Dejah Thoris “Princess of Mars” Premium Format Statue by Sideshow

I try my best to avoid picking up Sideshow’s Premium Format statues. They’re always stunning, but that beauty and craftsmanship comes at a price, not only in money but also in real estate. These things are big and it’s getting harder and harder for me to find room to display them. Today’s piece is the fifth Premium Format in my collection, and will likely be the last for a while, or at least until I move into a bigger place next year! It also happens to be one that I’ve been hotly anticipating ever since they first teased it. Straight from the pages of Edgar Rice Burroughs Martian novels, comes The Princess of Mars herself, Dejah Thoris!

Dejah arrived in what was possibly the largest Premium Format box I have received to date, which explains the unprofessional picture of it sitting on the floor. It’s colorful and shows off pictures of the statue, while also being unbelievably heavy at a whopping thirty-two pounds! I think I had the misconception of this piece being more reasonably sized because she’s reclining and not standing, but she still measures up at fourteen inches tall with a circular base that measures sixteen inches across. The assembly is a bit more involved than any of my previous PF statues, but there’s still nothing too crazy. The chair pegs into the base with keyholes, and there’s a blanket and a pillow that attach onto the chair in the same fashion. The figure comes in four pieces, which include the main body, the arms, and the head. Everything fitted together perfectly and once together, she makes for a sturdy and stable display. Still, carrying her from her display shelf to my photo setup was quite the ordeal!

And here she is all set up, and what can I say? Is there any doubt why I fell in love with her at first sight? I’ve been a reader and book collector for most of my life and Burroughs’ John Carter of Mars series captured my imagination at a young age. Likewise, Dejah Thoris was probably my very first literary crush. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed seeing different artists’ visions of her in their work, and it’s always been a dream of mine to own something like this statue, depicting the Red Princess of Barsoom in all her sultry glory!

Dejah reclines on a chaise lounge, atop a pile of pillows, each strategically placed to support her curvaceous form, while a satiny blanket spills off onto the floor. She has her right leg extended and her left leg tucked under it. Her left arm is drawn up to cradle her head with splayed fingers, while her right arm is extended behind her, partially concealing a Radium Pistol. I think the composition here is absolutely perfect. It conveys Dejah’s extreme sexuality, her cunning and self-reliance, and above all her absolute regality. Despite her skimpy attire and leisurely setting, she comes across as totally empowered.

All of that character is not only conveyed in the body language, but also the beautiful portrait. Dejah is sporting a rather serious expression, peppered with just a touch of courtly boredom. She looks like she’s tired of someone’s shit, and there’s a good chance that when her patience finally runs out, she’s going to make use of her pistol. The facial features are beautifully realized in the sculpt with some absolutely perfect paint applications. The lips, eyes, and eyebrows are all razor sharp. The glossy red they used for the lips is quite striking, and the eyebrows are sculpted as well as painted. The sculpted hair cascades to her shoulders, with a collection of strands partially covering the right side of her face. The other great thing about the portrait is the detail in all the jewelry. She has multiple earrings, and the tiara features some great scrollwork as well as a few metallic colored stones.

When it comes to her outfit, there’s not a lot of it. As a result, a great deal of Dejah’s figure is just reddish-brown skin conveyed though a spectacularly soft and even paint job. She wears a veritable web of gold chains, which connect to a waist chain and two golden cups to cover her nips. Some of this, like the waist chain, is sculpted onto the statue, while some of it is actual chain, giving it some great depth and realism. Her rather elaborate necklace features a purple stone dead center, she has a rather wide wrist bracer on her right hand, smaller bangles on her left, bicep cuffs on both arms, and various ring fingers. All fo the jewelry is painted with a sumptuous gold leaf paint. Down below she sports a rather skimpy G-string, secured with a mix of gold chain and pearls, she has several anklets, and even some toe rings.

The Radium Pistol is a great example of the steampunk-like depiction of Helium technology over the years. It’s design is quite reminiscent of a single-action open-top revolver from 19th Century Earth. It features a long and slender barrel, with a sculpted extraction arm underneath it, and a rather elaborately sculpted grip. Dejah clearly isn’t one for practicing trigger discipline, as her finger is looped through the guard and ready to squeeze off a round at a moment’s notice.

The base consists of a very thick and heavy disk, the surface of which is carved with a map of Barsoom with studs representing each of the Martian Cities. The chaise lounge locks into it with keyholes and remains very sturdy. Some amazing detail has gone into the individual pillows that Dejah reclines on. You get some ornate Eastern patterns, some gilt decorations, and plenty of tassels. It can’t be easy to make polystone look like soft and inviting cushions, but they sure got the job done here!

The base has one removable accessory, and that’s this rather ornate water jug. At one point, I thought this was an Exclusive piece, but in reality, Dejah didn’t have an Exclusive available. And that’s just as well, because it would have made a pretty lame exclusive. The jug doesn’t attach anywhere, so you can just rest it on the base somewhere and pray that you remember it isn’t fixed down the next time you move the statue. I dig it a lot, but the fact that I am only introducing it now suggests that it can be a little distracting from the figure. There’s room to place it in the front, as pictured, or in the back, where it can be less obvious.

I believe it was about a year between the time I pre-ordered Dejah and the time she finally showed up at my door. She’s easily my most anticipated Premium Format figures in my collection, and that means she had a year’s worth of anticipation to live up to. I’ll confess to having been a little apprehensive when opening her. Could she possibly live up to all that pent up excitement? Well, the answer is an astounding yes. I’m happy to say that Dejah met and exceeded all my expectations. Everything about this piece comes together so perfectly. The paint, the sculpt, the overall composition. I can honestly say, that there isn’t a thing here that I would change or want to make better.

Spider-Man and Mary Jane Maquette (Exclusive) by Sideshow

It’s been a week, but I’m back and ready for action… and something a little different for this Marvel Monday! When Sideshow solicited their new maquette based on J Scott Campbell’s cover for The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1, I may have sprained my button pushing finger on that pre-order button. And then the waiting came. And I mean WAITING! My pre-order was placed in November of 2019, and about a year and a half later this statue finally showed up. I’ll concede that my patience has been wearing thin with Sideshow and pre-orders these days. When I first got into this game, it seemed like six months was the standard, and now over a year is not uncommon. With the exception of a Must-Have piece like this, I’m going to start rolling my dice and trying my luck with buying after release. But I digress! Let’s get to the goods!

You can dig around in FFZ’s past to find that my love for J Scott Campbell’s work runs deep, and I’m always happy to see him turn his talents to Marvel characters. I probably have at least a half-dozen of his Mary Jane covers, all signed, but sadly I don’t have the cover of Renew Your Vows #1 that this work is based on. I do, however, have it as a signed 7×11 art print, and I’m pretty content with that. Still, the front of the box also has a recreation of the art for reference, along with a rap-around red brick deco of the NY apartment, which looks quite nice! The box is absolutely huge, clocking in at close to Premium Format proportions, while the statue itself measures only about 12-inches tall, making the figures close to sixth-scale. The boxes large size comes from the fact that this statue comes spread out in a lot of pieces. Yes, there’s assembly required, but it’s all done with one connecting rod and a lot of magnets. In the end, I had not troubles fitting anything together.

