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Review : Doctor Who 2nd Doctor and TARDIS from The War Games, B&M Exclusive (Character Options)


The Second Doctor and TARDIS set is part of the Summer 2020 Doctor Who Sets produced by Character Options and exclusive to B&M stores in the UK. The set is based on the 2nd Doctor's final adventure, The War Games, from 1969.


My review copy was provided ahead of the official release by Character Options via their PR Company

Packaging 4/5


Our 2020 Second Doctor set remains packaged in the blue and silver wrapped window box we have seen on the previous TARDIS sets from 2020 and as established in 2019. The Doctor and TARDIS can be viewed through the large window that wraps most of the left hand spine. The window is trimmed in a thin yellow band with the modern Who logo at the top in silver and the sets name across the bottom rail. There is a red insert just above this name place quoting the set as "Exclusive" as opposed to the silver stickers we've seen on other sets in the B&M line. The circular insert top right confirms this as that 5.5 inch scale.


The right spine carries an image of the Doctor and TARDIS with a repeat of the Who logo, 5.5 inch circular info flash, the red exclusive flash and the sets full name.

All of this is repeated again on the back alongside a very lengthy piece of background text which pretty much covers the full story of The War Games, rather than providing a taster or synopsis.


THE SECOND DOCTOR & TARDIS

FROM 'THE WAR GAMES' (1969) written by Terrance Dicks and Malcolm Hulke


On an alien planet, the Doctor uncovers a diabolical plot to conquer the galaxy with soldiers abducted from different periods in Earth's history. They are forced to fight in simulated environments, reflecting the time periods from which they were taken. The aliens' aim is to produce a super army from the survivors; to this end, they have been aided by a renegade from the Doctor's own race of the Time Lords, calling himself the War Chief.


Joining forces with rebel soldiers, the Doctor and his companions Jamie and Zoe foile the plan and end the fighting. The War Chief is defeated but the Doctor begrudgingly admits he needs the help of the Time Lords to return all the soldiers to their correct times. After sending a message to the Time Lords he and his companions attempt to evade capture, but are caught and the Time Lords place the War Chief on trial and dematerialise him. They erase Zoe and Jamie's memories of travelling with the Doctor, and return them to their respective point n time when each of them first entered the TARDIS. They then place the Doctor on trial for stealing the TARDIS and breaking the rule of non-interference. The Doctor presents a spirited defence, citing his many battles against the evils of the universe. Accepting this defence, the Time Lords announce that his punishment is exile to Earth and a forced regeneration into a new man.


The top of the box see's more repeating of the character name and 5.5 inch scale, while the bottom of the box carries most of the generic warnings alongside the confirmation this is a non electronic TARDIS. There is also a short insert on how to open and close the TARDIS doors.

The set is opened via top or bottom flap and the whole contents slide out initially as one piece. You will need to unscrew the TARDIS from the clip on the base. This was hard work this time round and I am still unsure why this is needed. The Doctor, in his inner tray, is released by un-taping the tab that sticks through the cardboard backing. The Doctor is held in by two elasticated ties which are best cut with scissors as they can rub the paint if stretched to snap. I am pleased to see that big strip disappear from the TARDIS doors. This is replaced by four pieces of tape.


With the figures and trays removed, the backdrop is that of an interior scene from the War Games. It is less detailed than previous releases like the Shada library scene, but very bright and colourful.The coloured aspect of it makes it less recognisable as The War Games serial was of course in Black and White. While this backdrop works well in the box, once removed it has exposed brown cardboard around the top, side and back and is taped roughly together. To make any kind of diorama or backdrop piece would take some work.

Paint & Sculpt 4/5


The 2nd Doctor figure is one of the strongest sculpts in the line with a great likeness to the late, great Patrick Troughton. The Troughton head is quite serious in its look, which is not fully reflective of his character, but fits in this scenario in terms of what happens during The War Games.


The face is hand painted and the skin is a single tone with the eyes, eyebrows and mouth painted. The costume is cast in its base colours with paint details added. The shirt is white with the spotted blue bow-tie painted, and this does result in some blue staining of the collar behind. The handkerchief in the pocked is painted red and the whole jacket is weathered by means of some mud brown dry-brushing.


The trousers are checked and the rip in his right knee, as seen in the story, is recreated albeit as a painted piece and not a physical adjustment to the sculpt. The rip to the jacket we also see in the story is not replicated.

We got our first Second Doctor figure in 2009 and this is the exact same sculpt used for every 2nd Doctor since, including this one. The painting of the head does create a variant look with the 2020 release a little more tanned in the face and with more definition thanks to the painted mouth.

The TARDIS is taken from the existing TARDIS mold, but with a brand new light piece created for the Second Doctor's era. The piece is cast in a very grey blue colouring and that is quite clever in that this TARDIS will work as a colour TARDIS with the 2nd Doctor it comes with - or equally as well as a Black & White TARDIS with the Black & White 2nd Doctor figure.


The various notices are applied neatly as decals and are fully legible. The front top rail is not as bright as it is illustrated on the box, or in the original promo images - so looks to be a change in production. It is sill presented in a different base colour than the other three sides.

The colouring variances to previously releases can be seen here against the original classic TARDIS colours from 2010 to the much brighter blue with weathering we've seen with the recent Third Doctor sets.


Being a direct re-use, these B&M sets still have remnants of the old electronic TARDIS parts such as the speaker on the reverse and a now sealed up battery cover. While the packaging does state non-electronic - it only does so in small writing on the base and there will be people who buy this and seeing the speakers and interior parts would be wondering why it makes no sound?


Accessories N/A


There are no accessories included in the set, this is the usual format of the B&M sets. It would however have been nice to get the Second Doctors flute as an inclusion.

Articulation 3/5


The Doctor has the same basic 14 points of articulation as most of the Doctor Who line. This has remained consistent over the last 14 years with little variation and in a way it is good that Character are not deviating from this to allow the line to remain uniform - a release in 2020 looks perfectly contemporary to a release from 2006.


Head : neck post swivel

Body : waist post swivel

Arms : shoulder post swivel, bicep swivel, jointed elbow, peg wrist

Legs : T-Joint hips, thigh swivel, jointed knee


The Second Doctor does suffer from quite a stiff neck this time round, but otherwise all the joints work fine. The arms are the most mobile with bends at the elbow and rotation at the bicep to aid some gesturing. The legs are a little trickier being hemmed in by the tails of the coat but do work for some wider stances. The Second Doctor has always suffered a little from being unbalanced when fully stood straight - this is the same on this 2020 version and you will likely need to lean him forward a little when standing.

The TARDIS articulation is purely in the doors. These use the same clip and release as we've seen on all TARDIS sets. The right door opens first and clips in place followed by the left. You close the left by pulling it shut then use the floor button to spring back the right hand side. Our copy was quite sensitive on the right hand side and has a tendency to flip back when I didn't want it too.


As you can see there is no insert or backdrop when you open the doors. A neat cardboard piece with the Second Doctor era console room would have looked great?


Summary


The Second Doctor era is very under represented in the Character Options line, and this is the first time a Troughton era TARDIS has been released. The figure looks fine with some added paint weathering and damage to represent the Doctor's appearance at the end of The War Games.

The TARDIS is notably different from any that we've had before, and cleverly works as either a colour or black and white TARDIS.

At the time of writing this review the price of these sets had not been confirmed, and is assumed to be £19.99. That presents good value for money considering you get a figure and a full scale TARDIS included.


I score the Second Doctor and TARDIS set from The War Games a well above average 4 out of 5.




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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...

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