New series console room playset!

7th July 2010 • Blog Post by Seb Patrick •

I can’t have been the only person excitedly looking forward to this. One of the best – if not the best – console rooms the TARDIS has ever had, lovingly rendered in 5-inch-figure-scale form by Character Options, who did such a great job creating a wonderful playset for the last one (I came so close to buying the thing, but sadly was living with a Who-hating ex at the time and couldn’t justify the living room space).

Unfortunately… er, it looks a bit rubbish, really. From these photos, at least. It’s quite small, and doesn’t have anything like the sense of scale of the current design (or even of the old toy). Worse, rumours suggest that there won’t even be any light and sound effects – and the overall cheapness of the thing seems to extend to such details as the doors looking like part of the card scenery rather than being plastic and open-able, and the fact that even the railings around the console floor are missing.

In terms of colour and lighting it looks a bit better in the latter two pictures, which are snaps from this video – but still, on the whole, compared with the majesty of the first set, this looks like a disappointment. Here’s hoping there’s a bit more to it when we see the proper release version – expected around Christmas, or so they say.

Seb Patrick once met Paul McGann, who immediately pretended to be Mark McGann. He writes for Den of Geek, BBC America, Film4 and the official Red Dwarf website, among others. He owns over thirty toy Daleks and wishes the Dapol factory tour was still open.

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9 Responses

  1. Jonathan Capps

    Oh dear Christ, that’s abominable.

  2. Andy M

    Are we still loving the new console room at the end of the series then? Personally I’m still not sure about it, it looked great in Amy’s Choice but in most episodes it seems to be shot from that elevated angle with the door in the background that makes it look really cramped. For me they’ll never be able to improve on the coral version anyway (the way it was shot in S1 & 2 before they whacked all the lights up, at least), I like the idea of it being grown organically. The new “this console room is a bit ker-azee, LIKE ITS OWNER DO YOU SEE” idea seems a bit obvious and, well, shit.

  3. Seb Patrick

    Admittedly it doesn’t work as something that’s just suddenly appeared – its piecemeal nature means that it would work much better if it had been the pre-existing console room introduced to us at the outset of the series (i.e. built up during all the offscreen years rather than suddenly presented to us “new”). But I still think it’s a lovely design in and of itself. I’d become incredibly bored of the 2005-era room (although I wish they’d kept it under the white lighting of that first trailer rather than making it orange and blue), and the change was welcome.

  4. Andy M

    Oh yes, it was definitely time for a change.

    I think it would work better as a TARDIS that the Doctor had mostly rebuilt himself after the explosion, which is what I was guessing would happen in the 11th Hour before it aired, but I’m not too keen on the idea that it rebuilt itself like that. But it’s really only the console itself I don’t like, the set looks good, especially when shot properly.

  5. Hendiadys

    I like it, and it’s completed by the way Matt Smith’s Doctor moves around it. I kind of struggle to appreciate that it “grew” like that (along with the sonic screwdriver), but there’s no going back now. I always preferred the Pertwee-scientist rationale to the stuff the Doctor had, but I guess those things aren’t being contradicted; we now just have new aspects to take into account.

    I don’t feel it’s cramped, because I’m very conscious of the staircases leading off to the sides. I’d like to see more of the TARDIS next year, so we get the sense that this is very much the control area rather than the place they’re always hanging out.

    Otherwise, I really like the TARDIS interior, and did from the very start. Homely and comforting in a way the previous one wasn’t, with adventure playground qualities (ironically not captured by that playset) that must be great for kids at playtime. It’s a bit self-consciously wacky I guess, but I think they’ve made it work, even then.

  6. John Hoare

    This opinion got me whacked around the head last weekend, probably rightly, but I’m still not that keen on the current console room. I love the general idea – especially the Hartnell-esque ceiling panel, and the multi-level nature of it – but the wide shots just look far too cluttered for me.

    It definitely looked at its best in Amy’s Choice – the way it was lit god rid of a lot of the clutter. It just looks to me like there’s a gorgeous design struggling to get out.

  7. Andy M

    Homely and comforting in a way the previous one wasn’t

    See, I like my TARDIS interiors to scream “alien!” which is maybe why I love the H.R.Giger-ish Eccleston-coral and I’m not so keen on this one. I like the references to the 60’s design but some of it reminds me too much of Cushing’s garden shed monstrosity.

  8. Hendiadys

    I think the TARDIS interior is such a fantastic, and as yet unexplored, opportunity for a definitive playset along the lines of the Real Ghostbusters’ Fire Station. With the console room in the very centre, the same scale as the one shown above, and then further rooms and spaces coming out of it until an entire table top is filled. It could either be sold as a massive block, like the Fire Station, or as a construction set as more of the interior is seen in the series.

    The problem, I guess, is that a precedent has been set for a TARDIS interior being ephemeral, and we could see this one for barely four years before the whole thing is reset again. Which might be a shame.

  9. Andrew Falconer

    The TARDIS walls should be true to proportion and made out of injection molded plastic to look exactly like the real studio setting in Cardiff. At least 3 or 4 large wall sections that are about 16″-20″ long. A truly accurately sized two level floor.

    The metallic copper-aluminum walls can be punch-cut out of sheet of tinted aluminum that are fastened or glued to the injection molded wall form.

    The Viewscreen can be made in a basic version LED backlit fabric screen that can be replaced with an LED monitor screen that shows high resolution images from a computer.

    There can be holes and clips on the back of the was for adding strings of LEDs to produce realistic lighting effects.

    Miniature LED lighting and wiring in the 6 sections of the control console that resemble the real LEDs and wires is possible.

    The 2010-2012 TARDIS control room still has yet to be mass produced properly in proportion to the 5 1/2″ figures.

    The episodes are still being shown and the TARDIS interior is at the DOCTOR WHO Experience, so it is worthy of being mass produced somehow.

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