Marvel Premier Collection: Gamora by Diamond Select

It’s Day Two of Marvel Week and today I thought we’d give the action figures a rest and open up a statue from Diamond Select’s Marvel Premier Collection. These are roughly Sixth-Scale resin statues, mostly based on modern appearances of the characters. I only own one other piece from this line, the Clayburn Moore sculpt of Spider-Gwen, and I was pretty happy with her. Picking up Gamora here seemed like a no-brainer, especially since I was able to get a pretty decent deal on her. Let’s check out the most dangerous woman in the Universe!

Gamora comes in a fully enclosed box with photos of the statue on all four panels and features the “Guardians of the Galaxy” logo and calls out that it was sculpted by the wonderful and prolific Jean St. Jean. The presentation here is very serviceable, but not all that appealing from an artistic standpoint. It feels like the box layout was thrown together pretty quickly. That’s not really a sticking point for me, as I just keep my statue boxes for the possibility of future storage, moving, or god forbid… resale. Inside the box, you get a colorful card showing the limitation as well as the number of the statue in the box. Gamora is wrapped in plastic and encased between two styrofoam bricks, and she comes fully assembled and all ready for display.

Standing about 12-inches tall, Gamora is based on her more recent look in the pages of Marvel Comics and wearing her white space space armor. Some fans refer to this as her “Stormtrooper Armor” and I think the comparison is fairly valid. It’s quite a departure from her more revealing classic outfits, but it still shows off her shapely curves, and I’ll confess to being a fan of this new look the very first time I saw it. The pose here is pretty conservative. Gamora stands on an alien landscape with a rather intimidating rifle cradled in her arms (What? No Sword?), and her long hair blowing in the breeze. The heel of her left foot is raised giving the piece just a little hint of anticipated action. Overall, I like what we got here, but then I tend favor “museum-style” poses in favor of the more dynamic stuff. It’s not that I don’t like action poses, but they tend to have a better chance of going wrong.

Every last detail on this statue is incorporated into the actual sculpt, and this is particularly apparent in the cut panel lines that run throughout the armor. There’s a nice sense of depth between the armor plates and the underlying black suit, and you also get some ribbed sections along the top of her back and underarms. The panel lines are neatly painted in black and you get some pale gray panels, as well as some crimson accents. I have no complaints about the quality of the paint on this piece. The lines are reasonably sharp, and there are no apparent flubs. What’s more, the application is even and there are no visible brush strokes. The whole suit gives me a strong Mass Effect vibe, which isn’t a bad thing as I happen to dig the aesthetics of those games… well three of them, at least.

I love the way the portrait came out. Her face is flawless and beautiful and even the painted patches around her eyes are part of the sculpt. I just adore the shape of her nose and the ridge leading down to her lips. No, I don’t have some creepy nose thing, I just appreciate how good it looks. The pupil-less white eyes are rather mesmerizing and they used a nice, rich red paint for her lips. The hair sculpt is good, albeit a bit on the chunky side. It looks like it was sculpted from a separate piece, which gives her a clean hairline. The downside to the hair blowing off to the side is it limits the options for display angles. She looks great from the front or turned a bit to her right, but it means that the right side of the statue is closed for business. Hey, most statues have an intended “sweet spot” for display, and I’d say this one has at least a few.

Gamora’s  rifle features a rather boxy and utilitarian design that emphasizes function over form. I can dig that as it makes it appear more like a legitimate piece of military hardware. The black and gray deco gives it a convincingly realistic finish, and it’s equipped with what looks like a magazine, but maybe it’s a battery pack, and a scope. Gamora practices poor trigger discipline, but then I’d kind of expect that from her. It’s what makes her so dangerous!

The rocky alien landscape they did for the base looks great. They packed all kinds of little details in the rocks and terrain and the brownish-orange paint gives it a hint of Mars. If you look closely enough, you can see that they sculpted panel lines on the bottoms of her boots. The alien landscape is placed on a raised, circular platform.

The bottom of the base features the declaration of limitation. In this case, mine is 153 of 3,000. I think that’s one of the lowest numbers I’ve ever gotten on one of these things!

The Marvel Premier Statues tend to have an MSRP of around $130, but Gamora is available on Amazon at the time I’m writing this for well under $100. I’m always glad to save money, but I would have been perfectly happy with this piece had I picked it up at full price. The modern costume might not be for everyone, but I can appreciate her new look, and the artistry and craftsmanship on display here are both excellent. Tomorrow, I’ll keep this Marvel Week rolling along and turn my attention back to Hasbro’s Legends line!

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DC Gallery (Justice League Unlimited): Huntress by Diamond Select

If you’re keeping track, I last visited with DC Gallery, Diamond’s plucky line of comic-based statues, back in September with JLU Hawkgirl and I was disappointed. But before that Black Canary and Zatanna blew me away. Will today be the day that the DC Gallery restores its good name? Let’s find out and open up Helena Bertinelli based on her appearance as The Huntress in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon.

