So far CO’s new 3 ¾” action figures aren’t exactly lighting my fire. In fact the first two we looked at, The Doctor and Clara, were barely passable and that’s even with me grading on a really generous curve on the count of I love all things Doctor Who. Well, today we’re cranking things up a notch with a look at the new 3 ¾” scale TARDIS. I am fortified with Jameson and ready to go…
The TARDIS comes in a window box that reminds me a lot of the packaging for the last five-inch scale TARDIS I purchased. I believe that was the “Christmas Adventure Set.” In any event, the point is that the package still retains a lot of the same look as the older figures, right down to the now (thankfully) obsolete “DWARTIS” logo. Ok, BBC, enough with that shit already. Get rid of it! The window gives you a pretty good look at the TARDIS inside and the back and side panels point out some of the various features. There’s no “Try Me” feature, as the TARDIS does not come equipped with the three AAA batteries that you’ll need for the FX. The box is collector friendly and unlike the last TARDIS I bought, this one is pretty easy to get out.
While I think I shall always prefer the super weathered and decrepit look of the 70’s TARDIS, I’ve become pretty fond of the one currently used in the series, particularly the return of the “St. John’s Ambulance” crest. CO’s new version is more or less just a scaled down version of the last 11th Doctor TARDIS, albeit there is a brand new illustration inside depicting the current console room interior. Seeing as how the Classic TARDIS toys haven’t had any inserts, I wasn’t expecting this, and it is a very welcome inclusion. The front doors are still independently spring-loaded and they will each lock in an open position. The door for the phone cubby doesn’t open, but that’s fine with me. The “Police Box” and “Pull to Open” signs are all stickers, which seem pretty strongly affixed. The coloring is nice and the wood texture is all sculpted in, making this a great looking toy with little detail sacrificed for the drop to the smaller scale.
On the down side, CO chose to put the battery compartment on the back of the TARDIS instead of on the bottom, or perhaps inside. That means that while the toy looks great when viewed from three of the four sides, the back looks ugly, with a big seam running through the doors and an exposed screw head. In fairness, this was a problem on the some of the other TARDIS toys they’ve released. It’s not a critical flaw to me, as my TARDIS inevitably wind up standing in display cases with the back to the wall and out of sight.
What’s that? You say you want gimmickry? Well, they don’t call this the “spin and fly” TARDIS for nothing. It comes with a clear plastic base that you can plug into the bottom so you can spin it! It does not, however, fly, and CO made the effort to point that out on the package! The spinning gimmick does nothing for me, but this is a line designed for kids, so it gives me no small delight to know that kids somewhere will be running through their houses spinning their little toy TARDIS with glee!
The lights and sound are confined to the flashing lamp on the top and the demat and remat sounds. As with past TARDIS toys, the sounds are activated when you pick up the TARDIS or put it down. The SFX on this one are on par with the very first Flight Control TARDIS, which is a very good thing. Some of the recent SFX TARDIS releases have had a truncated sequence, but here it’s nice and long and I love it. The lamp flashes during the demat and remat sequences and then stays lit for a short while after and eventually goes into sleep mode.
This new 3 ¾” scale TARDIS costs around $20 to $25 depending on your importer. I always recommend the amazing folks at Who North America for all you Doctor Who merchandising needs, but they are currently sold out. As for the value, I’m probably the wrong person to ask, because I’m willing to pay almost anything for Doctor Who toys and merchandise, so when you offer me a TARDIS that’s scaled with so many of my other collections, I’m happy to plunk down the Andy Jackson and not think twice. In the end, this is an excellent toy, possibly proving that there’s hope for the 3 ¾” line yet.
Ok… now let the crossovers begin!