Just a few weeks ago I liberated one of Diamond’s Femme Fatales statues from my local comic shop. Steampunk Lexi intrigued me enough each time I was there that I decided I should let her come home and live on my shelf. It was a good decision, as I think she is a fine statue. Good enough that I decided to order another release in the line. This time it’s Ariel Chylde, aka Darkchylde. I’ve been a casual fan of Randy Queen’s Darkchylde comic ever since I saw an art print of her at a comic convention and I decided to check out a few issues. Fast forward to today and I’ve got more than a few Darkchylde books on my shelf and even a couple of action figures. This statue seemed like a good fit. Let’s see if she stacks up to Lexi.
The package is identical to what we saw last time. It’s a simple window box and nothing at all special, but at least all the boxes in the line share a uniform deco which pleases the OCD in me. The back panel has a shot of the statue and a blurb about Ariel. The statue comes nested between two plastic trays and the wings come detached so she can fit a standard Femme Fatales box. Everything is collector friendly so you can return the statue to the box for storage or display or whatever.
I ordered this statue expecting her to be about the same size as Lexi from base to wing tips, but she’s actually in the same scale, which means with the wings attached she’s considerably taller. That was a nice surprise. What wasn’t such a nice surprise is that part of the statue broke off the moment it came out of the package. It was the ponytail on the doll. Granted, it’s not a crucial piece, if you don’t know it was there you wouldn’t miss it at all, but no one wants a collectible to break the moment it comes out of the box. Sorry, Ariel, we’re not off to a good start.
The design of the statue is quite nice. Yes, I have issues with the base, but I’ll come back to that. Ariel is standing atop a raised base, in a tight dress, holding her doll in one hand and her other hand is morphing into her demon form. Her head is cocked slightly to the side, her long blonde hair is windswept to the other side, and her demon wings rise majestically from her back. I like the way the lower part of her dress is concealed between and behind her legs because, well let’s face it, she has nice legs. All in all, this design is a very typical look for Ariel, as it shows both her beautiful human side while also allowing us to glimpse her demon aspects. I don’t think I would change anything about the pose or the design here, but it’s a couple of the finer points where I’m about to take issue.
My first stop is the portrait. Technically, I think the head sculpt is great. She’s definitely pretty. The way the hair is flowing looks quite good, although I’ll concede a little more texture to the hair would have helped. The paintwork on the face is immaculate, particularly the lips and eyes. I think it’s the likeness that I have to take a little issue with. Maybe she looks a little too old. Maybe the shape of the face is a little off. If I’m not a reader of the comic and I just look at this statue without knowing the character, I’d probably be perfectly fine with it. In fairness, I don’t even think Sideshow got her likeness quite right with their high end pieces, but ironically, I do think CS Moore Studios managed to nail it with their low end action figure.
Next up, is the base. I dig the way the base is just an extension of her dress. On the other hand, I’m not a big fan of the spiders on the base. They look too cartoony, both in sculpt and paint. Yes, I know this is a statue based off a comic, but when you compare the detail the rest of the statue with the spiders, they just don’t mesh well. Also, the one crawling up her leg is totally unconvincing. It looks like it was just stuck on there. The spiders could have been a great idea, but they needed to be executed better than this.
Those gripes aside, Ariel’s demon parts turned out really well. I already mentioned the realism of the claw sculpt and I really dig the way you can see a little bit of skin overlapping from where she shed it. The wings are exceptionally well done. I like the way they are swept back and not spread outward as it really compliments the pose and contours of Ariel’s shapely form. On the downside, they’re so tall, right now I’m forced to display the statue with the wings off because they won’t fit on the shelf where my similar statues are currently residing.
I like this statue but I don’t love it. There’s some solid work on display here mixed with just enough hiccups to hold it back. Darkchylde is definitely not the slam dunk for me that Steampunk Lexi is. Maybe that’s because Lexi was an original design and Darkchylde is a character that I have history with. On the other hand, the qualifier here is that I picked up Ariel for $17 shipped, so it’s kind of easy to overlook the gripes I have with this piece. At the original $40-45 I probably would have been less forgiving.