Doctor Who – Big Finish – The Two Masters Trilogy Review

This might be a bit of a jump forward in time from my previous Big Finish audio reviews, all of which have been focused on their earlier works between 1999-2007, whereas these three audios come from 2016. So what is the reason for this sudden leap? The honest answer is, I’ve been so excited to listen to these audios that I thought the minute I finished the final part of The Two Masters then I would start my review right away before moving on to the next audio on my list, Energy of the Daleks. So without further ado, we start the review of this trilogy at the beginning – sort of.

And You Will Obey Me

and-you-will-obey-me.jpg

Listening to this audio so soon after Master was interesting in that they share a somewhat similar premise – the decayed (or, as we should probably refer to him now, the burnt) incarnation of the Master played by Geoffrey Beevers is trapped on Earth and shows signs of displaying acts of mercy, although this audio does come with a few twists and turns that eventually prove that this and Master are in fact nothing alike. The plot introduces several concepts and characters that play into the wider ‘Two Masters trilogy’ overarching plotline, which in this case involves the cripsy Beevers Master being hunted by intergalactic bounty hunters and crashing his TARDIS in Hexford 1984, only to apparently live out a humble and meagre existence before dying of natural causes and being buried in an unmarked grave in 2016. Naturally, upon hearing this, the Doctor knows that something is very wrong.

Similarly to Master, the Doctor is initially hopeful that the Master may have experienced a sudden change of heart, but in this case the truth is far more complicated and focuses on not only the Master but 4 of his associates, a group of children who initially find him and are influenced by his hypnotic power. The interactions between the Master and his saviours is interesting, and Geoffrey Beevers is as good as always as playing a sinister yet oddly charming character. Overall, And You Will Obey Me serves as both an intriguing standalone adventure as well as a great introduction to the ‘Two Masters trilogy’.

Vampire of the Mind

vampire-of-the-mind.jpg

This audio served as my first introduction to the incarnation of the Master played by Alex Macqueen, and needless to say he did not disappoint. This incarnation is far more jovial then some of his predecessors, and in a way bridges the gap between the ‘classic’ Masters and the initial ‘NuWho’ interpretation of the character realised by John Simm. Usually paired with the Eighth Doctor, this incarnation appears here in a rare example of him facing another Doctor incarnation, in this case, the Sixth Doctor played by Colin Baker. For those who do not rate Baker’s incarnation very highly compared to other Doctors, prepare to have that preconception utterly smashed by his appearance in Big Finish audios – it is the view of many that the Sixth Doctor is the best of all the Doctors audio-wise, and Vampire of the Mind is a great example of a strong and energetic performance from Colin Baker that really brings this audio to life.

In terms of plot and execution, however, Vampire of the Mind is perhaps the weakest of the ‘Two Masters trilogy’ as it lacks the obvious appeal of its successor or the intriguing character interactions of its predecessor. Also, the plot itself is somewhat strung-together – the Master’s plan seems to change somewhat as the story progresses, and even when all the pieces in play are revealed it can be difficult to figure out what the Master’s game was from the beginning. Nonetheless, Vampire of the Mind is a great listen, particularly for those who are interested in the Macqueen incarnation but don’t want to have to listen to all 16 instalments of the Dark Eyes series just yet.

The Two Masters

the two masters

And now for the climactic finale, that ties together the loose ends and cliffhanging plot developments of the previous two instalments and delivers a great 2-hour long multi-Master story that kicks off right into the action and gives some great dialogue between the two incarnations. Essentially, its everything you could ask for from a multi-Master story, particularly since at this point there had never been any others, since World Enough and Time and The Doctor Falls wouldn’t air until just over a year later.

The best thing about The Two Masters is how it parallels with multi-Doctor stories that we have seen in the past. Since this story includes two Masters, one might assume that they are working together to achieve some greater goal – the two Masters do team up at one point, but for the majority of the first half the two are at bitter war with each other across time and space, a fascinating concept of a bitter rivalry between two incarnations of the same Time Lord that has never been previously explored.