The DC (and Marvel) Gallery statues evolved from DST’s old Femme Fatales line, and the packaging hasn’t changed much since those days. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You get a collector friendly window box with windows on the front, top, and both side panels. This offers a great opportunity to scrutinize the piece you’re buying, assuming you actually get them at a brick-and-mortar shop. The back panel features a blurb about the character and you get a nice JLU logo on the front. The statue comes encased in a plastic tray and there’s no assembly required.

DST has managed to do some pretty fun poses with these statues, and The Huntress here is no exception. She’s staged sitting on the edge of a cylindrical light fixture with one knee drawn up. Her right hand crosses her chest and wrests on her left arm, which in turn is raised with her signature crossbow at the ready. She turns slightly, waiting for her prey to arrive, and clearly she means business. The composition here is a nice compromise between a staged cover-style pose, while still offering a whiff of action. I love it!

There’s more than the usual amount of sculpting invested in Huntress’ costume. Because of the simple nature of the source art, these animated statues don’t always offer a lot of opportunity for sculpted detail, but there’s a lot going on with this one. Indeed every detail, from the purple bands on her boots and gloves, to the tummy-exposing cut out, to the white stripes on her cape, is incorporated as part of the sculpt. She also features pouches on her belt and arm bands, and a holster for her crossbow. The crossbow is cocked and ready to go. Even the shoulder-hugging cape falls naturally and looks great.

It’s the paint that has been an issue on a few of my DST statues. It was particularly bad on their Lady Deadpool and not so hot on their Hawkgirl. Fortunately, The Huntress is here to set things right again. The quality of application here is fantastic. The lines that separate her boots from her skin could have been a tad sharper, there’s a tiny bit of slop where she makes contact with the light fixture, but I only point those out because I’m really looking for something to complain about. One of the pitfalls of some of these pieces has been scratching and rubbing showing up on large, featureless surfaces that are painted gray or black. I’m happy to say that’s not the case here.

If I had to nitpick anything else, I’d say the face is a little too triangular. When I compare it to the cartoon, I think it tapers too sharply toward the chin to be one hundred percent faithful to her look on the show. At the same time, it’s not bad at all, I’m just saying they didn’t nail it quite as perfectly as they did with Zatanna or Wonder Woman. With that having been said, the mask and the hair both look great, and the facial features are painted with the same care as the rest of the statue.

As usual, our last stop is the base and what we have here is certainly functional and well executed. I’m just not really sure what it’s supposed to be. I know she’s sitting on a light, but it’s not like any light I recall seeing. I’m guessing it’s supposed to be on a rooftop.

And so, The Huntress takes her rightful place alongside Black Canary and Zatanna as another shining example of how great this line can be when it’s firing on all cylinders. The three cornerstones of any statue will always be the pose, the sculpt, and the paint, and this lady hits them all with style. Indeed, at about forty bucks, I’m surprised at seeing this level of quality in what is essentially a budget line. If you want some nice representation of these characters, and don’t have a lot of money to blow, DC Gallery remains an excellent alternative to the more expensive DC Collectibles stuff.

Star Trek “The Wrath of Khan:” Khan Collector Figure by Diamond Select

If you follow me on Twitter than you know that I’ve had a lot of Star Trek on the brain lately, and it’s all because of CBS’ new series Discovery. Now, it’s not what you might think. You see, I hate the show. In fact, I’m not sure hate is even a strong enough word. But in a way I’m almost thankful for it, because it’s gotten me so worked up about Star Trek that I’ve been back into watching one or two episodes a night of everything from The Original Series to Voyager and I’ve been falling in love all over again. I’m not sure how much of any of that really factors into today’s review, because truth be told DST’s Khan Noonian Singh just popped up in my Amazon Recommendations for a crazy good price, so I bought him. Probably would have happened anyway.

If you’re not familiar with these Trek Select releases, they fall somewhere between action figures and statues, and favor swappable parts over articulation. In fact, Khan here actually has less articulation than the Original Series Kirk and Spock sets that were released earlier. I reviewed the Kirk set over four years ago and it left me a little befuddled. To be honest, I bought this one mainly for the Movie Era Captain’s Chair. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk packaging… I have been pretty critical of DST’s action figure packaging in the past, particularly with their Muppets line, because it’s so big and wasteful. Here, I think it’s totally warranted because there’s a whole lot of stuff in this box and I don’t think they could have crammed it into a smaller bubble. The cardback features a wrap-around with a picture of Khan on the side panel and the Star Trek 50th Anniversary logo running up the front. The back of the card has a satisfying and lengthy piece of background copy and shows some of the other figures in this line. Also, check out the picture of the Reliant on the bubble insert. That sure looks like it might be a painted prototype of a Starship Legends Defiant. WHERE IS MY STARSHIP LEGENDS DEFIANT, DIAMOND???

Did I mention I bought this mainly for the chair? Well, the chair is quite nice. The deck piece is made out of very sturdy plastic with slots to plug in the chair and the railing. It features a textured deck plate, which looks great, and a rather unfortunate footprint and peg to show you where to put Khan’s foot, which doesn’t look so great. The chair doesn’t swivel, but it does feature two hinged armrests with painted controls panels. DST has been including some cardboard pieces with some of their sets, most notably the Kirk with Engineering section in this line and their Seven of Nine Femme Fatales statue. It would have been cool to get a standee showing the back of the bridge behind the chair, but alas, it was not to be. I guess we might as well take a look at the Khan figure too. I’ll start him off in his standing pose.

