Episode notes

The much anticipated B&M figure sets have finally been released and after a rough first few days, they seem to be hitting most stores. In this review, I’ll be taking a look at one of the most exciting releases in the form of ‘The Twelfth Doctor Collector Figure Set’.

While this set includes the first release of Bill Potts, the figure I was most excited about was the Twelfth Doctor in his red velvet jacket. The subject of countless custom figures (my own attempts included), this was a figure I never expected to see released. This may seem odd of course, given how simple it would be to produce. However, the fact it wasn’t included as part of the Thirteen Doctors Set and rumours that Forbidden Planet struggled to shift the many variants of this Doctor cast doubt in my mind.

Thankfully this was not the case and now I have it in hand, I can safely say it’s my favourite of the set. That isn’t to say, however, that it is perfect.

The Twelfth Doctor, specifically from 'Hell Bent'
The Twelfth Doctor, specifically from ‘Hell Bent’

If you have any of the Series 8 figures, you’ll know what to expect in terms of costume. Every aspect is well sculpted and detailed, and that applies to all three figures in the set. However, the jacket sculpt, while well done, doesn’t entirely match the red velvet jacket. The revised sculpt on the Series 9 hoodie figures is, in my opinion, a much better match. This could not have been used however given there is no collar sculpted under the hoodie. The Series 8 sculpt is however close enough, and does the job well.

A major discrepancy with both this figure and the original white shirted Series 8 version is the absence of a waistcoat. If you know your figures, you’ll know this was done to enable three other versions of the costume with no waistcoat to be made and it was never going to be fixed for a budget set. It irritates me that this figure is accurate only to the end of ‘Hell Bent’ (the only point where the Doctor wears this jacket with a shirt and no waistcoat), but I can understand why.

While this is a repaint of the Series 8 figure, the boots and head sculpt are from the Series 9 figure. I’m in two minds about the former. On one hand, they’re more detailed and indeed more accurate to the boots Capaldi wore in Series 9 and 10. On the other hand, they look much too long and make the figure much too tall. He towers over Bill, Missy and even the Fourth Doctor. The use of the Series 9 head sculpt, however, is an excellent move. It simply looks more like Peter Capaldi than either of the other two. I was slightly disappointed when early images of the prototype showed this figure as having the much weaker Series 8 head, but thankfully this never came into fruition.

The paint application is good overall. The head is painted slightly differently. It looks much flatter but all of the same detail is still visible. At some point, I’d love to see this sculpt finished in a much thinner paint as the initial renders looked 100% like Peter Capaldi. I can’t help but feel that a lot of that detail has been lost on all three releases of this head, making the Doctor appear a bit too young. Nevertheless, this is still the best Twelfth Doctor head. The hair is a great deal lighter on this release, which is more accurate.

The jacket could’ve done with a wash of black or even a different shade of red to convey the fact that it’s meant to be velvet. But while it doesn’t quite work in this respect, the colour used is very good indeed. An attempt has been made to paint the end of the Doctor’s shirt sleeves, but it’s been applied rather poorly and doesn’t quite cover the appropriate area properly.

There are certain details on the figure which should’ve been painted, but haven’t been. The buttons on the coat should be painted black, and those on the sleeves should be the same as those on the hoodie figures – four black, one red. The most notable omission, however, is the red lining on the inside of the jacket. This was present on all seven releases of the Twelfth Doctor and it’s really disappointing that this wasn’t kept up. Granted, it isn’t that big a loss given the jacket is dark red already.

Articulation is the same as on previous releases, but the Doctor does not come with any accessories.

Missy from 'Extremis'
Missy from ‘Extremis’

There is much less to talk about with the Missy figure. The body is the same as that on the Series 9 figure released in 2016, with the lighter purple outfit (albeit the shade is slightly different). The head meanwhile comes from the Series 8 figure in the black outfit. The idea here was to make Missy as she appeared in Series 10; ‘Extremis’ in particular. In this respect, the figure doesn’t quite work – but it almost does.

