Ramses The Great (Black Version) Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

Some of you may know that I have been hooked on TBLeague’s series of Egyptian themed sixth-scale figures. It felt like this line began as a few isolated one-off releases, but it’s grown to include a series of beautiful ladies, as well as both mythological and historical figures. And as much as I love this series, I was planning on just sticking to the ladies. If I’m being honest, that’s always been what has drawn me to TBL’s figures in general. But, an online retailer put Ramses up for sale at 50% off, and I couldn’t resist giving him a go! This figure was offered in three different armor variants. This one is the Black version, while the other options were Blue or Gold. And to be fair, even if all three were on sale, I think this is the one I would have gone for anyway.

As usual, the figure comes in a shoebox style package with a trifold lid that secures to each side with magnets. The box is made of heavy stock and the figure comes laid out in black foam that smells like lemony ice tea. Seriously! TBL usually adorns the front of these black boxes with a symbolic rendering that’s related to the character, but in this case we get a really lame cartoony portrait of Ramses, and I don’t like it at all. I mean, what the hell were they going for here, I just don’t know. Fortunately, the back panel has a great picture of the figure itself. As with most TBLeague figures, there’s a little bit of set up involved, so let me get that out of the way and we’ll have an audience with Ramses The Great!

And great he is, indeed! But before getting to the aesthetics… the first thing I noticed about this figure was the extreme heft. It’s my first male example of the Phicen seamless body, and it is one meaty slab of silicone! Ramses sports an impressive physique and looks absolutely smashing in his regal armor. The cuirass is cast in black plastic and adorned with crisscrossing gold bird wings front and back, along with a plastic belt and sash, all over a delicate black cloth tunic. And boy is that tunic a magnet for cat hair, as you can probably see in some of the pictures! The leather segmented shoulder armor is comprised of one piece that goes over his neck and secures via straps under each arm and around his biceps. Attaching these straps is the most challenging part of the set up, as those clips are tiny and it’s tough to get the loop through them. On top of the leather shoulders sits a plastic gorget with intricate sculpted patterns, all beautifully painted. The grieves and arm bracers are slightly pliable plastic sleeves, which slide on, and he has decorative bicep cuffs on each arm as well. Finally, there’s a thin leather belt that fastens around his waist with loops to hold his weapons. I’ll circle back to those in a bit.

I think the costume looks outstanding, with my only gripe being the jumble of lacing that holds the cuirass on and gathers below his left armpit. It is, however, easily fixed, as a lot of this extra sting can be trimmed and the knot tightened up. The sword belt is a great addition, as a few of my fantasy figures from TBL have come with swords in scabbards but no way to secure them to the figure, so that is much appreciated. Ramses doesn’t show as much skin as most of the ladies, but his exposed elbows and knees do showcase the seamless body quite nicely, while the grieves and arm bracers do their part to obscure the jointing in the wrists and ankles. The skirt does a bit to inhibit the hip articulation, but otherwise the excellent articulation of the figure’s steel skeleton can be taken advantage of to the fullest!

TBL did a wonderful job with this portrait, and I think in terms of realism it exceeds many of TBL’s female portraits. Not that those aren’t impressive, but they do tend to still have something of a doll like quality about them, which isn’t the case here. Ramses sports a prominent brow and nose and an intensive gaze worthy of a Pharaoh. The skin tone is smooth and even, with a bit of flush to his cheeks. This is a fantastic head sculpt with the paint to back it up! The paint and texturing on the lips is impressive, and while the eyes don’t quite have that spark of life we get with Hot Toys figures, they’re still pretty good.

The headpiece is patterned with a sea of concentric circles and a cobra protruding from the front. There’s a bit of a blue and gold gradiant to the helmet, with some gold trim. It’s cast in a slightly pliable plastic and is removable.

In terms of weaponry, Ramses comes with both a dagger and a sword. The dagger hangs off his right hip in an ornate plastic sheath. The hilt looks a bit more Roman to me than Egyptian, but either way it’s beautifully sculpted and features a leaf-shaped blade with a dark iron finish to the plastic blade. Yeah… TBL sometimes uses diecast metal for their sword and dagger blades, but that seems to be a thing of the past. I’m really OK with that, as the heavier blades sometimes take their toll on the figures’ joints.

