Figure Reviews

new and classic figure reviews

Here's what I think of some recently released figures -- keep in mind that I collect figures to open and display only (and sometimes play with, okay), and don't consider value a factor. So if you're looking for hot tips on what figures will make you money, you are looking in the totally wrong place. But if you want my opinion on what a figure is really like, then read on. Also, I do not even think about reviewing everything that comes out, so if a new figure isn't here it just means that I didn't have anything to say about it, good or bad....all old reviews are in the  Review Archives  (last update: 07/29/98). Look there to see if something you're interested in was reviewed.


Claire Redfield (Resident Evil 2, ToyBiz)

Ah, Claire, my favorite character from all of RE2. And, a brilliant figure! The entire line is a serious improvement on the first RE line. Claire really "looks like" the Claire from the game, down to the smallest details of her outfit (unfortunately the cool design on the back of her vest was messed up by the lever for her action). One of my current "new" favorites and a great addition to the videogame girl shelf.

Adon (Turok, Playmates)

This is an incredibly pretty figure -- I don't know the game at all (I hate first-person shooters) but she seems to be a helper-type character In any case, the figure of her looks great -- and she comes with accessories she can hold, and a stand she fits on. Very nice -- I look forward to future Playmates game licenses after this!!

Alpha Flight (Alpha Flight, ToyBiz)

This line is weirdly inconsistent (in the male figures as well). The Snowbird as absolutely gorgeous. I can't imagine a more perfect interpretation -- and she's even hyper-articulated and stands up just fine! She's a figure even people who don't like superheros will think is attractive. Then we move down a bit to Aurora, who's actually pretty cute although her face seems a little blurry. Her pose is designed to let her hold hands with her brother, so she can look goofy on her own (although they both can hold hands with lots of other action figures for displaying fun!) But then....Vindicator. What happened here? I remember early shots of the assortment including a male Vindicator, which presumably was dropped when they did the ToyFare version of him. So his wife was rushed in to fill the gap (just like in the comic!) but unfortunately she seems to be a repaint of the Classic X-Men Marvel Girl, which wasn't all that great to being with. Bleh.

Supergirl (STAS, Kenner -- direct market exclusive)

For those of you that remember all my complaining about the Supergirl prototype, you may be surprised to learn that I am totally nuts about the final product, who looks 1000% better than the prototype I'd seen. Of course, her skirt is still wrong, but I can forgive that in light of how accurately they got everything else, from the teeny zippers on her boots to the short cape and gloves. She seems more like a BTAS figure than part of the blocky, overly-muscled STAS line. But that's a good thing. Do yourself a favor and go get one!!

Luna (WWF Grudge Match, Jakks)

At last! An honest-to-goodness female wrestler fig!! Not a valet who has started to "wrestle" (i.e. Sable) or a female wrestler-turned-valet (Chyna, who is cool anyway). But a female wrestler who is pretty much always a wrestler! And, if that weren't great enough, it's actually a fantastic figure! (Well, if you like Luna, that is...) I'm just sorry this 2-pack (oh, did I mention the totally skanky Sable that comes with Luna? ) didn't come with a tiny WWF Women's belt to pass back and forth -- or, give to Luna full-time. Ha!

Miss Elizabeth (WCW, ToyBiz)

And here's a valet who's never wrestled (thank god). There are some nice features to this fig -- she's actually completely undressable (don't ask me why), down to her little in-scale fishnets. But she's spindly, and her face...ugh, it actually makes me want to get my LJN Elizabeth back out. Get Luna instead.

Skull Queen (Spawn Dark Ages, MacFarlane)

You know, I have been cleaning up my office and I already put this figure away and don't remember where. So, that should tell you something about the shelf-life of this gal. I really thought she was cool, but obviously not cool enough to make the recent cut in here.

