Purgatori Sixth-Scale Figure by Phicen/TBLeague

I’m on vacation this week, so I’m going to try to work a few extra reviews into the mix to dig out from how behind I am. One of the things I want to focus on this year is getting out from under my backlog of Sixth-Scale figure reviews, and since the newest offering from TBLeague (formerly Phicen) showed up a couple weeks back, I thought I’d bump her to the head of the line. These guys have been making a nice little niche for themselves combining their amazing seamless Sixth-Scale bodies with various ladies from the indie comic scene. Some of these characters I only know peripherally, like Arhian: Head Huntress and I buy them mainly because I like the figure, but I’m well acquainted with today’s lady in question!

Once we got Chaos! Comics’ Lady Death, I was hoping Brian Pulido’s Purgatori wasn’t far behind, and here she is! She comes in shoebox style packaging, with the lid being gate-folded cardboard that clips onto the sides with magnets. This has become the standard for TBLeague’s figures and I’m happy for it. It looks beautiful, the box itself is sturdy, and overall it just feels suitable for a high end collectible figure. Purgatori comes nestled in a foam tray with her head and extra bits around her. Beneath that there’s another foam tray that houses her two sets of wings. Let’s get her set up and take a look!

If you were expecting a lavishly tailored and complex costume, than you’re probably not familiar with the character. When it comes to clothing, Purgatori firmly believes less is more, and that’s fine because it’s a shame to cover up the seamless beauty of the Phicen body. Indeed, TBLeague’s version adds a little more outfitting for Purg than I’m used to, with the inclusion of the two black sleeves. I realize that she’s sometimes drawn wearing these, but I’m used to seeing her without them. Normally, I’d write these off to being there to hide the seams, but that’s definitely not the case here. Still, I thought I would wind up taking them off, but they’ve grown on me, so I’m leaving them on. The body itself features a beautiful red skin coloring that matches the character art perfectly and makes for a very distinctive looking figure, even when surrounded by TBLeague’s other ladies of horror comics.

As for the rest of the costume, Purgatori features a pair of black high-heeled boots, which look like they may have been re-purposed from Lady Death. They’re pretty non-descript, but they do have a pair of clip-on straps to hold them up. Her bikini bottom is black with gold trim and paired with a belt and a silver horned death’s head buckle. Her wrists feature sculpted bracers with bangles at both ends, all painted in gold, her finger-less gloves are sculpted as part of her hands and also feature some gold painted finery. Next, she sports a hard plastic brassier, black with painted gold edges. And finally, her shoulders are adorned with sculpted skulls, which slide on over her arms and hug her biceps. And while the outfit is indeed fairly simple, it all fits well and looks great.

I wish I could say the same about the wings. Purg comes with two pairs of wings, one closed up and the other extended outward. These are all cast in translucent red plastic and secure into her back via pegs. The sculpting on these is excellent, as they’re textured and even have some holes in the membrane. They also feature a little bit of paint for the bone points. Unfortunately, these are a far cry from what I remember seeing in the prototype images used for the solicitations. Those showed the wing frames painted to make them look more solid, and there was even some paintwork applied to the membrane. The final pieces just look like what they are: Translucent plastic. And so, the final production pieces are definitely lacking, and while they aren’t enough to ruin the figure for me, they are a disappointment.

The open wings are absolutely huge, so much so that I can barely get her into my little studio area with them on. Obviously, that means that they take up a lot of display space on the shelf, so I doubt I’ll be using them as my default. The fact that they can swivel when connected to the body, does at least give some leeway and if you have more vertical space than horizontal, you can angle them all the way up and they hold in place pretty well.

The head sculpt is excellent, although since it isn’t stylized it isn’t going to match a lot of the character art found in the comics. Nonetheless, I do dig it a lot. She’s damn pretty for a demoness, and I’m particularly impressed with the paintwork on her eyes. The black rooted hair trails down her back, and while I tend to use a little styling gel to get the hair tamed on these figures, I think I’m going to leave Purg’s hair a little wild. The twin horns that protrude from her hairline are articulated and they look great. Finally, Purgatori features a tight choker collar, which was probably the hardest thing to put on the figure, and an ankh pendant attached with red string.

The articulation on these figures remains as impressive as ever. I have no idea which Phicen body this is, but the stainless steel skeleton that lurks beneath all that seamless red silicone skin is a thing of wonder. The figure not only has the usual points one would expect from an articulated Sixth-Scale figure, but it also supports all kinds of subtle adjustments that the human body is capable of. This includes throwing the hips to one side or another and even lower neck articulation buried in the upper torso. And the fact that there isn’t much costume here to inhibit poseability, Purg offers a lot more hands-on fun than you’re average Hot Toys or Sideshow figure. Even better, none of the movement feels delicate or scary.

