Xena: Xena “Sins of the Past” by Toy Biz

And, I’m back with more Xena goodness. In fact, with more of Xena herself. We’re checking out the other version of Xena in this initial assortment of Toy Biz’s 6-inch figures based on the campy, yet long-running TV series. Surely, this one is just a repaint? Oh no, folks, this here is an entirely new figure. I liked the last one quite a bit, so let’s see if this one fares as well.

I had some packaged shots of this figure, but they seem to have vanished from my hard drive, but if you read yesterday’s feature, you get the idea. It’s the same packaging that we saw yesterday. The only difference on the front is the sticker which declares that this is “Sins of the Past”Xena with “Sword Drawing Action.” The back of the card has a blurb about the episode, which sounds like it was the first one because Xena and Gabrielle hook up in it. And by “hook up” I mean they start traveling together. What did you think I meant? There’s another shitty illustration of the action gimmick at work and the same photos of the other figures in the 6-inch and 12-inch lines.

Ok, so let’s start with the sculpt. This figure has Xena smiling a big toothy grin and I don’t like it as much as the last Xena’s more somber and neutral expression. That having been said, the likeness is still a pretty good Lucy Lawless. The rest of the figure follows the same formula of having her outfit sculpted in separate rubbery plastic and layered on over the figure. Allow me to once again say how much I love this technique, as it adds to the depth of the figure. The armor is completely different from the last figure. It’s black instead of brown and the scrollwork and general style is all different as well. I’m kind of torn between which armor I like better. The last figure looks great, but the combination of the black with the painted silver rivets on this figure really pops. Yeah, I’m leaning toward this armor.

This version of Xena has two functional scabbards for her weapons. One is on her left hip that fits her dagger. The other runs straight down over her right shoulder and split up the middle for her “sword drawing action.” But more on that in a bit. Alas, she also has a big gimmick lever coming out of her back.

Sounds pretty good so far, right? Uh oh. We got some pre-posing going on here. Yes, this version of Xena has the terrible one-two punch to the groin of being both pre-posed and having less articulation. She’s posed to stand with her legs apart, her right arm bent up at the elbow and her left arm held almost all the way straight out with just a slight bend at the elbow. The head still turns side to side, but the shoulders are now only cut and not ball jointed and this hurts the figure a whole lot, especially with the one arm held perpetually out. The legs are still cut at the hips and hinged at the knees and ankles, but they’re clearly pre-posed to remain in a fighting stance, so there isn’t a lot of practical use you can get out of those hinges and still have the figure standing.

Before we get to the action gimmick, let’s talk about her accessories, because this figure comes with a lot of goodies. You get a sword, which is a bit different than the one that came with yesterday’s Xena. You get a very nice looking dagger. You get a whip(?), and low and behold, you actually get Xena’s chakram. Yes, I too find it ironic that “Sword Drawing” Xena comes with her chakram and the other figure doesn’t. The sword has a magnet in the hilt that is designed to go with the action gimmick, so let’s see how well that works.

Not so well!  The “Sword Drawing” action feature involves pressing a button to bring Xena’s right arm back, line up with the sword in her sheath where a magnet in the hilt connects with a magnet in the palm of her hand. Release the button and she draws her sword. In theory, this is a really cool and ambitious idea for a 6-inch figure. In practice, all that happens is her hand gets stuck on the sword because the scabbard is too tight fitting to release the sword. If you only tuck part of the sword in there, that will allow Xena to draw it, but it just winds up spinning in her palm and pointing to the ground. Not only does the gimmick not work, but the paint covering the magnet on the sword’s hilt comes off on Xena’s hand. So, yeah, it’s all pretty worthless. On the upside all you sick puppies can put the whip in Xena’s right hand, press the button and experience Xena whipping action!

Why was I so surprised by how good yesterday’s Xena figure was? It’s because it wasn’t replete with all the issues that today’s figure has. Yes, this is exactly the kind of figure that I was expecting from 90’s Toy Biz. Sub-par articulation, pre-posed, and a shitty action gimmick that actually detracts from the figure. God, I wish I could do some mixing and matching between the two figures. I’d basically take the snazzy armor from this figure and put it on the better articulated and less pre-posed body of yesterday’s Xena. Make no mistake this one is not a bad looking display piece, but she’s little better than a statue. In the end, I’m just going to wind up robbing the chakram off of this one and giving it to yesterday’s figure to make her complete.

Tomorrow… we move on to Gabrielle!

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