Saturday 25 March 2023

Decoy To Denebola Part Two



It's 2008! Character have been making Doctor Who figures for a few years but have JUST announced they're making Classic Doctors and monsters. I was OVERJOYED. This was the second story to use the new classic figures (the first was New Year's Eve featuring the 6th Doctor)

Without any companions to accompany him, the function of this story was to separate him from his TV companions and establish him travelling alone for the AFT - something he never did on TV.

In the original storyline, the Doctor was to lead the Werewolf fleet to several planets, dispatching werewolves as he goes. The first planet Quinnus 5 was mentioned in The Edge Of Destruction as somewhere the first Doctor and Susan nearly lost the TARDIS. The second planet was called Abydon.

In that early draft, the Doctor displaces the TARDIS early on and uses a tracking device to find it again, at one point dropping the device down a mountainside. He clambers down to retrieve it only to have it destroyed by the werewolves!

When the werewolves force the TARDIS back to Earth, the Doctor interferes with his co-ordinate selector to steer them to a black hole. The effect would leave him unable to navigate straight back to Little Hodcombe.

The ending would have seen the armada plunged into a black hole where it is crushed. This was contrary to the Doctor's pacifist nature so I changed it to a wormhole that simply sends them to another part of the galaxy. You'll also notice that he doesn't kill any of the werewolves chasing him.

The story went through several possible titles 

Touchdown on Deneb (which I think was used in an annual?), The Deneb Diversion, The Deneb Decoy, Diversion To Deneb, Decoy To Deneb. Obviously, I picked the last one and changed the planet's name.


I shouldn't have bought the Werewolf figure. It's an amazing sculpt and wonderfully articulated but it's one of those I bought to be completist rather than because I wanted it - something I no longer do! I'm glad then that I got to use it in this story. It required a savage, brutal and unstoppable monster. I did consider using the Primeval Future Predators (they get PLENTY of use later!) but decided on the werewolf, here multiplied with the magic of photoshop. And armed with Rose Tyler's 'Girl In The Fireplace' fire extinguisher.

The Fifth Doctor figure is the Time Crash with celery version which was initially released as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive for Children In Need. I missed out on a set initially but a wonderful chum - Edmund Barnett Ward (I think I'm okay to say, 15 years later!!) sent me a set in return for a donation to CiN. I will always be grateful for his kindness.


The jungle setting for Denebola uses a variety of plastic foliage that would return over the years on AFT. There's a backdrop of a woodland background and the floor is a green "grass" sheet from a model shop. The woods near Little Hodcombe use the same backdrop and floor but the fishtank foliage is swapped out for paper tree trunks.

With few spaceships in my possession, the werewolf fleet bears a remarkable similarity to the Slitheen's Space Pig ship.

The signal device is from Spy Kids.


The shot of the Doctor flinging acid rain at the werewolf was bolstered during the edit .Sadly the edit also lost a shot of the werewolves carrying the gun that the Doctor picks up from them.
When it was originally posted, the frames were individual images. When preparing it to be reposted in 2023, I was able to combine them with white borders round the frames for the first time.


Episode One was originally posted on 23 October 2008 with part two following on 23 Nov 2008. Due to other commitments at the time, it didn't have a cover or a behind the scenes page until 23 Feb 2009.

When it was originally shown, it had a wonderful title sequence made by Aaron Vanderkley. The pages also had incidental music from The Awakening by Peter Howell.

The episodes were reposted here on 18th and 20th March 2023.


This takes place just after The Awakening in season 21. The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are taking a break in Little Hodcombe, the setting for that story, where they've come to visit Tegan's grandfather. Technically of course, the Doctor isn't alone as Kamelion is still in the TARDIS somewhere.

The HADS (Hostile Action Displacement System) was first seen in The Krotons.

Saturday 11 March 2023

The Logic Trap Part Two



A very simple cast for this one. Just the Tenth Doctor, Rose (series 2), Cybermen and Cyber Controller (Toys R Us exclusive. Or was it Woolworths?)


The AFT began life using home-made custom 4" figures but I was delighted when Character started making their 5" range. The trouble was, they were the ONLY figures in that scale at the time so finding supporting cast was next to impossible.
This was one of the stories I came up with to get round that. Essentially, a retelling of TOMB OF THE CYBERMEN.
I did consider using K-9 as the Earth robot but in order to get something new into the story, I created a papercraft robot. You can download and make your own (see below). Note the Torchwood logo on the side. A subtle series 2 touch.


I've no idea when I shot this but probably at some point during 2006, soon after the Cybermen were released.
It was one of the first times I designed sets in photoshop, all based on the Tomb of the Cybermen.
The Cybermen's transmitter is the cloud city weather vain that came with the Saga Bespin Luke Skywalker figure in 2002 with the power box and cables from the vintage tripod laser cannon and vehicle maintenance engineer.
The control panel that the Cyberman is holding is the firing backpack from the Episode 1 Sith accessory pack. The Doctor's cloaking device is an accessory from a Spy Kids figure. His bomb is an accessory from a Corps Space figure.
The TARDIS console room appears in all its glory for the first time (it had been glimpsed in a previous tenth Doctor story BACKWARDS). Also appearing for the first time is the TARDIS money box as the Police Box. The proper TARDIS exterior had yet to be released.


For its original appearance, the story was posted as individual panels so the layout isn't particularly dynamic. For this reproduction, I've put the images together into pages and added frames.
The opening EarthNet newsfeed was deliberately meant to look like the BBC website.


The story is set after AGE OF STEEL where Rose first meets the Cybermen but before ARMY OF GHOSTS/ DOOMSDAY. Despite the fact that these are 'parallel Earth' Cybus Cybermen, our story makes the assumption that such a look was also developed in OUR universe. Later Doctor Who episodes would confirm this.
The headlines on the opening page are mostly random but the 'Earth Reptile Parliament' refers to the Silurians speculating that they co-exist on Earth following the events of WARRIORS OF THE DEEP. London Seabase is a reference to climate change and an assumption at the time that London will be flooded by the 22nd Century.


This story was originally posted in early 2007. It was reprinted on 4th and 11th March 2023.