One Piece: “Grandista” Grandline Lady Nami by Banpresto

Once upon a time there was a thing around these parts called Anime Saturday, wherein I would devote the day to opening new prize figures, scaled figures, Figmas or any sort of anime figures I happened to acquire. Well, I’ve kind of taken a few steps back from collecting these sorts of things these days, mostly because of limited space. But that’s not to say a few pre-orders haven’t slipped through this embargo. And maybe I do have a short stack of these figures in the corner of the closet left to be opened. Whatever the case, I had a little time this morning and I figured, what the hell… let’s do an Anime Saturday (on a Wednesday!) for old time’s sake. Besides, it feels like forever since I gave Nami some loving!

As you may know, I adore One Piece and I love Banpresto’s One Piece prize figures. They’re cheap, they’re beautiful, and they scratch that nasty itch for One Piece merch. Today I’m checking out Nami from Banpresto’s Grandista line. And since Nami is a lady that needs no introduction around here, let’s jump straight to the packaging. She comes in a colorful box with photos of the figure all around and both Eastern and Western lingo printed on the box. And don’t forget that hologram sticker proving that this is not some shoddy bootleg. Inside, she’s wrapped in plastic and comes in two halves, so you’ve got some simple assembly ahead of you. A lot of the the Nami figures I’ve looked at recently have featured some kind of new spin on the character, so it’s kind of refreshing that this figure takes us back to basics.

With Nami’s two halves plugged together, there are two things that immediately struck me as interesting about this figure. First, she’s really big. Most of the Banpresto prize figures I get are around 7 to 9-inch scale, whereas Nami here tops out at about 11-inches. Second, there’s no base and, quite miraculously, she doesn’t need one, as she stands just fine on her own, even in those high heels. Other than those two points, this figure holds few surprises. It features Nami wearing her trademark blue jeans, blue and white bikini top, and high-heeled orange sandals. This is traditional Nami through-and-through with her weight tossed to her left hip and her left hand resting on her fine backside.

The paint and sculpt here are both excellent. The jeans are wrinkled in all the right spots and have those double rings cut out of the hips. The stitching around the pockets and belt loops is all sculpted in place and they are fastened with a simple silver snap right under her belly button. The blue of the jeans contrasts nicely with the orange of her hair and shoes, and her skin is a warm and smooth without too much of a waxy finish, as we sometimes get in these cheaper figures. I think my only nitpick would be they went a little heavy with the shading around her lower midriff.

And all the necessary Nami-detail points are hit along the way. Her tattoo is neatly printed on her left shoulder, and she has both her Log Pose and a loose bangle around her left wrist. But that’s not surprising. Banpresto has been doing Nami for a while now, so they know her backwards and forwards.

The portrait is also as classic as you can get. She has a broad smile, with just a hint of mischief and her large eyes are perfectly printed. The hair sculpt flows down her back with the rest of it framing her face and partially covering her forehead.

Yup, today was a quickie, but there’s not much more to say about this lovely lady. If you’re up for a very traditional Nami figure, than it’s hard to beat this new one from Banpresto. At about eleven inches, she really stands out among her peers. The sculpt and coloring are both fab, and the quality of plastic is top notch. I think she’s also a perfect pick up if you just want that one excellent representation of the character on your shelf. Sure, there are plenty of scaled figures that outshine this offering, but when you’re talking around $200 versus the $25 this one cost, I think the value can’t be beat. And I gotta say it felt good to open one of these again! I’ll try not to wait as long before I do it again.

Cover Girls of the DC Universe (Series 3): Catwoman by DC Collectibles

Well, this feels good. Not only did I make it back for three reviews in one week, it’s the second week in a row that I achieved this time management miracle! Plus, I’m tossing out a little homage to the old DC Friday content I used to churn out on a regular basis. It’s been a ball buster of a week and I felt like a little statue therapy today, so I’ve decided to open up another one of the Cover Girls of the DC Universe! And it’s Catwoman! Meow!

This release is from the most recent and third series of cold-cast porcelain Cover Girl statues, based on the art of Joelle Jones. I was away from these gals for a while, but a few months back I picked up the Mera statue and now I’m back with Selina Kyle. Although I still maintain that these two acquisitions were anomalies and I’m I’m not back to seriously collecting this line. I just don’t have the space for them. Anywho, Catwoman comes in a fully enclosed box with plenty of shots of the statue. And while she conforms to the same (roughly 9-inch scale) of the other ladies, the box here is a lot more compact because of the nature of the pose. Inside, she comes sandwiched between two styrofoam trays and the only assembly required is pegging the figure into the base via tow metal posts.

