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Review : Clara Oswald, Purple Dress (Doctor Who)

Updated: Dec 8, 2018

Review : Clara Oswald, Purple Dress Doctor Who 5.5" Collectors Range Wave/Series : 2015 Toys R Us / Forbidden Planet release Released : November 2015

The majority of the Doctor Who 5 inch figures that we are seeing in the relaunched Toys R Us / Forbidden Planet range are re-releases or repaints, and although that isn't usually ideal for a collectors range the majority of the boxed collectors figures have been well chosen to compliment what we already have. This release, the purple dress, is actually the first true Clara figure we have had in the larger scale. The original figure of Jenna Coleman was actually the "splinter" character Oswin and was part of the Forbidden Planet (UK) / Underground Toys (US) special box set based on the Impossible Girl.

This new figure simply takes the red dress Oswin, removes the belt and repaints the dress blue and the legs to a black. This outfit is therefore not screen accurate, the closest it comes is to dress from Rings of Akhatan or Hide - but lacks the pattern.

Clara arrives in the 2015 style collectors box which is decorated in black (top) through to orange (bottom) vortex design, with cutout window to view the figure and character name dropped into a dark blue panel at the bottom left. The right hand side of the box is a wrap around of the perspex window, while the left hand side is designed like a book spine with the Doctor Who logo, the 5.5" badge in its blue diamond and the character name - again in a blue flash panel. Round the back, and the backdrop turns more to a black star-scape and over this is a full size image of the figure. You then get a full three paragraphs of bio and the "run you clever boy" quote. Interestingly, on the Toys R Us version which we are reviewing, the Underground Toys logo has been blacked out with an over-sticker. This indicates that the deal in the UK for Toys R Us is probably direct with Character, whilst the Forbidden Planet sets are with their ongoing partnership with Underground Toys.

Once out of the box, Clara is strapped into the usual inner tray with those massively annoying cotton type strands. She comes against the blue clockwork background that has been a theme for all the collectors figures so far, with the exception of Missy who had a red background. Clara comes with no accessories at all, so looks kind of lost in the tray.

Clara stands at 5 1/4 inch tall, and therefore scales well against the 12th Doctor figures. Sadly, and I have no idea why there was this running change from 5" to 5.5", she is too tall to line up with older figures - for example standing almost the same height as the 11th Doctor figures, and much taller than other comparable companions like Rose or Sarah Jane.

Sculpt is OK, nothing special and nothing compared to higher end figures at 6" or 7" scale. It is a decent enough likeness that you will recognise it as Clara and the body proportions are done well compared to a lot of female characters who are often over exaggerated. There is a lack of texture in the clothing, it would benefit from some additional folds and details like hems and cuffs. The paint applications don't do the sculpt any justice, with thick one tone eye brows, bright red lips and overly heavy handed eye's. There is also a poor quality chalky texture to the skin, which looks rough close up and is already peeling off around the joints. The arms do match the colour of the dress, which is a pleasant surprise considering the dress is done in a rubber finish and quite often where this is used the colour tone's are often mismatched. The tights are a flat black paint and the same colour continues into the shoes, it wouldn't have taken much to shade the shoes differently and colour the laces or lace holes.

Articulation on Who figures is about 15 points of articulation, but most of the joints are quite basic compared to ball joints and swivel joints we see on other ranges like the Star Wars Black Series or Marvel Legends. The head is a peg that is meant to rotate to either side, but this movement is locked by the hair. The shoulders have evolved to a swivel and pivot so they do rotate fully round the body but also out to the side to 90 degrees. The bicep swivels are ugly unfortunately, and a weak spot as my lower arm popped out on first twist of this joint. Once rotated they don't line up and look peculiar and to be fair they do nothing to add to the display of the figure. The elbows are a standard joint, and it is here that sadly the chalky paint is flaking badly when the elbow joints are moved.

Under the skirt are hip joints which, like the shoulders, should allow the legs to move into a sitting position, but also out to the side into the splits. However, the rubber dress stops all of this movement and you will be restricted to having Clara stood in a neutral pose. There is a thigh swivel, and this is hidden behind the skirts and will come into play when you do try and stand this figure. Knee joints are done via a peg system, which is quite unsightly either side of Clara's knees. The boots do then swivel at the ankles, and you will need this and the thigh swivel to try and get Clara to stand. Clara can stand on her own, but like the Oswin red dress figure she is very delicate to pose and will fall over with a stiff breeze and with no foot pegs included you will likely have to come up with some form of display where Clara is propped up.

If you stand back and compare Clara to the Oswin figure, then it is clear that Oswin got the better deal in terms of paint applications. The new Clara's hair is much darker and therefore loses detail. The new Clara's skin is chalkier and the facial features painted in harsher tones than Oswin. Oswin also had that extra decor on the shoes, as well as the belt accessory to break up the outfit.

I feel bad for knocking the return of the 5.5" range, but at £15 a figure it will need to raise it's game with either better quality or new sculpts if they want it to survive. Turning out repaints that aren't screen accurate, and with questionable paint applications isn't going to impress collectors or generate sales. Summing all that up, I am going to score Clara a low 2 out of 5. She is not all bad, and within the range itself meets the expectations most fans have come to expect with articulation and sculpt.


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