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Review : Doctor Who Coal Hill School Collector Set Imperial Dalek & Ace


After two phased releases of Doctor Who Exclusives in 2020, B&M Stores and Character Options announced two additional sets heading into stores just before Christmas 2020. Moving slightly away from the current formats of the figure 3-packs or Dalek 2-packs, the sets would pair a figure with a Dalek in a story based set. We have the 12th Doctor and Davros from the Witches Familiar in one set, and Ace and an Imperial Dalek from Remembrance of the Daleks in set 2.



The Remembrance of the Daleks set uses the same dimensions packaging as those employed for the History of the Dalek sets. It uses the same design with a frame in dark blue and then box art in grey with a blue lined image of the TARDIS. The front of the box has a figure window, slanted to one side to allow the right panel to display the Dr Who logo and part of the TARDIS image. This does mean the set suffers from the same issue as the History of the Dalek sets with this cut in panel actually obscuring most of the figure on the left hand side of the box as we look at it.


The set name - Coal Hill School - sits under the window, subtitled with "Collector Figure Set" another panel in red sits to the right hand side and confirms the story as Remembrance of the Daleks and the year as 1988. There is actually no mention of the characters or figures included on the front of the package. We do however get a gold foil sticker confirming this as a limited edition.


On the back of the box is an image of both figures and a roundel that confirms the contents as Ace and an Imperial Dalek. To the side of this is the extensive background text we have seen on the Dalek and TARDIS sets. As per usual this give away the full story and plot of the story and includes a few grammatical issues.


"Remembrance of the Daleks (1988)


The TARDIS arrives in London in November 1963, where the Doctor and Ace discover that two rival factions of Daleks - one Imperial and one Renegade led by the Supreme Dalek are seeking the Hand of Omega, a powerful Time Lord Weapon that the First Doctor hid there previously.


The Doctor tries his best to keep everyone out of harm's way while the two Dalek factions battle each other for control of the Hand device. But, while investigating the school premises, Ace ends up in a pitched battle with an Imperial Dalek and dispatches it expertly by use of a British Army RPG. The Imperial Daleks eventually do capture the Omega Device, whereupon the Emperor Dalek reveals himself to be Davros. The Doctor cruelly allows Davros to use the Hand of Omega knowing full well it is already programmed to fly into Skaro's own sun which destroys the Dalek homeworld in the resulting supernova.



First transmitted in 1988 this adventure gives us a lot of new information about the Daleks and the Doctor and some glaring continuity errors. The Daleks feature new bodyshell designs not seen before. Due to a new production process in making them, the newer casings are easily identified due to their rather 'jelly mould' look . The Daleks also for the first time show is they can climb stairs! We also see a new version of Davros and a Special Weapons Dalek with a hugely powerful gun.


The Doctor is now revealed to be over 900 years old at this point and has become a much darker and manipulative character. We also see a personal calling card with the name Theta Sigma on it... a reference harking back to The Armageddon Factor (1979).


There are a few continuity errors as well with the gates of the Totters Lane scrapyard incorrectly spelled, the date of the Dalek Invasion of Earth incorrectly stated as the 21st Century and the Doctor mispronounces the name of the Planet Spiridon."


The set opens up and reveals the figures secured into a plastic inner tray by way of cotton ties that are best cut rather than trying to untie them. The Dalek sucker is also taped into place as is the middle of the RPG launcher.


The plastic tray is then sat in a cardboard backing section which i a wonderful recreation of the corridor of Coal Hill school including notice board and stairs leading off to the upper classrooms. It would make a brilliant backdrop for display - but needs work as the sides

3.5




Starting with our Imperial Dalek Drone first, and it uses the long established Classic Dalek body with an adjusted central segment with the wider solar panels. The dome lights are also changed to the flat gold coloured Imperial Dalek format. The Dalek base colour is an off white / cream with the gold application to the roundels, central panels, dome lights, sucker arm, gun and eye stalk. The paint is pretty neat with just a few coverage issues on the central panels.


There is also a visible seam line right at the front of the Dalek on my review version, this is most likely an assembly issue and not a widespread issue.


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Ace has a better paint decor than original. The coat decals are same but brighter on new figrue but that may be down to my older one fading with age.



Before this release, the Imperial Dalek had been released twice before - both in 2010. At the start of that year we had a a version in a 2-pack with the 7th Doctor. This Dalek had a longer eyestalk and smaller gun. The 2nd version released towards the end of 2010 in the 4-pack Remembrance of the Dalek set reduced the eyestalk length and then increased the width on the gun.


This new version employs a combination of both previous versions. The eye stalk looks new and was not used on either previous Imperial Dalek. It has a short length but a larger eye piece with a black centre and no blue dot as used on the older versions. The sucker arm is the same length as the late 2010 release but with a smaller sucker, and the gun is then taken from the early 2010 version.