Straight away I’ll say that I love the composition for this piece. The vast majority of the Cover Girls have been fairly conservative, and very vertical, museum style poses. There’s nothing wrong with that. I love it. They all look great when displayed together. But if it weren’t for this release trying something different, I probably wouldn’t have taken notice and ultimately purchased her. Here, Selina sits atop a safe in a very cat-like pose, her hands resting in front of her and one leg drawn up on top of the safe. Overall, the pose is very reminiscent to me of the one Diamond recently did for their Marvel Gallery Black Cat. I don’t know which one came first, but this one instantly reminded me of her Marvel counterpart.

I love the simple look they went for with her costume. The skin tight catsuit features only some sculpted wrinkles and stitch lines in the way of details. Well, that and the silver ring zipper, which is surprisingly zipped all the way up to her chin. Yup, you’ll have to look elsewhere for your kitty cleavage fix. Her knee-high boots are each sculpted with three buckling straps and chunky high heeled wedges. Finally, her whip is sculpted coiled around her waist and snaking down the back of the safe like a kitty cat tail. The paintwork on the costume is also quite lovely with a mix of black and purple to depict the light reflecting off of it. Additionally, the zipper and boot buckles are all sharply painted with a crisp silver.

The portrait is just full of character. Selina stares ahead with her perfect green eyes and a cocky smirk on her lips. Her face is framed by the sculpted snug hood and her goggles are worn up on her forehead. The goggle rims and strap are painted silver to match the zipper on the costume and the lenses in the goggles are tinted red plastic. The headgear is topped off by two perfect little cat ears. I’ve got zero things to nitpick with the portrait. I was really sold on it based off the solicitation photos and I think this is one of those somewhat uncommon examples where the production piece came out just as good.

The safe is an extremely simple piece. It’s got a black matte metal finish to it and a raised door on the front. The door features two sculpted hinges, rivets running around the edges, a handle, and a giant combination dial the front. Diamond went a step further with their Black Cat piece, by having the safe door open, but I think this works just fine. The safe is detailed enough to look good, but it doesn’t upstage the figure itself. One of the odd things about this piece is that the base is sculpted with Joelle Jone’s signature. I don’t think any of the Cover Girls statues has done this in the past, and it further makes this statue feel like a stand-alone release to me.

DC Collectibles is still limiting these pieces, this time to 5,000 each. They are hand-numbered on the bottom of the base. I purchased mine quite a while after it was released, but still got a fairly low number, #468.

Catwoman tends to be something of a focus in my collection, so this may have been an inevitable purchase. Truth be told, I like the Cover Girls series a lot, but I truly have no place left to display these gals and I’m not keen on getting to the point where I’m cycling statues in and out of display because I have too many. Yeah, I already do that with my Gallery Statues from Diamond, but those are just so damn good for the money, sometimes I can’t resist them. Nonetheless, I think it was the distinctive composition mixed with the alluring portrait that made me bite on this one. I believe the MSRP on these pieces are up around $125, but they tend to list closer to the $100 mark. I think I paid $75 for this one as part of a holiday sale. Yup, she really has been waiting around to be opened for a while. But I will say that she was money well spent.

Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood Bishoujo Statue by Zenescope

How about that comic industry, eh folks? Woof! With the Covid Virus closing comic shops, Diamond shutting down distribution indefinitely, and a lot of Marvel’s creators at war with their own customers on social media (well that last bit is nothing new), I’m not sure how this is going to come out. But that’s why I’m glad to have companies like Zenescope. Sure I used to buy their stuff at my (not so) Local Comic Shop, but these days I get most of it online and direct from the company. Same thing with Alterna, and I’d love to see other publishers work up similar online stores. At least it seems to me to be the way the industry is going. The only downside of smaller comic companies like Zenescope is the lack of merchandise. I like to be able to buy action figures and statues of my funny book stars and there hasn’t been a whole lot of that for Zenescope. Still, there was a temporary partnership with Phicen to make some Sixth-Scale figures, and now we’re getting the second in a series of Kickstarted Bishoujo-style statues. The first one was Sela Mathers, this time it’s Robyn Locksley! Next to her pal Liesel Van Helsing, Robyn has been my favorite character in Zenescope’s stable. She’s had some great limited series and even had an ongoing book for a while. From the golden early days of Pat Shand to the newer stuff by Chuck Dixon and Ben Meares her funny books seldom disappoint, and I was thrilled to see she was the subject of this new Bishoujo.

