Friday, December 13, 2013

Lead Time Lords: The First Doctor (1)

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Guv’nor, the First Doctor as played by William Hartnell.

I don’t think Harlequin did a bad job on this one. It is a tad generic, but compare it with the previous version created in the Eighties by Citadel Miniatures:

Already the two, while posed similarly, are quite different creations. What I like most about Harlequin’s offering is the face – there are hints of Hartnell’s mischievous grandfather Time Lord in the sculpt, whereas Citadel’s caricature is the sort of thing you might expect a newcomer to the series might present as a summation of the first Sixties Doctor – old and stooped, cantankerous and difficult to love. There’s a whole story of the actor and his complicated part in the role he’d come to define and inhabit still being told in fandom and to the series’ viewers. Mark Gatiss’ wonderful An Adventure in Space and Time does much to redress the balance, but we could also do with examples shown by Harlequin here, not so much recasting but reaffirming the youngest of the Doctor’s incarnations as an occasionally impish, curious citizen of the Universe.

The detail is also kind on this figure, although the fingers are perhaps a little roughly defined, and the face of my model had frightfully sunken cheeks and a moulding line across its mouth – not an easy flaw to remedy. That said, it’s a relatively easy one to paint if you don’t include the trousers (three passes, including one with a fine non-permanent pen) and the face, which I paled up a little to indicate the relative age of the Doctor and also reduce any contrast with his white hair. It’s something I could have done less with previously on the Third Doctor figure, actually, but will probably concentrate more next time I’m up to painting that particular incarnation. There’s going to be another First Doctor figure to come as well, although that’s some time off yet as well.

Additions include a golden(ish) sandy base (the First Doctor explored the Gobi desert, Saladin’s Persia, Ancient Egypt and the desert planet Aridius on television); my reference for this is a still from the (at time of writing!) missing serial popularly called Marco Polo. I’ve seen a few Hartnell Doctor figures painted with grey trousers, but I’ve gone for the more ivory colour shown in that story as well as others around it (Reign of Terror being another). Green stuff was used to fill in one of the cheeks (it really was quite a deep depression) and fashion the First Doctor’s rather practical blue-stoned ring, shown off by Harlequin’s regular ‘hands clasped across the chest’ Doctor pose.

And that’s the First Doctor done!

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