Today is the day the world gets its first review of the QMx Artisan Master Series 11th Doctor’s Sonic Screwdriver, as made by Nick Robatto. Many have regarded this replica As something that has simply fell off the face of the planet. Most people who have interest in this replica have only seen the product photos which were advertised on the QMx website. Finally, after many years of this elusive replica being shrouded in mystery, I am finally here to save the day and review it.
This replica sonic screwdriver was sold by QMx in 2010 as a part of their “Artisan Master Series.” This series was intended as a preliminary release of sonic screwdriver replicas, made by Nick Robatto, to reface QMx’s own eventual replicas. The sonics sold were the 11th Doctor’s and River Song’s. Both replicas were entirely handmade like the original props, unlike the CND’d replicas both Rubbertoe Replicas and the Celestial Toystore currently sell. Of course, fast forward to now and you know QMx’s plans never came to fruition. Mr. Robatto created 25 11th Doctor sonics, 15 River Song sonics, and that is where they left it. A quote from Mr. Robatto regarding this specific replica can be found on his website:
“These were made entirely by my own fair hand and this was the first time a replica had been offered of the 11th Doctor’s Sonic…The Sonics I made for QMX are unique in the world of prop collectables, in that they were all entirely made by hand by the maker of the original prop. They have my blood (quite literally at one point, but that’s another story), sweat and tears poured into them and hopefully they will hold their value as unique and rare pieces of Doctor Who history.”
These specific replicas are modeled after the series 5-6 props, with the exception of larger rivets which are present on the series 7b-8 props. In fact, this replica is strikingly similar to the Celestial Toystore’s original prototype, down to the fat leather section. As previously stated, this replica is entirely handmade by the original prop maker, Nick Robatto, and it is comprised of about 150 separate pieces. Each sonic took approximately two weeks to fully fabricate and assemble. In addition, these replicas were constructed exactly like the original four series 5 props. Of course, this means that these replicas should not be flicked or treated like Matt Smith treated the props, as they were consistently broken by him and in need of repair. The original sonics were not made to be flicked, and this replica is not either.
Each replica is delivered inside a very large, beautifully finished wooden box. The River Song sonic screwdriver replicas came with the same boxes. Due to their massive size, the previous owner of my River Song sonic replica thew his away. Luckily the previous owner of this sonic recognized its value and did not! The box itself is beautifully finished and looks like something you would use to display the sonic on top of. You probably wouldn’t mind having it sitting on your coffee table, even. The series 5 “DW” Doctor Who logo is stamped on top of the lid.
This replica is not for play. It should be regarded as an awesome display piece, and nothing more. This point is supported by the gorgeous light up display stand contained within the mega-box. This intricately designed, custom made, octagonal display stand has three metal plaques on the front sides. The leftmost plaque contains the edition number, in this case number 10 of 25, as well as basic licensing information. The middle plaque confirms, for any drooling fans, that this is in fact the 11th Doctor’s sonic screwdriver you’re looking at. Finally, the rightmost plaque proudly boasts Nick Robatto’s signature, and states that this is a custom made piece personally made by the original prop maker. This stand compliments the sonic screwdriver perfectly, with a resin base that matches the sonic’s handle, illuminated green top which mimics the sonic’s emitter lens, and copper claws to hold the replica, which match the sonic’s body.
Although the box and display stand are exquisite, the replica itself remains a story of its own. It truly is a collector’s dream. Rubbertoe Replicas advertises the fact their sonics are assembled by the prop maker. The Celestial Toystore boasts about their screen accuracy and beautifully swirled lenses. Regardless, this is the only replica that is truly handmade, not just assembled, by the prop maker himself. Due to the replica’s accurate construction, it is limited as a display piece. As such, it looks phenomenal. The core sleeves are brilliantly swirled on each side. There are absolutely no gaps in the cage section, and each aluminum section stands straight, both issues on some CNC’d replicas. The tarnished copper is gorgeous, and the emitter lens is bright and glossy. When it comes to appearance, this piece ticks almost every box.
Almost? Well, it would be unfair of me not to speak upon the accuracy of this replica. Before I do so, I must make a few simple and understandable comments. Nick Robatto is not at fault for any inaccuracies in this replica. Mr. Robatto makes his living as a prop maker, less so as a replicator. He made the original prop in about a week, and then three more in the immediate two weeks. He never had the intention of replicating these for commercial sale. He kept little to no documentation of how he made these props, and almost no measurements. In fact, all of the four original props significantly differed in measurements and appearance. He is the original prop maker, but it is unreasonable to expect this replica to be entirely screen accurate. As such, there are some inaccuracies. Most notably, the rivets are noticeably larger than the rivets on the series 5 props, as well as the leather handle being quite fat in comparison to the props. The claw screws are mounted left-to-right, while they were right-to-left on the props.In addition, The claw brackets are rounded instead of being hexed off, and the end cap is held on using a pin instead of a magnet. There are a few more inaccuracies, but they are not worth mentioning.
In my opinion, none of these inaccuracies detract from the value of this replica. In the end, this remains an amazing, unique replica, which to the untrained eye is perfect. I am incredibly proud and truly shocked to own this replica, as well as very delighted to share it with the readers of this review. Please enjoy the gallery of attached photos, and feel free to contact us with any questions.