When it comes to accessories, Purgatori does come up pretty short. I attribute that a bit to the wings counting as accessories and using up a lot of plastic, as well as space in the box. It’s probably also due to the fact that the last bunch of TBLeague figures I got were technically considered Deluxe Editions. Whatever the case, in addition to the two sets of wings, and a total of three pairs of hands, Purg only comes with two additional accessories. One is this kris dagger, which features a very sinister looking curvy blade, a brown sculpted grip, and gold painted cross-guard and pommel. I’m really on the fence over this piece, as it’s nicely executed, but the hilt design is really chunky to the point that it looks a little over-sized.

The other accessory is a gold chalice full of hot and bubbly blood and with a bit of the stuff spilling out over the side. The paint applications on this piece are especially nice and pretty damn convincing. I’ll likely be using this for her regular display. Now is as good a time as any to point out the complete lack of a figure stand, which for a Sixth-Scale figure is pretty inexcusable. Who is going to pose a $160 figure without some kind of support and risk it taking a shelf dive? Sure some of my other TBLeague figures came with decorative diorama bases that didn’t work all that well as stands, but I’d happily take one of those over nothing at all. Thankfully, I have a small stockpile of generic Sixth-Scale stands for just such an occasion.

At $160, TBLeague is continuing to keep their releases well under the $200 mark, and that’s no small feat in the Sixth-Scale figure market
these days. I like the figure a lot, but I would have much rather dropped an extra $20 if they had offered a Deluxe Edition that came with a figure stand and extra paint on the wings. Previous TBLeague releases at this price point felt more complete, whereas Purg here feels like they had to make some cuts to keep her at this price point. Either way, I’m glad I got her, and I’ve even pre-ordered the Exclusive Shanghai Comic Con variant that they’re calling Lady Bat.

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Arhian: Head Huntress Pirate Sixth-Scale Figure (Deluxe Edition) by Phicen/TBLeague

Hey, who wants to check out a new release from Phicen/TBLeague? Bah, I know the answer is almost none of you. I don’t tend to hang on my blog’s stats very often, but I do know that these Phicen reviews drum up the least amount of interest and engagement as almost anything. Hell, I once reviewed a box of Twinkies, and that post performed better than most of these Phicen reviews combined. But that’s OK. I’m a huge fan of these figures, these reviews are a labor of love, and I’m not about to stop anytime soon. Those of you still reading are probably aware that Phicen and TBLeague have done some great work bringing indie comic properties to the collectible figure market. In addition to some of their own original designs, they’ve produced figures from Image, Chaos, and Zenescope to name a few. And every once and a while they release a figure of a character from a comic I’ve never heard of, but I like the figure so much I go ahead and buy it anyway. Today is one of those times.

A little research tells me that Arhian: Head Huntress is a swords-and-sandals type offering from ARH Comix, with an emphasis on bloody battles and T&A. A little while ago, Phicen put out a figure of Arhian in her standard warrior garb and as tempted as I was to grab her up, I couldn’t fit her into the budget and, like most Phicen figures, when the retailers sold out, she shot up in price on the second-hand market. Needless to say, when they solicited this pirate version of Arhian, I plunked down my pre-order post-haste.

The packaging is very typical for TBLeague’s boxed figure sets. You get a heavy duty box with a front flap that secures with magnets to the sides. There’s some nice artwork on the front and photos of the figure on the side and rear panels. The figure itself comes nestled in a foam tray. I say it pretty much every time I review one of these releases: These guys do a much better job on the presentation than Hot Toys and Sideshow does on many of their regular releases.

Aw, yeah! Check her out! Is there anything sexier than a hot blonde pirate or am I alone in this particular fetish? Either way, one look at Arhian and I didn’t need any backstory or familiarity with the comic to want to add her to the collection. Arhian uses what I think is one of Phicen’s medium build seamless bodies, making her shorter than the last one I looked at, Athena, and with a slightly larger bust size. As always, the body features silicone skin and muscle wrapped around a stainless steel skeleton that mimics the articulation of the human body so well that it’s almost creepy. They still don’t have the look of the elbow bends quite right, but that’s a small nitpick when everything else looks so good.

In terms of complexity, I’d say Arhian’s costume is about middle of the road when compared to some of the other Phicens in my collection, but that’s not to say I didn’t run into a few roadblocks getting her kitted out. She comes wearing a one-piece leather-like tunic, which is split down the middle to offer a fine view of her pirate’s chest, and extends down past her waist in the front and back to offer a little modestly to her stern and aft quarters. The garment is neatly stitched and features a zig-zag pattern running down the front edges. Oh yeah, it also smells like Lipton Iced Tea mix. I’m not joking. Open up a tub of that stuff and take a big whiff. that’s exactly what this figure smells like out of the box. Don’t ask me why.

