REVIEW – Priory Collectors’ Set, (Underground Toys, 2013 )

OK, this is the big one, the action figure collection that a lot of Doctor Who fans had been waiting a long time for, based on one of the best Doctor Who serials ever made.

Yes, today we are going to be reviewing the epic ‘Priory Collectors’ Set’ from Underground Toys (manufactured by Character Options Ltd.).

Priory Set BoxDoctor 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..!

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.

Namin worships an Egyptian god called ‘Sutekh’ and controls animated mummies, which are in reality service robots.

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).

Anyway, back to the figures.

Priory Set Contents

The full contents of the ‘Priory Set’

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.. 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.

Priory Set Full Contents   Priory Full Set

Scarman Face

Excellent detailed sculpt of Scarman

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 molded, which whilst being OK is not great.. ..maybe a little too much to expect a complete new remold.

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!

Sutekh Eyes

The light up eyes on Sutekh, cool eh!

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’


The sarcophagus with lenticular interior and the canopic jar accessories

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).

Coordinate selector

Retrollection recommendation?

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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REVIEW – Mangus Greel & Mr. Sin (Character Options, 2009)

In this first of my Doctor who action figure reviews we are going to be looking at a rather special pack that was released in 2009 by Character Options. Why was it special? Well, a lot of action figure packs come with cool accessories, but this one has an entire character complimenting the main figure!

Mangus Greel CardedThat’s right, we are going to be taking a look at ‘Mangus Greel and Mr. Sin‘ from the first wave of the Character Options Doctor Who classics series.

They are from the ‘Talons of Weng Chiang‘ serial featuring the fourth Doctor, produced when the show was at the height of its Gothic era, under the excellent skills of Philip Hinchcliffe. The story was what some would say the BBC are best at, a period drama, with a brilliant ‘nod’ to the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

It is fantastic that Character Options have included Mr. Sin with Greel and I have to say that both figures are excellently done. The molds are great and the paint work is also really top notch.

So what is the story about?

The Doctor and Leela arrive in Victorian London where a number of young women are disappearing, mostly after taking place in a Chinese magic show. The magic show is being conducted by Chang who is in the service of Magnus Greel, a despot from the 51st century who had fled from the authorities in a time cabinet, now masquerading as the Chinese god Weng-Chiang. Chang is helped by the diminutive Mr. Sin who acts as a ventriloquists dummy on stage but is in fact a murderous robot operated by the cerebral cortex of a pig.

Greel’s time travel technology is based on ‘zygma energy’ which is unstable and has eroded his own DNA leaving him severely disfigured. As such he is using the life force from the young women to keep him Mr Sin Knifealive. Eventually Leela is captured by Greel and the Doctor and his new friend Professor Lightfoot (acting as a Dr. Watson type character) come to the rescue.

Anyway, back to the figures.. ..they come in a domed blister pack, which also contains and arm and ‘disintegrator gun’ to the K1 robot. If you collect all eight action figures in this season you have all the parts you need to make a 18 cm tall action figure of the robot. You also get the mask that Greel wears for most of the serial and Mr. Sins knife – which is minuscule and very easy to loose.

Magnus Greel and Mr Sin

Detail of the action figures

Articulation of Greel is somewhat limited, with little arm movement and no real leg movement to speak of.. ..mainly due to the molding of the robes he is wearing. He also falls down quite easily, which is slightly irritating. However, the detailing on his costume, hands, mask and face is excellent.

Mangus Greel Mask Close  Mangus Greel Close

Articulation of Mr. Sin is better than Greel – the arms move a lot more and there is some slight movement to the knee joint.. ..however, again this is limited somewhat by his robe. Again the detailing is excellent, he looks like he has just jumped out of the TV!

So, all in all, a really good action figure pack.

Mr Sin Close

Retollection recommendation?

Yes I would certainly recommend picking these two fellows up; they were really good value when they first came out at c. £10. They are getting slightly harder to find now and will set you back a little more, but they are certainly not rare.

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REVIEW – Frank (NECA, 2004)

For my first action figure review I though I would dive straight in with one of the goriest I have in my collection

We are going to be looking at uncle ‘Frank‘ from ‘Hellraiser‘, released in 2004 by NECA.

Frank‘ is a very recent addition to my collection, which I managed to find at a reasonable price on the bay. He is getting quite hard to find now… …I got mine from a seller in Indianapolis and even with shipping and import taxes to the UK he was still much cheaper than those I have found for sale here in ‘Blighty‘.

Frank MIB

Those of you familiar with the Hellraiser universe cannot fail to remember ‘good old uncle Frank‘, he was the brother of Larry Cotton, lover of Julia Cotton and Uncle to the heroine/protagonist Kirsty. Frank sought untold pleasures by solving the Lament Configuration, but was instead ripped apart by the Cenobites. The NECA action figure is based on his partially regenerated persona (excellently portrayed by Oliver Smith in the films) and includes his flick knife and a rat… …those ‘in the know’ will remember the scene well.

This is what NECA have to say about him on the back of the card – ‘Only the most degraded of minds could imagine the depths that Frank sank to in his search for experience. It was not enough to take the innocence from Kirsty or the love from Julia. But it was his meeting with the Cenobites that proved too much, even for him. An audience that saw his senses taken beyond the limits and his skin taken as their trophy‘.. ..pretty cool, huh!

So what’s the figure like? In a word ‘awesome’, the sculpt is great with loads of detail… …bones, veins, and muscle all on gruesome display. The paint work on the figure is fantastic, with blood all over the place and a really glossy sheen in places.. ..the whole effect is a fantastic recreation of the film version. Not a figure for the faint hearted or for kids (there is an 18+ warning on the box).

Although I tend to keep my figures MIB, I do know from other reviews that articulation of the figure is OK, but rather limited from the shoulders down.

Frank Figure

The ‘Frank’ action figure and accessories

Apart from the knife and the rat (which are minuscule and very easy to lose) you also get two sides of ‘Leviathan‘ and its associated lighting unit. The figure is from series three of the NECA Hellraiser range and if you collect all four figures you have all the pieces to construct a large light up model of ‘Leviathan’, which includes a small diorama stand.

Other figures in NECA series three range included ‘The Bloodline Twins‘, ‘Female‘ and ‘Hell on Earth Pinhead‘. The figures are part of NECA’s ‘Reel Toys’ range.

Retrollection recommendation?

Would I recommend ‘Frank‘.. ..oh yeah, but keep him away from you those you love.. ..not one to be trusted!

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