Masters of the Universe: She-Ra Sixth-Scale Figure by Mondo

Mondo has been turning out some Sixth-Scale figures based on the Masters of the Universe license, and while the reaction to some of these has been hit and miss among fans, I’ve been enjoying them from afar. But, then they announced She-Ra, and she looked absolutely gorgeous, and I figured, What the hell? Let’s see what these are all about… because I need another expensive line to collect like I need a hole in my head. The made-to-order formula, that has become so popular among smaller collector toy companies, was the rule of the day here, and so I dropped a pre-order. For some reason I didn’t think she was going to be shipping so soon, but here she is, so let’s take a look!

The packaging is extremely well done, both in terms of presentation and quality. When I drop more than $200 on an action figure I like to get it in a premium package, and that is absolutely the case here. You get what appears to be a fully enclosed box, but there’s actually a magnetic flap that opens to reveal a window front panel. The front and back panels have some very nice artwork and the inside of the flap has a picture of the figure itself. Inside, She-Ra comes on a clear plastic tray, with several layers to house all of her accessories and extras. There are a lot of different display options with this figure, so let’s just start with how she comes straight out of the box.

And here she is out of the box and looking drop dead gorgeous! In a lot of ways, Mondo She-Ra looks like an upscaled premium 7-inch action figure, and I don’t mean that as any kind of slight. It’s just that most of my Sixth-Scale figures feature tailored costumes or seamless joints, or something to set them apart from their smaller cousins and justify the high price tag. Here we get a mostly plastic costume (we’ll get to the cloth cape in a bit!), and articulation that is pretty similar to what we’ve seen in some of the more articulated, higher end six or seven inch figures. As a result, She-Ra feels more like a figure that I can play around with, rather than something I’m just going to tweak the pose on every now and then.

Her white dress is cast in soft plastic and has a decent layered effect to make it look like the figure is actually wearing it. I did find the asymmetrical nature of her top rather interesting. Her right breast covering is smooth while the left is scalloped. I’m not sure where Mondo took that particular design cue from, but I think I would have preferred they had gone with one or the other. And I’m not just bringing it up as an excuse to talk about She-Ra’s boobs… honest! Of course, the creamy white dress is complimented by the gold accents, which make for an absolutely exquisite deco. The gold paint that Mondo used here is quite striking, with something of a satin finish. In addition to the gold piping on the dress, you get the large floral motif on the front of her torso, and the golden shoulders, grieves and boots. There are sculpted brown straps “holding” the grieves in place and and some copper paint applications to give the gold armor a little more of a dynamic look. I have absolutely no complaints about the the quality of the paint and coloring on this figure. It’s all top notch stuff!

The belt is removable and can be replaced with a second belt design. It’s pretty cool, but I like the one that came on the figure much, much better, so this piece is going back into the box! They are both made of soft pliable plastic and tab together in the back. I found that this one was tough to get secured properly, whereas the first seems to fit and stay put just fine. Yet another reason to cast this one aside.

The portrait is just about flawless, and clearly favors a toyetic/animated look over any kind of realism, which means we get some very clean but also very basic paint, including red lips, blue eyes, and a hint of purple eyeshadow. An argument can be made that this simple style works better on a smaller figure. I think it’s fine, but it does contribute to the feeling of this being an upscaled figure. Her blonde hair is sculpted to fall about her shoulders and splits so that the bulk of it falls behind her and you still get some curls over the fronts of her shoulders. The stock tiara and headdress also has a simple, animated style to it, with a red jewel in the middle. I get a strong Filmation style vibe out of this one and I do dig it a lot. And you get a total of three headdress options here.

Each of the tiaras peg into holes where her temples are, as well as slotting in above her forehead. It’s very easy to swap them out, but it also means that you can’t display her without them because there are two gaping holes in the sides of her head. This second version is a bit more angular, and sports more detail, and also has a bit of that copper paint that can be seen on her boots. I’m really torn over which of the two I like best. Right now I’m leaning toward this one, as I think it suits Mondo’s take on the character perfectly, but the Filmation style ain’t bad either!

