Purgatori Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

I’m on vacation this week, so I’m going to try to work a few extra reviews into the mix to dig out from how behind I am. One of the things I want to focus on this year is getting out from under my backlog of Sixth-Scale figure reviews, and since the newest offering from TBLeague (formerly Phicen) showed up a couple weeks back, I thought I’d bump her to the head of the line. These guys have been making a nice little niche for themselves combining their amazing seamless Sixth-Scale bodies with various ladies from the indie comic scene. Some of these characters I only know peripherally, like Arhian: Head Huntress and I buy them mainly because I like the figure, but I’m well acquainted with today’s lady in question!

Once we got Chaos! Comics’ Lady Death, I was hoping Brian Pulido’s Purgatori wasn’t far behind, and here she is! She comes in shoebox style packaging, with the lid being gate-folded cardboard that clips onto the sides with magnets. This has become the standard for TBLeague’s figures and I’m happy for it. It looks beautiful, the box itself is sturdy, and overall it just feels suitable for a high end collectible figure. Purgatori comes nestled in a foam tray with her head and extra bits around her. Beneath that there’s another foam tray that houses her two sets of wings. Let’s get her set up and take a look!

If you were expecting a lavishly tailored and complex costume, than you’re probably not familiar with the character. When it comes to clothing, Purgatori firmly believes less is more, and that’s fine because it’s a shame to cover up the seamless beauty of the Phicen body. Indeed, TBLeague’s version adds a little more outfitting for Purg than I’m used to, with the inclusion of the two black sleeves. I realize that she’s sometimes drawn wearing these, but I’m used to seeing her without them. Normally, I’d write these off to being there to hide the seams, but that’s definitely not the case here. Still, I thought I would wind up taking them off, but they’ve grown on me, so I’m leaving them on. The body itself features a beautiful red skin coloring that matches the character art perfectly and makes for a very distinctive looking figure, even when surrounded by TBLeague’s other ladies of horror comics.

As for the rest of the costume, Purgatori features a pair of black high-heeled boots, which look like they may have been re-purposed from Lady Death. They’re pretty non-descript, but they do have a pair of clip-on straps to hold them up. Her bikini bottom is black with gold trim and paired with a belt and a silver horned death’s head buckle. Her wrists feature sculpted bracers with bangles at both ends, all painted in gold, her finger-less gloves are sculpted as part of her hands and also feature some gold painted finery. Next, she sports a hard plastic brassier, black with painted gold edges. And finally, her shoulders are adorned with sculpted skulls, which slide on over her arms and hug her biceps. And while the outfit is indeed fairly simple, it all fits well and looks great.

I wish I could say the same about the wings. Purg comes with two pairs of wings, one closed up and the other extended outward. These are all cast in translucent red plastic and secure into her back via pegs. The sculpting on these is excellent, as they’re textured and even have some holes in the membrane. They also feature a little bit of paint for the bone points. Unfortunately, these are a far cry from what I remember seeing in the prototype images used for the solicitations. Those showed the wing frames painted to make them look more solid, and there was even some paintwork applied to the membrane. The final pieces just look like what they are: Translucent plastic. And so, the final production pieces are definitely lacking, and while they aren’t enough to ruin the figure for me, they are a disappointment.

The open wings are absolutely huge, so much so that I can barely get her into my little studio area with them on. Obviously, that means that they take up a lot of display space on the shelf, so I doubt I’ll be using them as my default. The fact that they can swivel when connected to the body, does at least give some leeway and if you have more vertical space than horizontal, you can angle them all the way up and they hold in place pretty well.

The head sculpt is excellent, although since it isn’t stylized it isn’t going to match a lot of the character art found in the comics. Nonetheless, I do dig it a lot. She’s damn pretty for a demoness, and I’m particularly impressed with the paintwork on her eyes. The black rooted hair trails down her back, and while I tend to use a little styling gel to get the hair tamed on these figures, I think I’m going to leave Purg’s hair a little wild. The twin horns that protrude from her hairline are articulated and they look great. Finally, Purgatori features a tight choker collar, which was probably the hardest thing to put on the figure, and an ankh pendant attached with red string.

