Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lead Time Lords: The Eighth Doctor

"I'm a Doctor - but probably not the one you were expecting..."
Like you, dear reader, I imagined I’d be kicking this whole Paint A Doctor carnival off somewhere logical, like, for instance, the First Doctor. More fool us. Yes, My William Hartnell figure is in the mix, and very near completion, but first, here’s a chap I completed earlier than Bill: the Eighth Doctor, played by Paul McGann.
This Eighth Doctor is the last TV Doctor model made by Harlequin Design before they went out of business and their moulds were purchased by Black Tree. It came out not too long after the 1996 movie and, well, it shows. 
Most of the Harlequin range is idiosyncratic – heroic scale miniatures are almost by definition exaggerated and would look quite horrifying at human scale; but there’s something even more disturbing about Harlequin’s Eighth Doctor – the bubble perm, the slightly outward-bending legs (not an uncommon affliction in their DW range, I have observed), the weird hand clasp – and on the whole the figure has a sort of end-of-the-line rushed look to it. It’s incomplete in detail, and comes across as a little cursory – perhaps a fitting treatment for a cult TV hero who at the same time had been given short shrift in his homeland and was in the process of being farmed out to the ignorant colonies for a second chance at survival.

But I digress wildly. Here’s the Eighth Doctor, the only version around to this day (although, watch this space…) It’s actually a pretty straightforward model, and I’ve painted him as well as I can, including a couple of passes at doing eyes (I hate doing eyes and most of the time avoid it if I can), and some time taken with washes and blends to get that elusive bottle green/shot black velvet effect on his Doc Holliday jacket - though it comes out a lot more green in these pictures than in real life. Harlequin really didn’t try too hard on the costume here , and the hand positioning doesn’t do them any favours, but given the lack of overall ‘pop’ to the Eighth Doctor’s ensemble, I worked a bit to find opportunities for contrast and detail. Ergo, some green stuff buttons front and back, and a fob chain (nobody knew in 1996 how important fob watches would become to the series) were made, and I painted his cravat a grey-blue, rather than yet another variation on grey or beige as in the TV special itself.

The Doctor’s hair I’ve left untouched, simply because I think I’d do more harm than good in attempting a re-styling. Finally, the all-important base. Originally this was to be a Seal of Rassilon, in keeping with the motif in the movie. I had one all painted and ready to go, but faced with a crisis of application – I don’t like to cut the bases of these guys, I replaced it instead with some light card floorboards to represent his Vernean wooden TARDIS interior, and I’m pretty happy with the result!
Mrs Simian on seeing this figure complete thought it pretty good, then said as an afterthought, “It is Tom Baker, isn’t it?” You can’t win ‘em all.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Doctor a Day?

Well, it could happen. I won't tempt fate, though!

November has come, and with it the 50th anniversary of Twentieth Century Time Lord the Doctor. And, maybe, time to dust off my old figures for a tidy-up:

This is the last time I'll post one of these old WIP shots of the Doctors as they were back in 2009, I promise! To recap, I wrote these guys up back here, and to be honest, some of them have come a wee way since this photo was taken. Not a huge way, but progress was made before I turned my attentions to Real Life and more recently my Hobbit-themed figures. Since then a few variant figures have arisen (Crooked Dice Miniatures in particular did a couple of rather nice Eleventh Doctor figures), word has it that heresy have a John Hurt-themed 'Doctor' figure lined up for the forthcoming anniversary episode, and then, of course, why - it's the turn of Mr Peter capaldi as the Twelfth Doctor. No figures yet, of course, but I believe sculpts are in process and will turn up sooner or later...

In the mean-time, there's space to finish off these bad boys. Like the Hobbit figures I've not just painted the figures, but also added bits and pieces with green stuff to bring their likenesses into line. And I'll blog on those as I go, of course.

Wish me luck, and don't mention the November 23rd as a deadline!