For the 3rd year running, B&M Bargains have commissioned a selection of brand new Doctor Who 5.5" Collector sets from Character Options Like previous years the figures included have been selected from both the Classic and NuWho era's, and are predominantly re-releases, repaints and tweaks.
2018 has seen Character go a step further with their sets, giving us a number of "new" figures by clever re-use of existing parts and molds.
The 1970's Collector Figure Set is quite oddly titled, but for Classic Who fans it brings us two new figures and a repaint to add to our Classic collection. The figures arrive in the packaging that has been used on B&M sets since 2016. The design mirrors that as used by Character on the Who range across other retailers including the Toys R Us figures and the upcoming Amazon release.
The design is a fading cosmic colour scheme starting with a background or purple and orange that fades to a starscape on the rear. All the important into is presented in dark blue inserts carrying the set name and the figures included within. At this point the Who logo remains the one from the 1996 Dr Who movie that was adopted as a coverall for the past few years.
Each side of the box carries the same logo again and the same inserts that top and tail images of the figures. The Doctor appears on both sides, with the Auton alongside him on the right and the Brigadier on the left.
The rear of the box gives us a better look at that cosmic starscape background with images of all three figures over the top. There is no blurb or background for the figures, and this is a shame as it would be nice for new fans or collectors to be able to find the episode each character is from.
The figures are accessed via the top or bottom flap and they slide out within a blue clockwork design cardboard tray. The figures are held in place by elasticated clear ties which snap or can be cut easily to release the figures.
The Brigadier is not a new character to the line, having been released a number of times in the Classic Line in his standard green Unit fatigues and dress uniform. This version of the Brigadier does its best to replicate the uniform he wore in the 3rd Doctor's first season starting with Spearhead from Space and running through to Inferno.
The likeness to Nicholas Courtney is recognizable but the painting is particularly basic with some very intense black pupils painted on the eyes. The skin tone doesn't help the stark features of the face, being very pale. While the UNIT logo is missing from the cap, it is painted in two tones of grey. The uniform insignia continues on the lapels and on the jacket breast - although under this you can see some RAF wings which give away the original use for this particular body.
The unifor is a single off cream colour with painted red band around the right shoulder. The crevate is a sandy brown with a white shirt collar underneath. The shoes are a plain brown. While there is little to get wrong on a basic painted scheme, the paint is patchy in places - there is also evidence of where the elasticated ties have rubbed in the packing.
The head is a direct use from the earlier capped Brigadiers, although this new version looks particularly poor against the original which had a much cleaner paint job including more natural eyes and a healthier skin tone. You can also see here what the UNIT badge could have loked like with a decal application.
For those who hadn't worked it out - the body is simply that of Captain Jack from the 2007 release. This is of course inventive and allowed Character to give B&M a new figure at a much lower price point. But by doing this you do lose some accuracy to the original costume and there are niggles on there like the RAF wing logo that was simply painted over.
Using the Jack Harkness body, which was also quite chunky, does make the Brigadier look a touch buff too around the torso and not the build you usually expect from Lethbridge-Stewart.
The Doctor Who figures have never excelled on articulation, remaining relatively basic vs comparable sized lines like Star Wars and Marvel. The Brigadier has 12 points of articulation starting with a basic neck peg that allows rotation where it plugs into the torso. There is a similar rotating joint in the waist that also allows rotation of the top half vs the legs.
The arms are a single pegged joint into the torso at the shoulder, this means they can only rotate and not swing outwards. There isn't even a bicep cut on this one with the arms going down to the elbow joint which use a quite intrusive peg and socket - leaving the pegs exposed either side of the elbow. hands and wrists are plugged into the sleeve and can also be rotated.
The legs are hooked onto a hip joint which gives more movement than the shoulder, letting the legs swing forward to a seating position and out to the side as needed. We then get back to the peg joint at the knee which bends to 90 degrees. There is no ankle joint with the feet a sculpted part of the lower leg.
Figure number two is the 4th Doctor, and this is a brand new costume that is trying to capture the look the Doctor wore during the 1977 story, The Talons of Weng-Chiang. In this story the Doctor was wearing a very Sherlock Holmes-esque costume and Character have managed to replicate parts of this here.