There is a third option, which is clearly inspired by the vintage toy, also includes a hair piece, creating some bangs that hang below the head band. This is an interesting look, and the bangs really transforms the portrait a lot. But despite being closest to the original design, it’s a bit far from the She-Ra that I’m most familiar with. As with the original toy’s headpiece, this mimics the tiara doubling as a mask with eyeholes if you turn it upside down, but that option really doesn’t work with this figure. I doubt I’ll display this one very much, but I’m sure there are some She-Ra purists out there who will favor this look.

She-Ra comes with a red cloth cape with some gold trim, and some very strong wires running through the edges to allow it to be posed in a variety of ways. It attaches to the figure with wire clips, which I think are meant to go on the gaps in the shoulder armor and the shoulder straps, but I couldn’t make this work, so I attached them on the shoulder straps themselves and that seems to do the trick. The clips make for a secure connection and the bright red cloth really pops next to the white and gold deco of the figure. All in all the cape completes She-Ra’s ensemble perfectly, and I’m hoping the red dye in the cape doesn’t transfer to the back of her white costume. At this point, I have to say that if I were basing my take on this figure strictly on aesthetics alone, all I would be doing is gushing, because this is such a gorgeous piece! Between sculpt, paint, and display options, there’s really not much to complain about. But, unfortunately, things are about to take a downturn…

The articulation here looks fine on paper, but it’s problematic in execution. The hips are ball jointed and seem to have a generous range, but the plastic skirt puts the kibosh on that. The knees are double hinged, but when I tried to flex them to their limit, I started getting stress marks on my figure’s lower right knee joint. I wasn’t even coming close to the extreme range, so I’m thinking maybe it was because the joint wasn’t aligned properly. I’m not sure if this is a flaw in my particular figure, or the design in general. The ankles are hinged ball joints, but don’t allow for any significant lateral movement, which means they can’t stay flat at wide stances, and that’s unacceptable for a figure at this scale and price point. The neck has a generous ball joint and there’s a ball joint in the waist, which will pop out if exercised too greatly. Not ideal, but I guess it’s better than breaking it. It took some force to get the two halves of She-Ra together again, but I was able to do it. The arms have rotating hinges in the shoulders and elbows, and hinged pegs for the wrists, which allow you to swap out hands, of which there are three sets: Fists, relaxed hands, and accessory holding hands. Unfortunately, a lot of the joints are very weak, particularly the elbows, knees, and ankles, and that leads to problems with posing. A lot of the posed pictures I took were snapped just seconds before She-Ra took a tumble because her ankle joints gave out. What a shame! Let’s move on to accessories…

Naturally, She-Ra comes with her Power Sword, and not just one but two! She comes with a traditional silver version, as well as a gold version with a golden scabbard. The silver version looks great and very faithful to the Filmation style. It features some gray paint apps on the grips and the center of the blade, a pale blue stone centered between the guards, and overall an even satin finish. I also appreciate that the sword is cast in some pretty stiff plastic, so there’s no worries about warping or bending. Her gripping hand holds on quite well and it looks as iconic as ever in her grasp.

She also comes with her golden shield, which is a remarkably well-made and substantial piece, but unfortunately a little too substantial. The shield is so thick and heavy that She-Ra’s elbow joint really isn’t up to the task to keep it raised and at the ready. The shield is attached to She-Ra’s arm by passing the forearm through the two plastic straps, but her left gripping hand is designed to hold the sword and not grip the wide strap. Mondo’s official photos show them using the fist, but that slips through the strap way too easily. As a result, I tend to find the relaxed hand is best, but that’s not really ideal either. This thing is constantly causing her elbow to droop and the shield just slides off onto the floor. I may eventually use some poster putty to get it to stay put, which is really something I shouldn’t have to do on a $250 figure. I really wish Mondo had equipped her with a wider grip left hand designed to work with the shield better. With all that having been said, the floral motif looks great and matches the decorations on her armor perfectly.

