Star Wars “The Mandalorian:” Life-Size Grogu Figure by Sideshow

Sideshow ran a whole lot of good deals back around Christmas time, which is pretty dangerous for me. It’s a bad time of the year, and it doesn’t take much to make me dive into retail therapy to stave off holiday depression. One of those deals was Sideshow’s own life-size version of Grogu, which is probably one of the most expensive impulse buys I’ve ever made. Was it worth it? Well, let’s find out…

Baby Yoda comes in an enormous fully enclosed box with some nice wrap-around artwork from the show. I’m guessing this was released before the big name reveal, so the box refers to him merely as The Child, which Disney seemed to like better than Baby Yoda. The figure comes out of the box pretty much ready for display. You just have to peg him onto his base and pop his favorite shifter-knob into his right hand. While Grogu is pretty tiny on the show, a life-size version still puts him at just under 17-inches, which means he’s considerably bigger than Sideshow’s Sixth-Scale figures, which are about as big as my photo staging area can go. So give me a couple of minute to improvise something bigger and we’ll check him out!

Well, isn’t he just adorable! This little bugger comes clad in his fabric frock with a wooly-type material used for the collar and sleeve cuffs. It’s got that rough and shoddy tailoring like it does on the show, which makes me wonder why Mando hasn’t invested a little of that Beskar in a proper onesie. While Grogu is advertised as a figure, it would be more accurate to call him a statue, as the only articulation here is in the neck, and even that only allows for a little bit of tweaking. Hot Toys did put out a proper life-size Grogu figure with more articulation, and while I don’t own that figure, I will make a few comparison comments based on pictures that I’ve seen. The pose is about as simple as things get, with his arms more or less down at as his sides and his head looking upward. It’s perfectly in tune with what Grogu is usually doing in the show, so no complaints there. It is worth mentioning, that this is a piece that is best displayed below eye level, so he can be looking up at you.

Because Grogu’s frock covers most of him, the only real sculpt and paint are invested in the portrait and hands. In terms of sculpt, I think the head is spot on. The wide-eyed expression is designed to tug at heart strings and sell toys, and it definitely succeeds at both. The eyes are simply stunning, with a lot of complexity behind those lenses if you get up and personal. The downturned mouth suggests he was just chastised for eating lizard people’s babies. There’s a nice compromise between smooth skin and rumples and light creases, and the top of the head is graced with a field of white peach-fuzz hair, which is strangely satisfying to pet. The Hot Toys version had a little part in the lips to show some teeth, which is definitely a more complex sculpt, but I think I prefer the closed lips on this one for being a little less creepy.

A lot has been made about the rosy cheeks, and I can confirm that it looks a lot more obvious under studio lights than it does on display under normal lighting. Even the official Sideshow shots don’t really show you what you’re getting and that’s to the figure’s discredit. I’ve even seen people do comparisons between the actual prop and this portrait to show that the paint here is pretty much spot on to the physical prop, but a bit at variance as to how it looks on screen. Personally, I’m happy with the way the paint came out on this one, but I think the Hot Toys version comes a little closer, at least in the pictures. Whether that’s the case in hand, I can’t really say since I’ll never be able to make that direct comparison. I do think the ears on the Sideshow figure are painted better, as the Hot Toys’ version looks a little too glossy and fake to me.

The only accessory here is the shifter knob, which attaches to the right hand via a pretty strong magnet. This is a simple silver painted sphere with a blue stripe across the middle. It’s a nice touch, but it kind of gets lost in all the fabric when on display. It’s almost looks like Grogu is trying to hide that he has it.

If you’re wondering how much sculpt and paint is going on under that frock, it’s just the hands and feet. The fully realized feet are a nice feature, since you really can’t see them at all under the cloak when the figure is on display.

The base looks like it’s intended to be the deck of a ship, possibly the Razor Crest, and it looks good, but the cloak does cover most of the surface. Unlike most Sideshow statues, which use a metal rod to attach the figure, this has a simple foot peg, which is pretty charming, as it looks just like the kind of foot pegs used on playsets for the old Kenner Star Wars figures. I also like that the peg is on the base and not on the figure, so you can stand Grogu wherever you want without using the base. Either way, it does a good job of securing the figure, while making it easy to pick him up and put him back on it again.

The bottom of the base is fully illustrated with some colorful, stylized artwork. it always impresses me when Sideshow does this, as it will almost never be seen, but it adds a bit of value to the piece. The base does state that the figure is a Limited Edition, but it’s not hand numbered like the Premium Formats, and there’s no statement of limitation anywhere on the box or base, nor could I find one on the website.

