Vampire Slayer (Red Version) Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

As I mentioned last week, I am really far behind on my TBLeague figure reviews, and I’m going to try to work them into the regular rotation every couple of weeks so I can get through the backlog. Today, I’m checking out a fairly recent release, The Vampire Slayer! This vamp-vexing femme fatale is another one of TBL’s original concept figure, so there’s no licensed property here to be familiar with. And I’ll say right out of the gate, I think they made some strange choices when putting this figure together. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves… to the packaged shot!

The artwork on the front panel here is absolutely killer. It would probably be enough to make me buy this figure even without seeing what’s inside. And I kind of wish I could stand behind that excuse. As usual, the figure comes in a high quality shoebox-type package with a tri-fold top that secures on the sides via magnets. Inside, the head comes detatched and wrapped in plastic, with everything nestled in in a cozy foam bed, and the whole shebang smells like tea when you open it! It always makes me want to mix up some Lipton’s iced tea! Included in the outer mailer box, but separate from the actual figure box, is a styrofoam brick that houses a diorama-style figure stand. Let’s get her all set up and check her out!

OK, I am so conflicted on this figure that I don’t even know where to begin. She looks cool enough, but nothing about her invokes the idea of being a Vampire Slayer. Unlike the Saintess Knight that we looked at last time, this figure makes good use of a costume designed to show off some of that seamless body. She dons a plastic one-piece black cuirass with some lovely gold trim, a jewel betwixt her ample bosoms, and a skull warning you off of her groinular region. She has a pair of fishnet stockings, with plastic bands about thigh high, and these have some very cool skull motifs facing outward, where they also secure her red leather, high heel boots. Capping this all off is a red leather duster, which is actually in two pieces. There’s a half-jacket, which ends just below her chest, and the rest hooks on to cascade down the back of her legs to the ground. The jacket has a gold design on the back, and a very high collar with some more gold decorations. In theory, I like everything here well enough, but the figure is susceptible to a lot of wardrobe malfunctions.

For starters, the bottom half of the jacket is attached by placing two metal hooks through two very tiny stitches on the back of the jacket. It’s pretty easy to get it attached, but it does not want to stay put. Posing the figure, or just handling her, will usually cause the hooks to come out. You could display her without it for a bit of a cheeky look, but to keep it on her, I’m going to have to try crimping the hooks with a pair of pliers. There are other little issues with the costume as well, like the way the thigh rings tend to slip down past the tops of the stockings. And if you put her in any action poses, the boot tops don’t like to cooperate with leg bends, and wind up looking all messed up. Finally, the plastic fixtures on the front of her boots do not sit flush with her lower legs, but rather stick out a bit.

The head sculpt is nice. Sure, it’s the usual blank expression that we get with these figures, but the paint is absolutely fantastic. The eyes have a little spark of life to them and the lips are painted impeccably. She’s got short blonde hair, which can be a little difficult to keep under control, so I may wind up taking a spritz of hair spray to her. The plastic collar does tend to ride up a lot, and doesn’t sit flush on her skin. Also, that jacket’s high collar must really wreak havoc on her peripheral vision. If vamps come up from the side, she’s probably going to be surprised!

The Vamp Slayer comes with only two accessories, and neither seem like they would be very useful for actually slaying vamps. The first is this little curved dagger that comes in a plastic sheath. It’s a fantastic little accessory, but there’s nowhere I can find to attach the sheath, so she can’t really wear it, unless you rig something up like a belt.

Her main weapon is like a medieval morning star, with the spikes running all the way down to the handle. Like the dagger, I think this weapon looks great, but it doesn’t seem like something a Vampire Slayer should be carrying around. Where are the stakes? The holy water? A crossbow? Even a sword with a crucifix as a hilt? I haven’t seen either of these weapons packed in with previous TBL releases, but it sure feels like something they had lying around and decided to toss into the box when designing this figure.

While the accessories are a bit light, TBL did not skimp on the base. It’s a large rock formation overhanging a lake or river, all presented on a pedestal with a golden decorative ring around it. One of my frequent gripes about TBL’s diorama bases is that they often have no way of securing the figure to them, but they’ve been rectifying that lately by including a bendable post that screws into the base and grabs the figure around the waist. But once again, nothing about this base invokes the whole Vampire Slayer vibe, and I’m tempted to give it to one of my TBL figures that didn’t come with one. Still, it is very nice!

It’s hard to know exactly why I pre-ordered this figure. It’s nice and all, but everything about the design feels half-baked. It’s like they designed her, didn’t know what to call her, so just went with Vampire Slayer, tossed in some unrelated weapons, and kicked her out the door. My guess is that she went up for pre-order at a time when I was flush with cash, and more than a little inebriated, because it’s rare for me to buy a higher end figure that I’m not absolutely in love with. And it’s safe to say I was never in love with this one. I may consider selling her off, but more likely, she’ll go back in the box to be reassessed later, while her base and weapons get parted off to one of my other figures. This figure was also released in a white version, which gave her a white cuirass, black coat and boots, and a brunette head sculpt. Overall, I dig this one more, but that’s still not saying all that much.

Saintess Knight (Silver Version) Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

My backlog of TBLeague’s figures is pretty big right now. It’s so big, that I’m cutting myself off of buying any more until I can get caught up. There’s another reason for me to slow down with these too, but I’ll come back to that at the end, when we talk price. The last time I checked out one of TBLeague’s seamless sixth-scale figures was back in December of last year with the Knight of Fire, so I’m long overdue!

Saintess Knight is another one of TBLeague’s original concept figures, and they seem to be doing fewer and fewer licensed releases. And that makes sense, because they’re quite good at designing some compelling characters, and it also saves them having to pay out licensing fees for someone else’s intellectual property. As was the case with the Knight of Fire, The Saintess Knight is available in three different versions: Silver, Black, or Gold. Once again, I went with the silver one, which may or may not have been a good idea. I don’t have anything new to say about the packaging. She comes in a very durable box with a tri-fold top that secures to the sides with magnets. There’s some artwork on the front, and a shot of the figure on the back, and as always the interior of the box smells like tea. No, really. It smells like tea!

You never really know how involved the setup with these figures is going to be. Sometimes it’s a frustrating and time-consuming affair, but here it wasn’t so bad. She comes out of the box headless, with the body wearing her white, long-sleeved arming doublet, white trousers, a leather-like outer skirt, and a faux chain-mail inner skirt, and finally her cuirass and armored boot-feet. That leaves her shoulders, leg armor pieces, and forearm armor to put on. In the past, TBLeague has relied on elastic straps with TINY clasps to secure the shoulders, but here they used sculpted plastic for the straps on all the armor pieces, and boy was that a great improvement. Not only is it easier to get these pieces on, but I’m not worried about snapping or stretching the elastic in the process. Hopefully, they will never EVER go back to the elastic straps.

