkered, as though you'd been paid off by the company concerned.

    The pictures you've posted clearly show that the supposed 'scale' of these figures is not consistent across the range. Yes, the Doctor is taller than the majority of his companions, but he's not THAT tall!
    The fact that the sculpt of Wilfrid Mott does not actuallyy have any facial hair, unlike the character it is based upon, indicates that whilst the sculpts are reasonably accurate, they aren't perfect.
    As for the criticism levelled at the poses, I think this is fair. They don't look like gaming figures - which is what they are supposed to be, after all - they look like Monoply game pieces or display models.

    And whilst I understand that Warlord Games, having paid for the licence for Doctor Who, would want to protect their investment, as they don't OWN the IP rights for Doctor Who, they have no right to issue cease and desist letters to those who have been producing what a spokesperson from Warlord described as "rip-offs" - only the BBC can do that.

    As a fan of Doctor Who, I was looking forward to this range of figures, but so far the releases and attitude of Warlord Games has left me cold. I shall be sticking with my 'official' Black Tree Design figures, because at least they fit in with the rest of my figures.

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    1. You are of course fully entitled to your opinions, but I happen to disagree with you on all points. And no, I am not being paid by Warlord Games. That was a cheap jibe, unbecoming of you.

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    2. It wasn't a jibe, Bryan. The point i was trying to make, which obviously didn't come across clearly, was that your review didn't come across as very balanced. You certainly believe that these are the best Doctor Who figures ever made and you are entitled to your opinion. But no figure range or rules set is perfect, so the fact that your review was so glowing, with no flaws identified, did almost sound like an advert rather than an independent review. I apologise if you felt i was 'having a go' at you, as this was not intended.

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    3. Fair enough, Jez. But I did say that I really love these figures. Sure, no range is perfect and you certainly can't please all the people all the time. I tell things as I see them and in this case I could find nothing to criticise. If I came across sounding like an advert then sorry. Can we just agree to disagree on this issue?

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  6. Your painting is first rate as always Bryan, even if I don't know who a few of the characters are.

    I can't see me buying any of the warlord figures myself, not for any of the reasons Jez listed above, but simply because this "new Who" has jaded me towards the character, shame as I used to love Dr Who before then.

    So as far as the series goes, I'm with Clint word for word.

    Cheers Roger.

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    1. Thank you, Roger. If you are not familiar with the new series then these characters will mean little if anything to you. Anyway, it's all subjective, isn't it?

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  7. I agree entirely that Warlord have the right to protect their investment (though they appear to have been a bit heavy-handed in doing so?). However, the 35mm size does bother me a lot!

    It's not just whether the figures are compatible with existing ranges or not, but using these might require a fresh investment in larger-scaled scenery, vehicles and other artefacts. I won't be doing that...

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    1. I don't know why but a lot of companies are now producing 30mm, 32mm or 35mm scale instead of 28mm scale. It's scale creep. Based on my own collection of scenery, 35mm scale figures fit in just as well as 28mm scale scenery. You'll see me using a lot more Battle Systems scenery in upcoming batreps and they ran a video on YouTube showing how different sized figures fit in with their models. There was no problem with any of them. I agree that these new sized figures will not be compatible with some ranges but that is not something that bothers me unduly. I do, however, appreciate that others will feel differently.

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  8. I'll have to keep my eye on these. My favorite Doctors (4 and 5) and companions (Leela and Romana) are probably a ways off but I'd like to paint any of them just for the pleasure of doing so. I do find the scale a bit off putting though. I haven't gamed Doctor Who before so if I did buy in I would lose any Doctors I might already have but I'm not warmed by what Warlord has done. They could have dodged an, "asshole" bullet and left cease and desist orders to the IP's owner, BBC. Some people wouldn't have been less miffed but it is their IP and they have a responsibility to someone they charged a licensing fee to produce miniatures so it would be more palatable coming from them. When a C&D comes from the producer who manipulated the scale it suggests they have some "inadequacy" issues with their own stuff. Personally I'm going to be all over the aliens for Rogue Stars as big bad aliens a little bigger just look a little bigger and badder :) . My nieces really like Doctor Who so somewhere down the road I might buy into the whole game (I think they like the 10 or 11th Doctor best :) )

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    1. Thank you so much for your comments, HP. I hope you've noticed I'm now following your own blog and I've added to my list of favourite blogs. I love your post apocalypse stuff.

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    2. Yes I did :) . When you only have 20 or so people checking in it's easy to keep tabs on everyone and find new followers immediately. Sadly, I think most of them are inactive. When I started the blog I was more 40k oriented but couldn't make up my mind and just started writing about anything hobby related that caught my interest. As a consequence I don't do a very good job of keeping or attracting readers who appreciate subjects particular to a single genre. I like making things and don't get sour about the low numbers; I can't my own interest either :) .

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  9. Nice paint work. I am still on the fence about these. They could come in useful in batman games as civilians though so will have to give them some though for special scenarios.

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    1. Thanks, Simon. I think they would fit in well with your new Batman figures.

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  10. Very nice Dr. Who figs Bryan. After seeing you paint them, I imagine I will be picking some up. Tennant and Capaldi are my favorites as well. Although Tennant was great, Capaldi has embraced the spirit of the Doctor like noone ever has since the Old series with Tom Baker.

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    1. Lovely to hear from you, Roger. I'm so pleased to find someone who likes Tennant and Capaldi as much as I do. Good man!

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