Sunday, February 8, 2015

So Close To Perfection . . . The Doctor Who 12” Clockwork Man Doll Succeeds!

The Good: Great sculpt, Good costume detailing, Generally decent accessory, Wonderful posability and balance!
The Bad: Not completely accurate costume.
The Basics: Only the most demanding Doctor Who fans will find the 12” Clockwork Man doll to be less than perfect (it’s pretty damn close)!

My wife has become a pretty big Doctor Who fan. While some geeks might be irked by having to share shelf space with their significant other’s new stuff, as my wife has gotten into Doctor Who to such levels that she wants collectibles from the show around as décor, it has actually delighted me. It’s about time my geek stuff did not monopolize the place (besides, her desire to show off her new Doctor Who swag in more public areas of our apartment made it so I was able to bring out my statues and dolls to see more frequently! Check and mate!). Interestingly enough for one who has been getting some big ticket collectibles, my wife’s favorite piece to show off from Doctor Who seems to be her 12” Clockwork Man doll.

After more than five years of marriage, my wife and I were finally able to afford a vacation last year and in an out-of-the-way comic book shop in Minnesota, we found a number of gems for each of our collections. Never before had my wife seen a collectible and been so instantly desirous of it as when she saw the Clockwork Man doll. Seriously, usually getting her to admit she actually wants something is like pulling teeth, but when her eyes widened in delight seeing the Clockwork Man doll from Character Options, it made it hard for her to backpedal and easy for me to get her a gift she actually liked. Fortunately, the Clockwork Man doll lives up to its in-package look and promise when removed from the box.

For those unfamiliar with it, the Clockwork Man is a fairly obscure villain from the Doctor Who episode “The Girl In The Fireplace” (reviewed here!). The Clockwork Man is a 51st century android that has pretty clear steampunk influences. The Clockwork Men teleport from the 51st Century back to France and the time of Madame Pompadour in order to get her organs to repair their failing ship. The adversaries are interesting-enough that the cousins of the Clockwork Men were featured in “Deep Breath” (reviewed here!) with the newest Doctor.

Regardless of the character’s obscurity, the 12" Clockwork Man doll is well-constructed and detailed in a compelling-enough fashion to make for a pretty awesome collectible for those who love Doctor Who!


The Clockwork Man is a mechanical man dressed in 18th Century French outfit. The Clockwork Man doll is 12 1/4" tall and is a blend of plastic parts for the doll’s body and head and fabric elements. The doll has hard plastic shoes that give it a solid-enough base, though they are removable. The character’s gloves are plastic, molded accurately enough and the stiff, mechanical nature of the sculpt fits the character well (one hand is molded into a fist, the other is straight, like it is preparing to karate chop an adversary).

The cloth elements are cool, but they are also the source of the only real detraction for this doll. The Clockwork Man has very detailed leggings, and simple stiff-feltlike pants. The plastic collar gels pretty well with the white fabric ruffle that comes out the top of the character’s outfit. The jacket is an incredibly well-made blue fabric with fine embroidery on it. The coat is accented by a neat gold braid, but the issue arises when one compares the cool doll with the photograph on the box of the actual Clockwork Man. The Clockwork Man has red accents and more gold elements (namely button sections going laterally on the chest) that are not represented on the doll.

This toy is a wonderful sculpt, looking precisely like the mechanical alien. The Clockwork Man is amazing in his coloring detail, especially on the character’s French mask. Equally cool is that the mask and wig head may be removed to reveal the clockwork elements beneath!


The Clockwork Man, simplistic Doctor Who alien that he is, comes with only one accessory: its detachable arm weapon. In “The Girl In The Fireplace,” the Clockwork Man and its compatriots, menace the French with a long appendage that slices and cuts. The doll has the same appendage, which is 3 1/2" long and composed of a silver/gray plastic. It plugs right into the Clockwork Man’s right fist and it stays in place strongly there. It is sculpted with extra detailing like the wheels and cogs that made it extend in the show and it is colored on those well enough, too.


I don't know who plays with these twelve-inch figures. As far as displaying, though, there is much to recommend Clockwork Man. First, this is a well-articulated action figure. The Clockwork Man is impressively posable, whatwith having fourteen points of articulation. This alien mech has joints at the ankles, knees, groin socket, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist and neck. The neck is a ball and socket joint, which is wonderful. As a result, it can turn his head left to right as well as front to back in a nodding motion. Also, the shoulder, knee, groin and elbow joints are all hinged ball and socket joints, so the character's arms and legs move realistically! As well, the joints are all hidden beneath the fabric costume allowing for decent range-of-motion without looking ridiculous from inconsistencies in any aspect of the robot or its costume.

There are almost no limits to the arm's range of motion. The Clockwork Man can turn at the waist, which further increases his posability. As well, this Clockwork Man is one of the best balanced figures I've yet encountered! When posed in a flatfooted position, or in several staggered poses, it may be reasonably positioned and will remain standing! As a result, it is incredibly easy to get the Clockwork Man to stand stable so that it does not wobble or shake at all from vibrations near one's display.


Clockwork Man is part of the twelve-inch series, a series of Doctor Who action figures that was actually more limited. We were able to find ours affordably, probably because in the middle of Minnesota, there is probably not a huge call for 12” Doctor Who dolls. Over the last decade, even the more common dolls, like the Clockwork Man have, at the very least, retained their value; most have appreciated a few dollars. If the costumes on the Clockwork Man begin to fade, that might cause them to appreciate in value more. Either way, they are a quality collectible that has some inherent value to them.


The Clockwork Man might be obscure, but it is an interesting subject and Character Options did an excellent job of making the doll. Doctor Who fans have a lot to be happy about with this doll!

For other dolls reviewed by me, please check out my reviews of:
Sideshow Collectibles 1:6 Boushh
Edward Cullen Twilight Barbie doll
12” The Dark Knight Two-Face Hot Toys doll


For other toy reviews, please be sure to check out my Toy Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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