There’s something comforting about having a new classic Doctor Who action figure set after the news that the modern figures are changing to 3 ¾” scale. Even though this set was planned long before the demise of the 5-inch modern figures was announced, I still find it something of a reassurance that this line will go on. While I’ve still got a couple of past Classic Who sets to pick up, I had to buy this one right away simply because “Pyramids of Mars” is one of my all-time favorites. Not only is it Tom Baker and Liz Sladen at their best, but it has a great story, superb acting, and it even looks fantastic. Even in the dark days when most of my Who collection consisted of scratchy recordings off of PBS, I always had an official release of this one on VHS or DVD.
This set comes in a nice window box with a printed backdrop inside. It uses the new classic-style box deco, although the “Doctor Who” logo looks different from the ones on the last classic sets I picked up. The window shows off the figures very well and the back panel of the box has a blurb about the story. Oddly enough, the set is called “’Pyramid of Mars,’ Mars Collectors Set.” At first, I thought it could be to distinguish it from some “Pyramid of Mars” figures that were released a while ago in the UK, but those were released in a “Fourth Doctor Adventure Set.” More likely, it’s part of the double-dipping shenanigans that I’ll touch on later. The set includes an unmasked Sutekh the Osiran and his two Guardian Mummies. Let’s bust them out and see what we’ve got!
Let’s start with Sutekh. If you aren’t familiar with the story, Sutekh is a very powerful and very evil alien being kept prisoner in a kind of stasis cell on Mars. He spends the bulk of the episode trapped in a throne with a mask on. It’s not until the end when he’s free that he reveals his “Jackal” face. [I should note here that he’s freed because a possessed Egyptologist and his force of robot mummies build an interplanetary missile and use it to destroy the power source of the prison on Mars. God, I love Doctor Who! –FF] Here’s where those shenanigans come in. It’s probably a safe bet that most collectors were hoping to get the more iconic version of this figure with the mask on. When the set was first revealed, the optimistic speculation was that he would have interchangeable heads. Alas, this is a case where CO is going to force us to double dip by undoubtedly releasing a masked Sutekh later on. And naturally they release the less desirable one first so collectors will buy it just in case it’s the only one released. If this were any other line of figures, this sort of thing would enrage me, but I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep the Classic Who line afloat. If that means I’m going to buy another masked version of Sutekh later on down the road, then so I shall!
As for Sutekh himself, he’s a relatively simple sculpt but he suits the character’s on screen appearance quite well. His sculpted robes are nearly all black with a little red piping and red gloves. His head looks a lot better than the prop that was used for the actual character in the show and the glowy paint used on his eyes is pretty effective. Seriously, when I first saw them I thought there was some light piping going on.
Sutekh looks like he has pretty good articulation in his legs, but it doesn’t really matter because his sculpted robes renders all articulation below the waist useless. The arms, on the other hand actually have ball jointed shoulders, hinged elbows, and swivels at the biceps and wrists. Sutekh can also swivel at the neck and waist. All in all, not bad. Sutekh doesn’t need to be able to do acrobatics.
And then you have the Guardian Mummy Robots! Hurray for Classic Who army builders, especially when you can get two in one box. The regular flavor Mummy Servo Robot was originally released as a single carded figure. The ones in this box are the special variety and identified as such by their snazzy gold wrappings. I was expecting these guys to be straight repaints of the original Mummy figures, but there’s actually some re-sculpting going on here. All of the gold bandages are newly sculpted onto the old body making them stand out pretty nicely, and they still have the control pyramids on their backs.
The Guardian Mummies feature the same articulation as the old one. The arms rotate at the shoulders; have hinged elbows, and swivels at the wrists. The legs rotate and have lateral movement at the hips, hinges at the knees, and swivels at the ankles and thighs. He can also swivel at the waist. For a lumbering mummy robot, the articulation is pretty good.
The “Pyramids of Mars” set retailed for $29.99 at WHONA, my favorite Doctor Who e-tailer. It’s not a bad price for three figures, but then this set may really divide collectors who are waiting for the masked Sutekh. More than anything else, I’m anxious to see what or who he will be released with, since CO rarely releases single carded Classic Who figures anymore. Personally, I’d be fine if they released him with two regular Servo Mummies, because having the Guardians outnumber the Servos in my collection, well that just seems wrong.