7th Doctor


Doctor Who Classics
7th Doctor and Imperial Dalek
5 Inch Scale
By: Character Options
$40.00

It seems as of lately that the site has become really inundated with Doctor Who content. That’s not entirely intentional, but I had hoped to ramp up a bit of Who coverage and so it continues. Sylvester McCoy’s seventh incarnation of the character is perhaps the most divided for fans. McCoy took over after the arguably disastrous run of Colin Baker and basically helmed a show that the BBC was keeping around purely to satisfy the public.

Which inevitably made McCoy the man who had to deal with some dreadful scripts and meager budgets, even by Doctor Who standards. He was also the guy who was the last real Doctor, until the show was revived in the new millennium. Sure, there was the 8th Doctor movie, but that was a blip on the radar at best. Despite all that, I’ve always liked McCoy. Admittedly, his episodes where he’s given a little meat are quite good.

The Tardis arrives in London, November 1963, where the Doctor and Ace discover that two rival factions of Daleks – one loyal to the Dalek Emporer and one to the Dalek Supreme – are seeking the Hand of Omega, a powerful Time Lord device that the first Doctor hid there during an earlier sojourn on Earth.

Such is the case with the serial that this two pack is based. It’s one of my favorite 7th Doctor episodes. Ace isn’t too annoying, there’s lots of Who history at play and it has a good period aspect going for it. Sometimes the best stories are the ones on Earth. This was Character Options first version of McCoy, and they picked a fine episode to pay tribute to but how did they do with the figures?

Packaging:
Before we had window boxes, the Classic Who two packs all came in clamshells. These are nice clamshells if you’re a fan of this style of package. The great part about the packaging is that it matches all your previous Doctor Who Classics single cards… Well at least it did until they started coming in boxes!


The package has some nice still shots and a pretty basic breakdown of the plot of the episode. It’s more of the same if you’ve been following the line for a long time. Still, as always, it’s nice to get these little things. CO generally does the packages right.

Sculpt & Paint:
Designworks, who handle all of the sculpting and figure creation for Character Options are some of the best in the business at what they do. Doctor Who figures have some of the best likenesses around. However, this is more challenging on older characters like the ones in the Classics line. They can’t simply go in and “real scan” Tom Baker and get the same likeness. Well, I suppose they could with McCoy, but you know what I mean. This figure is meant to depict how he looked in the 1980’s.


In general, this is a pretty good sculpt. They’ve went for a happier look for McCoy, which he was known to sport a bit more in the earlier episodes. However, throughout a lot of this particular episode, he’s more somber or in deep thought, than anything. There’s a great photo of a slightly more whimsical but still methodical 7th Doctor on the back of the package and I wish I could say that the facial expression of this figure matched that.


Unfortunately the likeness is just a bit off as a result. It’s still good, but it treads a little into caricature. For what it’s worth, Designworks also did a unhatted head in another release of the 7th Doctor and I find it’s a much better likness. The hat here is well done, but as of yet we haven’t received a version of the 7th with a hat on the other head. That might be the perfect incarnation of the 7th, or the real McCoy, if you will.


There’s still lots to love on the rest of the sculpt, though. Intricate details are designed throughout and there’s some quite good sculpting on the 7th’s infamous sweater. Likewise, the paint work on these details are pretty sharp. What’s a Doctor Who without some question marks on his sweater, no?


Although scale is not exactly perfect in this line, there is a concerned effort to make it somewhat generally correct. McCoy is quite short in real life (he wasn’t cast for a role in The Hobbit for nothing!) and appears quite short in stature in his figure form as well.


While the brown coat was more iconic for this version of the Doctor, I’m glad we got the cream version as well. In fact, I’d love a movie version of the 7th Doctor. One of my favorite portrayals of the character is his brief appearance in the aforementioned movie where he passed the reins on.


Sadly, perhaps because of the sheer number of these little intricate details there is a fair amount of slop and even what I can only call “misprint” on this figure. Certain areas just seem to be stamped a little out of frame. It’s not super noticeable in person, but it’s there. I suppose it could be that these figures were almost rushed out.


I say that because although my particular Imperial Dalek is literally perfection, our old pal Lt. Clutch sent along some photos of his Dalek which did not have the special indentations on the plunger arm. I’d post those pictures, but I seem to have misplaced them. Did anyone else receive a dodgy Dalek?


