Figure Review: 7th Doctor and Imperial Dalek
Doctor Who Classics
7th Doctor and Imperial Dalek
5 Inch Scale
By: Character Options
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!