If you are familiar with TBLeague’s figures, one of the things you may notice first about the Saintess Knight is that she shows virtually no skin. And yes, these figures usually show a lot of skin, so you can appreciate and marvel at the seamless body. This may turn some people off, because truth be told, this figure could have been executed with a regular jointed body, and you wouldn’t know the difference. It does, however, still benefit from the uncanny articulation provided by the stainless steel skeleton underneath. Either way, the figure does look very good. The armor pieces are cast in a soft, pliable plastic, but the paint is pretty convincing as forged steel. Indeed, the paint on these pieces is quite exceptional, and even the fabric “chainmail” looks quite good. I do, however, have a couple of nitpicks. Firstly, the strings that secure the front and back pieces of the cuirass is a little messy. It can be knotted and the excess cut off, but I haven’t made that decision yet. Secondly, the white arming doublet tends to pick up some soiling from the armor pieces. It’s not a devastating flaw to me, but had I known that I probably would have chosen the Gold or Black Versions, as they have darker undersuits.

The helmet is quite a thing of beauty, and is based off of what I believe to be a 15th Century Armet. It’s silver with reinforced golden bands, which matches the beautiful raised scrollwork you can see on the cuirass and shoulders. There are narrow slits for the eyes, and some additional vertical slits to provide ventilation. What I really dig about this helmet is the way it opens up.

Not only does the visor lift up, but the lower guard hinges open as well, both of which is necessary to place it onto the figure’s head. Underneath, you get a pretty standard, but beautiful, head sculpt with a very neutral expression. The paintwork for the eyes and lips is both precise and clean, and looks absolutely fantastic. The only sticking point here is getting as much of the hair into the helmet as possible. She has a fairly short blonde coif, but I think they could have made it even a bit shorter to help keep it under control while the helmet goes over it. Like the armor, the helmet is cast in pliable plastic, which makes it a bit easier to get onto the head without fear of breaking it. Let’s check out some accessories!

First off, she comes with a gorgeous single-handed sword and scabbard. And they even addressed one of my previous nitpicks on another figure, by giving her a belt loop to secure the scabbard to her. Yes, that seemed like a pretty big oversight on some previous figures, but it goes to show that TBLeague is always looking for improvements. The white loop fits snugly around the scabbard near the throat and holds it in place perfectly. She also comes with hands designed to hold the sword, in addition to her fists and relaxed hands. I’m also happy to report that swapping the hands on this figure was easy, which is not always the case.

The sword is made entirely of plastic, which is fine. I think the days of getting die-cast blades out of TBLeague are gone. Nonetheless, this is a beautiful piece, with raised decorations on the blade, a gold crossguard, and a gold scent-stopper pommel. The turned grip is silver, and while I called it a single-handed sword earlier, I suppose this could count as a hand-and-a-half, adding a little more versatility to its handling.

Next up, you get a round shield, done up in the same silver and gold deco as the armor. This is a pretty simple concave disk with an elastic strap and a grab bar on the inside. The outer surface is etched with a woodgrain pattern, a reinforced gold decoration, and a rather large boss in the center. All in all it’s a nice piece, and worth noting that the shield design changes depending on which version of the figure you bought.

Finally, the Saintess Knight comes with a gigantic Great Sword., which is just a hair shorter than the figure itself. It’s a pretty generic style sword with a wide crossguard and a ridiculously long grip. It’s hard to imagine her wielding this with any success in battle, but it’s a cool looking piece nonetheless, and it makes for a nice bonus accessory.

As a figure that doesn’t show a lot of skin, the Saintess Knight may not be every Phicen fan’s cup of tea. As I mentioned earlier, there’s nothing here that couldn’t have been done with a regular jointed figure. With that having been said, I think she turned out great, and I really dig the armored female warriors that TBLeague has been putting out. The only real sticking point with me here is the price. One of the appealing thing about TBL’s releases has been the value, as most of the figures have been releasing around the $159 price point. Saintess Knight, however jumped to $209, and that seems like a big jump, considering she doesn’t even come with a base or figure stand. Indeed, I’m racking my brain as to what made me pre-order this figure at that price point. It’s quite possible booze was involved, and I could have certainly done worse, but if this is a sign of things to come, I’m going to be a lot more selective about which TBLeague figures I pick up.

Doctor Who: “Warriors of the Deep” Collector Set by Character Options

Yet again, the benevolent blokes at Character Options see fit to keep the Doctor Who action figure line going with a sprinkling of new releases each year. Most of these have been repaints and repacks with an occasional new sculpt thrown in, but here we get a set with all new figures! Well, one new figure three times over. Let’s check out… The Warriors of the Deep!

Just to make it clear, I am in no way complaining, but… what an odd choice for a new set! I don’t dislike the 1984 Fifth Doctor story, Warriors of the Deep. It’s got some cool sets, an interesting premise, and it brings back the Silurians and Sea Devils for the first time in over ten years, but I find it hard to imagine it ranks up there as anyone’s favorite story. The moral quandary of the original Doctor Who and The Silurians is gone, and with it a big part of what made these ancient creatures such a unique enemy. And with a good chunk of the middle episodes of Warriors following The Myrka stomping about the Sea Base like a drunken pony, this one can get a bit tedious at times. Besides, with Character Options willing to cough up the tooling for a three pack of Silurians, I think most fans would have been happier to see the originals. But again… I AM NOT COMPLAINING!!! So let’s have a look at the figures!

Icthar is the sole survivor of The Silurian Triad and actually one of the Silurians that encountered the Third Doctor in the 1972 story. He has since had a slight redesign and I dig it well enough, looking more polished than the older costumes. I guess that was kind of necessary considering how well lit the sets of Sea Base 4 are in this story! Icthar is more orange-gold than green and he sports a crustacean like exoskeleton covering his torso, which is smooth and organically curved. I’m also a big fan of the spiked ridges that run up the back of the exoskeleton, making these Silurians look all the more intimidating. The rest of his body is exposed reptilian skin, with the scales more prominent on his arms than on his legs.

Like his comrades, Icthar has a crude-looking control bracelet on his left forearm, which looks like it was grown rather than built. I seem to recall these were used as communication devices, as well as a means to control the dreaded Myrka!

The head sculpt is the real high point of this figure, as it really is excellent, and a superb recreation of what we saw on the screen. The scales are well defined, especially the finer ones that make up his neck. I also really dig the silver paint they used for the eyes. Sure, his protruding mouth looks like he’s smiling with delight, but don’t let that fool you. He’s hatched an evil scheme to have the human race annihilate themselves and “die as they lived, in a sea of their own blood!” Admittedly, I was never a big fan of the orb at the crest of their heads flashing as they spoke. That seemed more like a robot thing than a reptilian thing. Nonetheless, Icthar’s orb is red and it is the only thing that separates him from his subordinates.

Yup, Tarpok and Scibus are the same figure, with their head orbs painted black. The articulation on these three figures is mostly in line with other newer Who releases, which basically means the shoulders have lateral movement, whereas the older figures just had rotating shoulders. Unfortunately, there are no bicep swivels here, so you can’t really have them activate their control bracelets, because their right hands can’t reach. That’s a bummer. You also get lateral movement in the hips, hinges in the elbows and knees, and swivels in the wrists, thighs, and ankles. There’s no swivel in the neck, but that’s more because of the design of the costume, rather than an omission in the figure’s design.

Do I mind that all three are the same sculpt? Nah, not really. Despite having names, two of these figures might as well just be Silurian army builders. But, while we’re on the subject, I think Character Options would have been better served releasing a set with one Silurian and two of the Samurai Helmeted Sea Devil updates. Sure, it would have required tooling a second new figure, but had they gone that route, I would have definitely bought three of these sets instead of just one. Although, maybe we’ll get lucky enough to see a Warriors of the Deep Sea Devil set too.