Black Widow 9" (Famous Covers, ToyBiz)

I think this doll is absolutely amazing. She has a great face, and of course how can you go wrong with the basic black Widow outfit? I would have liked to see her with a hairstyle closer to the original Romita 60s-poufed-up-on-top style, but of course that would have meant molded hair -- and the rooted hair really adds a lot to the overall look of the doll. Personally, I think she is leagues above her female compatriots in the FC line (although they're all nice). An absolute must-have!!

Blink (Marvel's Most Wanted, ToyBiz)

What? A big stupid doesn't-actually-work-well accessory with a ToyBiz figure? I am shocked, I tell you. Absolutely shocked. But Blink herself is a really pretty, well sculpted and painted figure. Not that this was a character I was ever really looking for....but she is definitely in the new league of very pretty, well sculpted and bordering-on-delicate girls from ToyBiz.

Rogue (Power Slammers, ToyBiz)

As usual, I found the huge accessory/weapon completely useless, but the figure is really cute. Nice sculpt, very cute outfit, stands well, dynamic but not idiotic pose -- not really the Rogue I think of, but a really cool figure nonetheless. One comment though -- what is it with ToyBiz and their hair-in-the face thing? Little strands of hair between the eyes just make figures look crosseyed!!  (I have to admit it actually looks okay here, though.)

Typhoid Mary (The vault, ToyBiz)

Once again, the huge accessory/weapon stuff is just useless. And the "straightjacket" is a laugh -- not only is it cropped to bolero length, making it the only "sexy" straightjacket I've ever seen, it completely looks dorky on her. The figure is pretty neat, though. Stand well, looks good, and they even got a pretty nice fishnet effect on her leg -- I was surprised they even attempted it.

Jill Valentine (Video Game Superstars, ToyBiz)

I resisted the whole Resident Evil phenomen for a long time, but last year my friend JV convinced me I would really love the game -- and I did. Both games are in my top five all-time favorites, easily, for many reasons. And Jill (from the first game) and Claire (RE2) are probably my two favorite videogame heroines (sorry, Lara). So I was really thrilled to find out that ToyBiz was going to do two sets of figures based on the series. Finally the first set has come out, and while there's some definite quality issues here (the entire line has very loose limbs, rarely-working action features, and a weird quality to the plastic that feels very cheap -- most of them, including Jill, do stand up though) I stilll am glad to have Jill. The figure doesn't exactly match the image I had of Jill -- but since the characters were never rendered or portrayed very specifically, i can accept this as a totally valid interpretation. Unfortunately, she only comes with a bogus-gun -- but steal Chris' pistol and she looks just great.

Dierdre (Mystic Knights, Bandai)

I am always a sucker for pearlized plastic, so this figure got a thumbs up from me before I even opened her. And after I did -- well, she's wonderfully articulated (17 points!!!), stand up perfectly, is sculpted beautifully, painted nicely, and has believeable and attractive weapons (which all fit in her hands without toppling her over). An absolutely great figure and a must-have in my book.

Xena 6" line (Xena: Warrior Princess, ToyBiz)

The long-awaited Xena line has hit stores with a vengeance! First came the 6" line, which is interesting in theory although the execution is a bit rough. The idea was to do "deluxe" style figures, in a larger scale with detailed accessories and new actions. It didn't always work however...here's a fig-by-fig rundown:
Gabrielle -- (NOTE: not the shortpack, in fact I'm told that she is the heaviest-packed figure in the lot. Already I'm finding flocks of Gabrielles warming the pegs by themselves.) Gabrielle has this scary chipmunk look to her face which just freaks me out. I don't think it captures the actress at all, although the outfit and weapons are certainly correct. Her action consists of a hard-to-work lever on her back that makes her right arms (presumably holding a weapon) gyrate wildly. Not terrible -- on the one hand I can see a kid using this action in a action figure battle. On the other hand, it mainly just makes her look like a spaz.
Callisto -- the darling of millions is more like the darling of an orthodontist here. While the facial sculpt does evoke the actress' expressions, she looks more like she has a severe overbite than anything else. The body is sculpted well (for all you Callisto's stomach fans), but the action.....Callisto fits onto a large base (being sculpted to fit this base prevents her from standing on her own) which you wind up -- pushing a lever allows the base to unwind, apparently to simulate a whirling attack. Acually, the thing spins so fast, she just looks like some big weird top, and it tends to start careening across whatever surface you have it placed on.
Xena w/ leaping attack -- ha! Leaping attack!! What she really does is -- you place her on her base (again, she barely stands without it) and push a button which flings her a few feet to land on her head. Extensive informal testing has only produced the desired effect  (Xena landing on her feet) once out of who-knows-how-many attemps. The sculpt is pretty nice though.
Xena w/ sword-drawing-action -- this is the star of the entire line, easily. The sculpt is wonderful, and pretty close to life. She stands alone, and when her sword is placed properly in its scabbard, pushing a button on her back causes her to draw her sword! It works perfectly almost every time. Even if you're not a huge fan you're gonna really want this one. Everyone I know who gets it can't stop playing!! And a toy that makes people play is a very good thing.

