Doctor Who – Series 5

River Song

5 Inch Scale

By: Character Options

$16.99


Ah River Song, you finally get your new series single card figure dues. I’ve waited a long time for this figure, and I am really glad that Character Options is finally getting around to making some of the actual regular characters from the show into figures. Their methodology for choosing which figures to release is perplexing at best, but until I take over the company in a massive display of insider trading, we’ll just have to keep calm and carry on.



Packaging:



Nothing really spectacular here. The back board just lists a bunch of characters that they are releasing. It gives you a good idea about what kind of planning is going on at headquarters because we have another doctor figure without any real difference, and a ganger figure with the same body, just different hands and feet. The astronaut does look neat, and might be nice to have just as a standalone figure, but why Uncle was chosen and WE STILL HAVE NO RORY FIGURE is beyond me.



Inside each package you get not only the character, you also get a small bag of “The Flesh.”



It’s taped to the inside of the board, and because it is right behind the figure this has lead CO to slightly modify the way the figures are packaged. Instead of the standard wire binding their figures usually come with, these figures are held in with much less potentially pokey plastic thread ties.

Sculpt:

This sculpt has some really nice things going on with it, and some really bad. We’ll start with the good.



The Good:

This figure is very detailed, and it is nice to see so much time went into the actual sculpt. There are little details all over the place that really make this figure pop, such as the show accurate props on her belt (which sadly do not remove) the working holster, and the layers in the jacket. The figure is also fairly steady and stands with little effort, even in different poses. There was no stiffness in the joints, or over looseness, which has been a problem for me with some of these figures.

The Bad:

There are really two complains here. The first is the messy paint. There are several places on the figure where the white paint on the jacket is not doing a good job of covering up the pink underneath. I do not know why this figures torso was not just molded from white plastic instead of molding it from colored and then painting it white.

The entire figure is painted, like all CO figures, and that is really odd to me. Unless changing colors in molded plastic is really, really expensive, I cannot think why it is cheaper and easier to pay someone to repaint the entire figures. Paint slop is frequently an area that I have problems with in their figures and I really wish they would consider a change.



The Ugly:

I know hair is hard to sculpt with a plastic toy, but seriously, this looks like plastic dreadlocks. There is no bounce or vibrancy or anything . Character options has really not done a great job with hair, especially on their female figures, but at least this hair lets her neck turn.

Also, I can’t shake the feeling that this sculpt originally was based on Zoe Wanamaker and then quickly adjusted to Alex Kingston.

Articulation:

The other problem is with how they sculpted the hip joints. I just do not understand this. This just looks terrible. I know this is a typical bend for Who hips, but on this figure it really looks grotesque. And the top of the legs are covered in plastic burrs and paint, so it just really looks messy. Standing, the figure looks fine, but when you try to flex you get this mess.



It’s not as if they don’t have better female hips. The Amy figures have featured more natural and less freakish hip bends, but apparently that would be too easy.



This figure has the standard Who joints: Shoulder with ball sockets, upper arm, elbow, wrist, torso, hips, knees, and neck. They all worked well and had no problems flexing.

Accessories:



A nice piece, although a bit confusing again with the paint. In the show the gun was white with black smudges. On the toy it’s black with white Christmas flocking sprayed on it. She holds it well, but since her fingers are all together she can’t really look like she is firing it. It does fit nicely in the holster though.



Yeah, all the figures in this wave come with these, even the astronaut I think. I guess that’s the big selling point for kids? It fits well but really doesn’t add anything to this figure for me. Also, since this River figure is from series 5, not 6 there never was a flesh connection there in the first place, so, yeah…

As stated before, all these figures also come with little pouches of the flesh. I guess it’s for kids, although it’s interesting to me that the point of the episode with the flesh is that the flesh was a living thing and should not just be treated like disposable gunk to be tossed aside when it wasn’t needed anymore. And to honor this, they give you a pouch of it to squeeze on the floor, and then throw away when it isn’t needed anymore. So, again, yeah…

The Verdict:

This figure is going to cost you around 30 bucks on the internet. It looks kind of cool, and has some nice features, but is also has some big problems for that price. And now that they have a River face sculpt they are bound to start dropping it on other bodies that will hopefully be better planned out. Personally I am hoping we’ll see River in her US denim outfit, as well as her Cleopatra outfit, but only time, and I guess sales, will tell.

