Mythic Legions (Advent of Decay): Gwendolyn Heavensbrand by The Four Horsemen

If you follow me on Twitter, than you know I spent this past weekend absolutely obsessed with Mythic Legions! It was back in February of 2017 that I backed Advent of Decay, The Four Horsemen’s second Mythic Legions Kickstarter. With something like 43 figures offered, this project was even more expansive then the first, and it introduced some new elements to the mix, like female characters, as well as Elves and Goblins. I gladly forked over my entire 2017 tax return (and maybe a little more) in what was the largest sum I had ever spent on a single toy purchase. Yeah, it was 34 figures, but still all in one lump sum. And then the long, hard wait began. The figures were originally planned to arrive in April of this year, but if you’ve Kickstarted anything, you know that delays are nearly inevitable. And that was fine with me. You can’t rush art, not even in 6-inch action figure form. And art is exactly what we got.

That’s not to say I got everything yet. The figures finally started shipping last week, and I got my first box this past weekend with 24 figures. T4H are shipping some larger orders separately, which isn’t a bad thing because it’ll give me time to really enjoy these before getting more. It took me quite a while just to open these figures and give them a once over for QC purposes. And while I admit, I’ll rest easier once I get that second shipping notice, I’m content to wait so that everyone can start getting their figures in a timely manner. Anywho… I thought I’d kick things off with Gwendolyn Heavensbrand, since she was the figure I chose as my backer reward, before adding 33 more to the Backerkit. I’ll note here that the above is the last packaged shot I’ll be doing for this series. These packages take up a lot of space and I’m going to be putting them away in storage for the time being, and probably eventually getting rid of them. Suffice it to say, the packaging hasn’t changed much since the previous series. It is collector friendly, there have been some minor art changes on the card, and you get a character bio printed on the side of the bubble insert. All you really need to know is that she’s Sir Gideon’s sister, so let’s get Ms. Heavensbrand out and see what we’ve got!

I have a running gag with my other Mythic Legions reviews, where each one I open is my new favorite. Here’s a case, where it may be true. No, I’m serious! Well, if she isn’t my favorite, then I have to say Gwen is one of the most visually striking figures I own in any line that I collect. The new female armored buck easily rivals anything we got in the first assortment, and nudges that bar up just a tad. The armor is just bulky enough to be convincing, and yet still keeps all of Gwen’s curves in tact. At the same time the sculpted detail here is just insane. Every over-lapping plate, every segmented hinge, every little rivet, strap, buckle, fastener, even the glimpses of chain mail exposed at the joints, it’s all lovingly crafted on this figure. To say nothing of the etched ornamentation present on the center stripe running down the chest plate. This is a fine example of T4H at the top of their game, and that’s really saying something, because their worst is on par with most other companies’ best.

Likewise, the paintwork on this figure has all the chops needed to compliment the sculpt. The sumptuous gold leaf paint used on the armor is rich and satiny with just the right amount of sheen. This stuff makes Sir Gideon’s gold armor look rather flat by comparison. Add to that the metallic purple used on the secondary panels, and you have a deco that really pops beautifully. And then we come to the finer details, like the individually painted silver buckles on those straps, the tiny silver painted rivets, and the slightly more gray finish of the exposed chainmail. The choice of colors, the quality of paint, and the precision of application are all excellent. One thing that’s different this time around is the joints on the figure are left unpainted. I think this was a good idea, as the painted joints in previous assortments would sometimes cause stuck joints and the paint would usually just rub off anyway as the joints were worked. In some areas, like the backs of the knees, it looks OK as the gray plastic sort of matches the chainmail. It’s a lot more obvious on the shoulder hinges, but only if you choose to display the figure without the shoulder armor.

Gwen comes out of the package wearing her helmeted head and it is a lovely portrait. The previous assortments of Mythic Legions didn’t feature a lot of human head sculpts, and I think that was a good thing, because I didn’t find any of the human portraits to be exceptional. Here, it feels like T4H upped their game a lot. Gwen is quite the looker, and I’m particularly impressed with the paint on display here. Both the eyes and lips have a really nice glossy finish to them and there’s a bit of rosiness to her cheeks. The form fitting helmet features the same luscious gold paint as the rest of her armor with a little of that metallic purple carrying over to the chin. And you can’t miss that monstrous purple plume spilling out of the back and flowing down the back of her head. It’s a separate piece that plugs into a socket at the back of the helmet.