Anyway, my Dalek is perfect. I mean it, it’s probably the one of the cleanest, most perfect Daleks in my collection. Which is quite nice since the gold and white design is so striking. For the most part, Daleks have only a handful of things that separate them. At a point, Character Options isn’t really putting out “new” Daleks so much, as new incarnations of their already tooled Dalek parts. Even so, when it’s done right, it’s grand.


We’re a long, long ways away from Dapol’s attempts. In fact, despite the Daleks having a relatively simple design, nobody has nailed it quite like the Designworks team. Character Options should be proud of the work they’ve done on this particular incarnation of the Dalek.

Articulation:
You get the usual assortment of cuts, hinges and swivels with the 7th Doctor. By now most fans are familiar with this style of articulation and either love it or tolerate it. I’m perfectly content for the most part, but I suspect that’s clear by now.


I did find the neck joint a bit stiff on my McCoy. Enough that I was afraid if I forced it too much, some of Sylvester’s neck paint would rub off. Thankfully that issue didn’t actually occur, but it’s worth noting.


Anywho, your articulation breakdown is as follows: Swivel neck, swivel arms, swivel upper bicep, hinge elbows, swivel wrists, swivel waist, swivel hinge legs (WHO CROTCH©), swivel thigh and hinge knees. It’s a pretty good assortment for one of the friskier Doctors.


Daleks have pretty standard articulation across the board as well and the Imperial Dalek is no different. You have a eye stalk that can move up and down, cut “neck” and ball jointed arms. The Dalek also has three wheels on the bottom. One that can rotate 360 and two back wheels that can only roll forward and back.

Accessories:
For $40 he better come with a damn umbrella!


AND HE DOES!


The umbrella isn’t anything impressive, but it’s done well enough. It fits in either hand alright, but it can’t hang from his pocket. Although I’m not sure if they would have been able to achieve that without compromising the sculpt. The Dalek comes with nothing but his undying need to exterminate, which, is all it really needs.

Value:
Oh value, why must you be subjective?! In all seriousness, at $40 this would be a tough pill to swallow for many casual fans. Thankfully this set includes a pretty nifty version of the 7th Doctor, pays homage to one of his best episodes and has an Imperial Dalek to boot. It’s a great piece for a collector like me who wants to have some Sylvester McCoy lovin’ and likes to army build Daleks. For those who aren’t in that category, you may be more willing to pass. Of course, when this first came out it was the only way to get a 7th Doctor and at that time, made it must buy material.


Score Recap:
Packaging: 8
Sculpting: 8
Paint: 7
Articulation: 8
Accessories: Umbrella
Value: 8
Overall: 8 out of 10

In the end, the only thing that really holds this figure back is time. Ironic, yes? You see, when this figure was first released it was the only way to get the 7th Doctor and it was by default the best version. As time has passed, arguably better and definitely cheaper versions have come out. That doesn’t make this purchase any less valid for me, as I still think it’s a great set but your mileage may vary. Now I just can’t wait to get the two pack from the McCoy episode in 2013 where the 11th Doctor teams up with the 7th! Seriously, why hasn’t that happened?! Bring McCoy back for something, dagnabbit!

Hello all, I’m Rob, inaugural column and all, very exciting! What I’d like to do with these is to offer reviews of sci-fi movies, released on DVD for fans of the site who might want to consider buying them, but don’t know if they are worth the value, in the same way the Newt and his crew review toys and other pop culture paraphernalia. While I will occasionally review newer DVDs, I also want to give some love to older, less known movies that the casual watcher may not be familiar with. My rating system will break the DVDs down into 3 categories: Skip it, Watch but don’t buy, or Pick it up now.

So here we go! My first review 🙂

Doctor Who
The Movie
Special Edition


What’s that, you say? A New Doctor who movie! Does this contain the death of beloved, bow-tie wearing Matt Smith all ready? Has the series been restarted once again?

Let me explain.

New Doctor Who fans might be confused by this release, especially American fans for whom Doctor Who is only recently exploding in popularity. Sure, a portion of American Who fans have seen some of the older Who episodes, and for most of them images of the scarf bedecked 4th Doctor Tom Baker, or celery garnished 5th Doctor Peter Davidson may be as familiar as leather clad Chris Eccleston or besneakered David Tennant, but even the most dedicated new American Who fan has probably never seen, let alone heard of Paul McGann, other than in quick flashes in a few New Who episodes, and as a bonus figure in the 11 Doctors’ toy pack.