We’ve got to start somewhere, so here he is proffering, “I make you a counter-proposal, I will agree to your terms, if…” and pointing his finger in the air. Overall, I think this is a really solid sculpt, but I’ll talk about it more at the end, when I do some comparisons with DST’s actual Khan figure from 2007 or so. For now I just want to run through all the different combinations of poses and parts!

Here I simply swapped out the calm head for the angrier portrait and traded his left pointing hand for a fist. Not a huge difference, but it does change up the scene a little bit. I’m a bigger fan of the calmer face over this one, although I think it’s passable. Let’s try swapping out both arms and going back to the calmer portrait…

Now this look I dig a lot. The folded arms are first thing we’ve seen that an articulated action figure would not have been able to do, and I think this pose looks great. Chances are I’m going to be giving the chair to Kirk, but if I do wind up displaying Khan, this is most likely the look I’ll be going for. Now let’s pop the legs off at the waist and get him seated in the chair…

He fits into the chair pretty well, but considering he was sculpted specifically to sit in it, I think it could have been a bit of a better fit. He has a right arm that is made specifically to rest atop the armrest and his left arm looks pretty good resting the elbow with his fist clenched in anticipation. He looks pretty good in the chair, but displaying him this way shows just what a bad design choice that footprint and peg in the deck-plate was. The footprint is totally unnecessary and it would have been much better to just put the peg in the foot and a less unsightly hole in the deck.

Swapping out the head and left hand and rotating the arm up at the shoulder offers a couple different gestures and expressions. I think both of these look pretty good.

You can also go with the crossed arms while he’s in the chair. Not bad at all. And so while clearly not an action figure, I was able to get at least seven fairly unique display options out of him with the parts provided. I’ve got to admit, it’s kind of fun seeing what you can do, but not so much fun that I’m a big advocate of this concept. As I mentioned earlier, the Kirk and Spock figures had full articulation in their arms, but were static below the waist. Here, the only purposeful articulation is in the ball jointed neck, while the rest are just rotating cuts as a byproduct of the parts swapping.

So, here’s a shot of this guy with the original, and fully articulated, DST Khan figure. In terms of sculpt and paintwork, I think the new one is an improvement on just about every level, but then again we’re talking about a difference of ten years. The tunic on the new one properly reflects the wear and tear a lot better, the glove is more screen accurate, as is his wrist communicator and delta necklace. The flesh tones on the chest of the older figure are not painted very well at all, whereas the new one is much improved.

The portraits are overall better and more detailed too, although they work for me from some angles and not so well from others. I think the calm expression head is far more successful than the angry one. The features are much sharper on the new sculpts, both in the facial features and hair. I also really appreciate the better attention to paint in the face, even if it is a little heavy handed around the eyes. But again, nearly ten years separate these figures, so these improvements aren’t so much a triumph of craftsmanship, but more an expected march of improvements.

And while this version of Khan scales slightly bigger than the original DST Wrath of Khan figures, the chair does indeed make for a good fit with those previous releases. Indeed, I think the articulated Khan actually fits a bit better in the chair than the one designed for it. And since the command chairs in the Reliant and Enterprise were basically the same, I’m happy to pop Admiral Kirk in there.

Back when I reviewed the original Kirk set, I came away saying I didn’t really understand its purpose and that still applies here. And it must be repeated that I did buy this mainly for the chair and also because it was on deep discount at Amazon. I’m glad I bought it, the chair was definitely worth the thirteen bucks I paid, and the Khan figure has its charms too. But if you want an actual Khan figure, the original release can still be had for surprisingly low prices if you hunt around on Ebay. Sadly, that’s more than can be said about the rest of the crew!

The Muppets: Animal by Diamond Select

I last visited with Diamond Select’s Muppets line back in May of last year when I reviewed the entire first wave. I liked what I got, but after that, I got cold feet and assumed a watch and wait posture toward this line. There were some delays and whispered rumors that the line might not be doing well, especially in light of the unending comparisons to the Palisades line. I was nervous about tossing more money at a second wave only to see it be the last. Yeah, I know, that’s backward logic. I should have supported it, but that didn’t go so well for me with the DC Icons line. Either way, we’re now several waves in, the line seems to be going strong and I’m paying for my procrastination by having to hunt down figures like Statler and Waldorf at scalper prices. Meanwhile, let’s check out another of my favorite Muppets and drummer for Electric Mayhem… Animal!

I’m still torn on the packaging for this line. In typical Diamond Select fashion, the package is absolutely huge and absolutely not collector friendly. It makes quite a statement in terms of presentation, it has some great character art on the side panel, and it shows off everything you’re getting in the package perfectly. On the other hand, it’s crazy to see how much trash it creates after you’ve opened it and how long it takes to take off all those twisty-ties.  And if you are a MOSC collector (or retail store, for that matter), these take up a lot of space on the shelf. But these figures have been so much fun, I couldn’t imagine not opening them, so let me get a fresh garbage bag and get Animal free of his plastic and cardboard prison.

