Vampirella One-Twelfth Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

The FFZ Horror Train continues to chug along to its final destination… Halloween 2021! A while ago I took a look at TBLeague’s Sixth-Scale Vampirella, and today I’m having my first look at the same figure only now in 1/12 Scale! How do they shrink those beautiful figures down to this size? Let’s find out…

The figure comes in a plastic case, and while I think it may have had an illustrated sleeve over it, mine didn’t come with one, which is probably why I got such a good deal on it. At least there are illustrations on the sides. The figure lies inside this plastic coffin, nestled between foam trays. These roughly 6-inch figures still utilize stainless steel skeletons with silicone seamless bodies grafted on top of them. The idea is you get all the benefits of the larger seamless figures, only in a much smaller package. I’ll admit, I’m a bit skeptical, so let’s see what she’s all about. As with the full size TBLeague figures, Vampirella comes with her head detached. You also have to put on her wrist cuffs, as well as a bicep and thigh cuff. I put both on her right side, but I may move one of these to the left to balance her out more. Once that’s all done, she’s ready to go!

And I have to say, Wow! She really does look like the folks at TBLeague hired a witch doctor to shrink down the original figure. And I’m not just saying that to keep the Halloween mood alive! The only visible seams on the figure are in the wrists and the neck, and the wrist cuffs do a pretty good job of concealing the seams where the hands attach. At least most of the time. The thigh and bicep cuff stay put due to friction. The body’s realism is just as impressive as it is in the larger figures. I particularly love the look of the knees and the abs… Yes, I like the other areas too! The articulation also feels almost exactly the same as the larger figure, with all those extra subtle points that you just can’t get in a regular jointed figure. And the balance! Even with her high heels, I did not have to use a figure stand or any kind of support for any of the poses I put her in.

Of course, Vampirella’s revealing outfit was practically designed to show off the seamless body, as it doesn’t leave a lot for the imagination. The red one-piece is made of a thin vinyl-like material, which I think works better than the cloth they used for the original Sixth-Scale figure. It stays in place most of the time, but every now and then I had to deal with a nip slip. The high-heeled boots connect to the ankles like feet and make for a snug fit all the way up to just below her knees. These have a glossy black finish and are neatly stitched up the backs. The collar is plastic, which I think was a great decision for this scale. I don’t think the same cloth collar that the bigger figure had would hold its shape in this size. She has a golden Drakulon bat symbol emblazoned right in front of her Halloween Hoo-Hoo!

The portrait takes a bit of a hit in this scale, but I still think it’s got a lot going for it. The paint for the eyes and lips is impeccable, and the even included the golden hoop earrings. The hair is still rooted, and it can get a bit wild. I will likely take some hair gel to mine at some point to keep it flatter and more under control. Really, my only issue with this head is the blank expression makes it look rather doll like. This was a factor in their early Sixth-Scale figures, and they’ve gotten a lot better, so I expect to see improvements in this scale as well. A second, more expressive, portrait would have been nice, especially with her showing some fangs, but this isn’t something TBLeague does with their bigger figures, so no real reason to expect it here.

Vampirella comes with an optional cape, which is pretty easy to attach. You just pop the head, pop the collar, put the neck hole of the cape on, and replace the collar and head. I’m pretty amazed at how well they pulled off the cape at this scale. It’s very soft and has some nice weight to it, so it falls about the figure naturally. That’s no small feat with a 6-inch figure, which is probably why so many companies go with sculpted plastic capes for their figures. The exterior of the garment is black and it has a red inner lining with black borders. The stitching here is excellent and it looks great on her. My only concern with the cape is the red dye imprinting on the figure’s skin if left on for too long. OK, let’s see what else she comes with!

I should note that all of this figure’s accessories are smaller versions of what came with the Sixth-Scale figure, so there are no surprises here, and that she also comes with the same three sets of hands: Relaxed, Graspy, and Accessory Holding. The hands are very easy to swap, and they all have meticulously painted fingernails. So first off, you get her little bat friend, no doubt the Drakulon equivalent of a parakeet! This is a beautiful sculpt for such a tiny plastic critter. It has a ring down by its feet, which you can slip onto one of the fingers of her relaxed hands and have it perch there.

Next up, you get a nasty old rotting skull. I seem to recall the skull that came with the larger figure had fangs, whereas this one does not. Like the bat, it’s a fantastic sculpt for its size, and the paintwork on it is equally impressive. It has holes sculpted in the top of it, so she can hold it from the top with her graspy hands, which works a lot better than I expected it too.

The final accessory is this beautiful little dagger. Once again, the detail on such a small accessory is quite impressive, as is the paintwork. The grip is segmented, the pommel is painted silver, and there’s a tiny metallic green stone in the middle of the guard. The blade has a nice finish, and features a bit of a jagged profile. It’s got a nice point to it, so a modicum of care is recommended when handling it around the figure’s silicone skin. You don’t want any accidents!

In addition to all the accessories, Vamps comes with a display base, hidden away in the box under all that foam. This is a heavy piece and feels like polystone. The muddy ground has a slot to attach the grave marker, which is inscribed DEAD IN TOMBSTONE, which makes me think there were some English translation issues going on there. There are some bones scattered about the ground, as well as a pile of skulls. There no stand or foot pegs to attach the figure to the base, which is a common complaint when TBLeague includes these awesome bases. In this case, however, there’s a narrow space just in front of the skull pile where you can insert one of Vampirella’s feet and it will hold it pretty well. I’m not sure if that was intended, but it works great! She can also sit on the skulls and contemplate the meaning of the grave stone.

When all is said and done this figure is amazing! She’s great all on her own, but when I consider her as a miniature version of the larger figure, she becomes all the more impressive. And being half the size of the Sixth-Scale figures, she clocks in at about half the price, well actually a little less. I paid almost $70 for this little lady, and I seem to recall the bigger version setting me back $150. And so, as my first foray into TBLeague’s 1/12 Scale figures, Vampirella has won me over! That doesn’t mean I’m going to start collecting a bunch of these, as they are all smaller versions of the Sixth-Scale figures that I prefer. Still, I have since picked up a couple more in this scale, and it’s possible one more might make her way onto the schedule for Halloween Horror Month.

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.

Sinful Suzi Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

TBLeague and I have a great relationship. They keep making Sixth-Scale figures based on sexy independent comic characters and I keep buying them! They released quite a bit of characters licensed from the likes of Brian Pulido’s Chaos! (now Coffin) Comics as well as Zenescope, and now they’re turning their attention to the work of Joseph Michael Linsner. He’s probably best known for Dawn, and Yes! TBLeague has released a figure of her as well, but today we’re having a look at Sinful Suzi, who first appeared seven years ago in Image Comics’ Sin Boldly!

