Years and years ago I used to make a bit of Pocket Money by producing Custom figures of commercially available figures for a local comic/model shop. However being a collector I never really modified any of the figures in my own collection because of the devaluation factor. Now and a gain I would come across a figure that was screaming out to be custom modified but ultimately I never bothered….because if I start collecting a line I can rarely stop until the line is cancelled.
However I have been collecting ALL the current Character Options Doctor Who Figures, and loving the effects and stories of the New Series.
The figures themselves are not as superbly crafted as some lines out there but the likenesses are pretty good . I don't think they have been 3D Laser Scanned like the Lord of the Rings Figures - instead I think they were sculpted by hand.
Early figures were less detailed but as the success of the franchise has taken off Character Options have put extra effort into adding detail and articulation to subsequent releases.
The First Figures to be released was two versions of the Radio Controlled Dalek Battle Pack .
This consisted of a regular Gold Dalek as seen in the 1st series and a second Back and Gold Dalek (not actually seen in the Series). There was a third figure included with the pack - either a Rose Tyler or a 9th Doctor figure. These were the first action figures to be released and suffered from a very basic paint job and limited articulation. The Doctor was the more detailed and better finished of the two. Copyrighted and Licensed in 2004 they were released during season 1 of the New Series in 2005.
As the popularity of the show took off a series of figure waves followed though by this time Christopher Eccleston had left the series and David Tennant had taken over , to it was the 10th Doctor that was produced as an action figure with the 9th Doctor only being available as part of the Dalek Battle pack.
Fortunately I managed to pick one up - primarily for the figure of the Doctor….but get a great kick out of having the Dalek wage infra red war on the coffee table of a Saturday evening !
Well into 2006 the Third wave of figures was released and Character Options produced an exclusive Regeneration Set featuring the 9th and 10th Doctor.
This pack comprised of a completely new sculpt of the 10th Doctor in Kriegsmarine Jacket and a repainted version of the 9th Doctor with a slightly modified head but still the original body.
The new Ecclestone head sculpt was a marked improvement, the latest version was slightly larger with a broader face and more detailed paint scheme.
However, the body still looked like a cyberman was giving him a wedgie !
While I was pleased with both figures, I had always had it in mind to buy a second set of Regeneration figures and add the head off the 9th Dr body to the more articulated body of the 10th Doctor - thus creating a unique and more pleasing custom figure.
This regeneration Set was available exclusively through Argos, though it did show up at Comic shops and speciality retailers like Forbidden planet. Over the last few months they have drifted off the pegs and are increasingly becoming more difficult to find. So when I saw a set going cheaply on Ebay recently I thought that if I was ever going to do this custom I'd better get hold of a second set now before the price goes up as the early figures become rarer and significantly more expensive.
So I bid and I won, and today my Dad called by to drop of the package.
Given that it is such a simple custom, I wasted no time and did it this afternoon.
I removed both figures from the packaging and placed them in a bowl.
I filled the bowl with boiling water and let the figures rest in the water until all the air had been expelled from the inside of the figure and the plastic had well and truly softened.
After about 5 minutes I topped up the bowl with boiling water and waited a minute more before, quickly but carefully removing the jackets a forcefully pulling the heads off the figures.
Note: you have to be very careful not to break or tear the soft vinyl arms against the rigid body plastic while removing the head this would ruin the figs.
Then I replaced the boiling water in the bowl and replaced the heads and bodies in the water letting the plastic soften again. Then using the blunt wedge screwdriver on a Swiss army knife (any BLUNT knife will do - you don't want to tear or cut the plastic) I squeezed the Eccleston head onto the Tennant body using the knife to alternately force the head into the neck hole but also to gentle separate the two rigid plastic body halves.
I let the plastic on the figures harden again and made sure the limbs and heads could turn properly. The I once more filled the bowl with boiling water and placed the figures and the soft vinyl jackets back into boiling water and replaced the jacket bodies onto the figures. Having re posed the figures so that they could stand they were run under the cold tap to make the plastic harden.
And hey presto one rather nifty 9th Doctor that doesn't look like he's been given a wedgie !
Here's a comparrison shot of the different versions of the 9th Doctor Figure
I am quite tempted to do a custom version of Captain Jack Harkness with a Trench Coat and repainted RAF shirt…. Watch this space…(if you are geek enough!)