The box is similar to the Sela statue and obviously inspired by Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line. The big difference is that there’s only one window here, on the front panel, so not as much light gets in to show off the goods. But chances are you aren’t eyeing this up in a store. And on the other hand, less windows made room for more character art, which we get on the front and side panels. The Grimm Universe logo is on the top panel, and the back panel gives us a blurb about Robyn as well as a teaser that Liesel is coming up next. Everything is collector friendly and there’s no assembly required. The statue is roughly 1/7th scale, which puts her right in line with Koto’s ladies and it’s cast in a similar sort of PVC plastic.

Out of the box, Robyn is looking mighty snappy and the pose really captures the character beautifully. Robyn is depicted in mid stride with her trusty compound bow drawn, as she targets an unseen adversary, probably one of The Cabal’s goons. The composition strikes a perfect balance between action and a measured pose and it offers a few choice angles for display.

The attention to detail in her costume is well executed and nearly all the details are part of the sculpt, including the reinforced bands on her high boots, the lines separating the leather and camouflage of her pants and top, and even the finger-less gloves. Even the cross strap that secures her quiver is sculpted separately from the figure. The quiver is a simple box with several arrows peeking out the top. I’ve always loved the design of Robyn’s bow and it’s recreated quite nicely here with all the sexy curves and complex network of pulleys and cables. If I had one nitpick, I wish they had used actual string for the bow because the plastic cables look rather chunky, especially in relation to the arrow shaft. Still, I could see why they wouldn’t want to go that way and if nothing else, making them plastic will certainly mean more durability.

The portrait is pretty faithful to the Bishoujo aesthetic with maybe a little bit of cupie doll thrown in. Robyn sports one green eye and her trademark scar is shown transecting her pupil-less left eye. It would have been cool if they did some kind of foil or gold leaf paint for her mystic eye, even if it was offered as a more limited exclusive. Oooh, they should have done that on the B&W one. That would have looked pretty rad. Either way, I think they did a great job on her facial details and I really dig the way her hair sculpt came out. Sela had some minor issues with mold flashing on the hair, but I’m not seeing any of that here. Of course her hair is capped off with her hood drawn up over her head, but not pulled so far forward that it obscures her face.

The paint and coloring here certainly gets the job done. I dig the use of metallic paint for the blue leather parts of her costume and the emerald green finish on the bow and quiver is quite striking. The camo portions of her outfit are painted neatly, although I would have preferred these had a matte finish. Add in the bright yellow coloring of the hair and ruby red lips, and you’ve got a deco that pops quite nicely. The skin tone isn’t as warm and soft as I’m used to seeing in Koto’s pieces, but it’s serviceable. I’ll also note that the applications are all crisp, with really no slop or uneven lines worth noting.

As with the Sela statue, the base here is just a black disk and I’m fine with that. It’s serviceable, but there’s nothing really else to say about it.

There were a whole slew of Add Ons and Stretch Goals that came as part of the Kickstarter. The project hit $92,000 so that means a lot of extra freebies were unlocked and I added some extra money to my pledge to get some other goodies. First off are these two beautiful art prints by two personal favorites of mine: Paul Green and Jamie Tyndall. I can never get enough of these two artists, and I’ll confess to having a ridiculous number of Tyndall’s framed art scattered through my home, a lot of which is signed.

Next up, there were three Exclusive comic covers of Robyn Hood: Outlaw #6 in my box. The first is by Jason Cardy and it’s the art on which the statue is based. The second is a gorgeous piece of work by another one of my favs, Mike Krome, which was limited to 200 copies. Finally, the third is the line drawing of the same piece of art with an added background. I believe one of these was an Add On and the other two were Stretch Goals.

There were also two stickers in the box, based on the Jason Cardy and Mike Krome art from the previously mentioned comic covers. These were each Stretch Goal bonuses.

And finally, I got four metal cards. I adore these things, but I don’t buy a lot of them individually. I do, however accumulate them as bonuses or incentives. These are all beautiful, but I have to call particular attention to the one based off of Billy Tucci’s cover of Robyn Hood #1. I also have a CGC graded copy of that comic hanging on my wall.