Sideshow’s Grogu retails for $375 and at the time I’m publishing this review it’s still available to buy. I got him at $100 off and threw in $60 worth of reward points to knock it down to $215. That still makes it a pretty expensive impulse buy, but I was surprised at how delighted I was when he showed up and I got him out of the box. The Hot Toys version is probably the more desirable as it does have articulation and some might argue the better paint, but it’s also a lot more expensive, so I’m pretty satisfied with this guy on my shelf. One of my biggest pipe dreams has been to one day own a life-size Star Wars character, preferably R2 or 3PO, but I just haven’t been drunk enough to pull the trigger yet. At least now I can say I have one. As of now, Grogu is standing right by the light switch in my TV room, and I get to give him a pat on the head each night as I shut out the lights to go to bed.

Clint Eastwood Legacy Collection: Dirty Harry Callahan Sixth-Scale Figure by Sideshow

My backlog of pre-orders at Sideshow has been slowly whittling down this year. Some actually shipped, a couple I cancelled, and a handful have been bumped back to 2023. But the Dirty Harry figure had to be one of the fastest turnarounds in all my experience with Sideshow. He was revealed and put up for pre-order in March and here he is squeaking in at the end of the year and landing in my hands by December. That’s crazy fast in the world of Sixth-Scale figure pre-orders where delays can often roll wait times into years instead of months. It’s almost enough to make me forget how absolutely insane it is that we got an officially licensed release of a Harry Callahan figure in the first place!

I could write volumes on what Clint Eastwood’s film career has meant to me over the years, but let’s stick with the one particular film related to today’s review. Released the year before I was born, Dirty Harry is an absolute classic of police drama cinema and like many of Clint Eastwood’s films, it’s become a go-to watch of mine for lazy, rainy Saturday afternoons. Hell, even though it was released only one year into the decade, it would go on to characterize the gritty 70’s cop film genre, thanks partly to a successful string of sequels, but mostly because it’s such a wonderfully watchable flick with an absolutely batshit crazy villain. It practically introduced the tough-as-nails, doesn’t-play-by-the-rulebook cop trope that was, and largely still is, appealing to a nation sick of rampant crime. Nowadays, it’s also a movie out of time. There’s throwaway dialogue here that would never fly in a world with today’s ultra-fragile sensibilities, and that’s what makes this seemingly impossible release so unbelievably welcome. I’m curious as to whether Sideshow got any flack for choosing to pursue this decidedly un-politically correct license, but it seems to have done well for them, because while the figure did not sell out in pre-order, it is already listed as Low Stock Remaining. Anyway… the shoebox-style package features some beautiful art from the film, which conveys the gritty subject matter. It’s the first release in Sideshow’s Eastwood Legacy Collection, and you do get a stylish band around the inner tray with a facsimile of his signature. Otherwise, the presentation here is everything you might expect from a Sideshow figure.

Callahan comes out of the box all ready for action, and ready to patrol the filthy streets of 1971 San Francisco. Wearing his trademark herringbone jacket, gray slacks, a white button down shirt under a burgundy sweater vest, striped tie, and black shoes, he’s the epitome of 1970’s fashion. I find that it’s a lot easier for these companies to successfully reproduce flashy superhero costumes in this scale, than it is to make convincing everyday clothes, and with that in mind, I’m extremely pleased with how the tailoring on this outfit came out. The jacket is a work of art, complete with elbow pads, buttons, a sharp interior lining, and some immaculate stitching. The trademark herringbone v-pattern in the jacket’s stitching is absolutely gorgeous. The same can be said about the impeccable tailoring found in the “twenty-nine-fifty” pants and the vest. The tie is a little stiff, but still looks great. The only thing I can nitpick is the collar takes a lot of futzing to make it sit right, and even then I think it looks just a tad too puffy. The costume also includes a dress belt, a shoulder holster for Harry’s trusty wheel gun, and a really spiffy watch on his left wrist. The jacket is removable, but I’m not messing with taking it off. A finely tailored suit may not be the most exciting thing to see on an action figure, but it sure looks great here!

The portrait is an absolute homerun. When the figure was first revealed, I remember wishing that it was Hot Toys doing it, mainly because I think they were better equipped at doing portraits, and I was a little skeptical about the figure looking as good as the solicitation shots. I’m happy to say the final product is an absolutely fabulous likeness. I think a Hot Toys portrait could have awarded a little more nuance to the paint, maybe made the eyes pop with a little more life, but I am still one hundred percent satisfied with what we got here. It would have been easy to lean into a caricature, but I feel like the sculptors swung for the stars and it paid off big time. The bulging brow, the squinted eyes, and the prominent chin all look superb. I also really dig the way Sideshow recreated Eastwood’s majestic bouffant. It’s a fabulous sculpt, which compliments the portrait perfectly. It would have been great to have had an Exclusive with an extra head with more of a sneer to it, but this one will still do just fine.

