As a Doctor Who fan, I have found myself needing to collect toys related to the series. Recently on eBay I was the proud winner of the Doctor Who: Flight Control TARDIS. The version I received was from Underground Toys, based in San Diego, California. The same model is also available for our European friends through the U.K.-based Character Toys. The TARDIS I am reviewing can also be bought on Amazon.com
This lovely toy comes in a hard box with a see-through front, detailing the TARDIS in all its splendor. This TARDIS is the Time And Relative Dimension In Space vehicle version seen in the fifth and sixth seasons of Doctor Who, and the preferred method of travel for everyone’s favorite Gallifreyan. It states on the packaging that it has:
- 8 Motion-Activated Interactive Sound Effects
- Flashing TARDIS Lantern
- Opening Doors & Telephone Door
The packaging also tries, as best as anyone could, to write out the TARDIS flight sounds with “VWOOORP! VWOOOORP! VWOOOOORP!” This should make any Whovian giggle upon reading it. Not a giggle because it is silly; more of a nervous/excited giggle of having a TARDIS in their possession that may actually replicate the sound of the TARDIS from the series.
The packaging of the Flight Control TARDIS is quite rigid, making it easy to be able to keep the toy in a near-mint condition. The downfall though is that the plastic front is only lightly glued to the cardboard, and a light pressure will separate the two. As I need to review the toy itself, I happily tore into the packaging to get the TARDIS in all of her glory into my hands.
Once it is unscrewed from the insert base, the TARDIS shines in the light. Its windows are excellently replicated to match the TARDIS of the 11th Doctor, “The Police Public Call Box” writing is painstakingly reproduced, and the body of the TARDIS itself is a simulated wood exterior. This gives it a slightly more detailed appearance. On the left door of the box is the telephone door, which can be opened to reaveal the Public Call Telephone which was seen in episode nine of season two: “The Empty Child.” This one detail is not well replicated, and seems rather a secondary addition to the toy. The Plaque on the door is well replicated however, and accurately depicts the plaque on the TARDIS in the fifth and sixth season.
Also on this TARDIS is the St. John’s Ambulance label, which disappeared after the first Doctor, William Hartnell in 1966, and was reintroduced when Matt Smith took over as the 11th Doctor in 2010. Steven Moffat, Executive Producer and Writer for the modern Doctor, said he wanted to bring something back to the series that would be like a calling card and also would bring a touch of the history of Doctor Who back to the series by having it placed back on the right door of the TARDIS.
The top light of the TARDIS is well replicated, with its olden-style glass enclosure, and light effects when it is turned on. As the TARDIS also seemed to have regenerated between the fourth and fifth seasons, certain aspects of it have also changed. The windows of the TARDIS now feature two frosted glass panes on the bottom row, left and right of each set, which has been captured in the new model, as well as the white border paint. Also the light itself has slightly changed, it is not as tall as the tenth Doctor’s light, and is slightly wider.
Placing the AAA batteries into the slot, and screwing the case back together, I turned the TARDIS over and flipped the switch to on. Immediately goose pimples crawled up my arm, as the promised “VWOOORP! VWOOOORP! VWOOOOORP!” rang out, exactly as it does in the series. The light on the top of it started pulsing along with the sounds.
Trying out all of the different promised sound combinations I shook the TARDIS and it instantly went into the distressed flight sound effects. Placing my finger in the bottom spinning point, I began turning it by its light, and the sounds became the spinning TARDIS sound effects. Placing the TARDIS on the table, the landing sounds began. Opening the doors, the droning sound of the control room take over. I was able to count six different sound effects. The box promised 8, however I believe there are eight motions that will activate six different sounds. The sound effects are well replicated, to the point that they are exact to those in the series. Compared to the Sonic Screwdriver that I also own, I believe that the TARDIS more accurately captures the sounds, as well as the feel of the show.
When you open the doors of the TARDIS, there is a rounded photo of the interior of the TARDIS control room that is a great representation, although it is off-center. It shows the control center of the TARDIS inside and to the right, when you enter it. It also depicts the interior of the 11th Doctor’s TARDIS.
Overall this toy seems to be built well, is a great addition to my slowly growing Doctor Who collection, and looks great in its new display area. Worth each cent of its $25.99-$35.99 price tag I would not hesitate to purchase one just to have it sitting in its packaging on my display shelf. If any of you also have the Flight Control TARDIS, please let me know what you think in the comments below.