The Kickstarter was originally scheduled to deliver in September of last year, so yeah… things ran about eight months late, as my box just arrived last week. But after backing my share of Kickstarters, I’ve come to expect that. And it’s easy to overlook delays when such a wonderful box of joy ultimately arrives on my doorstep. I’ll say the same thing I said when I reviewed the Sela statue… these are not in the same league as Koto’s statues, but there’s no shame in that. Koto’s work is top-tier and they’ve been doing it forever. And with that said, I’m quite pleased with the way Robyn came out. I got mine with Early Bird pricing for $70 and that’s more than fair. And I’m obviously not alone in that assessment, because this project was funded in under four hours. It makes me happy to know that with successes like that, the line will continue, and I anxiously await the campaign for Liesel Van Helsing!

Marvel Comics: Domino (Exclusive) Premium Format by Sideshow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cover Girls of the DC Universe (Series 3): Mera by DC Collectibles

What’s this? An actual DC Friday? Yup! It’s hard to believe I used to have enough material (and time) to do these every week, but if sure feels good to come back to it every now and then for old time’s sake. If you’ve been with me for a while than you may know I was an avid collector of the second series of DC Collectibles’ Cover Girls cold-cast porcelain statues. But when the series rebooted again I decided that in the interest of diminishing display space that I would call it quits. For someone with very little willpower when it comes to buying collectibles, I have remained surprisingly true to that decision. That’s not to say that I haven’t been admiring them from afar. And ultimately, it was a price that I couldn’t refuse on Mera that made me finally dip my toe into this third series. It’s been about two years since I last visited with this line, so I’m more than ready!

The previous line was based on the art of Stanley Artgerm Lau, whereas this time around it’s Joelle Jones’ turn and I dig both artists’ work a lot. The packaging on this line hasn’t changed much since my absence, although this time around they are scaled bigger and the size of the box obviously reflects that. The statue still comes in a fully enclosed box and sandwiched between two Styrofoam trays to keep it safe. I’ve heard one or two horror stories about breakage with this new series, but I was happy to see that mine survived. The only assembly required is pegging Mera’s single foot post into the base. Let’s do that and check her out!

Standing tall and proud, Mera strides across the waves with confident poise and her head held high. It’s an appropriately regal look for the Queen of the Depths. And regal is also the word I would choose to describe her attire. She sports the very familiar form-fitting scaled bodysuit with some stylish gold piping on her arms, torso and boots. I also dig the stylized “M” strategically placed where her belt buckle would be. The bulk of the scales are painted over in a stunning emerald green, as are the boots. The center of her chest and her arms are painted gold, making for a very striking two-tone deco. Every detail on this costume is part of the sculpt and the precision and quality of the paint applications are both excellent.

Moving on to the portrait, and oh boy do I get a major Filmation (as in He-Man/She-Ra) vibe off of this. I’m not sure if it’s from the eyes, but I saw it right away and can’t unsee it. It’s not a bad thing, mind you, just that I find the styles highly similar. Mera’s face is framed by a gold tiara, behind which flows her voluminous red hair. The sculptor really went over the top on her hair and it looks great. The painted facial features match the impecable quality of the rest of the piece. Her eyes are straight and even and the eyebrows and lips are crisp and sharp. No complaints here.

And that brings us to the base. As with the previous Cover Girls Mera, they went with a translucent plastic to simulate water and the effect works beautifully. The splashing water erupts from beneath her feet and curls up at the ends, all set upon a disc-shaped platform. Flip the base over and the bottom is branded with DC Collectibles and shows that the piece is hand-numbered. Mine is 324 of 5000 pieces produced. The previous series produced 5200 of each, so it looks like they shaved a whole 200 off each run.

The previous Cover Girls Mera was one of my favorite statues in that series, so it comes as high praise when I say I like this one almost as much. There are actually some things this one does better, like that superb water effect, and in truth this one has a far more intricate sculpt. Plus the green paint used for her suit looks a bit more premium here. With that having been said, I do really like the way the Artgerm version is balanced, as if defying gravity, and the portrait is less stylized and still absolutely drop dead gorgeous. Did I really need two Meras on my Cover Girl shelf? Nah, but I picked this one up over the holidays for around $40, which was a deal I could not refuse and I’m glad that was the case because she is a very beautiful piece. Does it mean I’m going to dip into any more of this third series? Eh, maybe. I sure have been eyeing that Catwoman, so if you’re interested in that one you may want to keep watching this space.

