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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Red Sonja “Scars of the She-Devil” Sixth-Scale Figure (Deluxe Edition) by Phicen/TB League

Phicen, who now seem to be calling themselves TB League, is quickly becoming my favorite Sixth-Scale action figure company behind Hot Toys. Equipped with their always impressive seamless female bodies, they’ve been turning out some amazing boxed figure sets based on some indie comic properties, as well as totally original designs. So far I’ve reviewed three of their four figures from Zenescope Comics, as well as Dynamite Comics’ Vampirella. I’m getting really behind on all my Sixth-Scale reviews, so today I’m checking out the Deluxe Edition of Red Sonja, yet another femme fatale from Dynamite Comics.

This is Phicen’s second release of Red Sonja, dubbed “Scars of the She-Devil.” The first sold out very quickly. This time around, they fixed some complaints about the head sculpt and hair color, gave her a battle damaged look by adding some scarring, decked her out with new accessories and changed up her armor. In short, this isn’t a re-release to add more figures into circulation, but rather an entirely new version. And because this is the Deluxe Edition, they bundled her with a diorama style display base. The figure comes in this massive mailer box with the figure’s regular box inside and a giant brick of styrofoam to hold the base.

Sonja’s box looks great and it’s much wider than most standard Sixth-Scale figure boxes. It’s fully enclosed with a tri-fold front flap securing to both sides by magnets. The front and side panels have photos of the actual figure and the back panel has more photos as well as a little blurb about Red Sonja herself. Lift off the top to reveal a foam tray with the figure and her accessories, and as usual the head comes separate and wrapped in plastic to protect the hair and paint. I have to say that the quality and presentation here is really premium and it blows away the flimsy sleeved window boxes that we’ve been getting from Hot Toys lately.

As mentioned, Sonja comes out of the box in need of having her head attached. You also have to gird on her her sword belt, but apart from that she’s all set to go. Not that there would be a lot to put on her otherwise. Her outfit is appropriately nearly non-existant, with just a scale mail bikini top held up by some rather ornate shoulders, and a couple of patches of scale mail to protect her coming and going down there in her nether regions. The scale armor bits are sculpted plastic and they look great with bright and lustrous metallic silver paint. These pieces are secured with brown leather straps, and they stay put quite well while posing her. She also has a pair of bronze guards on her thighs and some great looking brown boots and gauntlets. Both feature some nice sculpted rumpling to make them look like leather, and the gauntlets have some etched scrollwork as decorations. While the boots look great, they do not allow for much range of motion in the ankles, so her feet won’t always be flush with the ground in those wide stances, but I found that she balances really well. As for the gloves, swapping out her hands means swapping out the whole glove, and oh boy is that a pain in the ass. I’ve since settled with giving her a weapon gripping hand on the right and a relaxed hand on the left, but there are more to choose from if you’re feeling particularly patient. I’ll also note that Sonja also comes with a bronze band for her left upper arm. You can have a look at it on the package shot, but I’ve opted to forgo that piece in favor of a more minimalist presentation.

The sword belt hangs loose around Sonja’s hips and holds a sculpted plastic scabbard for her sword, which is most comfortable when slung just behind her right hip and sweeping across the back of her legs. I think the body they chose is a pretty good one. It’s appropriately tanned, rather fit, and not as ridiculously endowed in the chest as some of their more prolific body types. As always, that seamless skin covers a stainless steel skeleton, which is capable of some very cool articulation. They still don’t have the look of bent elbows quite right, but everything is really uncanny, especially the knees and abs. As the name suggests, this “Scars of the She-Devil” version of Sonja features various battle wounds, which was something I wasn’t so sure I was going to like, but turned out looking pretty damn good. Not only do they look realistic, but I think the design team applied just the right amount of them without going overboard. I also dig how they’re all positioned on her front, because Red Sonja always faces danger head on!

