I start this review with the fact that this figure is 2 years late!
This is not strictly true of course, but this is the figure that Dr Who figure collectors were clamoring for in November 2013 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary and the Day of the Doctor special. It would have been a perfect release back then, dropping into stores after the 23rd November so as not to spoil the ending.
We first saw blurry images of The Curator at SDCC in July 2015, and it was eventually announced as a Forbidden Planet Exclusive with pre-orders fulfilled in November.
The Curator is what we would probably call a Deluxe release in this new world of the 5 inch collectors series. He arrives in a larger box than the standard single figures, although retains the overall design features like the blue to red vortex background, the white Dr Who logo and the blue flashes which contain the character name. The two box ends repeat the logo and character name as well as an image of the Curator figure itself. On the back this image is expanded to show the Gallifrey Falls No More painting and there are a couple of paragraphs explaining the Curator's appearance in Day of the Doctor.
Once opened the background card is coloured in a beige design to represent the British Museum with its TARDIS-esque roundels set to one side behind the Curator. The base of the insert is a wooden floor effect, and this would make a decent enough backdrop if you had the time and patience to secure it to a more robust background.
Let's look at Tom Baker first. Over the years I have lost count of how many 4th Doctor figures we have had, but this is obviously Tom has he is now in his 80's and the face captures this really well whilst retaining that little twinkle that the 4th Doctor always has in his eye. Gone is the big hair, and replaced with a nicely sculpted and more refined grey hairstyle. The Curator is wearing a sculpted shirt, over which is a rubber outer blazer. The blazer is quite plain in sculpt, with no real texture or any folds in the fabric. They have included a handkerchief in his top breast pocket and a couple of pocket flaps down by the waist. Like the jacket the arms are very plain and this is also the same on the trousers which lack any real detail. The figure is finished with a pair of shoes which like the rest of the figure lack any form of detail, no laces, buckles or even a significant sculpted definition change between shoe and sole.
While the body sculpt remains very plain, they have tried to fill in the detail with the paint applications. The coat is very neatly painted with blue and red check to represent the tweed. Sadly, although quite precise, it doesn't work as the pattern is too large and needs to be on a textured base such as the one they did with the Brigadiers sweater in the Axon pack. The shirt is a bit better with a tighter pattern of brown and beige and again very precisely applied. The trousers are left in a plain burgundy finish, with the shoes painted a very high gloss brown.
Yet they have certainly not scrimped on the head which is painted really well with pale blue eyes and a muted mouth colour. The sculpt is enough for the definition of the face to stand out, but it would be interesting to see what a wash and/or drybrush would do to the face sculpt. The hair has a base colour of an off beige and then drybrushed in grey which is a much nicer finish to say that of the recent 12th Doctor.
Articulation is pretty standard for this figure. The head rotates on its peg, the arms are jointed at shoulder, bicep, elbow and wrist - although I can't see anyone wanting to put Tom into anything more than a neutral pose. There is a very stiff waist joint under the coat and leg joints at the hip, thigh, knee and a little bit of ankle movement
My key issue with the articulation, and I don't think it is isolated to my figure is the quality. Out of the box my Curator has a very loose almost ill fitting joint between thigh and lower leg and the arms pop off too easily at the bicep swivel, particularly as the shoulder joints are excessively stiff. The other niggle is that for some reason 81 year old Tom is actually taller than all the other figures that CO have put out of Baker as the 4th Doctor.
The only accessory included aside from the painting which I will get to in a moment, is a walking stick. This fits really well into Tom's right hand, and is thankfully the right length to touch the floor (how many have we seen that are too short).
You kind of wish the release had stopped here, and The Curator had been presented as a single release. But they went on and added the lenticular painting.... We've seen these before in the City of Death and Silver Nemesis releases, with the lenticular aspect being used on the Mona Lisa from City, and also showing up on Sil's tank from Vengeance on Varos.
Let's look at this oversized painting, as named Gallifrey Falls no More in the episode. First the frame is nicely done in a good solid plastic with intricate scroll work and a paint application to add a striped design to the outer edge. The lenticular part is a fail though. It may be my eye site but I can't make out anything in the image and I would have actually preferred them to drop the lencticular aspect and just give us a good quality print of the painting from the episode.
The other bug bear on these paintings, and particularly with this one, is what do you do with them as a collector. Ideally I want to be hanging these somehow in my cabinet and although the frame here has been sculpted and case to have four sockets on the back for the ties to keep it in the box, they didnt both giving it a hanging peg to allow you to wall mount it. The other option would be to include a stand. In fact in the show when the 11th Doctor looks at the painting it is actually on an easel rather than the wall, and it wouldn't have taken much to throw this in for collectors.
So yeah, I don't like the painting, or rather I begrudge paying what I perceive as a premium for the painting to get the figure. This box set will set you back £29.99 which is double what you will pay for a 5 inch figure now at Toys R Us. For that price I would have preferred a 2nd figure, even a repack of say the 11th Doctor, or a much better job of the painting with its own easel, wall hanging bracket and maybe even the lenticular dropped altogether if the look wasn't crisp enough.
If you sit back and remove the giddiness of getting a new Tom Baker figure from the 50th Anniversary, and line the Curator up against other releases then the score isn't going to be particularly high. The value for money aspect is a big problem, I think the painting is missing some aspects to make it worth the extra. The figure also has a wonderful head sculpt, and then a very un-detailed body and it screams out for some texture on the jacket at the very least. This one is certainly for die hard fans only, and for me gets a 2 out of 5, which is probably quite controversial. Let me know what you think over on our Facebook page?