Doctor Who Action Figure Reviews – Regenerations
Posted by dailypop on August 18, 2010
I have been collecting the Doctor Who action figures based on the classic series for about a year now. When the line was first announced, the releases consisted of three different Doctors (No.’s 4-6) and four monsters (a Zygon, Sea Devil, two Voc Robots, Magnus Greel and Mr. Sin from the Talons of Weng Chiang and the build-a-figure K-1 Giant Robot from Tom Baker’s first adventure). Foolishly I disregarded the series, thinking myself above such things.
Had I purchased the entire first run there and then through a local comic shop, life would have been far easier. As it is, I am scavenging for the action figures I missed out on in a mad attempt to complete a full set.
When the intent to buy toy miniatures of my favorite program hit, it was on account of the release of several obscure characters in limited edition sets. I had initially intended to only purchase one or two figures based on my favorite Doctors, No. 2 played by Patrick Troughton and No. 3 played by Jon Pertwee. In short order, I had bought five Doctors, then ‘lucked out’ by finding the incredibly rare Colin Baker Doctor No. 6 figure and soon owned all 8 classic Doctors in their many forms.
In addition to the classic Doctors in their signature uniforms, two limited edition figures were constructed in small numbers recreating moments from two of the more popular regeneration adventures, Logopolis and Caves of Androzani. In each instance, the newly regenerated Doctor was reborn in the attire of his predecessor, bridging a gap from one era to the next. The previous Doctors didn’t really address this change, so this was more of an indicator of producer John Nathan Turner’s obsession with costume than anything else.
This article focuses on the Peter Davison regeneration figure from Logopolis/Castrovalva.
As other have pointed out, the Fourth Doctor’s costume had been altered for his last series, the 18th year of Doctor Who, into a kind of wine-colored uniform. The multi-colored scarf was replaced with a mammoth 20 feet long model consisting of several shades of purple and burgundy, matching his long overcoat, vest and trousers. It was a distinct attempt to mute the colorful character that Tom Baker exhibited on screen, making the transition to a new actor easier to accept.
The Fourth Doctor regenerated after falling from a radio telescope where he had thwarted the Master’s plan to hold the universe ransom. After merging with an ethereal being called the Watcher, the Doctor changed his form once again and emerged from a kind of chrysalis as the new Doctor.
While the new Doctor wore his predecessor’s costume, there was a slight variation in regards to the footwear that caused a problem: dress shoes and long socks or tall boots. The Doctor is clearly wearing the boots in Logopoilis (Tom Baker reportedly preferred them to the shoes), yet Peter Davison is wearing the shoes and socks in the opening of Castrovalva. Did Tom knick the boots? Who knows.
As a fan, I was eager to see how the toy designers addressed this problem.
The solution was to place Peter Davison in the same boots that the Doctor was wearing before he regenerated. As if to compromise, there is articulation in the upper leg by the lip of the boot which hints at a variation later on, allowing owners to interchange between the two forms of footwear perhaps when a Fourth Doctor action figure is released in the series 18 costume. There are a few hints in the Davison regeneration figure that the series 18 4th Doctor figure is already in the works including a rather aged hand not all fitting with the youthful Peter Davison and a gap in the waist that seems to be intended for a waistcoat.
The design is outstanding and the attention to detail is awesome. The cut of the long overcoat, the folds of cloth as it falls from the character’s shoulders, miniature buttons and corresponding button holes all add up to a lovingly accurate depiction of the character as seen on the TV screen back in 1980.
The scarf was sculpted as a single piece and is removable if so desired, revealing even more detail such as the sculpting of Peter Davison’s long hair that curls inwards due to the scarf’s resting on his neck.
There are some details that Character Options took liberties with, however, including grass-staining on the hem and back of the overcoat that was not in the televised version but it fits so well that (like the switch from shoes to boots) you feel that these touches should have been seen in the program.
The face sculpt is far superior to the earlier design used for the Castrovalva and 11 Doctors versions with the hair sculpted as a separate piece from the face, allowing for enhanced realism. The maneuverability of the action figure is impressive and comparable with other Doctor Who action figures having 18 points of articulation (the Logopolis figure lost 2 points and only has 16).
Due to many factors, I wasn’t able to make it to the San Diego Comic Con this year where the action figure was made available ‘exclusively.’ I am very happy to have found this figure from a mail order retailer as it is sky-rocketing in price online from scalpers on ebay and becoming more of a rarity with every sale. Mike’s Comics in Worcester, Mass has been a remarkably helpful resource in my continued search for Doctor Who action figures. A mail-order shop since 1976, they have been serving fans online since 1996 and specializing in Doctor Who memorabilia since 1979.
It may seem strange to release an action figure of a character in a costume that he only wore on screen for a short period of time, but I think that this captures an important moment for fans more than anything else.
The change from one Doctor to the next is an experience that fans of the series have personal memories of as it us usually their entry point into the program. In my day, Peter Davsion was the newest actor to play the part of the Doctor in seven years, attracting many young viewers to the program as the first new episodes were shown on local PBS stations not featuring Tom Baker. This figure represents that moment perfectly and comes highly recommended.
Next time, I will review the Caves of Androzani regeneration figure, a different tale entirely.