Published on May 9th, 2014 | by Drew Boynton

Are Doctor Who Action Figures Heading For A Return To 5″?

It’s no secret that in Doctor Who collector and fandom circles, the Character Options line of action figures has seen a fair amount of criticism as of late.

From the new smaller 3.75″ sizes (who knew they had the Master’s shrink ray?), to paint jobs that look like they were done by a frustrated Sontaran, to a Clara Oswald figure that makes the beautiful Jenna Coleman look like Eddie Izzard after a trip to a cut-rate salon, fans aren’t happy. The clip above perhaps demonstrates the bad feeling in its more humorous form…

An article on points out part of the problem:

“One thing to realize is that paying a hefty price is no problem to collectors as long as detail and playability is of the highest degree. Toy manufacturers seem to think that just because it is Doctor Who and the figure somehow resembles the Doctor, anyone would be willing to shell a huge amount of money just to buy it.”

The site also tries to see the company’s side of things, but the writer’s frustration can’t help shining through:

“Character Options have defended their shift in size by claiming that everyone can now easily own one. Parent will not have any problem spending around $12 for a single figure. The fact that detail has been sacrificed and collectors feel that Character Options is just banking on the Doctor Who popularity is reason enough not to purchase the new Doctor Who figures.”

There is a slight glimmer of hope that the company may be responding to some of the complaints: Interestingly, rumours suggest that we may see two new 5″ Dalek sets.



Based on Asylum of the Daleks, one Classic and one New series set, and B&M and Toys R Us exclusives. Hopefully, this will lead to further developments in this size.

Kasterborites, what do you think of the 3.75″ Character Options action figures?

(Thanks to Ian)


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About the Author


Drew has been a fan of Doctor Who ever since he flipped through the channels late one night and saw a girl blowing up an army of funny robot men with nothing but a slingshot and some old coins. He currently lives somewhere in the woods of Missouri with his beautiful wife Barbara.

25 Responses to Are Doctor Who Action Figures Heading For A Return To 5″?

  1. One look at the 3.75″ figures was enough for me. They’re awful – seriously bad. Detail has been sacrificed for cheapness. I’ve been collecting all the 5th and 11th Doctor figures – and it irritates me no end that the final 11th Doctor figure in the new outfit is 3.75″ and the rest are 5″. I’ll only buy the 5″ ones – definitely won’t buy any of the 3.75″.

  2. avatar J. J. Guest says:

    Talk about a First World Problem! :-)

    • LMAO True – and I’m irritated that it irritates me….

    • It’s a First World TV show.

  3. avatar Wayne Talbot says:

    The new sized figures are terrible, A friend of mine was gutted when they released the new range because he has a solid collection of all of the larger Doctor Figures, and with the new size his collection is ruined because Capaldi’s figure will look like a kinder toy next to them

  4. avatar John says:

    Where does the Dalek Asylum Diorama Pictures come from? They look lovely!

  5. avatar J. J. Guest says:

    It’s a fun video, but fans are spoilt for choice these days, and I work five minutes from Forbidden Planet in London so I’ve seen what’s available. When I was in primary school Doctor Who toys were a bit thin on the ground, so I made myself a TARDIS from a wooden box that had contained some orange-flavoured sweets. I made the mistake of giving it only four panels under the windows instead of six, but I was very proud of that TARDIS and played with it a lot. I also had a K-9 I made from cereal boxes – it was a bit flimsy!

  6. avatar rickjlundeen says:

    C.O. Wanted to save money and reduce quality and it was a very bad decision all around. They simply wanted to see if they could get away with it. Those small metal figures on bases that are sold elsewhere smaller still yet have much better detail–maybe C. O. Thought they could get that same detail but it’s obvious they can’t.

    If they had started out with this size range, it still would have sucked but we wouldn’t have seen how good the 5″ range was at least. I’m hoping the backlash forces them to go full 5″ range across the board again. The *only* figure I’ve bought in the last year or so has been the War Doctor. It was excellent. SO excellent, that I bought a second one for the Tardis playset and a third for the changeable McGann head. I intend to buy a 5″ Capaldi if that ever comes out but that’s it. I’ll then add him to the rest of the Doctors.

    • I agree, the War Doctor is the only figure I’ve recently purchased.

  7. avatar Jason L says:

    How expensive is an inch of plastic anyway? I guess there could be small savings in shipping, but it sounds like spoiling the battleship for a ha’porth of tar as I think they used to say!