The easy parts of completing her costume includes sliding on her bicep rings, her wrist bracers, and the tops of her sandals. The bicep rings are cast in plastic and have a nice bronze finish to them, along with some great sculpted ornamentation. These are fairly easy to get on, and even easier if you have a little talcum powder lying around to help them slide onto her silicone skin. The same goes for her long bracers, which feature sculpted wraps and bronze studs. Not only do these look stylish, but they also help to hide the seams on her wrists. As for the sandals, the feet are sculpted with the lower part of the sandals permanently attached, as well as an ornamental bronze colored fixture between her toes. The rest of the sandal is a soft plastic sleeve that slides onto her leg. I love how they did this and it makes for a decent effect, although the bottom of these pieces don’t always hide the ankle seams in more extreme action poses.

The biggest pain to set up was her wide belt, which had to be laced up the side with string and tied off. It took me quite a while to be able to thread the string through those tiny eyelets. I eventually had to resort to treating the string with some hair gel to get it through. I laced it up off the figure and then when I tried to slide it up her legs I found that it was almost too snug to make it to her waist. I think it was sheer determination not to have to go through the lacing ordeal again that finally got it into place. Besides being a pain, the belt looks great. It has a leather-like texture and an ornate lion head sculpted into the front. It also features the studded leather straps that make up her skirt.

Arhian also comes with a sword belt that can be fastened loose to rest on her hip and carry her dagger and sword. The dagger simply hooks onto the belt, whereas the sword is secured by passing the belt through a chain. I was not a big fan of the chain on the Athena figure’s sword and I’m not a big fan of it here either. It does hold it in place for display, but it has to be adjusted to hang properly whenever I repose the figure.

Moving on to the portrait, I think Phicen is continuing to show solid improvement in their figures’ heads, both in terms of sculpt and paint. The eyes are quite lifelike and the paint on the eyebrows, lashes, and lips is crisp and precise. Arhian features long rooted hair, which is fairly manageable right out of the box, but I did apply a bit of that hair gel to get it further under control. She comes with a red cloth hat, which is similar to the dew-rags, or bandanna if you prefer, often seen worn by pop culture pirates. The hat features some beading around the bottom edge as well as around the flap on the front. The final piece of Arhian’s costume is her necklace, which looks like it’s supposed to be made up of bones or teeth. They’re all individual pieces on a string and getting it looped right and tied off was a bit of a challenge for me.

Moving on to her weapons, the dagger is a simple enough piece with a functional, and not terribly flashy looking, sheath. It features a sculpted grip with a pommel that looks like it could be useful in smashing in skulls. The blade is painted silver and has some blood splatter on it. In addition to her relaxed hands and a pair of gesturing hands, Arhian comes with a pair of weapon holding hands that work perfectly.

The sword is a far more interesting piece than the dagger and features a rather ornate scabbard with reinforced scroll-work and some big sculpted studs. It’s cast in plastic but has an aged bronze finish to it and the sword fits perfectly, so that it’s easy to draw out but still stays put. I’ve already said my piece about the chain that it hangs on. I think it looks great, but it’s not as secure as it could be.

The sword itself features a curved blade, which looks like it’s designed for quick slashing attacks to make up for its’ lack of reach. The plastic blade features a brilliant silver paint along with a gold sculpted inlay and a red ruby. The hilt has a sculpted simulated wrap on the grip and a silver pommel with another ruby centered in it. I really dig all the accessories included with this figure, but I wish they had thrown in a few more goodies, like a bottle of booze or a treasure chest. I’ve already started hunting down some goodies for her.

She does, however, come with a really nice display base. It’s a patch of sand surrounded by a stone wall and adorned with skulls and crossbones. There’s an additional skull half buried in the sand as well. The sculpting and design of this base is outstanding, but the problem is that there’s no way to secure the figure to it. Sometimes Phicen makes use of foot pegs, but that’s not the case here, and there’s no post or anything to hold her up. I have no troubles getting her to stand on it, but there’s no way I’m going to display her that way over a long period of time and risk having her take a shelf dive.

Every time I open a new figure from TBLeague I’m delighted with what I find, which is probably why I keep plunking down the pre-orders. About the only real gripe I have for Arhian here is the price. At $179, she ranks in the same as Athena and that figure game with a few more outfit pieces and a column display stand that’s as big as the figure. Granted, Athena was an original design and Arhian is a licensed character, but I can’t believe a small press like ARH Comix soaked these guys with the licensing fees. What I’m getting it as Arhian feels like she should have been at least $10 cheaper and while that was never going to be a deal-breaker for me, it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.