The harder the pushin’ the softer the Cushing, as Spinal Tap nearly sang.
After the slog of painting the Fifth Doctor’s trousers (a literal flannelling, I must say), I gave myself a breather and chose a Doctor figure I was especially looking forward to.
In fact, I started quite a few Doctors, include the even-trickier Sixth Doctor and his coat of many colours. But this is the one I finished, and it’s the one with which I am the most content.
Like the Eighth Doctor figure, Harlequin’s Peter Cushing cinema Doctor is not a frequent attendee in painting galleries, probably because he’s not generally regarded as part of the TV series continuity. Many fans have tried to fit him into their ‘canon’, but few have done it in a way that draws crowds – even Steven Moffat couldn’t manage it for the 50th Anniversary and gave up before filming. Fair enough, but we miss a treat when we overlook Cushing’s Dr Who, star of two glorious technicolour outings in the 60s, and an unsuccessful punt at a third (again, the fan community has had fun with the notion, and some even rate Cushing and Doug McClure’s At the Earth’s Core as a squint-and-it-fits follow-up). The human Dr Who of the two movies is innocent, gentle, impish and paternal, and Cushing is every bit his charming self in the role.
I’ve tried to find touches of that charm and the technicolour (a stark contrast to the TV series at the time, of course) in this figure. I believe I read on An Evil Giraffe’s blog that the Cushing Doctor’s mould is beginning to show signs of age, and that the castings have suffered as a result. Possibly this is why my figure has a slightly pinched-looking face, with heavy hands which look like Dr Who was carrying a lead snowball in each (I filed away as much as I could.) Beyond that, however, the figure’s pretty clean, with only some filing of Harlequin’s infamous paddle feet needed to help things along. The colour palette I’ve chosen is closer to that of Cushing’s second movie, Daleks - Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D, with grey trousers instead of the Dr Who and the Daleks ochre-brown version. The sculpt’s moustache is a little fuller and droopier than the real thing (making him look a little like Rene Auberjonois' Clayton from Benson), but I’ve not touched it, as I don’t think I could do any better with green stuff. In fact, for the adventurous modeller, there's possibly room here to add a green stuff scarf and fob chain to match the film version - however, at this stage I am not an adventurous modeller!
Finally, the base: very nearly a ruined street in keeping with the Earth invasion storyline of the second movie, I instead wanted to use something that would compliment the costumes colours and not match the grey of the trousers too much; so a lurid Skarosian turquoise and green it is, and I’m really happy with the result. Perhaps it lacks some specific detail or points of interest, but colour-wise I like it.