Marvel Gallery: Goblin Queen by Diamond Select

It’s Christmas week and that’s always a busy week for me, but I’m still going to try to get in three reviews this week, including one for Christmas morning. Since there are only two more Marvel Mondays this year, I decided to get one more non-Marvel Legends review in before we say goodbye to 2019, so let’s open up another one of Diamond Select’s wonderful Marvel Gallery statues. This time we’re checking out Madelyne Pryor… The Goblin Queen!

If you’re still unfamiliar with DST’s Marvel Gallery statues, please have a look through some of my past reviews, because these roughly 9-inch scale PVC figures are perfect for statue collectors on a budget. As always, they come in display boxes with windows on the top, front, and side panels to let in plenty of light and show off the goods inside. Everything is collector friendly and the statue comes fully assembled and ready to go!

And it’s no wonder why all those Goblins follow her around, because Maddie is smoking hawt! The composition features her standing atop an arcane-looking stony ground with plumes of semi-transparent smoke and a lone Goblin prostrate at her feet and huddled over some skulls. It’s definitely more of what I would call a museum pose, but the placement of her legs and the blowing of her cape do offer a whiff of possible action.

I’ll confess that I don’t recognize this precise costume from any books that I’ve read, but I’m going to assume it’s somewhat contemporary. And that’s fine because Maddie’s costumes tend to have a running theme and this one isn’t all that different from what we’ve seen in the past. She dons a pair of skin-tight leggings and a top that could only be considered modest if you find bare arms provocative. As is often the case, she’s showing off her mid-riff and more than a modicum of cleavage. Almost every facet of the costume is part of the sculpt, including the coiled wire around her arms, the fasteners for her cape.

I tend to think of Maddie wearing black, but here she has a very deep and beautiful metallic purple sheen to her outfit, with only the tattered cape being black. The coils on her arms are painted gold, as is the fastener for her cape. The lighter purple pattern running down her right leg appears to be a decal, which is the first time I remember seeing that used on one of these statues. It looks great, and hopefully it will be durable enough to last without chipping. The paint applications here are overall good. If I want to really nitpick, I could see a few minor areas for improvement in the lines between her skin and costume, but I’m talking very minor. To be fair I’ve seen far more expensive statues than this one with worse.

The portrait is quite lovely, with her pretty face shadowed by her luxurious coif of flowing red hair. You do have to get in and under her to really appreciate the work they did here, but I love the way the hair partially obscures it. The paint used for her lips and green eyes is sharp.

If there’s one area where these Gallery Statues sometimes come up short it’s the base designs, although that’s not the case here. The semi-transparent plumes of smoke make for a cool effect and the extra sculpt and paint that went into the goblin really takes this base above and beyond what we usually get. He’s got a ton of personality to him, and it’s clear that they poured just as much love into him as the rest of the piece. The skulls are a nice touch too!

DST has been killing it with the Marvel Gallery lately. Not only are the sculpts and paint on point, but I’m really digging the diverse character selection. I can’t think of all that much merch devoted to Maddie Pryor, and that makes this all the more of a welcome treat. It also makes for a nice consolation prize, because I was once considering picking up the Bowen version of The Gobln Queen, but by the time I decided to pull the trigger the prices had gone too rich for my blood. Meanwhile, this lovely little piece only set me back about $35 and you simply can’t beat that. The craftsmanship here is definitely on par with more expensive pieces I’ve seen. And that’s why despite the fact that I’ve run out of room to display these a long time ago, I’m still buying them, because I just can’t say no.

Women of Dynamite: Vampirella Limited Edition Statue by Dynamite

I know, I haven’t been back since Marvel Monday. My apologies for the lack of content this week, but that pesky thing called life took its toll on me and my time, along with plans to write about and photograph toys, crumbled. I did, however, have a little time today to check in with something, and since October is in full swing, why not check out a spooky statue. And by spooky I mean erotic. And by erotic I mean, it’s Vampirella! This was the first release in the Women of Dynamite series of statues, and one that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I mean, it’s Vampirella based on J. Scott Campbell’s artwork. How badly do you think you need to twist my arm? Alas, the paint quality on these statues have a reputation for being infamously bad, so I’ve stayed away. But when Dynamite subsequently re-released Vampirella and said, “We painted her good this time, honest!” that was enough for me to give her a try. Well, that and a deep discount, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

