With BBC’s announcement detailing the Doctor’s return in August, it’s fitting we have a Who-themed review! Today we’ll be looking at Underground Toys’ 50th Anniversary 10th Doctor, as portrayed by David Tennant.
Ten is available in two flavors, which can be found evenly distributed per case. The first version is Ten sporting his blue suit, glasses, red Converse, and spiked hair. The variant features an alternate brown suit, no glasses, a sonic screwdriver, white converse, and longer hair; this review will be detailing the latter. While these are new releases, both are built on parts and molds from previous figures dating as far back as 2007.
Molded in a unique shape, this 50th Anniversary clamshell packaging is eye-catching. As with most packaging of this nature, there is only one way out, and that’s with a sharp object. For the mint on card collector it looks wonderful, but for those who prefer to free their figures the emptiness of the box screams for additional accessories. Ten is strapped in place with what is presumed to be eco-friendly safety ties much like Hasbro was (still is?) using on Transformers. These are actually knotted and not twisted, meaning they have to be cut. The same package is shared across the case. It also houses Ten’s Sonic Screwdriver replica, providing a nice uniformity for carded collectors.
The front is open and features a great embossed Doctor Who logo. The diamond housing encloses the figure, showcasing Ten nicely. Along the bottom we have a paper insert that details who the character is along with the years that the Doctor took this appearance. This is a neat touch, especially for those who like to keep things sealed.
The back is basic, featuring a generic picture of Tennant as the Doctor along with a short write-up on the character and a timeline dating his place in the Who universe. The bottom includes generic licensing, warnings, and other common content.
Enough about the outside! Let’s break Ten from his plastic Pandorica (yes, yes, I am aware it was Eleven in there…).
Ten stands about 5” tall, which places him in an odd position amongst your collection. He’s not quite short enough to fit in with McFarlane’s current offerings, but not near tall enough to match most other series, as you can see in the lineup.
The figure is well-built but not heavy. He definitely feels like he’d withstand the adventures of a kid.
Ten’s sculpt is solid, and the likeness is definitely Tennant in most angles, however there is something that’s a bit off. Regardless it’s good enough to pass in the scale and certainly will elicit a “Hey that’s Ten!” from your fellow Whovians. His hair is superbly sculpted with a plethora of individual strands, creating a realistic look.
He features one relaxed, open hand and one gripped for his Sonic.
The suit jacket is a slide-on piece which is glued in place; it seems a tad too wide, almost as if it was the jacket prior to being tailored to fit Mr. Tennant. Otherwise, the detail is obviously there, with stitching on the back to complement the front left and side pockets as well as lapels. Up the center are sculpted buttons. Beneath the jacket is a glimpse of his light blue shirt and an excellently detailed tie. There is slight wrinkling throughout the sculpt, something that can easily be overdone; here it looks just right.
Special attention should be drawn to Ten’s iconic Converse high tops, which receive an excellent sculpt here. The laces, raised rubber edge, grommets, and various fabric layers are all present in the mold.
No modern Doctor should be caught without a Sonic (unless he’s the variant figure, then he’s SOL), and as such Ten comes outfitted with his futuristic multitool. For such a small piece there is a great amount of detail. Positioned in its retracted state, the Sonic features a beige handle, various ridges, and blue tip. For something so minuscule, it truly captures the device in exemplary quality.
As a figure which uses parts that debuted 8 years ago in 2007, the articulation does not stack up to what we see in products currently on the market. The mapping for articulation is quite the mixed bag. Ten has the range of motion of a damaged Cyberman in his upper body, while his hip articulation fairs fine. However, even as old as the components are, there are no excuses for the absence of wrist or ankle joints. His hands are stuck, fixed in the predetermined position and he entirely lacks motion in the ankles. Here’s the articulation rundown of the 10 total joints.