And here is the piece all set up and I am absolutely in love. The composition sees MJ reclining on a comfy purple armchair, propped up on a couple of blue pillows, with one leg out and the other folded back under it. Meanwhile, Peter squats on the back of the chair, unmasked but still in his Spidey outfit. Their arms are intertwined, framing MJ’s face in the center. I was especially curious to see how they were going to engineer that web of arms, and the execution was quite clever, and the connections are for the most part fairly seamless. Spidey is secured to the chair with a peg, but MJ simply rests in molded indentations in the chair, and yet it still feels solid, even when I was transporting it from the studio to the display shelf. It is a satisfyingly heavy piece, mainly because the sofa is a solid block of polyresin.

The attention to detail in the costumes aligns perfectly with the art. MJ is wearing a long t-shirt, cut-off jean shorts, and a pair of Spider-Man themed knee socks, while Spidey dons his classic blue and red suit. Every detail, including the web pattern is incorporated into the sculpt and the paint lines are immaculate. They did a nice job applying some blue shading to MJ’s white top, and I really like the gradient colors in the chair. Indeed, everything about the colors here just pop like crazy! I’m particularly in love with the vibrant blue used on Spidey’s outfit.

Both portraits are a real triumph and a credit to the sculptor, Steve Schumacher. He also did the Abby Chase Premium Format, and I also own his Domino Premium Format Figure. It always amazes me when someone can take the very distinctive art stylings of Campbell’s and translate it so perfectly to three-dimensions. I love Peter’s wide, beaming grin. It’s almost smug in knowing that he has indeed hit the jackpot. Meanwhile, MJ is just looking as gorgeous as she always does when JSC sets to drawing her. The paint application on both portraits is just about flawless.

There’s no actual base for this piece, the chair serves alone in that capacity, and I think that was a great idea. It sits slightly off the ground on four stubby legs, and remains perfectly stable with no wobble to worry about. I do, however, recommend displaying this one toward the back of the shelf, as MJ’s one leg does reach out pretty far in front and it would be a shame to catch it on your arm when walking by. The bottom of the chair has an illustrated finish, along with the hand-numbered statement of limitation. Yeah, I really should have snapped a picture of that before putting this thing together, but I was just too excited to do it. Mine is number 244 of the 1200 piece Exclusive run. So before wrapping, up let’s take a look at what makes this the Exclusive!

The Exclusive includes the little stuffed tiger that’s depicted in the original art. It’s an adorable little fellow and it’s designed to just sit right between MJ’s rump and the chair’s arm. Lucky bastard! This tiger really hit the jackpot! In reference to the cover art, the absence of the tiger is a bit conspicuous, so I’m not sure it was the best incentive for exclusive. I would have probably rather the tiger be included with the standard edition and we got a metal art card with the Exclusive, but then the Exclusive is still available at Sideshow, so anyone jumping on this even after release will be able to get it.

It’s tough for a collectible to live up to a year and a half’s worth of anticipation, but this maquette managed to pull it off. The paint and sculpt are both absolutely sterling, and the quality control is positively above reproach. I don’t think there was a single month in all that time where I didn’t find myself on Sideshow’s site and drooling over the pictures. And on the positive side, the $525 price tag is a lot easier to swallow when amortized over eighteen months. It’s great to have another killer piece for my ever expanding J Scott Campbell display.

DC Comics: Premium Format Wonder Woman Premium Format by Sideshow

The fact that I only own a few Premium Format Statues by Sideshow proves that as a collector I at least have some willpower left. These things are huge and expensive, and I frequently find myself with glass of Jameson in hand drooling over them on Sideshow’s website into the wee hours of the night. I’m fond of saying that I got my first taste for free when I won a Sideshow contest for the Batman Returns Catwoman, but it’s today’s Wonder Woman statue that was the first Premium Format to get me to open up my wallet. I actually had this lady in my sites for a long time, hoping that she would sell out so I could finally stop agonizing over the decision. But a couple of years ago I got a nice bonus at work and decided to treat myself.

These statues usually come in pretty big boxes, but this Wonder Woman’s box is absolutely massive. It features absolutely no images of the figure inside, just Wonder Woman’s name and logo and some stars against a red and white backdrop. Inside, the statue is nestled between two large Styrofoam bricks, with the individual pieces wrapped in tissue paper. As always, there’s some assembly required, but nothing here was too difficult and all the pieces fit together with ease. Before proceeding, I’ll start with an apology. This piece is well beyond the comfortable constraints of my little studio set up, which is designed for action figures, not mammoth pieces like this. As a result, when I reviewed my camera roll, I wasn’t happy with many of the pictures I took. This piece deserved better, but until I can put together a larger studio space, I have no reason to think a reshoot would have had better results.

Here she is, standing majestically among crumbled ruins of Themyscira and meauring something like 24-inches high. Her right hand is held out at arm’s length, clutching the shaft of her spear and balancing it on her shoulder and behind her neck. Her left hand grasps the handle on her shield, while her left foot rests up on a piece of ruined architecture. Sideshow has done several excellent Premium Formats based on the Amazonian Princess, but the composition of this piece is probably the one thing that makes it my favorite. Diana looks like she just got finished pummeling the combined armies of Ares, and now she’s coming for the Big Guy himself. Simply wonderful!

Probably the next thing that attracted me to this piece was the portrait. I’ve got to say it, maybe two-thirds of the time, Sideshow’s female portraits let me down. I was willing to throw money at their Zatanna figure when it was first teased, but I couldn’t get past the somewhat masculine head sculpt. What I like about this one is the way it portrays Diana as both tough and beautiful. The portrait isn’t inspired by the likenesses of Gal Gadot or Linda Carter either. Not that there’s anything wrong with those lovely ladies. I think they each look perfect in the role, but I just love that this isn’t influenced by any of the movies or TV. Either way, here she has a strong, determined brow, and an upturned smirk as she assesses the confrontation ahead. Meanwhile, her hair blows off to the side. The paint on her eyes is razor sharp, and there’s a nice glossy finish to her lips.

Her costume is certainly one of the more abbreviated designs. There’s no skirt, but just the blue panties with white stars. Her gold belt offers up her trademark WW logo, and she has the Art Deco-style golden eagle motif on the front of her chest. Meanwhile, everything in between is painted with a rich crimson. The coloring is lush and deep, rather than being too flashy and bright. It definitely has a patina of realism too it, or at least as realistic as you can make an outfit like this look! It’s simple and elegant, and the quality of paint application is above reproach.