The Two Masters also contains a few plot twists of its own that explain and explore various plot threads and concepts from both And You Will Obey Me and Vampire of the Mind – although it is not absolutely necessary to listen to these two before listening to The Two Masters, it does help to understand the finer points of the story since both previous stories explain what each incarnation of the Master was doing immediately prior to meeting each other, and how their actions in the previous stories connect and flow into the main story of The Two Masters.

Another fantastic element to this story is Sylvester McCoy, who was the perfect choice of Doctor to facilitate a multi-Master story as only the Seventh Doctor could possess the Machiavellian levels of scheming to out-plot two versions of the Master at once, and Sylvester McCoy plays the devious trickster very well, and particularly here. The only real shame is that he appears here without either companions Mel or Ace, instead taking on a temporary companion for this story.

Overall, the Two Masters trilogy is definitely worth a listen, particularly for those interested in the character of the Master, the idea of multi-incarnation adventures, fans of Beevers or Macqueen or just fans of 80s-themed Big Finish audios in general, as it effectively increases the tension and stakes throughout and offers a unique angle on the Master’s incarnations and history.

So that’s my review of the Two Masters trilogy, I hope you enjoyed and if you did then be sure to leave a like, and you can follow us either here or on Facebook for more content like this. Also, check out the read more tab below for articles related to this one. Thanks for reading!

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Star Wars Astromech Droid Collection – Part 4

As well as a Dalek Collection, I also maintain a collection of Star Wars Astromech Droids, and although this collection is significantly smaller than my Dalek collection, it still warrants its own four-part series. For the final part, I will be showcasing my custom Astromech Droids, many of which I painted using existing figures as a base and replicating colour schemes and designs from the movies.

R2-X2

R2-X2

For this custom figure I used an R2-B1 figure as a base and a combination of black paint, black detailing fine liner, white paint and white paint pen to represent R2-X2, the droid seen sat behind Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles (played by a different actor) in the tactical meeting that takes place before the Death Star attack. This droid design has always been one of my favourites, and it proved quite a challenge to get looking right – the stripes on the head required particular precision.

R5-A2

R5-A2

For this custom I used yellow humbrol paint and white paint pen with Sharpee for the detailing, in an attempt to create R5-A2, the droid that passes by right in front of the camera in A New Hope before Obi-Wan Kenobi mind-tricks the Stormtroopers. Unfortunately, due to the Humbrol paint’s finish, the end result appears quite scratchy, but that does fit in with the aesthetic of a droid trundling around a desert town.

R2-C4

R2-C4

I had to create a custom of this droid to complete the trio seen on promotional material for The Phantom Menance, of R2-D2, R2-M9 and R2-C4. This droid is essentially R2-D2 in yellow, and is one of the few astromech droids to actually survive The Phantom Menace, seen it is seen as one of the droids of the pilots escaping the destroyed Droid Control ship. For this custom I sued similar yellow Humbrol paint and white paint pen that I did for R5-A2.

R3-T2

R3-T2

A made this custom using a reject R4-P17 figure, it is a clearly inferior mold with no middle foot and was going cheap on eBay. With just a bit of blue Citadel paint, bronze Humbrol and white paint pen this droid now resembles R3-T2, a droid that appears briefly in A New Hope. It may seem hypocritical of me to paint an astromech droid design that barely appears in the film when I’ve spent this entire series complaining about the huge amount of figures out there, but I’d much prefer to make them myself rather than buy them as figures in the same way that I buy more common Daleks and paint them to look unique.

R5-M2

R5-M2

This custom is probably the best of my Astromech Droid customs, as I used more matte Citadel than glossy Humbrol and so the final effect is less scratchy. Unfortunately the silver Humbrol on the body is a bit messy, and perhaps more work with a white paint pen is required. Nonetheless, the figure is decent as it is. For the base I used a newer R5-D4 figure that lacks the motivator feature, but does include the ability to take the droid apart.

I hope you enjoyed this little series on my Star Wars Astromech Droid collection, if you want to read more content like this then be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on WordPress, and be sure to leave a like on the article if you enjoyed!

Star Wars Astromech Droid Collection – Part 3

As well as a Dalek Collection, I also maintain a collection of Star Wars Astromech Droids, and although this collection is significantly smaller than my Dalek collection, it still warrants its own four-part series. Part 3 will cover a famous droid with a bad motivator, various Naboo units and another droid that looks like a Halloween special.