The gold sword has a beautifully sculpted scabbard, complete with sculpted brown wraps and a unicorn head at the tip. As far as I know this is an original Mondo design, and while I love the style, it’s really thick and comes across as being outlandishly large for She-Ra to carry. The scabbard is designed to clip onto her back strap and be worn under the cape and utilize a special hair piece with a hole in the hair sculpt for the hilt to pass through. Unfortunately, my figure came with two of the same hair pieces, rather than the normal one and the one that works with the sword. I contacted Mondo about the issue and they said they would send me out a replacement, but I have no yet received confirmation that it has shipped and it’s been over a week now, so I’m reasonably miffed about that. I was going to hold off on the review until it arrived, but then I thought better to just showcase the figure as it came, flaws and all and do an update when (or if) the replacement part arrives. So, for now, I can’t show her wearing the sword.

Out of the scabbard, the gold Power Sword looks nice. It’s not a drastically different design than her regular one, and I do like how it matches her armor and shield so perfectly. The way the blade narrows ever so slightly in the middle and then swells near the point gives it a distinctive look while not straying too far from the original design. Overall, it’s a very cool bonus item that adds value to the package and serves to make this version of She-Ra all the more unique. And while on the subject of swords, I really wish Mondo had included a right hand that was designed to hold the sword straight up above her head, so she could better do her iconic pose.

The final accessory is the Battle Axe Hairbrush, which is a direct homage to Mattel’s MOTU Classics release. I thought this was an absolutely brilliant way to incorporate the hairbrush that came with the original doll into an action figure accessory, and I’m glad to see that the idea is being kept alive. This is a slick design, with some stylish organic curves and a substantial axe blade. The hairbrush portion is now a spiked backstrap, which looks like it could do some vicious damage to any one of Hordak’s minions.

The final accessory, if you want to call it that, is the Kowl figure, which is absolutely fantastic! He’s big and colorful, and even has articulation at the shoulders. Sure, it’s just rotation, but that was a lot more than I was expecting. He stands really well on his own, and I can’t say enough things about how great this sculpt looks. It really captures all the charm of the character as he appeared in the Filmation cartoon, rather than the vintage action figure. There are a number of accessories in this box that I probably will never get any use out of, but Kowl will certainly get put beside She-Ra as a companion display piece.

Finally, She-Ra comes with a black figure stand, which looks like it’s positively guaranteed to ruin the figure. The post uses a wire loop to grab the figure around the waist and hold her up. So, yeah… tight black wire rubbing on the white plastic dress is a recipe for disaster. It’s not a huge loss, since the stand is pretty ugly. The base has a weird design that doesn’t make much sense unless you flip it over and see that it’s a rather ornate Mondo logo. Why the hell put all the detail on the bottom of the base where you’ll never see it? For the price of the figure I think we should have received a stand that looked a lot better, not to mention was designed to do no harm to the figure itself. But, since the ankle joints aren’t going to support She-Ra, I’ve substituted a generic Hot Toys style stand, which uses a crotch-cradle. I use these for my Phicen/TB League figures, and it works pretty well here.

I was going to do a comparison shot of Mondo She-Ra with Mattel’s 2016 SDCC Sixth-Scale She-Ra, but then I realized I hadn’t reviewed that figure yet, so maybe I’ll use this as an excuse to go back to it and then do comparison shots in that review. All in all, I can’t say I regret buying Mondo She-Ra. To be clear, she is an absolutely gorgeous figure and is going to look fantastic on display with my other MotU toys and collectibles. On the other hand, there’s a lot about this figure that disappoints me. From the questionable jointing to the missing hair piece, and a terrible figure stand, it feels like Mondo stumbled on the easy stuff. If the figure were under $200, I could be a lot more forgiving, but at $250 this kind of stuff is just not OK. And so She-Ra is both my first Mondo Sixth-Scale purchase and my last. In the meantime, if Mondo does wind up sending me the missing hair piece, I’ll do an addendum to this review and some more pictures.

