The Doctor’s Wife was easily my favorite episode of Doctor Who from part one of Season Six, and certainly ranks up there as one of my all time favorites of the 11th Doctor’s adventures. It was a wonderfully sentimental nod back to the Doctor’s relationship with his oldest and longest travelling companion, The TARDIS itself. We also once again got to see the console room used by the 9th and 10th Doctors and for the first time since Doctor Who returned in 2005, we got to see some more of the TARDIS’ labrynthine interior. If that wasn’t enough, the episode was also cool as it had The Doctor cobbling together a working console room out of the scavenged remains of an untold number of crashed, derilect TARDISes. The resulting Junk TARDIS design was even based on the winner of a Blue Peter contest. What’s better than getting your TARDIS design used in an episode of Doctor Who? Getting a toy made out of it as well!
The playset comes in a regular box with the Series 5/6 blue deco and logo. It’s covered with images of the playset and points out the various features. Unlike most boxed Doctor Who toys, there’s no window or anything to see inside, and that’s because most of the box is filled with a bunch of parts of plastic and a baggie of cardboard walls. I suppose CO could have put a window in the box to show the console itself, which comes completely assembled, but the box is certainly attractive enough the way it is. Unfortunately, the set up is not at all collector friendly. The set is definitely not designed to be taken apart once its assembled, so it’s never going back into the box again. The box makes several points of stating that there are no action figures included, and that’s one of the biggest wasted opportunities with this set. But we’ll get to that later on.
Building the set is pretty straightforward, but you definitely want to read the instructions because there are some steps that need to be done in the right order and once you snap some of this stuff together, there’s no going back. If you put together the 11th Doctor’s Console Room Playset, then you’ll be familiar with what its like to put the printed cardboard walls into the plastic framework. It’s actually easier this time around because none of them are curved or as large. The plastic is pretty good quality, although it was really tough for me to get the console plugged into the floor and once I did, it was clear it wasn’t going to come out again. I was hoping it would be removable like the console on the regular TARDIS playset, but I’m not about to risk taking it out and breaking the tabs.
Once everything is together, the set looks great. I’m normally not a proponent of using cardboard in playsets, but it worked fine in the regular TARDIS playset and it works even better here. The cardboard walls cover both the interior and the back exterior of the playset, and are very well secured in the framework, making the whole playset is very sturdy. Granted, a lot of that has to do with the set’s compact size. It seems to be scaled pretty closely to the on screen version, but it’s still designed to only accomodate two figures.
The console itself is mostly sculpted in one piece, although the Time Rotor can be removed and one of the hexpanels can be removed as well. The combination of junk controls and the overall look of the console and Time Rotor really make this feel like a fusion between the 11th Doctor’s console and one of the Classic Consoles. Once again, I really wish the console could come out easily, since it’s tough to appreciate the segments of the console up against the back wall.
The Junkyard TARDIS set me back $36, which would be an outrageous amount if this were a domestic release. It looks great, and has a few nice gimmicks, but it still feels like it’s missing something and that’s where the missed opportunity comes in. Call me crazy, but I really think CO should have included the Idris figure with this set, either instead of, or in addition to the single carded release. In the end, though, I think the real appeal of this playset will be the fact that it really does have a lot of characteristics of a Classic Console Room, and right now it’s the closest thing we’ve got. Either way, it’s a really cool display piece.