Updated: Dec 8, 2018
Welcome to our review of the Character Options Doctor Who 13th Doctor 5.5 inch Action Figure. This release of Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor heralds a new era of Doctor Who product and with it comes a redesigned blister card and artwork. Thank you to Character Options and to Evolution PR for this advance copy of the figure which will be released in January 2019. You can pre-order the figure via Character Toys or Forbidden Planet.
After a few years in window box packaging, there is something refreshing about seeing a Doctor Who 5 inch figure back on a blister card. The packaging is a complete re-design and uses the principles already laid down in the 12 inch Doctor figure and Sonic Screwdriver. The colour scheme is predominantly blue with the bright new Doctor Who log across the card top. Atop this is the BBC logo and to the side the age guide of 5+
The figure sits inside a shaped blister and is accentuated with a bright yellow sunburst backing to that portion of the card. To side of this the TARDIS pokes out from behind the figure blister. The TARDIS imagery is repeated to the side of the blister where a door of the Tardis is wrapped around the curved side, making it look like the door is being opened. The rest of the blister wrap includes the name of the figure, written as "The Thirteenth Doctor" and subtitled with "Action Figure (5.5"/14cm Scale)". Above this in a sharp pink insert is the further text "with sonic screwdriver accessory". If you flip the package over at this point to look at the base this insert wrap comes round to cover the base and includes the barcode and contents list. Rather than have a shaped peg cut out at the top, an adhesive peg label is affixed at the top of the card. The figure is stable enough to sit on a shelf if required.
The card back mirrors the front with a Doctor Who and BBC logo at the top. The TARDIS peeks in again from the left, and the right is coloured yellow. On this yellow panel sits the "also available" items for the 13th Doctor from Character - the aforementioned 12 inch scale figure and Electronic Sonic Screwdriver. Just above this and below the Doctor Who logo is some text that positions the 13th Doctor
"One of the most iconic sci-fi characters ever has returned in her thirteenth incarnation for all-new adventures across space and time. Exploring the universe in her time-travelling TARDIS, sonic screwdriver in hand, the Thirteenth Doctor is ready to sort right from wrong and save civilisations throughout the galaxy."
The blister is glued to the card, so the one draw back from the previous window boxes is the fact you wont be able to open this figure and then return to the package for display. Once released the figure is strapped into an inner section with two elasticated clear ties - easiest snipped from the back. Her Sonic sits to the left under a length of sticky tape.
Sculpt & Paint 5/5
In hand and the face sculpt for Jodie Whittaker is impressive, an excellent likeness with some real character to her face. The skin tone is single tone and the eyes are neat and very realistic. The lips too are neatly painted and a good colour. The eye brows are also neat, although a little too out of line at one side. The hair carries a good amount of sculptural detail and flows naturally either side of the off-centre parting. The colour is good, but the paint is a touch heavy handed and the graduation from the darker roots to the blonde hair is a bit severe.
The costume and body is well proportioned and accurate to the on screen look. The T-shirt is a dark blue with five neat and tidy rows of colour across the chest. From an accuracy point of view the colours aren't quite right as the real prop T-shirt runs (in simple terms) yellow, red, black, green and yellow. The figure has yellow, purple, black, red and yellow.
Either side of the shirt are the braces. The straps on these are painted a yellow, but the fasteners are painted black and not hugely different from the shirt base colour. From a distance therefore it looks a bit odd as they seem to end quite a way from the belt. The trousers are cast as high wasted and include some fabric folding and creasing into the sculpt. The are a single blue colour. They end just above the ankles where a bit of flesh is on show. We then have the Doctor's boots and blue socks. The boots initially look black, but on closer inspection are a washed brown to imitate the weathered leather of the real props.
Over all this sits the coat which is an individual piece in rubberised plastic. The lining inside is a dark blue while the outside and the sleeves are a light blue. The hem of the coat is trimmed at the base in blue, and at the sides of the upper lapels with more rainbow striping - this time accurate to the red and yellow piping on the coat used on screen. The final bits of piping on the coat are around the sleeves and the pockets - both neat and well placed.
The 13th Doctor comes in with 14 points of articulation, that two less than a usual Character 5.5 inch figure. It is great to first see a ball jointed head as the previous releases have all been head and neck pieces plugged into a torso. This means no ugly cut in the neck area, but also allows some extra head movement as the head can be cocked and tilted to add some more expression.
Arms remain the same as usual with a rotating shoulder plugged into the torso - there is no extra pivot here so the arms simply rotate and can't be raised outwards. Beneath this is a bicep swivel. Like many recent releases this is very soft and the arms pop out if turned too hard. Turning this joint also ruins the lines of the arms and I'd rather see this joint be lost in favour of the shoulder pivot.
The elbow is a single joint with a visible peg straight through the centre. The left hand arm bends fine on our figure, but the right was solid with too much glue around the pag ceasing it up. This was soon released with a touch of hot water (be careful). The final arm joint are the two hands which are plugged in place and can rotate.
The waist remains a swivel joint and we then have T-joint hips allowing the legs to swing out to the front and to the side. We lose the thigh swivel and move straight down to another single peg joint for the knee. While you'd expect there to be an ankle joint, particularly when the thigh swivel is missing, there is not and the boots and lower leg are all one piece. What this means is that when the legs are posed outward the feet can be rotated and the stance can look a bit odd. That being said the legs are restricted within the coat tails anyway so the point is a little moot. The Doctor stands reasonably well but it takes a bit of practice to get the feet planted securely.
The sole accessory is that of the Sonic Screwdriver. For its size this is pretty accurate and you can see the sweeping organic look. It is cast in silver with orange painted parts, although the orange used is a bit dull and dirty.
It is designed to fit in the Doctor's right hand only, and slides in snugly. The hand isn't posed to be aiming the sonic though, so while it looks fine at her side when the arm is raised it sits up in the air - the pose she usually has when taking a reading.
It is pleasing to see the figure scale well with the previously releases. I indulged a little capturing some pictures of the 13th Doctor with some of her earlier selves.
This new 13th Doctor figure is first and foremost brilliant news for 5.5 inch collectors that the line lives on from Character and there is a desire, albeit reduced perhaps, to give us new product from the current series. A 5 inch figure in the current market is very keenly priced at £12.99 and while the joints are a little dated, it packs quite a punch in terms of articulation and sculpt at a time we are paying £10 for a 5POA Star Wars figure.
The sculpt and paint are top notch for the price point, and the articulation only let down by the lack of a swivel point on the legs - and a stuck arm due to paint application. I love the new packaging too and I would hope that maybe, just maybe, we might get a few more figures in the line and it would be great to see them on toy shelves again
I score the 13th Doctor a 4 out of 5.