TBLeague continues to offer some of the better packaging I’ve seen in the Sixth-Scale market. While even the big boys like Hot Toys tend to cheap out with flimsy window boxes these days, TBL is giving us sturdy shoebox-style packaging with tri-fold covers that secure with magnets and inside the figure is nestled in a foam cutout with the head packaged off of the figure. The front panel of the box has some colorful artwork by Linsner and the side and back panels have pictures of the actual figure. In this case you also get a separate parcel of Styrofoam, bundled inside the shipping box, with the diorama base. TBL usually does this with Deluxe versions of their figures, but I think this was the only version of Suzi available. The figure comes with the body wrapped in plastic, and I had to take her boots and sleeves off to carefully slice it all away and remove it. I do recommend leaving the wrap around her ankle joints, as it fills in the joint and makes it look more natural under the boot.

Obviously, Suzi is built on Phicen’s incredible super-flexible seamless body, consisting of a stainless steel skeleton wrapped in a fleshy rubber coating. The only visible jointing on the body is at the wrists, ankles, and neck, and all but the last are concealed by the outfit. Suzi’s body features a chalky white complexion, very similar to the one they used for Lady Death. Even with well over a dozen of these figures on my shelf, I still marvel at how well these bodies work, and I’ve yet to have one tear or break down on me. Fingers crossed!

Sinful Suzi’s outfit is pretty standard seductress leather demon attire. She’s got thigh high boots, which feature sculpting on the toes to resemble hooves, and I think that’s a great little touch. These are also painted with a bit of electric blue coloring. Her arms have sleeves that run up to her biceps, which have hand extensions. I think these are supposed to hook through one of her fingers on her relaxed hands, but the hole is so small it doesn’t work so well. The rest of her outfit is supposed to be a leather one-piece, and here’s where things disappoint. The top of the outfit is made of cloth, rather than the whole thing made of the faux-leather, although it hooks onto a leather piece that goes around her neck. It looks OK, I guess, but the disparity in material kind of stands out to me. it just feels like corners were cut.

The head sculpt, on the other hand? Well, no corners were cut here, as it looks simply (or is that sinfully?) fabulous! The paintwork on her eyes and lips is exceptionally well done. The eyes are almost cat like with narrow pupils, and she has some hot orange coloring between the tops of her eyes and her immaculate eyebrows. The lips are a deep crimson with a glossy wet finish. The features are soft and beautiful, and they gave her a fairly neutral expression, which is fine as it works for a myriad of poses. I wouldn’t have minded something with a smirk. It’s a shame that TBLeague never offers multiple portraits with their figures, although that would really jack up the price, I’m sure. Suzi’s demon horns are sculpted as part of the head and they look pretty natural jutting up from above her forehead. The electric blue hair really makes the whole portrait pop, although it can be a bit of a pill to get under control. I haven’t broken out the gel yet, but I may eventually as there are quite a few misbehaving strands. I do love how it’s parted to partially cover one horn and fully expose the other.

The seamless body boasts something like 28 points of articulation, and thanks to her skimpy and completely non-restrictive outfit, Suzi is a lot of fun to pose. As always, these figures articulate in remarkably realistic ways and I’m always impressed by some of the more subtle movements available, particularly in the torso, shoulders, and neck. The skin is pretty resilient, and while it’s always a good idea to show a modicum of care to prevent tearing, truth be told, both the skin and skeleton can handle some pretty wide ranges of motion. I think the biggest no-no is posing the arms straight up, as it will really stress the skin under the arm, but beyond that, she’s just all sorts of fun! I should also note that her balance is amazing. I will often edit out stands in some of my dramatic poses, but I didn’t have to do that once for this review. Impressive, considering she’s wearing high heels!

Suzi comes up pretty light in the accessories department, but she does come with three sets of hands, and her trademark trident. Honestly, I can’t really think of anything else they could have included with her, so I can’t really complain. Well, one nitpick is that her accessory holding hands are a bit loose with her trident. I’m sure TBLeague just used remolds of existing hands, hence the problem. Truth be told, she can still hold the trident fairly well, but it will slip every now and again. The trident itself isn’t all that exciting. It’s just a thin piece of plastic, but she would certainly be incomplete without it!

And then there’s the base, and it is a very cool piece! This diorama style base features a suburban hellscape with the red brick steps to a front porch and a sculpted doormat that says Sinful Suzi Welcome to HELL! Awesome! There are a couple tiny horns protruding from the back corners and there’s a peg where you can attach a demon skull onto the bottom step. In the past, these diorama bases often came with no way to secure the figure to it, making them awesome showpieces, but a pretty risky way to display your $150 figures. Sadly, as a result, most of my bases are packed away in storage. For the last couple releases I’ve purchased, TBL has been remedying that by adding a support stand that screws into the base, and I couldn’t be happier. In this case, the support is on a bendable rod with a ratcheting clip to gently grab the figure and it works great!

And since the skull is removable, it makes for a cool extra accessory. The sculpting and paint on this piece are both excellent. IT’s got little fangs and demon horns, and it looks like someone bashed in the back of his head when he was alive.

Oh yeah, if you turn the base around you’ve got this nasty bastard peering out at you from behind a sewer grate. This is such a wonderfully ridiculous extra bit of detail on a part of the base that you are probably never going to see. I really appreciate that kind of work!

All in all, I think Suzi turned out pretty well, even if I do wish her outfit had been made out of all of the same material. There’s nothing terribly crazy or new here when it comes to TBLeague’s releases, and I’ll bet this was a pretty quick-and-easy figure for them to produce. But that being said, she looks great and she’s tons of fun to play around with. The bundled base also goes a long way to drive up the figure’s value, as it was included without adding anything to the price point (about $159) of TBL’s regular releases. As a character, she’s probably a deep cut, even for a lot of comic fans, but given Suzi’s pinup qualities, I’m not sure you really need to be familiar with the comics to appreciate this figure. And she sure looks right at home on the shelf and hanging out with the likes of Purgatori, Vampirella, and Lady Death.

Court of the Dead: Kier (First Sword of Death) Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

If you were poking around here yesterday, you may have caught an unfinished preview of today’s review, because I had it scheduled for the wrong day and it published before I completed it. So, here’s the real deal with the rest of the pictures and a nice edit to fix all my drunken typos. Enjoy!  

