Friday, 4 April 2014

Toybox REVIEW: Doctor Who 5" The Other Doctor

The Other/War Doctor, choose a name.

Most of my Doctor Who figure reviews these days are opened with my lamenting the demise of the long-standing 5" scale line in favour of the newer 3.75" scale, but for once here's a review of a brand new figure that isn't a remould or re-release! Even if this scale is on its way out (and those signs are increasingly pointing to 'yes'), Character Options and Underground Toys have conjured up one last hurrah with a figure that would sorely be missing from people's collections had it not been made. Appearing in the 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor and played by the legendary John Hurt, here is the long awaited 5" Other Doctor figure. Of course, the "Other Doctor" is a stupid name that's being used on all his merchandising, so for the rest of the review I'll be referring to him by what most fans call him - the War Doctor.

Special plastic packaging

Oh hi John HurtLots of fun to be had inside

Over the few years of the 5" line we've seen a variety of different packaging types, but with the majority of releases being box sets these days the remnants seemed to have firmly settled on cardboard boxes. However the War Doctor changes things up yet again, coming in a plastic oval-shaped cylinder not too dissimilar to the ones the Eleventh Doctor Sonic Screwdriver toy was packaged in at one point. The figure was naturally released as part of the 50th anniversary and so features the relevant logo on the front, while the back side features a short bio of the War Doctor and the initial poster picture of him looking badass. Once you take the plastic tray out of the cylinder, you can clearly see that the backing slip is a detailed picture of The Moment cube.

"No more!"

A look at the figure from the frontAnd from the back

As far as the general sculpt goes, I think I'd go as far as to say this is one of the best we've had in the line in a long time. The length of time it took to come out in the first place suggests that a fair bit of craft went into it (or it could just be the usual Character Options delays, but I'll stay positive), but the John Hurt likeness is excellent and the paint job superb. The colouring on the jacket does a great job of replicating that beat up leather jacket look that you can't really get without actual fabric. Articulation on these figures has always been pretty hit and miss, but thankfully the War Doctor takes the best of what's available. In total there's head swivel motion, ball-jointed shoulders and hips, hinged elbows and knees and finally swivel motion in the biceps, hands and upper legs. The only downside is that while the coat is made of a soft plastic, it does get in the way a bit when moving the legs backward. 

"Timelords of Galifrey, Daleks of Skaro..."

"Timey Wimey?!""No More...again."

Like most Doctor Who figures the War Doctor is pretty bare bones when it comes to accessories, however he still comes with a few things to make this release all the more special. Obviously there's his own custom Sonic Screwdriver, which being tiny is pretty light on the details. It's also made of a really soft and bendable plastic, so be careful when trying to force it into the figure's clenched fists. Secondly there's a closed version of The Moment - the deadly Time Lord weapon that sets the events of The Day of the Doctor into motion. While in reality its just a bit plastic cube, it's superbly detailed and makes a nice seat for the Doctor as well as a nifty accessory piece. Owning this has also made me realise I'd buy a Billie Piper Moment figure before I'd buy a Billie Piper Rose figure - does that make me a bad person?

"I'm a Doctor...""...but probably not the one you were expecting."

And of course, I've saved talking about the best accessory for last. Also included in this special set is a brand new Eighth Doctor headsculpt, based on his appearance from the 50th anniversary minisode The Night of the Doctor. The heads are held on via a plug and can be easily switched, and should you wish a bit more variation (like I did) the scarf can also be removed from the figure when changing out the heads. This is perhaps the best sculpt of Paul McGann yet, appeasing not only fans of his appearance in Night but also those who are a fan of the new short-haired look he's sporting in the recent Big Finish audios. Admittedly this isn't anywhere close to the costume the Doctor wore in Night, but the odds of getting that as an individual figure is probably next to nothing (Eight has only received two figures beside this, both in sets). This is a fair compromise and a brilliant bonus for what could easily be one of the last figures we get in the 5" range. It was certainly enough for me to buy two anyway, and that's something I don't think I've ever done with a figure that wasn't a Dalek before...

"Physician, heal thyself."

In the lead up to The Day of the Doctor, I thought I was going to hate the War Doctor. The idea of a forgotten regeneration just slammed into the middle felt like blasphemy to me. But while I'm still coming around to whole way the numbering works now, John Hurt's performance really sold me on the character and the story definitely made the concept work. So much that I'd feel sad if I couldn't include "the Doctor from the day it was impossible to get it right" in my collection somehow. And CO/UT have really come through releasing this figure in the 5" line first, as the end result is arguably one of the best Doctor Who figures the company has produced. Sure the Paul McGann head doesn't make it work as a Night of the Doctor figure, but that's just an extra. And if the extras are this good, then you know that the figure must be some REALLY special...

...but please, don't let this be the last of the 5" figures. We need a 12th Doctor/Peter Capaldi on the double!

1 comment:

Straker said...

I really like this set but I really wish that CO had made his left hand open as opposed to another O shaped fist like the right hand. Also, as much as I love that McGann head, it just doesn't work too well on that body. For some reason he looks too short and stocky with it and with the wardrobe being Hurt's costume it looks wrong on Mcgann. Hurt looks right on that body though. I would have LOVED Co to have made a Night of the Doctor body with the correct costume for McGann, but I suppose they are trying to save money and all that.