For the time being, however, the ’84 Silurians look pretty good alongside the ’72 Sea Devils.

It’s also worth mentioning that the interior tray of the box makes for a cool little display diorama. These trays are usually illustrated with some kind of backdrop, but here we get an actual layered 3D effect with the front windows of the Silurian Battle Cruiser showing Sea Base 4, as they approach!

I have a general rule of thumb when it comes to Character Options’ Doctor Who figures… if they put out a set, I will buy it. I want to support this line all the way, and sometimes that means buying repaints or repacks, and sometimes it means buying an all new set like this one. Was Warriors of the Deep high on my list of stories I wanted to see figures from? Nope. It’s one of those stories that I do not revisit a lot, and believe me… I watch a lot of Classic Who. But, am I absolutely chuffed to have three new Silurian figures in my collection? You bet your Myrka ass I am! And since moving, I have easy access to all my Doctor Who figures again, and that means you’ll be seeing a lot more Doctor Who reviews in the coming weeks ahead!

Doctor Who: The Third Doctor Sixth-Scale Figure by Big Chief Studios

It’s been a rough few years for me as a Doctor Who fan. The Chibnall/Whitaker Era is the first time in my 40 years of watching the show that I can’t find anything to like about the current series and opted out. Yeah, it sucks. But with so many different takes on the renegade Time Lord, I guess it was bound to happen eventually. And yet, it’s hard to be too bitter, when there’s such a wealth of Classic and NuWho to go back to, not to mention some new merch trickling in to enjoy. Indeed, I’ve got a ton of 5.5-inch scale Character Options figures to check out, but Big Chief’s latest offering arrived this week and I’m bumping it to the front of the line!

The Good Doctor comes in a standard shoebox-style package with a lift off top. The deco is nice looking, but why did they have to go with the current era logo? I’m not sure if this is stipulated by the BBC in the licensing agreement, but it really sucks to be reminded of an Era I don’t like when buying Classic Who collectibles. It’s worse because this is a box I plan on keeping. Oh well. Ask me who my favorite Doctor is, and there’s a good chance I’d say it’s the one I happen to be watching at the moment. But if you really pressed me, Jon Pertwee’s Third Doctor will always remain at the top of the list. He was actually the second Doctor that I ever saw (my first was Tom Baker as Number Four!), but I have such great memories of being a teenager and watching The Third Doctor’s stories for the first time on an old B&W TV set in my bedroom every weekend. I loved Pertwee’s performance, I loved that he was given a new adversary in Roger Delgato’s The Master, and I loved his sometimes uneasy pairing with UNIT. Needless to say, I’m excited! So let’s get The Doctor out and have a look!

The figure comes out of the box ready for action and looking fab! Well, I say ready, but you do have to make one small correction to his outfit. Reach into the jacket’s cuffs and pull out some of that white frilly shirt inside so that it’s extending out past the cuff. Otherwise he’s good to go. Big Chief had a lot of great Third Doctor outfits to choose from, but in the end they went for his debut look from Spearhead From Space, and I’m very pleased they did. It’s a complex look that suits his dashing nature. You get black dress shoes, black trousers, and a midnight blue coat, which is fastened with one clasp just a bit above his waistline. The frilly white shirt is recreated with its flashy ruffles and capped off with a black tie. And finally, you get the brilliant black Inverness coat with a red lining and working floral-style clasps. Big Chief has had some challenges in recreating wardrobes that don’t look too puffy. You get a little bit of that here in the collar, but otherwise this outfit shows some excellent sixth-scale tailoring and craftsmanship. I think they did an amazing job here.

Big Chief’s portraits have been hit or miss, and it’s been the one determining factor that has kept me from being All-In on these Sixth-Scale Whos. To me, their Matt Smith likeness still ranks among their best, and it killed me to pass on The Fourth Doctor, but there just wasn’t enough Tom Baker in there for me. Thankfully, they are back to form with this Jon Pertwee portrait. It’s an excellent likeness with an insane amount of detail paced into the facial sculpt. All the little lines are lovingly recreated here, and they did a beautiful job on his distinctive nose (which his son Sean wears ever so proudly!) Even his eyebrows look so good they could be useful on the planet Delphon where they communicate with their eyebrows! As for the expression, Big Chief went for a serious and stoic countenance, which suits The Third Doctor so well.
Sculpted hair was without a doubt the only way to go with this head sculpt, and once again I think they did a fine job. Yes, plastic hair means that the realism takes a bit of a hit, but it’s hard to argue with the loving attention that went into this coif. If I were to nitpick anything here, it would be the plastic used for the skin has a tad of a waxy finish to it, but that only really became noticeable to me when I got him under the studio lights.

There’s plenty of useful articulation under that outfit, including double hinges in the knees, and solid joints that can hold most any pose. That is, except for the neck, which is rather loose. He can hold his head up, but it doesn’t take much jostling to get it to slump. It’s a weird flaw to have, considering Big Chief has turned out a fair number of Sixth-Scale figures at this point, but it also isn’t a fatal mishap either just annoying. You get a nice assortment of hands, including some expressive ones for different posing options. One pair of hands are black gloved, the others are bare, and the left hands include his sculpted pinky ring. I was pleased to see that one of the relaxed hands serves as a karate-chop hand, perfect for showing off his skills at Venusian Aikido. Several of the hands are designed specifically for holding his accessories, so let’s dive right into those!

Big Chief rarely skimps on the accessories, and you get a decent assortment of goodies here. A lot of them are pretty small, but then The Doctor usually only carries what he can fit into his bottomless pockets. The one accessory I won’t picture here is the TARDIS key, because it’s so tiny that I’ve already misplaced it. I’m sure it will turn up!

Two of the items here are weapons, which may seem odd inclusions for The Doctor, The Third Doctor was quite the action hero and occasionally had the need to take up arms. The first is the Ultrasonic Disintegrator Gun carried by the guerilla forces in Day of the Daleks. I love the design for this thing, and was very happy to see it in the box. The Doctor made good use of this weapon to take out some Ogrons.

The second weapon is the Sea Devil Heat Ray Gun, which is a very simple and unique design. None of the hands seemed especially well suited to holding it, which is kind of wielded like a clothes iron, but I was able to make it work OK.

The Metebelis Crystal was a recurring namedrop throughout The Third Doctor’s run, and it played a significant part in his ultimate demise and regeneration, making it a rather essential accessory. This is another one of those little items that I would have considered an unforgivable omission had Big Chief not included it.

Next to the TARDIS key, the smallest accessory is The Doctor’s wristwatch. It’s a very well detailed item considering how small it is, but it’s pretty hard to see it when he’s wearing it on his wrist.

You get Bessie’s remote control unit, which I believe turned up in The Daemons. It’s another very well detailed little accessory, missing only the lettering that was on the original prop that called out the functions of the buttons as Hood, Horn, and Lights, as well as the label Steer near the miniature wheel, and Modulation on the bottom gauge.

The magnifying glass is a pretty simple item, and I can’t help but wonder if it’s something they repurposed from one of their Sherlock figures. It didn’t seem to work perfectly with any specific hand, but again I was able to make it work pretty well.