Speaking of heads, Sonja’s got a right pretty one. I think the original release had a decent portrait, but I like this one a lot too. As to which is better? It probably just comes down to a matter of taste. Either way, the paintwork on the eyes and lips is quite good, as are the eyebrows and eyelashes. Phicen isn’t near Hot Toys quality on their faces, but then again these aren’t real likenesses, so they probably aren’t trying to be. As a result, there’s a little more doll than action figure in these heads, but I’m OK with that. The hair color has actually been toned down a bit, some may argue it’s still too bright, but it’s definitely not as electric as the first release. Again, I dig it just fine. It comes with some product in it to keep it from going all crazy, and I found that it isn’t too hard to keep under control. One nitpick I will grant is that her rather serene expression doesn’t lend well to action poses, but I don’t think we’ll see a point where they start including alternate heads, because quite frankly these boxes are stuffed with enough goodies as it is. Besides, I tend to display my Sixth-Scale figures more in the museum-style, so this expression will do nicely. Let’s move on to the accessories!

First up is, Sonja’s sword, which fits fairly snugly into the scabbard on her belt. The sword features a sculpted handle that looks pretty close to what I remember seeing her carry in the comics. The grip is painted brown, while the pommel and crossguard have a bronze finish. It also features a diecast metal blade, which was a damn nice surprise. In the past Phicen accessories haven’t always felt terribly high end, so it’s nice to see they’re working on improving. The blade has some blood spray caked onto the blade, and despite having a nice heft to it, her grip can support its weight securely.

Next, she comes with a sculpted plastic shield, which features a brown surface that’s all nicked and scarred up. There’s a silver band running around the edge, silver ovals studding the middle circlet, and at the center it has a silver disc with a single spike protruding from it. On the flipside, there’s an elastic strap to go over the inside of her elbow and a grab bar, which works really well even with the relaxed hand.

The last piece in her arsenal is her massive battle axe. This thing has a wicked looking blade with silver edges to make them look sharpened. There’s some gore smeared on the blade as well, which looks a little over-the-top, but damn I love it. The grip is sculpted to look like it’s wrapped with brown leather strips and there’s some red cord tied around the bottom of the shaft. Unlike the sword, the axe is all plastic, and that’s probably a good thing, because it would be extremely heavy if the blade were metal. As great as they are, a couple of weapons and a shield isn’t exactly a crazy amount of accessories for a so-called Deluxe figure, but then I’ve yet to bring out the centerpiece of the set… Behold, the base!

Yes, the Deluxe version of Red Sonja comes with this stepped rock base with a dragon’s head and right claw rising up out of it. This thing is outrageous. I literally could not believe it when I took it out of the styrofoam. It’s crazy heavy and the sculpting and paintwork are absolutely superb. It requires a little bit of assembly, the dragon neck plugs into one slot and the claw into another. I can’t get over all the detail in the dragon’s mouth and the intricate scales.

The rocks have a number of foot pegs offering several options for posing Sonja on it. Yup, foot pegs. Phicen includes peg holes on most of the costumed figures’ feet just like a 3 3/4-inch or 6-inch action figure. The pegs hold fairly well and I’ve yet to have Sonja take a shelf dive, so whether you want to just stand her on it, or actually have her battling the dragon, there are some pretty cool display options here. I think the base only added like $25 to the Deluxe Edition’s price, which seems like a steal to me. It elevates what was already a really great figure to an epic showpiece.

Thinking back, I remember how broken-hearted I was when Red Sonja’s first release sold out before I could put in my order. Phicen’s figures are like that. Some sell out in pre-orders, other linger around for a while, but either way once they sell out, the prices on the secondary market skyrocket. Now, I realize that things sometimes happen for a reason, and I’m glad I missed out on that release, because I love everything about this version more. The armor is cooler, the axe and shield are better, and I even turned out liking the battle damage. But it was the addition of the dragon base that really goes above and beyond. The retail on this Deluxe Edition was $180, which puts her about middle of the road for high end Sixth Scale figures, but when taking in the complete package, I feel a great sense of value with this release, and that’s not something I can say about a lot of my Sixth Scale purchases these days.

