Women of Dynamite: Vampirella Limited Edition Statue by Dynamite

I know, I haven’t been back since Marvel Monday. My apologies for the lack of content this week, but that pesky thing called life took its toll on me and my time, along with plans to write about and photograph toys, crumbled. I did, however, have a little time today to check in with something, and since October is in full swing, why not check out a spooky statue. And by spooky I mean erotic. And by erotic I mean, it’s Vampirella! This was the first release in the Women of Dynamite series of statues, and one that I’ve had my eye on for a while. I mean, it’s Vampirella based on J. Scott Campbell’s artwork. How badly do you think you need to twist my arm? Alas, the paint quality on these statues have a reputation for being infamously bad, so I’ve stayed away. But when Dynamite subsequently re-released Vampirella and said, “We painted her good this time, honest!” that was enough for me to give her a try. Well, that and a deep discount, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.

The Temptress from Drakulon comes in a fully enclosed box with a lot of artwork and shots of the statue. I really dig the presentation here, as it sort of reminds me of the old Aurora model kit boxes, and that sure ain’t a bad thing. Oddly enough, one of the panels is orientated in landscape format, but it does this to facilitate showing the statue from all angles. The packaging calls out that it’s based on the art of J. Scott Campbell and that it’s sculpted by Jason Smith. One panel actually states that the statue was “meticulously painted” which probably went over big if you got one of the original run. Inside the box, Vampirella comes sandwiched inside a styrofoam brick and there’s a certificate taped on one end with the hand-numbered limitation. In my case, I got #970 of 1969. You may also note the II beside the number, denoting that this is from the second production run. Vampirella is approximately 12-inches of cold-cast porcelain and comes fully assembled for display.

When it comes to composition, Vampirella can’t get more iconic than this pose. She stands with one knee drawn slightly in front of the other and with her cape clutched in each of her hands, trailing behind her. This piece may not win any points for originality, but it’s sure to be a favorite with the fans, and yes that includes me. And since the first thing I did when I opened her was scrutinize the paint, let’s just go ahead and start there. Overall, the precision of the application is actually pretty solid. There are certainly some uneven lines between her skimpy suit and skin, but nothing outrageous, and certainly nothing that stands out if I’m just admiring her on the shelf. Other areas, like the lines around the tops of her boots or the edges of her jewelry are notably better. As for the quality of the paint itself, I dig the high gloss on her boots, the gold leaf is fine, and the red used for her outfit is OK, if maybe a little flat. The skin tone is appropriately on the pale side, but it’s still an even tone with no scratches or rubbing, which is sometimes prevalent on these pieces. All in all, the paintwork here isn’t going to win any prizes for best of show, but based on some of the atrocities I’ve seen from the first run of this statue, I think Dynamite succeeded in stepping things up.

As for the sculpt, I think they did a beautiful job on her figure and it certainly fits Mr. Campbell’s rather distinctive art style. She’s got curves in all the right places, legs that go on forever, a tushie that won’t quit, and a bosom that is barely contained by her wardrobe. But let’s be honest, it isn’t even really trying. She isn’t showing a whole lot in the way of musculature, but you do get some wrinkles on her suit, and the folds of her cape certainly look natural. But when it comes to replicating the great J. Scott Campbell, the body is not usually the problem, it’s the portrait…

And here’s where Vampirella takes a bit of a hit. Now, to be clear, I don’t think this is a bad portrait at all. Maybe the hair is a little chunky and the eyes can seem a little bulbous from certain angles, but overall, I think it looks good. The paint application here is also especially precise on the lips and eyes. But does it invoke Campbell’s work? Not to me. Maybe there’s a hint of it in there, but not enough to really sell it. As a result, the Vampirella fan in me is quite pleased, while the J. Scott Campbell fan in me is rather disappointed. It’s nowhere near what we’ve seen out of Sideshow’s Abbey Chase or Fairy Tail Statues this past year, and sure those are more expensive pieces, but I’d even point to McFarlane’s Danger Girl figures from many years back as more accurate representations of Campbell’s work. Let’s move on down to the base…

I love this base both in design and execution. The circular dais of stone with sculpted crossbones and skulls supports a mound of dirt with skulls and various other human remains. The paintwork on the bones is excellent and reeks of age and off-colored decay. Her high-heeled boots are perfectly placed on them, triumphant and impossibly sure-footed. If only I could end things there, but here’s where the Quality Control on my statue took a huge and unexpected hit. Check this shit out…

Yeah, this crud is all over the side. At first, I thought it was some kind of intentionally disgusting weathering, but nope, it’s unintentionally disgusting goo. It looks like some kind of grease. It has no real odor. And luckily, based on a small area I tried to clean, it looks like it will come off with a little effort. But… Why? How? What kind of QC allows something like this to go out? How do they miss this and how many statues went out like this? It’s a shame that Dynamite went through all the effort to re-release this statue with improved paint quality only to allow something this obvious and easily avoided to get through. If you flip the statue over, there’s a full plate disclosing the artist, sculptor and the numbering of the piece. And as you can see, more of the goo carried on down here. This bit might be tougher to clean without smudging the numbering, but I’ll likely give it a try. But what a shame!

Even when the second run of this piece came out, my hesitancy kept me from pulling the trigger. It took a clearance sale at an online retailer and a price of $50, which is around a third of the original selling price. And as it turns out, I’m pretty satisfied with this purchase. I don’t think that would have been the case had I picked it up at the original price, especially not when I have to clean goop off of the base, but all in all, not a bad deal. It’s not as evocative of J. Scott Campbell’s art as I would have liked, but it is a nice representation of Vampirella for my statue shelves. But does it give me the confidence to invest in one of the other Women of Dynamite statues I’ve been looking at? Mmm… not quite. At least not unless another sale comes along.

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