And of course The Third Doctor saw the first use of the Sonic Screwdriver, so we can’t forget that! This original design remains the most iconic for me, although it didn’t change too much over the following years. I actually didn’t know it had the yellow and black striping for a while, because, as I mentioned earlier, I watched The Third Doctor’s entire run for the first time on a B&W TV set! I go back and fourth on whether or not I prefer the striping or the more utilitarian all silver shaft.

Naturally, you get a stand and this one is more or less the same one we saw with The Twelfth Doctor. I appreciate the effort that went into the design here. The mirror base is flashy and it has a light up feature. But, ultimately, I think the base is way too small, and the electronic feature doesn’t do much for me either. I would have preferred something simpler with a Classic logo on it. It’s worth noting here that this figure was limited to a run of 1,000, although there’s no stated limitation on the stand, only on the box where it is hand numbered. What number do I have? Hell if I can read it. It looks like it might be 312, but I honestly have no idea.

One last bonus is the illustrated insert is printed with a backdrop of the TARDIS console room and the fact that it’s a tri-fold piece of cardboard means it can stand behind the figure. I honestly love when companies include something like this. It’s such a simple little thing, but it goes a long way to make for a more compelling display.

While Big Chief still wavers a bit on their consistency, this latest release just goes to show how great they can be when they’re on their game. I had high hopes for The Third Doctor’s final release and now that I have him in hand, I can happily say I’m not disappointed. I think they did a fantastic job on the costume, and I’d argue that the portrait is the best one they’ve turned out since Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor. At $260, Big Chief is definitely asking Hot Toys prices, and while the quality is high, it’s not yet reached Hot Toy’s unbridled level of excellence. I’m guessing the higher price is also driven by the rather low limitation, and The Third Doctor sold out at Sideshow shortly after it began shipping. Roger Delgado’s Master is due to ship soon as well, and I can’t wait to be able to display these two together!

Doctor Who (The Abominable Snowmen): The 2nd Doctor & TARDIS by Character Options

Much like the good Doctor himself, Character Options’ 5 1/2-inch Doctor Who action figure line continues to defy death. Despite being more-or-less cancelled a while back, CO manages to let a slow drip of releases trickle out each year. Sure, many of these are repacks and repaints, but some are new! I’ve been picking up a lot of these sets over the last year or so, but with how bad the show has been these last two series, I wasn’t too eager to start opening them. Luckily, when I was recently on vacation I got a couple new Classic Who Blu-Ray palate cleansers and now I’m psyched up and ready to start tackling some of these!

Today I’m checking out the latest release, which is The Second Doctor and TARDIS from the 1967 serial, The Abominable Snowmen. CO teased this one, along with a prototype of The Yeti a long while back, and while I’m sad to say there’s no Yeti in here, I’m glad to see The Doctor figure finally made it out! If you’ve picked up any of the MANY of these Doctor and TARDIS releases, you should know what to expect. The goods come in a window box with the toys positioned against a printed background, making for a wonderful display if you are inclined to leave it sealed. Sadly, my box got a bumped corner while making its way across The Pond. Character Options shipped it fast, but put no packing in the box whatsoever.

Yup, while most of the recent releases have been widely available online, this one is a Character Online Exclusive, so I had to go right to the source to get it. The back of the package has a copious amount of copy about the story, which sadly remains one of the lost ones. About the only thing I don’t like about the packaging is that it’s branded for the current series. I’m not a fan of the logo, and I think one of the Classic logos would have been a lot more appropriate here. If you haven’t experienced this story, The Abominable Snowmen is currently available as an audio track drama, there are some pretty cool fan recreations online, and I’ve enjoyed the story at least a couple of times through the novelization. OK, let’s get this open! And if you stick with me until the end, I’m going to do a little bonus comparison and bonus mini-review of the last Second Doctor and TARDIS release from The War Games!

The TARDIS lands in The Himalayas in Tibet (Not India, Victoria!!!), and before going out on his expedition, The Doctor dons a mighty fur coat, which later leads to Jamie mistaking him as a Great Hairy Beastie! This coat has become something of an iconic look for The Second Doctor, probably because he wore a variation of it in The Five Doctors, which makes this figure a double treat! And what a great figure it is! The sculpting on the coat is absolutely magnificent. The texturing is brilliantly done, and the darker patches are not only painted in, but part of the sculpt as well. The wooly garment is cast in soft plastic and attached over a standard Second Doctor figure, resulting in some nice depth, while also making it look appropriately bulky. You can see his collar and tie peeking out from the top, while his checkered trousers protrude from the bottom to his brown shoes. The sleeves are sculpted as part of the new arms and match the coat perfectly. The sculpted string that ties the coat closed is a little understated. I may actually tie a real string around it for better statement.

Character Options has delivered some great portraits of Patrick Troughton in this line, and this one is another cracker! Actually, they may be all the same sculpt! His facial details are nice and sharp, as is the sculpted hair. It’s the usual serious expression that we’ve seen in the past, and while I’d love to see a smiling portrait for The Second Doctor, I realize that CO is dependent on recycling parts to keep the cost of these sets low.

The articulation here harkens back to the older figures in the line, which mainly means that the shoulders simply rotate and do not have any lateral movement. In fairness, I don’t think CO has turned out anyof the older Doctors with the updated articulation, and I’m not sure how well that would have worked with the fur coat anyway. In addition to those rotating shoulders, the arms have bicep swivels and elbow hinges which can do a full 90-degrees, which is impressive with the bulk of the coat. His wrists swivel, and I love how the hands are half obscured by the sleeves. The legs are the normal t-crotch, thigh swivels, and hinged knees, but with the coat going all the way down to the knees, the hip articulation is rendered inert. At least the knees allow him to go into a walking pose. The Doctor doesn’t come with any accessories, and while I understand that the only thing making these possible is CO doing them on the cheap, I can’t help but wish they had included the sacred Ghanta in there. Ok, let’s move on to the TARDIS!

I was extremely excited to get this TARDIS, because it’s the Error TARDIS that was used when the BBC crew rebuilt the doors on the prop and put the sign on the right door instead of the left. It appeared that way for a bunch of stories, and as such it makes this an extremely unique addition to my fleet of CO TARDISes. As we’ll see in the comparison shots in a bit, this is just a redress of The War Games TARDIS, which includes the flat roof. Although this one does omit the handle and simply has the keyhole. After watching a lot of modern Who, it’s sometimes shocking to see just how battered the old Type-40 often was in Classic Who. I actually liked it better that way. It made the TARDIS look appropriately ancient and well-traveled.

So naturally, it’s the deco that really makes this one sing to me! The distressed paint job is fantastic and really hammers home the decrepid look of some of those early TARDIS props. It appears to use a white wash in with the blue to give it that look and I just love it. Each window has two of the six panes frosted, and the POLICE BOX signs are appropriately faded stickers. As usual, the back of the TARDIS features the rather unsightly speaker. These piercings have been included on the TARDIS releases that were gutted of the electronics, but here we see the triumphant return of the lights and sounds! With the help of three AAA batteries, the roof lamp will flash yellow and the glorious wease of the engines will sound when you either pick up or put down the toy. It sounds great and, I gotta tell you, I still smile from ear to ear like a kid whenever I activate it. I simply couldn’t have imagined owning a toy like this back in the day.