TBLeague has made a nice niche for themselves creating sixth-scale figures based on indie comic characters, as well as some really cool original concept figures. But never did I expect them to ink a deal with Sideshow Collectibles to create sixth-scale figures based on The Court of the Dead. I mean, that’s crazy. Sideshow makes sixth-scale figures. Why wouldn’t they make these themselves? Well, to be honest, I’m glad it went down this way. The designs work well with the Phicen Seamless Body and the retail cost is most certainly a good bit cheaper than if Sideshow had done them. Today I’m checking out the first release in this line. It’s the Bane of Heaven… Kier!

Here’s a quick look at the packaging, which includes a sturdy box with a tri-fold magnet lid. There is some work to be done before Kier is ready for display. It mostly involves putting on her armor pieces, so let me get her set up and we’ll have a look! But before getting to the goodies, how about some of that backstory? The Court of the Dead is the brainchild of artist Tom Gilliland and initially presented by Sideshow as a series of Premium Format statues. I have to respect the confidence it takes to do a wholly original line of PF Statues. These statues are expensive and they take up a lot of display space. I feel like a lot of people who invest in these pieces do so because of their fondness for a specific character. But Sidshow went in guns blazing by creating a universe and character backstories, and it must have paid off because they’ve released a lot of product in this line. Personally, I loved the designs, but couldn’t commit to the flagship statues. Nonetheless, when TBLeague announced the figures, I was immediately on board.

Outcast from the Heavens and raised by Death, Kier is the Valkyrie of the Dead and also known as Death’s First Sword. Oh yeah… and she is absolutely stunning. Built on one of the large busted Phicen Seamless Bodies, Kier features a rather distinctive blue-gray colored skin with blood stains on her forearms and lower legs. These stains start out with ragged red streaks and get darker until becoming black on her saturated hands and feet. Her armor pieces consist of grieves for her lower legs, a sleeve for her right forearm, pauldrons on her shoulders, and a breastplate. Meanwhile her lower modesty is covered by a sash that hangs down from a belt. Each of the armor pieces are intricately sculpted with some cool Giger-esque patterns and painted to look like ancient bronze. I particularly dig the curved blade protruding from her armor sleeve. The shoulder pieces are attached by clear rubber bands, which make them a pain in the ass to get on, but once they are they seem to stay attached by magic. She also has rather ornate wrist and bicep cuffs on her left arm.

Also part of her armor is the gorget she wears around her neck. It’s a cool piece, but it doesn’t fit as flush against her skin as I would like. Some of this is caused by the cape that ties around her neck and runs out under the gorget. Her cape is made from a heavy fabric with a brown exterior that looks to be spattered with mud. The interior has some sewn patterns that invoke themes of blood and bone. There’s a wire running through the bottom edge of the cape so that it can be shaped into different positions.

Her head sculpt is rather attractive for a Valkyrie of the Dead. The facial features are soft and smooth, but still very well defined. She bares a rather stern and determined expression, which I suppose fits an undead harvester of souls. The paint used for the eyes is much simpler than we usually get, but that’s probably because they weren’t going for that traditional spark of life that we usually get. These are just little gray pools. The eyebrows are sharp and crisp as are the gray lines that spill from her bottom lip and follow down her chin. I’m particularly impressed by the sculpting of the hairline as it looks extraordinarily realistic. This is the first TBLeague figure I’ve seen with sculpted hair, instead of their traditionally rooted coifs, and I have to say they did a damn fine job on it. The texture of the hair is very sharp as are the braids that protrude down her back, each one sculpted with ornamental hair ties painted silver.

And while it’s a shame to cover up that pretty face, Kier comes with a mask, which is perhaps best characterized in her own words, “I have two faces, that which I was given and that which I made. My true face is the one I carved with my own two hands… And if you see it, chances are you’re on your last rattle.” And it does indeed cut a fearsome visage. The mask is brilliantly held on by magnets, which make it so easy to put on and take off without fear of rubbing paint or scratching the plastic of Kier’s pretty face. The mask itself features a realistic bone finish with the Spirit Faction symbol carved into the forehead, two gnarled horns rising from the top… well, make that one and a half, and the jaw bones hanging down from the sides like a pair of grizzly earrings. The mask is formed to fit Kier’s face, perfectly lining up with her eyes and nose.

In addition to a number of different sets of hands, and an extra set of feet, Kier comes with a skull partially engulfed in translucent mystical energy. Maybe one of the souls she is harvesting? This is a horrifically realistic sculpt, all brown and gnarled and with the jawbone missing. The translucent blue plastic swirls off of it to the side and has a beautiful glow when presented in the right lighting. The top of the skull is sculpted with five finger holes, which can be used in conjunction with one of Kier’s graspy hands to make it look like she’s poked her fingers directly into the bone.

Next up, Kier has her impressive two-handed sword. I’ll confess I was a little surprised to find the blade was made of plastic, since a lot of TBLeague’s figures come with metal bladed weapons, but given the extreme length of it, they probably made the right choice from a standpoint of weight and balance. Regardless, the hilt is intricately sculpted with a bird carving as the pommel and a gnarled tangle for a crossguard. The hilt is finished with the same rich patina as Kier’s armor.

Finally, this figure comes with a diorama style base, which is akin to the ones that come with TBLeague’s Deluxe figures. It consists of a circular pedestal with jagged slate pouring up from it. The pedestal is adorned with skulls and skull medallions, and there are more skulls and bones strewn around the rocky terrain, giving you a little slice of the dark dimension on which to display the figure. And if you’ve read any of my Deluxe TBLeague reviews, you probably know what’s coming next. Yeah, there is unfortunately no way to secure the figure to the stand. No pegs or peg holes in her feet, no magnets, and no post to secure her to. Now, I had absolutely no problem getting her to stand on the display in a variety of different poses, but there’s just no way I’m going to display her like that all the time and run the risk of an inevitable shelf dive. As a result, the stand makes for some good photo ops, but it’s not something I’m going to use to display her regularly, and that’s a shame because they did put some nice work into this piece.

Kier set me back about $170, which is right in line with TBLeague’s Deluxe figures, and I have to say that’s a hell of a value. Doubly so when you can rarely ever touch a Hot Toys or Sideshow figure for under $225 these days. And most of those don’t come with big diorama-style display bases. TBLeague did an amazing job owning this design and she is going to look fantastic displayed alongside some of my other TBLeague horror gals, like Vampirella, Purgatori, and Lady Death. Not to mention I’ve already had the second of TBLeague’s Court of the Dead figures arrive, so I hope to be checking her out in a few weeks.

