Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Review: Doctor Who TARDIS playset

£35 from Toys R Us.

This set has dropped a lot in price since Christmas.  I've quoted £35 at the top, but you can get it for much less if you hunt around. I will tell you this right from the start - it is not worth £35.

Unlike the previous Doctor Who playset (based on the Ecclescake-Tennant TARDIS), and similar to what happened with the Flight Control Tardis, somewhere along the way the electronics have gone missing. There are absolutely no lights or sounds in this set. There aren't even any 'action features'. What you see from the photos is exactly what you get.

The back portion is all made from cardboard, and all the platform/walkway bits are cardboard hooked on a plastic frame. This is...well, it's a little cheap. Not unexpected as Character did exactly the same with the Eccles/Tennant set, but it's not great.

The worst instance of this is not actually made of cardboard. The main walking area, where the Doctor stands to operate the TARDIS, is made of a very thin piece of plastic. It's the same sort of stuff that they use for the see-through bit on window-packaged toys. It's not especially stable for something you're mostly going to be standing your figures on. Something a little more rigid and durable should have been used.

Once more comparing it to the previous set, you can't 'enter' the set through the TARDIS doors. Instead there's just a picture of the doors on one of the cardboard panels.

Accessory-wise, there's a chair and a swing. The problem with these is that the standard Doctor figure has a jacket and Amy wears a short skirt - both of which result in the figures having problems sitting.

Whilst my children like playing with this, there's absolutely no way I'd have paid £40, which is the RRP. In these post-Christmas days the price has dropped by quite a lot in some places. I got mine for £20 and if you're lucky you can get it even cheaper than that.

For £20 I can put up with some of the cheapness associated with the set. I like the fact that collectors who want to display it, but don't have room on a shelf for the entire set can remove the TARDIS console and just display that (something that wasn't possible in the old TARDIS). I look at the console alone and wonder if it wouldn't have been better just to have sold this bit and forgotten about all the other gubbins and thus reduced the price.

I mean, it's not like there are too many adventures you can have inside the TARDIS. Name me an episode where everyone just stands around the console. Can't think of any? Neither can I.

The final problem with this set is storage. How exactly are you supposed to put this away when you've finished playing with it for the day? The simple answer is you can't. It's won't fold up, it won't fit back in the box as it is, and taking it apart is not going to be easy (and of course you then have to spend ages constructing it again next time you want to play).

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