Once upon a time, CO used to use printed inserts inside these TARDIS toys to show the interior, and I really wish they still did that. It would probably be pretty simple to print out an image, at least for someone with more time and motivation than me! As it is, the interior is completely unfinished. I may be content with just putting some black construction paper in there. As usual, the right door is spring loaded and will lock open, and uses a button on the floor to slam it closed. OK, let’s bring in The War Games set for some comparisons!

We get the same basic sculpt, but different coats and arm sculpts. The new release has a touch of blue in his collar, and the trousers and shoes are different colors. For the life of me, I can’t tell if the head sculpts are the same or not. They look different, but I’m possibly attributing that to the dramatic variations in the paint. The War Games release has a much more heavy handed paint job. It’s not bad, but I definitely prefer the newer release, as it just looks more natural to me. Either way, both are excellent figures.

As I mentioned, the TARDISes are the same sculpt, with the exception of the handle appearing on this one, and the older one missing the light in the roof lamp. The War Games TARDIS has a darker and more uniform paint job. Interestingly, the front POLICE BOX sign is black lettering on a white background, but that’s inverted for the other three sides. I never noticed that before getting this toy in hand. These signs are still well worn, but much easier to read than the ones on the newer release. Obviously, the PULL TO OPEN sign is back where it belongs on the left door, and it is printed with white letters on a blue backdrop with a much neater presentation. And, as I mentioned earlier, the speaker is still there despite no electronics, and the battery door is glued shut.

Any Classic Who set that Character Options releases is an instant buy for me, and The Abominable Snowmen set is an absolute treat. I had all but given up on this ever seeing the light of day. Yes, I wish it came with the Yeti we saw a while back, but getting the Error TARDIS ain’t too shabby. Besides, I would not put it past CO to re-release this Doctor with The Yeti at some point down the road, and I will happily throw my money at it if they did. Who knows? Maybe even with Victoria or Jamie. Hey, CO just revealed that we’re finally getting Ian Chesterton, so anything is possible! And with that note, I really enjoyed reviewing this release, so I’m going to make it a habit to start working some of the Doctor Who sets that I picked up over the last year or so back into my normal rotation!

Fighter Woman Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague


I’ve had an uncanny amount of ambition lately to start rolling through my tremendous backlog of Sixth-Scale figures. A lot of that backlog includes TBLeague’s work, so I thought I’d dig deep and have a look at one of their lovely ladies from a few years back. It’s Fighter Woman!

If the name doesn’t give it away, Fighter Woman is one of TBLeague’s original concept releases. They’ve been doing more and more of these and fewer and fewer of the licensed ones. I don’t know if they ran out of indie comic properties to mine, or maybe they just realized that there was more profit in doing their own thing and not having to pay license fees for other people’s characters. Whatever the case, their original figures tend to be pretty amazing, so I’m fine with that. Fighter Woman comes in a heavy duty box with a tri-fold cover that connects to the sides with magnets. There’s a fair bit of prep work to get her gear and armor on, so let me get to it and we’ll have a look. And in the interest of brevity, let’s just call her Fi from now on!

And all that set-up is worthwhile, because Fi is quite breathtaking! She’s got a whole Battle Princess with an Eastern flavor thing going on, and I’m not sure where to begin. Her highly decorated armor consists of a sumptuous gold and deep maroon motif. The boots have sculpted laces with golden accents, the grieves have some intricate scrollwork patterned plates on the front with textured, simulated leather wrapping around her calves. The grieves terminate just above her knees, where they are fitted with some metallic purple stones. Her forearm bracers and bicep bands are matched to her grieves, with some extended points, which would make for some particularly nasty elbow smashes.

An intricate armored belt hangs on her hips, with a bejeweled fixture in the center, making up what looks like a dagger pointing down away from her exposed belly button. Hey, there’s no vital organs in that midriff area, right? At least part of her upper body is encased in a tight fitting breastplate, which inverts the color balance of the rest of her armor in favor of more of that deep maroon and reserving the gold to just the trim. Another purple jewel is placed in the center, and I dig how the top of the piece flares up on the outer edge of each of her breasts. Two pieces of shoulder armor, held on by elastic straps, complete Fi’s armor ensemble, and these were the most time-consuming pieces to get on.

The final element to Fi’s costume is the long crimson skirt, or half-cape, with two rows of some rather ostentatious gold fringe. The fact that this costume is so gorgeous, makes up for the fact that it’s not in the least bit tactically sound. But that’s to be expected in the realm of female fantasy warriors, and doubly so when they’re based off of one these lovely Phicen seamless bodies. What’s the point with going seamless if you aren’t going to show it off, right? And besides looking dead sexy, there’s nothing here to restrict the incredible articulation that you get when you take a stainless steel skeleton and wrap it in fleshy silicone.

Despite being a somewhat older figure, TBLeague was still making huge strides in their head game when Fi was released. There’s a nice spark of life in the eyes, thanks to some incredible paintwork. The lips and eyebrows are nice and sharp too. The skin tone is soft and realistic and it’s a good match for the silicone used for the body. Fi is sporting rooted red hair, which isn’t too difficult to keep under control. She has a necklace made out of several gold rings with a purple stone pendant to match the ornamental stones in her armor, as well as some more purple stones in her earrings. The final touch is a rather ornate tiara that fits snug around her head.

Fi comes with two fantasty-style weapons, the first of which is a double-bladed implement of death. Yeah, I don’t know what to call this thing, but it’s basically two curved blades connected with a central grip. The blades are silver with a bit of a wavy flame motif going on, while the grip connecting them is gold. The blades are plastic, but still pretty sturdy and this is a pretty fun weapon to pose her with. I can picture her pulling off some rather picturesque dance-like moves while swinging this around at her foes!

The other weapon is a rather beefy falchion, and boy do I dig this piece of cutlery! The blade has a nice satin finish with an exaggerated clipped point and a poetic curve to the edge. The hilt features something like a pistol grip, which is delightfully unusual, there’s a reinforced section where the blade meets the hilt, and a backstrap, all of which is finished off in more of that sumptuous gold. The grip allows for both single or double-handed use, and to be honest, either way looks pretty good. Like the previous weapon, the blade is plastic, and while I do miss the days when Phicen employed metal in their blades, this thing would be way too heavy for her to hold if it wasn’t cast in plastic.

It’s sometimes the case that people buy these boxed figures with hopes of re-purposing the body, so I should caution buyers that the cape does have a habit of staining her lovely skin, up near the hips. Fabric dye transferring color is just one of those things you have to accept when dealing with these silicone bodies. In this case, it’s only an issue if you plan on re-dressing the body in something, well let’s say less modest. On the other hand, the staining is completely obscured by the skirt, so if you plan on keeping her in her armor, there’s no need to worry!

About the only gripe I have here is that TBLeague is still inconsistent with whether or not they include a stand with their figures, and Fighter Woman here didn’t come with one. Sure, she stands just fine on her own, but who wants to risk a shelf-dive on a $160 figure? Not me! Luckily, I have a decent supply of generic sixth-scale stands. Beyond that, it was love at first sight for me and Fighter Woman, and this is just one of those figures that proves TBLeague doesn’t need to lay out money for licensing fees. They’re obviously quite adept at cooking up their own designs. The sculpted armor pieces look phenomenal and the gold and maroon deco makes this figure really pop on the shelf.