The spear is a simple wooden shaft, which has a sculpted ribbon tied around it. Once upon a time, Premium Formats all had some form of mixed media incorporated into them, and while that hasn’t been the case in a while, I do wish they had made this ribbon out of real cloth and sewn a wire into it to make it poseable. It’s not that it looks bad, it actually looks quite nice, but I just think some cloth would have been a great touch here. It also would have been a lot less fragile. She also carries her coiled Lasso of Truth on her right hip. This piece is sculpted with braids and painted with the same finish as the gold portions of her costume.

The shield is an absolute masterpiece, and it definitely draws the eye toward it almost immediately, thanks to that brilliant high-gloss finish. It’s a cool contrast with the matte coloring of the rest of the costume and it really pops from across the room. The concentric circles feature a blue ring of stars, a silver ring of Gracian patterns, and a central red disk with two silver stars and a raised golden eagle. Sideshow also released an Exclusive version of this statue where the shield could be swapped out with an battleax. It wasn’t too much more, but I still opted for the regular release, since I couldn’t imagine myself ever displaying this figure without the shield.

And that brings us down to the base, which compliments the figure perfectly. It’s quite large and adds some height to what is an already impressive piece. The crumbled stone texturing is exceptionally well done, and Diana attaches to it securely. A sword and helmet serve as some additional ornamentation. I wasn’t able to get this beast turned upside down for a picture, but the bottom surface of the base is fully illustrated and the statue is hand numbered. Mine is 4172 of 6000 total pieces. Not a low number to be sure, but it does represent how long I wrestled with myself over this one before finally buying it.

I can still remember my anticipation over this piece arriving. It was more money than I’m used to spending on any single collectible, and I was worried that I would come down with a case of buyer’s remorse. Not to mention the stress over it arriving broken or with some horrible QC issue, which has been known to happen with these statues from time to time. But after getting her unboxed and up on display, I found that I was delighted with my purchase. I don’t buy a lot of collectibles from DC Comics these days. I mainly blame that on the lack of a sustained, cohesive action figure line and my rage at them changing scales and styles so often. But, I do have a small collection of Wonder Woman statues, so this lovely lady is in good company.

Danger Girl: Premium Format Abbey Chase by Sideshow

If you come to my home enough times, chances are eventually I will pour you a glass of Jameson and take you on the mandatory tour of my J. Scott Campbell collection. You’ll see books, art prints, action figures, statues, and I may even make you play a level of the PlayStation game. It’s OK. Just act interested. Oooh and Ahhh a few times, and you will be free to leave and go about your business. What can I say? From Danger Girl to Gen13 to his work on exclusive covers for any number of comic book companies, I love this man’s work and I love to share it with people I know. And as I was reorganizing some pieces of the collection this past weekend, I thought I might as well showcase Sideshow’s Premium Format of Danger Girl star, Abbey Chase!

This is where I usually show off the packaging, but the box for this gal is so damn big, that I had to put it in storage and it is not easy to get to. So instead, I’ll just show off some of my different editions of the original Danger Girl series. Signed Treasury Editions? Check! Signed Deluxe Edition? Check! Signed Ultimate Collection in both Hardcover and Trade paperback? Check and Check! As for the figure, she’s roughly quarter-scale which tends to be the standard for Sideshow’s Premium Formats, measuring in at just over twenty inches including the base, and sculpted in polystone with some mixed media elements. Abbey requires just a little bit of simple assembly before she’s ready to go, and I’m happy to report that everything fit well, which isn’t always the case. Sideshow offered two versions of this piece: A regular edition of 1,000 and an Exclusive of 500. Naturally, I had to get the Exclusive!

The composition of this figure sees Abbey caught in mid stride, half action hero… half runway model. Her right foot in front, her right hip thrust to the side, her left hand resting on the other hip. Her right arm is cocked at the elbow as she holds aloft her trusty automatic pistol, while flames lick up around her feet. Our hero cuts a perfect compromise between a museum-style pose and a whiff of action.. While not a perfect match, the design here looks like it was influenced by Abbey’s appearance on IDW’s Danger Girl: Gallery Edition, which collected a series of covers and pin-ups. And a mighty fine choice it was!  And I can’t help but appreciate those wonderful stylized proportions! I can practically hear the self-righteous Social Media Mobs screaming, BUT WHERE ARE HER POLYSTONE ORGANZ?????

When it comes to her outfit, Abbey has donned a few different looks over the years (sometimes not wearing much of anything!), this figure showcases the look that I would consider her most iconic. It’s simple enough, and starts with an extra-tight white t-shirt. Or maybe that’s half a t-shirt. Moving down we get a pair of tight pants fashioned from a mix of black leather, green spandex, and mesh, and finished off with a pair of high black boots. Abbey sometimes wore a matching jacket, but I’m not sorry that they left it out here. The t-shirt is part of the sculpt, and the paint really needs to be called out here, especially on the back where it gives off the effect that the material is so thin that her skin is showing through it. Man, that is a cool effect!

The pants introduce the mixed media element to the statue, as they are fully tailored out of three different types of material and sewn onto the figure. Once upon a time, it seemed like all Premium Format figures were required to have some element of mixed media to them, but that hasn’t been the case for a while. Indeed, of the four PF figures I own, Abbey here is the only one that showcases some aspect of tailoring in the costume. If her pants were all just black leather, I would have been fine with them sculpting it, but they really took the opportunity here, especially with the mesh panels, to make this aspect of the costume shine. And I can’t even imagine how difficult it is to stitch pants onto a polystone statue with that level of perfection. The final aspects of her costume worth pointing out ar ethe sculpted gloves and the DG-branded belt buckle!

Taking a look at the portrait, I think Sideshow did an excellent job bringing JSC’s stylized likeness of Ms. Chase to a fully fleshed out 3D form. This can be a tricky portrait to display, since her hair casts a shadow over the left side of her face. Ultimately, I have her displayed on a shelf which brings her eyes nearly level with my own, which helps to appreciate all the beauty hiding under there. I dig Abbey’s expression, which is about 90% business and 10% playful smirk. The paintwork on the face is very clean, the eyes have a bit of a lifelike sheen to them and the lips are painted with a luscious gloss coat. The hair is sculpted separately from the head, which gives her a razor sharp hairline, and I like the way the ends lick off to the side above her shoulders.

The gun is nicely detailed, and features a silver brushed finish that makes it look like it’s a bit weathered and well used. And shame on Abbey, for not practicing proper trigger discipline! On the other hand, I do love how she holds her pinky extended. That’s class!

Our next stop on this review is the base, and what a beast of a base it is! It’s sculpted and painted to look like it’s made from a solid iron ingot, and believe me when I say it weighs about as much too. The steel finish has a luxurious satin finish to it and the Danger Girl logo really pops on the front with the red and purple paint and the silhouette of Abbey over the D. The semi-translucent plastic flames attach firmly to the base with some powerful magnets, making for an especially nice effect. The bottom of the base has the Danger Girl logo again as well as Abbey Chase Premium Format Figure and mine is hand numbered 212 of 500.

