When it comes to high-end collectibles, nobody in the world does it quite like Weta. The New Zealand-based company is famous for its film-inspired replicas for good reason; it’s the same company that has done special effects for some of the most amazing films of the last few years including Lord of the Rings, District 9, Avatar, and more! In many cases the replicas and miniatures they make are modeled directly off of the real props and designs for the films. But that’s not all they do. Weta also makes amazing collectibles from other licenses as well, one of which we’ll be taking a look at today. Straight from New Zealand by way of England is the Industrial Welding Mask from Doctor Who, part of a line of innovative and accurate helmets from the show.
If you’re not familiar with (or regularly watching) Doctor Who, you must be living in a cave. The show started way back in 1963, and has seen various incarnations over the years. The most recent run began in 2005 starring Christopher Eccleston, but really hit its stride once David Tennant took over the following year. With the Tenth Doctor we got many amazing episodes with some truly disturbing and scary alien menaces. So it was in the third season episode titled “42.” After receiving the distress call of the S.S. Pentallian, the Doctor boards it with the TARDIS only to be separated from it immediately upon exiting thanks to the intense heat from a nearby star. It’s a literal race against the clock (with 42 minutes until disintegration), complicated by a creepy possessed crewman named Korwin. Stalking the ship and murdering anyone he comes across, he wears a standard red Industrial Welding Helmet, its ominous blank aspect all the more scary!
Weta’s miniature replica of the helmet comes to you in a very sleek box. Photos of the replica Welding Mask really pop over the black background and swirling red and yellow Doctor Who timestream patterns. The front panel is simple and sophisticated with a full frontal view of the helmet, its name in the bottom left corner, and logos for the show and Weta. One side panel shows the Mask’s profile, while the other has a close-up shot along with a description of the episode. The back of the box has an extreme close-up photo and rearview shot with a history of Doctor Who.
The Industrial Welding Mask is heavy duty protection for the most dangerous jobs. Instead of covering just the face it wraps around most of the head, only leaving a small part in the back exposed. The front is equipped with twin atmospheric filters on either side of the mouth area, and a heavy duty heat-shielded visor (with adjustment knob on the left). Add to that a bright fire engine red and black paint scheme and you’ve got a striking sci-fi prop.
Weta’s miniature Industrial Welding Mask is a fantastic looking prop replica. Just taking it out of the box you can tell how much care and attention went into it. First off, it’s incredibly heavy for its size. At only three inches tall the cast metal mask by itself weighs nearly two pounds! Just like with Weta’s other miniature helmet lines (Lords of the Rings, etc.) the Doctor Who products come with model busts on which to mount them. The stand is about 6 ½ inches tall, a simple male head and torso made of black polystone on a hexagonal base. The bottom of the base has a bunch of information, a signature by sculptor David Tremont, and its individual number (out of 500). The mask fits snugly on the bust, and there’s built in padding so the top of the head doesn’t get scratched.
The Welding Mask has a tremendous sculpt that really brings the original prop to life. All of the edges and trim are sharply defined, and it really looks like something you could put on and wear... if only it was a bit bigger. The technological details in the ventilators and around the visor are crisp, and the level of attention extends all the way to the (non-functioning) adjustor on the head strap! To go along with the excellent sculpt is a paint job that looks like it came right out of the episode. The striking red color is recreated perfectly with all of the blemishes and hue variations you’d expect from an industrial tool. The deep shiny black just makes the Mask look all the more ominous, and accents in bright silver appear on the front visor and a bit of white on the rear strap.
If you’re a Doctor Who fan, the miniature helmet series by Weta is a great line of collectibles you may have missed out on. They’re stylish and unique, and the Industrial Welding Mask looks great in a collection or just displayed on its own. It’s a cool mix of low and high-tech, and it’ll certainly be a conversation starter. The Mask is currently available on the Weta site for the MRSP of $49, an excellent deal considering how substantial it is and how great it looks.