When it comes down to sculpt, DST seems to really know their way around The Muppets, and Animal here is no exception. All his crazy personality is beautifully captured here in plastic. His outfit consists of a hip and trendy red and yellow half-jacket with a pair of ragged cut pants tied at the waist. Call it Muppet Chic. The ensemble is topped off with his spiked collar and a real chain leash hanging down off it, long enough to touch the ground when he’s standing. The lanky proportions of the arms and legs are spot on, and it’s surprising how well he can stand on his own.

The coloring is really good and the quality of paint is fairly solid. His skin tone is just the right shade of orange, and while he doesn’t quite sport the same level of foam texture that the other company was able to achieve, it’s still impressive for this smaller scale. I really like the glossy finish used for his jacket that gives it a vinyl sheen. The paint application for his rope belt could have been a little cleaner, but I’m not going to make a fuss over it.

The head sculpt is definitely a winner. From the bushy eyebrows and crazy eyes to the sculpted fur that covers his face, this is undoubtedly the Animal that I know and love. The hinged jaw was a particularly nice treat, complete with painted tongue and adorable underbite. There’s a little slop of white paint around the teeth, but overall the paintwork on the portrait is respectable and clean.

The articulation in this line has had its ups and downs, depending on the shape of the individual character. Ironically, the characters with the lankier arms and legs seem to do better and so Animal feels like he has more posing options than say Fozzie Bear. The points basically consist of a passel of rotating hinges. You get them in the shoulders, elbows, wrists, and knees. There are hinges in the ankles, and the hips and neck are ball jointed. A modicum of care is recommended when posing these figures, although Animal isn’t anywhere near as delicate feeling as Kermit. Animal’s hands feature holes in the grips designed expressly for holding his drumsticks.

And that brings us to the drums! As great as Animal is, it’s the nine piece drum set that really makes this set shine. You get a bass drum, a tom tom, floor tom, snare, three cymbals, a bass pedal, and a drum throne for animal to sit on. The detail in the set is great, and I really dig the gradient yellow-orange-red deco on the drums. The bass drum also features the artwork for Dr. Teeth’s Electric Mayhem. There have been quite a few different pieces of art to grace Animal’s bass throughout the years, but I think this one was a fine choice for the set. I imagine it would be pretty easy to print off the other Electric Mayhem logos so you could swap them out on your display.

The only downside of the drum set is that the posts are rather frail and some of the pieces easily topple over. It would have been nice if DST could have used metal for the bases to help them stand, but we’re already getting quite a lot of stuff in this package, so I can understand why that might be cost prohibitive. Eventually, I’m going to just cut a piece of poster board and use blue tack to secure the pieces down.

I really dig the importance that DST is placing in the accessories and set pieces for their Muppets line, and I think Animal and his drum ensemble is a great example of this line at its best. There probably aren’t going to be a lot of times where I call out DST over Palisades when it comes to The Muppets, but honestly DST’s drum set outshines what was included with Palisade’s version even if it is done at a smaller scale.

If I was wavering a bit after the first Series of figures, Animal here has put me back on track to believing in this line. I’m absolutely delighted with the way this set came out, and as importantly, I’m thrilled to see that DST is committed to getting all of Electric Mayhem out within the next couple of waves. My dedication to collecting The Muppets has been rekindled, so don’t be surprised to see a bunch more Muppet Mayhem in the coming weeks!

Marvel Gallery: Phoenix by Diamond Select

It’s that magical time for Marvel Monday, when I’m between waves of Marvel Legends and I can take a brief moment to look at something else Marvel-related before diving into another Legends Wave and chipping away at my huge backlog. And as it so happens, I just got in one of the latest releases in Diamond Select’s Marvel Gallery series of 9-inch scale PCV statues. Let’s have a look at Jean Grey!

DST has done a great job streamlining the package for this line while still giving each one a bit of character. Jean comes in a collector-friendly window box with windows on the front, top, and side panels, allowing you to get a great look at the piece you’re buying. Provided, of course, that you aren’t picking them up online, like I have to. The box deco is blue with some green speckles of energy and the X-Men logo under the window and above her name. Diamond has been calling these “PVC Dioramas,” but they’re really just statues with specialized bases. I can’t help but wonder if that has something to do with licensing issues.

And with Jean out of her box, I find myself suitably impressed! Jean stands with her right toe suspended in the center of a fiery phoenix and her left leg bent up at the knee. She turns at the waist toward her beholder with her right arm out behind her and her left arm reaching forward. The composition here really resonates a lot of energy, while still retaining something of a cheesecake pose, which would have been right at home in Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line.

All the details of Phoenix’s costume are incorporated as part of the sculpt. Her boots and gauntlets are thicker, making them actually look like they’re worn over the suit. Even the plunging black triangle on her chest with the phoenix emblem are separate sculpts. The belt also features the two tied off loose ends fluttering behind her. Beyond that, you get some lovely muscle definition sculpted into her skin tight suit.

The paint on the costume is damn near flawless. The suit features a striking metallic green finish, the triangular cut-out is in matte black, and the rest of the costume is kitted out in a yellowish-gold with a nice shimmer to it. Very nice!

