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Review: 21304 Doctor Who

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Just three days ago we had our first glimpse of the 11th LEGO Ideas set 21304 Doctor Who and now this morning I have received a copy, and I have pulled out the all stops to bring you the Internet's first review.

First, I will come clean and declare that I am not a fan of the latest Doctor Who series. Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker, the 3rd and 4th Doctors were 'my' doctors growing up and while I did watch the Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant series, I found the increasing implausibility of the plots and the fact that despite having all of time and space to travel in, he was always on Earth in recent times, ridiculous.

Nevertheless, when Andrew Clark's Ideas project got the green light in February this year I looked forward to seeing what LEGO came up with. So, let's see whether it has been worth the wait...

Box and instructions

As with all Ideas sets it comes in a sturdy, flapped box that can be opened without destroying it.

21304 Doctor Who

We have seen pictures of the front of the box already but nevertheless it's worth taking another look. It shows the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, sonic screwdriver in hand, and Clara Oswald hurriedly returning to the interior of the time machine, perhaps being pursued by the two Daleks. The other two minifigs, the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, and a Weeping Angel, are shown in a separate panel.

21304 Doctor Who

The rear shows the pair of them operating various controls and also how the interior of the Tardis connects to the exterior.

21304 Doctor Who

The 127-page perfect bound instructions carry the same image as the front of the box and contain information about the show and the characters at the front, and about Andrew Clark and the LEGO designers that worked on the set, Samuel Johnson and Adam Corbally, at the back.

It is here that a very interesting fact is revealed: Samuel Johnson's uncle was Paul McGann, the 8th Doctor, who appeared in a film made in 1996 which was an (unsuccessful) attempt to re-launch the show following its cancellation in 1989. No wonder he wanted to work on the set!

21304 Doctor Who

Contents

Opening the box reveals that it's packed with bags and, of course, the instructions.

21304 Doctor Who

Inside, six unnumbered bags of ABS goodness.

21304 Doctor Who

Parts

What a parts pack! If you are a fan of dark blue, you will find plenty of it including many parts not available in that colour before: 1x2x2 window frames, 1x4/2x2 plate hinges and 1x1 round tiles to name a few.

Best of all, there are no stickers! All the printed parts, apart from the Dalek tops, are shown below.

Other notable parts are a new (to me) transparent part that goes on a minifig head and provides two studs on the back, the sonic screwdriver and a pair of the new transparent '1x1 round tile with nipple'.

21304 Doctor Who

Minifigs

Left-to-right: 11th Doctor (Matt Smith), Clara Oswald, 12th Doctor (Peter Capaldi).

The first two look spot on: the Doctor in bow-tie and brown checked suit, Clara in tartan skirt, white blouse and cardigan. However, I'm not so convinced by Peter Capaldi. I'm told that he is usually just wearing a black suit or coat, although this image shows him in crimson-coloured greatcoat which, if that is the attire LEGO was trying to replicate, the purple it has used is not right. Maybe dark red would have been better?

21304 Doctor Who

All three have printed backs and Clara has bi-colour legs. For some reason the 12th Doctor doesn't have an alternate expression.

21304 Doctor Who

The weeping angel looks great, and it is her that uses the transparent neck bracket, for attaching the wings. Here she looks quite serene...

21304 Doctor Who

... but turn her head around to expose what is possibly the scariest minifigure head I have seen!

I'm told by my daughter Alice's boyfriend (a DW fan), that including a weeping angel in this set is a bit odd given that they are more associated with the Amy era. (The Doctor's assistant before Clara).

21304 Doctor Who

Daleks

The interior of the Tardis is built before the Daleks but I will take a look at them first.

Two are provided, both identical in design and colour, dark tan and gold. I think Samuel has done a pretty good job capturing their distinctive look.

21304 Doctor Who

The 2x2 dishes used for the tops of the heads are printed. Here you can see where the '1x1 tile with nipple' has been used: for the eye.

21304 Doctor Who

Alice's boyfriend wondered why they are dark tan and not in one of the more vibrant hues introduced recently which is a good point because according to this Dalek colour scheme page, ones matching this colour first appeared in 2005 and appear to have been phased out in 2010 when Matt Smith took over from David Tennant.