If you can get it cheap, it’s worth it, but don’t break the bank if you can. You might want to hold out for the next one.

10 Responses to Figure Review: Doctor Who Series 5 River Song

  • Hellbelly says:

    The Doctor figure from this wave has a few differences from previous versions. He's got a new head-sculpt, a blue shirt/tie (previously a Toys R Us exclusive) and he's the first Doctor to have ball jointed shoulders.
    And the character line-up is down to the same problem that gave us Hawthorne from Series 5. Character don't necessarily have a good idea of who's going to be a major character in the series at the time they have to start developing the figures.

  • wesitron says:

    I wonder if they sculpted her fivehead so that the flesh attachment would fit on it. I also wonder if it'd be possible to rip her hair off and re-seat it so she doesn't have said fivehead.

    Those hipjoints are really weird, but overall I guess she's not bad. I'm crazy picky with Who toys though, they seem to have gone from a solid 12 bucks a figures to 15 and up with the Pandorica wave.

    Nice review, Rob!

  • Rexplode says:

    So I'm not a big Dr. Who fan, nothing against the show just haven't put in the watch time, and I had no idea who this was supposed to be.

    I googled images of River Song and found it's an actress I recognized and she is gorgeous…this face is as bad as the GI Joe movie figures of Sienna Miller!

    Really well done review, always a good sign when I read all the way through about something I've got no prior connections to.

  • I really enjoy Character Options in general and there are a ton of things I can typically overlook because of various high quality elements in the line. However, I think this figure is pretty terrible. The head sculpt is absurd, because of the hair placement.

    I'm not the biggest fan of River Song these days, but I would totally buy one… If she didn't look like Larry Fine from the 3 Stooges. A really rare misstep by CO. I wonder if you could remove the hair and glue it back down in a better position?

  • Rob_Mac says:

    My big complain is not the lack of inovation on the part of the different Doctor figures, it that we already have at least 5 or 6 different versions of him that have very little difference between them, and other characters are still not seen yet. Yeah, some of the characters might be hit or miss as a star, but still no Rory? He's been a major part of both seasons and deserves his figure dues.

    Thanks for the details on the new Doctor figure, and thanks for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated 🙂

  • Rob_Mac says:

    Oh yeah, it's totally for the stupid flesh face. I mean, come on, it is such a lame add on, which doesn't even connect to the outfit she is wearing or anything. I just do not understand why CO thinks the flesh gimmick is so cool. I must be an old man to no longer understand the appeal of goop with my figures!

  • Rob_Mac says:

    Thanks, I agree. CO is slipping in quality a bit, which is such a shame, because their stuff was really cool to begin with, and suddenly it is backsliding a lot. Dumb hair, but really their hair stuff has been crap on female figures in general. Such is life.

  • Rob_Mac says:

    What's up with CO and these half hearted attempts at faces anymore. Seriously!

  • Bill White says:

    Newton, "Larry Fine", EXACTLY! This figure looks terrible. The quality on these CO Doctor Who figures is really slipping. It's a shame, as they used to be one of the best action figure lines out there. The 11 Doctor set is still something other toy companies should aspire to.

    Rob, thanks for this review. You saved me some money! I still want the astronaut from this wave, though.

  • Rob_Mac says:

    Glad to help 🙂

    Yeah, CO has kind of dropped the ball on a lot of stuff lately. I did a review of the Leela figure and Newt said he had some of the same problems, so it's getting harder to brush things off as 1 off errors. I think it has to really do with what kind of a company they want to be. Are they trying to create collectibles people are going to value and hang on to, or are they just pushing out cheap kids toys that are designed to break fast and be replaced?

    The paint slop just kills me though. How messy these figures have become is really something that CO should put more effort into catching. I guess they care more about profits than making their customers happy.

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