The portrait is clean and beautiful, but like the pose, it leans toward the previously mentioned Bishoujo camp. It’s not that she’s had an anime makeover, but rather her smiling expression makes this look more like a glamour art commission one might get done at a comic convention. I actually love it, but some might have hoped for something a little more serious and in character. Either way, the paint applications for the eyes and lips are all crisp and fairly precise. The only issue I have is that the mascara under her left eye is a little lower than the right, but I’m really nitpicking here. The hair sculpt is absolutely extraordinary.

The fiery phoenix base is cast in a translucent orange and yellow plastic. and works beautifully. I love the balance of the piece and how it looks like Jean is almost defying gravity. I’ve really been warming up to statue designers using unconventional bases like this.

I have to give major props to DST for this beautiful statue. The quality on this piece is exceptional and I’m ever impressed that they can deliver something that looks this good in what is basically a budget line. I pre-ordered this one when it was first solicited at $45 and I couldn’t be happier with my purchase. Indeed, she’s so good, she can definitely hang with some of the more expensive statues in my collection. It’ll be back to Legends next week, and with the Blu-Ray release of Spider-Man: Homecoming coming in just a few weeks, I thought I might as well hit that wave next.

Femme Fatales “Hack/Slash:” Cassie Hack (NYCC 2015 Exclusive Edition) by Diamond Select

You’ve probably already surmised something is up by the title of today’s feature, so let me just come out and declare that DC Fridays are going on hiatus. I’ve got some great DC related stuff pre-ordered and coming soon, but with DC Icons almost dead, and DC Multiverse too depressing for me to keep reviewing, my DC merch is pretty much relegated to statues these days. It breaks my heart because DC is absolutely killing it with their comics lately and I’m reading most of their current books. Sooo, I’m opening up Fridays as an “Anything Goes” slot once again, but as new DC stuff comes in, it’ll get shunted to the front of the line every Friday. Promise!

With that all having been said, I’m keeping things comic-themed today and checking out Diamond Select’s Exclusive Edition of the Femme Fatales Cassie Hack statue from Image Comics’ Hack/Slash! Phew, that was a mouthful! And yes, if by some chance this looks familiar, it may be because I reviewed the standard version a couple years back. If you’re down for some great horror-comedy-action funnybooks, you’d be well-served to check out Hack/Slash by Tim Seeley, which should still be available in TPB format. There’s hardly any merchandising surrounding this series, so it should come as no surprise that I was willing to double dip on the Exclusive.

The packaging is more or less identical, even to the point where the photos on the back of the box are of the retail release and not this Exclusive. You do get a sticker on the front window declaring this an “Action Figure Xpress Exclusive”. There’s also a piece of foil tape on the top denoting it is a NYCC Exclusive and that mine is number 669 of 1,000. Dammit… soooo close to 666! Anyway, it looks like I’m going in from the bottom to get Cassie out! There isn’t a lot of set up involved here. After freeing her from betwixt two clear plastic trays one finds that she comes permanently attached to her base, but you do have to put her accessories in her hands.

Here she is, and ain’t she to die for? In my review of the original retail release, I bemoaned the fact that this Exclusive was the more colorful edition and that I preferred it to the two. That opinion still holds strong today. Indeed, if I had known how easy and affordable this statue would be to eventually get, I would have waited, but more on that later. There is no new sculpting here, so we’re dealing with just a straight repaint, and even those changed areas are somewhat limited. The blue and gray gloves have been changed to red and gray, her gray skirt is now black with red squares, and her socks are now black with red decorations.

So, the repaint is not entirely extensive, but I think it does a lot to elevate the original release. I’m not saying they should have put Cassie in some inappropriately bright colors, but the gray used for the skirt just seemed drab and boring for a statue. Overall, the quality of the paint application is pretty good here, especially for a budget line like this one.

The portrait still looks great, and features Cassie’s hair cascading down and covering half of her face. She’s very pretty and I love the delicate curve of her nose into her more prominent upper lip. The paint for her eyes and lips is applied sharply, and yes… she’s wearing gray lipstick!

Her accessories include Vlad’s mask and her nail-studded baseball bat. It’s a shame they couldn’t do Vlad as a companion piece, but that really isn’t within the scope of this line, at least not back then. Nonetheless, as I’m sure I said when reviewing the retail release, it was crucial they make his presence felt somewhere and including the mask was a pretty good way to do it. I was hoping they would have added some writing to the bat for the Exclusive, like “Kiss It,” but both the bat and the mask are exactly the same as the original retail release.

Also identical is the hatchet-inspired stand and I really do love this thing. It’s fun, creative, and perfectly fits the theme.

Generally speaking, these roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues retail for just under $45, which is not too shabby for statue collectors on a budget. There have been some ups and downs in terms of overall quality, but I’ve been a fan and supporter of DST’s Femme Fatales long before it grew into the DC and Marvel Gallery lines and Cassie here is a good example why. Now here’s the kicker: The limited run Exclusive is actually selling for about half the price of the regular retail release right now on Amazon, which is where I picked up mine. And so for a cool $15, I was able to get the preferred version that I thought would be difficult and expensive to find. Who knew? I’m sure as hell not going to complain about owning both versions. Especially since no other companies seem interested in doing anything with the license.

