Robert Harrop Designs is a UK-based company, best known for a long-running series of anthropomorphic dog figurines called, “Doggy People” (and also known in the past by other names including, “The Country Set” and “Country Companions”), which sees various breeds of dogs dressed in all manner of clothing, often suited to the dog’s breed. A French Foreign Legion figurine, for example, is a French Bulldog. A Red Baron figurine was portrayed through a Dachshund.
The company has also taken on a number of licenses of the years with a distinctly British feel to proceedings, including comics like The Beano and The Dandy; Thunderbirds; Wallace and Gromit; The Wombles; 2000AD; Andy Capp and many more. Some of the all-time classics, there.
For me personally, of course, all of that fades into the background (yes, even Thunderbirds), with the knowledge that Robert Harrop Designs now make a range of licensed Doctor Who figurines.
And not only that, but they’re limited editions! Nothing pulls me in like a limited edition.
Initial releases included all-time classics such as a Silurian, Sontaran, Ice Warrior, Cyberman (Revenge of the Cybermen version) and a modern enemy in the form of a Weeping Angel.
But the brand-new release of a Fourth Doctor in “Genesis of the Daleks” mode made my hair stand on end. Standing around 7.5″ tall, it’s hand-cast, hand-painted and limited to 750 pieces. This isn’t a toy; it’s a more mature, refined collectible. It’s where I see my collecting going these days.
I ordered one and want to share the unboxing with you.
First, the outside of the box. It’s very nice; it’s branded and unmistakably not some kind of knock-off product; and the sticker, noting what’s inside, is reflective which adds a nice touch.
Then we go to the top of the box and another reflective sticker. This one, however, has the figure’s limited edition number hand-written on it. This might seem a small thing, but in an age where numbers on products like this are computer printed, it’s quite fitting that a hand-cast, hand-painted figurine has a hand-written number on it. Call me weird, but I love small touches like that.
Opening the box reveals that the figure is very well protected in foam, and there are two small cards loose in the box. The first is a limited edition certificate; again with a hand-written number on it. The other is a much smaller piece of card, which has the figurine’s name on it. I wasn’t too sure what this was for but you can, presumably, fold this in half (into a “tent shape”) and then place it next to your figurine to formally identify it to people peering into your display case. A classy touch, there.
Cracking open the foam, and there’s Tom, wrapped in plastic (insert Twin Peaks joke).
Opening the plastic and, there he is, looking really great even before we lift him out.
The first thing that struck me about the figurine was the size. I knew it was going to be around 7.5″ from the start, but it’s such an unusual size for a Doctor Who figure (bigger than either of the modern-era toy ranges, but quite a bit smaller than recent collectible statues and busts), I found myself quite surprised at what a good scale — 1:12, I believe — it is when viewed in person.
Something else I noticed right away about the figure are the colours. They look really good; really authentic. You know exactly what you’re looking at. It’s like he just walked in off TV.
Here’s a shot to show you that even some really small touches are there, like the jelly babies in the Doctor’s paper bag. You wouldn’t necessarily see these on a displayed figure (depending where it is, of course), but they’re still there. It’s small touches like that which excite me a lot, to be honest.
Flipping the figure upside down and we have another reflective sticker and another indication of the figure’s name and what number in the series of 750 it is. Again, a nice hand-written number.
Here’s a shot of the Doctor from behind, letting you get more of a feel for the paint, the colour, the brushwork and so on. As an aside, I love this version of Tom Baker’s costume. Do you?
Finally, here’s a shot I thought some of you might find useful for two reasons. The first is to see how large the figure is in my hand. I’m a guy with large hands, so you can see it’s pretty substantial without being a statue kind of thing. Also, you can see how the colours on the figure look, in comparison to my skin tone. They are basically rich and vibrant but still in the realm of the realistic.
Would you like one? Harrop sells them for £50 and have really good postage rates. Airmail from the UK to Australia, for example, cost me £5. Remember, these are a limited edition and, I dare say there will be more than 750 Tom Baker fans out there who would be happy to drop £50 on one.
Moving forward, I’m interested in the Revenge of the Cybermen version of a Cyberman and, in a couple of month’s time, I know there’s a 3rd Doctor figure in a green jacket on the way.
Following both the Robert Harrop and Robert Harrop Doctor Who Facebook groups, I have also picked up on other releases down the line. A 1970s Dalek isn’t too far off, for example. And there’s talk from the design team of wanting to do some really rare and off-the-wall stuff (in terms of what we normally see in collectibles), like a Tenth Planet Cyberman. Bring it on, I would LOVE to see that!
To sum up, I am quite happy with my purchase. Doctor Who — especially classic era Doctor Who — is really well-served by this kind of small release stuff, from a traditional UK company with a track record in this area. And, frankly, £50 is a pretty low price for a collectible in the sub-1000 pieces category (and do keep in mind that the Silurian, Sontaran and Ice Warrior are even smaller editions of just 500 pieces instead of 750); especially a collectible that is hand-cast and hand-painted.