  8. avatar Craig says:

    sad to say but I no longer buy the figures, however I WILL buy 5″ more detailed ones again.
    I don’t think I am alone in voting with my wallet

  9. avatar Whoosier Whovian says:

    I have the daleks from the tiny toys line, but none of the others. And I only got those as gifts from a friend. The paint was screwed up on two of them, one didn’t have a painted eye, and the other had plastic flash around the dome. Sure, the 5″ line had its share of problems, but at least you could tell what the figure was of from across the room.

  10. avatar joesiegler says:

    Isn’t the War Doctor figure that came out not too long ago a 5 inch figure, too?

    • It was.

      One gets the feeling that perhaps the 3.75″ range will be quietly retired…

  11. avatar Paul says:

    The Axos and Daemons sets were fantastic. (Though one of them should have sacrificed a Brigadier for a Benton figure.) Would never buy any of the smaller 3.75 figures. TERRIBLE decision to make the smaller ones.

  12. avatar james says:

    i am ever hopeful that i can add a 12th Doctor to my 5″ line up. i haven’t bought, and probably will never buy, the smaller sized figures. the detail is just not there. and after spending years and a ton of dough to buy the bigger, nicer toys, it seemed like a real kick in the face to have that line go away.

    they should put out the same toy in two sizes and let us vote with our wallets.

  13. avatar Helen says:

    My son has the 5″ figures and has insisted on the 3.75″ as well but Clara looks ridiculous next to the bigger doctor and means that she cannot properly play in the tardis playstation because she can’t reach the console lol! Detail is awful and the older figures were far superior, IMOH

  14. avatar Joe says:

    Awful….I own EVERY 5″ but skipped all but 2 of the 3″ because they don’t match and the quality is low. Put the 3″ in my McDonalds happy meal and I’ll go get them all. But take away my 5″ figures and you lose about $1000.00 a year from me. Stupid

  15. The 3.75 scale is only for the kid who wants the Doctor to join with Captain Kirk and Iron Man to take down Darth Vader!

    I happen to be fortunate enough to have acquired nearly all the 5 ” figures. (Even harder , since I’m American!)
    I even bought the Tom Baker Time Capsule for the fig., even though I can’t play the DVD’s here!! So, money is NOT the issue to a serious collector!
    I’m also crazy enough to be a customizer , so I have bought duplicate and even the short lived Primeval line for parts!!
    If C.O. Is smart, they must re-introduce the 5 inch scale as the primary product.

  16. avatar Al says:

    First, I want to know where anyone can find these for only $12. Here in Canada, whether they’re 5 inch or 3.75 inch they’re still in the $20-25 range, and some are even more. The smaller figures are inferior to the larger ones in many respects, but the most important one is they’re just plain ugly. 5 inch allows a bit more detail in the face. But frankly 10 inches is even better. I have a Tenth Doctor in that size and I’d give my left tonsil to have a Rose, Donna, Amy and Clara in that size. (There was a Martha in that format, but I never got a chance to buy her.)

    • He said 12 Pounds! That’s about $18 or 19 U.S. or about what you said in Canadian dollars!

  17. avatar stuleem says:

    i refuse to buy the 3.75″ as they are cheap and nasty looking!bring back the 5″ figures and reissue the 11th doctor and clara in this size!!!!

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  19. avatar Geoff says:

    When I was a boy in the 70s and early 80s I’d have loved to have Doctor Who action figures on this scale to create Star Wars/Who mash ups!

    The modern Star Wars range is proof that you can do smaller figures with very good detail. They cost roughly the same as the larger Who figures used to but the quality is very good and crucially the range has always been that scale since the first classic range was launched in 1978 so the kids, many of whom are now collectors accept it. In fact they would probably demand it if Hasbro tried to change the scale.

    The difference is COs new range is nowhere near the quality of the Star Wars range and we are used to and like the slightly larger scale where the production quality was also very good. I think CO would have had trouble getting the new range accepted even if the quality had been higher because it’s just not what the Who fans want.

    I also thought the Dalek looked ok as did the Tardis but I wouldn’t buy them.

  20. avatar John Smith says:

    I refuse to buy any 3.75 Inch toy of that quality.The 5 inch line of character was so great!

    It’s not about the size, no. I own hundreds of Star Wars figures and they are of much higher quality than the C.O. figures.

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