Anck Su Namun (Princess of Egypt) Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague 

I rarely make New Year’s Resolutions, but I am going to do my best to make 2020 the year I (try really hard to) get caught up on my Sixth-Scale figure reviews. Sure I could say that about Mythic Legions or Marvel Legends, but this category actually seems doable. I have a few Hot Toys on my shelf still waiting their turn, a bunch on pre-order, but right now I’m most hopelessly behind on my TBLeague figures. A big part of the problem is that these are more affordable than Hot Toys and the sense of quality and value I get from these releases continues to be through the roof so I’ve been buying quite a few of them. And despite a common concern, I have yet to have any of the silicone bodies tear or break down on me so there’s been nothing to discourage me from keeping at it. At least not yet. And with that preamble out of the way, let’s check out Anck Su Namun, The Princess of Egypt!

TBLeague butters its bread by securing the largely overlooked (and conveniently inexpensive) licenses from a number of indie comic companies as well as the occasional concept figure. I would have guessed this one was a concept figure, if not for the ARH Comix. ARH published the wonderful Arhian The Headhuntress and one of my favorite comics of all time Arkhalla Queen of Vampires. But in this case I’ve never seen or heard about ARH publishing a comic with Anck. Was it her own book? Was she a supporting character in another? Even ARH’s website, which admittedly doesn’t seem to have been updated in over a year, holds no answers. But it doesn’t matter, I’m content calling her a concept version of a historical figure. Whatever the case, I happen to have a thing for Ancient Egypt and scantily clad ladies and this figure covers both of those areas of interest quite nicely. As always, the box is very high quality cardboard with a tri-fold lid that secures to the sides with magnets. The figure and accessories rest in a series of foam trays. The illustrations on the box let photos of the figure do the talking, and overall the presentation here never fails to impress me, especially considering the flimsy window boxes and sleeves that Hot Toys has been using lately. Happily there isn’t a lot of set up required here, so let’s get the Princess out of her sarcophagus and check her out!

Now this is a Dynasty that I can get behind, and I sure don’t need any comic book tie-in to sell me on Anck because she’s a real knock out. Her outfit consists of a black cloth skirt, which is made from a light, stretchy material, and totally form fitting. There aren’t any slits up the sides so this skirt does tend to impede the range of motion in her hips. I can still get some fairly wide stances out of her, and she can sit just fine, but anything too extreme isn’t possible. On the upside, it really shows off her nice backside! Above the skirt she has a sculpted plastic belt and sash, all fashioned as one piece and painted gold with some black and silver trim. I’ve got to say the gold and silver paint they used on all of the costume pieces is so sumptuous! The belt itself has a weave pattern sculpted into it, while the sash has some raised hieroglyphs. There’s also a scarab disc in the center of her waist where the belt meets the sash. The sash hangs on her hips and stays put most of the time, but will occasionally ride up when I’m posing her.

Traveling further up to her chest, I have absolutely no idea what to call this bra-rig-thing. It’s basically a black leather strap that goes under her chest with two other straps rising up with the Ancient Egyptian equivalent of pasties. This costume piece ties behind her back and it holds on amazingly well. In reality I can’t see this thing working, but here it’s almost like magic! The cross strap features a sculpted gold bird and scarab motif, while the pasties are sculpted to look like intricately detailed gold coins. Anck is also big on the accessorizing, and these points of flair include  golden anklets and wrist bracers, both sets of which are designed to conceal the seams on her wrists and ankles, two gold armbands with sculpted white birds, and she even has a removable ring on her left hand! Speaking of hands, she comes with a bunch of them, from gesturing hands to grippy ones designed to hold her weapons. She also comes with two pairs of feet, one set is flat for standing and the other with arches for when she’s sitting.

The portrait is very good and shows that TBLeauge is always working on upping their head-sculpts. The eyes are quite stunning with a nice level of realism to the paint and the Egyptian-style mascara is crisp and precise. The paint on the lips is also superb with just enough gloss to give them that slightly wet look. And still, the real showpiece here is her hair. She has a fairly typical coif of straight black hair, but layered on top of that is a cobra-headed headdress, which sports two braids coming down the front and ending in gold rings. Down the back is a full brace of braids all ending in golden rods. This ensemble is actually pegged straight into the top of the head and it looks fabulous! And like the rest of her body, Anck’s pretty neck is adorned with even more finery. She has a wide, segmented black and gold colar with a bird sculpted on the front. Above that she has a necklace of gold and silver beads, and above that she has a wide golden choker.

As always, the articulation on the Phicen Seamless Bodies goes above and beyond in replicating the movements of the human body. The silicone skin has a warm and even tone and feels eerily real, while the stainless steel skeleton beneath it offers up silky smooth movement and plenty of hidden surprises. TBLeague has started including instruction sheets with these figures showing you what the safe and acceptable movements are, and I find that they tend to be a little conservative in limiting what they allow. The truth is that if you’re careful these bodies are capable of a lot of extreme movements. On the flipside, it’s not a good idea to leave these figures in those kinds of poses for too long, so I tend to go with very traditional museum-style displays unless I’m planning on changing them up every couple of weeks or so. At the risk of jinxing myself, I’ve yet to have any of these bodies tear on me or degrade, and that’s with about 20 of them in my collection, the oldest being from several years ago. And with the body and costume covered, let’s move on to her accessories.

For starters, she comes with this wicked sickle-bladed sword. At first I thought it was going to be a repack of one that came with a previous release, but it’s completely new. The blade has a mirror finish and the sculpted grip features a gold painted guard and a scarab sculpted onto the pommel. She can comfortably wield it in either or both hands.

Next up, she has a dagger, which features a simple black grip and also a mirror finish on the blade. She doesn’t come with a sheath or scabbard for these blades, but the dagger looks pretty good tucked into her sash. I just have to remember to be careful tucking it in there because Phicen skin and sharp pointy things don’t usually get along too well.

And finally, Anck comes with a pair of Sai, which is a really weird pair of weapons to include with an Egyptian Princess, but she still looks bad ass when wielding them. Still, I doubt these are going to spend a lot of time out of the box. I’d rather go with the more-Egyptian themed weapons. And while that wraps up Anck’s weapons, we still have a display base and decorative piece to look at.

