With a slew of releases on tap – its a great time to be a fan of Underground Toys’ lind of Classic Doctor Who toys. Right before the holidays, I was fortunate to recieve the ‘Keeper of Traken’ set from them for review. Based on characters from the pentultimate 4th Doctor adventure this set includes a jacketless 4th Doctor, a decayed Master, the Melkur and the Master’s TARDIS disguised as a grandfather clock. The set is packaged in a window box with a diorama scene for the episdode which looked great – but as I open my sets; this was short-lived.
Let’s start off by addressing the cynics who gripe about repeat figures in the boxsets – in this set you do get another 4th Doctor figure and decayed Master figure – but each is different then previous releases. The 4th Doctor figure is most changed from previous outings as he’s taken off his outer coat revealing a fantastically deco’d vest. He also now features ball jointed shoulders – enabling new ranges of motion. This release of the 4th Doctor really is a new figure. The Master figure has changes that are more subtle than the Doctor’s. Despite the Master’s appearance remaining relatively unchanged between ‘The Deadly Assassin’ and ‘The Keeper of Traken’ there were differences in the costumes and actor playing the role. Not content with a complete reissue of the ‘The Deadly Assassin’ Master from the first wave of Classics, this release features a new head sculpt; evident by the nose. This wasn’t something that Underground Toys had to do – but it really does add value to the set. A fantastic touch!
The totally new pieces in the set are the Melkur statue and the Master’s TARDIS. The Melkur is a mixture of rotomolded parts (torso, head) and traditional plastic pieces (limbs). While the articulation on the Melkur is limited; one really can’t complain about this as it is an action figure of a statue. The sculpt and deco is spot on, the only folks who could be disappointed by this figure are those who required the Melkur to do some kung-fu kicks. The Master’s TARDIS is perfect; absolutely everything you could want it to be.
The set also includes the ‘Source Manipulator Sphere’ accessory that the Doctor builds in the episdoe. The sphere is a reuse accessory from the ‘Destiny of the Daleks’ box-set and while screen accurate it also isn’t very exciting. You’re buying this set for the Melkur, TARDIS, the Doctor and even the Master.
To wrap up; I love this set – each figure in the set is different enough that it doesn’t feel burdensome to have another 4th Doctor on the shelf. If Underground Toys other upcoming releases (Enemies of th1st Doctor, Enemies of the 3rd Doctor, The Chase) are as good as ‘The Keeper of Traken’ set – I will be a VERY happy Whovian! This set is now available on preorder from Entertainment Earth – or in stock at other fine shops.