8 Inch Scale
It’s a great time to be a Doctor Who fan, as the show seems to be reaching a high point in terms of popularity and that’s translating into a lot of product on the shelves. For decades fans of Who were left with rather subpar toys and now not only do we have great import toys from Character Options, we also have for likely the first time ever, American companies making Doctor Who toys!
BifBangPow is a little company that has been making niche toys for several years now. BifBangPow teamed up with EMCE toys about a year or so ago to form a relationship where BBP would use the designs made famous by Doc Mego, but crank out a variety of new licensed product. The toys have had mixed success within many collectors circles and some of the license choices have frustrated certain sects of toy collectors.
However, BifBangPow has provided some incredible product and have slowly built up a catalogue of products and licenses leading to what ultimately has become a surge in the new Mego-like toys market. This has led BBP to arguably their biggest license to date, Doctor Who! This brand is not foreign to having Mego style figures as in the 1980′s Deny’s Fisher, a UK branch off of Mego made a short lived Mego Doctor Who line. However those figures were not in the classic Mego scale and were not readily available here in the United States.
Now twenty plus years later BifBangPow has given Doctor Who the classic Mego treatment and have brought Who to our shores in a way never thought possible before. I’ve fallen behind on Doctor Who figure reviews this year but it’s where we’ve often specialized here at Infinite Hollywood, so let’s close out the year with some more Who-goodness. Can this Who compare to the classic brands and is it worth your time and money? Read on to find out!
Mego often had charming packaging with neat art on simple bubble cards. BifBangPow and several of the other companies making these style of figures have often replicated those types of packages with varying success. However, with Doctor Who, BBP has sort of done their own thing and while it definitely has a classic Mego feel to it, it also feels very Doctor Who-ey as well.
The result is a fantastic card that is far and away my favorite modern Mego type of card to date. It’s simple, but sleek and appropriate. I could totally see this on the shelves in the 1970′s or 80′s and yet ti looks perfect on the shelves today! It’s rare that I find a toy I want to keep in the package because it’s so nice, but this is one of those times.
The back has all the appropriate info and shows off some of the other figures in the series. It also has some other Doctors listed, hinting that perhaps BBP will make other classic Doctors as well. I also like that the 4th Doctor has an inner tray holding him upright, and that does wonders for making the figure not slouch or get beat around like many of the other figures that are loose in these packages so often have issues with.
BBP has had pretty good success with capturing likeness in this scale for some time. In fact if anything, they’ve often had figures that looked a bit too realistic for what Mego used to do. I’m happy to report that they’ve hit a homerun with the 4th Doctor as he’s unmistakably Tom Baker, but he also has a bit of a toy look to him. It’s a perfect medium!
Some of the early BBP “Mego” figures suffered from ghost face syndrome. That is to say that their heads were cast in a nearly transparent vinyl color that made them especially pasty and stand out from the color of the rest of the skin. Thankfully the Doctor Who line doesn’t seem to suffer from this problem and although the good Doctor is a bit pasty, his head skin tone matches his body’s skin tone.
The face is sort of a blank stare, but I appreciate that. This Doctor can be in any variety of poses and not look out of place. It’s better than having a big grin or something, which will only look good in certain poses. This is the 4th Doctor doing one of his stoic, deep thoughts. It’s nearly identical to the first Character Options 4th Doctor figure’s alternate head.
“Doctor, you’ve been to the future… Tell me, how do they remember me?”
The costume is always important on a small scale figure like this, especially since they use soft goods. Again BBP has soared beyond expectations, as the 4th Doctor has all his patented attire on and it’s quite colorfol and vibrant.
The most important part of any 4th Doctor outfit is the scarf and this one is appropriately gigantic! It’s quite a bit bigger than the Doctor himself. It can be a bit hard to figure out how to wrap it around him properly, but it’s really a nice piece.
I think it looks better than the classic Deny’s Fisher brand Doctor, but at the same time there were elements of that figure which were better… Like the hat!
Underneath the Doctor has his waistcoat which is a separate piece, but one that is actually connected to the shirt underneath. So essentially, it can open like a vest, but you won’t be removing it. He has nice rubber shoes and brown pants. The quality on the clothes is pretty good and appropriate for this style of figure where hyper-details are not necessary.
