Updated: Dec 8, 2018
Review : 11th Doctor and Roleplaying Sonic Screwdriver Set Doctor Who 5 inch (Character Options) Wave/Series : Toys R Us / Forbidden Planet International, Autumn 2015 releases Released : November 2015
Price : £24.99
In the Autumn of 2015, a quantity of new 5.5" Doctor Who figures were announced. They were to be sold exclusively in Toys R Us stores, but due to the arrangement with US distributor Underground Toys they were also made available at Forbidden Planet International stores.
While most were simple carded or boxed single figure releases, one set which stood out was this collectors set containing an 11th Doctor 5.5" figure and a Roleplaying Sonic Screwdriver toy.
The set used the same packaging design ethos as the other releases, but it also took from previous premium sets like the 11 Doctor Set and instead of a prominent front window, it used two front opening flaps to reveal the figure.
The front cover is designed to look like the TARDIS so that you are opening the Time Machines door to reveal the contents. The ony other decor is a Doctor Who logo to the bottom left, on top of a blue insert which confirms the contents as "Eleventh Doctor Collectors Figure and Electronic Sonic Screwdriver". On the right flap, just under half way, are the diamond inserts we are familiar with on other releases of the time - and currently on the B&M store 3-packs. The top diamond confirms the full details of the Screwdriver as the "Eleventh Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver with Light and Sound FX". The bottom diamond talks about the figures which are now branded as "5.5" inch scale collector series".
The two flaps are secured by means of cicular Velcro tabs. Once open you find the window of the packaging surrounded by a thick black gloss border. Behind this sits the figure and the Screwdriver against a blue clockwork backing card. The right flap on its inner face has an image of the figure while the left has an image of the screwdriver. The flaps are closed easily enough and line up back to the Velcro as required.
Back on the front and the base of the cover shows the TARDIS starting to dematerialise, and behind this is the orange/purple nebula background that is consistent with other releases. This design wraps round the two spines with a purple tinge to the left spine and an orange to the right. Both see a repeat of the Dr Who logo the diamond feature details and the blue flash contents.
Round the back we find a darker background as the purple and blue shades go to a darker red and almost to black at the rear top with some stars showing through. There is a further Dr Who logo top left with the contents blue flash again to the side of it. Under this is a bio of the Eleventh Doctor and then of his Screwdriver. An image of the figure sits to the side of this, whilst an image of the screwdriver sits underneath. We then move into legal and legislation information. Within this are instructions on how to change the screwdriver batteries.
There is a mysterious section covered over in black tape (from the Toys R Us version). This is covering up information about Underground Toys and is not covered if you buy this from Forbidden Planet or US suppliers.
The contents slide out via the top or bottom flap of the box. The inner tray sits in a four sided card back which is designed to look like clockwork workings on a blue galactic backdrop. This has been used on all releases in this new branded range since launch - except with Missy who got her own red "baddie" background.
The figures are held into the pack by some unsightly paper ties. For a collectors pack with such well designed packaging these should have at least been black, if not clear (or not used at all). They take some work getting out - the best option is probably to snip and pull out gently.
Looking first at the figure, and this is a direct repack of the 2011 figure from the "Ganger" series of figures (the ones with all those dodgy plastic face covers). At the time the facial sculpt was head and shoulders above anything else Character had done - and that is still true today. The head is also well painted and the hair is very impressive, hanging over the side of the face and actually looking like it hangs.
The coat is textured to represent the tweed the Doctor wears, and there are patches on the elbows. The coat is painted and washed to bring out that texture. The shirt underneath is a rich blue and the bow-tie sits on top. The shirt is a block colour with no detail, ad the same applies to the trousers which are a glossy black and go straight into the shoes which are the same colour.
The Doctor comes with his own 5.5" scaled Sonic Screwdriver. Considering the size it is very detailed and you can make out the extended emitor. There are also at least 5 different colourings put onto the sonic from the grey and black of the handle to the bronze and silver of the emiter and the turquoise of the inner workings.
The sonic is a little flexible, but at this scale and to fit into the Doctor's hand it does need some give. It fits into the right hand of the Doctor snugly, but can as equally fit into the left hand if you want some variety.
As well as an improved sculpt, this Doctor figure also boasted a couple of tweaks in articulation. The head remains the standard peg allowing rotation only. The shoulders are improved as they are now closer to a ball joint so that they rotate and can be extended out to the side. The bicep swivel then allows the arms to rotate - although doing so will ruin the lines of the arms. There is then a basic 90 degree elbow joint and rotating wrists.
The legs start with the usual T-joint at the hips, we then have a thigh swivel and knee joint. There is no joint or movement at the ankle as the boots are a sculpted part of the leg. This doesn't thankfully make any difference to the figures stability, and the Doctor stands perfectly well.
The Sonic is not the all singing all dancing extending Sonic Screwdriver, it is a repack of the very basic Screwdriver that was sold as part of the budget screwdriver range at £9.99 each. It is solid enough and does have some weight to it. The silver however is very plasticy looking and without the four claws extending the end looks odd with the green bulb pointing through.
Checkout the operation of the Screwdriver in our video below
Operation of the screwdriver is simple and done via a single switch on the black handle. Pressing once will give one sound, pressing again will alternate to the second sound. While each sound is playing the bulb lights up with a solid light, there is no flashing effects or similar.
This two pack is a bit of a tale of two halves. The figure is one of the best produced in the 5.5" line in terms of facial sculpt. With the Eleventh Doctor still holding firm in fan's hearts it is nice to get this back on shelves. The screwdriver however feels more like something you would get on the front of a magazine rather than a collectors item. I would have preferred the more realistic version - even with the sound and lights stripped out so it was a display piece only.
The price is also restrictive at £24.99. With the screwdriver usually £9.99 - you are paying £14.99 for the figure, which might have been consistent when the line was relaunched in Toys R Us, but was excessive - and that has been recognised with the current price of £9.99 a figure (2017 12th Doctor figures).
I would score the set a 3 out of 5 once you;ve weighed up the RRP vs the figure vs the screwdriver.