“Change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon.”
– The Sixth Doctor, The Caves of Androzani.
Yes, we are indeed getting change from Character Options, but I’m not so sure about whether it was a moment too soon. It’s no secret I loved CO’s five-inch scale Doctor Who figures, although I’ll concede that I bought a lot more of the Classic line than the NuWho figures. The reason, of course, wasn’t the scale, but rather the figures based on the current series were often victims of poor character selections and the releases were few and far between. I can tick off a dozen figures from either Series 6 or 7 that I would have bought in an instant, but we never got them. Whatever the reason, CO has decided to take the line to a more “standard” 3 ¾” scale, and I’ll concede that introduces some intriguing possibilities of The Doctor and company intermingling within my other collections. Of course, it also alienates all future releases from our existing Who collections, so whether it was worth the change remains to be seen. Today we’re checking out The Doctor!
The packaging, for all intents and purposes, is just a shrunken down version of the card and bubble that we got with the last waves of 5-inchers. The card is generic with a TARDIS illustration on the front and a circular bubble showing off the figure and the accompanying stand. The bubble insert has the figure’s name and the “DWARTIS” logo. Seeing as how that hasn’t been part of Series 7b, I wish they would have dropped it from the package design. The packaging isn’t a big deal to me, as I rip them open and toss them, but that having been said, the presentation here is just stale. Considering this is a brand new line and a brand new scale, I think CO would have been smart to rebrand them into something different and more exciting.
The back of the cards show the other figures in the line, as well as some of the cardboard playset-diorama things that are also available over in the UK right now.
When the scale change was announced, there was a lot of complaining among collectors about how that scale couldn’t possibly hold the same quality of sculpt as the old line. Soon, CO showed off a prototype of The Doctor and it assuaged a lot of people’s fears. Unfortunately, the final product is nowhere near what we saw in that original teaser figure. It’s overall pretty meh. The head sculpt is barely passable and the closer you get to it the worse it becomes. Some companies, particularly Hasbro, have had some amazing head sculpts in the 3 ¾” scale lately, and in that context this figure doesn’t fly. I doubt most could identify it as Matt Smith, but if I told someone who it was supposed to be, some might say, “oh yeah, I can kind of see the resemblance now.” There have been horror stories looming about the paint on the face. Googly eyes, mad eyes, and boss eyes have been in abundance. I’m happy to say the paint on my figure isn’t overly terrible, although there is some stray paint near his chin. Overall, the head sculpt here seems primitive.
As for the rest of the figure: You get The Doctor in his longer coat with vest, shirt, and bow tie. Bow ties are cool. The coat is sculpted in soft, rubbery plastic and hangs down below his waste and is securely glued to the torso. There’s very little sculpted detail to the coat, making it look smooth and rather unconvincing as an actual garment. The shirt and vest fare a little better. Ironically, I think the trousers and shoes look the best. The figure’s proportions are ok. Maybe his arms are a little long. His right hand is sculpted to hold his Sonic Screwdriver, which is provided.
Articulation on The Good Doctor is subpar when compared to the competition. His head can turn, his arms feature ball joints in the shoulders, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. His legs have a standard T-crotch and he has hinges in the knees. He appears to have swivel cuts at the ankles, but mine don’t seem to want to turn and I’m not going to force them and risk twisting off his feet. You can get some poses out of him, but he’s still a rather stiff figure. Swivels in the biceps and ball joints in the hips would have helped a lot.
Besides the Sonic Screwdriver, The Doctor comes with a figure stand molded to look like the “DWARTIS” logo. Again, the DW thing isn’t being used anymore, so it feels kind of inappropriate here. On the other hand, the shape and style makes for a decent stand.It is, however, fairly large considering the size of the figure, and the peg is oddly placed, so if you have the logo facing you with the figure pegged on it, there’s a lot of wasted, empty space in front of the figure.
And there we go. Character Options’ new 3 ¾’ line is off to a dubious start. Frankly, based on initial reactions around the InterToobs, I was expecting worse, and indeed comparing The Doctor to some of Hasbro’s best efforts make him look laughable by comparison. I can certainly tell this is a first foray into the scale on CO’s part because it clearly shows. On the plus side, The Doctor does scale quite well with other leading lines, so you can finally do those Doctor Who-GI JOE-Star Wars-Marvel Universe crossovers that you’ve always wanted to do. At $10 each, these he isn’t priced too badly for an import figure and I’ll be looking at the rest of the wave in the near future. I’m not at all sorry I bought him, and as we’ll see other figures in the wave fared much better. I’ll be back tomorrow to look at Clara.