The display base is a raised circular platform sculpted to look like an ancient pillar. There are hieroglyphs sculpted into the sides and golden discs with raised scarabs encircling the base. It’s a fantastic looking piece and these always makes me wonder how TBLeague can throw in extras like this, while still keeping the costs well under $200. The only downside of these bases is that there’s no way to secure the figure, which makes me unlikely to ever display her standing on it for fear of her taking a shelf dive. I suppose you can use a stand and put it on top of it, but that tends to look unsightly. She does, however, look pretty fine sitting on it.

And finally Anck comes with a golden cat sculpture, which is both beautiful and quite hefty. Again, how do they pack this much stuff in while not approaching the prices of many other Sixth-Scale figures out there? I don’t know, but I’m not about to question it.

Anck Su Namun is yet another fantastic figure from TBLeague. The detail and craftsmanship on the costume and accessories just goes to show how much these guys care about producing visually stunning figures that pair so well with the Phicen bodies. What’s more she’s been so much fun to play around with. When I first started dabbling around with this line, I was so apprehensive about handling them, but the more experience I get, the more I realize that these figures have a lot to offer so long as you show a modicum of care when handling them. The Egyptian Princess set me back about $160 and while she’s still hanging around at some retailers, she’s also starting to creep up in price at places like Ebay. I’m happy to add her to my collection, and I was even happier to see that TBLeague followed her up with a Cleopatra figure. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to show her off here soon.

Cowgirl Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TB League

It’s a brand new year, and boy am I ready for that! One of my many little resolutions for 2020 around these parts is to start digging into my Sixth-Scale figures and get caught up before all the pre-orders that were delayed last year start piling up in about a month. Yeah, that’s like a year’s worth of Hot Toys that all got bumped. So, this week I had a perusal through a stack of boxes looking for something to open and review, and I decided to go with one of TB League’s (formerly Phicen) offerings. This little lady was released last year and marries two of my favorite things… Lovely Phicen figures and The Old West! Giddyup, Cowgirls!

Yee-Haw! Here’s the part of the review where I gush over TBL’s packaging and lament that we don’t get the same quality out of Hot Toys’ more expensive figures. Seriously, the presentation is really solid with a durable cardboard shoebox and an illustrated tri-fold magnetic cover. Ok, so the artwork here isn’t anything special, but these boxes feel so much better than the flimsy window boxes that Hot Toys has been using for a lot of their releases these days. Remove the top and you get your figure and all her accessories nestled in a foam tray. And as with all TB League releases, this lovely cowpoke’s head comes separate from her body. It’s creepy, but I think they do that so it can be wrapped in plastic better. TBL is known for mining their source material from Indie (read cheaper to acquire) licenses, but this little lady is one of their concept figures, or at least I’m 99.9% sure she isn’t based on any specific license or property. But hey, if there’s a comic somewhere with Cowgirl in it, I’ll jump on board. There’s a little bit of set up required here, but nothing too bad, so let’s check her out and see how The West was fun.

Cowgirl is the result of a painstakingly researched pursuit of authenticity. The creators of this figure really wanted to capture all the historical details of your average late 19th Century hawt blonde gunfighter absolutely perfectly, and it shows! From the leather studded top that does little more than hold her large doggies in place to the leather panties that protects her modesty south of the border, she looks like she jumped straight out of the history books! Yeah, I’m funning with ya, but if you weren’t expecting something like this outfit out of a TBL female gunfighter, than you need to revisit some of my other reviews and acquaint yourself with the copious T&A of their previous releases. Apart from her skimpy top and bottom, Cowgirl sports a pair of long black leather leggings with knee-pads and some nice fringe coming off the sides. Each of these leggings hooks to her panties similar to a garderbelt. The outfit is rounded out by a dual-holstered gunbelt, a pair of boots, complete with spurs, fingerless gloves sculpted onto the hands, and a felt fedora to top off her pretty head.

And speaking of pretty heads, TBL has been getting better and better with their portraits, and I have to say I like this one very much. She sure is purdy and the rooted blonde hair falls naturally about her head. The paint quality on the eyes and lips are both quite lifelike, even if the eyebrows and overall skin texture don’t quite meet that uncanny realism we see in those top-tier Sixth-Scale figure producers. There isn’t a lot of expressiveness in the face to support some of the more action-packed poses, but I still like what we got here a lot, it’s quality work. Indeed, I have a feeling that the customizing community of Phicen collectors will be happy to add this head to their collection. The hat holds it’s shape well and fits her head nicely. It stays on quite well too. I’m always happy to see an actual felt hat in this scale, rather than a plastic one.

The skimpy outfit does it’s job in allowing the Seamless Phicen Body to strut it’s stuff. I’ve lost track of what body type they’re up to, and to be honest I could never really keep them straight anyway. Suffice it to say the soft plastic skin surrounds a stainless steel skeleton that offers what is probably the most realistic human articulation available in the action figure market today. And without actually seeing where all those joints are, it’s fun to discover all the crazy little nuances that are locked away in her articulation. Likewise, this is an extremely well balanced figure (insert joke about her being top-heavy here), and I found her able to hold her own without needing a stand. Which is good, because she doesn’t come with one. Not that I would trust her to stand on the shelf for long periods of time without one. Thankfully inexpensive stands for figures in this scale can be had pretty easily.

And as great as the body is, that’s not to say the craftsmanship and detail in the outfit take a backseat. The stitching and studs on the leather (well, leather-like substance) look great, along with a little bit of weathering, and that big red stone in the middle. And while my Cowgirl does suffer the occasional nip-slip when posing, the top piece of her wardrobe does a good job at rustling those doggies. The gunbelt features a silver painted buckle and a string of sculpted cartridges running around its length. The holsters fit the guns very well, although they tend to slide to the front from time to time. Another thing to watch for when posing Cowgirl are the clips for her leggings. These will sometimes come un-clipped with leg movement and have to be re-clipped. Finally, the sculpted boots include some lovely decorative work around the tops, silver studs across the fronts, silver medallions on the sides, and working spurs!

Moving on to accessories, and here’s where the figure takes a couple of hits, and I’m talking about her shootin’ irons. Make no mistake, these are incredibly detailed revolvers with silver finish and brown painted grips. The detail and level of articulation on these are quite impressive. The hammers can be cocked back, the chambers spin, and they can even flip out for loading or be removed from the guns entirely. What’s my gripe? Well, they’re obviously modern pistols and not age-appropriate single-actions. It really feels like the folks at TBL just re-purposed some guns from another figure set. And I get it, I don’t really know the intent behind this character. Taking the outfit into consideration, maybe she isn’t supposed to be from the past. Maybe she’s some kind of sexy cowboy-themed bounty hunter or vigilante, and if so that’s fair enough. But, I’ll still be looking for some more authentic pistols for her online. Naturally, Cowgirl comes with a pair of trigger finger hands and these work very well with the pistols.