It's interesting that it's a totally different design to that in the forthcoming Dimensions pack.

21304 Doctor Who

Construction of the interior

Here's how the interior comes together:

21304 Doctor Who

21304 Doctor Who

21304 Doctor Who

21304 Doctor Who

I'm no expert but it appears to be a pretty good representation of the Tardis interior as it appears in series 7 and series 8, with hexagonally-arranged control panels around a central column with the time rotor at the top.

21304 Doctor Who

21304 Doctor Who

21304 Doctor Who

Exterior

There's not much to say about construction of the exterior of the Tardis as it is straightforward and consists mainly of stacking the 1x2x2 window frames and adding their inserts. Some SNOT work is needed to attach the 1x8 tiles to the corners.

21304 Doctor Who

To enable the sides to open, the Police Box signs at the top are attached to hinges so they can be turned 90 degrees upwards...

21304 Doctor Who

...thus allowing the back to be opened. Note the white door pane printed with the reverse of the front door. Not sure it's entirely accurate but it's cool nevertheless. The level of detail added to the hinged sections is impressive.

21304 Doctor Who

When I saw the Police Box lettering at the top of the Tardis a few days ago I wondered why on earth it was there. Now it's obvious!

21304 Doctor Who

A Doctor can be placed inside.

21304 Doctor Who

The exterior is joined to the interior section using a Technic axle.

21304 Doctor Who

The completed model

Here is the completed model...

21304 Doctor Who

Verdict

Quite simply, it is fantastic. Every aspect of it. Perhaps the 12th Doctor's coat is not quite the right shade but I can live with that. It successfully captures the 'bigger on the inside' concept of the time machine and both interior and exterior models are superb. Plus, the Daleks are cute :)

Those of you who see sets and think 'parts pack' rather than 'cool model', it will satisfy you too thanks to the plethora of new parts in dark blue and a smattering of useful dark tan ones, too.

It's everything you could want from the first, of what will hopefully be many, Doctor Who sets.

21304 Doctor Who

21304 Doctor Who

Many thanks to Norton & Co, LEGO UK's PR agency, for providing the set in such a timely manner for review!

72 comments on this article

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By in United States,

Purple Capaldi is post-regeneration suit. Also, it says it "The Dalek Handbook" that the Paradigm brought back Time War casings, instead of the red drone, hence the bronze.

I think these Daleks are too big. They should be under the height of a minifigure, as the only large ones are from the 60's movies, the 70's gold/black Supreme, and the New Paradigm.

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By in United States,

I am not a Dr. Who fan at all, but this is a buy. I am impressed that there are so many nonprinted tiles. I think it is funny that it has so many different ideas from different Dr. Who eras. What would that look like in a Starwars set?

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By in United Kingdom,

Aww, that's a shame, I was hoping that it was the doors that opened not the back, but that's a minor niggle.

Also Huw, the bronze daleks have been reintroduced after the backlash against the brightly coloured 'teletubbie' daleks of 2010!

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By in United States,

@Lars: Different Doctor Who eras? Everything here is NeWho.

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By in United States,

I have never actually watched Doctor Who, but this set makes me want to check it out.

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By in United Kingdom,

" I found the increasing implausibility of the plots and the fact that, despite having all of time and space to travel in, he was always on Earth in recent times, ridiculous" - Totally Agree. In the 70's he was hardly ever on earth. Also I seem to recall that the Doctor could only re-generate 10 times, surely its been more than that already? - will still buy the set though!

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm currently drooling over the new, recoloured and printed elements. I cannot consider why I criticised the product when the initial images were released...

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By in United Kingdom,

@Brizza_is_back : Time lords can only regenerate 12 times, Matt Smith was the last of the first cycle, but he was given extra regeneration energy by the Time Lords.

Also this set is clearly based on Time of the doctor and the 11th doctors regeneration, hence the inclusion of Capaldi in the 11th doctors purple clothes, and the weeping angel and old style daleks which both featured.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ To be fair, he did hang about with the Brigadier quite a lot back then :-)

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By in United States,

@Brizza: In the 70's, the 3rd Doctor was stranded on earth! 3/4s of his series involved UNIT and The Master, who was also stranded. In the old show he had 13 regenerations, now he has 26 with the extra set.

