Review : The 12th Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver
Wave/Series : Role Play Replica
Released : 2016
Price : £14.99
As seen in the Series 9 episode 'Hell Bent' The 12th Doctor has finally upgrades his Sonic Screwdriver from the one he inherited from the 11th Doctor. This new screwdriver has now joined the expansive Character Options line of replica / role-play Sonic's.
The Screwdriver arrives in a clear plastic product tube about 11 inches high, the type of packaging also used on the 11th Doctor screwdriver release. The graphics and art have been updated to match the current theme being used across the Character range - with a orange/red vortex design that fades through the colour spectrum to a star field. The logo, presented in white at the base of the tube, remains based on the font established in the titles and merchandising for the 11th Doctor, but without the central TARDIS icon.
Under the logo sits a blue flash insert that details this as the "Twelfth Doctor's Second Sonic Screwdriver" and with the sub heading "Electronic Sound & Lights FX"
Around the windowed portion of the tube sits diamond inserts that talk about the "static flashing & chase light & sound FX", "Green and Blue Light Modes" and an image showing a rotating arrow? - it is certainly whetting our appetite at this point with all these promised features.
Round the back we have the usual safety & legal notices and next to this is a couple of paragraphs talking about the Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver - and in particular the 12th Doctor's use of the screwdriver, and his period of moving to hands-free and using the "Sonic Shades".
Back to the front and the whole sonic is clearly visible through the windowed portion of the tube packaging, and behind it sits another star field, framing the screwdriver beautifully. This will certainly please Mint in Box collectors who can leave the Screwdriver as is for their collections.
So time to get into the box and see what this Sonic can do... and at this point we welcome Mini-Meph (age 6) who will be helping us review and road-test this new Sonic and give his perspective from a play-ability point of view.
Once the tape has been removed from either the top or bottom of the tube, the cap slides off and the screwdriver will slide out in its insert tray. A word of warning if you are contemplating opening your Screwdriver for a play and then want to put it back in the tube - the Sonic is an extremely tight fit into the tray and you almost certainly crease the tray getting it out.
Out of the box and the Sonic is about 9 inches long, and is a decent enough weight in hand. Mini-Meph thinks "it looks a little weird", he is comparing it to the other Sonic's he has seen on screen across all the Doctor's new and old. The base colour of the main parts are an electric blue, and then around these are panels of silver, including some very complex looking clamps near the emitter. There is also some gold details near the base, centre and just under the emitter. All of the paint is crisp, neatly applied and with no bleeding between parts. There are no other paint applications to weather the Sonic or bring out any details.
The emitter is the business end, and is made up of four LED tubes which are slotted around a square frame, and then this is brought up to a point with the end of the LED tubes also pointing forward, along with a further circular led emitter right at the end.
To access the batteries, you will need to twist the lower half of the Sonic clockwise and pull down. This splits the Sonic in two and gives access to the battery panel, which is screwed in place. Three button cell (watch) batteries are already included - but these are for demonstration and will not last long, so worth stocking up with a spare set for your budding 12th Doctor if this Sonic is going to do lots of door opening and fighting Daleks.
There are no instructions included in or on the packaging on how to operate the Sonic, and the silly grown up (me) could only get two out of the four features to work at first. Mini-Meph pointed out "the whole fun is finding the secret" and after a bit more playing we worked it all out. The whole Sonic operates from a single half circular button slider which fits ergonomically in line with your thumb when you hold the Sonic. Pushing it up operates the solid green light and FX and pulling it down operates the blue light and FX. The green FX is accompanied by a higher pitched Sonic sound effect, where as the blue is a little deeper. Both sound effects have been used on previous Dr Who Sonic's from Character and as we haven't really seen the Doctor operate his new Screwdriver in the show we will have to wait to confirm accuracy.
The other effects are operated by a double press of the button. Pushing upward twice in quick succession operates a green throbbing light and an alternative sound effect. Pulling down twice turns on a flashing effect, with each of the 4 LED tubes lighting up in a rotating pattern. The double push took Mini-Meph a bit to master, but he has it cracked now and he is off scanning for Cybermen to his hearts content. "Awesome" is his only quote at this stage.
We finally interrupted Mini-Meph's adventures in Time & Space to get his thoughts overall...
"It's the best Sonic Screwdriver I've had".
He has had a few, including the 9th, 11th and the 3rd Doctors from Character. And I agree this looks and feels the nicest so far, and yet will still fit in with the collection as a whole.
"The lights are really cool, because they make lots of different sounds. And yeah I like the colours. I still think it looks a bit weird, it looks a bit like a lightsaber".
We asked Mini-Meph to give it a score out of a 100..... "a trillion" was his answer - we asked for that didn't we. But I guess that means he likes it and gives it a seal of approval.
It is therefore safe to say that the kids will love this one, although parents may find the sound FX grating after a period of time playing.
For me, and with any review I do, I look at the item and score it appropriately to its peers and its price range. Be clear that this is not a collectors grade replica, for that you would be paying £100+. It is however great value for money at the £14.99 SRP and still looks the part if you want it to keep boxed or lined up in a Sonic display. The kids obviously love it (well mine did) and my only gripe about missing instructions has been over-ruled by a 6 year old who has explained the "fun is finding out". I score this Sonic a 5 out of 5.
Please check out the gallery and video below for full details, the video does show the Sonic in operation including all four effects.
Review copy courtesy of Evolution PR on behalf of Character Options