Figure Review: The 1970s Collector Figure Set

Previously, I took a look at the recent Twelfth Doctor B&M set in which we got a kit-bashed figure of Bill Potts. This was something I certainly never thought the B&M budget would stretch to. But given there was a single release of Bill coming out anyway, it made sense to include her. In this set however, two of the figures are kit-bashes that we’ve never seen done before and one of them even features a new piece of sculpting. The results are, however, rather mixed…

The Fourth Doctor from 'The Talons of Weng-Chiang'
The Fourth Doctor from ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’

The first figure I’ll look at will be Doctor Who the Fourth from ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’. This figure is I’m sorry to say, terrible. Now obviously, all the reused parts are well sculpted and the figure is, for the most part, well painted. But the costume seen on this figure is really rather different to that seen in Talons. This comes as a result of the figure being, safe for the head, a complete repaint of the ‘Carnival of Monsters’ Third Doctor figure seen in the 11 Doctors Set. As a result, there are a great number of inaccuracies…

First of all, the cut of the jacket isn’t right. The Talons jacket is much more like the Fourth Doctor’s own purple frock coat (as seen on last year’s B&M Fourth Doctor), but much shorter. It should also be open rather than closed. The colour is very nice, but it is missing the pattern seen on the screen used jacket.

The second point of contention is the waistcoat. This is the first new piece of sculpting to be seen in a B&M set, but it is extremely basic. Only one button is sculpted on when really, a second should be visible. The colour is also wrong – it’s grey as opposed to purple with a floral pattern. The sculpt also features a tie, but this is hard to make out under the very sloppy paint application. It’s painted red which is good but it should be a tad darker. It also doesn’t sit flush with the collar, which is another problem. The Third Doctor figure sports a regular shirt collar, whereas it should be a wing-tipped collar.

The cape is also inaccurate, but this is the aspect of the figure I’m most happy with. The issues here are the lack of lining and the fact that the cape seen in the episode had a single wing spanning the back of it. The paint application has in a way, helped to try and convey this. The application of the lines on the cape is a bit sloppy in places, but I’m just glad they went to the effort of applying it. I did once make my own version of this cape for a custom figure and I think there may be a few lines missing, but given how dark Talons is throughout you can hardly tell.

All the problems stated above have come as the result of re-using sculpts. The figure is inaccurate, and it bugs me, but I can understand why. What I cannot understand, however, is the decision to use the Third Doctor legs with the boots and paint them to look like shoes, rather than using the Third Doctor legs which actually have shoes.  It looks absolutely ridiculous. I could understand if they perhaps needed to use this mould for some sort of cost reason, but the legs with the shoes have been used on the Third Doctor in this very same wave. Why couldn’t this figure have them instead? The Third Doctor could’ve then had the boots and, complete with a darker red jacket and painted cravat, we could’ve had a rather nice Mutants variant.

The final thing to talk about on this figure is the head. This isn’t as well painted as some older releases, but the skin tone is great. Obviously, the major point of contention here would be the lack of his hat. But there are moments in Talons when he is seen without it so it doesn’t bother me. Interestingly, they’ve been able to put a peg inside the Third Doctor torso piece. This suggests that they may be able to attempt other interesting kit-bashes in the future.

Articulation is the same as on previous Third Doctor figures. The Doctor does not come with any accessories.

The Brigadier from Season 7
The Brigadier from Season 7

Speaking of interesting kit-bashes, another surprise release was the Brigadier from Season 7. This is the first figure of him to not use the modular body seen on the three previous versions. The body is, in fact, that of Captain Jack Harkness from Series One. At first glance, this is an excellent match. It’s really great that they’ve managed to put this out. I had no idea the Brigadier head could be used on it.

At a closer glance, however, there are several details that aren’t quite right. The figure should have a closed shirt with a tie rather than an open one with a scarf. There are no lapels present either. The RAF badge has just been painted over and there are no UNIT badges on the left arm. The belt has not been painted, nor is there a holster. There are however occasions when the Brigadier is seen sans belt, so this is not a major issue. In fact, none of these really are. You can tell exactly what the figure is supposed to be from one look, which is more than can be said for the Talons Tom.

A big gripe I do have with this figure lies in the paint application. The colour is much too light for my liking and should be a bit browner. The head, however, is a much bigger issue. The eyes look extremely strange. The white dot in the centre is barely visible, making his pupils look completely black. The paint applied to the eyebrows and moustache is far less subtle than the previous figures, making his face look very cartoony. The badge on the beret is also missing the detail of the UNIT text seen on the Claws of Axos figure.

Articulation is the same as on the original Captain Jack figure. The Brigadier does not come with any accessories.

Auton from 'Terror of the Autons'
Auton from ‘Terror of the Autons’

The Auton is by far the least interesting figure in this set. It’s a very basic repaint of the Spearhead from Space figure and again, is inaccurate.

The figure is meant to be from Terror of the Autons, but the head is very different to what we see on screen. Nevertheless, it’s been finished very nicely. The head and hands have actually been cast in the appropriate colour rather than being painted, giving them a very nice plastic look. The costume is close enough and the colour is very good, but none of the buttons or the belt buckle has been painted silver which is slightly disappointing. Ideally, the figure would also be wearing boots instead of shoes, but that would never have been a possibility in one of these sets. The gun hand is included but the closed hand is not. Paint application here is much more basic than on the original figure.

It is also worth mentioning that the Brigadier and Auton figures share the same Captain Jack body as a base, which makes the Auton figure an odd inclusion as it means we are getting two extremely similar figures within one set.

Articulation is the same as on the original Auton figure. Auton does not come with any accessories.

Wonderful chap – well, one of them…

Now for a word on quality control. This set is rather weak in this respect. When attempting to plug the Doctor’s head back on after removing it, I found it extremely difficult to do so. This head was not, after all, tooled for the Third Doctor body. As a result, quite a bit of paint has flaked off. This thankfully isn’t visible but doing this repeatedly may cause it to become so. I saw other figures in the shop where the hair had been glued on at odd angles, and there didn’t seem to be a cape with entirely neat lines. The waistcoat piece on my figure had also not been put in place properly.

The Brigadier figure does come across as a bit low quality. The legs on my figure are bent outwards; legs seem to be the source of problems throughout all of these sets. There are several places on the figure, particularly the arms, where paint has flaked off. This looks absolutely awful. I know there have been other issues with this particular figure which just reinforces my opinion of it being of a poor quality.

The Auton figure meanwhile, is fine. The shinier plastic finish on the clothing doe make it look slightly cheap in comparison to the old figure, but this is but a tiny nit-pick.

Given the fact that this set is of a lesser quality, I see it more as a source of custom parts more than anything else. I’ve nabbed the cape off of the Talons figure to complete my own, more accurate version. With the Third Doctor body, I’m putting together a Mutants Third Doctor. I also have plans to make the Brigadier figure much more accurate. The Auton, however, will stay as is (although I have given him the normal hand from the original release).

Overall, I do like this set but it is very disappointing. The quality is a real issue, especially with the Brigadier figure. I also wish they hadn’t of bothered making a Talons Tom. There are so many good Third Doctor variants that could’ve been done instead. A Season 17 Fourth Doctor in the brown coat would’ve also satisfied me, or even a Planet of Evil version. These are all figures that could’ve been made using pre-existing parts and would’ve been much more accurate too. Nevertheless, the Auton and Brigadier figures are at least close enough that they look fine on display. And I suppose that at least this set is interesting. The same cannot be said for the next set I’ll be reviewing…


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