2019 see's the biggest ever range of 5 inch Doctor Who figures as B&M Stores exclusives, and sees two more Doctor and TARDIS sets added to the line. The 4th Doctor gets a new TARDIS in the 5 inch scale in this release, based on the TARDIS' appearance in the originally abandoned, and recently completed story Shada.
The set uses the 2019 packaging design with the dark blue colour scheme, contrasted by cut through silver panels with a TARDIS illustration. The figure is displayed by a wrapped window that covers most of the front of the box and round the left hand side spine.
The back of the box includes an image of the 4th Doctor and the TARDIS, aside which sits a very in depth background for Shada and the synopsis for the story itself. While this is OK, there are some poorly written elements, particularly the piece about Professor Chronotis.
"Shada (1979), written by Douglas Adams, was to be the final story of Season 17 of Doctor Who.
A combination of problems, including strikes, halted production halfway through filming and it was never broadcast. However the story didn't stop there; some of the remaining archived material was reused in the 1983's story The Five Doctors. and then again in 1992 when the story was spliced together using narration. Finally, in 2017 a completed cut was released, including new animations of missing shots and some newly filmed scenes.
The Time Lords have a terrible secret... 'Shada', a hidden Time Lord prison where the worst criminals of the universe are held. Skagra, an evil genius, needs the help of one of the prison's inmates called Salyavin. But nobody knows where Shada is located anymore. So he tracks the only thing where its location is mentioned, an ancient book stolen by a retired Time Lord calling himself Professor Chronotis living on Earth with a forbidden Time Lord book stolen from the Archives on Gallifrey. Skagra's arrival to find and take the book coincides with a visit by the professor's old friend, the Doctor."
The pack opens by the top or bottom flap, with the TARDIS and Doctor sliding out inside a cardboard inner tray. The TARDIS is screwed into place with a black strip on the base of the box, while the Doctor is in a separate tray taped to the cardboard inner tray.
The said inner tray is decorated as the Professor Chronotis library from Shada and is very well executed in looks, if not in design. The issue with the tray is that once the figure is removed the cardboard doesn't make a particularly useful diorama piece as it is not decorated at one side and the stability is not great being stood on a two sided raised plinth.
It is worth noting that the TARDIS doors remain strapped shut out of the box with a clear strap that wraps the TARDIS fully and goes inside the door seams and holds the doors closed. This is an awful piece to remove and actually risks damaging the door more than it does to protect it. I would recommend snipping with scissors, then pressing slightly on the door while closed to open up the hinge to allow these to be pulled out safely.
Paint & Sculpt 4/5
The Fourth Doctor is not a new sculpt, and uses the Destiny of the Daleks Doctor and Scarf, but with a repainted coat. The likeness to Tom Baker is good, albeit a little vacant in its expression and with a weird texture to the sideburns.
The scarf is well painted with multiple colours, all bright and neat. The rest of the figure is quite plain with white shirt, brown jacket and grey trousers with brown boots. It does match the outfit used n Shada, although the scarf patterns are not an exact match if you are ultra picky.
Please note we did not have easy access to the Destiny Doctor when doing our review so have illustrated the image below using the City of Death Doctor which is the same sculpt, but with different lower legs.
The TARDIS is the same base mouled we have seen used across the history of the Character Options 5 inch line. It does get a brand new lamp piece that is accurate to the TARDIS in Shada, and of course is also a match to the TARDIS we see in the 4th Doctor's title sequence of that era.
Being the original mould we do still have the battery compartment and speakers visible on the back from the time this was a sound FX release. These are of course redundant, but I suspect some collectors may wonder why their TARDIS is not working.
The other main difference to previous releases are the windows, no painted shades of red and orange.
There are no accessories in the set, unless you count the Doctor's scarf? Even though the Doctor has a right hand shaped to hold a Sonic Screwdriver, Character and B&M have not included this in the set.
The Doctor retains the usual set of 16 points of articulation that dates back to the start of the Character 5 inch line. While this is limited, with so many figures done so far in this style I'd actually hate them to change by this point.
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
With some teasing there are a handful of poses for the Doctor although the neutral stance is probably the best bet.
The TARDIS doors are also articulated and open using a spring mounted mechanism. This is explained on the bottom of the box, and worth checking out so you can see how best to close the doors without trapped fingers.
Any Doctor Who 5 inch release is a welcome one these days, but I am starting to think the TARDIS sets are reaching saturation. We've had 4 now in just over 12-months from B&M, and two of them have been for the Fourth Doctor.
The execution of this one is good, and I do like the revised lamp for the TARDIS. The Fourth Doctor is a simple repaint, but works with the set and helps fans who maybe started down the line later in its life to expand their collection.
The Articulation and looks may be looking dated now, but that is a little bit of the charm of these figures. They are coming up to 13 years old now, and it is nice in a way the ones from 2019 are still designed and look like the ones from 2006.
At £20 this is a decent set, especially if you don't have a TARDIS yet from the 4th Doctor's era. The packaging is nice, but the backdrop not quite workable once out of the box. I score the Shada Set a 4/5.