The accessories are a bit on the light side here, as Harry only comes with his gun and badge, along with a hefty selection of hands. I think the most obvious omissions here are the yellow money bag and the switchblade that he sticks into Scorpio’s leg, as both seem like they should have been included. I suppose you could argue that the outfit isn’t right for those scenes, but still. The hands are pretty standard stuff, with a pair of relaxed hands, a pair of fists, a right hand designed to hold his badge, another designed to hold his gun, and a left hand designed to cup around his right wrist to stabilize his aim when firing. To make the last hand work, you really need to take the jacket off, which is a shame because it would have been great for recreating one of his more iconic poses. There’s some padding in the figure, which can curtail the range of motion a little, and you get more of that in the shoulders of the jacket, but all in all, the joints feel good, and not at all floppy, as has sometimes been the case with Sideshow’s figures. I’ll also note how nice it is that each hand comes with its own hinged peg, so swapping out the hands is extremely quick and easy, and there’s never a worry about snapping a peg like there sometimes is with Hot Toys figures.

The badge is very nicely done, with a beautiful recreation of his ID. The wallet is meant to stay open, so he’ll be perpetually flashing the badge. I would have really liked to see a left hand for holding it, so I could pose him with his gun drawn and his badge out, but then that might have been a little out of character for Dirty Harry.

As for the gun? “My, that’s a big one!” Naturally, “this is a.44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world” and it’s an excellent sixth-scale representation of Harry’s favorite sidekick. The detail includes the checkered grip, safety lever, and the chamber even spins and can flip out. You even get a little rubbing to the blueing around the edges and where the chamber spins, showing that it’s seen its share of action. The weapon is a tad fragile, and once I got it into his hand, I doubt I’ll take it out again, since it’s the only reason that hand would ever be used. With all that having been said, I would not mind picking up a diecast version of this gun and giving Callahan an upgrade.

The last thing in the box is the thing I have the least to say about and that’s the stand. It’s perfectly serviceable with a plain black hexagonal base and an adjustable crotch-cradle in the post, but it represents the absolute bare minimum in effort on Sideshow’s part. This is an expensive figure, and the base gave Sideshow an opportunity to flex a bit and do something cool, and they just passed. I would have loved to see a shield on the front with Dirty Harry and the facsimile Eastwood signature under it, but really just any kind of personalization would have been nice.

Even with this figure in hand, it’s still hard to believe I own an officially licensed Dirty Harry figure, let alone one of this quality and released in 2022! At $275, the price on this one seems high for a figure without a lot of accessories, but I probably would have mashed the pre-order button even if that price tag topped $300. Just don’t tell Sideshow that! What makes me even more ecstatic is that this is only the first of three figures in this line so far. Blondie from The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly and The Preacher from High Plains Drifter are both up for Pre-Order now. Naturally, I’ve committed to each of those figures, and oh boy, am I hoping for a Josey Wales! Indeed, I’d much rather Josey Wales was released before The Preacher, as I just think he’s a far more iconic character and an overall better movie. But the real question is will the universe bless us with Philo Bedoe and Clyde from Any Which Way But Loose? That could be too much to hope for, but at this point, I won’t rule out anything!

J. Scott Campbell’s Fairytale Fantasies: Red Riding Hood by Sideshow

I’ve been working on getting caught up on showcasing the Fairytale Fantasy statue collaboration between J. Scott Campbell and Sideshow, when a brand new release hit my doorstep and I decided to bump her to the head of the line. This time we’re checking out Red Riding Hood! If you’re not familiar with this series feel free to get caught up by checking out The Little Mermaid and Tinkerbell, but basically these are polystone statues based on J. Scott Campbell’s take on famous ladies from timeless fairy tales! And while Red Riding Hood here will be the third statue I’ve covered here, I still need to double back to check out both Alice from Wonderland and Cinderella!

Red comes in the biggest box yet. I mean, I was seriously not expecting a box this big. I imagine that’s because the scale has been a little varied here. The Little Mermaid is only partially showing above the surface of the water, making her a bit on the small side and Tinkerbell is a small subject to begin with. But Red here is a full Sixth-Scale statue, measuring about 19-inches if you include the base and branches. Needless to say, this box is plenty big. It feature some really classy designs, as well as the actual art that inspired the statue on the front panel. Red was available in a Standard Edition and a Sideshow Exclusive, which is the one we’ll be looking at today! This edition was limited to 2,000 pieces and hand numbered on the box and the bottom of the base. Mine is number 704! Assembling the statue is pretty simple. She pegs into the base, her arms are attached by magnets, and the tree components of the display attach to the base by magnets as well. Let’s have a look!