Femme Fatales (Justice League Unlimited): Hawkgirl by Diamond Select

Folks, my available content for DC Fridays continues to run scarce. Don’t take that as an indictment against DC Comics, on the contrary I’m reading more DC books than ever right now! But, with no really cohesive or worthwhile DC action figure line, I’m falling back to mostly statues. I can see a time coming where I may have to start rotating other content into Fridays, but we’re not there yet. Thankfully, the fine folks at Diamond are continuing to pump out the PVC statue love for DC in their wildly prolific Gallery/Femme Fatale line. And it so happens that I was lucky enough to have another of their Justice League Unlimited statues hit my doorstep just in time for DC Friday. Let’s open up the Bruce Timm style Hawkgirl!

Hawgirl is a 2016 release, which explains why the box still says Femme Fatales as opposed to the newer DC Animated Gallery branding, but they’re all really part of the same series, all scaled at roughly 9-inches, and are meant to display together. The box is identical to what we’ve been seeing all along, with windows on the front, top, and side panels to let the light in and see what you’re getting. In this case, that didn’t help me, because I got her online, but more on that in a bit. The box features the Justice League Unlimited logo and everything is collector friendly. Hawgirl does require a bit of assembly, as her wings need to be pegged into her back and her foot has to be pegged into the base. Getting her pegged into the base was a little tricky, as I had to bend her legs out to make the pegs fit. That’s not uncommon with statues, and it’s a lot less nerve-racking with a budget piece like this one.

All set up, Hawgirl charges up a rocky base with her wings trailing behind her. She’s clearly about to have at some unfortunate villain with the full fury of her mace. I dig what they did here with the composition. It’s a lot more energetic than most of the other Femme Fatales, but it still fits in fine with the overall theme. The sculpt reflects the animated style beautifully and they really nailed her stylized proportions. As an animated statue, there isn’t a whole lot of sculpted detail, but all the paint lines are incorporated into the sculpt.

If you’ve been with me through any of my previous looks at this line, you may recall me saying how important the paint quality is on these animated style statues. With limited sculpted details, clean and well-applied paint is absolutely crucial to carry the day and make for a presentable display piece. Unfortunately, that’s a bit of an issue with this one. Hawkgirl is a textbook example of a statue that looks totally acceptable from a fair viewing distance, but begins to fall apart under close scrutiny. The most egregious issues are the seams where the arms connect to the shoulders. These were obviously intended to be covered by paint, but the paint either wasn’t thick enough, or it cracked after being painted and the result is an eyesore on some fairly prominent parts of the figure, particularly the right arm. There’s also some unsightly white rubbing along the top of her left thigh where it meets her red hawk-undies. I’ve seen the same issues on pictures of the statue from other people’s collections, so I know it isn’t an isolated incident.

The portrait is fairly good. I’ll be honest and say that this style has been hit or miss with me and Hawkgirl, as she sometimes looks really silly as if her eyes are on the sides of her head like an actual bird. It’s not something specific to the statue, but the animation model as well. In the cartoon, the animators could force perspectives on her and most of the time it worked, but in this case when you’re doing a fully realized 3D statue of a 2D design, you can’t rely on that as a crutch. I think it works fine in profile and when viewed at a slight turn, but dead on straight she looks pretty ridiculous. Again, not a fault of the sculpt, but rather the source material. With that having been said, the lips are painted quite nicely, the eyes aren’t too bad, but my statue has some rubbing and scuffing on the right side of her mask. It’s also worth mentioning here that the flesh tone looks fine on her face, but has some rubbing on the arms, which just make her look dirty.

The mace is recreated pretty nicely here. Oddly enough, it’s sculpted as a separate piece and fitted into her hands. You can’t really remove it, but it does rattle around in there a little and you can turn it so that the lanyard can face different directions. The matte gray paint on the head of mine also has some scuffing and rubbing, but nothing too bad. Surprisingly, the painted wings on my statue are quite smooth and even.

The base is a giant rock, which in the context of the figure looks fine, but by itself it looks like a giant lump of chocolate, or perhaps something else.

I’ve been a huge cheerleader for this line and many of the statues have offered some really impressive value for the dollar, but there has been an occasional disappointment here and there. Lady Deadpool was one, and now Hawkgirl is another. There’s nothing terrible here, but there are just enough issues to bug me. And yes, I realize this is a budget line. Hawkgirl’s MSRP is around $40 and I picked up mine for considerably less, but after some stellar releases like Zatanna, Black Canary, and Medusa, I guess my expectations have been buoyed. Still, my track record on this line has been pretty damn good, and I’m not going to let a few flubs on Hawkgirl dissuade me from continuing to collect it.

DC Gallery (Justice League Unlimited): Black Canary by Diamond Select

It was way back in January that I last visited with Diamond Select’s DC Gallery line of 9-inch scale PVC statues, which is basically an off-shoot of the old Femme Fatales line. What started as a low key assortment of female indie comic characters and some original designs has since ballooned into a very prolific series of statues based on both DC and Marvel guys and gals. The DC Gallery has been focusing on the Bruce Timm style of the various DC animated series.  That last one was Zatana and she was absolutely amazing. Today, I’m opening up Black Canary based on her appearance in the Justice League Unlimited series!