Evil Dead 2: Ash Williams Sixth-Scale Figure by Asmus Toys

I grabbed a few deals during Sideshow’s Spooktacular Event this year. I don’t know that the deals were all that amazing, but clearly they were good enough to make me drop some coin. One of those purchases was Asmus Toys’ Ash from Evil Dead 2. I was really hoping this figure was going to arrive in time for me to review on Halloween, but obviously that didn’t happen. He showed up the day after, and while I tried to get a review in the can for Wednesday, I needed an extra day to finish it, so here we are on Thursday!

This is my first experience with a figure from Asmus, so I am both excited and a little apprehensive. They are probably best known for their Lord of the Rings Sixth-Scales, and while I don’t collect the LotR figures, I’ll admit I’m still considering picking up their upcoming Gandalf the Grey. Anyway, Ash’s box is pretty nice, with a lift off sleeve that reveals a window box. The cardboard is pretty flimsy, but that seems to be the case with a lot of higher end Sixth-Scale boxes these days. The figure I’m looking at today is the Standard Release, he was also available as a Luxury Edition, and I’ll talk a bit about that at the end.

Here’s Ash freed from his tray and ready to take on an army of Deadites! …And I dare say he’s looking pretty groovy! When I’m taking a look at Sixth-Scale figures made by some of the smaller companies, I often feel obligated to point out that they are not Hot Toys and that I should keep expectations in check. Some may say that’s unfair, but these days if I’m paying over $200 for a figure in this scale, such comparisons are going to be made! And so, I have a lot of praise for this figure, but I’ll also point out aspects where I think it falls a little short of what to me has become the industry standard. Or at least what the standard should be. OK, with that behind me, this is clearly ash from Evil Dead 2, donning his brown slacks, brown hiking boots, and a somewhat distressed blue button down shirt. He also has his shotgun rig, with the scabbard angled across his back and the catch for the chainsaw rip-cord in front of his right shoulder. The tailoring on the clothing is excellent, and the fit is pretty good. You get some very tidy stitching, and none of that puffiness you see with some companies (*cough* Big Chief *cough*) Indeed, my only gripe with the outfit is the pants seem to ride a bit high, and it’s not really possible to pull them down. At the same time, it’s nice to have a Sixth-Scale figure that I am really comfortable playing with, and not worrying about damaging the costume, as is often the case with Hot Toys releases. It also helps that the figure’s joints are easy to work with and are a far bit better than the loosy-goosy joints I’ve experienced with some Sideshow Sixth-Scale figures.

The head sculpt is a decent likeness with a dash of caricature thrown in. And in the case of Bruce Campbell, I think that formula works really well. I genuinely like this portrait a lot better than the one Sideshow did a little while back, but I’d still love to see Hot Toys take a crack. I think the likeness is perhaps weakest when viewed from dead on, but angle a little to the left and right and I can find the sweet spots. There’s some extremely good texturing showing the pores of his skin, which I did not expect, and the overall coloring is spot on as well. The scars aren’t terribly convincing, but then they really weren’t in the film either. I do, however, like the blood along his hairline and on his left ear. The prominent brow and epic chin are pure Campbell, and the sculpted hair is on point. I am very happy with how this turned out. Let’s look at accessories!

We might as well start with the Boom Stick! The sawed-off, double-barrel shotgun slides in and out of the scabbard with ease, and looks great with the stock peeking up behind his right shoulder. It’s a beautifully crafted little weapon, with a simulated wood stock and foregrip, and the finish on the breech and barrels are pretty convincing as blued steel. which breaks open at the breech for loading, although you don’t get any teeny-tiny bullets. Ash has a right trigger hand, but he also has a left trigger hand, which is great in case… oh, I don’t know… something should happen to his right hand. He also has a left hand to cradle the foregrip.

Next up, is the Kandarian Dagger, which is also an impressive piece. The sculpt is excellent and it’s cast in soft plastic, so you don’t have to worry about snapping any of those bones. It does seem kind of big, but I might be misremembering the size of it from the movie. The spine-like blade is very cool and the tiny skull mounted in the pommel is creepy as hell.