And as impressive as the articulation on these guns is, it may be a little too much. The action on these is extremely delicate and the chambers are held in only by friction, so it’s not uncommon for the chamber and the retaining pin to fall out when I’m posing the figure. Indeed, one of them even disappeared somewhere on the floor of my studio while I was taking pictures for  this review. The hunt for it continues. It’s a race against time to find the little shiny things before my cats do. But all the more reason for me to hunt down some new guns for her.

Fortunately, she does come with a rifle that better suits her presumed time period, and that’s this beautiful lever-action. Now, I’m a real sucker for lever actions. I own four of the real deals, so this accessory is near and dear to my heart, even if it doesn’t seem to be based on any specific firearm that I can recall. The sculpted detail here is just packed with character, from the wood-grain patterns in the stock and forearm to the screws, barrel bands, and bolts holding the receiver together. Even the coloring is beautiful, with a lush brown for the wooden pieces and a convincing gun metal gray for the rest. This accessory features no articulation, and considering the troubles I had with the pistols, maybe that’s for the best. I sling or maybe even a scabbard to carry it on her back would have been cool, but either way it’s plenty cool.

You do get a few other extras in the box, the first of which is a rope, which while simple enough doesn’t go unappreciated. I’ve even tied mine into a noose for he to hold.

The final accessory is a combat knife and sheath, but it suffers the same issue as the guns. With it’s black segmented grip and sawback edge, It looks like a modern survival knife and not something someone would be carrying around in The Old West. I would have loved to have seen a beefy Bowie knife included here or maybe a Civil War era sword-bayonet, but no such luck. Hey, extras are always nice, but I doubt I’m going to display this piece with her. Nonetheless, she does come with a tight grip right hand that holds it very well.

Most of the TBL figures I’ve purchased lately have been Deluxes, which means they often come with elaborate bases or some kind of set piece prop, but Cowgirl bucks that trend. The plus side of that is she was a little cheaper, around $149 if I remember correctly. The downside is, I think they could have done something cool like a saloon door or a wagon wheel or something to display her with. As she stands, I think she’s a pretty cool figure. I love the outrageous costume, the portrait is great, and I don’t think I’ll ever stop being impressed by Phicen’s seamless bodies. My biggest gripes here come in the accessories, and maybe that’s more my personal preference. A couple of single action six-shooters and a big Bowie knife would have been perfect for her, but maybe I’ll be able to supply those things somewhere down the road. As it is, she’s certainly a nice break from the fantasy and medieval style warrior women we’ve been seeing from TBL lately. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but Cowgirl adds a little spicy variety to my shelf.

Purgatori Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arhian: Head Huntress Pirate Sixth-Scale Figure (Deluxe Edition) by Phicen/TBLeague

Hey, who wants to check out a new release from Phicen/TBLeague? Bah, I know the answer is almost none of you. I don’t tend to hang on my blog’s stats very often, but I do know that these Phicen reviews drum up the least amount of interest and engagement as almost anything. Hell, I once reviewed a box of Twinkies, and that post performed better than most of these Phicen reviews combined. But that’s OK. I’m a huge fan of these figures, these reviews are a labor of love, and I’m not about to stop anytime soon. Those of you still reading are probably aware that Phicen and TBLeague have done some great work bringing indie comic properties to the collectible figure market. In addition to some of their own original designs, they’ve produced figures from Image, Chaos, and Zenescope to name a few. And every once and a while they release a figure of a character from a comic I’ve never heard of, but I like the figure so much I go ahead and buy it anyway. Today is one of those times.

A little research tells me that Arhian: Head Huntress is a swords-and-sandals type offering from ARH Comix, with an emphasis on bloody battles and T&A. A little while ago, Phicen put out a figure of Arhian in her standard warrior garb and as tempted as I was to grab her up, I couldn’t fit her into the budget and, like most Phicen figures, when the retailers sold out, she shot up in price on the second-hand market. Needless to say, when they solicited this pirate version of Arhian, I plunked down my pre-order post-haste.

The packaging is very typical for TBLeague’s boxed figure sets. You get a heavy duty box with a front flap that secures with magnets to the sides. There’s some nice artwork on the front and photos of the figure on the side and rear panels. The figure itself comes nestled in a foam tray. I say it pretty much every time I review one of these releases: These guys do a much better job on the presentation than Hot Toys and Sideshow does on many of their regular releases.

Aw, yeah! Check her out! Is there anything sexier than a hot blonde pirate or am I alone in this particular fetish? Either way, one look at Arhian and I didn’t need any backstory or familiarity with the comic to want to add her to the collection. Arhian uses what I think is one of Phicen’s medium build seamless bodies, making her shorter than the last one I looked at, Athena, and with a slightly larger bust size. As always, the body features silicone skin and muscle wrapped around a stainless steel skeleton that mimics the articulation of the human body so well that it’s almost creepy. They still don’t have the look of the elbow bends quite right, but that’s a small nitpick when everything else looks so good.

In terms of complexity, I’d say Arhian’s costume is about middle of the road when compared to some of the other Phicens in my collection, but that’s not to say I didn’t run into a few roadblocks getting her kitted out. She comes wearing a one-piece leather-like tunic, which is split down the middle to offer a fine view of her pirate’s chest, and extends down past her waist in the front and back to offer a little modestly to her stern and aft quarters. The garment is neatly stitched and features a zig-zag pattern running down the front edges. Oh yeah, it also smells like Lipton Iced Tea mix. I’m not joking. Open up a tub of that stuff and take a big whiff. that’s exactly what this figure smells like out of the box. Don’t ask me why.

The easy parts of completing her costume includes sliding on her bicep rings, her wrist bracers, and the tops of her sandals. The bicep rings are cast in plastic and have a nice bronze finish to them, along with some great sculpted ornamentation. These are fairly easy to get on, and even easier if you have a little talcum powder lying around to help them slide onto her silicone skin. The same goes for her long bracers, which feature sculpted wraps and bronze studs. Not only do these look stylish, but they also help to hide the seams on her wrists. As for the sandals, the feet are sculpted with the lower part of the sandals permanently attached, as well as an ornamental bronze colored fixture between her toes. The rest of the sandal is a soft plastic sleeve that slides onto her leg. I love how they did this and it makes for a decent effect, although the bottom of these pieces don’t always hide the ankle seams in more extreme action poses.