And lastly we have the Exclusive incentive, which is a generously oversized metal art card and stand, showing off the concept art that was used for the creation of the statue. This is my favorite kind of incentive. Often, Sideshow will go with optional swap-out parts as the incentive, and those are nice, but they aren’t something I usually take advantage of, whereas I have this art card displayed beside the statue at all times.

The Exclusive has since sold out at Sideshow, but the tragedy is that the regular edition is still up for grabs. And keep in mind, she went up for pre-order back in 2017. Originally, I had hoped we might get a Sydney Savage as well, but I fear that the sales were probably not strong enough to support another one. Happily, JSC has continued to partner with Sideshow with both his Spider-Man and Fairytale Fantasies line, some of which I have reviewed here. It’s probably a pipe dream, but I’m still hoping that one day they may do a maquette with Abbey, Sidney, and Natasha. And you can bet that I’d drop a pre-order for a Caitlin Fairchild Premium Format figure the moment it got solicited. But that’s probably just a dream too. In the meantime, I’m thrilled to have Abbey here as one of the showpieces of my JSC collection.

J. Scott Campbell’s Fairytale Fantasies: Little Mermaid (Morning Edition) by Sideshow

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that I’ve been reworking my beloved collection of J. Scott Campbell books, prints, and collectibles to make room for some new additions. And while I’ve got plenty of stuff in this collection still waiting to be reviewed, I thought I’d push this newest one to the front of the list. Let’s check out The Little Mermaid Morning Edition Statue from JSC’s Fairytale Fantasies line.

I first visited with this line a little while ago with a look at Tinkerbell, but in case you missed that one, Fairytale Fantasies partners the enormous talent of J. Scott Campbell and Sideshow to create polyresin statues depicting Campbell’s stylized renditions of some well-known fairytale ladies. The Little Mermaid was the first statue and at the time she was released I had too much money tied up in other pre-orders to allow me to get her. Unfortunately, she sold out pretty quickly and I missed out, but another opportunity popped up in the form of this Morning Edition, which is a blonde haired, red-tailed variant. Yes, I would have preferred the original green tail and red hair, but hell I do enjoy me some salmon, and I wasn’t about to miss out on this one a second time. She comes in a fully enclosed box with some ornate decorations and the boldness of including absolutely no images of the statue on the box. But yeah, granted, I’d say the overwhelming majority of collectors that buy this are doing so online anyway. I don’t believe there was an exclusive release on this one, but it was limited to 1500 pieces and the number of each statue is on the bottom of the box. Inside contains a Styrofoam block with the statue in three pieces: The base, the upper body, and the tail. The pieces connect to the base easily with magnets and she’s all ready for display in a matter of minutes. Let’s have a look!

Oh, heck yes! These statues appear to be roughly one-sixth scale, but because our mermaid is bending over as she emerges from the water, we’re dealing with a piece that takes up about as much real estate on the shelf as she is tall. Nevertheless, this is a sizeable and hefty piece that commands attention on the shelf. The figure is pushing up from the surface of the water, with her hands resting on a jutting rock, while her tail disappears into the water (right about where her knees would be) and protrudes again to show off the majestic fin at the end of her tail. It’s a cool effect, and while the tail is a separate piece, I can definitely buy it being all connected under the water. I think the composition here is perfect, as it allows for a number of sweet spots so you can be a little creative with its orientation on the shelf. Truth be told, this lady looks great from just about any angle.

The tail itself features a sculpted checkered pattern of scales and an absolutely gorgeous coat of deep crimson red paint with a subtle sheen to it. Yeah, I made a Salmon crack before, but this is clearly red not pink. There are some semi-translucent fins coming off of each side near the waist, where fish meets lady. At first, I was thinking it would have been cool to work in an area where the tail gradually gave way to human flesh, but on second thought, that might have been a little creepy and gross. Given the stylized nature, I’m fine with the definitive cut off. The tail fins are cast in an opaque milky plastic with some gradient red running through it. It’s quite lovely and majestic, almost resembling flower pedals as it sweeps out and curves down at the tips. The tail manages to be impressive without being oppressive, as it really only blocks the view of the figure from directly behind.

Of course, the lady half is what garners the most of my attention, and that’s because she’s stunningly beautiful. The contours of her body match that undeniable Campbell style that makes me swoon (while making Twitter nutbags exclaim “OMG, WHERE R HER ORGANZZZ???” The fact that she’s pushing herself up on off the rock allows for some serious chest poofing, of which I am definitely a fan. It is, after all, a well known fact that Mermaids have no concept of modesty and they will advertise their goods to any fish or sailor that happens to be gawking. In this case, however, her rather elaborate shell necklace manages to conceal just enough of her copious chest to give this piece a PG rating.

The necklace is not only beautifully sculpted and painted, but talking about it more allows me to take some strategic close ups of her shells. This collection of conches, starfish, and other undersea treasures is painted in pink and turquoise with a pearlescent finish. She also sports a gold bicep band on her left arm.

And that brings us to the portrait, which is a stunning piece of work. A design style as singularly distinctive as Campbell’s cannot be easy to adapt to a 3D model, and yet the wizards at Sideshow seem to have mastered the art of this conversion. I think this Mermaid is right up there with Tinkerbell in perfectly capturing JSC’s talents. From the high cheekbones and almond eyes to the slope of the nose and the perfect lips, this head sculpt brings the 2D art to life. The paint here is exquisite as well. The applications on the eyebrows, eyes, and lips are all sharp and crisp, and the warm, soft skin throughout the statue has a subtle freckling that really brings this fish-gal to life. And while I would have preferred the redhead version of the original, this Morning Editions flowing blonde hair is certainly a worthy alternative.

Our final stop, as always, is the base, and here we have a simple black oval with a beautiful resin water effect, which ripples around the rock and tail. The jagged rock looks real enough as to have been plucked from the sea and glued onto the statue. The mermaid’s fingers grasp at each end of it, with her fingers adorned in gold rings, and her wrists covered with golden bangles. There’s even some pink nail polish on her fingernails.

The bottom of the base has the Fairytale Fantasies logo in gold foil against a pink backdrop. This combination looks striking in person, but my camera had troubles with it, so it’s not quite as prominent in the picture. Also here on the underside of the base, the statue is hand numbered. Mine is 495/1500. As far as I know, there was no Sideshow Exclusive version of this one, which is a shame. Tinkerbell came with a metal concept art card, but I’ll have to settle with picking up the concept art print off of JSC’s store to display with her.

If you’re a fan of J. Scott Campbell’s work and are looking to throw some money at some JSC for your shelf, this Fairytale Fantasies line is a great way to go, and I believe both of these statues are still available at various online retailers, including Sideshow themselves. I don’t think anyone has managed to capture Campbell’s work nearly as well in statue form and I think the subject matter is a perfect fit for the style. I’ll confess that I was a little worried that the variant colors would be a constant reminder that I missed out on the original, but that hasn’t been the case. For the record, there is also a purple tail brunette variant, which I believe was a JSC Store Exclusive too. I picked up this piece from Sideshow when they were doing a free shipping sale, which amounts to quite a bit of savings when you’re talking about a heavy statue like this one, and after applying some reward points, this fishy lady set me back about $250. A fine catch, if you ask me. I still have Alice to review, and Cinderella is slated to be released next year.

