Set Review: Doctor Who Ideas Set
Nov 30, 2015 1:46 am
by Joe Meno
21304 Dr. Who
Dr. Who's adventures have been going on for over 50 years, with the more recent doctors becoming a worldwide phenomenon. I first met the Doctor on PBS in the 80s, with Tom Baker being the actor I most associated with the main character. The companions I remembered back then were Romana, K-9 and Leela. Back then, I also was a LEGO builder, but a casual one - I was starting to enter my Dim Ages as went to high school and college.
Now, I have come back to both LEGO and Dr. Who, with my LEGO building starting about years before I rediscovered the Doctor. I started building sets, then started building my own models. About this time, Dr Who came back on BBC...but it took me a few years and a couple of Doctors before I wandered back to the show. It took a Raggedy Man for me to start watching it again and make it one of the few shows I watch.
It didn't take long for me to want to build something from the show, and that thought was reflected on the LEGO Ideas website by builder Andrew Clark. He created a Doctor Who themed set that eventually became a LEGO Ideas set. Now available at LEGO.com, I was able to get an advance copy for review. So here's my take on the set...
"It's Smaller on the Outside!"
Coming in a price point of 59.99 and having 623 parts, the set box is heavy. It's also done up in the LEGO Ideas design scheme, which means it has a distinctive design that makes it stand out from the LEGO sets - the dark blue/yellow-orange box color scheme makes it look a little more premium than the usual LEGO boxes. The box also opens up to the builder (it's opening flap goes up) and presents the builder with the parts and instructions booklet, which is perfect bound and pretty thick.
The TARDIS exterior.
The TARDIS separated from the Time Rotor.
There are bags, but I won't go into details about that - what I am going to talk about are the set details. There are no stickers at all in the set. Everything is printed that needs to be printed. That was a great move on the company's part.
The next great move was the assortment of minifigures included. There are 2 Daleks (that are built), 1 Weeping Angel, one companion (Clara) and two Doctors. The Twelfth and Thirteen Doctor are included in this set, and both of them get a sonic screwdriver accessory! There's also a fez for the Twelfth Doctor because, well, fezzes are cool. However, he can't wear it with his hairpiece on.
There's another side note about the Doctor minifigures that should be noted - the wardrobes on the minifigures are both for the Twelfth. There is the early Twelfth Doctor with the bowtie and blazer and the later Twelfth with the purple overcoat...which is the first suit the Thirteenth regenerates to. If you want the Thirteenth in his wradrobe, you can get that with the LEGO Dimensions set.
The minifigures and creatures are built while constructing the TARDIS, and there are some nice details to discover. The Weeping Angel has two faces, for example. The Daleks are easy builds that can be done with mostly common parts, which makes building more of them easy for a builder who has the parts available.
A Dalek deconstructed.
In building the set, there are some neat building techiques that are used. There's also an error in the instructions that is easy to fix, just surprising to find in a set. On pages 41-42, there are missing numbered steps: 19 and 20.
Besides the instruction hiccup, the building experience is fun as the set begins to take shape. For me the build was pretty fast, taking only a few hours, making this a good afternoon or evening build.
"You know the sound the TARDIS makes? That wheezing, groaning? That sound brings hope wherever it goes."
When complete, The TARDIS itself is the latest 'desktop' for Seasons 8 and 9. Printing is used for a console, the monitors (which don't swivel - bummer) and the inside door. The outside of the TARDIS separates from the console and folds to create the TARDIS exterior. The time rotor consoles are all represented in the TARDIS, but there's an interesting design choice - the main handle doesn't work like it should...the handle is a LEGO zip line piece that uses the handle itself to swing up and down, so while it looks right, the handle is the complete opposite in terms of function.
The miscreant handle.
On the exterior, there is printing on the Police Box signs, door signs, and windows. The outside paneling is done using windows, which is a clever part use. Also, the open TARDIS exterior has a place for a figure to stand on that the panels close around, so the TARDIS has an interior vignette!
A closeup of the front detail.
The TARDIS vignette!
The nicest thing about all of this? You can fit the set inside the box afterwards. The time rotor needs to be removed, but outside of that, everything fits snugly in the box. Since the box has a foldover flap, the extra parts can be placed in the box without worry of losing them.
The box IS bigger on the inside....
Overall, the set is great! For those who are Whovians, this is a nice tip of the hat (or fez) to the series with a nice assortment of figures and an outstanding rendition of the TARDIS. For the LEGO builder, there's some nice printed parts and building techniques that can be learned from building the set.
You can now buy the set at the LEGO Store, online and at Toys R Us.
NOTE: You can buy the LEGO Dimensions Dr Who Level Pack, which has the Thirteenth Doctor in his present costume, K-9, and the TARDIS in a tiny form. In January, you will be able to get another pack that will have a Cyberman minifigure and a Dalek (which is different than the Ideas set Dalek)