Yes, today we are going to be reviewing the epic ‘Priory Collectors’ Set’ from Underground Toys (manufactured by Character Options Ltd.).
Doctor Who aficionado’s won’t need to be told that this action figure collection is based on the excellent ‘Pyramids of Mars‘ serial, which featured the fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith. It was produced when the show was at the height of its Gothic era, under the excellent charge of Philip Hinchcliffe.
This is a large set, which contains not only Sutekh and Marcus Scarman but also the space-time tunnel sarcophagus, the Osirian war rocket, as well as canopic jars and a co-ordinate selector accessories!
Unlike the usual classic series collection action figures the packaging on the ‘Priory Set’ is a little different as there is no ‘window’ on the box at all.. ..with the front instead consisting of pictures of the actual action figures and a great diorama of the priory interior by Philip Lawrence and Jim Sangster (which is obviously not included). The cover also shows you what the Osirian war rocket looks like and how Sutekh’s eyes light up.. ..cool!
The only problem with this is that you cannot see what the figures look like when buying the set.. ..well never fear because we will get to that in a minute.
But before we get on with the action figure review..
What’s the story about?
The TARDIS is forced out of its flight path and lands in a Priory in England owned by the Scarman family in 1911. Its absent owner, Professor Marcus Scarman an Egyptologist has apparently given control of the priory to a mysterious Egyptian, Ibrahim Namin.
The Doctor and Sarah Jane meet Laurence Scarman, the brother of Marcus, who is concerned about his brother. He is also an amateur scientist and using his Marconiscope the Doctor intercepts a radio signal from Mars which instructs the listener to “beware Sutekh”.
Eventually Scarman arrives through a space-time tunnel in the form of a sarcophagus and promptly kills Namin, as Sutekh “needs no other”. Scarman is under the control of Sutekh, who he inadvertently encountered when digging in Egypt. The Doctor explains that Sutekh is the last of a powerful alien race called the Osirians and was pursued across the galaxy by his brother Horus, and was finally defeated on Earth, which he is now eager to destroy. Scarman is ordered to construct a war rocket that will release Sutekh from his prison on Mars.
Without ruining the rest of the plot completely – you can imagine/or already know, that the Doctor saves the day and Sutekh is once again banished (don’t worry I will do a full review of the actual serial sometime soon).
The action figures
As previously mentioned, this is a large set. The real disadvantage of not having a ‘windowed’ box is that you cannot see if you have any pieces missing or if the paint work on your figures is bad before you buy (although you can never see all around the figures usually anyway). But at least you now know what is inside the box!
As you can see (above) the triangular Osiran war rocket comes flat packed and requires assembly.. ..it is only made out of cardboard but the overall effect looks rather good. There are some small circular Velcro fasteners included to hold the ‘door’ open at the front.
Moving onto the main event, I want to discuss the Marcus Scarman figure.. ..I am somewhat amazed that we actually have an action figure of him in the first place – he only appeared in this one serial!
Anyway, very happy that we do have him and also to report that he is an excellent sculpt and a fantastic addition to the ‘repertoire‘ of Doctor Who action figures. Although the body sculpt in not new (it was previously used for the Scaroth action figure) it suits the character very well. However, the back details of the coat have been painted on and not moulded, which whilst being OK is not great.. ..maybe a little too much to expect a complete new remould.
The articulation is very good with the head and limbs all moving pretty freely.
In addition if you also own the ‘Mars’ Collectors Set‘, you can replace Scarmans head with the Jackal head, which looks really cool!
On to Sutekh.. ..the figure has the same body as was seen before in the ‘Mars’ Collectors’ Set’, which is sculpted and painted very well.
However this time he comes with the helmet head, which even includes really cool light up eyes (powered by two LR41 batteries hidden behind a flap)!
The sculpt of the head is great, with lots of excellent detail and paint work, especially on the Cobra and eye surrounds.
Overall articulation of Sutekh is limited due to the size of his head and the gown that he wears. So it is only the arms that have any real movement, and then only slightly.
But I think this matters not, he looks so cool, especially in the dark with his eyes lit up.. ..”I am the true servant of Sutekh!”.
The final main piece in the set is the sarcophagus which is also really cool. It is a great sculpt and looks just like the one in the serial.. ..the paint work is also really well done.
But the feature that really ‘makes’ this piece is the lenticular space-time tunnel graphical insert, visible when you open it up. This is a great idea and really brings the piece ‘to life’
Finally you also get the two canopic jars, featuring the female and baboon heads and the co-ordinate selector, which although cool to have, is little more than a silver tube (exactly as it was in the serial).
This is one of the best Doctor Who action figure sets that has been produced so far and it is still available to buy new (at the time of writing) from Forbidden Planet. If you are remotely into Doctor Who and action figures, you should really get this set.. ..its great!
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