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.

Marvel Comics: Domino (Exclusive) Premium Format by Sideshow

Yeah, another week of abbreviated content. I didn’t make it back on Wednesday because of real life craziness, but at least I did double up for Marvel Monday. And to make up for it a bit more, I’m tackling a big one to end off the week! Sideshow’s delectable quarter-scale Premium Format figures are the bane of my existence. They’re so big and expensive, and yet they’re so damn pretty. I shouldn’t buy them, but I always want to. I’ve only reviewed one of these beauties before, and that was the Batman Returns Catwoman I won from one of Sideshow’s contests about three years ago. Yup, people actually win those! Free is great, but as any good drug dealer knows, it’s that first free hit that hooks you. Since then I’ve picked up a few more but haven’t gotten around to reviewing them, mainly because it takes a lot of effort to gerry-rig my little photo stage to handle them. Anyway, I’d like to remedy that by starting to review some of these, and what better place to start than the one I got in this week! I’m like a kid on Christmas morning!

It’s Domino! A character that I’ve been in love with ever since lucky Neena Thurman first graced the pages of Marvel Comics. Hell, X-Force #11 from 1992 was one of the first comics I ever got CGC graded. When Sideshow solicited this one, I knew I had to have it, but not just because it’s Domino, but because the composition is so amazing. But I’m getting ahead of myself. As always the statue comes in a box massive enough to house the 20-inch tall statue and plenty of Styrofoam to protect it. The box is made up to look like a giant slot machine and has some cool touches, like X-Men stickers ripped off one side and the machine’s marquee branded after Domino herself. There’s a silver foil sticker on the bottom left corner of the front panel to denote that this one is a Sideshow Exclusive, limited to 1,000 pieces.

Inside the Styrofoam, it looks like something that’s been cocooned by spiders. As expected, there is some unwrapping and assembly required here, and this phase tends to be the most stressful of the un-boxing. Are all the parts going to be OK? Is everything going to fit together properly? In this case I’m happy to say, Yes and Yes. Assembly includes attaching the figure to the base with a key tab that protrudes from her butt. Next up, the hands (each holding a gun) gets attached and held by magnets. The slot machine arm keys into the side and attaches to the toe of Domino’s boot with a magnet, and finally the head attaches by magnet as well. When all is said and done, this is a very solid and pretty heavy piece all ready for display. I’ll also note here that there is no mixed-media in this figure, so the entire costume is part of the sculpt.

And what a display it is! Domino sits playfully on top of a leaning X-Men-themed slot machine with her legs crossed and one foot resting on the arm. She leans back to support herself with her right hand, still holding a pistol, while she draws the pistol in her left hand up near her neck and points it to the ceiling. I don’t think Sideshow has ever managed to have the base upstage the figure itself in one of these Premium Formats, this might be pretty close. In truth, they both just complicate each other tremendously well. I tend to waffle between preferring classic museum style poses and something more dynamic and action-y, but this one introduces a whole new ballgame. It’s wildly creative, it’s deliciously meta, and it understands the character so well.

Of course, this is a pretty modern look for Domino, which really just means that her traditional black cat suit is enhanced with a lot more detail and a more tactical look to it. And while we already have a Domino for the films and I wouldn’t take any of that away from the glorious Zazie Beetz, I do think that this version of Domino has a realistic quality to her, which would have worked fine for the big screen. The bulk of the suit is a delightful mix of black and blue, which comes out beautifully under the studio lights, and is enhanced with patches of exposed ribbed blue “material,” presumably to add a little flexibility. Again, it’s all sculpted, but I have no quarrel with the decision because the end results are quite spectacular. Everything from the zipper track to the stitch lines, and the subtle wrinkles here and there make for a very convincing garment, even if it is all polyresin.

The suit is covered with tactical gear, all held on by sculpted segmented belts. Her inventory includes all sorts of pouches, slots for extra magazines, empty shoulder holsters under each arm, and a futuristic looking gun strapped to her right thigh. The gun is a great example of all the detail that went into the sculpt. The hard-molded style holster is textured and features sculpted rivets that simulate holding it together. There’s a sculpted retaining strap locking the weapon into place and the weapon itself is just brimming with detail. The twin pistols in her hands enjoy all that same great attention to detail. The X-branded belt buckle breaks up the blues and blacks with a bright red glossy background.

The standard portrait is superb. Domino sports her trademark pixie cut and offers a sideways glance and a knowing smirk. It’s like she’s thinking, “My luck is going to hold out, but yours is about to change.” I love the pale coloring they used for her rather unusual skin tone and the iconic spot around her left eye is crisp. For that matter all the paint work on the face is sharp and crisp. The sculpt for her hair is intricate and almost looks like it’s layered. The hair color follows the same pattern as her suit, being black with some blue-purple highlights. The only thing that sucks about this portrait is that the Sideshow Exclusive comes with a second, and that’s going to make for some tough decisions…

The Exclusive head features longer hair, the left side of which is blowing off to the side a bit. The head is turned to face her gun and her lips are pursed. It looks fine just like this, but it’s intended to be displayed with the addition of one extra piece.

 

Add the smoke effect to the gun barrel and now she looks like she’s blowing the barrel of her pistol after having fired it. I love the way this turned out and it’s creating quite the conundrum on which look to go for. The pixie cut from the standard head is more Domino to me, but the Exclusive looks so good. Luckily they are easy to swap, so I may just wind up doing that every couple of weeks.

And that brings us to the base, which is usually not something I need to spend a lot of time on when discussing statues, but here’s the exception to that rule. This is just amazing from both a composition standpoint as well as execution. It offers an on the nose nod to Domino’s mutant power, but it has a lot of fun with it too.

Sideshow went above and beyond with the detail in the bullet-ridden one-armed bandit. It has a steel sheen to the sides and back and the sculpted bullet holes look quite realistic. The back of the unit has all the vents and bits that you would expect to find on something like this. The coloring on the upper and lower marquee are beautifully illustrated. It would have been cool if SIdeshow added some lights to this base, but I don’t think that’s something they ever do in the Premium Formats. I particularly love the bullet holes in the plastic screens that cover the top marquee and the rollers. The later of which look convincing enough that I’d swear I could pull the lever and watch them spin.

Finally, the Days of Future Cash slot-machine rests on top a pile of Deadpool-branded tokens with spent bullet casings peppered generously throughout. Under this pile of loot is a simple black circular base. Lift it up and you get a little Domino artwork along with the limitation of the statue. Mine is hand-numbered 208/1000.

