Airfix 1/12 Doctor Who - Welcome Aboard Kit First Look
|Date of Review||May 2008||Manufacturer||Airfix|
|Subject||Doctor Who - Welcome Aboard||Scale||1/12|
|Kit Number||50006||Primary Media||Styrene|
|Skill Level||Basic||MSRP (USD)||$59.95|
Doctor Who is a cult classic television show that is the longest running science fiction series in the world. Produced by the BBC, this series initially aired in 1963 and ran continuously through 1989. The program was relaunched by the BBC in 2005 and is slated to continue into the future.
The series centers around the 'Doctor', a time lord from the planet Galifrey, who explores space and time with his tired old time machine, the TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension(s) in Space). With his home planet and race gone, the Doctor's TARDIS is in dire need of maintenance. One of the key subsystems, the Chamelion Circuit, is designed to change the appearance of the TARDIS to match the surroundings where the TARDIS might appear. Unfortunately, the circuit is stuck with the appearance of a 1950s era British Police Call Box.
One of the unique aspects of Doctor Who is the time lord's ability to regenerate after serious trauma, though this regeneration changes the physical appearance of the Doctor. What this ingenious concept means is that we have a plausible reason why the Doctor looks different over the course of the series, so if the actor's ratings start to fall or his demands start to get excessive - BAM! - regeneration and in comes the next actor. I wish the James Bond 007 and Batman franchises had similar explanations for their changes of face.
With ten different actors assuming the role since 1963, there are even more sidekicks that have appeared on the series. No good story can be told on air without someone to talk to and interact with. In the case of the Doctor, Wikipedia reports that over 35 people (mostly women) have assumed that role. When the ninth Doctor (Christopher Eccleston) regenerated, his sidekick Rose Tyler (Billie Piper) stayed in the role for most of another season before the role of sidekick would move over to Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman).
I rarely say this about any hobby company, but I am glad that Airfix went into bankruptcy (receivership) because what has risen out of the 'ashes' is an amazing new hobby company if this new kit is any indicator. This kit is one of (currently) four releases based upon the current rendition of BBC's hit 'Doctor Who'. This one entitled 'Welcome Aboard' depicts Martha Jones' first encounter with the TARDIS.
There are actually three kits in this box. The first is the TARDIS and it is comprised of six trees of TARDIS blue styrene parts and two trees of clear parts. The top photo shows the roof of the TARDIS, which is specially packaged. The roof module contains the battery box, light, sound module, and switch circuitry to replicate the sound and blinking top light that is characteristic of the TARDIS during materialization or dematerialization.
The second and third kits are the figures of the Doctor and Martha. More on these later.
Assembly of the TARDIS is straightforward (it is a box). The instructions call for some interesting painting techniques on the TARDIS and walks you through the process of replicating things like floor tile patterns, highlights, and details, all using Humbrol colors. What is particularly nice is that you won't have any difficulty obtaining the colors required for this build as these are included in the kit, along with a set of paint brushes and a tube of cement.
The interior of the TARDIS is much larger than the exterior of the Police Box, and while I wish there was a way to replicate this phenomenon inside the model (and in my kit closet!), Airfix has derived a reasonable 'forced perspective' through the open door of the TARDIS. The illusion of interior space is replicated through a color-printed card insert inside the box along with a portion of the center console. There is no lighting in the interior, but this is one model begging for interior lighting!
As for the Doctor and Martha figures, these are the most accurate looking figures I believe I've ever seen in a kit. Those faces look like actors David Tennent and Freema Agyeman. The design of the figures is even more impressive. Most of the each figure is replicated in styrene provided on four trees of gray styrene. The breakdown of the styrene parts will make painting of each article of clothing much easier than your typical one-piece cast figure. The heads, hands, and the Doctor's sneakers are all cast in vinyl. Look at that detail!
If you're intimidated with figure painting, fear not. Airfix not only provides the paints, the full-color instruction book walks you through the painting process. You can simply apply the basic colors for each figure and you'd have very nice results, but if you add the subtle shading and highlights, you'll be able to replicate the images in the instructions.
The only downside in this kit is the lack of a display base, but you can supply one of your own. The two figures are designed to be posed outside the TARDIS and the instructions would have you glue the figures to the TARDIS. If you'll note the intended poses on the box art, you'll see that you'd be better served mounting the TARDIS and the figures to a base. If you do it right, you can move the battery storage out of the roof module and into that base, which means you'll also be able to have power for other lighting, should you be so inclined.
This is an amazing kit from Airfix and I am simply blown away by these figures. I've never seen kit figures look so much like the actors/real-life counterparts. The TARDIS itself is a masterpiece as well and offers the AMS modeler some interesting opportunities in a small transdimensional space. Airfix has certainly raised the bar on the state of the art in figures and has certainly leapfrogged over the rest of the industry.
Most definitely recommended!
I purchased my kit from CultTVman.