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By in United Kingdom,

Looks fantastic. Is the UK price definitely £50?

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By in United States,

Great review. I'm actually more impressed with the set now after seeing these unoffical pictures rather than the ones provided by Lego (not that I was unimpressed before mind you).

Really thinking about getting multiples now. The Weeping Angel looks seriously good, and I want a bunch! Still iffy on the Dalek design, but it's growing on me. And the Tardis is just amazing.

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By in United States,

Re: the Dalek style. The fan reaction to the 2010 "New Dalek Paradigm" design was so overwhelmingly negative that the bronze 2005 version was brought back permanently.

If this set were to be associated with any one particular episode, it would be the 2013 Christmas Special where Matt Smith regenerates into Peter Capaldi. That is why Capaldi is wearing Smith's later costume rather than his own (available in the Dimensions pack), and Clara wears the same outfit as her Minifigure. Both Daleks and Weeping Angels were in the episode as well (albeit the Angels only briefly).

@Brizza_is Back! The regeneration limit is 12, and that was addressed in the 2013 Christmas Special as well. Time Lords can be granted additional regeneration cycles, as was done to the Master in the past.

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By in United Kingdom,

Love Doctor Who! Love this set!!! Great review! It makes sense that the first set is of contemporary Doctor Who with hopefully others to come. Different console rooms from different ears or scenes from well loved stories with iconic monsters/villains. Though if we only get this set then that's ok as its finally brilliant to have Doctor Who captured in Lego.

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By in United Kingdom,

^^ Thank you for the information, the attire and Dalek colour makes sense now.

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By in United States,

@mooslug: Technically, the Master stole his regenerations by possessing Tremas' body.

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By in United States,

@Chouju Oh true, I had forgotten about that. In the new series, I believe the ruling Time Lords also gave him a new set of lives when they resurrected him for service in the Time War.

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By in Costa Rica,

I think both Clara's face are the same. Huw, did you forget to rotate her head? Or does she only have 1 face?

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By in United States,

The Weeping Angel is terrifying and thus perfect. I could have done with some new wings, and the neck bracket in grey, but the restrictions don't allow for that. They're probably my favorite monsters just because they're so scary and you must constantly observe them to prevent them from attacking.
The rest of the set looks really nice, too.

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By in United States,

Great review, Huw! Thanks for sharing! I have to say though that this set needs no introduction. At least for me it is an instant buy. And I'm not even a Doctor Who fan. I just love the design and the details! Very interesting story about the designer! Makes the set even more special. :D

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By in United States,

Great look. This is a lovely set, with so many nice details and printing.

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By in United Kingdom,

Clara's faces are very similar. One has a slightly upturned mouth, the other slightly downturned, but its hardly noticeable.

But, looks like you're right, maybe I turned minifig and head!

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By in Costa Rica,

No prob, Huw. I also include myself in the "I'm-not-Dr-Who-fan-but-I-need-this" group, like a few people here.

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By in United States,

Well, before this review came out, I was going to purchase 3 of these sets - one for me, one for my wife and one for our 10 year old.

I may be getting 2 for me now!

The dalek design I was not a fan of, but your images have made them about as appealing as they can be. And I do like the changes from the dimensions pack. Now, its more neck and neck as to which look better: the character building gold daleks or these. The character building daleks are definitely more accurate to the series, but lego has again managed to capture the essence of the daleks even if they didn't capture the exact look of them. And the printing is a big plus.

thanks for the really quick turnaround with the review. (and I agree, the stories are getting a little silly these days - fortunately in the states BBC America is replaying Tom Baker stories in the off hours).

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By in Sweden,

I've only ever seen a couple of episodes of Doctor Who, but I always loved the look of the Tardis and this set looks quite lovely. Might not be enough to warrant a purchase (it'll depend on how much it'll be here) but it's definitely going to be on my radar. Never imagined I'd ever think of Daleks as being cute but the LEGO ones are quite adorable.

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By in United States,

Looks like a prime parts pack! ;)

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By in United States,

The Angel is an spectacular minifigure, get two and you have a Gothic pair of statues for the entrance of a Museum.