The Temptress from Drakulon comes in a fully enclosed box with a lot of artwork and shots of the statue. I really dig the presentation here, as it sort of reminds me of the old Aurora model kit boxes, and that sure ain’t a bad thing. Oddly enough, one of the panels is orientated in landscape format, but it does this to facilitate showing the statue from all angles. The packaging calls out that it’s based on the art of J. Scott Campbell and that it’s sculpted by Jason Smith. One panel actually states that the statue was “meticulously painted” which probably went over big if you got one of the original run. Inside the box, Vampirella comes sandwiched inside a styrofoam brick and there’s a certificate taped on one end with the hand-numbered limitation. In my case, I got #970 of 1969. You may also note the II beside the number, denoting that this is from the second production run. Vampirella is approximately 12-inches of cold-cast porcelain and comes fully assembled for display.

When it comes to composition, Vampirella can’t get more iconic than this pose. She stands with one knee drawn slightly in front of the other and with her cape clutched in each of her hands, trailing behind her. This piece may not win any points for originality, but it’s sure to be a favorite with the fans, and yes that includes me. And since the first thing I did when I opened her was scrutinize the paint, let’s just go ahead and start there. Overall, the precision of the application is actually pretty solid. There are certainly some uneven lines between her skimpy suit and skin, but nothing outrageous, and certainly nothing that stands out if I’m just admiring her on the shelf. Other areas, like the lines around the tops of her boots or the edges of her jewelry are notably better. As for the quality of the paint itself, I dig the high gloss on her boots, the gold leaf is fine, and the red used for her outfit is OK, if maybe a little flat. The skin tone is appropriately on the pale side, but it’s still an even tone with no scratches or rubbing, which is sometimes prevalent on these pieces. All in all, the paintwork here isn’t going to win any prizes for best of show, but based on some of the atrocities I’ve seen from the first run of this statue, I think Dynamite succeeded in stepping things up.

As for the sculpt, I think they did a beautiful job on her figure and it certainly fits Mr. Campbell’s rather distinctive art style. She’s got curves in all the right places, legs that go on forever, a tushie that won’t quit, and a bosom that is barely contained by her wardrobe. But let’s be honest, it isn’t even really trying. She isn’t showing a whole lot in the way of musculature, but you do get some wrinkles on her suit, and the folds of her cape certainly look natural. But when it comes to replicating the great J. Scott Campbell, the body is not usually the problem, it’s the portrait…

And here’s where Vampirella takes a bit of a hit. Now, to be clear, I don’t think this is a bad portrait at all. Maybe the hair is a little chunky and the eyes can seem a little bulbous from certain angles, but overall, I think it looks good. The paint application here is also especially precise on the lips and eyes. But does it invoke Campbell’s work? Not to me. Maybe there’s a hint of it in there, but not enough to really sell it. As a result, the Vampirella fan in me is quite pleased, while the J. Scott Campbell fan in me is rather disappointed. It’s nowhere near what we’ve seen out of Sideshow’s Abbey Chase or Fairy Tail Statues this past year, and sure those are more expensive pieces, but I’d even point to McFarlane’s Danger Girl figures from many years back as more accurate representations of Campbell’s work. Let’s move on down to the base…

I love this base both in design and execution. The circular dais of stone with sculpted crossbones and skulls supports a mound of dirt with skulls and various other human remains. The paintwork on the bones is excellent and reeks of age and off-colored decay. Her high-heeled boots are perfectly placed on them, triumphant and impossibly sure-footed. If only I could end things there, but here’s where the Quality Control on my statue took a huge and unexpected hit. Check this shit out…

Yeah, this crud is all over the side. At first, I thought it was some kind of intentionally disgusting weathering, but nope, it’s unintentionally disgusting goo. It looks like some kind of grease. It has no real odor. And luckily, based on a small area I tried to clean, it looks like it will come off with a little effort. But… Why? How? What kind of QC allows something like this to go out? How do they miss this and how many statues went out like this? It’s a shame that Dynamite went through all the effort to re-release this statue with improved paint quality only to allow something this obvious and easily avoided to get through. If you flip the statue over, there’s a full plate disclosing the artist, sculptor and the numbering of the piece. And as you can see, more of the goo carried on down here. This bit might be tougher to clean without smudging the numbering, but I’ll likely give it a try. But what a shame!