The gold on the new Dalek is darker and arguably a little more screen accurate. There has also been a neat update to the central panel section which now has a texture to the sections in between the gold panels.



Ace in hand is a very impressive piece in terms of the wider Who line thanks to the varied decals applied to her famous bomber jacket. Underneath this is another decal on her white shirt, while the skirt and legs are then cast and left in black.


Ace 's head sculpt is a good likeness to Sophie Aldred and remains consistent with he rest of the line in terms of how it is painted and presented. This means your new figure wont look any different or superior to the figures you may have been collecting since 2005.



Ace is packed with her backpack in place, and this can be removed by sliding the two straps off her arms. This then reveals further décor on the back of the jacket with the word "Ace". I am pleased that they've left this in place as I was expecting it to be left off in lieu of her wearing the backpack in the packaging.



Ace, in this format, was first released in 2013 and this is a direct re-use of that 2013 figure. The head finish is much crisper and delivers a much better likeness on this version, and the decals look brighter and crisper - although I appreciate the older figure may have faded in the last 7-years or so.


Character have not included the baseball bat that came with the original Remembrance Ace and that slotted into the backpack.

4.0




It is unusual for us not to skip the accessories section on a B&M exclusive Doctor Who review as these are not usually included. Ace comes with the British Army RPG launcher she uses in Coal Hill School to dispatch one of the Imperial Daleks. This is the same weapon as released with Ace in 2013 and includes quite a bit of décor with a black main body, silver and brown grips, olive green missile with yellow trim and silver tip.


It fits into Ace's right hand and can be hoisted up and onto the shoulder. The left hand can then come across to support the weapon. Even with the length of it, Ace stands perfectly well with the weapon posed in this way.



The backpack we removed earlier is cast in black plastic with grey panels added on the front and top. The straps are a rubbery plastic that go over the arms well enough and the bag sits flat and naturally against Ace's back.


The only real issue is the lack of the baseball bat, which was a piece included on the first release and is designed to fit into the slot in the backpack. The slot remains, but is left empty.

4.0




The Dalek is articulated in the way we expect a Dalek to be articulated, starting with an articulated eye stalks that can look up within the confines of the slot in the doom. The sucker arm and gun sit on ball joints plugged into the body and can move on a full 360 degree range.


The dome is also articulated and can rotate a full 360 degrees for additional posing options. Each Dalek also runs on three castor wheels, two fixed and one swivelled so they can be pushed along the floor.



Ace features 14 points of articulation, and unlike many Doctor Who figures this includes the pivot shoulders that can extend out and away from the body rather than simply rotating in the torso.


Head : rotating neck plug

Body : rotating waist

Arms : rotating and pivoting shoulder joint, bicep swivel, single pin elbow, rotating wrist

Legs : T-Joint hip, thigh swivel, single pin knee


Ace can pose with the RPG launcher as we have seen with the bicep swivel allowing the left arm to swing across to support the pose. The head rotates fully and there is a similar rotation in the waist. The legs are held in a touch by the soft rubber skirt. Couple this with no ankle joints of any sort, Ace will be limited to a standing pose.

4.0




I do like this format of sets from Character bringing us a character and a monster from a specific episode. Ace is a welcome re-release for those who missed her or were not collecting back in 2013 and she is a brilliant likeness with a huge amount of detail on the jacket thanks to the decal application.


She is also at the top end of the articulation range for Doctor Who with the additional shoulder joint and comes with a couple of great accessories. I do feel slightly miffed that the baseball bat is missing.



The Imperial Dalek is one of the most sought after Classic Daleks and ripe for Army Building so I suspect we will see a huge influx of Ace figures on eBay. The Dalek improves on both previous versions with a darker gold finish, texture to the central panel and well proportioned eyestalk, gun and sucker.



As a set I think the only real improvement would be the box which still obscures most of the Dalek because of the angled window. I do think that too much detail is given in the synopsis text and this could work as a teaser for new fans about the story for them to go and discover themselves rather than laying out everything. And there remains grammatical issues within the writeup which makes it tough to read in places.


I score the Coal Hill School pack of Ace and the Imperial Dalek a total score of 4.0




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About Me : As a child of the 70's and 80's I grew up in a golden age for action figures and in my youth bought and sold myself through collections of Star Wars, G.I. Joe (Action Force) and M.A.S.K. while also dabbling in He-Man, Transformers and Ghostbusters. Roll forward and I am now reliving that Youth with the action figures of today and am a collector and fan of the larger 6-8 inch figures from my favourite movie and TV licences - including the ones mentioned above, but also the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Who and the Aliens. I launched The Mephitsu Archives in 2015 with a view of creating a UK focused site or these figures where fans can pick up the latest action figure news, read reviews and get information on where to buy their figures and what is currently on store shelves. I hope I am delivering that to you guys...

action figures, reviews, review, articulation, doctor who, dr who, character options, dalek, ace, B&M stores, exclusive, coal hill school

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