It’s been a rough few years for me as a Doctor Who fan. The Chibnall/Whitaker Era is the first time in my 40 years of watching the show that I can’t find anything to like about the current series and opted out. Yeah, it sucks. But with so many different takes on the renegade Time Lord, I guess it was bound to happen eventually. And yet, it’s hard to be too bitter, when there’s such a wealth of Classic and NuWho to go back to, not to mention some new merch trickling in to enjoy. Indeed, I’ve got a ton of 5.5-inch scale Character Options figures to check out, but Big Chief’s latest offering arrived this week and I’m bumping it to the front of the line!
The Good Doctor comes in a standard shoebox-style package with a lift off top. The deco is nice looking, but why did they have to go with the current era logo? I’m not sure if this is stipulated by the BBC in the licensing agreement, but it really sucks to be reminded of an Era I don’t like when buying Classic Who collectibles. It’s worse because this is a box I plan on keeping. Oh well. Ask me who my favorite Doctor is, and there’s a good chance I’d say it’s the one I happen to be watching at the moment. But if you really pressed me, Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor will always remain at the top of the list. He was actually the second Doctor that I ever saw (my first was Tom Baker as Number Four!), but I have such great memories of being a teenager and watching The Third Doctor’s stories for the first time on an old B&W TV set in my bedroom every weekend. I loved Pertwee’s performance, I loved that he was given a new adversary in Roger Delgato’s The Master, and I loved his sometimes uneasy pairing with UNIT. Needless to say, I’m excited! So let’s get The Doctor out and have a look!
The figure comes out of the box ready for action and looking fab! Well, I say ready, but you do have to make one small correction to his outfit. Reach into the jacket’s cuffs and pull out some of that white frilly shirt inside so that it’s extending out past the cuff. Otherwise he’s good to go. Big Chief had a lot of great Third Doctor outfits to choose from, but in the end they went for his debut look from Spearhead From Space, and I’m very pleased they did. It’s a complex look that suits his dashing nature. You get black dress shoes, black trousers, and a midnight blue coat, which is fastened with one clasp just a bit above his waistline. The frilly white shirt is recreated with its flashy ruffles and capped off with a black tie. And finally, you get the brilliant black Inverness coat with a red lining and working floral-style clasps. Big Chief has had some challenges in recreating wardrobes that don’t look too puffy. You get a little bit of that here in the collar, but otherwise this outfit shows some excellent sixth-scale tailoring and craftsmanship. I think they did an amazing job here.
Big Chief’s portraits have been hit or miss, and it’s been the one determining factor that has kept me from being All-In on these Sixth-Scale Whos. To me, their Matt Smith likeness still ranks among their best, and it killed me to pass on The Fourth Doctor, but there just wasn’t enough Tom Baker in there for me. Thankfully, they are back to form with this Jon Pertwee portrait. It’s an excellent likeness with an insane amount of detail paced into the facial sculpt. All the little lines are lovingly recreated here, and they did a beautiful job on his distinctive nose (which his son Sean wears ever so proudly!) Even his eyebrows look so good they could be useful on the planet Delphon where they communicate with their eyebrows! As for the expression, Big Chief went for a serious and stoic countenance, which suits The Third Doctor so well.
Sculpted hair was without a doubt the only way to go with this head sculpt, and once again I think they did a fine job. Yes, plastic hair means that the realism takes a bit of a hit, but it’s hard to argue with the loving attention that went into this coif. If I were to nitpick anything here, it would be the plastic used for the skin has a tad of a waxy finish to it, but that only really became noticeable to me when I got him under the studio lights.
There’s plenty of useful articulation under that outfit, including double hinges in the knees, and solid joints that can hold most any pose. That is, except for the neck, which is rather loose. He can hold his head up, but it doesn’t take much jostling to get it to slump. It’s a weird flaw to have, considering Big Chief has turned out a fair number of Sixth-Scale figures at this point, but it also isn’t a fatal mishap either just annoying. You get a nice assortment of hands, including some expressive ones for different posing options. One pair of hands are black gloved, the others are bare, and the left hands include his sculpted pinky ring. I was pleased to see that one of the relaxed hands serves as a karate-chop hand, perfect for showing off his skills at Venusian Aikido. Several of the hands are designed specifically for holding his accessories, so let’s dive right into those!
