Updated: Nov 25, 2018
Review : Doctor Strange
Diamond Select Marvel Cinematic Universe
Wave/Series : Doctor Strange
Released : January (US) / February (UK) 2017
Price : £19.99 - £22.99
Like many Marvel Select Cinematic releases, Doctor Strange has arrived just ahead of the DVD/Bluray release of the movie. Unlike Hasbro, who seem to be in a position to get their movie based figures on shelves while (if not before) the film is playing in Cinema's, Diamond do like to keep us collectors waiting.
Doctor Strange arrives in a full size Select Package resplendent with a red through blue swirling colour design. The left card panel carries the Doctor Strange character name, framed with the Marvel Select logo above, and the Dr Strange movie logo below. The subtitle reads "Special Collector Edition Action Figure".
The triangular panel that cuts out from the right of this side piece into the window carries an image of Benedict Cumberbatch in character casting a spell. There is no text on this panel, which is consistent with the change made with the Civil War figures - figures prior to this, back as far as 2013, had been carrying the Avengers Initiative logo in this panel.
To the side spine, the artwork from the triangle is blown up to a full image of Doctor Strange from the movie. Like the Civil War figures, this image is presented not as photographic but almost as a painted piece and I can see why many Select collectors display the figures in the packaging with this side art on display.
The back initially feels a little different to normal, but this is a one of release for the movie so is missing some usual elements like the "also available". It is also missing an actual shot of the figure, instead going with another Cumberbatch image. I wonder if the figure wasn't quite ready for photography when the card art was drawn up? The bio text does survive with some background on Stephen Strange and the origin journey he undertakes in the film.
Out of the pack and the blister is brimming with accessories, and there is a pretty nice looking diorama base tucked in the back that we will explore shortly. Strange sits front and centre of the inner tray, posed with his arms out to either side to fill the blister. To the right, as you look, are the accessories. A circular magical effect and two further sets of hands.
Stephen Strange stands 7 and 1/2 inches high out of the box, and is a hefty piece of solid plastic.
To date, the best MCU sculpt that Diamond had put out had been the 2013 Wolverine figure (yes I know its not quite MCU), but got very close with the recent Civil War Captain America - the masked version. For me Strange just about edges both of these to be the best yet. Pictures don't do the sculpt justice.
I was very unimpressed by all the images I had seen up to getting this figure in hand, and now I am blown away. It's not only a spectacularly good sculpt of Cumberbatch, it is painted extremely well with shading around his cheeks, varying colouring on his lips and piercing blue eyes. The beard and hair are realistically sculpted and well painted. The only criticism being how harsh his grey sideburns are vs the rest of the hair section.
The costume is equally as impressive with a flowing blue robe cutting down the torso and to the waist. Here is an intricate belt made up of a number of strips and buckles and with another sash slung lower still with yet another texture and paint application. The robe then continues, albeit now as a separate skirt section on the figure. This whole piece is shaded to bring out depth and texture, while also not making it look too clean - a complaint we had on earlier figures, but that Diamond now seem to be nailing.
The arms are part of a further garment, and therefore are a slightly variant blue. They are similar sculpted with creases and folds galore down to the wrapped fore-arms. These wraps are another two shades of blue, one bright and striking and when you look up close with a 3rd blue in the border.
The eye of Agamotto hangs from Stephen's neck. Rather than just painted, it is a 3D sculpted piece and is painted in a gold colour.
Like the arms, the legs are a touch darker in blue shade than the main robe and are full of sculpted creases and folds. They end in a pair of dark boots, wrapped again in blue cloth. The boots even come with a full tread under neath and peg holes on both.
The cloak of Levitation is a separate piece that sits around Strange's shoulders, covering his left more than his right. The collar then bends upward around the head section. On first glance the cloak looks a flat red colour, but look closer and you will see some subtle differences around the shoulders. There is also a hige amount of texture and designs built into the cloak, even round the back which you would argue will very rarely be seen.
If I had one build (rather than complaint) at this stage of the review - I think the cloak could have been designed as a removable piece. However, I am not sure how many of us would ever display Strange without his cloak.
There are three sets of hands that you can fit into the figure. These all pop in and out smoothly and without issue. The set that comes pre-fitted are a flared hand with all fingers outstretched. The second set are balled fists, and the third are the spell position.
With the initial set of flared fingers in place, you can also deploy the spell effect. Now this is not as impressive as perhaps the one that comes with the Hasbro figure, and no where near what we look to be getting with the Figuarts version. It carries the runic look of the spells we see in the movie, but Diamond have gone for functionality over looks and the disk is far too thick.
The thickness is because they have made a socket on the flip side into which you can simply place the outstretched hand - no need for plugs or loops. But by being so thick the light doesn't penetrate the disk enough and it looks too much like a solid object than a magical projection.
Articulation on Doctor Strange is advertised at 16 points, and Diamond have made sure every one of these adds something to the pose-ability of the figure. The head rotates and looks up and down within that flexible cloak collar. Both shoulders are ball jointed but only his right can raise up fully and rotate, the other being held in by the cloak. The elbows are very well disguised, but still bend 90 degrees and rotate. The hands each contain a peg and a pivot, and this means they truly do bend to 90 degrees for that ultimate spell casting pose.
While the cloak doesn't make a torso joint practical, a waist swivel has been added instead and is secreted behind the belt. It allows some twist motion for the upper half of Strange. The legs are a T-jointed hip, and even with the lower part of the robe they have quite a bit of movement for more action orientated stances thanks to some strategic splits in the skirted section. Strange won't really kneel or sit down, but he still comes with double jointed knees. We finish with ankle rockers. The figure stands perfectly well thanks to these ankle joints. There is no evidence at this stage of the floppy joints that have plagued Diamond Select figures previously.
The other good thing that Diamond have built in is the ability to point the feet downwards. As weird as this pose sounds, it is essentially if you want to put Strange in a levitation pose. There is no stand provided to do so out of the box, but with a sufficient flying stand you can get some decent poses of the good Doctor putting his Cloak of Levitation to good work.
It seems when we get a really awesome Select figure, the diorama tends to be a let down as Diamond try and balance the development costs. That is certainly not the case here.
The diorama arrives in two pieces that slot together to create a plinth and then the circular window from the Sanctum Sanctorum. The base section is a dark brown and the whole central circle is made up of runes in a vibrant orange. This is printed, so the level of detail is spectacular. The back section is more a bronze colouring, with sculpted paneling in the base and round the window. The Window itself is clear and then decorated with black and yellow lining.
One compliant usually levied about Diamond Diorama's are their size, often being undersized to the figure. This is probably true of the window which is much larger in the film, however they have ensured that it still scales and Strange looks just perfect stood on the display.
Many collectors, like myself, will also want to put Strange alongside other MCU Select figures - especially when we reach Infinity War. Thankfully the good Doctor scales well with other recent figures, standing the same size as the recent Civil War Captain America. The only one he looks odd with is the Mk46 Iron-Man, but that issue lies with the IM figure itself which is a good inch shorter than it should have been.
By now you can probably tell that I don't have much to fault on the Doctor Strange movie figure. The sculpt is amazing, in my opinion the best of the MCU to date from Diamond. The hand options are well thought out and add some character and assist in the posing. The base is also a thing of beauty. The only criticism you could throw at the figure is the fact that magic effect doesn't work too well and the cloak doesn't come off.
So is that enough to warrant a 5 out of 5 score. Of course it is....
Is that enough to be the second only figure in the history of the Mephitsu Archives to score a 5+? Well we asked our friends on Facebook and Twitter for their opinion and the response was unanimous…. Well Done Doctor!