Well, this is not the little Red Riding Hood that I remember seeing illustrated in my storybooks when I was a kid. If it were, I might have hit puberty a little earlier. Here Red cuts quite the shapely figure wearing a black and white corset, skimpy skirt, high black boots, and indeed a red hood with a short cape. She also comes equipped with a trusty crossbow and a basket of special goodies. I do love the pose here, as it’s fairly neutral while still evoking a bit of a story. While tracking through the snowy woods to Grandma’s house, she suddenly stops in response to a twig breaking, or perhaps a distant wolfy growl, (or maybe spotting the giant wolf tracks in the snow!) and readies her weapon for the first sign of trouble. All the while, the sinister woods snake around her like spindly claws waiting to strike. Wow!

As always, JSC knows how to bring the sex appeal with his art and the wizards at Sideshow have done a beautiful job recreating it in polystone. Red’s outfit is not overly complex, but it does show some lovely flourishes, like the sculpted red laces in the corset, and the red bow that secures her cape around her neck. You get sculpted ruffled finery around the top edges of her bodice and a sense of simple elegance to the buccaneer style boots and gloves. The short cape and skirt are sculpted to lick up behind her, agitated perhaps by the wind, or from a sudden turn as she investigates a noise. Not only does it add a little energy to the pose, but it also gives you a little glimpse of Red Riding Hiney. The colors are great and have a soft matte finish, with some shading to the red garment and some soft, worm tones to Red’s skin.

Red’s portrait is JSC perfection, and boy I don’t say that lightly. His distinctive style is not easy to replicate in three-dimensions, and while Sideshow seems to have it nailed down, I can think of a few other producers who have missed the mark over the years. But here, it’s unmistakable in Red’s large almond-shaped blue eyes, her perfectly parted lips, and her shapely little nose. Her high cheeks have a warm rosy complexion, and the way her hair falls about her face is poetry in motion. I could stare at this beauty for hours!

The crossbow is a nice piece of kit, with a traditional wood-style stock and a metal crosspiece. The design has a few flourishes, but for the most part it emphasizes function over flair. The weapon is clocked with a bolt ready to fly. And I’m going to go ahead and assume that’s a silver tip.

Red’s left hand grips her basket of goodies, which has a beautifully sculpted weave pattern and a red cover to conceal its contents. Well, most of the contents. She does have a brace of bolts for her crossbow peeking out. What else could be in there? Caltrops? Holy Water? Crude sulfur grenades? I guess we’ll never know.

Moving down to the base, we get a simple disk pedestal holding a slice of snow-covered terrain, and dominated by two large wolf prints. Is the wolf hunting her, or is she the one hunting the wolf? The white-blue snow is disturbed by the claw-like tree branches, which sprout up as if to encompass her in their grasp. I absolutely love the way these are designed, with one low and reaching up, and the other snaking it’s way as if ready to grab her from behind. Perhaps they’re evil spirits of the forest come to life, but mostly I think they’re simply the artist’s license to add a further sense of danger and dread to the piece. The bottom of the base is fully illustrated and hand-numbered, and I hope you’ll forgive me for not photographing it, but this statue is heavy, and I don’t want to disassemble her to get the shot.

The Sideshow Exclusive release comes with a metal art card and stand. This is similar to what was issued with the Tinkerbell Exclusive, but that card was more concept art and this one looks more like a finished piece. I wasn’t able to get a metal card with The Little Mermaid, and as for Alice in Wonderland, I opted to get a signed statue over the card, so right now only two of my Fairytale Fantasies have the metal cards to display with them. I did, however, pick up this art as a signed print.

Red is still available through Sideshow at $340 for the regular edition, but with the Exclusive priced at only $10 more, why wouldn’t you? The prices on these have been creeping up since the initial two releases, but I didn’t mind so much with Red because she is absolutely huge compared to the other two releases I’ve showcased here. Besides, I can’t get enough of J. Scott Campbell’s art and I’m happy to see someone making premium statues that really do his unique style justice. And with Red finally under my belt, I’ll make an effort to take a look at Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland before the end of the year, so I can be all caught up. The newest release, The Evil Queen is already up for pre-order and expected to ship sometimes next year!

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.