Marvel Gallery: Black Cat by Diamond Select

Welcome to another Marvel Monday, and as you can tell by the title, today I am giving Marvel Legends a rest in favor of one of Diamond Select’s new(ish) Marvel Gallery statues. No, it’s not going to help me get caught up with my stupidly huge Legends backlog, but truth be told, delivering three reviews last week didn’t give me enough time to prepare a Legends review today, and checking out these statues doesn’t take me nearly as long. But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy checking them out!

Just a couple of weeks ago, I reviewed DST’s Supergirl Gallery statue, so I won’t spend a whole lot of time on the packaging. Suffice it to say these come in attractive window boxes, with clear plastic on the front and top panels, as well as the sides. These offer plenty of light to see what you’re getting, and while I buy these online, I recommend picking them up at a local comic shop if you can. That allows you to check the paint, and make sure you aren’t getting a dud. With that having been said, I’ve had pretty good luck with mine. The box is collector friendly, and Felicia doesn’t require any assembly.

And here she is out of the box, on the shelf, and looking pretty fabulous. This is definitely one of the most unique entries to the Marvel Gallery line, as most of the releases tend to focus on the figure with the base seeming like an afterthought. But not here! Black Cat crouches on one knee atop a Spider-Man themed safe, presumably one that she just cracked open. Perhaps Web Head himself has entered the room, because she’s frozen in what could be a defensive stance and ready to pounce. Let’s have a look at Felicia first!

I definitely dig the pose here. It’s very dynamic and works extremely well for the character. She looks like she may have just jumped back atop the safe after opening it, and is ready to go a few rounds with a rival. This is definitely classic Black Cat, with the slick bodysuit, garnished with the tufts of white fur around the forearms, lower legs, collar, and plunging neckline. The suit itself doesn’t feature much detail, but it does have a very nice blueish-black sheen to it that mimics the coloring right out of the comic panels. The sculpt shows off all of her curves, and even a little bit of musculature under the suit.

My one real complaint here is something I’ve seen before, at least a few times in the line. If you haven’t guessed, it’s the seams that ring her shoulders and her right leg at the pelvis. Obviously, these are where the statue was assembled, but it’s disappointing that they aren’t able to apply some kind of sculpty to conceal these better. Is it a deal breaker for me? Meh, not really. Not in a budget line like this one. But it’s something that I’m probably always going to notice when I’m admiring her.

I think the sculptor did a nice job on the portrait. She’s pretty, easily recognizable, and the paint on her lips and eyes is all quite clean. Her domino mask is actually part of the sculpt and the paint lines around it are also very crisp. The silver tag hanging off of her collar is a nice touch too.

The safe represents nearly half this statue’s height and it really elevates the composition here. The door is partially opened showing the contents inside: Bundles of cash, gold bars, and scattered gems. There’s even few bundles of cash that look like they’ve spilled out onto the ground. The front of the safe is painted with a Spider-Man motif and features the dial and lever. You can even see the two locking bolts protruding from inside the door.

Even with the unfortunate seams from assembly, I’d still say this statue is quite a worthwhile piece. It’s one of the more compelling examples of creative composition this line has shown. And at about $40, the quality here is very good for a statue in this price range. Indeed, I’d dare say that if I didn’t know better, it could pass for something a bit more costly. I’ve been really trying to curtail my Gallery statue purchases lately, because I am running out of space for them, so it’s a testament to how good these are that I can’t seem to stay away.

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DC Gallery: Supergirl by Diamond Select

It does my heart good to be coming back with a third review this week. It makes me even happier to relive the old days with a DC Friday review! I’ve been trying to cut down on the number of Gallery statues I buy from DST, because they were getting out of hand, but this past month, they’ve released a bunch that I simply could not resist. Today, I’m opening up one of those, and it is indeed… Supergirl! In case you’re unfamiliar, these are roughly 9-inch scale, budget-priced PVC statues, and DST churns out a lot of them!

We’ve already seen Supergirl twice in the DC Gallery line, both of which were based off the animated Justice League Unlimited series, with one for regular release and one as an SDCC Exclusive. If you’ve been with me for the three dozen or so Gallery Statue reviews I’ve done here on FFZ, then you should be readily familiar with the packaging. These statues come in collector friendly window boxes, with windows on the front, top, and side panels. This particular box is a little larger than most of the Gallery statue boxes in order to incorporate the rather dynamic pose. The statue inside is nestled in a clear clamshell, letting you see what you’re getting from almost every angle. In this case, the box itself is nice and colorful, with some beautiful character art on the back (even if it doesn’t match the statue at all!) and her S-Shield printed on the back of the interior tray. All that is great because I am currently displaying these statues in their boxes. Let’s get Kara out of the box and check her out!

The statue comes out of the box all assembled and ready for display, and looking mighty fine! For the most part DST has been producing these statues with fairly static and reserved composition. That’s certainly not the case here, as Supergirl is seen bursting forth from a fiery explosion and ripping a chain in half. No doubt, an eeeevil chain! She has one leg drawn up at the knee with her other leg trailing down and touching the base. The pose shows off both her power and the grace of her curves beautifully. Straightaway, I’m going to say that this is one of my favorite poses this line has done, and it’s also one of the better poses I’ve seen on a Supergirl statue recently. It exhibits some great keneticism and excitement, and it just captures the character perfectly.