Even when the second run of this piece came out, my hesitancy kept me from pulling the trigger. It took a clearance sale at an online retailer and a price of $50, which is around a third of the original selling price. And as it turns out, I’m pretty satisfied with this purchase. I don’t think that would have been the case had I picked it up at the original price, especially not when I have to clean goop off of the base, but all in all, not a bad deal. It’s not as evocative of J. Scott Campbell’s art as I would have liked, but it is a nice representation of Vampirella for my statue shelves. But does it give me the confidence to invest in one of the other Women of Dynamite statues I’ve been looking at? Mmm… not quite. At least not unless another sale comes along.

Marvel Gallery: Angela by Diamond Select

It was kind of a hectic weekend for me, so rather than my usual Monday Marvel Legends fare, I decided to go laid back and have a look at another one of Diamond Select’s Marvel Gallery statues. I have a few choices of statues to open, but since Angela doesn’t get a whole lot of merch love since joining the Marvel Universe, let’s go ahead and open her up. But first… the packaging!

As always, the statue comes in a collector friendly box with windows front, top, and on both side panels. And because the figure inside is enclosed in two clear plastic trays, the package itself works as a kind of display case, allowing you to see most of the ins and outs of what you’re getting. With so many statues these days coming in fully enclosed boxes, I like that DST is proud enough to show their pieces off. On the back panel you get a shot of the statue and a little blurb about Angela and how she fits into the Marvel Universe. If you’re new to this line, Angela is presented around the 9-inch scale and crafted from a durable PVC plastic.

Hey Aldrif… did it hurt when you fell from Heven? Angela comes out of the box all ready for display, and looking both fierce and fine. The warrioress stands upon a plot of alien-looking (Asgardian?) landscape with one leg drawn up and her foot resting on a blue crystal outcrop. She turns to her right and begins to draw her mighty blade, Xiphos, from its scabbard. It’s a beautiful pose with a tantalizing hint of the action that’s to come. This composition exudes nobility, power, and it’s got sex appeal in spades. Generally speaking, I’m happy with most of DST’s poses in this line, but this one really shines.

Every bit of Angela’s Heven Armor comes alive in the sculpt. From the segmented cuts of her thigh-high high-heeled gold boots, to her golden chest armor, and once again the segmented cuts of her armored sleeves, each of which terminate just below the scalloped pauldrons on her shoulders. She has a pair of sculpted bands encircling her left thigh and a pair of sculpted panties covered up by her wide belt and white sash. Both of these last articles are sculpted separately from the statue, which is somewhat unusual for this line, but I dig it. The belt rests on her hips, allowing the sash to trail down behind her left leg. The paintwork on the costume is beautifully executed, with a satin gold leaf and silver used for the armor pieces, and a warm and even shade used for the skin-tone. She even shows off a bit of metallic red for the bracer on her left wrist. I especially like the finish on the belt, which makes it look like worn leather with a weathered patina on the buckle and rivets.

 

Another piece of the costume that is sculpted separately from the statue is her psychically charged Ribbon. Yeah, I guess you could also just call it a scarf. This long, thin purple strip wraps around her neck and the two strands sweep down off of her shoulders. It’s cast in a fairly soft plastic, but holds it’s shape well enough. The red and gold ornamentation is sculpted down a channel in the center for the entire length of the piece.

As far as portraits go, this one is a total homerun. She’s strikingly beautiful with bright crimson paint used for her lips and eye makeup. Her pupil-less eyes are framed by the copious strands of red hair, which spill out from the top of her winged headband and down the sides of her face, while the rest spills out down her back and onto her shoulders. I could easily see this portrait rivaling that of a much more expensive statue. It really did turn out that well.

The last big attraction on the statue is Angel’s blade, Xiphos, The Sword of the Stars. It has an ornate gold cross-guard with a blue stone in the center, a simple scull-crushing pommel, and sculpted wrappings on the grip. Only a small section of the silver blade can be seen between the pommel and the throat of the wide scabbard.

The base is both interesting and understated, and that’s meant as a compliment. It provides just enough context without upstaging the figure itself. You get a little patch of rocks, painted brown with a black wash to give them some nice texture. Jutting out from each side of the cluster are blue crystalline structures, one of which provides the pedestal for Angela’s right foot. If you’ve read some of my previous Gallery statue reviews, you may remember that the bases on these statues rarely impress me, but this one came out damn nice, both in design and execution.

