The Great Tom Bake-Over

“The moment has been prepared for…”

About 40 years ago, I got Tom for Christmas. Doctor Who was huge on TV and Denys Fisher Toys had just released a small range of dolls tied in with the series. He was well played with throughout my childhood; somewhere along the line, he lost his original shoes, his tie and his sonic screwdriver, and his scarf was enthusiastically chewed by our cat Whisky (now long gone), for whom it held a strange fascination.

I held on to Tom for a lot of years (in fact, I held on to a lot of my childhood toys, but that’s another story) and when I moved into my own house, he came with me and sat on a shelf, gathering dust and looking all forlorn. I recently got him decided that I needed to be doing better by Tom; he’d done his duty as a toy and he deserved to be honoured in his retirement. I vowed that I was going to give him a make-over.

I didn’t think that Tom’s clothes would survive a washing machine, so I hand-washed them in a tub of warm water, washing powder and a small amount of stain remover. They were then rinsed in clean cold water and left to dry. Somewhere along the line, Tom’s ‘shirt’ had acquired some felt-tip pen stains, so I treated these with a tiny amount of neat bleach on the end of a cotton bud. I wasn’t sure if this would work, but once the bleach has soaked in, it came up a treat!

Tom’s hair had been gradually scraped away by years of taking his hat on and off, and other vigorous adventures. I decided to recolour his entire hair using model paint and a fine brush. The colour wasn’t an exact match, but it was, if anything, more accurate. I’m aware that by doing things like this, I’m reducing Tom’s collectability as a toy, but I don’t give a stuff because I’m never going to sell him anyway.

I gave Tom’s face and body a quick clean with wet wipes. His chest showed signs of all those childhood battles with my Denys Fisher Cyberman and my Palitoy Talking Dalek. I cleaned his hat and his boots (not the originals – I think they might be from a Planet of the Apes doll) with a wet wipe also. Finally, I ironed Tom’s clothes and my wife found me a lovely piece of burgundy ribbon that was just perfect for his tie.

The new Tom is complete – and he looks absolutely splendid! Maybe when I’ve got a little time I’ll try and recreate his sonic screwdriver, or maybe one day someone online with a 3D printer will start selling them, but it’s not vital. Tom can now enjoy his retirement all clean and tidy – and I’ll never neglect him again!

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