I dig the packaging on these statues, which consists of collector friendly boxes with windows on the top, front, and side panels to let in plenty of light. You really can get a great look at the figure from almost every angle before you even have to break the seal. It’s great for me, because currently I’m displaying all of these in package so I can stack them. The box decos are usually themed to whichever show the character is from, and in this case we just get a very dark blue box with the JLU logo on the front and the DC Gallery logo on the top corner. Oddly enough, DST refers to this one as a “PVC Diorama” but it’s still really just a figure on a base like we’ve been getting all along. There’s no assembly required, and Dinah comes right out of her clamshell trays ready for display.

Straight away, I’ll say that I love what DST did with the pose here. Black Canary is adopting a wide stance, leaning forward with arms out and hands clenched into fists, and she’s letting rip with her awesome canary cry. This piece has a lot more energy to it then most of the other figures in this series, but it isn’t so much of a departure that she looks out of place among her fellow femme fatales. As always, the Bruce Timm animated style doesn’t require a lot of sculpted detail, so Dinah relies on a lot of smooth surfaces. You do, however, get some lovely little wrinkles in her jacket, which is blowing back behind her, plus all the paint lines feature sculpted lines as well.

The portrait is especially nice. In terms of expression and the shouting mouth, this is probably one of the most complex and difficult head sculpts DST has yet to offer in this line. Mostly we just get smiles. Nonetheless, DST pulled this one off with style. The open mouth is absolutely fantastic and I love the determined expression on her face. I also love the way her hair flows back behind her to match the jacket. What’s more the paint work on Dinah’s face is just about perfect. Actually, forget the “just about” part and let’s just say it’s perfect.

So, let’s talk paint in general, because it’s crucial on these animated style statues. While I have had a few instances with DST’s Gallery statues where the quality of the paint application has been an issue, most of the time it’s been fine, and a few time’s it’s been exceptional. It’s one of the frustrating things about having to buy these online and hoping for the best, as opposed to choosing the best one off the shelf. Well, I’m happy to say that Dinah is one of those exceptional times. Here, everything is sharp and clean. There’s no rubbing or scratches on the black or gray surfaces, and virtually no slop or uneven lines to speak of. What’s more the quality of the paint itself is superb. The yellow on her hair and the blue on her jacket are both vibrant, the gray on her stockings and the skin tone are both smooth and consistent.

The base places Black Canary on a strip of road with the asphalt all ripped up in front of her. It looks pretty good, with a decent surface texture and the highway dividing lines painted in yellow. The area where it’s broken up looks a bit mushy and more like clay than asphalt, but I’ll write that off to the animated style. It looks fine and it makes for a nice little scene, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen before, and not really worth the added moniker of “PVC Diorama.” 

After the great experience I had with Zatana, I thought she was going to be a mighty tough act to follow, but Black Canary here makes the grade. The composition is excellent, the sculpt is on point, and the paint is superb. And here’s where I’m happy to remind myself that this is essentially a budget line. Black Canary retails for around $45, but I was able to pick her up on Amazon for ten bucks less and at either price, I think she makes for a great value. Right now, I’d probably put her tied for second among my Femme Fatales DC ladies. Zatana still holds the top spot, with Dinah battling it out between Talia and Poison Ivy for second place.

Marvel Gallery: Jessica Jones (as Jewel) by Diamond Select

As much as it pains me to take time away from the piles of backlogged Marvel Legends in my closet, I’m taking a brief hiatus this week (and next week) to look at some other things Marvel. I may even go ahead and do a Legends theme week soon, just so I can get a whole wave out of the way. We’ll see. But, today I’m returning to my favorite line of budget statues from Diamond Select. These started life as the Femme Fatales line of indie comic figures and have since been re-branded as the DC and Marvel Galleries. Let’s have a look at Jewel… aka Jessica Jones. See what I did there!

The style of boxes hasn’t changed much since the Femme Fatales days. You still get window panels on the front, top, and both sides. This lets plenty of light in and allows for a good look at the statue before opening it. It also helps, as right now I have these all displayed in their packages. The decos on the boxes are usually designed to suit the character, although in this case we just get a pleasing star-scape with a big Diamond Gallery logo and the character’s name on the front. The figure comes suspended between two clear plastic trays and there’s no assembly required. One of the things I love about this line is Diamond’s willingness to take some risks with the character selection now and then. Sure, Jessica Jones is a big name now what with her excellent Netflix series and all, but instead of doing something that newcomers would find familiar, they released her as Jewel. That’s awesome.

And this is pretty awesome statue! Jewel is depicted in her simple, but sexy, white body suit with some gorgeous metallic blue paint on her gloves, belt, and bordering around her chest. These areas are also part of the sculpt, as is the rather large jewel that hangs off her belt. The suit itself features a very pretty pearlescent white finish that catches the light beautifully. The blue and white just compliment each other so well! Jewel’s muscle tone is also sculpted around her abs, and you get some subtle little touches like the hints of flex wrinkles around the backs of her knees and her toes. It’s obviously meant to be a pretty snugly fit costume and it shows off all her curves perfectly. There’s no doubt about it, the sculpting wizards at Diamond know their way around the female form.

