It’s been a bitch of a work week for me, but now it’s Saturday and that means I get to open another anime figure! Today I’m trying to mix up the nearly unending flood of Kantai Collection with some Strike Witches. Because what’s better than a bunch of chicks with warship parts stuck to them? A bunch of magical chicks with animal and fighter plane parts stuck to them! OK, not really better, but still plenty cool! There’s a fair number of companies that have done Strike Witches merch, but today I’m checking out Charlotte Yeager from Furyu.
The packaging is pretty typical for this kind of thing. You get a window on the front and top panels and shots of the figure on the side panels. I particularly enjoy the 501st Joint Fighter Wing / Strike Witches insignia on the bottom. Alas, my box is really beat to hell. Apparently good packing is a trade off for bottom feeding on the price. But, so long as it’s authentic and not a bootleg, I don’t care. Charlotte comes between two plastic trays and there is a little bit of assembly required on the base as well as putting her Browning Auto Rifle in her hand. I’ll confess, I was pretty surprised at the size of the box and figure when I got her. At $23, I wasn’t expecting a full 1/8 Scale figure of this quality.
And what a beauty she is! Shirley dons her brown jacket, green tie, and very little else besides her Striker Unit, which is based on the P51D Mustang. She poses proudly with her left hand on her hip, her Browning Auto Rifle resting on her right shoulder and her chest puffed out. Little details like her belt buckle, the wings pinned on her chest, are nice touches. The girls of the 501st don’t believe in pants, which helps facilitate the copious amounts of fanservice shots that pepper every episode. I’d suggest a drinking game based around that, but it would probably kill me, and I ain’t no lightweight when it comes to booze! The M1918 BAR is a separate piece that fits in her hand. It’s not easy to get in there, so I doubt I’ll be taking it out again. It is a nicely sculpted and painted piece, but the barrel is made of pretty soft plastic that is prone to warping.
Her portrait is solid, although the skin tone on her face and elsewhere is a little pale and flat. It just doesn’t have that soft and realistic skin coloring that I see on a lot of better statues. She does have perfectly printed eyes and a cute little smile. I think they did a very nice job on her hair, which blows off to her side, and is, of course, topped off by her rabbit ears. I never did quite understand why she doesn’t sport a little cotton tail instead of the rather long bushy one she has, but to be honest, I’m willing to suspend a lot of my questions while watching an anime like this one.
The paint on the upper body isn’t terrible, but there are a few flubs here and there. There’s an obvious spot on a couple of her blowing strands of hair, the necktie could be a little sharper, and there’s a little bit of spray here and there on her jacket. These things would be unacceptable on a higher end piece, and to be fair companies like Taito and SEGA can pull off better paint at this price point, but I’m still really picking at things.
Down below, the Striker Unit mostly impresses with sculpted and painted panel lines and rotating propellers. In fact, there’s only one area where the paint lets me down and that’s the black and white stripes on her left knee area. They’re notably fuzzier than the ones on the right. Other than that I love what they did here. The silver paint looks particularly nice and shiny and the registry numbers and star emblems are sharp, as is the yellow and orange deco near the props. I like the fact that they went with actual propellers, rather than the clear discs to make it look like they’re spinning fast. I just prefer it this way. The base is clear plastic and designed to hold the figure and be noticed as little as possible. The simple disc cradles the left tip of her Striker Unit in a little cup while an arm holds the inner leg. It works well and allows the figure to be removed and held fairly easily.
While there are a few areas for improvement here and there, it’s hard to complain when you’re talking about a fully scaled 9-inch figure for under twenty-five bucks. And as far as the few areas of problem paint, well that could admittedly just be on my piece. It’s not like I can go into a store and scrutinize three or four different ones and choose the one with the best paint. The truth is this is a great looking piece and she has definitely encouraged me to continue collecting this line. I don’t have the budget right now to be hunting down the Bandai or Figmas of these characters, but Furyu’s line will do quite nicely.