Xena: Gabrielle “Orphan of War” by Toy Biz

Oh, Renee O’Connor, aka Gabrielle. You are just as cute as a button and you were almost… almost… enough reason for me to actually watch this series. I was probably more anxious to see how your figure turned out then any of the others in this line. Could Toy Biz possibly capture that certain something in 6-inch action figure form? Mmmm… not really.

Once again, we have the Xena action figure packaging. I don’t have a lot more to say here. The front deco is pretty good and it shows off the figure and her massive amount of gear under a huge bubble nestled in a clever little cardboard tray. There’s a sticker with the episode she’s from and the fact that she features a “Spinning Staff Attack!” The back of the card has a synopsis of the episode, “Orphan of War” and one of those crappy illustrations of the figure’s action gimmick. The card does, however, make up for the crappy illustration by putting a nice picture of Gabrielle up in the corner.

I am going to try not to be too hard on this figure in terms of likeness. We aren’t dealing with the sculptors at Diamond Select or The Four Horsemen here. Its 90’s Toy Biz, for crying out loud. And Gabrielle’s likeness probably isn’t all that easy to capture in 6-inch form. I think there’s just something about her eyes that doesn’t really jive with this figure’s vacant, slightly medicated stare. That having been said, Toy Biz was able to successfully deliver a figure of a girl that very well could be Renee O’Connor’s stunt double. We’ll have to settle for that.

It should also be noted that Gabrielle isn’t the flashiest character to reproduce. She isn’t a tall, leggy amazon and she isn’t wearing any snazzy studded leather armor. Instead, she’s just got a peasant outfit that consists of a medieval sports bra, a skirt, and boots. There’s really nothing wrong with what’s here, there’s just not as much to work with as there is with Xena. That having been said, Toy Biz tossed in some fairly good detail including the lacing on her boots and top, the deco on her belt, and the cross-thatch texture on her skirt. Overall, I’m giving Gabrielle a passing score in terms of sculpt and coloring, but just barely.
Thankfully, Gabrielle isn’t terribly pre-posed, and her articulation isn’t too bad, but sadly, not as good as the first Xena we looked at. Her head turns, her arms rotate at the shoulders, and her legs rotate at the hips, and have hinged knees and ankles. She’s got some strange stuff going on with her right arm, but that’s because of her action gimmick, so let’s check out Gabrielle’s gear and then we’ll swing back to that gimmick.

Holy hell, Gabrielle sure comes loaded for bear. Am I missing something? Was she some kind of medieval terminator? She comes with a battle axe, a staff, a dagger, a bow, a functional quiver and three arrows. Maybe Toy Biz figured that since she’s smaller and less flashy than the other figures they should load her up with an arsenal of death. The accessories are all pretty good. I like the dagger best, as it’s such a nice little piece and it fits into the sheath on her belt. The axe is cool, although I’m not sure why it’s hinged at the head. The bow is a nice try. It’s sculpted to hold the arrows, and the idea is you pull back on the string and it shoots, but it really doesn’t. She also can’t hold it very convincingly, but I give Toy Biz points for trying.

So how about that “Spinning Staff Attack?” So, you put the staff in her right hand, raise it over her head and move the lever back and forth on her back. This causes her arm to spin at that swivel cut in the middle. I’ll concede that the gimmick works, certainly much better than Xena’s“Sword Drawing Action” but it’s not worth having to put a huge lever on her back.

If you’re going to get Xena, I guess you have to have her sidekick. Gabrielle here is a good companion piece to either of the Xena figures we looked at, but apart from her overabundance of gear, there’s nothing about her that really shines. She’s solidly average, and while I think Renee O’Connor deserved better then that, this is exactly the kind of figure I would expect from late 90’s Toy Biz. No better, no worse. There was another 6-inch Gabrielle figure in the second wave, but I don’t think I own it. I’m pretty sure it was more or less the same figure with a cloak over it. I will, however, check out one of Toy Biz’s 12-inch versions of the character at some point down the line.

Tomorrow, Xena Weekend will bleed its way into Monday as we wrap it all up with a look at Callisto.

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