FigureFan’s Favorites 2017, Part 2

Welcome back to the Week of Insufferable Lists. I’m not really here this week, but my Life Model Decoy is right in the middle of laying out my Ten Favorite Acquisitions of 2017. Let’s jump right in with the final five. Again, these are in no particular order…

Mythic Legions Stone Troll by The Four Horsemen: Back when I blew my tax return on that original Mythic Legions kickstarter, I never could have guessed how big it would get. Now my Mythic Legions army is expansive and early next year, I’ll be dropping another 35 figures onto those shelves. But if I had to choose one figure that really illustrates how big and successful this line has been, it would be the huge Stone Troll. The sculpt and paintwork on this guy are amazing and it really illustrates how much more craftsmanship can go into a toy that isn’t destined for the shelves at Target or Walmart. My only regret is that I couldn’t budget the Forest Troll to go with him, but at least I take comfort in the fact that soon he’ll have a Cyclops buddy.

DC Bombshells Batwoman (Designer Series) by DC Collectibles: While I had to take a pass on collecting most of the DC Bombshell statues, I was happy to get the Bombshell figures as a more space-friendly alternative. The first wave was chock full of knockouts, so it wasn’t easy choosing one as a favorite. In the end, I went with Batwoman, because I love the pun, I love baseball, and this figure is just too much fun. Great sculpt, great articulation, and great accessories! But hell, I just as easily could have stuck Harley or Wonder Woman in this slot. These are some of DC Collectibles’ best work in years.

Lost Exo Realm (LER-04) Deluxe Severo by Fansproject: 2017 will likely be my last big hurrah with Third-Party Transformers and it was mostly spent tying up loose ends. It took me a long while to get around to picking up Severo and wrapping up my LER Dinobots, so long that I had almost lost interest. He sat for months waiting to be opened, but when I finally did it was love at first sight. Not only is he an imposing beast in either robot or dino modes, but he comes with so many extra weapons and a throne fit for a king.

DC Gallery (Batman: The Animated Series) Zatanna by Diamond Select: I’ve been generally pleased with Diamond’s line of budget statues based on Marvel and DC characters. So much so, that I knew I had to include something from this line on my list of favorites. There were several contendors, but in the end, I had to go with Zatanna. Not only do I love the character, but this statue is very nearly perfect. The sculpt is a spot on representation of her from the Batman Animated Series, the paint application is clean and precise, and the overall quality feels like something beyond a budget statue.

Zenescope’s Robyn Hood Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen: I purchased and reviewed all three of Phicen’s Zenescope figures in 2017, and I don’t think anyone really cared. That’s cool. Zenescope is a small comic book company, and most definitely a guilty pleasure of mine, so I can understand the lack of interest. I could have probably picked any one of these figures for this list solely based on the fact that it’s a miracle a company actually produced Zenescope merch, much less high end merch. And while I love all three of these ladies, the truth is that picking one was not even difficult. Liesel Van Helsing and Mercy Dante are both great figures, but Phicen just knocked it out of the park with Robyn Locksley.

And that’s going to do it for the good stuff. Come back tomorrow and we’ll start having a look at some of those purchases that sucker punched me in the nether regions with my first five Disappointments of 2017.

Vampirella (Asian Edition) Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen

Happy Halloween, folks! I don’t always do special content for the holidays, but this time I remembered to save a figure for just this occasion: Phicen’s Sixth-Scale Vampirella! And when you take Vampirella’s scant outfit and pair it with Phicen’s seamless female body, well… I can’t think of a better match between license and figure producer! Vampirella is one of those timeless characters that’s been around a long time and has enjoyed varying forms of success and popularity, and yet she never really seems to hit it big. Debuting in 1969 (she’s only a few years older than me!) as the host for a series of horror themed comics (think The Crypt-Keeper, only a lot nicer to look at) before eventually evolving into a lead character in her own adventures. I first discovered her in a stack of comics and adult stowed in a top shelf of one of my uncle’s bookcases. It wasn’t until the fairly recent Dynamite Comics run that I really reconnected with her and I can’t recommend that series enough! I got this figure a little ways back and ever since she’s been on my display shelf begging for some attention, so let’s check her out.

