Charmed Series 2: Paige by SOTA

And we’re back to check out another one of the lovely ladies from Charmed, a show that I have never seen and know next to nothing about. But, hey, if I could do this for Xena’s figures than why not for these gals? Series 2 sees the same three girls in some kind of skimpy pagan witch outfits, and who am I to argue with that? This time we’re checking out Paige, and she comes with a piece of the Series 2 display set.

SOTA has changed up the packaging a bit, but as we’ll see, there are a number of significant differences between this Series and the first one. This time, the figure comes in a sealed clamshell, which displays everything quite nicely. Originally, I was under the impression that these were some kind of convention exclusives, but the $14.95 price tag makes me think otherwise.

According to the great celluloid oracle known as IMDB, Paige is played by Rose McGowan and amazingly enough this isn’t the first time the actress has been given the action figure treatment. I guess SOTA’s figure looks a little bit like her. I’ll confess she looks rather stoned, but otherwise, she has a pretty good head sculpt with some precise paintwork. The hair is sculpted and left just above her shoulders so as not to interfere with the neck articulation.

The rest of the body sculpt looks like Paige is cosplaying Leela from Doctor Who. Her outfit consists of a necklace, a leather bikini top and a soft plastic skirt. She has wrist bracers and armor plates on her boots. There’s nothing outrageously noteworthy here, except for maybe the boots that really capture a kind of calfskin finish particularly well. The aesthetics of the body sculpt are definitely affected by the increased articulation. And speaking of articulation…

Yeah, the first thing I noticed about the figure is that SOTA didn’t half-ass the articulation in this second series. Paige is fully articulated, and I mean fully. You get ball joint in the neck and shoulders, and the arms now feature double hinged elbows, as well as swivels in the biceps and wrists. Below the waist you get ball jointed hips with swivels, and the legs feature double hinges in the knees, hinged ankles, and there are even hinges in her feet. The elbow and knee hinges are constructed with plates to try to lessen the unsightliness of the hinges, but because this figure shows a lot of skin, points of articulation really intrude.

The paintwork here is pretty iffy, mainly because I’m not at all happy with the flesh tone, which looks more ashen than natural. In fact, it makes her look sort of dead. The paint also flakes and rubs quite a bit near her joints. All of these issues conspire to make what could have been a very attractive figure rather awkward.

As with the Series 1 Phoebe figure, Series 2 Paige is almost overshadowed by her diorama pieces. You get a dungeon-like stone wall with a torch, a floor piece, a box, and a chair with a pillow. According to the pics on the back of the package, the three girls are supposed to sit on their chairs raised up on the box. I’m thinking the dungeon backdrop will make for some good Classic Who dioramas, which brings me back to the real reason I probably bought this figure.

These Charmed figures definitely illustrate the fact that you can’t always have it all. Phoebe was a better looking figure with severely limited articulation. Paige is a superbly articulated figure, but the aesthetics suffer for it. Honestly, though, if Paige had been given a proper flesh tone paintjob, rather than looking like she’s either made of stone or grey zombie flesh, I think she would have been greatly improved. As it stands, I’m just glad to have her display pieces. Now, whether or not I’ll ever pony up for the other figures to finish it, well that remains to be seen.

And that wraps up my Toy Show Excursion Week. I didn’t get to everything, but I’m anxious to move on to some other things, so I’ll be parading out the rest of the stuff in the weeks ahead. I do have a few other themed weeks planned, but I’m holding off for a while because it’s been a while since I just spent some time randomly whittling away on my pile of new acquisitions.

Charmed Series 1: Phoebe by SOTA

Toy Show Excursion Week continues and today it takes a weird left turn with a couple of the odder purchases I made. Yeah, two of the in-package figures I got were from SOTA’s Charmed series. I had no idea what they were at first, having never seen the show, but when I saw the SOTA Toys logo, I went crazy looking through this dealer’s stuff, hoping to find some SOTA Street Fighter in there. Everything on this guy’s table was marked at $5 or less. But, alas, no. The bulk of his wares were an odd mixture of some more McFarlane figures, a bunch of Power Rangers, and lots and lots of carded Phantom Menace figures. Nothing else held any interest for me, but I did wind up buying the Charmed figures. I’m not gonna lie, I was going to flog them on Ebay, because they aren’t terribly common and they usually go for about twenty bucks each.

Unfortunately, when I got them home I saw that they each come with parts for a playset/diorama and I got to thinking how cool it would be to have those for my Doctor Who figures, especially the Attic one, which when complete looks like it would be just big enough to put the TARDIS in, and maybe if it seemed cool enough I could find the other figures to finish it up. So, unfortunately, the figures each come from two different series, which build two different displays, which means that to complete them both, I’d be looking at getting six more figures. Sigh.

We’re going to start with the Series 1 figure, Phoebe. So, I gather this show is about three hot chicks who happen to be witches and fight evil? I probably should have done this yesterday on Halloween. Anyway, I’ve seen adverts for the show and it always struck me as being very Buffy-ish. I dig Buffy a lot, but I never tried watching this one, so I’m going to have to skip any commentary on the source material and get right to the figure.