Imperial Guardian Sixth-Scale Figure by TBLeague/Phicen

I’m a day late today, but this week has been kicking my ass at work and that’s going to be a running theme as we get deeper into Q4. I’m going to do my best to stay committed to three reviews a week, but I may be shuffling them around a bit as to when they actually go live. So let’s get to it with another look at a TBLeague sixth-scale figure! Yes, folks, TBLeague is continuing to stoke their furnaces with my hard-earned dollars with a seemingly never ending stream of their boxed figure releases. This time I’m opening up one of their more recent concept figures, The Imperial Guardian! What Empire is this battle maiden guarding? I guess that’s up to you, but I have a feeling she’s going to look great doing it.

The packaging and presentation is pretty typical fare for TBLeague these days. The open shoebox is made of sturdy cardboard and features a tri-fold cover which connects to the sides with magnets. From an artistic standpoint, it’s not one of their flashier boxes, but as always it relies entirely on pictures of the figure to do the talking. A good number of TBL’s releases these days are based on indie comic characters, but as I mentioned above, this one is a purely a concept figure with no fiction (at least none that I’m aware of) to back it up. A little blurb about this original character on the back of the box would have been welcome, but judging by the poor quality translation in the care and instruction manual, I can understand why they didn’t. Inside the figure comes nestled in foam with her head, armor pieces, and accessories positioned around the body. A second foam tray under that holds her rather long spear. Let’s get her all set up and check her out.

There’s a lot to love here, but I think what attracted me to this figure the most is the bit of Jean D’Arc vibe I’m getting off of her. TBLeague’s concept figures tend to flirt with the historical, but in the end they do their own thing. Fair warning, this figure requires a bit of work to get her ready for display, as the only armor she’s wearing when she comes out of the box is her chest piece and corset. Everything else has to be put on, and while most of it is pretty straightforward, it took me a while to get the armored skirt on and laced up. There’s a lot of excess string, but I will likely wind up trimming that down. Possibly one of the most notable things about this figure is the fact that she isn’t showing much skin. Indeed, you get a glimpse of thigh between her skirt and leg armor, but that’s it. It’s unusual for a TBLeague release to be covering so much, since these are built around the seamless body and the outfits are usually skimpy to show off that seamless bod. So, where TBL usually uses it to great effect, in this case, she could have easily gotten away with a regular jointed body as the outfit covers almost everything. As a result, collectors who are into this line for the skin and more outlandish costumes, may be a little tepid on this release.

But that’s not to say this isn’t an absolutely fantastic looking figure. The Guardian is wearing a red long-sleeved top and pleated skirt with the armor worn on top of that. The individual armor pieces are all cast in plastic, but the sculpt and paint make them totally convincing as actual metal armor. Heck, removing these pieces from the tray, I was tricked into expecting them to have a lot more weight than they do. Each of these pieces is painted with a weathered copper finish. There are sculpted rivets and some interlocking plates, as well as some general pitting. The armor corset is softer and more flexible to allow her freedom of movement in that region. She has leather-like bracers on her forearms under the armor pieces there and stockings, which extend up past her grieves and can be seen behind the knee armor. The straps and buckles on her chest armor are sculpted, but the others are all working buckles and straps that actually hold on the armor pieces. I dig the combination of the copper armor with the red skirt, as well as the bits of red cloth that show between the armor pieces. She also has a decorative pair of red cords that run from her right shoulder and across her chest.

The head sculpt features very short rooted hair, which stays in place and looks fantastic. I actually thought this head was recycled from their Zenescope Mercy Dante figure, and while they are indeed quite similar (and the hair is nearly identical), this one is still entirely new. I’m pretty sure I say this every time, but when it comes to portraits, TBL has really upped their game in the last few years. The paint is superb and realistic. The eyes have that spark of life, which is often elusive to all sixth-scale figure producers except Hot Toys. The paint used for the lips is a deep glossy red, and the skin tone is a little pale, but quite lifelike with a rosy hue to the cheeks.

While it’s a shame to cover up that beautiful portrait, the final piece to the armor is a tight fitting and fully enclosed helmet with an adjustable visor. Getting the helmet onto her noggin is a scary prospect, as it is extremely tight fitting, and I worry about messing up the hair or scratching the paint on her head. The ears in particular make it tough to get on, but with a little partience and care I was able to do it. Although I will probably need to use a pencil to tuck the hair on the right side of her face into the helmet the rest of the way, I could probably leave it as is and it will still look fine. The helmet shares the same coppery metal finish as the rest of the armor and features a hinged visor and a hinged face plate, each of which are independent of each other. There’s also a bright red plume that spills out the back like a long ponytail, which looks quite striking.

Closing the visor reveals a pretty non-nonsense helmet design. If you look closely, you can see that the visor doesn’t really line up with her eyes. If I take another crack at adjusting it, I might be able to fix this, but I really don’t want to rub it on the head any more than I am doing, so I will likely leave it like this. Take away the studio lights, and you can’t really see in there well enough to know that it’s not aligned with her eyes anyway. Since I don’t want to be putting the helmet on and removing it a lot, I will likely display this figure with the helmet on and the visor up, as that gives me the best of both worlds. Because the armor pieces took up most of the room in the tray, there are sadly not a lot of other accessories included with this figure. You do get three pairs of hands, which include fists, accessory holding hands, and relaxed hands, and these are all very nice sculpts with some detailed work on the armor. The only other accessory included is her long spear. Nope, you don’t even get a stand, so I had to dig into my box of generic sixth-scale figure stands.

The spear is a nice enough piece, and it even includes a grizzly coat of blood on the tip, showing that the Imperial Guard is not a ceremonial position, but a skilled warrior. I really like the design of the blade, as it’s practically a short sword mounted on a pole. The shaft is smooth and it terminates in a pointed cap that looks like it could do some damage as well. The spear works well in her accessory hands, and she looks great holding it! Still, I really feel like this figure needed a sword and scabbard. Sure, I could borrow one from another figure, but I’d rather not deprive one of my other TBL ladies of their weapons. I also think a red ribbon, streamer, or standard is called for on the spear. Heck, I could probably fix that myself, even with my non-existent DIY skills.

 

As a basic figure, the Imperial Guardian set me back about $160 and she is indeed a very beautiful figure for that price. TBL has managed to keep the cost of their figures locked in for a while now, and I maintain that these offerings continue to be among the best value in the sixth-scale market these days. Everything that’s here is expertly crafted and looks absolutely amazing, but to be honest, I felt like the accessories needed to be padded out a bit more to make this figure feel complete. This would have been an excellent opportunity for TBL to offer a Deluxe version (as they frequently do) with maybe a sword, scabbard, and shield, or perhaps just a sword and some kind of battle standard. As it is, I think the extra armor pieces just took up most of the budget. Still, a great figure with some opportunities to bulk her out if you’re game for a little sixth-scale accessory hunting on Ebay.

Female Mercenary Heart King Sixth-Scale Figure by Very Cool Toys

With all the Hot Toys and TBLeague figures waiting for their turn at the review table, I probably shouldn’t be going off on tangents like this one. But, I picked up a couple of figures from Very Cool Toys to see what they were all about and as long as I had them accessible, I thought I’d take a look at one before finding a space for her up on the shelf. Very Cool seems to specialize in pseudo-military-style figures, usually ladies, many of which appear to be based on characters or skins in Wefire, a shooter from the Chinese megacorporation, Tancent Games.