The biggest pain to set up was her wide belt, which had to be laced up the side with string and tied off. It took me quite a while to be able to thread the string through those tiny eyelets. I eventually had to resort to treating the string with some hair gel to get it through. I laced it up off the figure and then when I tried to slide it up her legs I found that it was almost too snug to make it to her waist. I think it was sheer determination not to have to go through the lacing ordeal again that finally got it into place. Besides being a pain, the belt looks great. It has a leather-like texture and an ornate lion head sculpted into the front. It also features the studded leather straps that make up her skirt.

Arhian also comes with a sword belt that can be fastened loose to rest on her hip and carry her dagger and sword. The dagger simply hooks onto the belt, whereas the sword is secured by passing the belt through a chain. I was not a big fan of the chain on the Athena figure’s sword and I’m not a big fan of it here either. It does hold it in place for display, but it has to be adjusted to hang properly whenever I repose the figure.

Moving on to the portrait, I think Phicen is continuing to show solid improvement in their figures’ heads, both in terms of sculpt and paint. The eyes are quite lifelike and the paint on the eyebrows, lashes, and lips is crisp and precise. Arhian features long rooted hair, which is fairly manageable right out of the box, but I did apply a bit of that hair gel to get it further under control. She comes with a red cloth hat, which is similar to the dew-rags, or bandanna if you prefer, often seen worn by pop culture pirates. The hat features some beading around the bottom edge as well as around the flap on the front. The final piece of Arhian’s costume is her necklace, which looks like it’s supposed to be made up of bones or teeth. They’re all individual pieces on a string and getting it looped right and tied off was a bit of a challenge for me.

Moving on to her weapons, the dagger is a simple enough piece with a functional, and not terribly flashy looking, sheath. It features a sculpted grip with a pommel that looks like it could be useful in smashing in skulls. The blade is painted silver and has some blood splatter on it. In addition to her relaxed hands and a pair of gesturing hands, Arhian comes with a pair of weapon holding hands that work perfectly.

The sword is a far more interesting piece than the dagger and features a rather ornate scabbard with reinforced scroll-work and some big sculpted studs. It’s cast in plastic but has an aged bronze finish to it and the sword fits perfectly, so that it’s easy to draw out but still stays put. I’ve already said my piece about the chain that it hangs on. I think it looks great, but it’s not as secure as it could be.

The sword itself features a curved blade, which looks like it’s designed for quick slashing attacks to make up for its’ lack of reach. The plastic blade features a brilliant silver paint along with a gold sculpted inlay and a red ruby. The hilt has a sculpted simulated wrap on the grip and a silver pommel with another ruby centered in it. I really dig all the accessories included with this figure, but I wish they had thrown in a few more goodies, like a bottle of booze or a treasure chest. I’ve already started hunting down some goodies for her.

She does, however, come with a really nice display base. It’s a patch of sand surrounded by a stone wall and adorned with skulls and crossbones. There’s an additional skull half buried in the sand as well. The sculpting and design of this base is outstanding, but the problem is that there’s no way to secure the figure to it. Sometimes Phicen makes use of foot pegs, but that’s not the case here, and there’s no post or anything to hold her up. I have no troubles getting her to stand on it, but there’s no way I’m going to display her that way over a long period of time and risk having her take a shelf dive.

Every time I open a new figure from TBLeague I’m delighted with what I find, which is probably why I keep plunking down the pre-orders. About the only real gripe I have for Arhian here is the price. At $179, she ranks in the same as Athena and that figure game with a few more outfit pieces and a column display stand that’s as big as the figure. Granted, Athena was an original design and Arhian is a licensed character, but I can’t believe a small press like ARH Comix soaked these guys with the licensing fees. What I’m getting it as Arhian feels like she should have been at least $10 cheaper and while that was never going to be a deal-breaker for me, it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.

Athena Sixth-Scale Figure (Deluxe Edition) by Phicen/TBLeague

I didn’t set out to start collecting Phicen figures. The gateway purchases for me were their Zenescope figures and I had no intention of going any further. But I was so impressed with them, it lead to another and another, and now it seems like I’m pre-ordering these ladies on a regular basis. That wouldn’t be so bad if they weren’t revealing what seems like a new figure every month. And today’s figure is a bit of a milestone, as its my first Phicen figure that’s not based off of a comic book property. Nope, Athena is just an original design based loosely (OH, SO LOOSELY!!) on the Greek warrior goddess, Athena. Oh yeah, and I should note that while Phicen is now officially known as TBLeague, I still tend to use the two names interchangeably.

Athena comes in what has become standard packaging for TBLeague figures, which consists of a shoebox with a tri-fold cover that connects to the sides of the box with magnets. Both the box and cover are made of sturdy, durable cardboard, and as I point out almost every time I review a Phicen, the packaging here feels vastly more premium than the packaging used for most of the Hot Toys or Sideshow figures in my collection. The tri-fold cover features some excellent artwork on the front and sides, and the back panel of the box has shots of the figure itself.

Inside, Athena comes nestled in a foam tray with all of her accessories laid out around her, with a second tray and more goodies under that one. And let me tell you, this figure required a lot more futzing than any of the previous Phicens I’ve purchased. As usual, you have to attach the head, which is no big deal. But beyond that, the figure comes wearing only her boots, top, and skirt. All the individual armor pieces have to be attached and that amounts to 11 pieces, not counting the helmet. The majority of these pieces are secured with elastic straps, and while some will just slide on, others require you to work with teeny fasteners. And yes, some of these pieces feel delicate, and don’t forget you’re dealing with a soft-skinned figure that does not react well to being poked and prodded. I’ll admit it, setting her up was quite the chore.

But, I’m happy to say that it’s all worth it, because once Athena is all kitted out, she looks absolutely stunning. Originally, I wanted to shoot her as I added the various pieces of armor, but it was so much work getting it all onto her, I have no plans to take any of it off again, so let’s just start at her feet and work our way up. The calf-high boots are made of a leather-like material reinforced with sculpted gold pieces on the heels and toes. The shin armor are made of somewhat pliable plastic and simply clip on. They hold on surprisingly well too! The knee armor is held on with actual straps, and while they have a habit of slipping around when bending her at the knees, they’re not too bothersome.