It’s s funny thing buying these Premium Formats. I always go into the purchase with sweaty, nervous palms and yet I’ve yet to be disappointed with one of these pieces when they arrive. And that’s saying a lot because they sure ain’t cheap. At $585 ($570 for the regular edition), I fear these statues are creeping past my budget right when I’m starting to get into them. But it’s easy to see where the money went, as Domino makes for an impressive presence on the shelf, and I can’t find anything on the piece to even nitpick about. The sculpt, paint, and overall design came together so beautifully. I’m certainly glad I didn’t pass this one oup.

J. Scott Campbell’s Fairytale Fantasies Collection: Tinkerbell by Sideshow

My love for J. Scott Campbell’s artwork knows no bounds, but I don’t get to talk about it here on FFZ as much as I’d like to. That’s because despite the tons of Campbell’s comics and art prints in my collection, the collectible merchandise based on his art just isn’t as prolific as I would like. We’ve had some action figures from Danger Girl and Gen 13, and some statues based on his art, but that stuff seems to be few and far between. But that’s not to say Sideshow hasn’t been doing their part lately. They’ve done some very nice statues based on Campbell’s Spider-Man art, a Premium Format of Abbey Chase, which I promise I’ll get around to reviewing sooner rather than later, and now they’re working on the Fairytale Fantasy Collection, thus far releasing J. Scott Campbell’s versions of The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland, and today’s subject of review… Tinkerbell!

The statue is comprised of polyresin and reproduced in roughly one-sixth scale. Or, maybe it would be more accurate to say she’s 12-inches tall, since, being a fairy, Tinkerbell isn’t exactly people-sized. The standard statue was limited to 3500 pieces, but the Sideshow Exclusive that I’m looking at today was limited to 1500. Tink comes encased in two slabs of Styrofoam and ships in a very attractive enclosed box. The artwork on the box alone is worthy of display, and I’ve actually got a couple of prints of similar art coming to me from Campbell’s webstore. She comes mostly assembled and ready for display, the only set up required is to plug the metal foot post into the base, which was easy to do thanks to a perfect fit. This little pixie has been on my shelf for a while now, and I’m truly excited to finally get around to giving her the spotlight.

If all you need is faith, trust, and a little pixie-dust, than Sideshow must possess it all in spades, because this statue came out gorgeous! Tink stands on her tip-toes atop an ornate brass compass with one hand on her hip and the other trailing beside her. Her head is turned off to the side and her impressive wings (all 11-inches of them!) fan out behind her. The composition just exudes spunky confidence! Obviously, Campbell has branded Tink with his singular style of sex appeal, giving her legs that go on for miles and flow beautifully into the rest of her curves. I’ve always thought Campbell’s work blends well with Disney’s designs and Tink here is about as best an example that I can come up with.

Tink’s petite costume covers only the essentials and consists of two sculpted leaves, one covering her front and the other the back, and secured together with sculpted and painted laces running up each side of the makeshift dress. The dress is convincing as being something separate that’s actually worn by the figure, even though I’m pretty sure it’s just part of the sculpt. It has a plunging neckline to show off her fairy goodies up top, but comes to a point down below so as not to show off too much of her fairy goodies. On the flip-side, the dress exposes enough of her back to see where the wings connect, and makes the most minimal effort possible at hiding her pixie-tush. Tink accessorizes her costume with three simple green bands: One worn on her right bicep, another around her left ankle, and the third as a thin choker necklace. Finally, she has a sprig of ivy painted around her right thigh. Because there isn’t a whole lot to her costume, the statue gets by mostly showing smooth skin, but the detail work in the dress is very nice, and did I mention how great the curves look? Yeah, I probably did, but I’ll say it again anyway because I just love how Campbell does curves when he draws his ladies, and this statue does a fine job reproducing them in 3D.

The paint on the figure is also worthy of praise, but that pretty much goes without saying when it comes to Sideshow’s work. Most impressive to me is the skin-tone, which is so soft and warm and lifelike. A lot of that is thanks to the gradient shades used for the shadows, which looks particularly good around her knees and the arches of her feet. It’s so easy for these statues to come out looking flat and lifeless, but Tink here is anything but. Likewise, there’s a great mix of green paint used on the dress, from darker green around the edges to the more yellowish green in the middle. Because of the rather simple costume, there isn’t a lot of opportunity for slop on this figure, nor is there really any that I can see. Of course most of the detailed paint is on the portrait, so let’s go there next!

As much as Campbell has a signature way of drawing a lady’s curves, his portraits are really the trademark of his art style and it’s here where I think that style matches so well with Disney’s. The big eyes, the pouty lips, the dainty little nose, it’s unmistakably Tinkerbell, albeit with a saucier flavor than what the kids are used to seeing. Once again, the paint here is impeccable, from the emerald green pupils in her eyes to the glossy pink lips. Her short hair is secured with a painted green hair band and a few strands have escaped to fall down the left side of her face and gently kiss her chin. This is one of those times where the portrait came out every bit as good as the image we were solicited with, and these days, that’s no small feat.

My final stop on the figure is that gorgeous set of wings, and here is where most of my trepidation lay while waiting to get the figure in hand. If they were too thin, they’d look cheap and be terribly fragile. If they were too thick, they’d look unconvincing. In the end, I think Sideshow got them just right. They certainly lean toward being thick, and the golden top edges are where most of the heft can be found. The rest consist of semi-translucent plastic with patterns running through them. Each of the four wings secure firmly into her back and I have no worries about them coming loose or easily breaking off.

And that brings us down to the base, which is quite a work of art in itself. I love the fact that they used the compass as a base, as it gives a sense of scale and reinforces the fact that Tink is supposed to be tiny. There’s a crocodile motif sculpted around the side of the compass and a single ring protruding from the top. The surface that Tink is standing on is clear plastic, displaying the needle and the face of the compass beneath it. It’s pretty convincing as an actual instrument and it’s wonderful to see Sideshow put so much effort into it.

Flip the base over and you get the series logo, Tinkerbell’s name, and the hand-numbered limitation. Mine is #241/1500. As far as getting a lower number, I guess that’s not too shabby, but then I did pre-order this statue the day it went up. So, other than the smaller circulation number, what else is different about the Sideshow Exclusive?

The Exclusive also came with this metal art card and stand. The card features some of the original concept art that this statue is based on. The stand is painted gold to match the base of the statue and has a simple slot running through the middle that allows the card to stand at a bit of an angle. The colors are vibrant and I dare say this piece would be worthy of display even without the statue to go with it!

When Sideshow first showed off this series, I knew I was going to get at least one for my collection and then if budget allowed I would see what happened. And as great as all three of the statues looked, it wasn’t a hard decision on which one to go for. Tinkerbell was the one that called to me, and it was the one that had me slapping the pre-order button. And if you can’t tell by this review, I had absolutely no regrets. At $300, she’s a little more pricey than the statues I’m used to buying in this scale, but then it’s easy for me to see where the money went. The sculpt is lovely, the colors are vibrant and her beautiful golden wings make people take notice of her even from across the room. And besides, having another piece of J. Scott Campbell’s art realized in 3D form? How can I put a price on that anyway? As for the other two? Well, the first release of The Little Mermaid has sold out, so if I go for that piece it will have to be a variant. Alice in Wonderland, on the other hand, is still available, and I’m considering picking her up more and more each day.