Swivel Neck – Allows for 360o rotation of his head, though the collar restricts this
Swivel shoulders – Allows for 360o rotation of his arms
Hinged Elbows – Allows for near 90o flexion of the forearm
Swivel Waist – Allows for 360o rotation of the waist
DCUC Swivel-Hinge Hips – Allow for abduction and adduction of the leg, though this is hindered by the jacket. Also permits forward and reverse rotation which is hindered by the jacket
Hinged Knees – Allows for flexion of the knee to nearly 90o
Ten isn’t good for much more than standing around. The lack of articulation in the upper extremities truly hinders posing capability. Likewise, the absence of an ankle joint forces “peg-leg syndrome”, which ultimately makes standing straight the only aesthetically pleasing option. For a re-release of a fan loved character, marketed under a major moment in the series history might I add, I feel some slight upgrades would have been appropriate…it wouldn’t be the first time Underground Toys cleaned up their articulation on a reissue.
This is where Ten shines – the figure has exceptionally clean paint apps. His hair is completely coated in a chestnut-brown which transitions sharply to an even skin tone. His eyes are clear and level while his eyebrows line up just right. I do feel said eyebrows could be a smidge thicker, as Tennant certainly wasn’t known for pencil thin features. The blue pinstripes on his dark brown suit are exact and straight, while the appropriate red and blue stripes are featured on his Converse (It is to be noted that the variant features the reverse of these colors in his suit, as well as red Converse).
Speaking of, Ten’s shoes feature a slight wash of black to dirty them up; it is fitting and not excessive. His sonic is actually detailed, something most companies would simply do in a solid color or molded plastic. The tool is coated in a silver base which features a beige handle, a black bottom, and a blue (albeit way too dark) tip (This accessory is absent in the variant).
That being said, I do have a few gripes here. While I’m extremely pleased with the cleanliness of the paint apps, I feel it could use a bit more detailing. Ten’s hair demands a wash in it to highlight the great sculpt and his eyes could use some extra layers of paint. Some additional apps on the buttons of the suit as well as the shoes would have been nice.
While the clean paint job is very, very welcomed, I feel that for the price a few extra touches would have really made it shine.
In fact, that’s how I feel about this figure as a whole.
Conclusively, where does that leave us?
- Good likeness to David Tennant
- Superbly clean paint applications
- Greatly Detailed Sonic
- Scale is strange
- Dated/poor articulation
- Paint isn’t as thorough as it could be
- Lack of accessories is a serious kicker
- For die-hard Whovians
- For those with a greater Who set up
- The younger Doctor Who audience
- Parent-child collecting
Ultimately this verdict is a product of much revision. On one hand I feel Ten deserves better, especially considering that he’s one of the best (if not THE best) Doctors. But when I put it into perspective, based upon the age of the figure’s parts, the target audience, and the build/paint quality, he’s not terrible, despite significant shortcomings. What’s hard to stomach is that the $20 plus tax I paid, (MSRP should be ±$16.99-$17.99) as that cash would net a much better figure in most cases.
When it’s all said and done, I think Ten should have also had a pair of glasses at the very least, even at the MSRP. As this is a straight re-release of a previous figure, Underground Toys could have easily ponied up and brought a collection of new accessories such as his Fob watch, journal, or TARDIS Key. Even a display base that detailed the information from the package insert would have been an awesome addition.
The real punch to the gut is the stinginess of content. The fact that Underground Toys tries to double dip for ONE stinking accessory is just nasty. If you want a Sonic, you have to go with one, but if you want glasses, you’re stuck with the other. I truly think this is specifically what irks me the most.
Despite the company admittedly marketing to kids before collectors, after seeing the quality War/Other Doctor at Dallas Comic Con, I absolutely know this figure could have been updated for this release. Here’s to hoping that idea is in the pipe for Underground Toys. Perhaps Diamond Select will get in on Doctor Who with their Select line, if rumors come to fruition.
For what it’s worth though, I’m glad to have a Ten on my shelf, even if it’s not the best figure to exist. The paint, overall appearance, and quality are very good in their own right. I presume that with a TARDIS next to him, the whole package would come together better. The younger audience of the show will love these, and they’d be a great set to collect with your child. If you’re buying for yourself and don’t have overly high expectations, I’m confident you’ll still be pleased.
Interested in adding the 10th Doctor to your collection? Check out these retailers!
UPDATE: This figure is sold out at most retailers, but you can still find him on:
And, of course, you can scoot on over to eBay and see if you can score a Doctor Who Tenth Doctor action figure.