The Prisoner Official Action Figures from Wandering Planet
Review by Chris Jenkins.
It was in April 2021 that Wandering Planet Toys launched a Kickstarter campaign to produce officially licensed action figures based on The Prisoner. Judging by the fact that 2,000 backers pledged over $200,000 towards what had initially been a $20,000 goal, the campaign went well. The final orders have now been fulfilled, and all the items are out of stock, so what did you get if you had the patience to wait two years to receive the goodies?
First, a word about the style of the figures. There's a trend in the toy market at the moment to produce 'retro' style 3-1/2 to 4-inch figures, nominally 1/18th scale, in a rather stiff, dummy-like style similar to that of the original Kenner Star Wars toys from the 1970s and 1980s. Wandering Planet's Prisoner figures are very much in that style, so do not expect dynamically styled, highly poseable figures. If you like this retro style, you will be very satisfied. (Technology has moved on since the 1970s, with modern laser scanning and 3D modelling techniques making it possible to produce very detailed, realistic and dynamically posed figures; but of course, Patrick McGoohan was not available to be scanned, so the features of these figures, while showing some skill in the sculpting, cannot be said to be photographically accurate).
The packaging, too, is very retro, with colourful photographic backing cards and the figures in transparent bubbles. It seems inevitable that many collectors will never remove the figures from their packaging, and who can blame them when the presentation of the product is so fine?
Despite some distribution difficulties, which involved sacking one fulfilment company, Wandering Planet did a very good job of keeping subscribers informed at every stage of the production process. So, depending on when and how much you subscribed (up to $245 for the 'Degree Absolute' package), what was on offer?
The single action figures are nominally four inches in height, with articulation at the neck, shoulders and hips, which gives only the slightest of options for posing. All the Number 6 figures are similar except for colours of clothing; those for Arrival (all in black) and Beach Escape (beige trousers, blue top, black jacket with white piping) wear no badge; those for First Edition and Checkmate wear a badge, and the Checkmate figure has a colourful cape and a chess pole.
Then there are two "two-packs" of figures based on the episodes Free For All (No 6 with straw hat, Eric Portman's No 2 with scarf, and accessory bullhorn, rosettes, umbrella and phones); and The Schizoid Man , with No 6 in black and No 12 in white, with fencing masks, épées and target pistols. The box packaging for these two-packs is particularly creative.
Lastly, there's a 'Rover' edition of the First Edition figure, in a bubble-shaped package which can be opened to remove the figure, then resealed for freshness!
To complete the bundle there are some desirable display accessories, including green grass display stands with little pins to connect to the figures' feet, a penny-farthing display stand, a reversible backing card with scenes from The Village, and even a small inflatable Rover (though this is more of a toy than a model). Early subscribers also received llimited edition T-shirts.
Clearly, this whole project has been a labour of love for Wandering Planet (the principals of which are animators and toy fans), and there is talk of a second wave of figures including a Leo McKern No 2, a Butler, a Kosho No 6, and even a No 2 chair. The possibilities are of course endless, and judging by the success of the first wave there will certainly be more to come, though the production process is by no means swift.
You may quibble about some of the design decisions on these first wave figures - the hair colour seems particularly bizarre, a sort of milky coffee shade - and it may have made more sense to offer a wider selection of characters in the first wave, rather than six variations of No 6. But it's hard to think that any fan of The Prisoner would not be happy to own and display these figures. Now, where can I find a 1/18th scale Mini Moke?
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