The head sculpt is that of the original 4th Doctor, and is a good likeness considering the cost and scale to Tom Baker from the 1970's. The eyes are a neater finish than the Brigadier and the hair is two tone to bring out the depth of sculpt.
Like the Brigadier there are clues initially as to the origins of the body and you can see frilled cuffs at the end of the arms, something not present on the Weng Chiang outfit. The boot are also not accurate as the Doctor was wearing shoes in the story
Again, for the price point the look of the figure is well executed with neat lines and patterning on the cloak. The cloak carries a lot of fleur-de-lys fastenings which although aren't painted are visible - these were not present on the actual prop and are another clue to its origin.
The hands are painted a grey-blue to match the gloves The Doctor wore in the story.
The body and cape are actually a 3rd Doctor body which have been repainted to match (as close as they can) the Weng Chiang costume. Like The Brigadier this is an innovative approach that allows B&M to get a new 4th Doctor rather than a repack.
Fans will be slightly disappointed this is not the true Weng Chiang 4th Doctor we would want with a Deerstalker Hat as a minium, and a thicker more accurate textured cape.
The re-use head has got an improved paint job vs the original in my opinion with a more natural skin tone and neater sharper eyes that better reflect Tom Baker's Doctor.
The 4th Doctor has 16 points of articulation, four more than the Brigadier thanks to thigh and bicep swivels. These swivels do add some extra stability options in the legs allowing the feet to be twisted outward. In the arm they add very little other than to throw the whole line of the arm when turned due to how thin the upper bicep is sculpted to start with.
The other articulation remains pegs and joints, with very limited overall posing options.
For those who want an alternative look, the Cape section is removable and the Doctor underneath is fully decorated. Here we can see the addition of a brand new shirt chest piece to give the waistcoat and tie look under the original 3rd Doctor jacket. These are all painted in single tones. The tie is quite messy with the top of it missed and left white like the shirt.
Like much of the figure, this coat and waistcoat are not accurate - being patterned in the story, and in the case of the waist coat - the wrong colour entirely as it should be a deep burgundy as a minimum.
You can now see the boots better without the Cape. They look odd and I have no idea why the bottom of a 3rd Doctor in shoes was not used. While I hate to point out more discrepancies the trousers are grey when they should be a brown tone.
The final figure is a re-painted Auton, painted to look like their 2nd appearance in the 1971 story Terror of the Autons. The head sculpt is quite haunting and extremely screen accurate. It is finished in a waxy tone which works well for a figure of a living plastic dummy.
The boiler suit outfit is a single tone grey colour, with a slightly lighter cravat. The cravat of course is a carryover from the original figure and is not overly accurate to the boiler suited Autons seen in Terror of the Autons.
We are reminded here about the 1970 era from which this whole set is sourced with some impressive silver shoes.
Everything here is identical to the original Spearhead from Space figure. In fact it loses some detail as this Terror of the Autons version does not get painted button or belt buckle detail.
This figure itself borrows parts from the original Captain Jack Harkness figure we saw earlier when we looked at the Brigadier.
Articulation is 12 points, identical to that of the Brigadier with exposed peg and sockets used on the elbows and knees. The articulation does allow for firing poses to show off that exposed hand gun which is very well executed with a blue painted inner segment and silver gun.
While I have been a little harsh in this review pointing out the various inaccuracies and faults with the figure - we must remember that these are priced at £16.99 for 3 figures. Had these been three brand new accurate figures from Character we would have been talking at least £10 a figure, probably nearer £15 each.
For Character to do what they have done is impressive and innovative and I applaud them and B&M for making this happen, particularly also including this set with figures from over 40 years ago.
That being said, there are some parts on the figures that aren't brilliant and could have been much better without impacting the cost of the set. The colouring on the 4th Doctor being off in places being my major gripe.
It is good to see that there are no obvious flaws as have been seen on other B&M sets and all joints are operable and secure. I score the 1970's Collector Set, considering the £16.99 price point, a 4 out of 5.