While it’s a shame to mask all that beauty, the visor on Gwen’s helmet can be lowered into place to protect her from messing up her pretty face in the heat of battle. Between the classical design of the helmet and the gold paint, I’m instantly reminded of the vintage Marx Knights, and that’s not at all a bad thing. The protective bars on the visor are wide enough that you can easily see her face through the visor, and I really dig the pierced breathing holes down around the lower face. And since apparently two display options for the head aren’t enough…

We also get an un-helmeted head, and… Wow! Everything I said about the Gwen’s face on the helmeted head goes double here. I love the paint on her eyes and lips and I really dig the sweeping motion of her hair and the way it partially obscures the left side of her face. It adds some wonderful depth to the portrait, and I’m not even concerning myself with the fact that there’s no way she could get that coif contained within that form-fitting helmet of hers. I’m worried that deciding which head to display this figure with is going to keep me up at night. But then these are good problems to have. Let’s talk swords and belts…

Gwendolyn comes with the ubiquitous brown sword belt that we’ve seen with every Mythic Legions figure since the line began. Part of me wishes T4H had tweaked this design a bit, and maybe even worked on some proper scabbards, but then these belts work fine and I’m happy to keep them for aesthetic continuity. The belt rests loosely on her hips and the sword passes through the loop where it can rest on her hip, down the front, or as I like to do it, a little behind the hip. Any of these configurations work fine for her standard single-handed sword.

The sword itself appears to be new, but it’s extremely similar to the one included with her brother, Sir Gideon. Mythic Legions is a line that’s all about the economy of parts sharing and sometimes that’s more evident in the accessories than the actual figures. With that having been said, I like the no-nonsense design of the weapon. It’s got a classic cruciform hilt with a straight crossguard and a disc pommel. Gideon’s sword had a grip that swelled in the middle, whereas this one tapers toward the pommel. The hilt is all in gold with the blade painted a bright silver. Of course, when Gwen wants to make more of a statement…

She also has a much larger two-handed sword. As always, you have the option to use the belt as a shoulder strap to sling the sword diagonally across the back, which is great for Gwen’s larger sword. On the downside, this method works best when you remove one of the pieces of shoulder armor, and if you’re a fan of symmetry like I am, this may not be the look for you. It’s also worth noting that Gwen’s copious plume gets in the way a bit, but it will work.

This sword is a beautiful piece, with a golden hilt, extended grip, fluted pommel and down-sloping crossguard. There are even a pair of red painted crystals in the hilt. The long double-edged blade even features a pair of parrying flukes extending from the blade. One of the things about this line reusing so many weapons: When you get a new one like this, it sure is a treat!

Gwen also comes with a shield, and here we see some old and new. The shield itself is the same configuration we’ve seen dozens of times over. This one is even painted to match her brother’s although the size and placement of the crest is a little different. The edges are painted silver and the face is gold to match her armor. My shield has some notable scuffs and brush marks on it, which I’m going to assume is not intentional, although it does look like it could easily pass as weathering. So what’s different?

The grip! Gone is the plastic clip and in it’s place is this L-shaped grip, and I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, the old clips could be at risk of stressing and snapping the more you take them on and off the figure’s arm. Granted, I haven’t had that happen with any of mine, but it has happened with one of my Marvel Legends Captain America shields, and that works on the same design. Also, I sometimes worry about the clip scratching the paint on the figures when putting it on and taking it off. This new system definitely sets aside either of those concerns, and it certainly works, but it feels a lot more unwieldy. It looks fine when viewed from the front and you can still position the shield in almost any orientation, but when viewed from behind or the side I think it can look awkward. Of course, the peg it attaches to is the same, so you can feel free to swap it out with any of the shield clips from the older Mythic Legions figures.

I’d apologize for all the gushing, but when it comes to my Mythic Legions reviews, everyone should expect it by now. It seemed only right to start out with Gwen, since I started with her brother back when my Mythic Legions reviews began, and I think it was cool they offered another one of the Heavensbrand clan as a Backer Reward this time around. And thus begins what will be a long stretch of Mythic Legion Wednesdays as I work my way through this amazing collection of figures. I’m even going to do my best to squeeze another one in on a Tuesday or Wednesday when time allows. I know there have been smaller assortments of figures leaking out since the last Kickstarter, but damn it feels great to have a whole box of brand new Legions again!

 

 

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