And what would an Ash figure be without the Necronomicon? The gruesome tome is bound in soft plastic rather than human skin, but it does open and has a hefty number of pages, all illustrated with the images from the book in the film. I really wish I could show you, but the binding is really tight, and I’m afraid if I try to open it too wide it might tear. You’ll just have to take my word for it! Ash comes with hands that are designed to hold the book.

And speaking of hands, it’s time for Ash to lose one of his. You can pop it off and attach a bandaged stump. He also comes with the demonic severed hand.

And last, but not least, is the chainsaw, which attaches to Ash’s right wrist. This is a beautifully detailed piece with a good bit of heft. The blade is made of diecast metal and looks suitably worn and weathered. You can even pull the ripcord and the blade will shake. That’s an unexpected gimmick, and I’d rather they left it out. It doesn’t add much to the accessory and it makes it difficult to attach the cord to the fixture on his harness, because it’s always pulling itself back into the chainsaw. With that being said, the chainsaw makes a sturdy connection to the wrist with no worries of it falling out or oven weighing down his arm.

Ash does come with a very cool figure stand. It’s got a hexagonal base with his name on the front along with the title of the flick. The top panel of the base resembles blood stained floorboards, and even the post has a bit of an ornate design to it, which is a really nice touch! The figure is secured with the usual crotch cradle and Ash looks damn good displayed on the stand!

At about $40 off and free shipping, Ash was an impulse buy. I have been totally happy having NECA’s excellent work represent this beloved character in my collection, but this was a deal that made me bite, and I’m very glad I did. The figure is regularly priced at around $235, which is approaching Hot Toys pricing. And while this release certainly falls short of Hot Toys high standards in a few areas, the accessories are top notch and I think this is an all around excellent figure. I should note that there is a Luxury Edition out there, which absolutely has to be seen to believed. It includes enough stuff to display ash from the beginning of the movie and the end. It also comes with a crazy detailed base with all sorts of wonderful display options. It was priced at $350 and I might have been tempted once I saw all that stuff, but it seems to have sold out at all my usual retailers. But that’s OK. The point here was to get a cool Sixth-Scale Ash at a good deal, and that’s what he is!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doctor Who: The War Doctor Sixth-Scale Figure by Big Chief Studios

The 13th Doctor Era has been no better than The Wilderness Years for me, but I’m watching with hope and heavy heart to see what happens with Russell T. Davies’ return. In the meantime, I watched a lot of Doctor Who over the Holidays and I’m hankering to do some Doctor Who toy reviews. There’s a lot of Character Options stuff piling up around here, but wait… what’s this? A Big Chief figure I haven’t reviewed yet? Well, let’s do it!

The War Doctor! As cool as it would have been to see The Ninth Doctor on screen with his successors for the 50th Anniversary Special, The BBC made the best of Eccleston opting out by giving us a prevoiusly unknown incarnation played by the legendary John Hurt. And boy did he kill it! I absolutely adore every damn frame of Day of the Doctor. I was lucky enough to go see it with some friends at the theater the first time, and I can’t even count how many times I’ve watched it since. It’s a masterpiece and John Hurt as The War Doctor just elevates it even higher!

Big Chief always does a nice job on the packaging. It’s a window box with a front flap and two trays that slide out from the top or bottom. The top tray contains the figure and accessories, and the bottom has the stand and a few more accessories. You get some shots of Hurt as The War Doctor on the sides and a picture of the figure and some copy on the back. And I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to see Doctor Who merch without the ugly new logo stamped on it.

The War Doctor comes out of the package wearing the outfit that he began piecing together on the planet Karn just before regenerating, and it’s amazing how iconic it is despite only being shown in the one story. It’s a little bit cowboy and a little bit Indiana Jones, and the state of it makes it clear he’s been knocking around The Time War for a long time. The weathered black jacket is expertly tailored with neat stitching and even has an interior lining and interior pockets! Under that he has a felt vest with double buttons down the front, plus a chain for his fob watch disappearing into the vest pockets. He’s got a pair of old brown trousers, a web-gear type belt, spats that run up to his knees, and are buttoned down the sides, and finally a scarf wrapped snuggly around his neck and the bandolier strap he took off of Cass in Night of the Doctor. Overall, I think Big Chief has come a long way in their tailored outfits, and this one shows it. The costume fits the figure very well (yup, the fit of the sleeves is intentional!) and looks great!

