Saturday, 23 July 2011

The Action Figure Test

Since you probably don’t come here for gloomy introspection about the future of humanity... this week we also saw the first pictures of Mego-style Doctor Who figures (although not by Mego) and Sideshow-style sixth-scale high-end dolls (although not by Sideshow) as well as the new classic-era packaging that we're getting the Leela figure in. Which got me thinking about the original actually-by-Mego toys that I got several of when I was three and a half or so.

Ten years ago, the long-dead-alas Quarterbin once proposed tests for the fun-ness of comic characters, including the Action Figure Test. (Among others, like the Index Card and the Kid With A Towel test.)

(Noting that a number of actual Doctor Who characters made into action figures fail this test spectacularly.)

So, how would your character fare as a figure, assuming they were released reasonably promptly?

(And I did this for real with The Watch House.)

To take the example of The Door In Time, Kai with his sonic cane would be a safe sell, original Effie perhaps less so, Young Effie maybe more, Dan with service revolver, Nimue with maybe a floating stand and blue transparent glowy thing that fits over her head... Gabriel would sell okay, but a light-and-sound replica toy of his scanner might well sell better.

The Daleks would of course get a box to themselves. Tarokka and Vas Murb would sell, the clockwork Romans, ice wolves, Kai 2, the Christmas special’s collapsible robot assassins (two in a pack - displayed with one folded up in the box and one opened up)...

Alan Turing, Amelia Earhart and the terracotta soldiers probably wouldn’t get figures, as none of the real-world characters in Doctor Who have (although Dickens and Van Gogh are available in another company’s line of 5” scale novelty figures based on history and public-domain pop culture).

So how would your group fare in the battle for the Christmas toy charts?

And if you’re looking for an adventure idea, consider this one...


The Down-To-Earth Toymaker

The TARDIS crew, doing some late/early shopping for a birthday, are perplexed to find toy Daleks, Cybermen and the like on the shelves of Henrick’s. A recent dramatisation of the Dalek conflicts and assorted other near-apocalypses has lead to someone tapping the market for collectibles.

(Or, to really get the PCs’ goats, they land in a parallel universe where someone has received news from their Earth and turned it into fiction... inspired by the idea that aside from occasional alien invasions, the main difference in popular culture in the Whoniverse is the big gap where Doctor Who should be... And the actors playing the PCs are wrong in so many ways, and what do you mean my figure doesn’t sell?)

And what are the odds of the 5” Daleks not being part of some wicked scheme by the Nestene?

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