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By in Canada,

Having bought a few of the Character Building brand Daleks a couple of years ago these Daleks are a huge disappointment.

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By in United States,

Nice review! I've never seen an episode of Doctor Who, but I'll get this set simply because it looks so cool.

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By in United Kingdom,

I really, really, really dislike DW. Always have. But this set is great. Will I buy it? Hm...

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review and set, I got one of the Character Building Tardis sets many years ago and have been waiting ever since to get an official LEGO set, I need to get a few of these now :)

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By in United States,

I believe the purple coat seen on the Twelfth Doctor is actually what he was wearing when he regenerated from the Eleventh. Seeing as how the Dimensions pack comes with the Doctor is he's usual garb, I am glad to see the provided us with something else.

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By in United Kingdom,

oooh, nice nice!
Thanks for the review.

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By in United States,

The printing on the 11th Doctor's legs looks really bad if it's intended to be a continuation of the jacket. Otherwise, this looks like a nice set for fans of the series.

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By in United States,

LOVING this, I am not really a fan of the series but I would watch it whenever my sister was watching so I understand the appeal. I may need to get this for her...or myself.

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By in United Kingdom,

Amazing! Thanks Huw!!! :-)

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By in United States,

If you enjoyed reading this Internet-first exclusive review just days after the official set was even shown, now you know why Brickset cooperates with LEGO and doesn't post leaked photos.

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By in United States,

I don't like the looks of those LEGO Daleks, nor Capaldi's coat.

But it's very well made, and the Weeping Angel looks terrifying!

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By in United Kingdom,

Ouch £50!

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By in Canada,

Just saying... Those Daleks were used heavily in the "Asylum of the Daleks" episode, and were one of the more common colours in the premiere arc the last two weeks.

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By in United Kingdom,

Exclusive to Lego stores/online or all major retailers?

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By in Australia,

Thank you for changing the position of the Weeping Angel, between photos, so in the second shot, SHE'S LOOKING STRAIGHT AT YOU.

That wasn't a meta-moment of absolute terror, at all.

And no, I didn't blink.

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By in United States,

I'm not a Dr. Who fan, but this is a pretty cool set. You guys have seen how Dr. WHo plays out in Dimensions right?

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By in United States,

Well dang. 2x these or Final Flight of Destiny's Bounty? Decisions have never hurt so much.

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By in United States,

The decision to put the Twelfth Doctor in his regeneration outfit is a strange one. He only wore those clothes for about ten minutes of screen time, so the play options are really limited. You can't even put on the Eleventh Doctor's head and turn him into his Series 7B version, because it lacks the bow tie.

They should have put the bow tie on the purple coated body (it wouldn't match the episode, but neither does Eleven's brown tweed which they did use in this set). Or even better: they could have put Twelve in his current outfit with the coat and jumper, and given him the hood piece from the Wyldstyle figure.

As it stands, it bothers me that I have to pay for both this set and the Dimensions set if I want a "normal" Twelfth Doctor playset.

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By in Australia,

I love Doctor Who and this is a definite purchase. Thank you for the great review ! (Hoping for a David Tennant Doctor soon :) )

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By in United Kingdom,

The New Paradigm Daleks (the colourful ones from 2010) only made a few more Daleks in their casings. They decided to bring back the time war armour for unknown reasons. Also, the white door panel is accurate. Nice review, you've made up my mind even more than it was! This set really is a definite purchase for me, and I hope there are many more sets as well!

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By in Australia,

Thanks for the review Huw, I'll be picking possibly 2 of these when they make it to Australia. There are a couple of minor inaccuracies with the police box, mainly that their should be 4 panels instead of three on the outside, although due to scale this can be forgiven. Although I am a bit disappointed with bits of the minifigures. While Matt Smith is fantastic, his hair is off, the fringe should be on the right side of his head, not his left. I'm also not really sure why they decided to make a new hair piece for Capaldi, as there are already hair pieces out there that could have done the job. Clara's face is also a bit, well for lack of a better word, meh and really doesn't look too much like her. I know I sound negative and contradicting of the fact that I love this set, but I just feel these minor things could have been fixed.