R2-A3

R2-A3

Created by Hasbro for a Wedge Antilles X-Wing, this droid is loosely based on Wedge’s red droid seen in A New Hope, although the colours on that droid are inverted (as in, it has a red head with silver detailing whereas this droid has a silver head with red detail.) Why Hasbro insists on making figures of Star Wars characters that either barely appear or don’t even exist at all is beyond me, but its a nice addition to the collection.

R5-D4

R5-D4

Of all the droids in Star Wars that aren’t R2-D2 and C-3PO, this is the one that is most deserving of its own figure since it at least has a scene in A New Hope. R5-D4 is the droid that Luke Skywalker originally buys instead of R2-D2, but due to a ‘bad motivator’ the droid malfunctions and internal explosions cause it to shut down. That effect can be replicated with this figure, as turning the head causes the little nodule at the top (which is presumably the aforementioned malfunctioning ‘motivator’) to emerge, which is a nice touch. Unfortunately, the manufacturers did not find a way to make the figure spew smoke in the process, so the effect is somewhat underwhelming.

R2-N3

R2-N3

One of the many astromech droids seen in The Phantom Menace that use R2-D2’s base design just with different colours, R2-N3 is seen a few times throughout the movie, both in the Theed Hangar and on the Royal Starship, before being obliterated so that R2-D2 could take the spotlight. As a possible reference to his demise, this figure had be disassembled into its component parts – dome, body, legs and feet, in case children want to recreate this poor guy’s final moments.

R2-L3

R2-L3

When Hasbro had finished scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas for figures, they removed the barrel’s underside and started digging a hole. When that hole got about 6 feet deep, they found this guy. Not that this droid doesn’t look cool, because it does – in fact its design is one of the most unique astromech droid paint jobs, and perhaps that alone makes it worth having – it’s just that the droid appears in Episode II for less than a second.

R2-R9

R2-R9

Like poor R2-N3, R2-R9 bravely ventured out onto the hull of Queen Amidala’s Royal Starship and unfortunately forgot his plot armor. Thanks to terrible writing, the Trade Federation are somehow able to precisely pick off each and every astromech droid (except R2-D2, of course, whose plot armor was well intact at this point) without actually damaging the ship itself. But whilst he was born out of a terrible movie, R2-R9 is actualized in the form of this standard quality figure, which also features the ability to be torn limb from limb.

Stay tuned for Part 4, in which I will be showcasing my Custom Astromech Droids! Remember to leave a like if you enjoyed, follow us or like us on Facebook for more content like this.

 

 

Star Wars Astromech Droid Collection – Part 2

As well as a Dalek Collection, I also maintain a collection of Star Wars Astromech Droids, and although this collection is significantly smaller than my Dalek collection, it still warrants its own four-part series. Part 2 will cover both prequel droids and original trilogy droids, including some Tantive-IV occupants and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s second droid.

R4-M9

R4-M9

R4-M9 appears near the beginning of A New Hope, trundling down a corridor on the Tantive-IV. Depending on who you ask, R4-M9 is either a Rebel droid captured by the Imperials or an Imperial droid who is being assigned to slice into Rebel computers, either way, his appearance in the film is fleeting and his impact on the story is negligible, and yet like many of his brethren, he has a figure.

R2-Q2

R2-Q2

Like R4-M9, R2-Q2 appears in the opening act of A New Hope aboard the Tantive IV, and is never seen again. Most likely an Imperial Droid given his colour scheme, R2-Q2 apparently possesses the largest map of systems in the Galaxy within his database, so perhaps the First Order should have gone to him for the location of Luke Skywalker in The Force Awakens.

R4-G9

R4-G9

After the death of R4-P17 that Obi-Wan seems to brush off with indignant indifference, he must eventually swallow his pride and ask for a replacement droid because for the middle section of Revenge of the Sith he is seen with this droid, R4-G9. This droid’s design is somewhat unique – it uses gold and bronze together on the dome, unlike most other droids which have colours that stand out from each other. R4-G9 is last seen piloting Obi-Wan’s ship away from Utapau, and so chances are he’s still flying around the Galaxy in it. This figure features a translucent eye, and if light is shone into the opening in the head the eye lights up, which is a nice feature.