I’m also very fond of the costume style they chose here. She sports the blue long-sleeved crop-top and skirt, yellow belt, red boots, and the flowing red cape. As is routine for these statues, all of the details of the costume are incorporated into the sculpt, right down to some subtle wrinkles. This goes a long way to bring the costume to life and it often helps keep the paint in line too. And the coloring is also very much on point. The shades of red and blue go great together and include nice subtleties like a glossier finish on the boots and a matte finish on the cape. The S-Shields on both her chest and the back of her cape look nice and crisp. The skin tone is warm and even, but my one nit-pick would be that it’s a little too glossy for my taste. It’s not so bad under normal lighting, but my studio lights make her look like her skin is wet and glistening. Eh, maybe that’s not so bad.

I was a little unsure of this portrait from the initial solicitation shots, but I think it turned out quite good in person. Indeed, I like it even more than DC Collectibles’ Cover Girl version of Supergirl, and that one is no slouch either. The paint on the eyes and lips are sharp, and I like how her mouth is slightly parted to show that it took the tiniest bit of effort to rip apart that chain. The hair sculpt isn’t terribly dynamic, but it does kick off to the side a bit to offer a little windblown look. I’m not sure this portrait is based on any particular art, but she’s pretty and I think it’s an overall  good look for Kara.

Bases have not always been the best thing about DST’s Gallery statues. It’s not that a lot of them are bad, but they’re just kind of there. That’s sort of the case here. Supergirl’s base is serviceable and lends itself well to the action pose. I’m not one hundred percent sure what it’s supposed to be, but I’m assuming it’s just a ball of fire from an explosion. I suppose it could just as easily be a fiery comet or something. Not knowing what it is doesn’t really compliment the sculpt that much, but I’m willing to accept it as an abstract construct.

And before wrapping it up, I thought I’d toss in a shot of Gallery Supergirl alongside the previously mentioned Cover Girl Supergirl by DC Collectibles. Obviously, the costumes and styles are different, and this is a PVC statue as opposed to cold cast porcelain, but I think the Gallery statue holds up remarkably well against the competition. Plus, the PVC material is a lot more durable.

Once upon a time I used to call Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line the best value in statue collecting. Well, two things have happened for me to revoke that praise. First, Koto has raised their prices a lot. Second, DST’s Gallery line has come along. And while the quality here isn’t on par with Koto’s, at around forty bucks, this is an extremely nice display piece for the money. A lot of thought went into the composition, the sculpt is excellent, and the paint only shows a few minor rough patches, which aren’t even worth it to me to complain about. As always, I would recommend buying these in person whenever possible, so you can scrutinize the paint you’re getting, but this one came to me in the mail, and I did just fine with what I got.

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Perhona (Code: B) by Banpresto

In case you missed it, I’m a little bit smitten with Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series of roughly 9-inch scale One Piece ladies. I came for the first releases of Nami and Boa Hancock and stayed for the rest. And since it’s been so very long since I last did an Anime Saturday feature, and because I have so many of these piling up, let’s open up a new figure in this series. Yeah, I know it’s Wednesday, but things are so discombobulated on my end, who cares anymore? Oh, hey… it’s Perhona! The Ghost Princess!

As always, these figures come in fully enclosed boxes with some lovely shots of the figure inside and the CRANEKING logo. The package is fairly bi-lingual in that it bears the line’s mission statement in English on two of the panels. Perhona comes wrapped in plastic and requiring a little simple assembly before she’s ready for display.

And here she is, standing with a wide stance, her left hip thrust to the side, her left hand tucked behind her and her right hand tugging on her top. She’s sporting one of the more interesting outfits in this series, and that’s really saying something! Starting at the bottom, Perhona’s showing off a pair of glossy black high-heeled boots, with the toes pointed slightly inward. The boots end just above her ankles giving way to what I can only describe as some kind of kinky latex stockings laced up the side, with pink stockings peeking out the tops and secured with sculpted garter belts. Wow! The platforms on her heels are gray and she’s got a red ribbon tied around her right ankle.

As we go higher, she’s sporting a super-short black mini-skirt with a wide pink padded strip running around the top and a brown ammo belt fanning some cartridges just below her exposed mid-riff. Up top, she has a cropped sailor uniform blouse, gray with a red collar and a big black bow up front. The ensemble is punctuated by a pair of long, glossy black fingerless gloves, with exposed elbows. The result of this costume is a peculiar mix of cutesy fun, dark sailor scout, and BDSM Dominatrix.

Oh yeah, Perhona also sports a rather unique looking flintlock rifle, slung over her right shoulder. I really love what they did with this piece. The stock feature a sculpted wood-grain pattern with the barrel and fixtures painted gold. There’s even a beautiful scroll-work motif sculpted into the panels on the sides.