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By in United States,

Awesome review, Huw! I love the variety of parts and the fact that there are no stickers. Great minifigs, too. I only want this for Christmas!

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By in United Kingdom,

Great review Huw.. I too am not a huge Dr Who fan but this is a really well done set. I've come to expect this of the Ideas sets of which great care and attention is taken. Great quality packaging and some really nice new parts which I'm sure will go down well. The fact that there are no stickers is something i'm very pleased about and hope will continue with future sets. I for sure with be parting with my cash for a few of these sets for parts alone.. ??

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By in United Kingdom,

The Lego Ideas get better and better, my first thoughts were much the same as an ABS obsessed gollum, but on quiet reflection I'm just going to have to put up that bigger shelf.

One thing upsets about Lego Ideas - I was just going through my support list and there are dozens of fantastic ideas like Robby the Robot, an entire Saturn V Apollo spectrum, those wonderful bonsai trees, some out of this world cars and that LEGO reproduction of Hopper's Nighthawks which was simply the best idea I've seen.

I'm looking forward to the Tardis (I've already put together an Amy and Rory Pond and a River Song - anyone want an extra Peter Capaldi there will be one going cheap soon.) but a new release always makes me sad when such brilliant ideas never make it to 1,000, let alone 10,000.

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By in United States,

i know capaldi might be the last doctor but if they put river song in another lego set it will be cool

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By in United Kingdom,

I'm not sure I could have one of those angel minifigures in my house....by far the scariest monster on dw...I was hoping they'd be kinda cute in lego....nope...still terrifying! Lol

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By in United Kingdom,

Hopefully this will just be the start of the DW sets.

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By in United States,

If this was David Tenant and one of his companions I'd buy it in a heartbeat. Sadly I'm not a fan of Matt Smith or Peter Capaldi's doctors.

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By in United Kingdom,

Got to agree with a few others on here. I despise Dr Who - to me it's just the absolute hammiest thing on earth, though I always thought the Tardis and Daleks were pretty cool - but having seen the set, I love it and may have to buy myself one...

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By in United States,

The real news story for me here is NO STICKERS. Great for fans of the show or set, but I really hope this is a sign of things to come for AFOL focused or "premium" sets.

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By in United Kingdom,

I'll have to buy this one. I tried to put it off, but no, it'll be mine. :)

Haven't watched any of the episodes, but the set looks great, and when I need extra Earth Blue, it'll come in handy. :)

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By in Russian Federation,

"For some reason the 12th Doctor doesn't have an alternate expression."
His hairpiece doesn't look long enough, so an alternative face would probably be seen from underneath his hair, which wouldn't be cool?

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By in Australia,

Great Review Huw! How did I miss this? Do you have a shot of the back of the Tardis? is the "window" piece reversed with Dark blue print?

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By in United Kingdom,

^ No

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By in United States,

Don't know if anybody pointed this out, but this is The Time of The Doctor Tardis. So Capaldi is post-regeneration, that's why he has the purple coat. And also why there are Daleks and Weeping Angels, both were present at Trenzalore.

Then you also get Smith's classic look, because we'll get Capaldi's classic look in the dimensions pack.

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By in Canada,

A great rendition in Lego, simply gorgeous. I don't really mind whether it is exactly the right doctor and with the right attire. Definitely worth the wait.

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By in United Kingdom,

Huw, daleks are never, ever cute!
I might need to build these whilst hiding behind the settee!

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By in United States,

The Dalek differs between this set and the Dimension set because the Dimension Dalek is built 3 different ways and they needed the extra pieces to do that, thus making it look different (and in my opinion, not as good as the set's Daleks).

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By in United States,

I like the Daleks from the LEGO DIMENSIONS booster set.

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By in Australia,

I want this set even more now!

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By in United Kingdom,

Anyone notice that the Tardis doors don't actually open?! :(

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By in United Kingdom,

Wonderful review. As a life-long fan of both LEGO and Doctor Who, this set is long overdue and an absolute must-buy. The Daleks in particular are very cleverly done. I hope this isn't the last we see of the Doctor in brick form...

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By in United States,

^derfel

Yeah I agree it's very sad, but what's even sadder is that so many sets win that struggle and gather 10,000 supporters, only to be shot down at the review stage.

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