The articulation on these figures remains as impressive as ever. I have no idea which Phicen body this is, but the stainless steel skeleton that lurks beneath all that seamless red silicone skin is a thing of wonder. The figure not only has the usual points one would expect from an articulated Sixth-Scale figure, but it also supports all kinds of subtle adjustments that the human body is capable of. This includes throwing the hips to one side or another and even lower neck articulation buried in the upper torso. And the fact that there isn’t much costume here to inhibit poseability, Purg offers a lot more hands-on fun than you’re average Hot Toys or Sideshow figure. Even better, none of the movement feels delicate or scary.

When it comes to accessories, Purgatori does come up pretty short. I attribute that a bit to the wings counting as accessories and using up a lot of plastic, as well as space in the box. It’s probably also due to the fact that the last bunch of TBLeague figures I got were technically considered Deluxe Editions. Whatever the case, in addition to the two sets of wings, and a total of three pairs of hands, Purg only comes with two additional accessories. One is this kris dagger, which features a very sinister looking curvy blade, a brown sculpted grip, and gold painted cross-guard and pommel. I’m really on the fence over this piece, as it’s nicely executed, but the hilt design is really chunky to the point that it looks a little over-sized.

The other accessory is a gold chalice full of hot and bubbly blood and with a bit of the stuff spilling out over the side. The paint applications on this piece are especially nice and pretty damn convincing. I’ll likely be using this for her regular display. Now is as good a time as any to point out the complete lack of a figure stand, which for a Sixth-Scale figure is pretty inexcusable. Who is going to pose a $160 figure without some kind of support and risk it taking a shelf dive? Sure some of my other TBLeague figures came with decorative diorama bases that didn’t work all that well as stands, but I’d happily take one of those over nothing at all. Thankfully, I have a small stockpile of generic Sixth-Scale stands for just such an occasion.

At $160, TBLeague is continuing to keep their releases well under the $200 mark, and that’s no small feat in the Sixth-Scale figure market
these days. I like the figure a lot, but I would have much rather dropped an extra $20 if they had offered a Deluxe Edition that came with a figure stand and extra paint on the wings. Previous TBLeague releases at this price point felt more complete, whereas Purg here feels like they had to make some cuts to keep her at this price point. Either way, I’m glad I got her, and I’ve even pre-ordered the Exclusive Shanghai Comic Con variant that they’re calling Lady Bat.

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Lady Death “Death’s Warrior” Sixth-Scale Figure (Deluxe Edition) by Phicen/TB League

TB League, formerly known as Phicen, continues to pump out a number of fantastic boxed figure sets based on the ladies of indie comics. I’ve already looked at their Zenescope gals, as well as Vampirella and Red Sonja, and now it’s time to give Brian Pulido’s Lady Death from Chaos! Comics a go. The character has had a troubled history of being passed along to different comic companies as each previous one folded. There was a less-than-stellar anime released by ADV Films, and now she lives on through Kickstarter-funded stories. Like Red Sonja, the first version of this figure was released a little while back and I missed out, because she sold out quickly. But TB League recently issued a brand new version and this time I was quick to pre-order the Deluxe Edition. As “Death’s Warrior” this release comes with some pretty cool armor and a brand new helmet and the Deluxe Edition includes a gigantic throne display diorama. Let’s take a look…

The Deluxe Edition comes in a massive cardboard mailer box, which houses the figure’s box and a large styrofoam brick with the extra display environment. I’m fond of pointing out just how premium the packaging on Phicen’s figures look, especially when compared to some of the more expensive big name Sixth-Scale producers out there. Lady Death’s heavy duty box consists of a lift off tri-fold front, which secures to the sides via magnets. You get some great shots of the figure itself and a little blurb on the back. Inside, the figure resides in a foam tray with some of her accessories laid out around her. There’s another tray beneath it with more goodies, and as always the head comes off the figure and wrapped in plastic. And speaking of plastic, nearly the entire figure comes wrapped in plastic with the armor placed over it. This is great for protecting the silicone skin, but getting it off is a daunting task that involves some precise cutting near and around the soft skin, right where you do not want to be putting a sharp edge. But, a little patience and care is all it takes.

