Character Options have been working with B&M Stores since 2016 on Doctor Who 5.5 inch collectors figure sets, and 2019 is the biggest yet with 8 new sets landing in B&M stores in August 2019. Joining the earlier release of the 4th Doctor and TARDIS are two more TARDIS sets, the first of which is based on the 1984 Caves of Androzani - the final adventure for the 5th Doctor.
The set uses the packaging that debuted with the earlier release in 2019 of the 4th Doctor and TARDIS. The design is one of blue with silver insert panels containing a line drawing of the TARDIS. The Dr Who logo sits top left, the new series logo although changed from gold to a silver colour to match the colour scheme. The set is named bottom right and is very specific to the episode "The Fifth Doctor and TARDIS from Caves of Androzani".
The figure and TARDIS are visible through a large window that wraps the left hand side of the box. There is a gold foil circular "limited edition" sticker now added to the window along with the usual text inserts confirming the set as part of the 5.5 inch line. The other side spine has an image of the set. Round the back of the box we get an extensive write up of the Caves of Androzani - something that appears to be included only on the TARDIS sets and not the figure 3-packs.
"The Caves of Androzani (1984), written by Robert Holmes, was the sixth story of Season 21 of Doctor Who.
It was the final regular appearance of Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor. As a regeneration story, it offered some unusual elements, as it was the first regeneration story to allow for a brief scene with the incoming Doctor. Unlike any of his predecessors the new Doctor was given the final words of the story something that would happen again in regeneration stories of the revised series.
It was also the first time the Doctor willingly and explicitly underwent a regeneration solely to save a companion.
Arriving on the barren world of Androzani Minor, the Doctor and Peri find themselves caught up in a deadly long running and literal, underground war. A substance called Spectrox is harvested there and is both valuable and toxic! Firing squads, corrupt government officials, Android Duplicates and mercenaries are only part of the problems the Doctor and Peri face. After rescuing Peri from the hands of the horribly disfigured madman Sharez Jek, the Doctor and Peri wind up being poisoned by the Spectrox which will kill them if they can't find a cure."
Inside the box the figure and TARDIS are held in a plastic tray - the Doctor by clear elasticated bands and the TARDIS being screwed into the base. The tray then sits in a cardboard surround that is printed to look like the baron wasteland of Androzani Minor.
The effect is good, but the execution of being able to utilise this after unpacking is not brilliant as the tray will get damaged as the figure and TARDIS are removed and even if you are get the figures out cleanly the backing itself does not stand on its own and will need cutting and trimming to make any kind of backdrop workable.
Paint & Sculpt 3/5
The Fifth Doctor uses the original 2008 5th Doctor head and body - the one that controversially missed off the Celery stick from the Doctor's lapel. It is also the same body used for the 2009 regenerated 6th Doctor from the same storyline.
The likeness to Peter Davison is ok, and the painting on the face is neat with eyes, lips and eyebrows all detailed. The hair is also darker on this release, having been washed with a darker brown.
The cricket whites and jacket are well painted with the stripes and lines in the right place with no substantial paint errors. The same applies to the trousers which are actually more story accurate than the ones used on the 6th Doctor.
Te main variation here is the application of a muddy residue on the Doctors right hand side and this has been achieved by a darker brown base coat and some dry brushing of a lighter brown on top. It is perhaps a bit too dark and it also stop abruptly rather than fading further down the coat and arm. We also have a stain on the cricket jumper, this is grey rather than brown and looks too much like a finger print for my liking. While the Regenerated 6th Doctor didn't nail the mud effects, it is a little better than this 2019 decor.
The TARDIS uses the well used TARDIS sculpt but is the first to be attributed to the 5th Doctor. The paint job is excellent with a deep but weathered blue that is broken only by the opaque windows and the mud spattered base. The door sticker is clear and crisp as are the Police Public Call Box text panels around the four sides above the windows.
This is of course the same TARDIS sculpt that was used originally on the electronic models and it therefore has the speaker holes on the reverse and the battery cover - although this is glued in place. With this and the inner battery workings visible I do wonder how many people may return this as not working?
There are no accessories included in the set, despite the Doctor having a hand sculpted to hold a sonic screwdriver.
The 5.5 inch line has held the same level of articulation since its inception with only one or two tweaks on some of the newer figures. The Fifth Doctor has 16 points of articulation, but these are quite basic plug and socket joints with the joints clearly visible around the knees and elbows.
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 swivels on the arms and legs do try to enhance the movement options, but once turned they do look very much out of line - particularly the arms. And the arms are also subject to popping out when the bicep swivel is turned.
The TARDIS has opening doors - the operation of which are detailed on the bottom of the box. These are spring loaded and have to be opened and closed a certain way using a spring release button to final close up the TARDIS.
As this is the shell of the electronic version the interior of the TARDIS contains the now redundant battery box. It would have been nice to see a cardboard insert of some form to hide all the inner gubbins.
It is great to finally have a 5th Doctor's TARDIS in the 5.5 inch line, and the Androzani TARDIS is a great choice allowing the variation of the mud splattered base to be added. While the TARDIS has lost its electronic parts it is a solid piece overall and well painted.
The Fifth Doctor is showing his age, being over a decade old now as a figure. The likeness is not the best the line has to offer and the 2019 paint job while neat is perhaps two neat and crisp where the mud splatter is concerned - and I can't look past that fingerprint shaped mark on the sweater.
This set isn't the best that Character and B&M have produced, but at sub £20 it is good value and a nice addition to the 5.5 inch line. I score it an above average 3 out of 5.