So what’s the deal with this film?

This movie is a perfect example of why Doctor Who is, and always should be, a British institution. In the mid 90’s Doctor Who had fallen on rough times. Incomprehensible plotline and poor budgets lead to the series ending in 1989. Who fans were crestfallen, although it did mean that a lot of really bad story ideas were kept from ever seeing the light of day.

And so the series was in limbo, until 1996 when the BBC decided to team up with hip, American TV network Fox to produce a back door pilot for a new, joint US/Britain Doctor Who series to be shown on Fox and the BBC. A noble idea, and one that could have worked, if the BBC had more control over it, and Fox never came near it.

The Plot:
The 7th doctor, Sylvester McCoy, is summoned to the Dalek home world of Skaro to pick up the remains of his old foe The Master, who has been sentenced to death by the Daleks. The Doctor, travelling in a TARDIS whose revamped interior looks more like a steam punk wet dream than the hodgepodge control rooms new fans know today, gathers up the remains of his old foe inside a small box, which he locks with his sonic screw driver, and goes off to read a copy of The Time Machine, whilst munching on some Gummi Jelly Babies.

While in mid flight, the Master, now a transparent CGI snake, breaks free of the box, and gets into the TARDIS’ controls, forcing it to crash land in San Francisco, smack dab in the middle of an Asian gang war. Upon walking outside of the TARDIS to investigate what happened, the Doctor takes several bullets to the chest, and collapses on the ground.

Not the most dignified of Doctor Who deaths, you say? Hang on, it gets worse. The Doctor is rushed to a hospital where beautiful Doctor Grace Holloway, who has rushed from an opera performance in a low cut dress that would have made Peri Brown proud, attempts to save his life. Now, why call in a cardiologist to help a gunshot victim? Because he has two hearts of course, and since no one knows this until later, Grace botches the surgery, and the Doctor dies thrashing on the table to a wonderful opera sound track.

Later, his regeneration delayed by the anesthetic, the Doctor emerges from the morgue as the 8th Doctor Paul McGann, whose memory has been lost due to the long regeneration time. Stumbling around the hospital, he manages to find a Wild Bill Hitchcock costume, bond with Grace, and then run afoul of the new Master, played by Eric Roberts. Yep, old sneaky snake slid down the throat of Eric Roberts and took over his rapidly decaying body, hoping to capture the Doctor and steal his remaining regenerations for himself.

What follows is a nonsensical romp through San Fran, with the Master infiltrating the TARDIS and the mind of the young Asian street punk Chang Lee, who helps the Master in return for not killing him, er, I mean, for bags of gold dust, er, I mean, because they’re friends. Yeah, not real clear on why these two team up in the first place. Eventually the Doctor is captured by the Master, who, having discover that the Doctor is half human (yep, that was part of the plot) uses Chang and Grace to open the Eye of Harmony, the black hole at the center of Gallifrey that has, for unexplained reasons, been placed inside the Doctor’s TARDIS. Chang and Grace are killed, but the Doctor manages to escape and force the Master into the black hole, destroying him for now. Then, for reasons that no one can explain, Grace and Chang are brought back to life, and they leave the TARDIS, and the Doctor, who fails to tempt Grace to stay with him, leaves Earth, while listening to music and finishing reading the book his last incarnation had started.

The Review:
This film is, in a word, a mess. Not that it doesn’t try hard to pull it together, but it just has too much going on to make it really worthwhile. The problem is it tries too hard to try to connect to too many people. For fans of the old Who, it tried to drop in too many little bits and pieces of the classic show to try to show its street cred. But at a certain point you stop caring how many sly references they make to Tom Baker, and start wondering if they know anything of substance about the actual show itself. The fact that Skaro is still around (it was destroyed in Remembrance of the Daleks), the Eye of Harmony is in the TARDIS ( It was under the capital on Gallifrey. Apparently the Time Lords just gave it to the Doctor, a disgraced Time Lord, to power his outdated TARDIS with?) the Doctor is half human (on his mother’s side) and the Master is a goo spitting baddie in a big leather coat and sunglasses (who goes from menacing foe to campy diva) and you get a film that really just kills it for classic fans.