And that brings us to the portrait, and this is where I have to confess that Perhona’s eyes creep the hell out of me. Those giant perfectly round pools of inky black look like they were made to suck the souls right out of people. What’s even more disturbing is the contrast between those eyes and her large coif of bright pink hair. It flows down her back in giant locks and spills down each side of her face in braided pigtails with black bows on the ends. Finally, a black and gray cap is crookedly perched on here head.

It’s worth noting that the coloring and paintwork on this figure are quite good. From the mix of dark glossy black to matte black to the warm skin tones and the cotton candy pink of her hair, there are a lot of contrasts here and it certainly makes for a very unique looking figure. She even has her little pink bat tatt on her left shoulder.

I didn’t set out to collect this line. I originally just wanted Nami and Boa Hancock. Then I decided I would just cherry-pick the ones that I really liked, but so far that’s been all of them. Perhona is a great example of that because her character doesn’t do a lot for me, and I already mentioned that her eyes creep me the hell out. But I still dig this figure a lot and I’m mighty glad I added her to the lineup. And at about $25 a pop, this line still feels like it offers a decent value for the money.

Grimm Fairy Tales: Sela Mathers (Snow White) Bishoujo Statue by Zenescope

Does anybody love Zenescope more than I do? I dunno, maybe. But the fact is that I love them a whole lot. When Marvel’s comics started seriously disappointing me, I started spreading my comic monies around to some of the indies and Zenescope took a lot of it. The only problem? Zenescope doesn’t have a lot of support in the way of merchandizing and that’s especially the case when it comes to statues and action figures. Well, obviously Zenescope saw the problem and answered it by Kickstarting a Bishoujo-style statue of their former leading lady, Sela Mathers as Snow White. If you’ve seen some of my Kotobukiya reviews, than you probably know what a Bishoujo Statue is. And it’s clear that Zenescope’s Kickstarter set out to imitate Koto’s Bishoujo formula as much as possible. So, how’d they do? Let’s find out…

Well, for starters I really dig the packaging! Sela comes in a colorful window box, and while it lacks the side and top windows that Koto employs on its boxes, this set up still looks nice. The statue itself is held between two clear plastic trays and you can get a pretty good look at her while she’s still boxed. And because everything is collector friendly, you can feel free to display her in or out of the box. As far as set up is concerned, Sela comes already mounted on the base, so all you have to do is put her sword in her hand and her glasses on her nose. Yeah, don’t forget the glasses. Mine were rattling around in the bottom of the tray after I opened her, and they’re probably pretty easy to lose when removing the statue for the first time. They do, however, slide into place pretty easily and stay on fairly well.

And here she is! I think the composition here is really close to perfect. It’s not only iconic for the character, but it succeeds in creating an image ripped from a cover page of the prolific comic. Sela assumes a wide stance with her left hip tossed to the side, her famous book of Grimm Fairy Tales clutched in her left arm and her right arm holding her sword behind her. If I were to nitpick anything here it would be that the book be positioned just a little lower so that it wasn’t obscuring the lower half of her face from certain angles. And that is indeed just a nitpick. Truth be told, I think they did a fantastic job designing this piece.

Equally impressive is the sculpting that not only defines Sela’s lovely form, but recreates her costume as Snow White. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing terribly intricate on display here, but what’s here does a fine job. The high heeled boots include sculpted laces running up the fronts, as well as some creasing here and there. The edges of her stockings are sculpted around her thighs, her short shorts feature some simple stitch lines as well as lacing on both hips of her shorts, the half-top has a sculpted, decorative border running around the top and the whole costume is rounded out by the bracers on her biceps and forearms. As for the coloring, it’s pretty solid, but some of the paintwork could have been sharper. The white paint on the all the lacing is fine, but there’s a little bit of slop along the gold border of her top. I’ll also note here that the skin tone has a bit of a waxy finish to it, which just just happens to be one of my pet peeves when it comes to PVC statues. It’s often one of those things that tends to separate more quality pieces from knock-offs. Does it bother me here? Yeah it kind of does. Is it enough to ruin the statue? Certainly not.

The portrait is every bit as good as the rest of the sculpting. It’s definitely Sela only filtered through the Bishoujo style. It works really well for the character and I think the likeness is close enough that even Grimm fans who aren’t into the Bishoujo aesthetic could overlook it and still enjoy this figure. The paintwork for the eyes and lips are both sharp and the glasses look great, even without any plastic for the lenses. The hair sculpt is extremely ambitious and for the most part I think it succeeds. However, it does break down a bit under close scrutiny, as some of the edges aren’t as sharp as they could have been and there’s a bit of what I presume is mold flashing here and there.

As mentioned, in her right hand, Sela holds her sword, Lysraseri, forged from four of the most powerful swords in all the Realms of Power. And this is indeed a beautiful recreation of the sword from the gold and silver finish, right down to the four gems in the hilt, representing the powers of Excalibur, Chrysaor, Mistilteinn, and Kusanagi. It also fits perfectly in her hand.

The book is also very well done. It has some gold decorations printed on the front as well as the title on both the front cover and the spine, with a bookmark peeking out the bottom of the pages. Unlike the sword, the book is permanently attached to the figure’s hand.