Angela is yet another fine example of why I simply cannot quit this line, despite having no room to display more statues. Granted, I’m far from a completest, but when DST continues to deliver quality and craftsmanship like this at such a reasonable price point, I find I just can’t say no. And with prices of collectible statues continuing to climb at an alarming rate (I’m looking at you, Kotobukiya!), it’s refreshing to be able to set something like piece on my shelf for about $40. What’s more, it’s nice to see DST continuing to dig a little deep for their character selection. I’m not really reading a lot of Marvel comics these days, because quite frankly they’re become so god-awful, but I did enjoy her introduction to the MU a little ways back in Guardians of the Galaxy. But hey, even if you’re just a fan of Spawn and McFarlane Comics, you might want to consider picking up this lovely statue. I’m very glad that I did!

Fallout: Vault Girl Statue by ThinkGeek

Fallout and I parted ways with the release of Fallout 76, but at least I can always relive my glory days with the franchise, whether it be on Steam with the PC originals, or on the consoles with the newer games. And that brings me to ThinkGeek, which has been turning out some Fallout statues as part of their Modern Icons series. Last year I had a look at their very cool Nuka Cola Pin-up statue and I was so happy with it, I pre-ordered their Vault Girl. Well, she’s been out a while, and sitting on my Pile of Shame, so let’s get her open and check her out.

This roughly 1/10 Scale “limited” PVC statue comes in a fully enclosed box with an outer sleeve to protect it. The art is pretty nice, including some great concept art for the Vault Girl herself, and a blueprint-style background. Inside the box, the statue comes fully assembled between two clear plastic trays.

And here she is, looking… OK. I dig the composition quite a bit. Vault Girl is posing with her sledge hammer on her shoulder, her left arm reaching out with a thumbs up, while she offers a cheesecake wink and a grin. Despite her wearing the classic blue Vault-Tec jumpsuit, it’s form-fitting enough to show off her curves and add some sex appeal. The back of her suit shows that she’s from Vault 111, making this a Fallout 4 statue, as the protagonist from that game was revived from cryogenic sleep in Vault 111.

What I’m not as keen over is the quality of the paint. The shades of bright blue and yellow are well chosen, but pretty much all the yellow suffers from the darker base bleeding through. I guess you could argue it looks dirty and everything is dirty in the Fallout world, but I’m positive that’s not what they were going for here. There are also some splotches of gloss on the blue of the jumpsuit, which I presume is from spilled glue or primer. The skin-tone is all flat and lifeless, and shows scratching here and there. The boots are matte black and they did provide some black shading over the blue suit to give it some texture.

They did a nice job recreating the Custom Super Sledge, a rocket-propelled sledge hammer perfect for knocking down those Feral Ghouls and Rad Scorpions. The paint and detail are both solid and it looks like it came straight out of the game. It’s definitely one of the higher points of Vault Girls ensemble.

The portrait is a huge let down. I think a big part of that is a combination of the awkward wink and smile. Instead of cute, she just comes across to me as creepy. The paint isn’t particularly sloppy, maybe a little uneven around the lips, but it’s all so flat, particularly in that one open eye. It completely lacks the depth and charm of the previous statue’s portrait, and that’s a real shame.

I do think that the Pipboy turned out pretty nice. Considering how small it is, they were still able to get some details into the nobs and vents and other little details. It’s given a silver wash to make it look worn and weathered and the screen has a green monochrome image of the Vault Boy himself returning Vault Girl’s thumbs up.

The base is pretty fantastic. It’s a simple circular platform, with the vault gear icon encircling the number 111. Yeah, it looks like it reads 11, but I’m assuming her foot is on the middle 1. There’s some beautiful weathering here, which looks rather beyond what the rest of the statues coloring offers. As I mentioned at the beginning, this is a “limited edition” piece, and that much is stated on the bottom of the base. But similar to Nuka-Girl, there’s no statement of limitation and the piece isn’t numbered.

Ultimately, there’s some good things here and some not so good, but I think it’s safe to say I’m disappointed with this one. Every little thing about it feels like a major step down from Nuka-Girl. Specific call outs include the sub-par paint and a portrait that is certainly nothing to brag about. It’s kind of ironic that I got the better one on sale at $25, and pre-ordered this one at $45. Sure, it qualifies as a budget statue, but that’s still about five bucks more than Diamond Select charges for their Gallery statues, and those have been superior to this one in every way. And so much like me and the Fallout franchise, I think it’s time for ThinkGeek’s Modern Icons and I to part ways. This one is probably going back in her box, but at least I’ll always have Nuka-Girl!