Pictures have started appearing online of some of the new playsets that will release alongside Doctor Who's new range of 3.75" action figures next month. But images of a set based on the Firebird from Cold War seem to have revealed what looks like an earlier version of the unarmoured martian creature from the episode.
First, get a load of the full playset. Not bad for a tenner, looks pretty neat as a way to display your figures (or if you've got the mind of a 10 year old like me, to play around with!). There's something oddly retro, yet rather satisfying about big - and it looks pretty big if the scale of that shopped-in Ice Warrior is right - cardboard playsets:
But take a closer look at that nekkid Ice Warrior. That... doesn't look like what we got in the episode. It shares some similarities - the Claws and the overall body look right based on what we saw, and even the lighter, mottled green skin tone seemingly matches the tone we saw on the prosthetic Claws in the show. But the head is completely off. The shape's wrong, there's no scaling, the colouring of the skin tone... it definitely doesn't match what we saw when Skaldak popped off his helmet to reveal his CGI mug at the end of Cold War:
So what on earth is going on, that there's such a disparity between the toys and what we saw in the show? Some times Character Option's figures have fudged a bit of minor accuracy, but nothing on this scale.
But! After a bit of snooping, I found that this alien design did eventually crop up in Doctor Who itself - as a background character for the alien market in The Rings of Akhaten:
Now that looks more like that action figure, give or take a few changes. Take a closer look though - the jaw/mouth area does look eerily similar in shape, and texture, to what we see under an Ice Warrior's faceguard when they're suited up. The skin tone matches that of the pale prosthetics, too. And the eyes - albeit a different colour now - have that same strange slitted pupil that we see in Skaldak's orange eyes.
So what happened? Was the Ice Warrior's face suddenly changed at the last minute, requiring a CGI fizzog, leaving the prosthetic originally designed to be reused as background dressing? A sudden change like that would mean Character Options probably wouldn't have the time to change their production moulds. Or maybe the toy makers just had a bit of a cock up? Who knows, but it's always fun to speculate, even about action figures!