The packaging isn’t bad, although it’s mostly functional and lets the product speak for itself. You get a massive bubble on a cardback. The bubble has to be huge to hold the base and accessories, which honestly uses a lot more plastic than the actual figure does. The back of the card shows the four figures in this series and the completed display. The figures shown on the back are earlier prototypes, missing most of the articulation in the final products, but they give you a good idea of what else was available in the series.

According to IMDB, Phoebe was played by Alyssa Milano. As a child of the 80’s I certainly know who she is, but is the likeness here a hit? Hmmm. Not really. The head sculpt is a bit too angular. If you showed me all three figures, I could probably have picked this one out as Milano, but I wouldn’t have bet on it. That having been said, it’s still a fairly attractive head sculpt with good paintwork. The hair seems like it might have been sculpted in a separate piece, but either way it works.

The figure’s body is a pretty solid effort. She’s wearing a denim half-jacket, a white boob tube, sandals, and what look to be leather pants. The jacket is sculpted as a separate piece, although it seems to be permanently attached to the figure. The little details here are good. She has some subtle muscles sculpted into her midriff, and you can see some stitching on her jacket and pants. Phoebe hands are sculpted so she could hold something, but she also comes with a second pair of swappable hands that are more open. I kind of prefer the second set. I don’t have many complaints, but in the end, Phoebe is just a figure of a girl in regular clothes. Not that exciting for someone who hasn’t seen the show.

The paintwork on my figure was tacky out of the package. Actually, to be more specific, the brown paint on her belt and on her sandals was tacky and even came off a bit on my hands. Apart from that, the paint on the figure is quite good. Painted flesh tones can often come away smudged and dirty, but hers is pretty clean. The only problem is that it does flake off a bit near her joints when you pose her. There’s a gloss black used for her pants, and even her individual fingernails and toenails are painted. All in all, this is a good looking figure.

All of Phoebe’s articulation is from the waist up. The neck is ball jointed, the arms have ball joints in the shoulders, swivels in the biceps and wrists, and hinged elbows. The figure can also swivel at the waist. From the waist down, she’s totally static, and since the bottoms of her feet aren’t even and there are no joints to tweak, it’s hard to get her to stand. It’s kind of a shame that SOTA went through all the trouble of crafting such a great looking figure, giving her solid articulation for her upper half and then skimping out on the legs. A couple of simple cuts in the hips and knee hinges would have gone a long way.

Phoebe includes one of four pieces needed to complete the Attic display base, although it’s designed so that it could be used to display the figure by itself. I’ve got to hand it to SOTA, this is one impressive extra. It comes in two pieces, so you just have to secure the wall to the floor. There are screws included, but they really aren’t necessary. The wall includes a stained glass window in semi-translucent plastic and a chest of drawers with a box on top of it. The floor has a partial rug painted onto it. Both the floor and the furniture are wonderfully sculpted with wood grain patterns. You can actually see all the floorboards. It’s really nice work! You also get a book stand and a spell book.

In the end, this figure is pretty good, but the extras are fantastic. It seems crazy to me that SOTA put so much work into this line. I know the show ran for a while, but to go all out like this for what they had to know would be niche collectibles even by action figure standards. I’d kill to get a piece-together display like this in one of the figure lines I collect. Hell, look at what I went through to finish the Hall of Justice! Unfortunately, I’m now faced with the decision on whether or not to hunt down the other three figures in this series. I can take or leave the figures, but for some reason, I really want to build this fricken Attic. In the end, though, I think the high prices of the figures will keep me in check.

Tomorrow, we’ll check out the Series 2 figure, Piper.

FigureFan’s Collectibles & Toy Show Excursion Week!

[Hey guys! It seems like an eternity since I was at this Toy Show. You see, this week was originally supposed to be last week, but with the Matty Collector Haul coming in when it did, I bumped it from last week to this week. Got it? Good! Let’s go…]

Toy Shows are a pretty big deal for me, because I live in a pretty crappy area for toy hunting. Every once in a while the local Expo Hall or Fairgrounds does an Antique/Collectibles/Flea Market type show that advertises toys and I go and have a gander. These almost always turn out to be a huge disappointment, with tables of cobbled together 12-inch GI Joes, incomplete Megos, and lots of beat-to-hell metal trains and cars. If I can find a dealer selling figures, I’ll sometimes wind up buying a couple things just so I don’t leave empty handed, but for the most part, all I get out of it is a cold hot dog and a warm can of soda. One of the few things I miss about living in the Northeast was you could find shows like this every couple of months, but down here? Bubkis!

This show, however, was considerably better, as this was an actual “Toy & Collectible Show” and it lived up to its name. There were tables with shiny mint-in-package goodies, totes full of loose crap, and everything in between! I found some really cool stuff that I needed for my collection, and some other stuff I bought just because the prices were really good and I thought I might like writing about them. A couple of weeks ago I covered about half of my Star Trek haul from the show, so this week I’ll be covering some of the other stuff I picked up.

On a depressing side note, I had a chat with one of the fellows that organized it and he said it was unlikely to be a repeat performance. He said it was a big hassle to get the dealers to come and that the first day of the show produced disappointing interest and not much in the way of sales. I can’t say as I’m surprised due to the geriatric nature of the community here, but I would have been really happy had it blossomed into an annual gig.