 

R3-T7

This figure is weird, because is was released as part of the ‘sneak preview’ part of the toyline for Attack of the Clones, and so some people thought this droid would play a part in the movie. R3-T7 is in the film – for less than a second, and it passes by an alleyway in an extreme long shot, so its barely distinguishable from other people milling about. Regardless, a great deal of detail was added to this figure – everything from subtle scorch marks on the front to a transparent head with sculpted internal brain. The only downside to this figure is the body – it is far too long compared to other figures.

R4-C7

R4-C7

Despite not appearing in any movie at all, this droid still has its own figure, appearing in an exclusive box set of ARC-170 Elite Squadron. This figure has a great colour scheme, and the paint applications are excellent – particularly the red and yellow for the two squares just under the eye, that makes this the only astromech droid in my collection to have those as different colours. This figure is quite rare now I believe, and so it is one of the centerpieces of my collection despite having no origin movie.

Stay tuned for Part 3! Remember to leave a like if you enjoyed, follow us or like us on Facebook for more content like this.

 

 

Star Wars Astromech Droid Collection – Part 1

As well as a Dalek Collection, I also maintain a collection of Star Wars Astromech Droids, and although this collection is significantly smaller than my Dalek collection, it still warrants its own four-part series. Part 1 will cover not one but two R2-D2 figures as well as quite a rare collectible, so we begin with:

R2-D2

R2D2

The most iconic Star Wars Astromech Droid, R2-D2 is present in every main Star Wars movie and is viewed by many fans as being a ‘main character’ of the series. R2D2 is represented at two points in his life by these two figures – the left hand figure is from Revenge of the Sith, and is supposed to replicate the effect of R2D2 using his jets to incinerate Super Battle Droids. The right hand figure is R2D2 on Dagobah, complete with the extendable telescopic eye and green swamp splash on the feet and lower body.

R4-P17

R4-P17

Obi-Wan Kenobi’s droid (which he goes on to forget he ever owns) appeared in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, and is notable in being one of the few examples of a female Astromech Droid in the movies. In Episode II, R4-P17 aids Obi-Wan in his mission to Kamino, before disappearing – originally she was to appear in the arena fight, but her role was cut. She instead appears in the opening scene of Revenge of the Sith, in which she is torn apart by Buzz Droids. Obi-Wan, in all his Jedi mercy, barely notices.

R5-X2R5-X2

This figure is based off a droid working for Jabba the Hutt who appears in The Phantom Menace for about 14 seconds. The theme of ‘droids that have figures despite appearing in the film for less than 30 seconds’ will become common in this series, and this is no exception. The figure features a removable head, probably to simulate Jabba tearing the droid apart when its lack of screentime angers him.

R2-B1

R2-B1

This droid also appears in The Phantom Menace, and has slightly more screentime than R5-X2. This droid sits with R2-D2 in the belly of Queen Amidala’s ship, before being sent out onto the surface of the ship to repair some damage and blasted to smithereens by the attacking Trade Federation ships. R2-B1 has always been somewhat of a fan favourite due to his unusually contrasting colour scheme, and his determined dedication to duty.

R4-J1

R4-J1

This droid appears in Attack of the Clones for a fleeting moment, as Anakin and Padme search the cities of Tatooine. Despite this, not only does Wookieepedia have an article on the droid, but this figure was made of him as well. The parts for this droid were included with several other figures as part of the ‘Build-a-Droid’ feature in the toyline, meaning the figure can be disassembled and reassembled. Unlike many other astromech droids, the colour scheme doesn’t seem to line up with the front panels, and this isn’t a paint error, giving the droid a more unique look.

Stay tuned for Part 2! Remember to leave a like if you enjoyed, follow us or like us on Facebook for more content like this.