And our final stop on this figure is the base, which is a simple black disc. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d expect to see on a Prize Figure, and even some of Koto’s own Bishoujo’s have gone with this utilitarian look. It’s functional, it works fine, and it doesn’t detract from the figure. There were also a number of bonuses added to the Kickstarter as Stretch Goals. As I recall, some were included free while others were Add On purchases. Here are some of the goodies that I got with her…

The coolest item was the Kickstarter Exclusive comic featuring the concept art on the cover. She also came with the same comic with a Sketch Cover, which I didn’t photograph because, well… it’s just a blank Sketch Cover.

The other bonuses included a Collector’s Pin with the same artwork on it, two metal Collector Cards, and a sticker.

The Buy In to get the Statue as part of the Kickstarter was $70 if you got in on the Early Bird pricing, which is right about average for a Kotobukiya Bishoujo figure, or at least it was until recently when those prices started jumping up. Is the quality here the same as on a Koto figure? Nope, not even close. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad figure. Indeed, for a first try, I think Sela turned out pretty well and while there were some production pictures during the course of the Kickstarter that made me a little worried, I’m quite pleased with the final product. Maybe I’m being a little extra forgiving because Zenescope figures are such rare occurrences, but what I do know is that if the teaser on the back of the box is true, I’ll be the first in line to pledge for a Robyn Hood Bishoujo.

DC Gallery: Catwoman by Diamond Select

How about a DC Friday for old time’s sake? Once upon a time I could fuel DC Friday every week with a seemingly unending offering of figures from Mattel and DC Collectibles, not to mention there were statues galore! Well, DC Collectibles killed off their Icons line, Mattel just lost the license to Spin Master, and I’m trying to not buy as many statues these days, because I’m all out of room to display them. Nonetheless, Diamond Select’s DC and Marvel Gallery series continues to be tough to resist. And their new version of Catwoman was an impossible temptation! So let’s take a look at this feline temptress!

For the unacquainted, DST’s various Gallery series are a budget line of roughly 9-inch scale PVC statues that grew out of their old Femme Fatales series. They later branched out to DC Animated Series statues before ultimately embracing all of Marvel and DC. The statue comes in a box with windows on the front, sides, and top panels, which offer enough visibility that you could just about get away with displaying these in the package. That works for me, because I ran out of shelves long ago, and now I display most of these as a wall of the stacked boxes. While the DC Gallery’s previous versions of Catwoman have been based on her animated appearances, this one is drawn from her more modern comic look. Of course, everything here is collector friendly, and Catwoman comes out of the box all assembled and ready for display!

And this is a case where the composition and overall style had me mashing the pre-order button the moment I saw pictures in the solicitation. Sure, when it comes to Catwoman I’m an easy mark, but having her perched on the giant Egyptian-styled cat-head turned my head in a big way. She sits on the top of the statue with one leg bent under her and the other dangling down, while leaning slightly forward on her hands, both clutching at the statue in a very cat-like manner. I’d like to imagine that she just crept her way into the skylight of the Egyptian Wing at the Gotham Museum of Antiquities, pounced down onto the head of this giant statue and is now sizing up the various lasers and security cameras that stand between her and whatever coveted bauble she happens to be after. There’s something to be said when the composition can send my mind to working up context for the figure and that’s exactly what happened here.

Despite being a fairly modern look, Catwoman’s costume gets by with a fairly low amount of detail, and that is in no way a slight against the sculpt. Her body suit relies on some neatly sculpted stitch lines and it’s smooth contours accentuate her curves and muscle tone in all the right places. The finish looks black, with just the right amount of gloss to make it look like leather, and under the right light it can give off a purple sheen. The front of the suit features a silver zipper, which is pulled down just enough to show off her kittens, and that low plunge is balanced out by a high collar.

And while the suit itself is simple, that’s not to say there isn’t some great detail to be found. The boots in particular are wonderfully done, with sculpted laces running part of the way up and interlaced through the eyelets. The excellent sculpt is finished off with a high gloss black to differentiate them from the rest of the suit, and the same finish is used on Catwoman’s gloves.

Her brown whip, which doubles as her belt, is coiled around her and sculpted with a very fine braided pattern. It loops around her waist four times, held in place by a silver belt-buckle, and terminates with the segmented grip protruding from behind her right hip.

And that brings us to the portrait, and DST did a fine job on it! I love the way the mouth is sculpted with the lips slightly apart to show off her pearly whites, her nose is perfect, and while I don’t really associate this likeness with any one artist, I still think she looks great. The cowl is sculpted with the same stitch lines we see in her suit, and the paint lines between the cowl and her skin are clean and sharp, even around the chin strap. One of the things that particularly impresses me here are the lenses in her goggles. They’re remarkably clear for a piece in this price range, showing off her green eyes. Hell I think the lenses here look every bit as good as the ones on DC Collectibles’ second Cover Girl Catwoman statues, which retailed at more than twice the price.

And that brings us to the base, which not only compliments the figure beautifully, but really elevates the whole statue. The Egyptian cat head features a large loop earring in each ear, some geometric patterns around the base, and a Egyptian eye motif on the collar. It’s all sprayed in a gold finish, which has just the right amount of sheen to it. It’s quite simply marvelous!

