It’s Monday and that means it’s time for more Farscape. Today I’m busting into Series 2 with a look at our favorite Peacekeeper protagonist, Aeryn Sun. Aeryn is a pretty good example of the kind of character that makes the show work for me. You can see her changing as a person throughout the course of the show, and it’s never forced or contrived. The credibility of her character comes from excellent writing and certainly the performances delivered by actress Claudia Black. I’m kind of surprised it took Toy Vault until their second series of figures to get to her, but with only four figures per series, I guess they had to save someone for later. So far, Toy Vault’s been delivering some great figures in this line. Can they keep it up? Short answer… apparently not.
The Series 2 packaging is more or less the same as what we’ve been seeing all along. The card is still inspired by Moya’s design and features a huge bubble, which displays the figure and the accessories quite well. There’s an illustrated insert that has the character’s portrait, name and a list of her accessories. Flip it over and you can see some changes on the back. There’s finally a photo of actual figures, in this case only the four from Series 1. You also get screen shots of the characters offered in Series 2.
I’ve got a lot of gripes about this figure, but I’m going to start with my biggest. Why would you take one of the main characters of your license and make her one and only figure based on one scene from one episode in which she is physically altered to not look like herself??? The episode in question is aptly named, “DNA Mad Scientist” and in it, some crazy alien with cyber-goat legs(!) gives Aeryn Pilot’s DNA, which causes her to slowly mutate into one of Pilot’s species. This figure is practically sculpted from a specific screen shot, where Aeryn lifts her shirt up to reveal the scaly patches of alien skin on her stomach. The mutated areas, which also include her right arm, are sculpted not just painted on, and Toy Vault never did a remold or any other release of the character. Sure, maybe the company expected the line to go beyond two waves, but still… this kind of thing should be a variant, not the first and only release.
In terms of sculpt, Aeryn is ok, but definitely the worst of the Farscape figures we’ve looked at so far. The portrait is almost there, although it kind of looks like Claudia Black with some kind of wasting disease. I suppose you could argue that she was definitely sick in this episode so… bravo, Toy Vault! There are, however, some nice touches to the rest of the sculpt, particularly her belt and gear, and the way the functional holster actually works like it did on the show. The alien skin is also executed quite well as is the effect of her pulling up her shirt with her left hand. You can see the beginnings of a little insect-like leg. Gross.
And that brings me to the point that this figure is also the most pre-posed of the bunch. Sure, articulation hasn’t been this line’s strong point, but make no mistake, Aeryn is far more statue than action figure. Again, she’s designed to be reproducing a very specific scene, which renders her left arm useless for anything else. She has a whopping four points of articulation: Her arms rotate at the shoulders and her hips have swivel cuts. But three of her points are completely useless. The left arm is always supposed to be right where it is and the hip swivels are only good for making minor adjustments to the legs so she can stand better. The right arm can rotate up or down, but why bother? You’ll notice I didn’t mention any neck articulation. The head and hair are all sculpted as part of the torso.
Aeryn comes with a bunch of accessories, but with the pose she’s in who cares? You get her pistol, a rifle, two syringes, and an analyzer. Technically, she can hold any of the accessories in her right hand, but neither the analyzer nor the rifle look very convincing. The rifle itself looks good, but it has a ratty looking strap on it and you can’t really tuck the stock on the inside of her elbow, so she looks really awkward holding it. The pistol probably looks the best in her hand, and it can also clip into her holster, which I absolutely love. That feature alone makes me wish Toy Vault had done another version of the character with the same working holster. In fact, they could have reused everything from the waist down and I would have been happy. I suppose I’ll probably end up displaying her with the large syringe, like she’s about to jab it into her stomach.
I’ll come right out and say it. This figure pisses me off. If we got this later on down the road, after a regular version of Aeryn, I could have liked it a lot more, but as the only version of the character to stand beside her shipmates? No way. The concept would have worked beautifully as a 1/8th scale stand-alone statue, and I probably would have bought it, but as an action figure in this line it just sucks. Toy Vault had a good thing going, but they stumbled and face planted on this one.
Alas, I’m going to have to put Farscape Monday on hiatus for a little while. I’m looking to pick up some more figures, so I will come back to them eventually. In the meantime, next week we’ll kick off Marvel Mondays as I try to get through the bunch of Marvel Universe figures on my receivings pile.