Doctor Who Customs Collection – Leftovers: Four Sonics and a CyberLord

Since I have done showcases of custom Daleks and Cybermen it seems only fair that I also do a tour of my other custom Doctor Who memorabilia, starting with custom sonic screwdrivers. Some of these were made quite some time ago, one in particular that I am especially proud of I finished over two years ago. Let’s see if they stand the test of time…

Custom Red Laser Screwdriver

 

This custom uses my old Laser Screwdriver toy as a template, since I had this device since 2008 and it had long since broke. I therefore decided to attempt a custom design for the Laser Screwdriver using red as the primary colour rather than yellow, which I always thought was an old choice. I painted the adjustment dial a porcelain white, and added slight damage scoring in black to the main grip and the emitter.

Custom ‘The Rani’s Sonic Screwdriver’

 

This essentially originated from the idea of ‘What if The Rani had a sonic device? What would it look like?’ and this was my answer. I painted it red to match the outfits we see her wear in the two episodes in which she appears (Dimensions in Time is not canon.) I also used purple and black paint to simulate the interior colours of her TARDIS.

Custom Alternate Sonic Screwdriver

 

This is another example of a custom being created from an old toy I had as a child. Indeed, this was my sonic screwdriver toy when I was little, it didn’t work very well and the sound eventually cut out leaving it as little more than a very weak torch that flashed green, but I loved it all the same and now it enjoys a new lease of life as my custom damaged ‘evil-looking’ Sonic Screwdriver. I was fascinated by the idea of the claws being a different material to the rest of the device, at one point I even considered attempting to make it look as though the claws were made of the same crystalline-like substance as the emitter, but this seemed too challenging. I added damage to the inside of the device that is visible only when it is extended, and painted on significant wear and tear to the handle and the interior. Overall, I think it turned out quite well.

Custom Alternate River Song Sonic Screwdriver (BOXED)

 

For whatever reason at the time, I decided to box up this custom in its original packaging. For anyone wondering, this custom uses the inferior ‘single-colour’ cheap alternative River Song Sonic Screwdriver and not the original, better version with the working LEDs on the inside, so don’t panic. It is boxed in the packaging of the better version, however, so if I ever sell it I shall have to make that clear. Nevertheless, the sonic underwent several paint jobs over the years as I bought this sonic to replace my Matt Smith version only for this one to be rendered obsolete when they released the War Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, my personal favourite.

Bonus – Custom CyberLord Figure

 

I have included this here at the end simply because I don’t know where else to put him. He didn’t feature in my Damaged Cybermen Collection Tour because he isn’t damaged, but he is a custom so I will showcase him here. This started as a hand-me-down  Cyber-Leader figure that I purchased at a ComiCon in London, with the middle panel already missing. The face was also badly worn away – so worn in fact that the face mask almost looked black. This game me an idea for a custom, and this is the result. I used black Humbrol paint on the facemask, ‘ears’, pipes and back panels which gives it a nice shiny metallic finish.

I hope you enjoyed this impromptu Customs Collection Tour, remember to Like if you enjoyed, Share to help me out and Follow Sacred Icon for more content like this!

 

Classic and New Series Dalek Customs Collection Tour – Davros Customs

Welcome to the next instalment in a series of Dalek customs showcases, this will essentially be a tour through my collection of Classic Davros figures as well as several custom-made New Series Davros variants that have been custom painted. All of these customs are made by me unless stated otherwise in the description.

Genesis of the Daleks and Destiny of the Daleks Davros Figures:

I’m bundling these two in together since they’ve technically both appeared in my 1970s-era Dalek Customs Collection Tour, but putting them side-by-side also helps to point out the various differences between these two figures. The detailing on the heads is mostly correct, with the Genesis figure having paler skin and blue wires and the Destiny figure having a slightly altered face and red wires. However, I am at a loss to explain why the Destiny figure has such an odd colour scheme – the skin appears far too dark, and the chair is grey, which is an odd choice but at least this helps to make it stand out compared to the Genesis figure, particularly since they are the same sculpt. The detailing on the control panels is excellent, and overall these are very well-made figures.

Resurrection of the Daleks / Revelation of the Daleks Davros Figure:

My personal favourite of the traditional Davros figures, this version of Davros is actually the Revelation Davros, but he is essentially identical in both episodes save for some minor detailing so I never felt it necessary to purchase the other version. This Davros, like all the previous Davros figures, has a removable panel on his chair, although this is the only Davros figure in which this is actually relevant since this only occurs on-screen in Resurrection of the Daleks. Nonetheless, the Davros sculpt is very good, the new head is very accurate and overall it captures his spindly, hunched and withered appearance perfectly.

