Doctor Who and the TARDIS

When I was a child watching Doctor Who, I was fascinated by the idea that in the future the Doctor would undergo his twelfth and final regeneration into the thirteenth Doctor, and I would be there to watch it. THAT FUTURE IS HERE! NOW!

Walord Games' Doctor Who and the TARDIS
Doctor Who-oo! HEY! Doctor Who! Doctor Who-ooo! HEY! The TARDIS!

This is Warlord Games’ rendition of the Thirteenth Doctor, in miniature form. Technically Jodie Whittaker is the fifteenth regeneration, or infinity-eth regeneration, but whatever the canon is she represents that magical point I imagined with wide-eyed wonder when I was a child.

Walord Games' Doctor Who range comparison
Various official Time Lord miniatures across the decades. More about the Fifth Doctor here.

The Thirteenth Doctor is a very much an incarnation of the current trend for realistic proportions and subtle details. Compare the head-to-body ratios or the chunkiness of the clothing folds with the earlier licensed Doctor Who ranges above and you can see how the times they are a-changin’.

The details are too subtle at points on the Thirteenth Doctor, with areas like the shirt’s neckline just one coat of paint away from disappearing entirely, or her hands ending up cast as amorphous stumps you have to freehand the fingers onto. Some of the more recent unofficial Doctor Who-inspired ranges, (like Crooked Dice’s or Heresy Miniatures’ shown below) have a better grasp of how to design a modern miniature with detail that cast well and is fun to paint.

Walord Games' Doctor Who unofficial range comparison
Left to right: Time Lord, Fifth Doctor, Sontaran, Roj Blake and Thirteenth Doctor.

But enough dwelling in the past and back to the present day – let’s talk about the TARDIS!

Walord Games' Doctor Who and the TARDIS materialising
*VWORP VWORP VWORP*

This TARDIS is a single piece resin casting that comes moulded in a fetching blue colour. It’s an iconic British spaceship that connected with something really deep down in my childhood. I painted it with a subtle woodgrain effect on the doors (similar to the wooden Trebuchet featured in the recent Patreon tutorial), using Vallejo Model Colour Heavy Blue as the starting colour.

Walord Games' Doctor Who and the TARDIS angles
Did you know: while the TARDIS props are constructed almost entirely from wood, the police boxes they’re based on are concrete with wooden doors?

The TARDIS miniatures suffers from visible build lines in the roof that betray the fact that the master was designed in a computer. And, like the Doctor, the sculpted detail is dangerously subtle – the “FREE FOR USE OF PUBLIC” notice is scarcely there, and won’t pick up a shading wash. Worse yet, the entire piece has undergone the moulding process at an angle which means the castings are skewed into a parallelogram shape.

Walord Games' Doctor Who and the TARDIS skewed

Despite the flaws, I am really pleased to have painted these icons of British science fiction and have them available for games.

Walord Games' Doctor Who and the TARDIS in a Welsh quarry
The Doctor exploring a mysterious alien signal in Blaenau Gwent.

Coming soon! More heroes that ride around in blue boxes. Ninjabread out!

Curis

Curis has painted for Games Workshop, Forge World, Warlord Games, Mantic Games, Avatars of War, Wargames Foundry, Studio McVey and many others. He's won at Golden Demon and Salute. He publishes monthly painting tutorials on Patreon.

8 thoughts on “Doctor Who and the TARDIS

  • March 16, 2020 at 1:18 pm
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    Considering the issues you describe, the Doctor and the TARDIS look absolutely top drawer.

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    • March 18, 2020 at 3:55 pm
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      Thanks Paul! I’m glad to see that Warlord are doing the Dredd stuff in resin as opposed to metal. I think the change of material will mitigate some of the issues I found with this, and the Johnny Alpha you so kindly sent me.

      Reply
  • March 16, 2020 at 7:59 pm
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    Wow! That is a great figure and your paint job is beautiful. It is a subtle sculpt though, for sure. A true scale figure rather than exaggerated in any way, especially compared to the others.

    Did you freehand the lettering on the TARDIS? It looks great, non-rectangular-ness notwithstanding. I can recommend Fenris Games’ model if they’re still available. IIRC they even had a clear resin version.

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    • March 22, 2020 at 3:52 pm
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      Thanks Allison! Yeah, this Doctor wouldn’t look wrong if the dimensions were doubled. Gives her more of an Eagle Moss collectible vibe than a wargames mini. But hey, maybe that’s my damage and I still haven’t gotten over the fact it’s not 1994 any more and Doctor Who: Invasion Earth ain’t in print.

      The lettering on the TARDIS is all sculpted detail. Thanks for the tip on the Fenris piece – that looks much chunkier!

      Reply
  • March 19, 2020 at 12:06 am
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    Well, the mini looks great, but I suspect that your paintjob has a lot to do with that ;)
    I love what you did here!

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    • March 22, 2020 at 3:52 pm
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      Thanks Suber!

      Reply
  • March 19, 2020 at 9:48 pm
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    Fantastic results. I don’t know if it’s a shortcoming of the modern miniature or just a requirement to change our techniques. I still prefer to paint in a layered style when I can and that works best with “classical” figures. The more proportionate modern figures require a delicate touch, thin paints, and like a loose drawing a suggestion rather than hard lines old school painters are accustomed too. I’ve painted a fair number of the new Who models and enjoyed the process even if it wasn’t what I was used to. Warlord’s new Dredd range is more “old paint” friendly with the size of a 35mm newer figure but blocky enough for a bit of comic book flair reminiscent of older figures.

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    • March 22, 2020 at 3:43 pm
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      I think there’s space to do a set of modern Who figures but with a touch more exaggeration on the features and characters. Modiphius’ John Carter of Mars range occupies that spot where it’s modern lanky-limbs and more realistic features but still retaining enough of the miniature stylisation to please the painter. I’m glad the more recent 2000AD figures are blockier, but given their source material I still think they’re too far in the subtle-features direction – I got halfway through the Steelkrieg andriod and gave up as what shoulda been sharp panel lining was too shallow to paint. And yeah, maybe I need to change my technique too.

      Reply

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