And here she is all set up and ready for display and boy is she beautiful! The most distinctive thing about this particular body is her is her pure white skin, and I have to say that it looks quite stunning. I say, pure white, but it actually has a bit of a ghostly blue hue to it that comes out rather striking under certain light. Of course, this body consists of Phicen’s usual silicone skin and muscle covering a fully articulated stainless steel skeleton, and thanks to Lady Death’s predilection for skimpy costumes, the character design allows a lot of that seamless body to show through. The only joints visible on the figure are her wrists and neck, and the only ones concealed by the costume would be in the ankles. Phicen has produced a wide collection of these bodies in different types to use on different boxed figures, but because of her distinctive skin tone, Lady Death is probably the first time they had to fully customize one to work with the character. I really dig that. And while they were a little restrained when choosing the bust size for Red Sonja and Vampirella, they kind of went all out for Lady Death. I really dig that too!

The costume consists of an armored top that just about manages to contain her ample bosom. It’s sculpted in plastic with a texturing that makes it look like leather and with bronze scroll-work decorations sculpted in. There are painted rivets running along the bottom edge and a very lucky skull placed betwixt her undead orbs. The bracers on her arms are sculpted with a similar motif, here with some smooth black and textured brown panels and more of the bronze scroll-work sculpted in. Moving down, she has a rather small sculpted plastic plate with a skull to shield her Netherworld regions, front and back. Finally, she has a pair of fairly plain leather high-heeled boots with a pair of ornate bronze skulls at the tops just above her knees. These are actually separate rings and not part of the boots. They stay on purely from friction and they do stay put fairly well, but every now and then they need an adjustment to make them sit flush with the tops of the boots. There may not be much of it, but I think Phicen did a beautiful job with the sculpt and paint on this outfit. It’s a lot more ornate than the simpler leather bikini that came with the first release. Admittedly, that first outfit is more iconic for the character, but I’ll happily take this one as a consolation prize.

The portrait is absolutely stunning, and I really appreciate how far Phicen has come in this area. They’ve managed to up there game a little bit with each release, both in terms of sculpt and paint quality, and getting a bit closer to that uncanny level of realism slowly but surely. Granted, Lady Death isn’t a great example for judging realism, since she’s an undead demon warrior, but there’s so much to love here. The paint on on the eyebrows and around the eyes is very sharp and clean, and there’s a nice glossy coat over her pupiless eyes. Her lips are slightly parted, feature some nice texturing, and are painted with a bright and glossy red that really stands out among all the white of her skin. And speaking of skin, the skin tone on her head matches the silicone skin on the body very closely. The hair has that same slightly blue tinge to it, and there’s a lot of it, so some rudimentary styling skills will come in handy. Personally, I think this is a character where the hair looks best just left to run wild.

Before getting into the accessories, it’s worth mentioning that Lady Death comes with three pairs of hands. These include a relaxed pair, a pair that looks like she’s about to claw your eyes out, and a pair designed for holding her weapons. Surprise! No fists! Each of these include red painted fingernails and swapping these out is pretty easy, and this is another area where I commend Phicen for improving. Swapping hands on some of their earlier boxed figures was an absolute chore, but I found that these come off and go on without any problems.

Lady Death also comes with a cape, which is a beautiful little garment with a black leather-like outer material and a softer red cloth for the interior lining. The neck includes sculpted skulls as a clasp and a high collar, but it does not open, so you do need to pop her head to put it on and take it off. The edges include some flexible wire so that you can pose it. I love the way this looks on the figure, but I don’t think I’m going to use it a lot. I don’t think it works well with the throne, and I also get a little nervous about having all that red dye in the cape’s liner in constant contact with Lady Death’s pearly white skin. Still, it’s a great option to have and just adds more value to the set as a whole.

As “Death’s Warrior,” naturally she’s got to have a helmet and this is quite a nice piece of work. The entire thing appears to be cast in single piece of plastic and includes a black and bronze deco to match her armor. There’s a row of tiny painted rivets running along the brow and a skull front and center, because Lady Death sure loves her skulls. The cheek guards on the sides extend upward to form some jagged looking wings, and there’s a silver bar that runs under her eyes and meet just above her nose. The helmet was a bit of a bear to get on the first time, as it really is a very snug fit and there isn’t a whole lot of flexibility in the plastic. I was mostly worried about scraping the paint on her face. When I did finally get it on, I found that her hair was trapped in front of her eyes, so I had to give it a second try, this time with her hair pulled tightly back. As much as I love the way this looks on the figure, I’m not going to be putting it on and taking it off a lot.

