The Classic side of Character Options’ Doctor Who line has slowed down a bit, and now it’s all but confirmed that the line will likely end with this year. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping for something big for the 50th Anniversary and the news that the line was being shit-canned was not that something I was hoping for. Nonetheless, there have still been some important releases this year and a few more to come. Certainly one of the biggest holes in the collection for many fans has been Ace, spunky young companion to the 7th Doctor. To me, Ace’s relationship with The Doctor was very similar to Leela’s. Both ladies were prone to violence and despite The Doctor’s frequent cries of “No more Janus Thorn/Nitro-9,” Ace and Leela allowed The Doctor to remain conveniently detached from the violence that sometimes needed to be done. Well, we’ve already had several figures based on Leela, and now it’s time for Ace to get her due. And the cool thing is that this version of Ace is like several figures in one!
The packaging is fairly similar to the style used for Peri, Leela, and some of the other recent companions and two-packs. Ace was on the show in the 80’s, but the packaging still has a very Classic Who feel to it, and I’m talking more like the 70’s. Technically, Ace was billed as a 2013 San Diego Comic Con Exclusive, but as is often the case with these releases, there’s nothing on the package to signify that and she was readily available for purchase at various retailers after the Con. She comes in a sealed blister pack with a printed insert. The front shows off the figure wearing her jacket and with all her accessories and extra limbs arranged around her. The reverse side of the insert has a little backstory. Obviously, this package is not collector friendly and you’re going to need a trusty pair of scissors to get Ace out of there.
So, let’s start with Ace as she comes out of the package and wearing her signature leather jacket… the very reason this figure could not have been an easy one to make. Besides having her adopted name beautifully painted on the back, the figure recreates her habit of collecting patches, pins, and badges and affixing them to her jacket. CO did an incredible job reproducing them in all their tiny colorful glory. The jacket itself is actually a vest with the sleeves sculpted onto her arms. We’ve seen this done plenty of times by the likes of Hasbro and Mattel, but in this case it actually serves a purpose in making the jacket removable… but more on that in a little bit. The jacket remained constant through various other little tweaks and bobs to Ace’s ensemble so it’s awesome that they were able to get it this right. Besides the jacket, you get a soft plastic skirt, black matte painted leggings, and glossy black boots.
The likeness is serviceable but not exceptional. Ace’s portrait is not one of CO’s slam dunks, as they have done some really great head sculpts over the years, but she’s definitely not bad either and the likeness definitely looks better in person. I’m not sure that Sophie Aldred was all that easy to sculpt, so I’m willing to give some leeway here. They definitely got her cheeks right and I like that her little pony tail is a separate sculpted piece. She is definitely a lot better than the Jo Grant and some of the Sarah Janes. Overall, I approve. Holy shit, I definitely used the word definitely way too many times in this paragraph!
To take off Ace’s jacket, you pull off her arms, remove the jacket vest and pop on her white sleeved arms. If you have the Jo Grant figure, than you’ve likely already done this sort of thing. It’s easy to do and it really does transform her into a mostly new figure. Again, the paintwork on her T-shirt is really phenomenal. It’s crisp and colorful. I really dig this option, but my guess is most collectors will want to display her with the jacket.
Ace’s articulation varies a bit depending on which arms you attach. With her jacketed arms on, she has ball joints in the shoulders, swivel cuts in the biceps and wrists, and hinges in the elbows. The t-shirt arms do away with the wrist swivels. The bicep swivels are there, but mine appear to be stuck and I’m not about to force it. The rest of the figure stays the same, with universal movement in the hips, swivels in the thighs, hinges in the knees, and a rotating head.
Accessories! Ace comes with some cool gear! For starters, she has a backpack that can be worn and actually store some of her stuff. The back comes off so you can fill it with her three silver canisters of Nitro-9 explosives and there’s a slot on the top to slide in her baseball bat. The baseball bat is a nice addition since The Doctor energized it using The Hand of Omega and turned it into a Dalek busting bludgeon. You also get an RPG launcher with detachable grenade. That’s a lot of cool stuff, especially for a Doctor Who figure!
Ace retails for around $20. It’s a fair amount of money to pay for a single 5” action figure, but it has been the going rate for the single figure exclusives in the past. Plus, Ace really is like two figures in one and comes with a lot of stuff, so I think the value is there. I may even get a second to display her with and without jacket. I was originally surprised that CO gave away so much with one figure, as they are the king of tweaks and repacks, but with the line ending, I’m guessing they wanted to get her all out in one shot.
Tomorrow, I’ll be back to check out a two-pack that I finally broke down and purchased to go with her.