The figure arrives in an extra large brown mailer box, which is designed to accommodate not only the figure’s box, but also the block of styrofoam containing her base. Note the “Asian Edition” on the box? It’s there to signify that this initial release of the figure features a portrait designed with Asian features. And believe me, I’ll touch on that more when I discuss the portrait.

The figure itself comes in an illustrated box with a front cover that wraps around the sides and is held on by magnets. You get plenty of shots of the figure on the front, back, and side panels and naturally everything is collector friendly. While still relatively simple, I have to say the quality of the box and presentation here feels better than the standard window box and sleeve we’ve been getting from Hot Toys these days. Lift off the top and it reveals a foam tray, which holds the figure and her accessories. As with most Phicen figures, the head needs to be attached, and in this case her jewelry has to be put on.

Vampirella comes wearing her iconic and skimpy costume. I am told on good authority that it’s called a monokini, which is a type of swimsuit. OK. That works. In this case it’s crafted of vibrant red fabric and fits the figure perfectly. And by perfectly, I mean it’s snug. So snug that it doesn’t take much scrutiny to recognize that these figures are anatomically correct. The garment terminates at her neck with a flared white collar, which always gives me a smirk. It’s like her creators wanted to give her something a little more vampire-y, so they just tacked the collar onto her outfit. Brilliant! The only ornamentation on her red modesty-sling consists of a gold triangular medallion strategically placed, um… right where you see it up there in the photo. Her outfit is rounded out by a pair of stiletto-heeled boots, which are made from a pleather-like material and end just below her knees, an ornamental golden bicep cuff on her right arm, and two golden bangles on her wrists.

I’ve reviewed three Phicen figures this year, but if this is your first experience with them, then the thing to know is that the Phicen body consists of a fully articulated stainless steel skeleton wrapped in silicon that mimics not only the look (and sort of the feel) of skin, but also the musculature underneath it. What’s more, the skeleton is designed to articulate in a way that accurately reproduces the joints of a human being far better than just about any other action figure on the market. There are still some things they need to work on, like the elbows still look a bit flat to me when they bend, but other areas are downright incredible. I’m mesmerized by the way the torso can pivot and crunch and the way the ab muscles look so damn real. My other Phicen figures have much less-revealing costumes, so Vampirella is one of the first times I’m really getting to see everything at work on one of these bodies. Phicen has a number of different body types at their disposal and surprisingly they went for one of the more realistically proportioned ones for V here. Some have complained that her caboose doesn’t fill out the costume as well as it should, but it works fine for me.

And speaking of complaints, one of the loudest choruses of whining came from the fact that this “Asian Edition” uses an Asian head. The obvious complaint here being that Vampirella has never been depicted as someone with Asian features, and I can understand why that might irk some people. In reality, V isn’t really Caucasian either. She’s an alien from the planet Drakulon. I’ve already mentioned this at the beginning of this review, and I’ll touch on it more at the end. For the time being, let me just say that this head sculpt has grown on me quite a bit, to the point where I don’t really even notice the Asian features being out of place for the character. She’s attractive, they did some cool and crazy shit with her eye makeup, and I love the quality of paint they used on her lips. She even has a cute little birthmark just above her left cheek. The rooted hair can be a bit of a chore. It’s prone to getting caught in the neck seam, but with a little care it looks fantastic. When I first bought her, I thought I’d be quick on the hunt for a replacement head, but it isn’t really a priority for me any longer.