Remembrance of the Daleks Dalek Emperor Davros Figure:

Probably one of my favourite Dalek figures of all time, this version of Davros represents his final form at the conclusion of Remembrance of the Daleks, in which it is revealed that he was in fact the Imperial Dalek Emperor the whole time. This figure is near-perfect, with a great use of the Davros head sculpt with a newly formed body and external shell that perfectly captures how he appears onscreen. My only slight complaint with this figure is the paint applications to the Davros figure itself, since the wires and the paint stripes don’t quite line up properly, and in the episode Davros’ face was much more blackened around the mouth, making him look much more visceral in the show than ever before. Despite these minor flaws, this figure is still a crucial focal point of my collection and I am so glad that I bought it when I did, since prices have since skyrocketed to the point where this figure in the two-pack boxed set with the Destroyed Imperial Dalek can sell for as much as £150.

New Series Imperial Dalek Davros Custom Figure:

This is the first Davros figure in this Collection Tour that is actually a custom of mine, but it won’t be the last. This repainted New Series Davros figure is supposed to represent the transitional phase between Davros as the Emperor Dalek and Davros from the Time War, also referred to as the ‘Juggernaut’ Davros. I used the hand of a Dalek Sec Hybrid figure to restore Davros’ old hand, since a genetic engineering genius like himself would certainly know how to graft a new hand onto his body rather than settling for a crude robotic replacement. The paint applications were particularly tricky, especially since it was white matt paint over a pre-existing black base, but after several coats it formed a solid colour. I used Humbrol metallic gold for the detail and matt grey for the suit of Davros himself.

New Series Time War Davros Figure:

When Davros returned in the New Series, fans were happy to see that continuity had been left intact with the installation of a new robot hand and improved life-support chair to match the newly upgraded Daleks. However, I feel like an element of what made Davros Davros was lost in the new design. Gone was the spindly, hunched and withered body of the original Davros, now replaced by a big beefy chair. His weak, pathetic Palpatine hand was now a stocky metal claw, and whilst the new Davros looks awesome, a crucial element of his character was lost in this new design, in my opinion. Still, the figure is excellent, a near-perfect recreation of Davros as we see him in The Stolen Earth / Journey’s End and an essential for any Dalek collector.

New Series Infirmary Davros Custom Figure:

This was another custom that was just so much fun to make. Customising a Davros figure is never a chore, particularly when there is a wealth of source material to go off of, and the version of Davros that we saw in The Magician’s Apprentice / The Witches’ Familiar essentially gave us an idea of what Davros had looked like had he appeared in the Dalek Asylum. A battered and beaten-up version of his Time War chair would have made a nice touch in the episode, but I recreated that here in an attempt to represent the damage inflicted on it by the destruction of the Crucible, an even which he barely escaped from alive. Although it is never explained how he escaped, whatever happened certainly took its toll on the Dark Lord of Skaro, since he appears sick and weak. I recreated this using glossy paints on his face to give him an ill look, black detailing to bring out the gaunt features and scuffing and detailing on the chair to make it look battered and weathered. And that’s not all…

Bonus – Removable Davros Custom Figure:

That’s right, just like the episode, this Davros has a removable torso! Unfortunately I don’t have a legless Twelfth Doctor figure that I can shove inside, but that might be an idea for the future. In the meantime, this Davros is near-fully articulated. I had to sacrifice head movement to modify the figure to give him a more hunched-over appearance while in the chair (and also to make it so that he can actually look straight ahead while on the floor) but his other arm that I salvaged from a broken Auton figure is articulated, with a moving elbow. If positioned correctly he can prop himself up or lie helplessly on the ground. I made this custom using a hacksaw to cut the pieces to fit, hot glue and green paint to simulate his Kaled blood and various spare parts, wires and bits of plastic to either act as his mechanical innards or to adhere to his chair to give it the look of being held in the Skaro medical facility. Undoubtedly this is a custom that I am very proud of and I hope you enjoyed!