As for weapons, for starters Lady Death comes with her sword. I should point out that the character has wielded three swords (that I know about), named Apocalypse, Darkness, and Nightmare. Apocalypse is the one I most closely associate with her, but this one is Nightmare and it’s no slouch. The blade is made of diecast metal, a technique that I first saw Phicen using with Red Sonja and I wholeheartedly approve. The figure’s joints can handle the weight and it gives the accessory a premium feel. The rather ornate hilt features a bronze guard and pommel with a brown painted grip to simulate leather wrap. The silver blade has a generous amount of blood spattering on it. The accessory holding hands make for a tight grip, allowing her to hold it perfectly in either hand or both. On the downside, she doesn’t have a scabbard that allows her to wear it on her person, but as we’ll soon see, that doesn’t bother me so much.

Her other weapon is this giant sickle. I think this is the same one that came with the previous release, but whatever the case, it’s an impressive piece of hell-spawned cutlery! Even with the curved handle, the sickle is taller than Lady Death herself. The handle is sculpted and painted to look like wood, complete with a natural wood-grain finish and sculpted wrap on the handle and shaft. The blade itself is plastic, but painted in metallic silver to look like real metal. There’s also a really cool looking skull mounted at the top of the shaft and painted to look like part of the blade. And just when I thought this figure can’t get any better, I opened up the huge chunk of sytrofoam to find this…

Holy SHIT! Lady Death’s throne is the mother of all accessories, if you can even call it that. It’s really a massive display environment. I know, I gassed on and on about how cool the dragon base that came with Red Sonja was, but I think this might one-up it. It’s made of three pieces: The base, the chair itself, and the skull that connects to the top of the throne with a magnet. I guess you can say it’s four pieces if you count the velvet pillow that goes into the chair. Yes, it actually has a real pillow! The base is sculpted to look like old stone and rock and there’s a pile of skulls in the back left corner as well as a single skull and some bones on the front right corner. The chair doesn’t actually attach to the base, so you can position it where you like on the platform, or even just use the platform and stand Lady Death on it. The chair itself features some exceptionally nice sculpting and paintwork. I love the skulls on the armrests and the bones that connect them to a third skull on the bottom front of the piece.

There are lots of fun ways to place Lady Death on the throne, and while I had to clear plenty of space on my shelf to fit it, I can’t imagine displaying this figure without the throne. I also like that it gives me a place to display her helmet and sword. The one caveat is that if I’m going to have her sitting on it regularly, I worry about the red dye on the pillow transferring to the white skin of her demon derriere. In the end, I took some non-acidic archival plastic and cut a square to put between the pillow and her tushie. Hey, you can never be too careful!

The more of TB League’s boxed figure sets I pick up, the more impressed I am with what this company is putting out. The seamless bodies keep getting better and better, and they’ve been upping their game on the quality of the costumes and accessories. But it’s the Deluxe Editions that are adding that extra little (actually not so little) something that has been launching these releases to the top of my Sixth-Scale want lists. This Deluxe Edition of Lady Death set me back $179, and I’m actually a little curious how they’re able to pack in something as impressive as the throne and still keep these figures under $200. I was motivated to finish this review, because I have another of TB League’s ladies arriving this week, and I actually have two more on pre-order that are due to hit in the next month or so. And if that’s not bad enough, they just revealed a few more that look pretty damn good. The releases are coming so fast that this line is getting hard to budget for, but I’m going to try to make it work any which way I can! And if that means cutting into my Hot Toys and Sideshow budget, then so be it.

Chaos! Comics: Lady Demon by Moore Action Collectibles

While we’ve spent the last two entries hobnobbing with obscurity, that’s certainly not the case today with the team up of Brian Pulido and Clayburn Moore. Whether you’re a fan or not, it’s hard to argue with Pulido’s prolific bibliography that ranges from the kind of indie stuff we’re looking at this weekend to his efforts with more mainstream pop culture horror franchises. Not to mention his works have graced the pages of Marvel and Dark Horse comics. He may not be the heaviest of hitters in the comic market, but he’s been pretty darn successful at something I, and lots of other comic book nerds, would love to do.