With over two dozen of these Gallery statues in my collection, I usually only have the space to have a handful on display at any one time. So it’s quite the compliment to say that this one is going to be immediately taking up one of those spaces, and bumping someone back into their box. I just haven’t decided which one yet. This is a piece that I was super excited to get from the moment it was revealed, and now that it’s in hand, I’m happy to say she does not disappoint. Toss in the fact that she was only $44 and it’s hard not to love and appreciate what DST has been doing with this line. Every time I think I’m out, they release a beauty like this one to pull me back in!

One Piece: “Glitter & Glamours” Shiny Venus Boa Hancock by Banpresto

I had to sit out last Anime Saturday because real life got in the way. This weekend isn’t much better, but I did want to drop in for a quickie and so I decided to open up my second figure in Banpresto’s Glitter & Glamours series. Last time it was Nami, this time it’s Boa Hancock! And since I am crunched for time, let’s get right down to it…

I’m still not 100% sure what the running theme in this line is supposed to be. The first two figures I have happen to both be One Piece babes reclining in their skimpy bikinis, but looking ahead, the line seems to have a lot more variety to it. The Glitter and Shiny probably have to do with some shiny finishes applied to some parts of the figures’ clothing. But hey, I’m not here to over-analyze things. Like Nami, Boa comes in a fully enclosed box with lots of photos of the figure inside. The figure itself requires some simple assembly before she’s ready to spruce up your desk with some sex appeal. I’ll likely be referencing back to the G&G Nami during this review, so if you missed that one, you might want to check it out. I’ll wait. OK? Let’s go…

And indeed she is sexy. Boa reclines on a lump of sand, propped up with her right hand while her left hand fiddles with her hair, and her long legs are  stretched out for what seems like miles and miles. She’s wearing just a black bikini with a white cover-up, tied under her exceedingly ample bosom, and a thin gold anklet at the end of her right leg. I’ve got no problems with the pose here, it looks great, but unfortunately the figure doesn’t really lay flush with the surface she’s resting on. Part of that might have to do with the base, and I’ll get to that in a bit, but her feet hover a bit off the surface and that looks a little unnatural.

I’m also going to go ahead and say that the coloring here isn’t terribly exciting either. Boa’s skin is a lot paler than Nami’s and that’s accurate, but the rest of the figure also lacks any real punch when it comes to the deco. You’ve got the black bikini and her black hair. The white cover-up has a bit of that pearlescent sheen that we saw with Nami’s, but the effect isn’t nearly as strong here either. A little gold on the trim of her sleeves and her earrings, and the bright red nail polish on her fingers and toes helps a bit, but not really a lot. If you’re looking for a colorful figure, this ain’t it.

I do like the portrait a lot. The hair sculpting is excellent and I dig Boa’s little smirk as well as the perfectly printed eyes and lips. On the other hand, her face is pointed downward, so this is one of those figures that you absolutely have to display at eye level, or above, if you want to glean her pretty peepers. Likewise, this really isn’t a statue that has a lot of sweet spots, which is a big part of why I was able to do her justice fairly quickly. Sure, she looks nice from the back, but she’s best viewed dead-on from the front and that’s about it.

I’m really not enamored with the base here either. Nami was able to make due without one, as they just flattened her tushie a bit and that worked fine. Instead of doing the same thing here, they molded this little piece of sand, which is supposed to snap around her hand and cradle her right hip. It works fine keeping the figure upright, but then you’ve got that thing going on where her feet aren’t resting on the display surface and it looks a bit off. I am not a big fan of the way this went.

I don’t mean to beat up on poor Boa here too badly. This is a pretty good figure and she’s definitely a sexy addition to my One Piece shelf. But she lacks the color and pop that Nami had. At $20, I have no regrets over picking her up, the quality is there and the sculpt is great, but I feel like a few tweaks could have helped the figure along. Get rid of that base, design her to sit on her own, and maybe add a little more color and this pretty good figure could have been a great one!

Marvel Gallery: Savage Land Rogue by Diamond Select

This week is one of those rare Marvel Mondays where I stray from Marvel Legends and look for some Marvel lovin’ elsewhere. And the only reason I’m doing that is because I’ve had this Marvel Gallery Rogue from Diamond Select sitting around and waiting to be opened for a couple of weeks now. So even though it’s going to put me further behind, we’ll set aside Legends for the day and have a look at this statue instead!

For the unfamiliar, Marvel (and DC!) Gallery grew out of Diamond’s Femme Fatale line of 9-inch scale PVC statues. The name may have changed but the packaging has stayed more or less the same. Rogue comes in a colorful box with windows on the front, side panels, and the top. And for some reason, DST persists on referring to these as Dioramas, which I suspect is some kind of licensing stipulation. Either way, everything is collector friendly and the statue comes nestled between two plastic trays. There’s no assembly required and she comes right out of the box all ready for your shelf.