New Who fan will also be confused by this film. Especially because those fans who have seen Doctor Who rebooted correctly, and John Simms play a fantastic new Master to make any Whovian proud will not understand how the directors got this film so wrong. Plus, even new Who fans with little classic knowledge of the show will be confused by the inconsistency of the film, and by the several elements that just do not seem to belong.

Bonus Features:
This is a special edition re-release, although for US fans this is the only release. Fox and the BBC argued for years about distribution rights, meaning that only British fans could buy the original DVD release, and US fans had to pirate it off the internet, or get a region free DVD player like me.

To be fair, this DVD is chocked full of bonus material, including 2 commentary tracks, one by director Geoffrey Sax, and one featuring Paul McGann and Sylvester McCoy, moderated by Nicolas Briggs. Why Briggs? Because in a movie where you barely mention the Daleks, you want the guy who voiced them to have his say.

This DVD also includes several documentaries, although most are rather short. There is a brief tour of the new TARDIS, chocked full of throw away hidden features that show that the producers did their research into what was in the show, but not what actually made the show work.

The one feature that is worth watching is the The Doctor’s Strange Love, where a group of fans and writers sit around and chat about the show for 15 minutes. They do address some of the problems with the film, but in the end they all love it, even though they raise some serious problems with the episode, including the fact that it ends on such a strange point no one knew where the story would go from there.

Score Recap:
Package: 5/10 (it’s shiny)
Film itself: 2/10
Commentary tracks: 7/10
Bonus features: 6/10
Total Score: 4/10 (yes I rounded down, it deserves it)

My Recommendation: Watch it. What!? I know what you’re thinking, but if you really call yourself a true Who fan you have to pay your dues and watch this film, if for no other reason than the fact that if Davies ever gets focused enough to do a movie over the Time Lord/ Dalek Time War McGann is going to be in it, and you need to know some things about the guy. Plus, if it is any consolation, McGann’s doctor is not bad, he’s just trapped in a bad movie.

The casual fan will probably want to skip this, and I do not recommend buying this unless, like me, you enjoy forcing your friends to watch old Doctor Who episodes to MST3K them together.



And now completely from left field, it’s a new Doctor Who Dalek set, from Remembrance of the Daleks. One of my all time favorite 7th Doctor stories. This set includes some repeats, but a great way to get some of those rarer Daleks from the old series. More importantly it comes with the Special Weapons Dalek, with a awesome sculpt and paint job. No US dates announced, but it seems as though this one will hit the UK some time in October. Likely the US will follow shortly.

And the Doctor Who toys just keep on rolling…


And now completely from left field, it’s a new Doctor Who Dalek set, from Remembrance of the Daleks. One of my all time favorite 7th Doctor stories. This set includes some repeats, but a great way to get some of those rarer Daleks from the old series. More importantly it comes with the Special Weapons Dalek, with a awesome sculpt and paint job. No US dates announced, but it seems as though this one will hit the UK some time in October. Likely the US will follow shortly.

And the Doctor Who toys just keep on rolling…

Just when you think you’ve seen all the Doctor Who figures that are on the way, more news surfaces. While the two versions of the 7th Doctor were common knowledge at this point, several new developments have arisen in the last couple of days. It looks like it’s going to be another busy summer of Doctor Who figure collecting.


It appears as though the Dalek and 7th Doctor set may include an alternate head, though I don’t know if that’s been confirmed. There appears to be a serious and a happy head, with the latter containing the Doctor’s infamous hat.

Once rumored to be a part of the 11 Doctors set, the “Unearthly Child” version of the 1st Doctor is now on it’s way and is scheduled to drop sometime in May. It appears as though this 1st Doctor will be a single figure release and run about $25.

Finally, a painted sample of the 8th Doctor from the TV Movie has surfaced. This version looks a little off in the eye area, but the rest of the sculpt looks pretty impressive. No official announcement on release for this figure yet.

I generally think all the sculpts look top notch, though the eyes on the 8th Doctor may need some touching up to be perfect. All in all it’s shaping up to be a very good and very expensive time to be a Doctor Who figure collector. Character Options has really done some nice work and I can only hope we continue to see more of there classic Doctor Who characters come to life.