Vampirella comes with three sets of hands: Grasping, Relaxed, and what I can only describe as “Immagonnagetchu” clawing hands. If you read my previous Phicen reviews, than you may remember that I’ve had a hell of a time swapping out hands on these ladies. Instead of using a hinged peg, these hands go right onto the steel skeleton’s ball joint. Sometimes, they’re so hard to get out that the ball comes with them, and then you’ve got a whole world of headaches getting things right again. In the case of V, her hands pop off easily and go back on just as well. No fuss, no muss. And if the wrist seams on what is an otherwise seamless body bother you, those wrist bangles are nice to strategically cover them up. All of her hand sets feature really long and sharp fingernails, which require a bit of care, when having them interact with her delicate skin. I think a lot of what has been said about the extreme delicacy of these figures has been overstated, but you still have to be more careful with these than you would a regular plastic figure. Anyway, my favorites are the claw hands, although they don’t really match the serene expression on her face.

There is one more aspect to Vampirella’s costume that I neglected to mention, and that’s her cape. It fastens easily around her neck with a snap-clasp, and it is an absolutely beautiful little garment. It’s made of super soft material, and it’s black with a stitched red lining. It has a remarkable weight to it that allows it to fall about the figure in a very realistic manner, despite the scale. Also, this is where her grasping hands come in. They’re designed so that you can place the cape between her fingers and have her hold it out at arm’s length for some wonderful poses.

In addition to the hands and cape, Vampirella comes with a vampire skull, a vampire bat, and a diorama base. The skull and bat are just cool little props to use while displaying her. The bat has a clip near its feet so it can be clipped onto one of V’s fingers. It’s a nice looking piece, with excellent sculpted detail and paintwork, but the clip is ridiculously delicate and I can see it breaking very easily.

The base is easily the showpiece of V’s extras. It’s large and heavy and features a felt lined bottom. There’s a muddy patch of grass with some rocks and creepy vines, a pile of skulls, and a bone, and a couple of decrepit grave markers. This piece is so large that it comes encased in its own styrofoam brick inside the mailer box, but beside the actual figure’s packaging. It’s beautifully painted and I was really blown away by the quality of it. Hot Toys could learn something here, because with over 30 Hot Toys figures in my collection, I can honestly say that none of them have come with a base or stand as cool as this piece.

Now, on the downside, it doesn’t have any pegs (yes, Phicen figures have peg holes in the bottoms of their feet), which at first seemed like an oversight, however, the mound of skulls is actually intended to be something for her to sit on. She can also stand on the base very well, but with nothing supporting her, I wouldn’t trust displaying her like that, as she’s liable to take a shelf dive.

I picked up Vampirella for $145, which feels like a great deal in a market where it’s getting harder and harder to get a quality Sixth-Scale figure for under $200. Indeed, with Phicen’s bodies selling for around $100 by themselves, I’d say Vampirella and her accessories alone were worth the price, and it feels like the diorama base was a freebie. Now, here’s the sticking point around the whole “Asian Edition” controversy. I pre-ordered V when she was first solicited, because several of Phicen’s boxed figures have been selling out upon release lately. Was there eventually going to be a Non-“Asian Edition?” Nobody knew… until a couple of weeks ago when the “Western Edition” was revealed at the Shanghai Comic Con (of all places) and subsequently went up for pre-order at all the regular sites for around ten bucks more than the “Asian Edition.” Would I have preferred that version? Yes. Am I going to double-dip on this figure because of it? Probably not. Hey, these are the pitfalls of being an early adopter. When I pulled the trigger, I asked myself if I would be happy with this figure no matter what, and the answer was yes. And now that I have her in hand, I’m still very happy with her. She’s a great looking figure and I’m happy to have the character so beautifully represented in my collection.

Zenescope’s Liesel Van Helsing Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen Ltd.