The skirt consists of individual strips of brown leather-like material hanging down to cover her front and back nether-regions. On top of that goes a separate belt made of the same material, with ornate gold discs, like mini shields, on the front and back, as well as larger hip plates and some golden chains that hang down over her thighs. I really dig all the little etching on the individual discs and there’s a cool sculpted pattern that makes them look like they’ve actually been hammered out of metal. Athena’s arms feature a pair of bicep rings, plus some mesh sleeves, which are totally optional, and I keep waffling back and forth over whether to keep them or not. In the promo pics, the flaps that extend over her hands are supposed to loop around one of her fingers, but there’s no actual hole to do this, and I’m a little afraid that if I try to make one it’ll tear.

Her chest covering consists of two strategically placed leather-like straps that cover her “nipular” areas and criss-cross just before looping around her neck, while the other ends pass under her arms and across her back. The shoulder armor pieces were the hardest to get onto her. These are held on by elastic straps with tiny buckles and a snap that attached them to the shoulder. Getting anything to slip all the way up a Phicen’s arm is tough, because the realistic skin offers a lot of resistance, and these had to go all the way up to the top. I tried unfastening them and fastening them in place, but that proved to always result in the armor piece unsnapping from the strap, so I had to do it the hard way. Finally, there’s the gorget, which curves up to encircle her neck and has a few ornamental chains that hang down betwixt her bosoms. That’s right, I SAID BETWIXT HER BOSOMS! Anyway, despite the fact that all this armor is worn by the figure like real armor, the bulk of it stays put quite well, and didn’t cause a lot of problems when I messed around with her.

The head sculpt is extremely pretty and I have to give credit to Phicen for how far they’ve come with their portraits. It’s hard to compare this head to a Hot Toys sculpt, because it’s not based on any famous actress’ likeness, but the realism is pretty damn good. The contours of the face are smooth and elegant. I love the glossy paint used for her lips, as it looks realistically wet. The paint for the eyes is extremely close to capturing that surreal spark of life that Hot Toys grants it’s figures. Athena sports a long mane of golden rooted hair, and while it’s common to get some flyaway strands, this gal’s coif isn’t too hard to manage, and you don’t have to be a professional hairdresser to make it look good. Her tiara is a separate piece and when Athena goes into battle, it can be swapped out in favor of her helmet.

The helmet goes on very easily, thanks to the slightly pliable plastic used for the cheek guards. The hardest part is getting her hair to sit right under it, but just bunching it all up and pulling it to the back seems to do the trick. The sculpted decorations on this piece are beautifully done, with raised scroll-work on the cheek guards, a decoration that kind of resembles an upside down Fleur De Lis. The dome has a hammered finish similar to some of the rest of the armor pieces, and the crest sweeps up majestically in the front. Probably my favorite aspect about the helmet is the figure seated under the crest. It’s a half-woman, half-animal (possibly winged) sitting on her hind legs and pushing up with her arms. It really adds to the timeless fantasy design of this figure.

Athena comes with a handful of cool accessories, as well as three pairs of hands. The hands include a relaxed pair, a pair with two of her fingers pointing, and a pair designed to hold her accessories. The first of these is her sword, which comes in a scabbard. The scabbard is molded plastic and features some gold decorations and a chain to hang it from the belt, but I couldn’t find any specific place to put it, so I wound up just looping it around the belt before putting it on her and having it hang down behind her legs. It looks good, but it’s a little awkward when posing her. I would have rather just had a clip on the belt to attach it to.

The sword itself is beautiful but it strikes me as more medieval in design than Greco-Roman. It has a cruciform hilt with a rather large pommel and straight cross guard. The blade is made of die-cast metal, giving the weapon a nice heft, and it tapers pretty sharply to the point, giving it a late medieval flavor. It also has a snazzy mirror polish to it. Part of me wishes that they had given her a more appropriately designed sword, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me and it is a fantastic looking piece.

The shield, on the other hand, reels it back in with a more solid Greek design. It’s round with a familiar Greek pattern running around the edge, sculpted bolts reinforcing the next ring, and a beautiful sculpted relief of Medusa’s face framed by a fury of snakes. The shield is molded in plastic and has a sumptuous gold finish that matches the rest of Athena’s armor pieces. On the flip side, the shield includes an elastic strap to go over the arm and a grab bar. Getting her fingers around the grab bar can be a chore, but once it’s on there she holds the shield very securely. I’ve also found that the relaxed hand offers enough support to hold the shield in poses where the elbow is bent.

Next up is Athena’s battle standard, which is secured to a spear. The spear itself has a silver spike butt cap and a broad bladed tip. There’s a ribbed grip up near the tip with gold painted rings where the flag secures to the shaft. The flag is made of a semi-stiff cloth material that shows off the gold sun emblem and gold borders. Now, I’m no expert on the standards used by the Greeks, but like the sword, this accessory looks a bit more medieval to me. Whatever the case, she looks great holding it.

And last, but certainly not least, Phicen has been pretty generous with bundling some truly impressive diorama pieces in with their figures, and in this case Athena comes with a huge antique column, which can be used as a display stand. This is a hefty and beautifully crafted piece with some realistic weathering and some blue and gold paint around the decorations. It also stands almost as tall as the figure herself. The top surface is studded with pegs, yes Phicen equips these figures with peg holes in the feet so they can be secured onto a base or stand just like most 3 3/4-inch and 6-inch scale figures. The problem is that to display Athena on this stand, I’m now looking at a required 24-inches of clearance on my shelf, and I don’t really have anyplace right now to accommodate her.

Fortunately, the column looks pretty good when tumbled onto its side as well, and I may wind up just displaying Athena reclining on it or climbing on top of it.

While I was originally content to stick with just the comic-based figures, TBLeague’s original designs have been getting better and better and I just got to the point where I couldn’t resist any longer. And I’m certainly glad I didn’t, because Athena is a stunning figure with some beautifully designed armor strategically designed to show off the Phicen body. Sure, some aspects of the design aren’t exactly seated in any sense of historical accuracy, even if some promotional materials are suggesting that it is supposed to be the Goddess of Wisdom and War. There are certainly hints of Greco-Roman design here, but I wholeheartedly believe that this figure is best enjoyed as a fantasy figure straight out of one of those old Pepla (Sword-and-Sandal) flicks, and that perhaps her name is just given in reverence to the mythological Goddess. Regardless, Athena retailed for $170, and considering the craftsmanship and extras, I think the value is certainly there, especially in a market where even the less revered companies are putting out sixth-scale figures in the $200+ range.