Suffice it to say I know absolutely nothing about these games, but a retailer I deal with was having a sale and the figures looked pretty cool, or maybe they looked… VERY cool! . I didn’t know what to expect, but when they arrived I was fairly impressed by the packaging. It appears to be an enclosed box, but it’s actually more like a box in a slipcase with a little strip of ribbon to help pull it out. The slipcase is illustrated on all sides, has a picture of the figure on the front, and a lot of Chinese writing on the back. The spine simply identifies the figure as NO.VC-TJ-04 which sure is catchy. Indeed, the only reason I know that she’s called Female Mercenary Heart King is because that was the name of the listing on the site where I purchased her.

Heart King requires a fair amount of work to get her all kitted out and ready for action. Basically she comes out of the box wearing her basic clothing, and all her gear is placed around her in the foam trays. It took some doing to get everything on her, but I don’t mind. It gives me some quality time with the figure before she’s ready for display. First off, let’s talk about the body, which is a hybred of the seamless stuff we usually see from Phicen/TBLeague and a regular jointed figure. OK, actually nothing on the figure is seamless, but she does make use of a silicone covered torso, which mean’s the exposed skin is squishy and has more of a life-like look and texture. The limbs are all jointed and the costume does its best to cover these joints. So, the swivels in her biceps usually line up with her sleeves, and the jointing in her elbows are covered by sleeves and elbow pads. Similarly, the joints in her knees, which tend to show through the super tight pleather pants, are concealed by soft cloth sleeves and armor pads. In the end, the arm joints do tend to show from time to time, but it’s not too unsightly.

Her uniform consists of the yellow-orange pants, a white sports-bra kind of thing, and a crop-top jacket that matches her pants. I like the color they went with here, as it really does look like something a character in a video game might be wearing. There’s a shoulder patch on each of her jacket sleeves to give it a little bit of a military vibe. Her brown pleather boots sip up the sides and have pretty high heels, which demonstrate the figure’s balance quite well. I never had to rely on a stand for her when shooting the pictures, which is impressive. The tailoring on the clothing is all very well done. The stitching is neat and and everything fits the figure perfectly. The only downside is that the super tight pants inhibit her hip movment a lot. It’s hard to get anything resembling a wide stance out of her without fear of popping that stitching, so I”m not even going to try! The sleeves have a cool honeycomb pattern on them, she has a pair of matching WeFire bracelets, and her fingerless gloves are sculpted and painted onto her hands.

The attention to detail on her gear is also quite nice. She has a trio of magazine pouches strapped ot her left thigh, which holds in place by friction and doesn’t show any sign of slipping. Her right thigh has a hard plastic holster, which pegs into the plate that’s strapped to her leg. Again, this holds in place perfectly. There’s even a retaining strap for her pistol. Her backpack attachces to her shoulder rig, and can be removed while leaving the shoulder rig in place. There are straps with working buckles holding the top flap down and non functional pouches on the sides. And finally, she has a studded belt, which is worn loose on her hips and does it’s best to conceal the straps of her G-string peeking out of her pants.

I really dig the head sculpt here. It’s a great compromise between realism and stylized game character. The skin texture is good, albeit far from Hot Toys or Sideshow quality. The paint used on the eyes and lips, however isn’t too far off. The sculpted red hair features some fine detail and it’s sculpted from a separate piece of plastic to allow it to hang over the head and give it some depth while framing her face. The head is ball jointed, but it is an absolute chore to get it off and back on again. Fortunately the only time I had to do that was to put on her dog tag and choker.

As a Mercenary, this lady comes with some essential Tools of the Trade. First off, she has her trusty automatic pistol, and this is a fantastic piece. The detail is absolutely exquisite, from the brown checkered grips to the silver painted trigger. Even more impressive is that the slide actually works and the magazine is removable. They even painted the bullets that can be seen in the top of the magazine. This scaled pistol is every bit as good as any that I got with my Hot Toys or Sideshow figures, and that’s no small boast! The figure comes with two sets of hands, one relaxed set and one for working with the accessories.

Next up we get a couple of canister grenades. These are fun with a cartoony skull-and-crossbones printed on the side of each. They have clips to attach to her belt and actual rings to pull before she throws them!

And finally, our Mercenary comes with an AK-47, which is another beautiful piece of work. The stock and foregrip are painted brown and the rest has a blued finish. The action on this thing actually works thanks to a rather tight spring inside the receiver. The sites can be flipped up and the magazine is removable. Actually, she comes with two magazines for the rifle. The detail is impecable, right down to the paddle to eject the magazine and the fire selector.

I have to say that I’m fairly impressed with the way this figure turned out, especially for a figure that is priced at around $140-150. Very Cool didn’t skimp on anything. The costume tailoring is great, the attention to detail in the gear is solid, and the weapons are absolutely fantastic. And this is all coming from someone who has absolutely no connection to the character or game that the figure is pulled from. I’m not sure that she’ll spend a whole lot of time displayed on my shelf right now, but if I can clear off a corner somewhere, I may actually wind up putting her in with my Resident Evil Sith-Scale figures. I think she would fit in perfectly. I’ve got another one of these ladies to check out, and I hope to get back to her in a week or so.

Fate/Grand Order: Caster Nitocris “Super Premium” Figure by SEGA

I’ve recounted recently about how I’ve pulled back from buying Prize Figures, mostly because they were starting to get out of hand and I had no space to display them. All in all, I’ve been pretty well behaved on this newly imposed restriction, but I still had the odd pre-order pending here and there, and I decided to let most of them ride. I still dig these figures a lot, they look great, they’re inexpensive, and they come in handy for days like today where I don’t have a lot of time and need something quick and dirty to feed that content beast. So let’s check out this Caster Nitocris Super Premium Figure (SPM) from SEGA!

Nitocris hails from the Fate/Grand Order game, and I like to call this purchase a Consolation Prize Figure, because I really wanted to pick up Amakuni’s Scale Figure of her, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on that price, and so I satisfied myself with this figure instead. Yup, there’s more of that self control again. I’m not entirely hopeless. As with most of SEGA’s SPM figures, Nitocris comes in a very colorful and fully enclosed box, featuring some nice shots of the statue and a bit of English copy on the box to help you know what you’re looking at. Inside, the figure comes wrapped in plastic and requiring some minor assembly. Here you attach the head and the right arm at the elbow, plug in the support piece for her hair, and then plug the figure into the base. All told, she measures about 9-inches tall and now that she’s all set up, let’s have a look…

There’s something about chicks in Egyptian costume that does it for me, and this is indeed a very beautiful figure. Nitocris stands proudly with one leg in front of the other, her left hand resting on her hip, and her right hand clutching her staff. Her outfit doesn’t leave too much tot he imagination, and I ain’t complaining. She has a white top to cover her Upper Deltas and a sculpted blue sash to conceal her Lower Nile Valley. Her hips are covered in plastic pink “fabric” and the whole ensemble is held together by some sculpted beaded chains. She has some brown wraps on her forearms, and her plastform sandals have sculpted wraps that reach up to just under her knees.

Nitocris’ curvy figure is framed by her copious coif of cascading blue hair that balloons out in the middle and comes to an end with a chunky red ring. This hellacious waterfall of hair looks cool and distinctive from the front, but sadly covers her entirely from the rear view. Seriously, from behind she looks like just a big blob. Besides the excellent sculpted detail on this figure, I think the colors are probably what I dig the most. The combination of white, pink, and deep indigo blue all looks so lush and striking against mocha colored skin. But what really shines is the wonderful gold leaf paint they used. Just lovely!

