Pros: Beautiful figures. Removable masks to reveal the "clockwork" workings inside.
Cons: Not as fancy as the real thing, but pretty cool nontheless.
The revived British cult hit show Doctor Who has provided a wealth of new monsters to scare a new generation of fans, and with vastly improved special effects these new monsters are more strikingly rendered and realized than ever before. Easily the most "beautiful" of these new monsters would be the Clockwork robots from the Hugo award winning Season Two episode, "The Girl in the Fireplace". When I saw the 12 inch "Clockwork Man" figure, complete with removable mask, I knew that I had to make it part of my Doctor Who toy collection.
"The Girl in the Fireplace" is a simply stunning episode in more ways than one. The story is full of fascinating twists as the Doctor jumps between 18th century France and a spaceship set in the distant future. The "bad guys" are a group of Clockwork robots from the future who wear 18th century disguises (complete with ornate porcelain clown masks) to hide their robot-ness whenever they travel back into the past.
The Clockwork Man figure is 12 inches tall (roughly the size of a Barbie doll). He wears quite a fancy French aristrocrat costume, complete with fancy cravat, gold detail work on his long coat and vest, a silver ring with a blue stone on his right hand, and frilly white cuffs. His pants and coat cuffs are a velvetty blue material, while his coat and vest are a shiny blue material with flowered details sewn in. There are even pleats in the back of his coat so that it fits nicer. He wears high white socks and has silver buckles on his black plastic shoes.
The mask and "wig" are one plastic piece that comes off. The mask looks good but is slightly simplified from the on-screen version -- the mask's decorative "cracks" are visible molded into the plastic but are not a different color. The gold detail work is nice and the expression is a very good likeness (cool but slightly evil looking, with a sinister smile). The "wig" is black with grey highlights and has lots of detail with curls molded in.
The head without the mask on top is quite impressive as well. There is a clear plastic "skull" or outer shell with the gold gear-work visible underneath. The gears are quite simplified - nowhere near as intricate as what appeared on screen (due to the drastically smaller scale) but they did a nice job of making it look fairly complex. The plastic gears do not actually move. The neck consists of multiple rods just like the TV version (except with a thick, clear rod too for extra support) and the head swivels around quite well on the neck.
There are 14 points of articulation - including his neck, wrists, and ankles.
A removable weapon is included for the droid's left hand, and it looks quite accurate when compared to the one used to threaten Rose in the actual episode. It fits into a slot on the back of the droid's hand, and is painted silver with gold gear details.
Our Thoughts and Experiences:
When the Doctor first sees the unmasked Clockwork droid he exclaims, "Oh, you are beautiful! No really, you are gorgeous!", and indeed it is. I won't claim that this 12-inch toy contains all the intricate gear work of the original, but it is a pretty cool, fairly faithful reproduction nonetheless. It isn't a toy I let my boys play with (although they have asked), it is a "display only" toy in our house simply because I don't want them to mess it up.
I'm a huge fan of the art design of all of the Clockwork Men in "The Girl in the Fireplace", so I simply had to own this "doll". I think it is a gorgeous piece that is a worthy addition to the Doctor Who toy line. Each Clockwork Man (and Woman) featured in the episode is unique, but I'm glad they picked the blue one to be the 12-inch figure because he was my favorite anyway, looks wise (they released multiple Clockwork Men in the 5-inch figure line).
You can undress your Clockwork man if you like (the vest velcros in back as do the pants), but I'm not sure why you would want to. Sadly there isn't a clockwork body to match the clockwork head, but since we never saw undressed Clockwork robots in the episode I don't think we can hold this against the toy makers.
+) 14 points of articulation
+) Removable mask & wig with clockwork head underneath
+) Removable weapon on his hand
+) Detailed French aristocrat costume
-) The clockwork bits are rather simplified as compared to the on-screen monster (of course)
There have been many impressive monsters on Doctor Who since it came back to television, but the Clockwork Man is one of the most beautiful (even the Doctor agrees). With its intricate gears, fancy clothing, and ornate mask, no wonder it merits its own 12-inch figure (and the fact that the episode they appear in is brilliant as well).
Related Doctor Who reviews:
Flight Control Tardis
Season Two DVD Set
Season Three DVD Set