If you follow me on Twitter than you probably know that I’m a big fan of Zenescope Comics. I started reading their flagship title, Grimm Fairy Tales, a while ago as a guilty pleasure and slowly got sucked into the wider universe of characters and other books until I had an entire shelf devoted to their floppies, trades, and a few limited edition hardcovers. Plus, since Marvel has forsaken me with their bullshit, I’ve been leaning on Zenescope a lot more lately as a new outlet for my comic book dollars. Sadly, there’s been precious little in the way of Zenescope merchandising, with the shining exception being a small assortment of Sixth-Scale figures from Phicen and Executive Replicas. I’ve already looked at Mercy Dante and Robyn Hood, Today I’m going back to their very first release: Liesel Van Helsing!

The packaging is still quite similar to the two followups: Robyn and Mercy. And the presentation here is first rate. You get a wraparound sleeve with the Grimm Universe logo and the figure’s name on the front as well as some wonderful character art on the back and side panel. The other side panel has the figure’s name so you can line these up on a shelf and still tell who is who. The high-quality box is black and textured with a magnetic front flap and a foam tray that contains the figure and accessories. The packaging rarely ever makes or breaks a collectible for me, but when you’re paying a lot it’s nice to get a premium presentation. This is definitely a lot more effort than Hot Toys has put into the packages for their recent releases, and I appreciate that, especially from such a small company.

And here she is all ready for action. Van Helsing features the ever amazing, and a little bit creepy, Phicen realistic super-flexible body. I’ve lost track of which particular model body this is, as they’re constantly making changes and improvements, but suffice it to say, you get a stainless steel skeleton wrapped in a shapely silicone muscle and skin, which feels squishy to the touch and only shows seams at the neck and wrists even if you were to strip them down. Oh yes… and enormous boobs. Because Phicen. And Zenescope. There isn’t a whole lot of set up required to get Liesel ready for display, but she does come with her trench coat off and getting it on is a MAJOR pain in the ass. Besides having to deal with the friction of getting the realistic silicone rubbing against the sleeves, you also have to pop her hands off and getting the hands off of the steel ball joints is frustrating. Once this jacket went on, there was no way I was taking it off again. The same goes for the accessory holding hands, so I’ll mention now that she does come with an extra pair of relaxed hands and a pair of fists, even though you won’t see them used in this review. Now… let’s take a quick trip around her outfit.

As a girl displaced in time, Liesel’s wardrobe has had several looks throughout her various appearances, but Phicen went for her most traditional and iconic 19th Century monster hunter garb. And might I say, they did a fabulous job with her costume. The troublesome trench coat is great once it’s in place and features a belt on the back so it can be cinched tighter and there’s a wire in the bottom so it can retain a flowing look for those action poses. It’s a cool blending of modern and vintage, with the big buccaneer sleeves to give it that hint of period attire.

The red and black corset is made out of a similar leather-like material with four individual belts running across her tummy and two pointed half cups tasked with the momentous job of keeping her goodies in place. These can be a little frustrating because there is about a two millimeters difference between them doing their job and Liesel suffering a nip-slip. I had to do quite a few re shoots to keep this review at a PG rating. Moving further down, she sports a very scant pair of tight shorts some real fishnet stockings. The stockings are done very well, although you do still get some bunched up seams, which are probably impossible to avoid at this scale.

The high boots feature buckles running across the fronts and real laces running up to the top. I am going to presume that these are boot-feet, but I’m not about to unlace them to find out.

The head sculpt is fair but not exceptional. It’s a far cry from what we got for Mercy and Robyn. Those were sculpted specifically for those figures and definitely looked the part. This one appears to be one of Phicen’s generic heads, as I can see a lot of resemblance to some of their other boxed figure releases. Still, Liesel can look a little different from book to book depending on who’s drawing her, so I don’t think using this head was a total flub. Plus, this was their first release in this line, so I’m prepared to cut them a little slack. Besides, I think she has really pretty eyes. At least the long black hair is very much on point, and when you include the choker necklace and her trademark hat, it’s easy for me to tell who this is supposed to be, even if I were just seeing her from the neck up.

The hat is spot on to what she’s often wearing in the comics and is comprised of both leather-like material and felt. It holds its shape perfectly and it also includes Liesel’s rather distinctive glasses. These can be removed from the hat and worn over her eyes, but it’s not like she does that a lot in the comics, so I’m happy to keep them where they are.

