Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Review: Doctor Who Junk TARDIS

On Doctor Who there's a different location every week. And not just a different city, but a different planet.  Very often this planet will never be visited again, at least not in the same time frame, by which point it will look very different indeed.

Which makes playsets quite a hard thing to make a toy of. There haven't really been any locations that would make decent toys. The only constant location, of a sort, is the TARDIS, which acts as home and companion to the Doctor.

Actually, referring to the TARDIS as both home and companion is quite apt for this review of the Junk TARDIS. In the episode from which it appears ('The Doctor's Wife'), the TARDIS (regular) is turned, through a complex series of events (or not - it took about 2 min in the episode) into a woman called Idris. It's like The Last Unicorn...but not.

The toy is a bit...well, weird. I can't see it being very desirable amongst children for two reasons: a) it was in 1 episode for all over 5 minutes and they've probably forgotten all about it by now, and b) it doesn't really do a lot. 

I can only really see that this toy exists because it was designed as a result of a Blue Peter competition and therefore Character hoped that it'd get a lot of promotion on the show. And they were stuck for ideas for playsets.

I really like the fact that the 'time rotor' is removable from the centre of the TARDIS console. This opens up quite a lot of 'theft of the engine' play options. You can also remove a section of the console, which is nice but appeals to me less for some reason. Perhaps it's because the time rotor looks a lot like a warp engine and I always liked it when they were threatened with ejection on Star Trek.

The other 'feature' is a 'spinner' on the base to fly the TARDIS. On the Flight Control TARDIS this works very well - you hold the light, put your finger in the depression underneath and you can spin the police box round.

Things are a bit different on the Junk TARDIS. It's exactly the same principle at work here, however the spinning is lousy. Maybe it's something to do with the Junk not being symmetrical. It definitely has something to do with the spinner underneath not spinning very freely. It's all a bit, well, rubbish.

The RRP for this is £20. I picked it up for £8. At £8 I'm more than happy. If I'd have paid £20...well, I'd never have paid that which is why I waited, knowing that it would reduce in price very quickly (which it did).

I think Character missed a trick not including the Idris figure as an exclusive with the set. This would have made the set a lot more tempting to buy. Individually, the Junk and Idris aren't very exciting, but together... The appeal of 'exclusive' would have made them very exciting. Or at least more exciting.

Overall, well, I guess it's a lot smaller than the 'regular' TARDIS playset and would make a good substitute if you were lacking space. Otherwise... It's a nice toy, I suppose, I just can't see it really appealing to anyone.

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