He also comes with a hat. I’m not going to lie… It’s a mess. The Mego scale of heads have often been a bit too big and the Doctor suffers a bit from this. BBP tried to compensate by making his hat even bigger, to help sit on the curly afro of Tom Baker.
It doesn’t work at all. It looks gigantic, it doesn’t sit properly and honestly even the sculpt looks a bit too “cowboy hat” for some reason. Deny’s Fisher was able to make their Doctor with a removable hat back in the day, but BBP just couldn’t replicate it. Supposedly they were working on this problem, but I guess they never could find a solution.
So yeah, the hat sucks. It’s not the end of the world, just don’t display him with the hat. My hopes is that BBP will release a version with a hat sculpted on, or rescale the head in future 4th Doctor releases. If not, it is what it is. You could possibly cut some of his hair away and glue the hat down, but I’m not brave enough to try it.
Mego and Mego clones tend to have a decent amount of articulation. The one area that they’re really lacking is a swivel joint for the arm. Of course, ball joined heads and thigh swivels would help as well. What you’re left with is a cut neck, some rubber band ball joint shoulders and legs, as well as swivel hinge wrists, hinge knees, elbows and ankles.
BifBangPow actually had an EMCE body made with swivel arms, but for some reason the 4th Doctor didn’t get them. It’s not a huge deal and to be honest, EMCE’s swivel arms seem a bit clunky in comparison to Cast-A-Way toys swivel arms. So perhaps the figure is better off without them.
He’s still pretty poseable and fun to fiddle around with. The only area I have found that’s concerning is that his ankles tend to be a bit loose, causing him to want to lean forward. This is rarely a problem with most Megos, as they typically wear long boots, but the 4th Doctor’s short shoes cause him to have less support there. it’s not a issue all the time, but it could be for those who pose him a lot.
I’ve always said that these style of figures need accessories and lots of them, more often than not. BBP has done a pretty good job here of giving the Doctor everything he needs. From his giant removable scarf, right down to his sonic screwdriver.
The sculpt and paint, while minimal, is perfect. This is a great small scale rendition of the 4th Doctor’s sonic. It fits into his hand quite well and he can be posed with it as needed.
“I once caught a gumblejack this big! Almost as big as my hat!”
The hat is a failure, but we’ve already went over that. At least they included it, so at least you can decide what you want to do with it.
The coat and tie are removable. Speaking of which, I’ve heard some stories of the coat and also the red portions of the scarf staining the figure. Mine isn’t stained, but there does seem to be some red going onto the white shirt underneath. This is a frustrating problem that I’m not sure how to fix. Possibly by gently washing these items. Not everyone seems to have the issue, but it’s something to be aware of.
And that’s pretty much it. Be careful when removing the figure from the package, so that you don’t lose your Sonic Screwdriver. While it’s bigger than the Character Options version, it’s still quite small.
$20 for a single figure in today’s toy market is a tough pill to swallow, but one we’re seeing more and more. To make matters worse, this figure is sold bundled with a Sontaran in most retail settings. That means you’ll end up paying $40+ for the both of them, more often than not. However, the quality here is pretty nice and aside from a few issues, this guy is worth tracking down if you have even the most modest interest in Mego-like figures. Even classic Mego collectors will want to have this guy in their collection, as he fits right in with the vintage stuff.
Packaging – 9
Sculpting – 8
Paint – 8
Articulation – 9
Accessories – Sonic Screwdriver, Hat, Scarf
Value – 8
Overall – 9 out of 10
Let’s face it, I’m a sucker for the 4th Doctor and I tend to like Mego-style figures more than most people. This figure is not without it’s problems, with a tad oversized head, a hat that doesn’t fit and clothes that could eventually stain this figure. However, he has a lot of strong points, including a great likeness, nice cloth clothing and a few accurate accessories.
These figures are limited to a run of only 3,000 and each package is individually numbered. While I have hopes that this line will become a huge success for BBP, you may want to pick one of these guys up while you have the chance. It’s not a perfect figure by any means, but it’s the kind of neat retro toy that you might kick yourself in a few years for not picking up when it was affordable.