2019 see's the biggest ever range of 5 inch Doctor Who figures as B&M Stores exclusives, and also includes the first collaboration with Big Finish to produce three Doctor & Dalek 2-packs based on the Big Finish audio series. In this review we will look at one of the three 3-packs, The Sontarans set - based on the classic 70's monsters, and with a focus on their 4th Doctor Story The Sontaran Experiment.
The Sontarans set uses the 2019 design with blue box background with cut in silver panels featuring a line drawing of the TARDIS. The Who logo is the new series 2018 one, but tweaked to a silver colour to match the box design.
The three figures are more or less visible in the window, but like the Silver Nemesis Cyberman box the figures at the left hand side of the pack are taller than the sloping window cutting off some of the head and feet of the two Sontarans and throwing the look a little for anyone keeping them in the box. The box is titled The Sontarans set and the character names are slotted into a circular inset at the top right - oddly the wrong way round to the order they appear in the package.
"Includes Harry Sullivan, Field Major Styre and Commander Linx"
The left side spine is cut panel with the who logo at the top in a blue background and the set name at the bottom, also in blue. Through the middle is the silver insert and TARDIS illustration. The other spine on the right carries the same header and images of the three figures as well as a repeat of the character names.
The back of the box is quite plain once you look past the headers and figure images (the same ones from the side spine). There is no background text about the story or characters. Why this has been omitted from the 3-packs when so much depth and detail is included on the TARDIS and Dalek sets from the same line is unclear and frankly a bit disappointing.
The figures are accessed via the top or bottom flap and sit in a plastic tray with various elasticated ties holding them in. This tray then sits in a nondescript cardboard sleeve with a grey panel design.
Paint & Sculpt 3/5
We start with Linx who is a direct re-pack of the 2011 release. The head is a good match to the 1970's prosthetics from The Time Warrior, but it is painted poorly with cross eyes and a much lighter skin tone than was seen in the episode - the older 2011 version is a closermatch, although that was too dark - this had the opportunity to be a much closer match but has missed the target.
The costume is a good match to the 1973 story, particularly down to the slimmer boots Linx wore vs the Sontarans who would follow him onscreen and the three finger hands.
Styre, like Linx, is a repack of a 2011 released figure. Once again the sculpt of head and body is good but let down by paint choices. For some reason this repack version has been given silver trim to his collar and knee pads - they were much darker on the original 2011 and closer to the on screen look. Styre is also painted cross eyed.
While Styre and Linx are repacked, Harry is a brand new figure, to a degree anyway. The head is new and while it is in the basic style of the Character Who figures, it does bear a resemblance to Ian Marter with the busy hair and big 1970's sideburns. The head paint remains basic and very stylised with simply painted eyes, eyebrows and lips.
The body is not new, but is a clever recycling of existing figures. It takes the shirted body of the 4th Doctor from City of Death, and replaces the coat used on the Genesis of the Daleks version of the 4th Doctor. This is then painted up as seen in the episode with blue shirt and beige overcoat, with a strip of dark blue painted in the seams to reflect the blazer he wore underneath.
While this is an innovative use of existing parts to create a new figure, it does throw the proportions of the figure with the head ending up looking too small vs the coated torso.
The Sontarans Set is quite flush with accessories compared to the other B&M who releases both this year and in previous years. Both Linx and Styre have their helmets which slot into place and fit much better than the original versions - although Styres helmet, like his armour, should be much darker.
Linx has his baton which for its size carries a fair bit of paint application with silver and gold trims on the black body. This fits well into the three fingered hand of Linx and in his holster when not in use.
Styre is also armed with his hand ray gun. He has five fingered hands and the gun slots into his right hand snugly.
Articulation on the Character Options who figures has remained constant across the years since their debut in 2006. While there are more modern ways of jointing figures, keeping them the same does allow for consistency in looks across the line that is no entering its 13th year.
Each of the three figures has the same 16 point of articulation setup.
Head : neck rotation
Body : waist rotation
Arms : rotating shoulder, bicep swivel, single joint elbow, wrist swivel
Legs : T-Joint hip, thigh swivel, single joint knee
As long as you don't expect dynamic action poses, the figures do what they need to do - they stand on their own and can be tweaked from a neutral stance using the arms and legs movement to create a bit of variety.
This is a pack that almost tries too hard. Had we simply been given Harry Sullivan and complete recreations of the two 2011 Sontarans most would have been happy. Giving them varied paint jobs simply makes them less accurate - although for the £20 price tag it is a good way to get a load of Sontaran troops for display, they are clones after all.
Harry himself is an innovative mesh of existing figures with a new head and you can get past that wider than should be torso with some careful posing.
I score the 2019 B&M Exclusive Sontarans 3-pack a 3 out of 5.