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!

Marvel Gallery: Dazzler by Diamond Select

Apparently this week is all about doubling-down. I started it with Marvel Monday and here we are back to Marvel content on Friday. Plus, I looked at a couple of the Diamond Select Real Ghostbusters on Wednesday, and here we are back to DST today. Honestly, I didn’t plan it like that, it just happened! Dazzler showed up at my door a few days ago, and since I also recently picked up a CGC graded copy of Dazzler #1, it seemed like I should bump her to the head of the stack. And so without further delay, let’s brush up on our 70’s vernacular, crank up the Bee Gees, and boogie on down!

And here she is in the package, can you dig it? Like all Marvel Gallery statues, Dazzler’s box has windows on the front, top and both side panels to let the light in and let you get a good look at what you’re getting. As always, I recommend picking up these statues at a comic shop whenever possible, that way you can scrutinize the piece and make sure you aren’t getting no jive-ass paint job. You also support your local comic shop while doing it and that’s groovy! Alas, there’s nowhere around me that sells them, so I have to take my chances online. Still, I am rarely disappointed in what I get. If you’re unfamiliar, these Gallery statues are roughly 9-inch scale and cast in durable PVC plastic.

Out of the box, Alison is looking totally fab. She stands with legs together, one knee slightly drawn up, her microphone in her left grasp and her right hand outstretched to display a bit of her mutant razzle-dazzle. I like the composition here a lot. It’s not quite a museum-style pose, it’s not terribly dynamic, but maybe just the best of both worlds. It definitely captures the essence of her character. Also, she also doesn’t require a lot of real estate to display. That’s pretty important to me, since I’m running out of space and probably shouldn’t be buying more statues.

Ms. Blaire’s threads consist of her classic costume, and that’s a very good thing, because this is undoubtedly my favorite look for Dazzler. She dons her radical pearlescent-white sleeveless pantsuit with a plunging collar up top and flared bottoms down below. It hugs her body showing off all her stellar curves. And finally, Dazzler swings onto the scene in a pair of skates with a crisscross pattern designed to emulate a disco ball. Nifty!

I’m happy to say that the paintwork on my statue is sound as a pound. No, the costume doesn’t require a lot of intricate paint, but it does have a nice sheen and it’s smooth and clean. Likewise, her skin-tone is even and warm. Other than the neat silver zipper line, you get some silver on her wrist bangles, bicep cuff, microphone skates, and the miniature disco ball that hangs around her neck. She also has a perfectly painted pearl choker.

The statue makes good use of some translucent plastic for her dazzle effect. It actually reminds me a bit of the pieces that were included with Hasbro’s Marvel Legends figure. It’s attached to her wrist, but looks like it’s suspended there. I think it would have been cool to do some kind of floating light effects behind her with wire or something, but that’s probably far beyond the scope of what is a budget line. Anyway, the wheels on her skates are also translucent blue plastic, which is a great touch and totally off the hook.

And check out the portrait! She’s a stone fox, man! Her face is painted with her trademark blue eye mask, which is sharp and has a subtle glittery finish to it. Alison’s pupil-less eyes have a silver sheen to match her costume, and her pink lipstick is a little understated. Finally her hair radical orange-blonde coif of hair flows nearly symmetrically behind her. I think I would have liked more of a yellow hue to her hair, but I’m still fine with what we got.

Our final stop on this statue is a look at the funkadelic base, I think DST did a great job designing this one. You get a blue platform with a couple of sculpted stage lights, a cluster of groovy gold and silver stars, and a partial mirror ball behind her feet. It’s not as elaborate as it could have been. I was thinking her balanced atop half a disco ball, but there’s something to be said for being understated. Either way, every bit of this base fits Dazzler to a tee.

There’s no doubt about it, Gallery Dazzler is one foxy mama, and it’s great to see DST continue to slip some not so prominent characters into their Gallery lineup. It’s a little risk taking like this that shows a company has confidence in their line. And it worked well enough on me, as I’m more likely to sit up and take notice of releases like Dazzler than I am the umpteenth version of an A-Lister. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that this statue captures the character perfectly, delivers up a solid sculpt, and some classy paint. “The man” hit me up for about forty bones on this one, and if you ask me it’s money well spent, and the Gallery series continues to offer some of the best values on the statue market today. Catch ya on the flipside!

Femme Fatales: Lady Death by Diamond Select

I am excited to say that Brian Pulido just completed another wildly successful project on Kickstarter. Blasphemy Anthem needed something like $25k to fund it, and it wound up with $323k (for a comic book, folks!!!), proving yet again that Lady Death still has a significant fan-base with deep pockets. To celebrate, I thought I’d dip into my unopened stack of Diamond Select statues and check out their latest version of Lady Death.

Femme Fatales is where it all started! Out of this unassuming line of independent comic statues grew the now high profile and highly prolific DC and Marvel Gallery series. So, it’s good to see DST bringing this line back to its roots now and again. This is actually the second version of Lady Death to be released in this line, with the original going for some pretty crazy money these days. As always, the packaging is collector friendly and has plenty of windows to let the light in and allow you to see your new acquisition, even before opening it. If you are unfamiliar with these, they are roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues perfect for collectors on a budget.

And, WOW, what a statue!!! Lady Death stands with her right hip thrust slightly out to the side, holding a ball of flame in her right hand and with her left hand resting on her sword. Fans of more museum-style poses will definitely dig this one, and with the magical ball of flame in her hand, it still offers a bit of energy and a hint of action. Above all, I think it really captures the regal look of the character.