Most of Liesel’s equipment can be worn on her person and she does possess some nifty monster-slaying tools, albeit none of the truly outlandish stuff she invents in the comics. For starters, she wears a brace of stakes on her right hip. She comes with five wooden stakes and five silver ones. I went with the wooden ones for my display because I liked the look of them a little better and I am a traditionalist. A better prepared monster hunter would probably mix them up for when you have to switch between dispatching vampires and werewolves on the fly.

There isn’t a proper scabbard for her sword, but it can be easily thrust through the belt on her left hip and it looks good there. The sword features a short thrusting blade and a rather ornate hilt with a curved knucklebow and sculpted pommel. It fits perfectly in the intended left hand and the fingers are flexible enough so that it’s easy to bend them and get the sword in place. As is sometimes the case with Phicen’s accessories, the sword does feel a little flimsy in hand and the blade is a little bendy, but overall I think it looks great.

The strap on Liesel’s lower right thigh includes a holster for her shotgun and there’s an ammo pouch as well. And yes, she comes with two teeny-tiny extra shells to put in there if you want. The breech on the shotgun can be opened and there are two more teeny-tiny shells sculpted inside. The sculpt and finish on the shotgun is beautiful. It features checkered brown grips and a gunmetal blued finish with a stainless steel finish on the barrels. Her accessory holding right hand fits it perfectly.

Next up is her crossbow, which is painted to resemble wood with some lovely steampunk-looking fixtures and a scope. It’s also fitted with a string, which can be drawn back and hooked on the catch so you can load one of the five silver bolts into it. Liesel also comes with a quiver for the extra arrows and a hook to store the crossbow, but it’s designed to work with her when she’s not wearing her trench coat, and since I’m always going to display her with it on, it’s not a lot of use to me and it tends to stay in the box.

The final extra is a figure stand, which normally would be a no-brainer, but Robyn Hood didn’t come with one, so it’s not always a given when it comes to Phicen’s Sixth-Scale figures. Indeed, even my recent purchase from ThreeZero didn’t come with a stand, so I guess packed in stands aren’t as common as they used to be. Anyway, Van Helsing’s stand is identical to the one that came with Mercy. It has a base with a post that can hold the figure, but the post isn’t very helpful. The base, however, has thick pegs, which connect with holes in the figure’s boots just like a standard 3 3/4-inch figure. It’s an odd system to see in these larger scale figures, and the base isn’t anything special, but it works pretty well.

Liesel set me back about $150, which feels like a pretty good value in the current Sixth-Scale market, especially since the subject matter here is for a pretty limited audience. As much as I love the character, I can’t imagine her books sell more than 4,000 copies, so to get an action figure of this scope and quality based on her is a real treat. Not to mention that she comes with a lot of stuff, her outfit is carefully detailed, and the Phicen body provides endless fun for posing. I was also lucky to not have to pay a lot over her retail, since I started collecting this line late in the game and had to track her down. I eventually found her in the last but most obvious of places, Zenescope’s website, and I’m convinced I may have gotten the last one because she was removed from the site a day after I successfully placed the order!

On the downside, I’m not sure that the relationship between Phicen and Zenescope has much of a future. They showed off a Goblin Queen figure from Grimm Fairy Tales at one of the big Comic Cons a couple of years back, but it appears to have been quietly cancelled. They do have a figure due to ship any week now based off The Goddess of Death, Keres, from No Tomorrow and Grimm Tales of Terror, but they took a lot of liberties with the design of that figure to the point where it just looks like it’s loosely based on the character design. I don’t know that I’m going to pull the trigger on it. I’d like to support the line, but at this point I don’t buying that figure will save it. It’s a shame, because a release of Sela Mathers, Brittany Waters, or Belinda would have been fairly easy to do and my collection feels rather incomplete without at least having Sela on my shelf.