The Day of the Doctor was a HUGE deal for me. Not only did it celebrate the 50th Anniversary of a show that I’ve been watching since I was about 12, but I also got to see it in a packed theater surrounded by kindred fans. It was a magical experience and one that I never in a million years could have guessed would come to pass back when I was just a wee lad crouched in my room in front of my shitty wood grain B&W television and fidgeting with a rabbit ear antenna. DotD also showcased the show’s ridiculous resiliency. Want to gather the last three Doctors but Christopher Eccleston is being a turd about it? Not a problem. We just upgrade to the brilliant John Hurt and fill in the blanks in a way we never would have guessed but still worked perfectly. I expected it to be a celebration of Tennant and Smith, but who could have guessed that Hurt would step into the role like he had been part of it all along? Of course like all good geeks, once the excitement of the thing had passed and once I’d watched it a dozen times, I lamented the fact that there would never be a War Doctor to stand among my 5-inch figures. Thankfully, Character Options did the right thing and brought the NuWho 5-inch line out of retirement to give us collectors what we wanted.
The package is unlike anything we’ve seen for the 5-inch line, although the oblong plastic tube does bear a slight resemblance to the packages used for the Sarah Jane Adventures figures. It’s clear all around with a printed insert that reflects the show’s logo in beautiful foil lettering with a silver “50 Year” TARDIS emblem to boot. The package shows off the figure and accessories and the inner tray is set upon an illustrated backdrop of The Moment, the last of the forbidden weapons locked away in the Arsenal of Omega. Up until this story, I always assumed it was the Eighth Doctor who fought the Time War, but now we know different. My only gripe about the packaging is a small one. It identifies the figure as the “Other Doctor” while I vastly prefer the moniker of “War Doctor.” Still, maybe it’s a clever nod to the redemption the Hurt Doctor receives by the end of the story. Let’s take a look at the figure.
After suffering through a couple waves of the pretty shitty 3 ¾” figures, seeing CO work their magic in the 5-inch scale again is like a breath of fresh air. The War Doctor is absolutely stunning in every detail and it makes me weep even harder for the death of this line. Of course it doesn’t hurt that I love this character design so much. The Doctor dons his battle-worn coat, bandolier strap, scarf, and knee-high spats. He looks rugged and war-torn, threadbare and hardened. The coat is the usual soft plastic “vest” laid onto the figure with the arms sculpted as sleeves and it looks magnificent, largely thanks to the dry brushing that gives it that weathered look. Beneath it you can see the painted chain of his pocket watch and the silver plating of his bandolier. They even bothered to paint and sculpt the haphazard buttoning down the sides of his spats. Brilliant!
More often than not CO succeeds with their portraits, and this Doctor is no exception. Hurt’s grizzled likeness is wonderfully recreated here with a solemn look as if he’s about to scold his future selves about their idiotic brandishing of their sonic screwdrivers. I think this portrait is among their best work. Even his eccentric peaked hairstyle looks perfect.
It’s somewhat ironic that while having been the oldest person to play the role, Hurt’s figure is among the most articulated of all the Doctor figures we’ve seen so far. The arms feature the elusive ball joints that have only appeared on a handful of the 5-inch Doctors. There are swivels in the biceps, hinges in the elbows, and swivels in the wrists. The legs are hinged at the hips to allow for lateral movement, have hinged knees, and swivels at the boot tops. The Doctor can swivel at the waist and at the neck.
The Doctor comes with two accessories. First, you get the sonic screwdriver, which should be obvious, but considering the last 10th Doctor figure I bought didn’t have one, I suppose it’s a welcome treat. It’s not much to get excited about, but it does appear to be a new sculpt and he can hold it in either hand.
But best of all, you get The Moment, which looks like a Gallifreyan Hellraiser cube. I loved the design of this thing in the show and CO did a fine job recreating it here. Sure, it’s just a plastic box, but there’s plenty of detail and paintwork including gears and Gallifreyan writing. It’s a beautiful little piece of clockwork engineering and the next best thing to getting a Billie Piper Moment figure bundled in.
And then there’s the inexplicable inclusion of the extra Paul McGann head. Swapping heads to make regeneration figures has been an old trick for CO, but this one just makes no sense. When McGann regenerated in Night of the Doctor the only common piece of his outfit was the bandolier strap he took off Cass’ body. So putting a McGann head on this figure doesn’t work as a regeneration figure. What’s more, when Sylvester McCoy regenerated into McGann he was wasn’t wearing anything so you can’t even pop the head onto a McCoy figure with any degree of reason. Why’s it here? I don’t know, but it doesn’t hurt the figure, so who cares!
I was hoping CO would surprise us with something for the 50th Anniversary and in the end they did. In fairness I was banking on a Classic TARDIS Console Playset and obviously that didn’t pan out. The War Doctor isn’t nearly as grandiose, but he’s a welcome treat all the same. Of course, with the NuWho 5-inch line still dead, he’s also a bit of a tease. Does this mean that we can hope to see CO make some special exceptions in the future? Does it mean we can hope for a 5-inch Capaldi Doctor? Well, if anything this release shows us that anything is possible. And that’s appropriate, because in Doctor Who anything is indeed possible!