The portrait is suitably adorable, as Nitocris features a pair of Anubis-like ears, large printed purple eyes, and some face paint on her cheeks. She has a cute pointed nose and her mouth is pressed into a grin. Her gold and blue gorget and headpiece both frame her portrait perfectly. And as if she didn’t have enough hair pouring down the back of her, she also has two bunches running down either side of her head and nearly reaching her hips.

Her ebony staff is quite striking and is permanently attached to her right hand. I also dig the loose bangles that hang on her wrists.

The base is a simple translucent disk with the game’s logo printed on it in vibrant blue lettering. It’s simple, functional, and doesn’t take away from the beauty of the figure.

And that’s it for this Wednesday’s admittedly brief review. It’s always a treat to take a look at a new Prize Figure, especially since I won’t be doing it all that frequently here any longer. If you’ve been kicking around with me on FFZ for a while then you probably already know that I’m a big fan of SEGA’s SPM figures. At around $20-25, they offer plenty of bang for the buck and Nitocris here is no exception to that. I’m not even a big fan of the game, but I do love me my Servants and this one in particular has been calling to me for a while. I pre-ordered this lady a little while back, but she’s been available on places like Amazon for a while, and to me this one makes for a nice alternative to those pricier Scale Figures. Now, if Max Factory should happen to release a Figma of her, well I’d probably have to come back for seconds.

One Piece “Treasure Cruise World Journey, Vol. 1:” Luffy, Nami, and Roronoa Zoro by Banpresto

I’ve come to face the sad fact that I’m going to have to give up buying prize figures. Yeah, it sucks, but space continues to grow tight and I refuse to rent a storage to throw toys into. Eventually something has to give and I’ve ultimately decided to make one of those cuts here. Now that doesn’t mean these will be the last prize figures I review here, because I still have a bunch left to open. It also doesn’t mean I won’t make the occasional exception and buy something that I can’t live without, but the casual buying stops here. No, really. I mean it!!! I know that’s a bummer way to start a review, but let’s press on and check out three fantastic figures from my favorite of guilty pleasures, One Piece!

Mosey on aboard, Pilgrim, and bring along, all your hopes and dreams, Pardner! It’s One Piece meets Wild West? Yes, please! That’s what World Journey Vol. 1 is all about. Banpresto has been delivering on some wonderful fresh takes on the One Piece crew and this one is just right up my ally. As usual, these figures are roughly 9-inch scale and come in fully enclosed boxes, which are very colorful and are confident enough to let pictures of the figures themselves do the talking. These are imports, but there’s enough English copy on the boxes to help you know what you’re getting. Each figure requires a little bit of simple assembly to get them ready for display. Let’s start with Luffy!

Our favorite rubber pirate comes donning his Old West duds and looking damn great! Luffy stands with confidence with his left hand resting on his gun belt and his right hand reaching for the brim of his hat. The figure gets his rather lanky proportions down quite well and the details in his outfit are exceptional for a figure in this price range. His cowboy boots feature scrollwork patterns, and I really dig how they’re sculpted so the jeans disappear into the tops of the boots. That really gives the figure some fabulous depth. The jeans show sculpted rumples and wrinkles, he’s got a red billowy sash tied to the back of his belt and a leather-like vest on top of his pale green shirt. The vest has sculpted buttons set in a zigzag pattern and frills hanging off the pockets. His shirt sleeves are cuffed just above his wrists and he’s wearing a pair of work gloves.

Luffy’s primary belt has a big gold belt buckle and his secondary gun belt hangs low on his hips with a holster attached to a sculpted thigh strap and a row of cartridges. The holster has two buckles and you can see his shootin’ iron protruding from the top and ready for a quick draw. I’d love to see this gun out of the holster, because with the way the grip is configured it almost looks like some kind of hybrid between a six-shooter and an old fashioned pirate pistol.

No matter what he’s wearing, it’s easy to recognize Luffy in this head sculpt. His saucer-like eyes and his broad slit of a mouth give it away. His neck is wrapped in a red scarf and his black hair  spills down out of his brown cowboy hat. I think they did a fantastic job transforming one of my favorite pirates into a cowpoke and Luffy looks like he was made for the role. I should note here that all three of the figures came with bases that attach to the feet, but the one I got with Luffy was sadly cracked. Fortunately, he doesn’t need it to stand. Next up… Roronoa Zoro!

The infamous swordsman sets aside his three katanas in exchange for a trusty lever-action rifle. He stands proudly with his right hand on his hip and his left hand cradling his rifle on his shoulder. Like Luffy, there’s some amazing detail work on this figure’s costume. The boots have sculpted brass-painted tips, his blue jeans are accompanied by a pair of black chaps, and just a little bit of his vest can be seen underneath the billowing duster. The flaps of the duster have individually painted gold clasps, while the sleeves feature reinforced elbow pads and the sleeves disappear into a pair of brown gauntlets. And the top half of his outfit is obscured by a red poncho-like garment.

Roanoa’s portrait is excellent. He’s expression exudes confidence as he peers out from his good eye. His green hair can be seen disappearing into his cowboy hat and he looks like he’s just itching for a fight. I know if I saw him enter the Saloon, I’d clear out the back lickity-split!

I love the detail they put into his rifle. The stock has a brass band sculpted around it along with a couple of plates stamped with X’s. There’s a sculpted saddle ring and sights. The stock and foregrip are painted in a deep brown finish and the rest of the weapon is in gun metal gray. And now that we’ve looked at The Good and The Bad, let’s check out The Beautiful…

Nami rounds out this trio of Straw Hat Plains Drifters looking as dead sexy as ever! She was actually the figure in this series that caught my eye first, which I’m sure is a surprise to no one. She may be dressed as a cowgirl, but she’s leaning forward, advertising her pirate booty, both aft and stern, while bringing her six-shooter up to the ready (practicing poor trigger discipline, I might add!) and offering an alluring wink. Down below, her outfit consists of high brown boots with scrollwork patterns, etched on the sides, and a pleated blue skirt, which leaves little to the imagination, Up above she’s got a glossy black top holding up her cowpokes and a sculpted red blouse open at the top and tied at the bottom. She has a full glove sculpted onto her shootin’ hand and a finger-less glove on her left.

Banpresto has become experts at sculpting the portraits of pretty much the entire Straw Hat crew, but I think they probably know Nami best of all. They always manage to capture her whimsy and spunk, no matter what outfit she happens to be in. I really dig the wild sculpt to her orange hair and the way her cowboy hat is perched almost on the back of her head.

I was already trying to swear off Prize Figures when this trio went up for pre-order, and even a whole wagon full of willpower wouldn’t have been able to stop me from buying these once I saw them. I’m a sucker for everything Old West, from history to fiction. I love shooting my old-timey single-actions revolvers and lever guns, and I scarcely let a weekend go by without having a Western playing on the TV. So naturally when you mash that up with One Piece, one of my biggest guilty pleasures, it’s money already spent. But thankfully not a whole lot, because these beauties set me back only $22 each and for the amount of detail and care that went into their design and execution, I couldn’t be happier with how they turned out. My only sadness is they didn’t work Usopp into this line.