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.


  1. Starring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins as Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor.

  2. Not bad, though my ignorance of this Doctor is complete, alas. I'll assume you got it right :). Nice job on the details, like the watch chain.

  3. Thanks, Allison!

    If I might suggest a quick primer on the Eighth Doctor (it's only seven minutes long), have a look at Night of the Doctor on YouTube ( I thought it was superb!