And… WOW! Rogue stalks the wastes of The Savage Land with her spear at the ready and wearing the remnants of her X-Men costume, which happens to be torn away in all the right places. Yup, the bulk of the body sculpt here is just skin, but DST did a fine job not only with Rogue’s shapely form, but also with the subtle hints of musculature here and there. As for the costume, she features a dainty pair of green boots, a ragged green bikini bottom partially covered with leaves, and the top half of her yellow X-Men outfit with a green shredded undergarment peeking out beneath it. Short green gloves and some yellow wraps on her thigh and bicep beautifully round out this lovely make-shift costume.

They also put in some nice work on the crude dagger, which she wears on her belt. It’s got sculpted wrappings around the hilt and a makeshift brown sheath hooked onto her loose belt.

The composition is a nice mix of museum-style and cheesecake. She has one leg drawn up at the knee, with her left toes resting on the raised rock of the base and in her hands she holds a spear, ready for action. I like the pose a lot, it looks like someone just snapped a shot of her stalking the land in search of her prey. There’s a hint of imminent action, but overall this piece casts aside a strong sense of energy and just lets Rogue’s majestic and sexy form do all the talking.

And that brings me to the portrait, which is strong and overall quite well done. There’s no playful side glance here, Rogue’s gaze is straight on, maybe looking over toward the horizon, and her slightly narrowed eyes and tight lips dominate what is a confident and powerful likeness. Her coif of brown hair casts off to the side slightly, with the iconic white highlights and a green strip tied around her hairline. The sculpted bone necklace is a great touch too!

The paint here is overall pretty good, but it does show a few rough patches. The lines between skin and clothing are not all as crisp as they could be. There are a few areas around her mid-riff where the sculpted lines of the jagged top are flesh colored where they should be green. These are issues that would surely irk a perfectionist, but I think they’re well within the expectations of a budget statue line like this one. The skin tone is quite smooth and warm throughout, although it does have a bit of a glossy sheen to it, which is most noticeable to me on her face. Normally, this is something that bugs me, but hey, it’s pretty damn humid in The Savage Land, and Rogue is probably sweating buckets. On a QC note, my statue has a few scrapes in the flesh paint, the most notable of which is on her right shoulder and is clearly visible in the pictures. In the past, I’ve had some luck cleaning up these sorts of marks out with a magic eraser to smooth out the paint, but I probably won’t bother here and just write it off on dirt from the inhospitable environment.

The base is fairly simple, but it does the job of not only holding up Rogue, but also giving us a slice of her environment. It consists of a lump of pouris brown rock with a shock of vegetation growing out of the side. It looks good and it doesn’t take up too much real estate on the shelf, and those are two of the highest compliments that I can pay to any statue base.

Rogue here is exactly the reason I keep coming back to Diamond’s Gallery statues, despite the fact that I ran out of display room for these four or five statues back. Normally, I pick these up on Amazon after they’ve been released, but I actually pre-ordered this one back when it was first solicited. Sure, it means running the risk of paying more than I have to, but it only took one look at this figure to make me certain I wanted her in my collection. And with a retail of $40, Diamond’s Gallery statues continue to be some of the best values I’ve found in the collectible statue market. Or at least that’s the case now that Kotobukiya has been hiking up the prices on their Bishoujos. Sure, a few minor QC issues are bound to rear their ugly heads, and for that reason, I always recommend picking these up from a comic shop where you can inspect what you’re getting, but even though I got mine sight-unseen, I’m still perfectly pleased with the one I got.

Fallout 4: Nuka-Girl Statue by ThinkGeek

Have you heard? There’s a new Fallout game out and apparently it’s pretty controversial! It was an easy pass for me, because I have no interest in Online Fallout Lite, but to be fair, I haven’t played it, so I’ll let the reviews speak for themselves. I will, however, toss my hat in the ring as a pretty dedicated Fallout fan. I’ve been on board since the day I got a PC that would play the original and up until now, I’ve played them all. Yup, even that mediocre Brotherhood of Steel on the Xbox, and the annoyingly addictive mobile game. But I’m not here today to talk about the new game. I’m here today because ThinkGeek had a big sale on Cyber Monday Week and I bought a Fallout statue!

And what a great idea for a statue from the game! Sure, there have been Vault Dweller action figures and Power Armor statues, but to immortalize that kissable face of Ms. Nuka-Cola in a PVC Statue? That took inspiration. And I gotta be honest, while this was sold to via an Email advertising the sale, I probably would have picked it up at full price if I had known it existed. Anywho, the roughly 1/10 scale statue comes in a handsome box with an outer sleeve and some spiffy retro-vintage-style artwork. This is apparently #3 in ThinkGeek’s line of Modern Icons statues produced in partnership with Chronicle Collectibles. The first was the the T-60 Power Armor from Fallout 4 and the second was Aloy from Horizon: Zero Dawn. It’s my first experience with this line or Chronicle Collectibles for that matter, and I’ll admit when I first held the box in hand, I had my doubts because it felt like the box was empty. But there was indeed a statue inside, enclosed between two clear plastic trays, and all ready to go on my shelf. Let’s check her out!