The sword has a blade similar to the dagger, with a leaf shape and a somewhat dark finish. The guard almost resembles a heart and has some nice sculpted scrollwork patterns, a ribbed grip with painted gold bands and a flattened pommel. The scabbard is plastic, mostly textured black but does have gold painted fixtures. You get a pair of hands perfect for holding either of these weapons, as well as a pair of fists and a pair of relaxed hands.

In addition to the cutlery, Ramses also comes with a very long spear with a pointed tip and bottom, and boy both of these are damn sharp! The shaft has a sculpted woodgrain pattern and there are painted gold rings at the base of the blade and top of the end cap.

And last but not least, you get a round shield. This piece has some great texturing on the outside surface that looks like it’s been covered in stretched leather, as well as some raised gold floral patterns. The interior has an elastic arm strap and a grab bar to secure it to the figure and the system works quite well.

Ramses also comes with a figure stand, which is packaged separately from the box in a Styrofoam brick. It’s a round base with dark, rocky terrain and a bendy post attached to a claw that grabs the figure around the waist. It’s a great looking stand, but it doesn’t feel like it was really intended for this figure. The dark rocks don’t strike me as very Egyptian themed and the claw feels like it was made for one of the female figures, as it’s a pretty snug fit around Ramses waist. I’ll never complain about getting a figure stand, especially one that looks as good as this one, but I may end up handing this one off to one of my other fantasy themed TBL figures, where it will be more appropriate.

Ramses originally sold for $179, and I was thrilled to get him for half that. This is an absolutely striking figure to behold and he’ll look great among my bevy of TBL’s Egyptian ladies… many of which I still need to get around to featuring here. Sure, the overall design needs to be taken with a grain of salt in regards to its historical accuracy and I still consider this Egyptian line to be fantasy concept figures. The Egyptian flavor is certainly there, even if it’s something more akin to Hollywood History rather than being totally accurate. I believe TBL is currently offering an Egyptian throne accessory, and I may splurge for that to give this Pharaoh a place to sit!

Aset the Egyptian Goddess of Magic (Black Version) Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

As usual, I’m way behind on my TBLeague reviews. I added quite a few of these figures to my collection in 2022, and I only got around to checking out three or four of those here. So, with only a couple of weeks worth of reviews left for the year, I thought I’d squeeze at least one more in before the end! Today, I thought we’d check out another one of TBLeague’s Egyptian themed figures, which seem to be pretty successful for them, because they’ve expanded this line quite a bit over the last couple of years.

As always, the figure comes in a heavy duty shoebox style package. None of that flimsy Hot Toys paper-board here! The top of the box is a tri-fold cover that connects to the sides with magnets, and offers only a symbol on the front panel as a tease. The back panel does, however, have a picture of the figure. Inside, Aset comes nestled in a black foam tray with her head detached and a bunch of accessories spread around her. I picked this one up on the second hand market, and it was missing a couple of the less important accessories, like The Ankh, but it seemed like a good exchange for the discount I got on her. This figure was available in two variants, either Black or White, which denotes the coloring of the costume, and a few minor style changes. There’s a little bit of set up required for her costume, so give me a minute to do that and we’ll get her ready to go!

And here is Aset in all her Egyptian splendor! TBLeague went with one of their more reasonably busted bodies for this figure, and I think it works pretty well. I also like the tanned skin tone. Her costume consists of a sculpted plastic top with shoulders, a plastic belt, along with a cloth skirt. The outfit’s deco is on the darker side, with an emphasis on weathered bronze over bright and shiny gold, but there is a bit of blue and white mixed in there. She has ornamental bicep cuffs and wrist bracers, each with some flashy red gems in them. Her high strap sandals are made from two pieces, the sandaled feet and the straps which slide onto her lower legs. These fit a bit loose, but that’s really the only gripe I have about the costume, which otherwise fits perfectly. The plastic belt can ride up a bit in wider stances and action poses, but that’s to be expected. The top is laced on with string, and there’s quite an excess, so some may want to do some clipping, but I usually leave it be. The costume is clearly designed to showcase the seamless body, and it looks great!