Xena 12" line (Xena: Warrior Princess, ToyBiz)

Just out is the 12" doll set -- and while I wish the ToyBiz doll body had more articulation (or at least hands that aren't so rubbery!) these dolls really look great! While the likenesses are all a little weird (Xena looking the most like her real-life counterpart) all three dolls capture the characters they portray perfectly. The costumes have been executed incredibly well and the weapons are all realistic and correct (let's hear it for girl dolls with knives and swords and things!). Great job!

Cheetah (GoldDigger, Antarctic Press)

Another addition to the very small list of attractive and nicely done hobby market figures, this is a character from the anthropomorphic book GoldDigger -- I don't know the book, so I don't know if other characters are based on different animals or they're all cats, but Cheetah is, well, an anthropomorphic cheetah-girl. A cute figure -- for some reason I like the fact that her ponytail is spotted, although it makes no sense in reality. Not that human-looking cats in clothes make that much more sense, mind you...it's worth looking for the "stealth" version in an all-black outfit -- it's much more attractive than the basic version, whose pink-and-turquoise get-up is a little too aerobic-looking for me.

12" Storm (ToyBiz)

The newly revamped 12" line from Toybiz is vastly superior to the first attempt (examples of which are still on sale at TRU right now) -- new bodies, much better designed and made costumes, actual shoes instead of socks that are supposed to look like boots. Storm is redone here in her "punk" outfit, complete with mohawk and dog collar. While I always thought this outfit was a little silly, this doll looks great! Her mohawk is easily the best such hairstyle I've ever seen on any 12" doll -- it's thick, it stands up, it looks real. She's also got a "vinyl" vest over her catsuit, the aforementioned dog collar, her two silver belts and big ol' biker boots. Only...ahem....slightly more authentic than the recent (Canada-only) 5" version of her in this outfit. Ahem.

Warrior Mulan (Mulan, Mattel)

This is the must-have figure from the action figure line -- the whole line is cute, with a definite aesthetic borrowed from Kenner's TAS lines, but this one really stands out for me. She's incredibly cute and well-sculpted, nicely articulated and comes with a sword and weights to work out with -- a first for a girl's toy, I'm pretty darn sure -- and she comes with this wonderful snap-on medieval Chinese armor that makes her look positively amazing. If you get only one Mulan, make it this one.

Dark Phoenix (Famous  First Appearances, ToyBiz)

The female character from the second set of ToyBiz' mego-homage 9" line -- Pheonix is not quite as nice as the Storm from series one was, but she's still an excellent doll. The stern, mean-faced head sculpt is a definite plus. I don't understand why they gave her very cartoonish crayon red hair but then made her outfit maroon instead of dark red -- she does look a little off, but she's still  pretty cool. I'd rather have seen the regular Pheonix first, myself, but you can't have eveything.