And here she is, perched atop a giant bottlecap and looking dead sexy in her retro space suit. The figure itself measures right around the 6-inch mark with a few inches added by the rather pronounced base. The pose is great. It’s just the kind of pure cheesecake that I associate with vintage ads. Ms. Nuka stands with one leg drawn up at the knee, holds her space helmet against her left hip, and offers up a bottle of bubbly Nuka refreshment, while glancing back over her shoulder and offering a bright, beaming smile. My god, I’m so thirsty!

The detail here is fairly minimal, which is in keeping with the retro-styling. Her space suit consist of a pair of thigh-high black high-heeled boots, tight white leggings with red stripes on the sides and a wide black belt. The fact that her mid-riff is exposed is probably my favorite quality of this protective garment. The cropped-top features the same white with red striping as the bottoms, black gloves, a very low-cut top, and a collar to attach the helmet to. In terms of bringing the vintage Nuka-Cola art to life, I think the statue succeeds brilliantly, from the composition to the sculpt, I wouldn’t change a thing. The paintwork is also quite good. The gloves and belt are matte black, the top and bottom have a bit of a sheen to them, and the boots are high gloss. There are just a few flubs in the paint application, mostly on the red border on the end of her left gauntlet, but absolutely nothing that draws my eye away from appreciating it.

The portrait is in keeping with that retro look as well. From the style of her hair to her makeup, she looks like a pin-up from the 50’s. The facial features are painted quite sharply, the eyes are even, and while there aren’t individually sculpted teeth, the pearly whites are painted bright and clean.

And while the design is relatively simple, there are still some nice touches. Her red pop-gun rests snugly in its holster and looks like the old toy ray-guns that my Dad probably played with. The red oxygen tanks feature segmented hoses that feed into the base of the helmet’s collar and the same type of hose can be seen encircling the base of her helmet. And yes, the sculptor paid special attention to capturing all of Ms. Nuka’s very feminine form her copious cleavage right down to the curves of her tushie.

And of course the bottle of Nuka-Cola looks great!

The giant Nuka-Cola bottlecap is a perfect base for the figure and it too is wonderfully executed. It’s painted in a bright red with crisp white lettering, right down to the TM icon, which at first I thought was to drive home the illusion that this is a real brand, but then I’d imagine that Bethesda probably copyrighted the Nuka-Cola trademark for real. But as good as the base looks, it’s also completely hollow, and that’s the one thing this statue is missing… any sense of heft. I commented earlier how the box felt empty, and that just goes to show how light this thing is. Does that really matter if it looks good on the shelf? I guess not, but for whatever reason, I tend to associate quality with weight when it comes to statues, and in this case the lack of weight is a little off-putting. Maybe they should have just filled the base with sand.

The bottom of the base features some copyright information as well as the name of the statue and that it’s a Limited Edition. There’s no actual statement of limitation on the box or the statue, so it’s hard to say how limited this piece really is. I mean, I guess all collectibles are limited in some sense, right? I found two things here interesting: One, that the statue is licensed as Fallout 4 specifically, even though it’s not stated on the box, and that she’s called Nuka-Girl here, even though she’s called Nuka-Cola Girl on the box. Otherwise, there’s really nothing to see here.

These Modern Icons statues retail for $50 a pop and I guess that’s not too bad, but with some of the PVC statues that Diamond Select has turning out in the $40 range, Ms. Nuka-Cola may strike some as a bit on the pricier side. She’s definitely smaller than the Femme Fatales stuff, as well as Koto’s Bishoujo line. I picked this one up when ThinkGeek was offering for half-off and hey, for $25 I figured I couldn’t go wrong and I was right. I like this piece a lot, and it’s made me take a look at some of their other pieces. Although some of these seem to go up in price when they go out of circulation, so I may just focus on what’s coming as opposed to what I’ve already missed.

One Piece: “Glitter & Glamours” Shiny Venus Nami by Banpresto

I know what you’re thinking. Another One Piece Prize Figure from Banpresto? How about a little variety for Anime Saturday. Sheesh! There were complaints when it was all KanColle, all the time, then complaints about Anime Saturday going away, and now it’s too much One Piece? There’s just no pleasing some people. I’d argue you could never have too much One Piece, but a couple of years back when I was really sick, I did nothing but lay on the sofa for two days, coif NyQuil and watch my One Piece DVDs while I drifted in and out of fevered sleep. To this day, I’m convinced it broke part of my brain. But anyway, I will get to some other stuff. I have plenty of Figmas left to look at. But I don’t have a lot of time this weekend, so I needed something quick. And now that I’m all caught up on Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series, I thought I’d open up some of their Glitter & Glamours figures.

And what better on a chilly Saturday morning than a little hot Nami to warm us up? The G&G series features girls spanning a few different animes, and I can’t detect much in the way of a coherent theme. The packaging hasn’t changed much, as you still get your figure in a fully enclosed box with plenty of shots of the cutie inside.  And after just a few simple assembly steps, Nami will be all ready to brighten up my desk.

The roughly 9-inch scale Glitter & Glamour Nami offers a contrast to Flag Diamond Ship with our gal laid back, relaxing, and reclining in the sun. She’s wearing a white blouse, buttoned once just below her ample bosom, and a two-piece orange bikini. Her long legs are crossed and stretched out in front of her, her right hand is behind her head, while she leans back on her left hand. There’s no base at all, but she doesn’t really need one as she’s very stable and rests evenly on any surface. Her tushie is even flattened a bit to keep her from rolling around.