I really dig the head sculpt here, and I always like to point out how TBLeague has come a long way with their portraits. They don’t really do expressive faces, but they sure know how to do pretty ones. The skin is warm and soft, and the paintwork on the lips and eyes is impeccable. Aset features some relatively short black hair, which isn’t too bad to keep under control. She also features an absolutely epic headdress, which includes a bird on the front with wings forming a crown-like tiara. There’s a ring of cobras, a giant red stone at the top, and a flurry of sculpted feathers wraps around the sides and back of her head. The headdress is cast in a softer plastic so it can go on and off the head without fear of rubbing or scratching.

There’s one more costume piece, and that’s her cloak. This ties on with strings, and has a strong wire running through the edges to allow it to be posed with the figure. It’s black on the outside with some fur trim up at the top. The inside has a some red at the top, black in the middle, and a gold crescent running along the bottom and some gold geometric linework radiating from the top to the bottom. This is a beautiful garment, but I think I prefer the figure without it. It’s also incompatible with her wings. Yes, wings. We’ll get to those in a bit.

You get three sets of hands with Aset. Two are variations of relaxed hands, and one pair is designed to hold her accessories. Swapping hands for the first time on these figures is always a crapshoot. Sometimes they can be stubborn and if you aren’t careful you can pull the metal connector out of the wrists socket, but in the case of Aset, they seem to swap out pretty easily. All of the hands are sculpted with an array of gold rings on the fingers and red paint on her long fingernails. You only get the one pair of feet, but they are also nicely painted with red nail polish.

As for accessories, Aset comes with a rather vicious looking curved sword. It has a bird-themed hilt and even some bronze feathers on the back of the lower part of the blade. The blade itself has a painted finish, which is pretty convincing as metal. There’s a bit of a weathered patina to it, but it can still shine in direct light. Back in the day, TBLeague used to do diecast metal for their blades, and while they still do every now and then, this one is plastic and I’m fine with that. It looks every bit as good and doesn’t have the extra weight to stress the figure’s arm joints.

Aset also comes with this rather tall scepter with a sort of fan or floral motif at the top. It’s a pretty basic piece, but she looks great holding it, and I feel it’s a little more in character than the sword. And that brings us to her rather majestic set of wings!

These beauties peg directly into the figure’s back, and boy do they look great! The connecting points do not have hinges, but you can angle them up or down a bit because the pegs swivel. It’s a pretty strong connection and despite their impressive wingspan, they stay in place without drooping. The wings are cast in a fairly lightweight plastic, that still manages to hold the detail of all the individual feathers. I’ll note that the original figure came with a backplate that can be used to cover up the peg holes when the wings are not in use. This is one of the pieces my discounted figure was missing. It isn’t a big deal to me, as I plan on always displaying her with the wings, but even if I didn’t, the cloak does the job of covering the peg holes just fine.

Lastly, you get a pretty good sized base to display her on. This elongated pedestal has some ornate sculpted designs on the sides and top. It also has a flexible wire post to support the figure in standing poses by securing the figure around the waist. One of my biggest criticisms of TBLeague in the past has been their habit of including beautiful bases, but no way to secure the figure to it. It’s nice to see they’ve been addressing this issue with some recent releases.

Aset was originally released at around $190, but I got mine for $150 because she was an opened box and missing the Ankh and backplate, and I considered that a steal. Even at the original price, there’s plenty of value here, and had the opened box opportunity not presented itself, I would have definitely bought her new. With TBLeague seemingly focusing more on original concept figures over licensed characters, this Egyptian line has been a real treat. The mix of Egyptian iconography, beautiful ladies, and fantasy element works so well, and I hope they keep it going. I still have a handful of these figures to check out, and while I doubt I’ll get to any before the end of the year, I’m going to make a resolution to get caught up!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More and more of my Sixth-Scale budget has been going to TBLeague releases these days. They continue to offer some amazing stuff at a decent value, while moving away from the indie licensed stuff in favor of their original concept figures. And it doesn’t hurt that most of these are sword-wielding hot babes! Today I’m having a look at one of three versions of The Knight of Fire! There’s a lot I like about this figure, and a few things I don’t, so let’s dig right in and check her out!

