The Fourth Doctor
Review by F-ZeroOne
Doctor Who first appeared on British T.V. screens back in 1963. The story of a renegade Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who travels both Space and Time in his TARDIS craft (disguised, for reasons that take some explaining, as a blue Police telephone box), the show quickly became a national cultural icon - especially when the Doctor encountered his most famous adversaries: the inhuman and utterly ruthless Daleks.
Following a long hiatus, the BBC re-launched the series in 2005, to huge success in its “home” territory and also bringing the concept of “hiding behind the sofa” to a new and growing global audience.
This review is of the “Fourth Doctor” figure, an entry in the “Classics” 5” Doctor Who range by Character toys. Doctor Who has survived so long due to the Doctors ability to “regenerate” into a new body when badly wounded, a trick which has allowed several different actors to play the lead character and to keep the series fresh.
The Fourth Doctor was – until the 2005 revival, starring Christopher Eccleston and then David Tennant – quite possibly the most famous Doctor. Played by Tom Baker (who it could be argued is something of an unearthly character himself) for seven years, it’s perhaps no accident that it was this incarnation that has cameo’d in episodes of The Simpsons and was parodied by Jon Culshaw in the comedy series Dead Ringers.
The figure comes in a plastic blister which, as far as I can determine, is impossible to remove without destroying it. I was a bit surprised that the “new” Doctor Who logo was used, but I guess it gives consistency across the range, especially for younger purchasers who might not be aware of the “older” series. The figure is held in place by several twist-ties.
As a rule, I don’t generally collect Doctor Who merchandise, but as soon as I saw this figure I had to have it, for one main reason - the facial sculpt.
I was lucky enough to meet Mr. Baker a few years ago, and I can say with absolute authority that this figure completely nails his smile. It’s actually almost uncannily accurate. Check out the facial close-ups compared to the packaging inset and see what I mean!
The sculpt isn’t just well done on the Doctors face, though. The front of the Doctors outfit is also well detailed, with the pattern on the Doctors jumper and shirt clearly defined and a wonderful textured effect on his iconic scarf and curly hair. About the only criticism I’d have of the paint job is that the paint on the “pins” of the knee joints is a bit spottily applied, but that’s only noticeable from the side.
The figure is made of a very slightly soft plastic, with a more flexible rubber-like material used for the scarf, coat and hat. I don’t know if the scarf is meant to be removable or not; it can be, but it should be noted that on my example it was stuck by a small spot of paint to the coat and left a slight blemish when pulled away.
A few accessories are included. These are the Doctors sonic screwdriver, used to get him out of many a tight spot, and an alternate head. This has a more serious expression and no hat. The final accessory is actually an incentive to collect all the figures in this line; it’s a waist part for the K-1 robot, the Fourth Doctors first adversary. There are eight parts in total. As I don’t have the other figures, I can’t say for certain how good this “bonus” is when completed, but it looks pretty impressive in images.
For articulation, the figure has joints at the shoulders, elbows and knees. The upper arms, wrists, and upper legs can also be rotated. I found the left leg to be incredibly stiff at first and it required some force to “unstick”. I also had trouble trying to pose the figure in a kneeling position; it tended to fall to the right.
Overall, I would sum up by saying that this figure is a must-buy for any Doctor Who fan and should be seriously considered as a display piece by any fan of science fiction. The sculpt is simply – what else? – fantastic!
The other great thing about the Fourth Doctor is that – well, he’s The Doctor. He can turn up anywhere, and thus you have an excuse to display him with any other toys of a similar scale - and I bet you thought that Lynn Minmay played the pivotal role in ending the Earth/Zentraedi war…
|Posted 25 September, 2008 - 09:18 by F-ZeroOne|