Batman Returns: Premium Format Catwoman by Sideshow

For years now I’ve been ogling Sideshow’s Premium Format statues, but it wasn’t until Power Girl that I came close (oh, so close!) to pulling the trigger on one. I’ve managed to tell myself I didn’t have the space to collect these quarter-scaled behemoths and the fact that they run in the $400-500 price range also helped keep me away. Nonetheless, when Sideshow was running a Giveaway for the Power Girl I entered. I also entered a few more. I didn’t win Power Girl, but I sure as shit won the Batman Returns Catwoman! So, it just goes to show you, people do win these things! There was about a six month lead time before it shipped, and I was responsible to pay the shipping, which came to about $45, but eventually a mammoth box showed up at my door and I was pretty damn excited to check it out!

The statue ships in a standard Sideshow mailer and is without a doubt the largest box I have ever received containing a single collectible. My neighbors probably thought it was a new dishwasher. People who collect these things regularly probably think I’m just adorable at how impressed I was, but that’s OK, because I’m not ashamed to admit it. Inside the mailer, you get a colorful, fully enclosed box, that basically houses a massive brick of Styrofoam. Sorry for the crappy flash picture, but there was no way I could get this thing onto my photo area. It was difficult enough to get it rigged to handle the statue, let alone the box it came in.

The statue requires a bit of assembly and there are no instructions included. You can always visit Sideshow’s site if you need to download a PDF or watch a video showing the assembly. In this case it was pretty easy. The base is one solid piece, and makes up most of the whopping 12 pounds that this statue weighs. The figure itself pegs into the base via a metal rod. I’ve heard tons of horror stories about the rods on Premium Formats not going in smoothly, but this one went in fine. The arms and head attach via powerful magnets, and the whip just needs to be coiled around the body.

When all set up, Catwoman stands a respectable 22-inches tall, which puts the figure at about a quarter scale and includes around 4 or 5 inches for the impressive slab of a base. I absolutely love the pose, which has Selina leaning seductively on a corner of brickwork, one foot in front of the other, and her whip coiled around her body. I think the stance here really nails Michelle Pfeiffer’s body language in the film, while also perfectly accentuating the beautiful curves of the figure in that ever-so-tight suit.

I was a bit surprised that this figure features no mixed-media, unless you count the whip. It’s not uncommon for these PFs to feature completely stitched costumes, but Catwoman is done entirely with sculpted polystone and paintwork. I’m fine with that, especially when the outcome looks this good. The high gloss paint used on her latex outfit certainly gets the job done, creating a mirror finish like a brand new car. The individual stitches are each sculpted and painted white with the seams splitting here and there to show her skin. Even the laced strings for her corset are sculpted up and down her back. The matte finish on the boots offers a nice contrast to the rest of the gloss black.

I really dig the portrait. Her eyes are gorgeous and the paint used on her lips is shiny and crisp. Despite the high prices, it’s not unheard of to experience paint issues on PF statues, or at least that’s what I gather from years of living vicariously through reviews and message boards. I’ll confess that even though I didn’t pay for her, I was plenty nervous unwrapping the head, as well as the rest of the body, for fear of some glaring paint problem. In the end, I needn’t have worried because the paint on this lady holds up to the sticker price of the piece. There aren’t any blemishes on the finish or any askew brush strokes. I know a few people have had issues with the head not seating properly in the neck, but mine doesn’t have any play in it at all.

Another great little touch are her nails, which are patterned after their haphazard look in the film. They also happen to be pretty damn sharp! I’d also imagine that they’re probably the most delicate parts of this entire piece.

The diorama section is a piece of Gotham rooftop set upon a beveled circular base. It’s a great choice for the figure and the brickwork is extremely convincing both in appearance and even to the touch. You also get a little chimney pipe in the corner. Selina’s boots stand flush with the rooftop surface keeping her steady and sure. The bottom of the base actually features a full color illustration along with the numbering and limitation. I usually post pictures of these when reviewing statues, but with how large and heavy this thing is, there’s no way I was going to risk it. However, I will say that mine is #616 of 2,500. Ironically, that’s one of the lowest numbers I’ve ever received on one of these limited pieces. Even most of my DC Collectibles statues are in the 2,000’s.

Getting this Catwoman statue into my collection was a pretty exciting event for me. It’s my first Premium Format and it’s the first time I ever won something as amazing and valuable as this statue. Unfortunately, it’s really turned me on to these pieces and the temptation to get another is burning inside me. On the other hand, I was lucky enough to find somewhere to display this one, as I happened to have an accent table in the corner of my Den that’s perfect for her, but I can’t imagine where I would go with another. Not to mention the huge box is sitting in one of my storage closets and taking up almost half the floor space! With a retail of $450, she’s probably the most expensive single collectible I own, and I have to say I think she’s certainly worth the money. I’ll confess that I have a hell of a lot of Catwoman items in my collection, and while this isn’t the Premium Format I would have chosen to sink that much money into, I’m still very pleased to own it. Plus, she seems to have been a pretty popular piece, as Sideshow’s site is already flashing the Low Stock warning on her page.

Star Wars: C-3PO Deluxe Sixth-Scale Figure by Sideshow

Yeah, it’s Transformers Thursday, but I’ve got no new Transformers to look at this week, so I thought I’d go with another robot instead. This guy arrived at my door just a couple of days ago and he’s been a pretty polarizing release so far, so I wanted to bump him up on my priority list, so here we go…

I’ve been pretty firm on my decision not to get in on Sixth-Scale Star Wars figures. It’s a dark path that I really don’t want to head down for fear that it would consume all my monies and shelf space. That attitude will likely be changing when it comes to Hot Toys and The Force Awakens, but that’s a problem I’ll deal with later this Summer. As for the Original Trilogy, well I bent the rules when it came to Artoo and Threepio because they’ve been such iconic characters to me virtually my entire life. Early last year, I checked out Sideshow’s R2-D2, a solid if imperfect figure, and after a long wait his counterpart, C-3PO is finally here. Strap yourselves in, this one is going to be a long one…

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The figure comes in what seems to be standard for the SS Star Wars line. It’s an enclosed box with a nice look at the prototype of the figure (important for later!) and it’s obviously collector friendly. If you get the Exclusive then the box will have the foil sticker on the front denoting such. There are shots of the figure on the back and side panels as well.  I don’t have a lot more to say about the package so let’s just talk about the figure’s initial reception. I spent Tuesday afternoon waiting for my 3PO to arrive and I decided to do what I often do in this situation: Make a pot of coffee and read through forum posts of early impressions as they roll in. Here I was confronted with horror story after horror story of bad QC, including bad mold flashing, pistons breaking, paint scratches and chips, a head that wouldn’t come off to access the electronics, aaaand… oh yeah, the fact that it seemed like the entire run of figures had their thumbs put on backwards. Needless to say when the UPS man finally handed me my shipper box, I was pretty nervous about opening it up.