There’s some nice attention to detail here in the sculpt. Some highlights include the bracelets on her right arm, the single gold bangle on her left wrist, the double-looped chain necklace, and the ruffles ringing her bikini bottom. I dig the coloring as well. Nami’s showing a lot of skin and the skin tone is warm and even and not at all waxy, and her tiny fingernails and toenails are painted red. There are a couple of shades of purple displayed on her bracelets, as well as some shiny gold on the rest of the jewelry. But the real draw here where the coloring is concerned is the beautiful pearlescent white finish on her blouse. It has a striking sheen to it that looks absolutely gorgeous. I’m guessing that’s where the “Shiny” in Shiny Venus comes from.

Of course, the portrait is pure Nami. By now it should be no surprise that Banpresto knows what they’re doing with Nami’s likeness. She glances off to the side with her large, perfectly printed eyes, a cute smile, and her signature flowing orange-red hair. If you look closely, you can even see the pearl studs in her ears.

Heaven knows that there’s no shortage of Nami figures out there on the market, so when Banpresto can add another to the pile and still have her stand out, well that’s no small feat. Oh sure, you can get better figures, but they’re going to cost you, and the fact that Banpresto is delivering quality in this scale at or below the $20 mark is mighty impressive. It doesn’t hurt that Amazon is selling these at competitive prices and with free shipping if you happen to be a Prime member. At that point, these practically become impulse buys for me!

One Piece: “Flag Diamond Ship” Nico Robin by Banpresto

Three Saturday Anime reviews in a row means It might be becoming a habit again, which would be great because I have a big backlog of Prize Figures and Figmas to open and review. Then again, with the Silly Season upon us, my time will be getting tight again, so we’ll see how this goes. Today I’m getting completely caught up with Banpresto’s Flag Diamond Ship series with a look back at Nico Robin. I missed this one when it first came out, so I had to double back for her. It cost me a little bit extra, but I didn’t get beaten up too badly.

As usual, this roughly 9-inch scale figure comes in a fully enclosed box with lots of pictures of what’s inside. It’s collector friendly, and I dig these boxes because, rather than tossing them, I can flatten them out and file them away so they don’t take up a lot of room. There is some minor assembly required here, mainly putting the two halves of Robin together at the waist and while the fit was a little tight on this one, I was eventually able to get her set up and ready to go.

I’m fond of pointing out that my first two figures in the Flag Diamond Ship series, Nami and Boa Hancock had a strong pirate flair to them and after that the series just started doing it’s own thing. Well, Robin here fits more closely with the design of those first two figures, but she’s still sporting something of a pirate-cowboy mash-up. She’s also one of the simpler designed figures in the series, as there isn’t a whole lot to her costume, and I mean that both literally and figuratively. Robin sports a tan jacket with red liner, which she is holding open to expose her skimpy black bikini-style top. Moving downward, she’s got a black micro-skirt with a wide gray belt, and finally, a pair of brown buccaneer boots. The ensemble is punctuated by an oversize brown fedora, a multi-colored head scarf, and a single flintlock pistol strapped to her right thigh.

The portraits in this series have all been great, and Robin does nothing to buck that trend. She sports a somewhat serious expression with her hair and the head scarf both blowing off behind her. Her facial features are perfectly printed and the white, purple, and lavender pattern of the scarf is also neat and clean and offers a nice contrast to her black hair. The fedora is tipped down low over her face, so this is a statue that really demands being displayed at eye level if you don’t want to obscure her pretty face.

I’m not sure whether Robin is putting on her jacket, taking it off, or just flashing her goodies, but whatever the case I like the pose. As I mentioned there isn’t a huge amount of detail here, but that’s more because of the style and not an intentional omission. Most of the outfit’s detail can be found in the boots. They have a cool suede look about them, with sculpted gold painted fixtures and laces. There’s a nice braided band around her hat, and the jacket features stitch lines on the outside as well as the liner. Finally, they put some excellent work into the flintlock. The paint is simple, but overall pretty clean and her skin tone looks great.

Rather than traditional bases, this line has been using plastic pieces that fit into one of the figures’ feet as a stand. The more recent releases have abandoned the effort to make these pieces look like anything other than hunks of plastic. Robin’s on the other hand is sculpted to look like… eh, a crumpled piece of cloth? Maybe? I don’t know, but whatever it is, I like that they gave it some detail. Unlike some collectors, I haven’t had any major issues with these unconventional stands, although Robin’s doesn’t fit quite as flush as the others so there is a tiny bit of wobble to her.

When I pre-order these figures, I can usually get them for between $20 and $25, but I had to go to hunt Nico Robin down and she set me back a full $30, and you know what? She was still well worth it. The quality on these figures continues to impress me and at about 9-inches tall, they make for impressive display pieces. These are definitely not what I tend to think of when I think of Prize Figures. As of now, I believe Banpresto has three more of these figures planned, including second versions of both Nico Robin and Boa Hancock, but it doesn’t look like they’ll be arriving until next year.