Femme Fatales: Darkchylde by Diamond Select

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Darkchylde: Ariel Chylde Figure by Moore Action Figures

If you haven’t read any of the Darkchylde comics, you may want to pick one up and have a go. I stumbled upon these a while back when I saw some random panel and I was immediately pulled in by the excellent composition and storytelling. Or maybe it was the fact that it featured a sexy blonde heroine who was scantily clad and happened to have demon wings. Either way, I had found a new guilty pleasure! I never knew if there were any Darkchylde figures produced, until one day when I was on vacation and happened upon this figure in the discount bin of a comic shop. I picked up quite a few figures from that cheap figure bin, but today we’re here to look at one particular witchy-woman, Ariel Chylde.

I’m not going to get into the whole figure vs statue thing with this piece. In spirit, This collectible is more a statue than a figure. She has a diorama base and not a lot of useful articulation. On the other hand, she does have the same five points of articulation that many of the vintage figures I grew up with figure had (plus two more in her demon form) so technically she’s a figure. Whatever the case, Ariel is mainly designed to stand on your shelf and look pretty, and so long as that’s all you’re looking for you shouldn’t be disappointed. She’s produced by by Moore Action Figures. Are they even still around? I don’t recall to have seen anything from them in recent years. They did have a pension for making figures based off indie comics and TV series with sexy female stars, including, Witchblade, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Fathom, Heavy Metal and Vampirella, to name a few, so Darkchylde was the perfect fit for them.

The cool thing about Ariel is that she comes with all the parts to display her in either her purely human form or in her half-demon conversion. The demon parts include arms (which are sadly not appearing in this review because I have inconveniently misplaced since I opened her) that have hinged elbows, and a pair of magnificent looking wings. The arms can just be popped off and interchanged and the wings peg into slots on her back.

While I wouldn’t have expected it from a figure found buried in a deep discount action figure bin, the sculpting on this figure is actually quite outstanding, especially considering her scale. She’s only about 7″ tall without the wings, but she’s got a sculpt good enough to compete with larger statues. They did a great job with her muscle tone and the tiny details on her denim shorts and bikini top are amazing. They’ve even sculpted a toe ring onto her left foot! But what’s really great about the sculpt is the likeness. Its not always easy taking 2D character designs into a 3D model, but these guys really nailed the character’s face quite nicely, even if the expression is a little bewildering.

The paint apps vary a bit on my figure. The details on her shoes, shorts and bikini top are all excellent as are the paint apps on her face. I particularly dig how well they painted her eyes. There’s some slop on her hairline, and on her hair itself, but fortunately its in pretty inconspicuous spots. The coloring on her wings is extraordinary and they’ve even painted in her anklet tattoo. The only thing I would really change on this figure is to have given her skin a less glossy finish. Yeah, it gets that from being sculpted in bare, flesh-toned plastic, and I’m probably asking a lot to have the whole figure painted over, but as it is it looks like Ariel is having a very sweaty day.

I already touched on her articulation a bit. Her head technically has a swivel joint, but her hair restricts it from moving. Both sets of arms rotate at the shoulders. Her human arms have no other articulation, but her demon arms have hinged elbows. Her legs both have swivel cuts all the way up at the hips, but unless you want to sit her down in an awkward and unnatural looking way, these joints don’t do the figure a lot of good.

Besides her demon parts, Ariel comes with the aforementioned base. Its also very nicely sculpted with details of the forest floor, including a tree stump, some tiny shrooms and a rather suspiciously placed ribcage. They clearly put a lot of work into the sculpt and paint and it’s appreciated. She pegs into the base and it’s definitely the optimal way to display her if you don’t want her taking a shelf-dive every couple of hours.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about Ariel here. I was really glad to find her and add her to my collection. If you’re interested in obtaining one, she shouldn’t set you back too much. $15 seems to be the average going price, although I got her in a 5 for $10 deal, so I’ve got no complaints. I have a special place for her on my shelf right beside my three Danger Girl figures by McFarlane. She is actually available as a harder to find variant with demon colored skin and I like this figure enough that I may try to hunt that one down later on.