The figure’s costume is definitely one of the more impressive sculpts I’ve seen in the line. Let’s face it, a lot of the Gallery Statues deal with fairly simple comic character costumes, and the ornate nature of Lady Death’s skimpy outfit gives the sculptor a little something more to sink his skills into. Her black chest piece, for example has a delicate golden skeletal structure to mimic the wings of a bat. Tiny golden skulls decorate it, as well as serve as fixtures on the clasps holding up her stocking-like boots. She even has a tiny golden skull serving as a clasp to secure her cape. The armor plates on the backs of her forearms are studded with spikes, and there are some subtle wrinkles in her boots. They also did a particularly nice job with all her hellacious curves.

The paint on this piece is applied well, with sharp lines and very little bleeding or flubs. There’s a tiny bit of uneven line along her bikini bottom, but nothing I’m going to get upset about. I dig the high gloss coat used on the gloves and boots, the gold has a somewhat antiqued look to it, and the inside liner of her cape is a deep crimson. It wasn’t until closer scrutiny that I realized her top has a bit of a purple sheen to it. Her skin is chalky white with a hint of blue, and while it looks fine, I think the blue applied around the bottom of her breasts is a wee bit overstated. Yeah, I’m really looking hard to find anything to nitpick here. And as I’m often fond of observing with this line, I’ve seen far worse paint on much more expensive statues.

The portrait is beautiful and features some sharp paint for Lady Death’s ruby lips and black eyebrows. Her pupil-less eyes are framed by some immaculate eyeliner. They also did a wonderful job sculpting her hair. It frames her face perfectly casting a little shadow over her left eye and brow, and then cascades down about her shoulders. The expression is slightly stern, but not overdone.

Her sword is a thing of nightmarish beauty and extends from the base all the way up to her neck. It’s permanently attached to her left hand, but the tip simply rests on the base. The ornate golden cross-guard features a tiny skull in the middle, and the segmented grip is painted brown. The blade has a bit of a pitted and antiqued finish to it. The ball of blue flame is the least effective thing about the statue. It’s not easy to sculpt something like that in plastic and make it look convincing. I do dig how the tip of it snakes down around the body. It’s semi-transparent with some darker paint used on the tips of the mystical flame. It’s perfectly fine, but I think it could have been done better.

The bases in DST’s Gallery and Femme Fatales line don’t tend to impress me, but they really did a great job on this one. Lady D stands on a circular stone pattern with skulls and roses strewn about it. There are also some blue crystalline structures protruding from the sides and a pair of braziers burning at her feet.

Never forget where you came from! That’s good advice and I’m glad to see that DST’s statue line is taking it to heart. As I pointed out earlier, long before they secured the lucrative Marvel and DC licenses and transformed Femme Fatales into Gallery, characters like Pulido’s Lady Death were their bread and butter. It’s nice to see them returning to their roots. And it’s a testament to how great this line is, that no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to stop collecting it. Lack of display space be damned, I just can’t resist these pieces! Lady D set me back only $40 and that’s a damn fine value for this kind of craftsmanship.

DC Gallery: Batgirl Statue by Diamond Select

I’m always happy to be able to bring back DC Friday, even if it isn’t that often. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when I had enough DC related action figures and collectibles to keep it going as a regular thing. But between Mattel’s terrible distribution and DC Collectibles’ inability to stick with a line and scale, I’ve mainly been turning to Diamond Select Toys’ Gallery Statues for my DC fix these days. Let’s check out their new Batgirl!

Based on her 2014 makeover by Babs Tarr in Batgirl of Burnside, this statue comes in the typical Gallery style box, with windows on the top, front, and side panels and a purple and yellow deco to match Batgirl’s costume. The statue is suspended between two plastic trays, allowing you to see what you’re getting before you buy and open her. And as always, everything here is collector friendly, which is good for me because I don’t have the shelf space to display all of these, so I have them in their boxes and stacked in a corner.

There’s no assembly required, as Batgirl comes out of the box all ready for display, and what a nice piece this is! I should start by saying that I don’t find the pose anything terribly special, she’s simply striding across the rooftops with her arms out and hands balled into fists. Her hair splays out in the wind and her cape bellows off to the side behind her. It’s not bad at all, it hints at a nice bit of action, but it’s just not that unique or memorable to me.

Thankfully everything else about this statue is so well executed! Every detail about the costume is incorporated into the sculpt and that includes the tailored seams, pockets, and even the bat symbol on her chest. Even the lines of the black stripes on her legs are sculpted. The detail on her utility belt includes the little buckles and retaining straps on the pouches, and the sculpted laces on her boots are fully realized.

Equally impressive is the coloring here, which mostly relies on the purple, yellow, and black of her costume. Everything is done with a matte finish, and while this costume’s boots and gloves are often depicted as shiny in other recreations, I think the matte works fine too. For the most part the paint applications are sharp and clean, but there are a few exceptions, particularly between the yellow on her boots and the black of their soles. Still, it’s nothing that I haven’t seen before on far more expensive statues.

The portrait is pretty solid, although not terribly expressive. It’s a good likeness from the comic art and I’m extremely happy with how sharp the lines are on her mask, as well as the paint applications for her eyes and lips. The sculpted red hair is a bit muted, but I dig the way it spills out of the cowl and blows wildly around her.

The base appears to be an abstract of the city rooftops, perhaps scaled down to give her a sense of height? I’m not really sure what they were going for here. It’s not bad, though, and it offers her a good surface for her wide stance, as well as giving the statue stability.

Batgirl is another fine example of why it’s been impossible for me to quit DST’s Gallery series. You simply can’t beat the quality at this price point. And while my budget and available space often requires me to admire the bigger premium statues on the market from afar, I can collect this line all day without breaking the bank. Batgirl here cost just under $40, and I couldn’t be happier with how she turned out!