Today’s figure ushers from the pages of Chaos! Comics, an indie press with a sad little history that carried it for a mere six years before going belly up over legal and financial problems. I’ve thumbed through a few issues of Lady Death, one of the characters that survived the demise of Chaos!, but can’t confess to ever having been a big fan of anything other than the artwork. I am, however, a pretty big fan of Clayburn Moore of Moore Action Collectibles and CS Moore Studios fame, and his efforts at sculpting various action figures, statues and other icons of nerdom. And that brings us to the last, and my favorite, of this weekend’s indie comic figure trifecta… Lady Demon.

Lady Demon’s package doesn’t have the “in your face” comic art that the last two figures had. In fact, it’s the same kind of downplayed and serviceable cardback that we saw the last time we looked at a Moore figure. It may not be as exciting, but then there’s something to be said for letting the figure speak for itself, and Lady Death here certainly does that. She’s displayed very nicely under the bubble with here figure stand and accessories beside her. The Chaos! Emblem, engulfed in tendrils of lightning, is printed on the card to serve as a backdrop for the figure and bubble. The back of the package features a nice piece of character art, a little bio blurb on Lady Demon, and photos of some of the other figures available in the line. Again, the package here isn’t as flash as what we’ve seen this weekend, but it feels more polished and professional.

Lady Demon stands about 6-inches tall and she’s in perfect scale with Moore’s other figures, including the Ariel Darkchylde figure that I have standing on one of my shelves. She stands in a pretty neutral pose and she looks fantastic. Her outfit is a mix of sculpting and paintwork, which really accentuates her killer body. The giant demon skull that sits atop her tiny loin cloth is pretty outrageous and her skin tone has a very cool brownish, slightly ethereal tone. Her skin has a glossy plastic finish, and while some may prefer a more flesh painted finish, this look works fine for me.

If you can draw your eyes away from her other assets, Lady Demon’s head sculpt is worth scrutinizing, because it really is excellent. The full, smirking lips, the large pupil-less eyes are great and the unexpected giant devil horns that protrude from her forehead really make for a distinctive looking figure. The whole ensemble is capped off with a cascade of sculpted white hair and two large detailed earrings, because even hellspawn chicks need to accessorize. When you compare her to the other indie comic figures we looked at this weekend, Lady Demon’s head sculpt really separates her from the passable efforts of the Rendition figure and the downright hack performance of the sculptors at Skybolt, and that’s all thanks to the talents of Moore.

If you’re familiar with Moore Action Figures, you know not to expect a lot of articulation. Lady Demon features the old standard five points, with arms that rotate at the shoulders and legs that rotate at the hips. The head actually does have a ball joint, which surprised me a little and allows the joint to work better with the sculpted hair. There’s not a lot you can do with her articulation, and I’m fine with that because elbow and knee joints would have detracted from her sculpt. It is, however, a shame the figure doesn’t at least have wrist cuts.
Lady Demon comes with three accessories. You get a very nice figure stand with the Chaos! Emblem sculpted into it. You also get a sword and some kind of little skull scepter. I absolutely love the sword. Not only does it have a cool sculpt and actually look like the kind of sword that a hell-bitch might wield (unlike the swords of Sinthia or Ravyn), but I really dig the metallic red paint job. The scepter is a nice little sculpt, and while it isn’t as cool as the sword, the lack of articulation in the figure means that I’ll probably display her with the scepter. As good as the sword looks, she just can’t be posed so that she’s holding it that convincingly.

So, guilty pleasure or not, I love this figure and I’ll be anxious to pull some of the other Moore Action Figures out of the tote and check them out. Perhaps I’ll save some of those for when we get closer to Halloween. It’s good to end this weekend on a high note, but make no mistake, I’ve got a ton more of these figures and I plan on photographing a bunch of them before consigning this tote back to the dark reaches of storage, from whence it came. In the meantime, tomorrow starts a new week and I really need to start chiseling away at my pile of new arrivals.
Transformers… Thundercats… World of Warcraft… Marvel… DC… it’s going to be a crazy week!