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So naturally the first thing I did was give the finish a good once over and based on what I’d been seeing from other owners, I was shocked at virtually no discernible flubs or scratches. You may think you see a scratch here or there in the pictures, but I assure you that’s just my arch nemesis, Cat Hair! No, apart from a very little bit of visible mold flashing on the right knee, this particular figure is just about spotless. There were no broken pistons or any other defects. I had indeed dodged what appeared to be a QC bullet. The thumbs? Oh, yeah. The thumbs are indeed assembled wrong. Which sadly isn’t an individual QC defect but a design flaw across the entire run. There are times when it’s obvious, but truth be told, most of the time I barely notice it. With the hands held to the sides or palms front, it’s barely an issue at all. I’ll deal more on that at the end of this Feature.

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Anyway, getting 3PO set up just requires you to pop off the head to remove the battery tab that will activate his eyes. The instructions ridiculously tell you not to pull on the head, only the neck, otherwise you may damage the figure. Frankly, I don’t see how grabbing only the neck is even possible and there are apparently a fair share of owners who have not been able to pop the head at all for fear of breaking the figure. Me? I was able to hold the figure firmly at the base of the head and just wiggle it right out, easy peasy. This lets you remove the tab and is also how you replace the batteries. Tap the back of the head, and 3PO’s eyes come to life and those peepers are pretty gorgeous. It’s a feature that really is necessary to bring 3PO to life and they nailed it. They may not look it under the bright studio lights, but in normal room lighting, they’re quite bright.

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With all the qualification behind me, I’d like to say that this guy looks pretty stunning on the shelf. The finish is obviously the worn and dirty version. This isn’t a droid you’d take to a Yavin celebration like the Tamashii version. That having been said, there’s still a nice metallic sheen to him. The gold paint looks rich and authentic, even if the realism of the oil and grease marks fall a notch or two below hitting the mark. I think it’s actually kind of cool that the weathering patterns seem to vary quite a bit from figure to figure. Some seem to have it in places where others don’t and that makes each individual figure a little more special. So long as your happy with the one you got, otherwise I guess it sucks. I don’t think the weathering looks bad at all, but with them there Hot Toys prices, Sideshow, I gotta turn my expectations up a couple of notches and so does everybody else. Oh yeah, I really dig the silver they used for the lower right leg and the rust spray on there looks outstanding.

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In terms of sculpt, I think they really nailed a lot of the aspects of the droid that other people haven’t been able to. The head, for example, looks spot on to me. The crest around the head, for example, isn’t too thick, which is one of my biggest pet peeves on 3PO figures. I’m sure there are plenty of obsessive Star Wars fans who can find plenty to nitpick, but that ain’t me. The texturing of the exposed mid section is nice, as is the paint on the wires, however, at this price, I would have liked actual wires attached to the rubber piece, but this works well enough and looks fine.

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The inner pistons on the arms actually work and look particularly nice. These are often too thick and prominent on larger scale renditions of the character. The trade off here, of course, is that they are crazy delicate. I’ve seen several pictures of them broken off in the boxes and others snapping when moving the arms. It’s hard to think of a better illustration of the fact that these are collectibles and not toys and more than a modicum of care is needed when articulating his arms. The pistons on my figure travel their channels smoothly and don’t inhibit the articulation all that much more than the original suit design intended. I do think the 3PO suit had a little bit more elbow articulation than what we got here, but not much. Moving on down below the waste, I’m particularly satisfied with the movement in the hips. I don’t dig my protocol droids to be all bow-legged and there’s enough easy play in those hip joints that you can get 3PO to stand with both feet touching. At the same time, the leg joints are all solid enough to support the figure with no worries or floppiness.

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3PO is not heavy on the accessories, which is unfortunate because of the high price point. In fact, the only accessories with the standard release are a pair of magnetic restraining bolts and the commlink. I assume they included two bolts in case you lose one, which is fairly likely since the magnets on the bolts are crazy weak. After a couple tries, I was convinced there was no magnet at all, so I tried it on R2 and it worked fine. Turns out you just have to be really accurate when you place it. The commlink is barely worth mentioning as an accessory. It’s just a tiny piece of painted plastic. Surprisingly, even with his challenged thumbs, 3PO is capable of holding it, but it takes some effort.

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The Exclusive included is the shoulder stump, which in theory just involves pulling the arm out at the shoulder and replacing with the stump. Unlike the head, my figure’s arm was an absolute bitch to remove. Getting the full arm out requires a little too much force than I’m comfortable with and putting the stump in results in a thunderous click as it locks in, making me initially think, “Oh God, how the hell am I ever going to get that out again?” It came out, but it was a bit of a fight. It’s a fantastic bonus feature and it looks great, but I doubt I’ll be doing that very often.

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Naturally, you get a stand, which is not nearly as necessary as I thought, because 3PO stands beautifully by himself. That having been said, I don’t risk displaying any of my 1:6 scale figures without a stand and Goldenrod here will be no different. The stand is as no frills as you can get. It’s just a big black hexagonal base with a post and crotch-cradle. Considering the price of the figure, it would have been nice to get something a little more fancy or maybe a stand big enough to display him and R2. I’ll probably try to hunt something down.

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So, where to come down on this figure? Quite frankly, I love it, but that affection needs to be qualified. On principle, the thumb thing is inexcusable. Either the figure should have been delayed to make a fix or Sideshow should have gotten in front of it in order to make it right for their customers before shipping. Instead, they posted pictures of the final product, complete with mis-assembled thumbs, right as they were shipping and still haven’t addressed the issue to their customers. It makes all the difference difference between being responsible toward their consumers and being blatantly unprofessional. If my figure had other issues, I’d consider doing a refund, but honestly, I love everything else about this guy so much, I’m willing to overlook what is becoming known as thumbgate. That’s not to say I don’t think some restitution isn’t in order, at least to garner some goodwill over the incident. If that sort of arrangement is forthcoming, I’ll be sure to post an addendum here.

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The other qualifier is about value. You may have noticed that I brought up price a lot during this Feature. As much as I love my shiny new protocol droid, I will say that at $230, I think this figure is grossly over priced. Sure he looks fantastic, even more so beside R2, but it’s still difficult to see where all the money went. At the $189-$200 range, I could have given 3PO my blessing, but tack another $30-40 onto that and I feel like I’m paying too much. Sure, licensing costs money and Star Wars is the hottest property there is, but Hot Toys just put out a First Order Stormtrooper with more accessories and for $20 cheaper. Now, to be clear that doesn’t mean I regret buying him, it just means I concede that I spent more than I was comfortable spending on him. Truth be told, at the end of the day, if I had had been given this figure on a trial bases, I’d still be pulling the trigger. I really do love him that much.