Saying “finally” sounds a little ungracious now. From getting the project off the ground, to problems with the actual production end, Big Chief Studios has been regularly updating the situation on their Facebook page. This level of transparency has really helped the company’s profile in the eyes of collectors.
Of course, the question is does the figure live up to the anticipation since the first production photos began to hit the web?
I received my Eleventh Doctor this week, which was sent in a large box full of polystyrene, containing a smaller brown carton with the Big Chief Studios Logo. And inside that, the box. The box’s dark blue colour provides the perfect background to the graphics on the reverse and inside the front flap. It really brings out the metallic copper leaf of the logos and product names emblazoned on the box. Unfortunately, some of the logo on the top flap had flaked off, and there was a heavy bend along the front cover flap.
The figure itself is attractively presented, but the first talking point of the figure is surely the likeness. The figure has a plastic wrapping around the face, obscuring the features, but I would rather have this extra protection than the paint rubbing against the the clear plastic container in transit. It shows an extra level of conscientiousness that the company has introduced very early on. Normally these things only get addressed some stage on in the despatch process following customer complaints.
The packaging itself is as collector friendly as these things could possibly be. There’s no tape on the tabs or box flaps. I ordered the signature edition, and upon opening the top flap, the metal plate with Matt Smith’s autographed initials is presented in a bag with a certificate of authenticity.
There are two trays – one in the front of the box showing the figure itself, four extra hands, psychic paper wallet, 11th Doctor’s sonic screwdriver (closed), 11th Doctor’s sonic screwdriver (open), 10th Doctor’s sonic screwdriver (open), Time Lord communication cube, nano recorder, TARDIS fragment and lash up device (the Doctor’s make-shift mobile phone). Tape holds the sonic screwdrivers and lash up in place, but it’s easy to slide the accessories from under the tape. There’s also the Doctor’s wristwatch, but this is already on the figure.
The second tray contains the plaque for the self adhesive signature plate, stand post and base, and a pack containing the Doctor’s red spotted handkerchief and blue envelope and invitation from The Impossible Astronaut. The stand is in two parts, and the post pops into and out of the base easily, should you want to return it to storage. There’s no stress to the plastic, letting you choose to pose the figure with or without the base. I’ve changed my mind a few times already.
I won’t go into detail about these accessories too much, but it’s fair to say that there’s some healthy showing off here. The level of detail is extraordinary, and each miniaturised accessory looks great in the Doctor’s hands. I’m sure most displays will feature the Doctor with the Sonic Screwdriver, but it’s fun to display the figure with something episode specific, and pose the figure accordingly. The half closed hands hold most of the accessories, however for the Time Lord cube, it’s advisable to use the completely open hands.
Now, what of the figure itself?
I was instantly impressed. I know I was already on side with this product before its release. However, that much enthusiasm for something can be easily quashed following disappointment. The slight niggles about the box soon abated. Once I’d taken the plastic off of the Doctor’s head, the wait definitely seemed woth it. From all angles, Matt Smith’s likeness was perfectly captured. The paint and added gloss to the eyes and lips really lifted the sclupt impressively.
The clothing too is something to behold. The danger of scale clothing when aiming for total accuracy is that some fabric is just too thick. Not so here. The jacket, shirt, and trousers and braces make for a spot on costume for this 12″ Matt Smith figure. The only problem I seemed to have is that his bow tie seemes to pull down on either side because of pressure from the shirt collar. I found a way around it by tucking the shirt further into the trousers. If you do this, please be aware that the shirt buttons are quite delicately attached.
The jacket represents the stripier tweed jacket worn in Series 6. It does seem a little bunched on the figure’s left side, and I’m not sure how, if at all, it can be rectified. Again, this is a minor thing. Another lovely little bit of showing off is the jacket’s inside pocket. Yup, Big Chief have included a nicely tailored inside pocket to keep the sonic screwdriver at hand at all times. Fantastic touch.
The Anatomix Male Slim Figure makes a great base for Matt Smith, offering incredible articulation. You can achieve most poses, but normal sitting does seem a bit of a problem. However, I did put this down to the tightness of the trousers.
I’ve attached all of the hands, and there is always a nervousness when when trying to get the hands on the wrist posts. The connector holes in the hands are very small, and it can take some time to work the posts in. Take your time! It would probably help to soften the hands up with warm water first. Water will be fine as the hands are unpainted.
Overall, I’m incredibly impressed with the 12″ 11th Doctor, and very excited to see how the rest of the range pans out. If Big Chief can maintain this level of product I see big things ahead for them.
The Eleventh Doctor Collector Figure is now available to order from Big Chief Studios.
Addendum: What I didn’t realise was that taped to the outside of the Big Chief carton was the 10th Doctor’s damaged sonic screwdriver from Matt Smith’s first full appearance in The Eleventh Hour. This is a nice little extra for customers who order directly from Big Chief Studios, and accurately represents the twisted and burnt out sonic screwdriver from the episode.