(An ongoing writing project in which I catalog and quantify my extensive TARDIS collection.)
There’s a well-worn joke in my household concerning my TARDIS collection.
Typically, upon discovering I’ve made a new TARDIS purchase, the wife will say something like “How many TARDISes do you need?” I reply, “All of them. And she groans and adds another tick to the column of “reasons I was correct to suspect my husband is a giant geek.”
The joke, however, is inaccurate. While I do have around 49 TARDi in my collection, by no means am I interested in owning every version of every TARDIS toy/model/product that is or has been on the market. Sure, there are a few more out there I am interested in acquiring, but I’m no completionist. I would even say that I’m pretty picky when it comes to my choice in TARDIS purchases, hence the rating system I’ve adopted for this series of entries.
My criteria for wanting to own a given TARDIS are as follows:
It should look like the TARDIS in one of its versions from across the 50 + year history of the show (old school, new school, what have ya);
It should have most of the standard TARDIS detailing (proper number of levels to the roof, correct proportions, wood grain sculpting on most “wood” surfaces, no skimping on detail or cutting corners for sake of cheap manufacture (I’m lookin’ at you DAPOL!);
It should be properly TARDIS blue (though there are shades to even that, and exceptions to the rule in certain cases);
Exceptions can be made for artistic license provided the end result is fun;
Bonus points for functionality, such as the ability to make the TARDIS wheezing “vworp!!” sound, or lights that flash, doors that open inward, etc.;
Bonus points if it appears actual thought and care went into the recreation.
Usually I like to be able to get a good look at the TARDIS in question before buying, to make sure it falls into the above criteria. I try not to buy them blindly for fear of winding up with a “shitfer” TARDIS that I’ll be embarrassed to have around.
When one orders a “kit” one expects, and possibly even desires, to have some degree of assembly required. A “kit” is supposed to come in pieces which may be–fingers crossed–cut from a plastic frame, glued and/or snapped together, decals applied, and painting possibly required before the “kit” has been created. Not so much for the Doctor Who Light Up TARDIS Kit. This “kit” came fully assembled with its battery already in place. The only requirement was to pull the plastic battery protector from the little slot in the screw-fastened battery compartment and then flip a switch to turn on the roof lamp.
Left the “kit” TARDIS. Right an actual kit TARDIS with actual assembly required.
It did come with a booklet showcasing the various actors to have played the Doctor over the years. In all other respects, though, it was aggressively disappointing. And it violates or bends at least three of the above six criteria.
The details are not quite what they should be. While the “wood” surfaces of this TARDIS do have wood-grain sculpting, the grain-molding they used for it is not to scale with the actual object were the TARDIS two inches high. It’s huge by comparison and would only be accurate for a much larger TARDIS, possibly even larger than the Flight Control model.
And while they did go so far as to apply wood grain to the roof surfaces as well, they applied it in the wrong direction, the grain perpendicular to the edges of the roof instead of parallel to the edges, as if each triangular roof facet were its own separate board.
And the roof lamp, while able to illuminate via LED, is oversized in proportion to the roof. However the “glass” of the lamp itself is beveled, which is a nice detail to have included.
A minor point, the POLICE PUBLIC CALL BOX signs above the doors aren’t recessed. This I’ll forgive, as detail is often lost in producing a miniature TARDIS (though the miniature TARDIS pictured on the right in the above photo didn’t seem to have much problem recreating the effect).
All in all, I’m not a big fan of the Doctor Who Light Up TARDIS “Kit.” The company that manufactured it, Running Press, has offered a number of other “kits.” In fact, they refer to them in their advertising as “Mega Kits,” including a Dalek, a Cyberman torso and head, a Matt Smith era Sonic Screwdriver, and K-9. They further note that said kits are “Mega Fun!” (They look fine. I might eventually even purchase the K-9, since I seem to own him in many of his other forms already.) However, I give their TARDIS “kit,” two TARDI.
In future, I’ll write about another TARDIS kit that will truly live up to the definition of the word. I only have to assemble it first.