Portraits have been hit and miss for Big Chief, which explains why I am selective about which of their Doctors that I buy. Did I want to pass on The 4th Doctor and the 10th Doctor? Of course not, but I just wasn’t happy enough with the likenesses to bring the big bucks. They started out strong with the Matt Smith likeness, hit some bumps along the way, but bounced back strong with their Peter Capaldi and Jon Pertwee sculpts. This one definitely fits into the win category. They did a fine job capturing all the character lines in John Hurts face and the bags under his eyes. The facial hair looks good, as does his duck-tail coif, although both are a few notches below being totally realistic. The only place this portrait really stumbles is in the paint. The skin lacks that uncanny skin tone finish that the wizards at Hot Toys and Sideshow have perfected. The skin here is a tad too waxy under studio lights, but looks fine under normal conditions. Still, all in all, I think this one ranks up there among their best likenesses.

As usual, Big Chief’s bodies offer all the articulation I could ask for in a sixth-scale figure, and none of their costumes do much to inhibit that articulation. As a result, these tend to be a lot more fun to play around with than your average Hot Toys figure, which tend to have restrictive costumes. However, one thing that Big Chief still needs to work on is the strength of the joints. The War Doctor can stand on his own just fine and hold most poses with no issues, but the joints still feel a tad too loose for my liking. Let’s move on to accessories!

Naturally, The War Doctor comes with his Sonic Screwdriver, as well as left and right hands designed to hold it. It’s not one of the more interesting designs for the trusty tool, but Big Chief has captured it quite well. It fits snuggly in any one of the loops on his bandolier strap.

Next, you get The Moment, which features an absolutely stunning sculpt with some cool complexity in the layers of gears on some sides. I’m on the fence over whether it’s undersized or not. It looks about right when he’s carrying it, but when it’s on the ground, it looks a bit small. At one point in the episode Billie Piper was sitting on it, and this seems too small for that. I would have liked it if they included the burlap sack that he carried it in, as that was a pretty iconic piece of promo art for the story. A missed opportunity for an Exclusive here would have been with The Moment deploying the very rose-like big red button.

The final accessory is the Gallifreyan Staser Rifle that The War Doctor used to blast “NO MORE” into the wall. I happen to have a soft spot for pretty much all Gallifreyan tech, but I think I love the staser designs the most. I remember as a kid trying to get my hands on a piece of acrylic so that I could make the staser pistol that appeared in The Arc of Infinity, but that never happened. The Gallifreyan weapon designs in NuWho are pretty convincing as a logical progression from what we’ve seen in the past. I especially love the design on this rifle, and Big Chief did an excellent job creating this sixth-scale version. The Doctor comes with a set of special hands so that he can hold both grips.

And our final stop is the figure stand. Big Chief has been using this hexagonal mirror base with some lights in it for many of their Doctors, and I don’t really care for them. They aren’t personalized, the post doesn’t always fit the base all that well, the lighting effect is underwhelming, and the base is a tad too small. It also adds a bit too much height to the figure, which has created problems with fitting the figures in my shelving. I give them credit for trying something that does indeed feel premium, but I always wind up displaying these figures on generic stands.

The War Doctor sold out pretty quickly at all my usual online haunts, but I was lucky to grab him upon release. I recall paying around $250, and that’s the average price for a Hot Toys figure these days, so I’m tempted to say it’s about $50-25 too high for what Big Chief is offering. I’m tempted to say that, but I won’t. The truth is that Big Chief is a small company by comparison and these figures are issued in very limited quantities, with The War Doctor at only 1,000 pieces. Factor in the cost of paying for the license and likeness rights and it’s easy to see where the money goes. A few more accessories would have helped buoy the sense of value here, but in the end I love the figure, so I’m not complaining! And that catches me up on all my Big Chief Doctor Who reviews, although The Master is lurking around the corner and I can’t wait to get him!