Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Retro-Style Figure by Bif Bang Pow

[The sheer insanity of Classic Doctor Who figure releases continues, as Character Options has announced two new sets of 5-inch figures this week. Both are two-packs. One is based off of “Attack of the Cyberman” featuring yet another variant of the lovely Ms Perpugillium Brown and what appears to be a rogue Cyberman. The other, based off of “Remembrance of the Daleks” features Davros as the Dalek Emperor and a destroyed Imperial Dalek. Photos have also surfaced of a “Seeds of Doom” set with another 4th Doctor and a Krynoid, but that one has yet to be officially confirmed. But today, we’re actually looking at some Classic Who figures that were not churned out by Character Options. In fact, these guys were licensed and made by an American company! Ok, enough preamble… on with the figure!]

I can’t tell you how many times I waffled back and forth over buying these figures. On the one hand, they’re retro-style figures based on an episode from the 70’s and that’s pretty nifty because this style of toy matches so well with the vintage characters. On the other hand, I don’t collect a lot of the Mego style figures. I like them well enough when the style fits the license. The Real Ghostbusters figures worked well with the style, and I still have a hankering to pick up the ones BBP did of Flash Gordon and The Dude from The Big Lebowski, but generally speaking these guys aren’t really my thing.

I’ve also been iffy on the prototypes BBP showed off from the beginning and I haven’t exactly been impressed with the few Bif Bang Pow toys that I own. I guess I’m still bitter over my Ming the Merciless’ arm falling off right out of the package. Nonetheless, when I saw the in-package shots of the finished products, I simply had to have these. Thus came my second dilemma. I really intended on buying these and not opening them because they looked so good in the packages. On the other hand, I hardly ever buy toys without the intent of opening them. The obvious solution was to buy two sets, but at $20 a pop, I wasn’t about to do that. So I opted to let fate decide. If the figures arrived with the packaging in excellent condition, I would leave them carded. If they arrived with the packages all miffed, I would open them. And the results are…
Holy Hell!!! Well, the shipping gods were pretty definitive in their answer. These figures are without a doubt in the worst condition I’ve ever had toys shipped to me. Not only are the cards warped, the edges look like they’ve been chewed on by a small dog, and they were taped together with the kind of postage tape that takes all the print off the card when you try to remove it. There was clearly maliciousness at work here. They were shipped for free, though, so I guess I can’t complain too much, plus I guess I’ll be saving some money on clamshells from zoloworld. Let’s take a look at the packages and then rip these bitches open.
In the traditional Mego style, The Doctor come in a coffin-shaped bubble and mounted offset on a simple cardback. The usual practice with the Mego-style is to just let the figures rattle around loose in the bubble, but The Doctor is cradled on a partial inner tray with a twisty tie holding his neck in place and another tray holding his Sonic Screwdriver accessory. His hat is off and at the bottom of the bubble, which was a good choice because, as we’ll see in a bit, the hat would have been better left out. There’s a small hologram sticker on the back of the package that identifies the figure number in a series of 3000 produced. Considering how easy these figures are to get, that limitation seems kind of suspicious.

So, I’m particularly fascinated by the packaging BBP used because it’s identical in design to the new retro style packages adopted by Character Options for their 5″ action figure line. I’ve never seen two different companies produce their own toy lines based off the same license and use an identical style of packaging, and yet here it is. It even uses the same little Timeline of Doctors down on the bottom of the card. It’s weird, but I’m very glad they did it, because I adore this new deco and it works really well with the Mego-style cardback.
Once out of the package, I’ve got to admit that The Doctor looks pretty good. BBP frequently showed off a prototype with a horribly oversized head, and while we shouldn’t expect perfect proportions out of this style of figure, the final result is pretty close. The head is soft and squishy, but the sculpt is a fine likeness to actor Tom Baker. Granted, anything would have been better than the prototype shown at the expos, but I can genuinely say that I’m happy with the final result.
BBP also did a fine job with The Doctor’s iconic outfit. He has a brown jacket, complete with elbow patches, a checkered vest, a necktie and a white shirt, plain kakhi trousers and plastic boots. The clothing fits him very well and everything is nicely stitched. The scarf is without a doubt a big win for this figure. Afterall, the mile long scarf is The 4th Doctor’s most iconic accessory and to be able to do it in real cloth is pretty cool, and it looks great on the figure.
As mentioned, The Doctor comes with a plastic fedora. The sculpt is good, it just doesn’t fit right on his head, thanks to the sculpted mop of curly hair. I’m not going to blame BBP for this snafu, since we’ve seen plenty of problems with toy companies trying to get Indiana Jones’ fedora right on larger scale figures. Either way, the hat isn’t a must, so I’m happy to just have him holding it, or setting it aside all together. The other accessory is the Sonic Screwdriver, which is a nice little sculpt and he can hold it well in either hand.
More than anything else, I bought this figure out of a sense of obligation. Sure, I already have shelves and totes bursting with Doctor Who figures and toys, but here was a Fourth Doctor figure actually licensed and sold by an American toy company. There was never any doubt that I had to have it. In the end, I was a lot more impressed than I thought I would be and I can genuinely say I’m extremely pleased with the way the figure turned out. I should even note that the joints are pretty solid for a Mego style figure and The Good Doctor doesn’t have much difficulty standing up on his own. As for the price, twenty bucks seems like a lot for a Mego style figure, but I’d dare say that the sculpting and clothing on this figure goes above and beyond what we’ve seen on a lot of figures in this style. BBP really hit a homerun on this one.

I was going to look at both The Doctor and Sontaran Field Major Styre together, but I’ve ran kind of long with this one, so I’ll be back tomorrow to check out The Sontaran.

One comment on “Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Retro-Style Figure by Bif Bang Pow

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