Missy’s hair in Series 10 is very different to that as seen on this figure. However, this is not surprising given this is a budget set. I’m pleased that they’ve opted for the hatless head as it helps to differentiate the figure from the previous two purple figures. However, I feel the likeness is much weaker than the more solemn hatted head. It could, in fact, bear a huge resemblance to Michelle Gomez underneath the thick paint application, but the fact is we haven’t got that on the finished figure. What I will say, is that they have made changes to her makeup to better resemble her appearance in Extremis, which is a nice touch.

Many people have said they aren’t convinced by the ‘cravat’. What’s happened here, is that Character have painted over the existing blouse and broach sculpt to try to give the impression that she’s wearing her cravat from Series 10. The sculpt may not be right, but all the colours are there to make it work. Her hands have been painted to look like she is wearing gloves, which is another nice change.

Articulation is the same as on previous releases, but Missy does not come with any accessories.

Bill Potts from 'The Pilot'
Bill Potts from ‘The Pilot’

Bill Potts is definitely the most anticipated figure in the set, and rightly so. This is a repaint of a figure which isn’t even out yet. But before I proceed any further, I must say that the Amazon exclusive Bill figure seems to be the superior release. It sports a much more recognisable, colourful costume and seems to be better painted overall.

That said, I do still like this figure. It depicts Bill as she is seen in the opening scene of ‘The Pilot’. The top is, from what I can tell, accurate to what’s seen on screen. The paint application is, however, incredibly sloppy. Some examples are better than others, but the quality control on these sets is a bit off and that is something I’ll address later on.

The trousers are nicely done and give off the effect of jeans well, but the shoes are unfortunately very inaccurate. The colour is fine (although again, they aren’t as well painted as they could be), but the sculpt isn’t. This problem, of course, stems from the fact that this figure reuses the body of a Primeval character. From what I can tell, only the arms have been tweaked. Everything else is a straight-parts-reuse – bar the head of course.

This figure sports by a country mile, the best likeness in the set. I personally think it’s a dead-ringer for Pearl Mackie; it really is superb. The hair is very impressive indeed, and even features the bow she wears in the episode. Paint application here is great, apart from the bow. It varies from figure to figure, but my example and many others I have seen do look quite sloppy.

Articulation is much more basic on this figure, given it’s based on an older tooling. Bill does also not come with any accessories.

As I mentioned earlier, quality control on these sets is rather iffy, to say the least. It is understandable given the price these are selling for, but I’ve found sets from previous years to be of far superior quality. All three figures in this set have one leg longer than the other. This appears to be a problem spread across the whole wave. It isn’t terribly noticeable on Bill, and posing the Twelfth Doctor in dynamic poses helps hide the issue on him, but Missy simply will not stand up straight.

Keeping with Missy, my figure has a huge dent in her back. I’m not sure how this has happened, but I did have a similar issue with another figure in the wave. Finally, all of the figures have a number of minor paint imperfections (although some sets I’ve seen look much worse). The paint on Bill’s arms, in particular, does look like it will continue to flake off with regular use.

A more accurate Twelfth Doctor
A more accurate Twelfth Doctor

In terms of customisation, the only figure I’ve tweaked is the Doctor. He now has a waistcoat (made from card) and all of his buttons have been painted accordingly. I’ve also given him the boots from the Series 8 figure, slightly reducing his height issue.

In conclusion, this set has a lot of flaws both in terms of accuracy and quality. But I still love it regardless. The Missy figure I could take or leave, but it’s such a joy to finally have a figure of Bill (even if she left the TARDIS over a year ago). The Twelfth Doctor is easily my favourite, however, as I do love a good Doctor variant. But I think that’s what this set comes down to – the Doctor variant. If you aren’t interested in that but want Bill, I’d recommend going for the much more visually appealing ‘Smile’ version.

Join me next time when I take a look at another inaccurate Doctor variant, another kit-bashed companion, and another figure who’s just happy to be there…

Cathaoir McKay

Cathaoir is relatively new to Doctor Who but has gotten to know each era of the show very well since discovering it. He has a particular passion for the Tom Baker and Peter Davison eras and can be found on Twitter making custom action figures.

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