Figure Friday: Not Just a Number – The Prisoner by Wandering Planet Toys

Right off the bat, this isn’t going to be a column about Jason from Friday The 13th. Sometimes the easy joke isn’t always the right joke…I guess I must be getting older.

Toy-wise, 2023 is already off to a rousing start for me. From the moment Josh and I stopped recording up until just now, I’ve kept myself busy with the myriad of clearance sales going on at every single big-box retailer and it is true what they say that “everyone has their price.” I may not be a Marvel Legends collector but for the low-low price of six bucks I’m now the proud owner of a Speedball action figure. It’s also a darn shame that I’m not a He-Man collector because some of that stuff has been on clearance within an inch of its life. 

On to the new business!

The Prisoner by Wandering Planet Toys

“I am not an action figure…I am a free man!”

Now here’s an answer to a question that was posed way back in April of 2021: Which The Prisoner action figure did I select when I backed the Kickstarter campaign from Wandering Planet Toys?

Before I answer that I’d like to take a moment to highlight Wandering Planet’s Kickstarter campaign, which was a text book example of how to run a crowdfunding endeavor. The communication from them was top flight and I was never unclear about anything going on or left searching for campaign information. There was complete transparency and it really gave me a new appreciation for the hurdles that smaller toy companies have to deal with when producing (and designing, and shipping to the US, and fulfilling orders, and…) new product. 

I ended up going with “The Prisoner Number 6 (First Edition) Action Figure” AND I added on a Village Foods coffee mug to my pledge. Let me tell you, when my Number 6 figure arrived it was nearly as surreal as anything that was committed to film in The Prisoner TV show. Never in my life did I imagine that there would be Number 6 action figures…maybe a Patrick McGoohan as he appeared on The Simpsons, but not this!

For now, I’m keeping my Number 6 “MoC” which is to say I’m keeping him imprisoned in his box (Eh? Eh?). That also stands for “Mint on Card” but if you’re reading this column I suspect you may have already known that. Over the last few years there has been a surge in the number of action figures that are heavily influenced by retro aesthetics, each one bearing more in common with Kenner’s classic Star Wars figures than their modern day counterparts. There’s also, in my opinion, a right and wrong way to do them.

Immediately walking that back, “right” and “wrong” are highly subjective terms and I suppose it depends on how committed you are to “the bit” as a toy designer. Over the last 40 years there have been several quantum leaps in sculpting and toy designing technology and the gap between a premium toy and one you can pick up at Target has never been smaller. While it’s true that Kenner was limited by the technology of the day, they at least got in the ballpark of where they were trying to go with respect to likenesses. It may have been off-season, but it was in the ballpark.

I’m not sure if it’s science, black magic, or equal parts of both, but in 2023 it’s now possible to get a pretty accurate likeness on figures in the 3.75 to 4-inch scale. Some toy designers are content to shovel out retro figures with generic male or female heads and that’s totally in keeping with the spirt of what the figures are supposed to be but with this figure in particular Wandering Planet produced a damn fine likeness of McGoohan. It’s a fantastic piece of ephemera from on of my all-time favourite TV shows. Heck, my dad who watched The Prisoner during its initial run was impressed by it and that’s not nothing!

If you didn’t back the Kickstarter and now have FOMO, you can still preorder some of the remaining figures from the line at Big Bad Toy Store. These figures are a must for any fan of The Prisoner.

Leave a Reply