The pose is playful and a more than a little seductive. Jewel has one leg in front of the other, her left hand is resting on her hip, and she’s blowing a kiss with her right hand, which manifests in the form of translucent purple shooting stars. Now, I’m not entirely sure what they were going for with the star effect, as I’m not aware of that ever being even remotely expressed as one of her powers, but it’s cute and fun, and I think that’s certainly the vibe they were going for in this piece. I like it, because the noir nature of Jessica Jones’ character packs a lot more punch when seen in the context of what she was like before Zebediah Killgrave messed her up. At least, that certainly holds true for this comic version of the character.

The portrait works on the same level too, although you could argue that she’s even a little more reserved than some of her panel art. The purple paint work for her eyebrows, eyes, and lips, is all crisp and clean, and the skin tone is warm and smooth. The only issue I have here is that I wish they used a matte purple paint for her hair, instead of the gloss they went with. I think it would have looked a little less plastic and more convincing. But truth be told, I’m just looking for things to nitpick.

The base is the same transparent plastic used for her shooting star kiss, and it has something of a crystalline look to it. Like the kiss, I think the base is a bit of a reach in terms of tying it thematically in with the character, but in the end it looks good and it presents the figure well, so I’m not complaining.

Once again, these are budget statues, with an average retail of about $45. I picked up Jewel for a little less than that and as is usually the case with this series, I’m so very glad I did. At roughly 9-inch scale, you’re getting a decent sized display piece, and I have to say the quality of the paint here is quite remarkable. I can usually find something about the paint on these to pick at, be it an uneven line or rubbing on the finish, but that’s simply not the case here. I’d easily compare the paint work on this statue to any number of ones from DC Collectibles, or even Diamond’s own Premier Collection, at more than twice the price. And besides, in market flooded with Marvel’s A-listers, how cool is to see characters like Jewel get their own statue? It’s just another reason why I’m happy to support this line.

Marvel Gallery: Medusa by Diamond Select

What started as a humble line of indie comic statues, called Femme Fatales, has grown into quite the Marvel and DC branded juggernaut. Indeed, Diamond Select has been churning out these Marvel and DC Gallery statues at a remarkably brisk rate while expanding to include the dudes as well. At the same time, they seem to have a handle on balancing the compromise between budget and quality. I’ve amassed quite a few of the DC Animated Series and I’ve had few complaints. And if that wasn’t enough good news, DST is clearly willing to start taking risks with some character choices. And that brings us to one of the most recent Marvel Gallery releases: Medusa, matriarch of the Inhumans!

Now, granted, Medusa is far from an unknown in the Marvel Universe, but this line has mostly been about A-Listers, so including her is a welcome and unexpected treat. The statue comes in the same style window box we’ve been seeing ever since the first Femme Fatale statue hit the comic shops, although the decos are now branded to match the characters inside. You get windows on the front, side and top panels to let in plenty of light. Medusa’s box also has the added bonus of being crazy heavy. For what are roughly nine-inch scale PVC statues, these don’t tend to have a lot of heft to them, but as we’ll soon see, Medusa’s hair adds a lot of weight to this piece. The statue comes secured between two clear plastic trays, the box is totally collector friendly, and there’s no assembly required.

Out of her box, the Inhuman goddess is a remarkably striking piece.  She dons her black costume, which features a high gloss finish and a very low cut front that runs all the way down to her belt. The skin revealed by her exposed front is tinted black to suggest she’s got some kind of body stocking to protect her Inhuman goodies. She has a pair of matte black, ribbed boots, which come up past her knees and feature some rather interesting heel designs. The costume also features hold arched fixtures on her shoulders, gold wrist bracelets, a red jewel just below her naval, and a pearl belt and necklace. I just love what they did with this costume, and the little contrasts from matte to gloss and bits of gold, white, and red offer some nice diversity to what could have been a bit of a boring outfit. It also helps that the quality of paint and its application on this piece are top notch, right down to the red nail polish on her finger tips.

Of course, I can’t go far in this review without talking about her legendary copious coif. Medusa’s red hair cascades down her back and pools up below her feet to form a very creative base. The hair features sculpted texture and some subtle variations in color. I really dig how they designed this piece and the way the hair suspends her with her feet in mid air. There’s so much to love with this statue!

And I’m happy to report that the portrait is every bit as good as everything from the neck down. She’s got a beautiful portrait and the paint used for her lips, pupil-less eyes, and vibrant eye shadow is crisp and perfect.

Normally I wait for a deal when picking up these statues, because they tend to get deeply discounted by retailers after they’ve been on the market for a couple of weeks. In this case, however, I really wanted to show my support for Diamond’s willingness to go with some less obvious character selection. To that end, I pre-ordered both Medusa and Jewel (aka Jessica Jones) at full price, which amounted to about $45 each. I’ll get around to reviewing Jewel eventually, but as far as Medusa goes, I couldn’t be happier with this purchase. Everything about this statue makes it feel like something far more premium than a budget statue and I could confidently place her among some of my $100 DC Cover Girls or Marvel Premier pieces and she could easily hold her own in terms of paint and overall quality.