Big Chief rarely skimps on the accessories, and you get a decent assortment of goodies here. A lot of them are pretty small, but then The Doctor usually only carries what he can fit into his bottomless pockets. The one accessory I won’t picture here is the TARDIS key, because it’s so tiny that I’ve already misplaced it. I’m sure it will turn up!
Two of the items here are weapons, which may seem odd inclusions for The Doctor, The Third Doctor was quite the action hero and occasionally had the need to take up arms. The first is the Ultrasonic Disintegrator Gun carried by the guerilla forces in Day of the Daleks. I love the design for this thing, and was very happy to see it in the box. The Doctor made good use of this weapon to take out some Ogrons.
The second weapon is the Sea Devil Heat Ray Gun, which is a very simple and unique design. None of the hands seemed especially well suited to holding it, which is kind of wielded like a clothes iron, but I was able to make it work OK.
The Metebelis Crystal was a recurring namedrop throughout The Third Doctor’s run, and it played a significant part in his ultimate demise and regeneration, making it a rather essential accessory. This is another one of those little items that I would have considered an unforgivable omission had Big Chief not included it.
Next to the TARDIS key, the smallest accessory is The Doctor’s wristwatch. It’s a very well detailed item considering how small it is, but it’s pretty hard to see it when he’s wearing it on his wrist.
You get Bessie’s remote control unit, which I believe turned up in The Daemons. It’s another very well detailed little accessory, missing only the lettering that was on the original prop that called out the functions of the buttons as Hood, Horn, and Lights, as well as the label Steer near the miniature wheel, and Modulation on the bottom gauge.
The magnifying glass is a pretty simple item, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s something they repurposed from one of their Sherlock figures. It didn’t seem to work perfectly with any specific hand, but again I was able to make it work pretty well.
And of course The Third Doctor saw the first use of the Sonic Screwdriver, so we can’t forget that! This original design remains the most iconic for me, although it didn’t change too much over the following years. I actually didn’t know it had the yellow and black striping for a while, because, as I mentioned earlier, I watched The Third Doctor’s entire run for the first time on a B&W TV set! I go back and fourth on whether or not I prefer the striping or the more utilitarian all silver shaft.
Naturally, you get a stand and this one is more or less the same one we saw with The Twelfth Doctor. I appreciate the effort that went into the design here. The mirror base is flashy and it has a light up feature. But, ultimately, I think the base is way too small, and the electronic feature doesn’t do much for me either. I would have preferred something simpler with a Classic logo on it. It’s worth noting here that this figure was limited to a run of 1,000, although there’s no stated limitation on the stand, only on the box where it is hand numbered. What number do I have? Hell if I can read it. It looks like it might be 312, but I honestly have no idea.
One last bonus is the illustrated insert is printed with a backdrop of the TARDIS console room and the fact that it’s a tri-fold piece of cardboard means it can stand behind the figure. I honestly love when companies include something like this. It’s such a simple little thing, but it goes a long way to make for a more compelling display.
While Big Chief still wavers a bit on their consistency, this latest release just goes to show how great they can be when they’re on their game. I had high hopes for The Third Doctor’s final release and now that I have him in hand, I can happily say I’m not disappointed. I think they did a fantastic job on the costume, and I’d argue that the portrait is the best one they’ve turned out since Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor. At $260, Big Chief is definitely asking Hot Toys prices, and while the quality is high, it’s not yet reached Hot Toy’s unbridled level of excellence. I’m guessing the higher price is also driven by the rather low limitation, and The Third Doctor sold out at Sideshow shortly after it began shipping. Roger Delgado’s Master is due to ship soon as well, and I can’t wait to be able to display these two together!