Saturday, 12 December 2015

Toybox REVIEW: The Night of the Doctor Eighth Doctor


Doctor Who may have unfortunately wrapped up for the year once again (although this year it’s only a matter of weeks between the season finale and Christmas special), but there’s plenty to get excited about when it comes to the toys. The 5.5” scale figures from Character Options and Underground Toys has been reborn in the form of a collector orientated toy line, and the releases of the Twelfth Doctor and Missy have been followed by a line of rereleases exclusive to Toys R Us and Forbidden Planet in the UK. But among these reissues is also a brand new figure – the Eighth Doctor himself as he appeared in 50th Anniversary prequel The Night of the Doctor. Once again portrayed by Paul McGann, this mini-episode featured a whole new look for this version of the Doctor before he boldly regenerated into the War Doctor.



The Eighth Doctor comes packaged in the same rectangular window box as the other 2015 5.5” scale figures, however unlike what was previously seen with the Missy figure it lacks any unique flair to it other than the name (and episode appearance) written on the front and spine. The nice big window means that every bit of the figure is on display, so if you’re lucky enough to be picking this up physically in a store you may have the opportunity to pick out the most pristine looking figure. As usual the back features a single stock image of the figure, along with a short bio describing the Eighth Doctor and the events of The Night of the Doctor. A quote from Night would have been better than the generic movie one they use on every piece of Eighth Doctor merch, but that's a pretty minor nitpick.




"Charley, C'rizz, Lucie, Tamsin, Molly, friends, companions I've known, I salute you. And Cass, I apologise.  Physician, heal thyself."

Despite an alternate Paul McGann head being included with last year’s War Doctor figure it’s important to note that NOTD version is a fact a brand new sculpt – sporting a thinner and slightly more accurate head sculpt than its predecessor. The rest of the body is equally well sculpted, and the perfect likeness of the updated outfit the Eighth Doctor wore in the episode. While in the last year or so I’ve had various issues with the quality control on Character/Underground’s Doctor Who figures, none of these are present here – in fact the paint job is near flawless. The copper colour on the waistcoat and leathery finish on the boots are the main highlights, although it’s fair to say the whole product is just a joy to look at. 

The level of articulation also feels like its been considerably upped in the last year or so, with the Doctor sporting neck rotation, ball-cut shoulders, bicep swivels, elbow hinges, rotating hands, waist joint, double-cut thighs, thigh swivels, hinged knees and boot swivels. Unfortunately while the jacket tails are made of a soft plastic, it isn't soft enough for them to bend backwards to put the Doctor in a decent sitting pose. 




In what could very much be considered a rarity for Doctor Who figures, the NOTD Eighth Doctor actually comes with a number of accessories. Sadly the line still isn’t at the point where it offers replacement hands and the like, but included here are a Sonic Screwdriver, Sisterhood of Karn chalice (which in the episode contained an elixir which triggered his regeneration into the War Doctor) and the bandolier belonging to Cass – a woman the Doctor briefly met before she met her death when he ship crashed on Karn. The Sonic and chalice fit in the Doctor’s right and left hands respectively, however it can be a bit of a squeeze at first to get them in initially – especially the Sonic which feels like it could snap in half at any given moment. However once they’re in the hands should naturally stay pried open so that any other future attempts won’t prove quite as troublesome.



If you had asked me six months ago whether there would ever be a 5.5” Night of the Doctor Eighth Doctor figure, odds are I would have laughed at you. But here we are today with what is undoubtedly one of the best Doctor Who figures to be released in a long time. Sporting a great sculpt, good articulation and a surprising variety of accessories, this figure is perfect for those looking for a more modern take on the Eighth Doctor to join their collection (a Big Finish version would just be the icing on the cake). Forget the endless costume repaints and obscure characters that the 5.5” line had to originally endure, this is the kind of “obscure” (for lack of a better word) that should be aimed for. Do yourselves a favour and get this guy while he’s still readily available – you certainly won’t regret it.

No comments: