Spider-Man and Mary Jane Maquette (Exclusive) by Sideshow

It’s been a week, but I’m back and ready for action… and something a little different for this Marvel Monday! When Sideshow solicited their new maquette based on J Scott Campbell’s cover for The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1, I may have sprained my button pushing finger on that pre-order button. And then the waiting came. And I mean WAITING! My pre-order was placed in November of 2019, and about a year and a half later this statue finally showed up. I’ll concede that my patience has been wearing thin with Sideshow and pre-orders these days. When I first got into this game, it seemed like six months was the standard, and now over a year is not uncommon. With the exception of a Must-Have piece like this, I’m going to start rolling my dice and trying my luck with buying after release. But I digress! Let’s get to the goods!

You can dig around in FFZ’s past to find that my love for J Scott Campbell’s work runs deep, and I’m always happy to see him turn his talents to Marvel characters. I probably have at least a half-dozen of his Mary Jane covers, all signed, but sadly I don’t have the cover of Renew Your Vows #1 that this work is based on. I do, however, have it as a signed 7×11 art print, and I’m pretty content with that. Still, the front of the box also has a recreation of the art for reference, along with a rap-around red brick deco of the NY apartment, which looks quite nice! The box is absolutely huge, clocking in at close to Premium Format proportions, while the statue itself measures only about 12-inches tall, making the figures close to sixth-scale. The boxes large size comes from the fact that this statue comes spread out in a lot of pieces. Yes, there’s assembly required, but it’s all done with one connecting rod and a lot of magnets. In the end, I had not troubles fitting anything together.

And here is the piece all set up and I am absolutely in love. The composition sees MJ reclining on a comfy purple armchair, propped up on a couple of blue pillows, with one leg out and the other folded back under it. Meanwhile, Peter squats on the back of the chair, unmasked but still in his Spidey outfit. Their arms are intertwined, framing MJ’s face in the center. I was especially curious to see how they were going to engineer that web of arms, and the execution was quite clever, and the connections are for the most part fairly seamless. Spidey is secured to the chair with a peg, but MJ simply rests in molded indentations in the chair, and yet it still feels solid, even when I was transporting it from the studio to the display shelf. It is a satisfyingly heavy piece, mainly because the sofa is a solid block of polyresin.

The attention to detail in the costumes aligns perfectly with the art. MJ is wearing a long t-shirt, cut-off jean shorts, and a pair of Spider-Man themed knee socks, while Spidey dons his classic blue and red suit. Every detail, including the web pattern is incorporated into the sculpt and the paint lines are immaculate. They did a nice job applying some blue shading to MJ’s white top, and I really like the gradient colors in the chair. Indeed, everything about the colors here just pop like crazy! I’m particularly in love with the vibrant blue used on Spidey’s outfit.

Both portraits are a real triumph and a credit to the sculptor, Steve Schumacher. He also did the Abby Chase Premium Format, and I also own his Domino Premium Format Figure. It always amazes me when someone can take the very distinctive art stylings of Campbell’s and translate it so perfectly to three-dimensions. I love Peter’s wide, beaming grin. It’s almost smug in knowing that he has indeed hit the jackpot. Meanwhile, MJ is just looking as gorgeous as she always does when JSC sets to drawing her. The paint application on both portraits is just about flawless.

There’s no actual base for this piece, the chair serves alone in that capacity, and I think that was a great idea. It sits slightly off the ground on four stubby legs, and remains perfectly stable with no wobble to worry about. I do, however, recommend displaying this one toward the back of the shelf, as MJ’s one leg does reach out pretty far in front and it would be a shame to catch it on your arm when walking by. The bottom of the chair has an illustrated finish, along with the hand-numbered statement of limitation. Yeah, I really should have snapped a picture of that before putting this thing together, but I was just too excited to do it. Mine is number 244 of the 1200 piece Exclusive run. So before wrapping, up let’s take a look at what makes this the Exclusive!

The Exclusive includes the little stuffed tiger that’s depicted in the original art. It’s an adorable little fellow and it’s designed to just sit right between MJ’s rump and the chair’s arm. Lucky bastard! This tiger really hit the jackpot! In reference to the cover art, the absence of the tiger is a bit conspicuous, so I’m not sure it was the best incentive for exclusive. I would have probably rather the tiger be included with the standard edition and we got a metal art card with the Exclusive, but then the Exclusive is still available at Sideshow, so anyone jumping on this even after release will be able to get it.

It’s tough for a collectible to live up to a year and a half’s worth of anticipation, but this maquette managed to pull it off. The paint and sculpt are both absolutely sterling, and the quality control is positively above reproach. I don’t think there was a single month in all that time where I didn’t find myself on Sideshow’s site and drooling over the pictures. And on the positive side, the $525 price tag is a lot easier to swallow when amortized over eighteen months. It’s great to have another killer piece for my ever expanding J Scott Campbell display.

Grimm Fairy Tales: Liesel Van Helsing Bishoujo Statue by Zenescope

If you’ve been a visitor to FFZ for a while, you no doubt already know that I have a special place in my heart for Zenescope comics. They were my safe haven when the Big Boys of Comics were playing politics, intentionally antagonizing their fans, and basically just turning out bad art and junk stories. As a contrast, Zenescope presented me with guilty pleasure and a means of escape that I look forward to a couple of times a month when my order shows up. They taught me to really enjoy comics again. By last count I have something like 850 floppies and trade paperbacks from The Big Z: A number that is enlarged by the amazing number of variant and limited collectible covers Zenescope turns out for most issues. Zenescope has dabbled with collectibles over the years, producing a few Sixth-Scale figures, and more recently a series of Bishoujo-style 1/7 scale statures by way of Kickstarter. Previous releases included Sela Mathers and Robyn Locksley, and this time around we’re getting Liesel Van Helsing!

There’s no denying that Zenescope took a page from Kotobukiya and their line of Bishoujo figures, many of which have been based on the characters of DC and Marvel comics, and that is immediately evident in the packaging. Liesel comes in a large window box with the figure itself nested between two clear plastic trays. The art that inspired this piece, by Jason Cardy, can be seen on the front as well as the side panels. The top panel has the Grimm Universe logo and the back panel has some copy about the character. Van Helsing tends to rival Robyn Hood for the title of my favorite Zenescope character, with the winner usually being whoever’s book I happen to be reading at the time. The statue comes out of the box fully assembled and ready to go, so let’s check her out!

And here she is… Van Helsing done up with a bit of Bishoujo cuteness. This Vamp-hunting Victorian out of time features a sculpted outfit that includes black knee-high boots, a pair of very tight, and very short black shorts, a red and black corset, white gauntlets, and a black long-sleeve jacket, with a red interior, that sweeps out like a cape. They omitted her trademark fishnets and I can certainly understand why, as they would be difficult to reproduce here. And even without them this outfit works as a very iconic look for the character. The pose looks like it’s straight off of a floppy cover, as Liesel stands with her feet wide apart, her crossbow drawn up in her right hand, while her left hand steadies her steampunk top hat. And while the pose is quite calculated and composed, Liesel’s wild hair and blowing jacket give it just the right bit of excitement.

While the costume is overall fairly simple in keeping with that anime style, there are still plenty of little flourishes of detail. Her boots have sculpted straps and buckles as well as rivets reinforcing the toes and heels. Likewise, her corset is secured with four sculpted belts, each buckled down the front. She has a brace of bolts for her crossbow lined up on her right hip, which is counterbalanced by a pouch on her left hip and another down on her left thigh. The coloring is a mix of matte and slight gloss for a bit of contrast, and the quality of the paint applications is quite solid. The skin tone is still a bit too waxy for my tastes, as opposed to the warm and more even plastic skin tone seen on the Kotobukiya figures, but it’s certainly not a deal breaker for me.

The portrait succeeds in painting Liesel with the pretty girl anime style, complete with large green eyes and small pouty lips. She has a slight air of determination as she sizes up her latest adversary. Her hair blowing wildly from under her stitched hat with the steampunk goggles. The crossbow has a great anachronistic look to it. From the modern pistol grip, to the old time wood finish, to the contemporary scope, it really characterizes Liesel’s steampunk heritage and practice of mating Old World thinking with modern technology in her inventions.

As with the previous releases, Van Helsing’s base is a simple black disk, which works well for this format. The statue doesn’t really need an environment for context, and the simple design doesn’t detract from the figure itself.

As I said when reviewing the previous two statues, these pieces are not in league with Kotobukiya’s own pieces, but Koto’s been in the game for a long time and the MSRP on their pieces have been ever on the rise. Zenescope, on the other hand, is still new to the game, and I think they’re doing a pretty bang up job on these. Last time, Van Helsing was teased on Robyn’s box, but there’s no such teaser here, so I’m hoping that this line will continue. I don’t see why it wouldn’t, as the Kickstarters have all well exceeded their goals, and Zenescope has been using the opportunity to merchandise a number of Add-On books and other extras. There are no doubt plenty of choices for the next one, from Mystere to Red Agent, Belle the Beast Hunter, Gretel the Witch-Slayer, Black Knight, or even Cinderella the Serial-Killer Princess! But to be fair, I think Skye Mathers really should be next, and it would be nice to display her next to her late mom, Sela.

DC Comics: Premium Format Wonder Woman Premium Format by Sideshow

The fact that I only own a few Premium Format Statues by Sideshow proves that as a collector I at least have some willpower left. These things are huge and expensive, and I frequently find myself with glass of Jameson in hand drooling over them on Sideshow’s website into the wee hours of the night. I’m fond of saying that I got my first taste for free when I won a Sideshow contest for the Batman Returns Catwoman, but it’s today’s Wonder Woman statue that was the first Premium Format to get me to open up my wallet. I actually had this lady in my sites for a long time, hoping that she would sell out so I could finally stop agonizing over the decision. But a couple of years ago I got a nice bonus at work and decided to treat myself.

These statues usually come in pretty big boxes, but this Wonder Woman’s box is absolutely massive. It features absolutely no images of the figure inside, just Wonder Woman’s name and logo and some stars against a red and white backdrop. Inside, the statue is nestled between two large Styrofoam bricks, with the individual pieces wrapped in tissue paper. As always, there’s some assembly required, but nothing here was too difficult and all the pieces fit together with ease. Before proceeding, I’ll start with an apology. This piece is well beyond the comfortable constraints of my little studio set up, which is designed for action figures, not mammoth pieces like this. As a result, when I reviewed my camera roll, I wasn’t happy with many of the pictures I took. This piece deserved better, but until I can put together a larger studio space, I have no reason to think a reshoot would have had better results.

Here she is, standing majestically among crumbled ruins of Themyscira and meauring something like 24-inches high. Her right hand is held out at arm’s length, clutching the shaft of her spear and balancing it on her shoulder and behind her neck. Her left hand grasps the handle on her shield, while her left foot rests up on a piece of ruined architecture. Sideshow has done several excellent Premium Formats based on the Amazonian Princess, but the composition of this piece is probably the one thing that makes it my favorite. Diana looks like she just got finished pummeling the combined armies of Ares, and now she’s coming for the Big Guy himself. Simply wonderful!

Probably the next thing that attracted me to this piece was the portrait. I’ve got to say it, maybe two-thirds of the time, Sideshow’s female portraits let me down. I was willing to throw money at their Zatanna figure when it was first teased, but I couldn’t get past the somewhat masculine head sculpt. What I like about this one is the way it portrays Diana as both tough and beautiful. The portrait isn’t inspired by the likenesses of Gal Gadot or Linda Carter either. Not that there’s anything wrong with those lovely ladies. I think they each look perfect in the role, but I just love that this isn’t influenced by any of the movies or TV. Either way, here she has a strong, determined brow, and an upturned smirk as she assesses the confrontation ahead. Meanwhile, her hair blows off to the side. The paint on her eyes is razor sharp, and there’s a nice glossy finish to her lips.

Her costume is certainly one of the more abbreviated designs. There’s no skirt, but just the blue panties with white stars. Her gold belt offers up her trademark WW logo, and she has the Art Deco-style golden eagle motif on the front of her chest. Meanwhile, everything in between is painted with a rich crimson. The coloring is lush and deep, rather than being too flashy and bright. It definitely has a patina of realism too it, or at least as realistic as you can make an outfit like this look! It’s simple and elegant, and the quality of paint application is above reproach.

The spear is a simple wooden shaft, which has a sculpted ribbon tied around it. Once upon a time, Premium Formats all had some form of mixed media incorporated into them, and while that hasn’t been the case in a while, I do wish they had made this ribbon out of real cloth and sewn a wire into it to make it poseable. It’s not that it looks bad, it actually looks quite nice, but I just think some cloth would have been a great touch here. It also would have been a lot less fragile. She also carries her coiled Lasso of Truth on her right hip. This piece is sculpted with braids and painted with the same finish as the gold portions of her costume.

The shield is an absolute masterpiece, and it definitely draws the eye toward it almost immediately, thanks to that brilliant high-gloss finish. It’s a cool contrast with the matte coloring of the rest of the costume and it really pops from across the room. The concentric circles feature a blue ring of stars, a silver ring of Gracian patterns, and a central red disk with two silver stars and a raised golden eagle. Sideshow also released an Exclusive version of this statue where the shield could be swapped out with an battleax. It wasn’t too much more, but I still opted for the regular release, since I couldn’t imagine myself ever displaying this figure without the shield.

And that brings us down to the base, which compliments the figure perfectly. It’s quite large and adds some height to what is an already impressive piece. The crumbled stone texturing is exceptionally well done, and Diana attaches to it securely. A sword and helmet serve as some additional ornamentation. I wasn’t able to get this beast turned upside down for a picture, but the bottom surface of the base is fully illustrated and the statue is hand numbered. Mine is 4172 of 6000 total pieces. Not a low number to be sure, but it does represent how long I wrestled with myself over this one before finally buying it.

I can still remember my anticipation over this piece arriving. It was more money than I’m used to spending on any single collectible, and I was worried that I would come down with a case of buyer’s remorse. Not to mention the stress over it arriving broken or with some horrible QC issue, which has been known to happen with these statues from time to time. But after getting her unboxed and up on display, I found that I was delighted with my purchase. I don’t buy a lot of collectibles from DC Comics these days. I mainly blame that on the lack of a sustained, cohesive action figure line and my rage at them changing scales and styles so often. But, I do have a small collection of Wonder Woman statues, so this lovely lady is in good company.

J. Scott Campbell’s Fairytale Fantasies: Little Mermaid (Morning Edition) by Sideshow

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have seen that I’ve been reworking my beloved collection of J. Scott Campbell books, prints, and collectibles to make room for some new additions. And while I’ve got plenty of stuff in this collection still waiting to be reviewed, I thought I’d push this newest one to the front of the list. Let’s check out The Little Mermaid Morning Edition Statue from JSC’s Fairytale Fantasies line.

I first visited with this line a little while ago with a look at Tinkerbell, but in case you missed that one, Fairytale Fantasies partners the enormous talent of J. Scott Campbell and Sideshow to create polyresin statues depicting Campbell’s stylized renditions of some well-known fairytale ladies. The Little Mermaid was the first statue and at the time she was released I had too much money tied up in other pre-orders to allow me to get her. Unfortunately, she sold out pretty quickly and I missed out, but another opportunity popped up in the form of this Morning Edition, which is a blonde haired, red-tailed variant. Yes, I would have preferred the original green tail and red hair, but hell I do enjoy me some salmon, and I wasn’t about to miss out on this one a second time. She comes in a fully enclosed box with some ornate decorations and the boldness of including absolutely no images of the statue on the box. But yeah, granted, I’d say the overwhelming majority of collectors that buy this are doing so online anyway. I don’t believe there was an exclusive release on this one, but it was limited to 1500 pieces and the number of each statue is on the bottom of the box. Inside contains a Styrofoam block with the statue in three pieces: The base, the upper body, and the tail. The pieces connect to the base easily with magnets and she’s all ready for display in a matter of minutes. Let’s have a look!

Oh, heck yes! These statues appear to be roughly one-sixth scale, but because our mermaid is bending over as she emerges from the water, we’re dealing with a piece that takes up about as much real estate on the shelf as she is tall. Nevertheless, this is a sizeable and hefty piece that commands attention on the shelf. The figure is pushing up from the surface of the water, with her hands resting on a jutting rock, while her tail disappears into the water (right about where her knees would be) and protrudes again to show off the majestic fin at the end of her tail. It’s a cool effect, and while the tail is a separate piece, I can definitely buy it being all connected under the water. I think the composition here is perfect, as it allows for a number of sweet spots so you can be a little creative with its orientation on the shelf. Truth be told, this lady looks great from just about any angle.

The tail itself features a sculpted checkered pattern of scales and an absolutely gorgeous coat of deep crimson red paint with a subtle sheen to it. Yeah, I made a Salmon crack before, but this is clearly red not pink. There are some semi-translucent fins coming off of each side near the waist, where fish meets lady. At first, I was thinking it would have been cool to work in an area where the tail gradually gave way to human flesh, but on second thought, that might have been a little creepy and gross. Given the stylized nature, I’m fine with the definitive cut off. The tail fins are cast in an opaque milky plastic with some gradient red running through it. It’s quite lovely and majestic, almost resembling flower pedals as it sweeps out and curves down at the tips. The tail manages to be impressive without being oppressive, as it really only blocks the view of the figure from directly behind.

Of course, the lady half is what garners the most of my attention, and that’s because she’s stunningly beautiful. The contours of her body match that undeniable Campbell style that makes me swoon (while making Twitter nutbags exclaim “OMG, WHERE R HER ORGANZZZ???” The fact that she’s pushing herself up on off the rock allows for some serious chest poofing, of which I am definitely a fan. It is, after all, a well known fact that Mermaids have no concept of modesty and they will advertise their goods to any fish or sailor that happens to be gawking. In this case, however, her rather elaborate shell necklace manages to conceal just enough of her copious chest to give this piece a PG rating.

The necklace is not only beautifully sculpted and painted, but talking about it more allows me to take some strategic close ups of her shells. This collection of conches, starfish, and other undersea treasures is painted in pink and turquoise with a pearlescent finish. She also sports a gold bicep band on her left arm.

And that brings us to the portrait, which is a stunning piece of work. A design style as singularly distinctive as Campbell’s cannot be easy to adapt to a 3D model, and yet the wizards at Sideshow seem to have mastered the art of this conversion. I think this Mermaid is right up there with Tinkerbell in perfectly capturing JSC’s talents. From the high cheekbones and almond eyes to the slope of the nose and the perfect lips, this head sculpt brings the 2D art to life. The paint here is exquisite as well. The applications on the eyebrows, eyes, and lips are all sharp and crisp, and the warm, soft skin throughout the statue has a subtle freckling that really brings this fish-gal to life. And while I would have preferred the redhead version of the original, this Morning Editions flowing blonde hair is certainly a worthy alternative.

Our final stop, as always, is the base, and here we have a simple black oval with a beautiful resin water effect, which ripples around the rock and tail. The jagged rock looks real enough as to have been plucked from the sea and glued onto the statue. The mermaid’s fingers grasp at each end of it, with her fingers adorned in gold rings, and her wrists covered with golden bangles. There’s even some pink nail polish on her fingernails.

The bottom of the base has the Fairytale Fantasies logo in gold foil against a pink backdrop. This combination looks striking in person, but my camera had troubles with it, so it’s not quite as prominent in the picture. Also here on the underside of the base, the statue is hand numbered. Mine is 495/1500. As far as I know, there was no Sideshow Exclusive version of this one, which is a shame. Tinkerbell came with a metal concept art card, but I’ll have to settle with picking up the concept art print off of JSC’s store to display with her.

If you’re a fan of J. Scott Campbell’s work and are looking to throw some money at some JSC for your shelf, this Fairytale Fantasies line is a great way to go, and I believe both of these statues are still available at various online retailers, including Sideshow themselves. I don’t think anyone has managed to capture Campbell’s work nearly as well in statue form and I think the subject matter is a perfect fit for the style. I’ll confess that I was a little worried that the variant colors would be a constant reminder that I missed out on the original, but that hasn’t been the case. For the record, there is also a purple tail brunette variant, which I believe was a JSC Store Exclusive too. I picked up this piece from Sideshow when they were doing a free shipping sale, which amounts to quite a bit of savings when you’re talking about a heavy statue like this one, and after applying some reward points, this fishy lady set me back about $250. A fine catch, if you ask me. I still have Alice to review, and Cinderella is slated to be released next year.

Women of Dynamite: Sheena Queen of the Jungle Limited Edition Statue by Dynamite

When it comes to comics, there was no shortage of feral blonde bombshells stalking the floppy jungles. Marvel has the ravishing Shaana the She-Devil and Dynamite dared to one-up them with TWO buxom tree-dwellers: Jana The Jungle Girl (who recently got a wonderful TPB Omnibus release) and, the focus of today’s review, Sheena the Queen of the Jungle! I didn’t need a whole hell of a lot of convincing to buy a Sheena statue, but when you toss in the fact that it’s based on the art of one of my favorite artists, J. Scott Campbell, this was basically a required purchase. But it was also one made with some trepidation. The Women of Dynamite statue series has been really hit-and-miss when it comes to quality control. So much so, that their Vampirella got a second release which promised to improve on the dire paint of the original. I picked that one up and while I did review her fairly favorably, it still wasn’t quite up to my expectations for a $150+ limited statue. Hopefully Sheena will fare a little better. I will confess, however, that I was slightly worried about the fact that most of the promo material for this piece was a 3D render rather than a painted prototype. Not usually a good sign!

Sheena comes in a fully enclosed box, which is fairly sizable given that this statue is roughly one-sixth scale. The box art is colorful and we finally get some shots of what I presume is the prototype. The side panel shows off some of the repainted variants that are available for this piece, including a B&W version and even an arctic version, which fails to put any more clothes on poor shivering Sheena. The statue inside is made of resin and comes encased between two Styrofoam bricks. Along with the statue you get a hand-numbered limitation card (denoting that this had a run of 750 pieces) as well as a card acknowledging that the statue was made possible by a Kickstarter campaign. I watched that campaign closely, but ultimately had to bow out of backing it because of the lack of a physical prototype. There are quite a few companies that I would trust pre-ordering based on a render, but Dynamite is not one of them. Ultimately, I picked her up through an online retailer, and she is still available through Sideshow at the time I’m writing this review.

And here she is freed of her confinement and on the prowl. Sheena is based off of the Campbell’s cover for 2017’s Sheena Queen of the Jungle #1. The only real difference is on the cover she’s depicted holding on to two vines, while here she has one hand resting on the tree and another holding her knife. It’s a clever work-around, as the vines leading to nowhere probably wouldn’t have worked for a statue. The tweaks allow her to retain the essentials of the cover art while even adding a little more excitement to it, as she has her weapon at the ready and looks like she’s about to pounce. As in the cover, Sheena’s left foot stretches forward with her toes clutching the tree, while her right leg is held back as if ready to propel herself atop her unseen foe. In terms of composition, I have no complaints here, the choices they made are all excellent and serve the character extremely well.

Sheena’s skimpy costume consists of some shredded leopard skins, which do little to conceal the Jungle Queen’s modesty. These are sculpted as part of the statue but hang off of her quite realistically and look great. Sometimes resin sculpted outfits can look rather thick and unnatural, but that’s certainly not the case here. The paint is also very well done, giving the garment a shade of yellow slightly deeper than Sheena’s hair and some meticulously painted brown spots. It’s secured by a sculpted belt, which feels a little too modern or civilized for the rest of the costume, although in fairness it is depicted on the cover. Maybe it was included to give her somewhere to carry her knife, although there isn’t a sheath. The rest of her costume consists of gold bangles on her wrists, and another on her left ankle, and finally a pair of gold bicep cuffs. And as nice as the outfit looks, its best attribute is that it shows off so much of Sheena’s best attributes. The sculpt does a nice job recreating those stylized curves that have become a trademark of Campbell’s sexy ladies. There’s a lot to enjoy here, but I think it’s Sheena’s legs that draw my eye the most. They are absolutely stunning and go on for days! What’s more the paint quality and application used for her skin tone is smooth, even, and absolutely perfect.

The portrait turned out fine, but as with Vampirella, I’m only seeing a little bit of Campbell’s work in there with more from some angles and less from others. The nose and lips look right, the overall structure of the face seems right, but the eyes aren’t quite there. In fairness, Campbell’s women are hard to copy in three-dimensions. Up until now I think Sideshow has been one of the few to get it spot-on. Still, I like what we got well enough. The paint is neatly applied, especially around the lips, and I’d say that goes for pretty much the whole statue. There are a few spots here and there where the paint lines could have been a little sharper, but you need to get in pretty close to start seeing any real imperfections. That alone makes this a huge improvement over the previous Women of Dynamite release that I reviewed. The hair sculpt is a little chunky, but that’s to be expected with resin and overall I think they captured the flow of her hair pretty well. The tribal necklace is a nice touch too!

They made an interesting choice with the base by putting the tree on a plain black disk, rather than going for a total diorama display. I kind of like it, as the contrast really brings out the detail in the tree itself. The bark is realistically sculpted and painted in a rich chocolate brown and additional vegetation is sculpted onto it, including some moss, vines, and leaves to imbue it with an unruly jungle flavor. I do love me some contrasts in my statues and the rough bark against her smooth skin makes for some great composition.

The bottom of the base indicates that this is the Standard Edition, as this piece was available in a number of different paint variations. The sculptor, Steve Kiwus is also credited here, although I’m surprised that Campbell didn’t get his name inscribed on here as well. The copyright is for 2019, but the statue was actually released this year. Finally, we have the limitation, which is hand numbered. Mine is a fairly high number: 662 of 750, but I’ll take what I can get.

And here’s a shot of her with the cover art she’s based on. I’m proud to have a CGC Graded copy of Sheena #1 signed by Campbell. And it’s the gold foil variant too! I’ll definitely be displaying these two items together!

If you can’t tell, I’m extremely happy with how this piece turned out and it’s nice to see that Dynamite is upping their game with these releases. Honestly, it was a bit of a tense moment when I opened it and had my first look at her, but gradually that apprehension was replaced with relief and then sheer delight! The sculpt, quality of paint, and precision of application are all where they need to be, making for quite an iconic and undeniably sexy display piece. But is it worth the price of admission? Mmm… that depends on where you get her. MSRP seems to be around $190 which seems pretty high for what you’re getting. I was able to pick her up for $130 and I had some gift cards to toss in, so like Vampirella, she came in at under $100 and I’m perfectly satisfied with that. Now, if only they can take another crack at Dejah Thoris and have it turn out as good as this, I’d be willing to go back to Dynamite for a third time!

Marvel Gallery: Emma Frost (FCBD Edition) by Diamond Select

I was supposed to be spending this Marvel Monday diving into a new wave of Marvel Legends, but then I realized I should take this opportunity between waves to have a look at some of the other Marvel related collectibles waiting to be reviewed. And it just so happens that I have a new(ish) and unopened statue from Diamond Select’s Marvel Gallery series, so let’s have a look at Emma Frost today!

DST did something kind of weird with this release, making the translucent diamond version of the statue the regular edition and this regular-looking version this Free Comic Book Day Edition of the statue. Seems like that should have been the other way around. Not that this one is any more difficult to get than the regular flavor Emma, and it doesn’t seem to be any more expensive either. As always, the statue comes in a multi-window box, which lets in plenty of light from the top and sides. The PVC statue comes fully assembled and suspended between two clear plastic trays. While this figure is scaled about the same as other releases in this line, her pose makes for a really tall box! The front of the box is marked with the Free Comic Book Day tag and everything about the box packaging is totally collector friendly.

And here she is out of that box and ready for display on the shelf, and damn she’s just all sorts of beautiful! Emma stands atop the remains of a Sentinel, taking a slow and sultry victory lap, with her right arm stretched above her head. The composition is so simple, and yet so elegant, and that goes for pretty much everything about this piece. I do love me some museum-style poses, and this one adopts that style only with a side-order of sexy thrown in. It certainly accentuates, Emma’s lovely curves and just exudes power and confidence. And while this is a fairly large and impressive piece, it doesn’t require a whole lot of real estate to display it, just make sure you’ve got a shelf with a lot of vertical clearance!

The outfit is all cast in a striking pearlescent plastic, which gives it a lovely sheen, while the cape has more of a matte finish to it, creating a subtle but welcome contrast in what is an almost entirely white costume. Sometimes this sort of plastic can look cheap, but that’s certainly not the case here. Sparse and subtle details in the costume include sculpted stitch seams, which run up the up the middle of her leggings, and several more on her top. The high-heeled boots have some light rumples where her ankles are flexed and the top edges are well defined. There are two branded X-Men discs, one used as a belt buckle, and another up in the center of her chest, which secures the front of the cape, while the back is secured at the collar. The way the cape is attached gives it a cool cut-out effect, leaving her shoulders bare. And speaking of bare skin, DST did a really nice job giving Emma’s exposed bits a nice, warm skin-tone, which pops against all that white of the costume. There’s certainly a lot to love here for such a simple look.

The portrait is equally praiseworthy with Ms. Frost looking as striking as ever. The paint applied to the eyes and lips is pretty sharp and clean, and if you look close you can make out her choker collar buried under her chin and between her cascades of hair. The hair is sculpted separately from the head, giving it a great sense of depth and I really dig the way it frames her face, The hair itself is painted with a sandy matte finish, which looks so much better than when they try to go full on yellow blonde and add a wash. The hair sculpt offers just enough to show some detail, but remains soft, and I think they did a nice job with the way it bunches around her shoulders, making it look quite natural.

The base hints at being a piece of Sentinel scrap, although it’s hard to make out what exactly. I’m thinking probably a couple of fingers. It looks fantastic and features some wonderfully weathered paint, and the sculpt itself is all nicked and scratched showing that this Sentinel saw some action before Emma brought it down. The cold dirty metal finish also makes for a lovely contrast to the clean white look of the figure. The base is, however, very small compared to the rest of the piece, and while that is certainly welcome in a sense of preserving real estate on the shelf, it doesn’t really convey the sense of Diorama, which is exactly what DST continues to call these. Although, I’ve gone down this road before in these reviews, and I have a feeling the diorama moniker has something to do with licensing.

I have absolutely no room these statues, and while I’ve been better about being more selective, I still continue to buy them. Why? Because they look great and are probably the best value on the statue market these days. For what is essentially a budget line of statues (Emma cost me $50), DST really does bring their A-game to a lot of these Gallery releases. And that goes double for Ms. Frost here. She’s absolutely stunning in every way, and other than in the materials used, I’m not seeing a whole lot of difference between this statue and some of DST’s much higher priced Premier Editions. Hell, I think Emma here is at least as good, if not slightly better than a few of those, and they rank in at the $150 range. Throw in the fact that these Gallery statues often turn up for sale at under the MSRP, and it’s hard to go wrong here and even harder to resist temptation when they turn up in my browsing.

Fate/Grand Order: Caster Nitocris “Super Premium” Figure by SEGA

I’ve recounted recently about how I’ve pulled back from buying Prize Figures, mostly because they were starting to get out of hand and I had no space to display them. All in all, I’ve been pretty well behaved on this newly imposed restriction, but I still had the odd pre-order pending here and there, and I decided to let most of them ride. I still dig these figures a lot, they look great, they’re inexpensive, and they come in handy for days like today where I don’t have a lot of time and need something quick and dirty to feed that content beast. So let’s check out this Caster Nitocris Super Premium Figure (SPM) from SEGA!

Nitocris hails from the Fate/Grand Order game, and I like to call this purchase a Consolation Prize Figure, because I really wanted to pick up Amakuni’s Scale Figure of her, but I just couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on that price, and so I satisfied myself with this figure instead. Yup, there’s more of that self control again. I’m not entirely hopeless.¬†As with most of SEGA’s SPM figures, Nitocris comes in a very colorful and fully enclosed box, featuring some nice shots of the statue and a bit of English copy on the box to help you know what you’re looking at. Inside, the figure comes wrapped in plastic and requiring some minor assembly. Here you attach the head and the right arm at the elbow, plug in the support piece for her hair, and then plug the figure into the base. All told, she measures about 9-inches tall and now that she’s all set up, let’s have a look…

There’s something about chicks in Egyptian costume that does it for me, and this is indeed a very beautiful figure. Nitocris stands proudly with one leg in front of the other, her left hand resting on her hip, and her right hand clutching her staff. Her outfit doesn’t leave too much tot he imagination, and I ain’t complaining. She has a white top to cover her Upper Deltas and a sculpted blue sash to conceal her Lower Nile Valley. Her hips are covered in plastic pink “fabric” and the whole ensemble is held together by some sculpted beaded chains. She has some brown wraps on her forearms, and her plastform sandals have sculpted wraps that reach up to just under her knees.

Nitocris’ curvy figure is framed by her copious coif of cascading blue hair that balloons out in the middle and comes to an end with a chunky red ring. This hellacious waterfall of hair looks cool and distinctive from the front, but sadly covers her entirely from the rear view. Seriously, from behind she looks like just a big blob. Besides the excellent sculpted detail on this figure, I think the colors are probably what I dig the most. The combination of white, pink, and deep indigo blue all looks so lush and striking against mocha colored skin. But what really shines is the wonderful gold leaf paint they used. Just lovely!

The portrait is suitably adorable, as Nitocris features a pair of Anubis-like ears, large printed purple eyes, and some face paint on her cheeks. She has a cute pointed nose and her mouth is pressed into a grin. Her gold and blue gorget and headpiece both frame her portrait perfectly. And as if she didn’t have enough hair pouring down the back of her, she also has two bunches running down either side of her head and nearly reaching her hips.

Her ebony staff is quite striking and is permanently attached to her right hand. I also dig the loose bangles that hang on her wrists.

The base is a simple translucent disk with the game’s logo printed on it in vibrant blue lettering. It’s simple, functional, and doesn’t take away from the beauty of the figure.

And that’s it for this Wednesday’s admittedly brief review. It’s always a treat to take a look at a new Prize Figure, especially since I won’t be doing it all that frequently here any longer. If you’ve been kicking around with me on FFZ for a while then you probably already know that I’m a big fan of SEGA’s SPM figures. At around $20-25, they offer plenty of bang for the buck and Nitocris here is no exception to that. I’m not even a big fan of the game, but I do love me my Servants and this one in particular has been calling to me for a while. I pre-ordered this lady a little while back, but she’s been available on places like Amazon for a while, and to me this one makes for a nice alternative to those pricier Scale Figures. Now, if Max Factory should happen to release a Figma of her, well I’d probably have to come back for seconds.

One Piece: “Grandista” Grandline Lady Nami by Banpresto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood Bishoujo Statue by Zenescope

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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