I already have the box in storage, but here’s some promotional art! TBLeague has recently learned the lucrative art of offering variants of their original concept figures. These entail doing different decos for a figure’s costume, usually different head sculpts and hair colors, and a slight variation on their accessories. It’s a smart move to make the cost of each figure go a little further, and it can make choosing which one to get a little difficult. And sometimes, I can’t choose and just get them all, but I’ll save that for another time. The Knight of Fire came in Silver Armor, which we’re looking at today, as well as Black and Gold. Who are the Knights of Fire? Well, that’s up to you to decide!

Here she is all set up, and getting her ready for display was no small feat! The armor for her arms, legs, and shoulders, all had to be put on with varying degrees of difficulty. The gorget and cape also had to be attached, and what you can’t see is a shoulder harness, which holds some of these pieces in place, that had to be fitted to her as well. I guess my middle-aged fingers just aren’t all that good with teeny-tiny clasps these days. Still, a lot of patience and a few colorful metaphors got me through it. And overall, I think it was well worth it! TBLeague is usually content with letting these ladies go bare under the armor, as it shows off the lovely Phicen seamless body, but in this case, our fiery knight is wearing a body stocking, and here is something that I’m not entirely convinced was a great idea. Don’t get me wrong, I respect the craftsmanship that went into creating what is essentially a super fine fishnet suit, but it hangs a bit loose in some areas, and there are heavy seams on the insides of her legs. I find myself thinking that the figure would look better without it. Then again, it is rather distinctive, so I guess my final opinion is still undecided.

The armor is absolutely gorgeous. TBLeague sculpts each individual piece out of plastic, which isn’t so heavy that it weighs the figure down, but not so light that it’s delicate. Oh some of the straps can be pretty delicate, but not the plastic itself! Her silver cuirass is sculpted to look like it’s made from many interlocking plates, each with a silver sheen and golden borders. Hip armor hang down from each side via laces, and a faux chain sash protects the treasure betwixt her legs. The forearm pieces feature hooked spikes, while the leg armor has silver skull ornaments protecting her knees. The epic shoulders remind me of a horned beetle, and feature some satanic looking ram skulls. The cape reaches down to the backs of her knees, with a black back and an illustrated flame in the lining. There’s a wire running through it to help it stay put in some dynamic poses.

Most of the pictures I shot have Ms. Fire Knight wearing her helmet, but it is removable. Our Silver Knight features short blonde hair and a very pretty face. TBL is getting quite good at painting lifelike eyes, while also doing sharp operations for the eyebrows and lips. Even the skin tone has come a long way since their earlier figures. As for the helmet, it accessorizes nicely with her armor, carrying over the silver plates and gold borders. You also get some red jewels, and an impressive set of horns. The plastic used for the helmet feels a bit softer than the rest of the armor, but it holds its shape perfectly and has a very snug fit. The hardest thing when putting it on is getting it on without her hair getting pushed in front of her face. At the same time, taking the helmet off does a number on her coif, so be prepared to style it, if you take the helmet off a lot.

The Silver Knight of Fire comes with two weapons and some extra hands. You may note that I have not changed the hands for any pictures, and that’s because they were a real bitch to get off the first time, and I didn’t want to end up pulling the ball joints out of the wrist sockets. Every now and then this is a problem with TBL’s figures. I haven’t encountered it in quite a while, but here’s proof that it does turn up from time to time. Her sword comes with a plastic scabbard, which is a nice bonus, but there’s really no way to get her to wear it, unless you fashion a custom belt or hang it from a string. Still, the texturing on it is gorgeous and it fits the blade perfectly. The sword has an extended grip for single or double-handed use. The blade is made of plastic, which I only point out because sometimes TBL ponies up for some diecast metal blades, but not here.

Her other weapon is her trident, which comes on a very long shaft and has sculpted grips in two places. The three blades are heavily stylized, and there’s an ornamental ring below it with a red stone that matches the ones on her helmet.

I like this figure enough to consider grabbing the Gold Version, but the body suit still gives me pause. Yes, the mesh suit is totally removable, but I’d say that it would be easier to cut it off the figure, rather than deal with taking all the armor off, and I just can’t bring myself to do that. A sword belt would have also gone a long way to justify the inclusion of the scabbard. Still, I really love everything else about the figure, particularly the armor design, which is something TBL just keeps excelling at. She’s an eye-catching figure and one worth considering.

Vampirella One-Twelfth Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fighter Woman Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imperial Guardian Sixth-Scale Figure by TBLeague/Phicen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Sinful Suzi Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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