The new 1/18th scale Doctor Who figures are now available in the US via Underground Toys. I opted to "give them a chance" and got the police box, the Doctor, Clara, the new "Nightmare in Silver" Cyberman and the RTD era "bronze" Dalek.
The TARDIS, Dalek and Cyberman are very nice and have scaled down nicely. Alas, the "human" figures are lacking. Well, Clara is "acceptable". Some think her cheeks are too chubby, but I personally did not get that impression. Naturally, a certain level of facial detail is lost going to a smaller scale, but she has a distinctively shaped face that survives the scaling.
It's Matt Smith's Doctor that suffers the worst and it's not so much from the sculpting as it is the paint job, specifically, his eyes. Mine as well as others in photos I've seen have oversized eyes that look outward. He's "wall-eyed"! The Clara figure doesn't seem to suffer from this, at least not mine or others I've seen. So why the Doctor across the board? I suspect the painting hardware at the factory was not properly calibrated. On a larger figure, a miscalibration is not as noticeable, but the smaller you get, the same flaw is magnified.
There's also a certain "blandness" to his figure. His latest outfit, the knew length purple coat (Willy Wonka, anyone?) is fairly "uniform" and that just translates to a featureless surface of plastic. Clara doesn't suffer from this since her dress has a a "decal" of flowers that breaks up the otherwise smooth surface. The Dalek and Cyberman, of course, have "greeblied" detail.
Someone compared the new Doctor figure (actually, the whole 1/18th range) to "Happy Meal" toys, and sadly, I can see an element of truth in that.
Someone upon the Who North America boards went into detailed analysis and review of these new figures and seemed to feel that once you shrink figures past a certain scale, they become less relevent, becoming the "accessories" to a toy vehicle and playset line. Thing is, the only "vehicle" we have at the moment is the TARDIS. Now there ARE some "playsets" just around the corner, but they will be nothing more cardboard based backdrops. That's what you release when a figure is scaled "up", not "down". But Doctor Who is more character driven than bombastic action, so the figures should be central.
No, this is really a "last ditch" effort to hopefully boost a toy line that has "floundered" for the last couple of years. Cutting back on the number of episodes, inserting production "breaks" that last for nearly a year, and then releasing figures that don't capture the interest (peg-warmers) have all taken their toll.
Thankfully, UnderGround Toys and Forbidden Planet still have a contract with Charcter Options to "commission" figures in a 1/13th scale, characters and monsters from the "classic" run of the show. the San Diego Comic Con will debut an "Ace" figure, the last companion of the 7th Doctor, a spunky girl with the guts to "play" with homemade chemical explosives (not the best "role model" in today's environment, eh?). Just to recoup costs for its development, you just know there will be "variants" released, just as they did with Leela last year. Another Jo Grant is on the way and at least two redresses of the Brigadier, Delgado's Master in demon ceremony robes, and a follow-up to the Egyptian god/alien Sutekh, this time wearing his distinctive mask (with eyes that illuminate).
But many fear if the 3.75 inch line sputters and "dies", Character Options may lose the license to make DW figures all together, including the commissioned "classics" at 5.5 inches.