Chyna and Marlena (2-Tuff 2-packs, Jakks)

Two new girls in the Jakks WWF line, each coming with a male counterpart -- Marlena comes with Golddust (her real-life husband, with whom she used to appear with at ringside). She's another weirdly solid figure like the first Sable was -- a floor-length dress being sculpted as a solid piece, so she basically is a column of plastic with arms. It's a really interested piece though -- while it's not a totally accurate license, it's the only figure I can remember that is an incredibly accurate rendition of a lush, feminine (not fake and stacked, but real) body, with a belly, big hips and thighs. She's also one of the few figures that comes with it's own cigar! The Chyna figure is also pretty lifelike, although in an entirely different direction! This is also arguably the first figure ever made of a female wrestler -- while she rarely wrestles in the WWF, Chyna is a former PGWA champ who still appears in the ring. Okay, I don't remember if she actually held any PGWA titles, but she was rookie of the year, and I don't want to go find out right now....anyway, there have been female managers and valets who ended up "wrestling" but Chyna's the first actual female pro-wrestler who has been made into toy form.

Jean Grey (Battle Blasters, ToyBiz)

Jean is in her AoA outfit here, and is actually a new head on a repainted Mystique body (a great sculpt, in my opinion they could re-use it on a regular basis and it would beat most of their female bodies). The new head makes the figure, it's incredibly well-done and very cute. Don't care about this costume, but it's much better designed then most AoA outfits (think Rogue....) Overall a really good figure.

Silver Sable (Spiderman Bug-Busters, ToyBiz)

While I don't know about the "bug-busting" part, this is a really neat figure. A slightly pesky "I can't stand up" v-jointed pose, but a good likeness of the character and (my favorite part) vac-metalled silver on the costume. There is just no other way to get a truly metallic look. She does hold her gun well, which would be important to her. Now if they'd just make "Lil' Silvie"....

Dagger (w/ Cloak) (Marvel 2-pack, ToyBiz)

This latest repaint in the TRU ToyBiz two-pack line is actually one of the best yet. A relatively close adaptation of the figure, and a figure that is quite attractive in its own right. Unfortunately, if you're not interested in the male accessory, you might want to wait and see if this goes on sale like most of the two-packs do. If you are a fan of both characters they are both nicely done (and the bonus item this time is a nicely made, if badly illustrated, tin box).

12" Sarah Bryant & Pai Chan (Virtua Fighter, Sega JAPAN)

I'm breaking my usual rule to review these import-only dolls because I am just so crazy about them. Virtua Fighter was the first fighting game I personally was a fan of, and Sarah and Pai are still my all-time favorite female fighters -- the game is great, they are really cool characters without the gratuitious sexuality found in most games, they wear reasonable and believable outfits (and they're adorable in VF Kids). With all the videogame characters coming out both here and in Japan, I was hoping that someone would make them eventually, and these dolls live up to (and go beyond) all my expectations. Based on the super-articulated and very posable Takara body (as seen in the Honey doll from Fighting Vipers), their faces and hair capture the characters perfectly and their outfits are detailed and look great. (Interestingly, Sarah is in her basic outfit, while Pai is in her alternate costume.) The posability is a huge plus -- you can put them in their victory poses and they'll hold them just fine. The best representation of videogame characters I've seen yet (okay, with the exception of the Sarah resin kit from Fewture, which is just awe-inspiring). A definitely cool addition to the videogame or japanese doll collection, and a must-have for Virtua fans.

Betty Spaghetty (Ohio Art)

Okay, another rule-breaker here for this line of girl's toys recently released by Ohio Art (the Etch-a-Sketch people). Yeah, they don't qualify for any of the figure lists, but I'm going to review and recommend them here anyway. Betty and her friends Zoe and Hannah are a series of incredibly cute and fun figures which come completely apart, sort of like pop beads, to be reassembled into any combination of outfit parts and decorated with various beads and accesories. Big round heads with cute anime-like features (reminiscent of the Power Puff Girls from Cartoon Network) and long spaghetti-like hair (hence the name) make these girls incredibly appealing. Tons of play value make these a great entry on your shopping list for younger girls (I've seen girls up to around 12 swooning over them in the TRU aisles); as well as a great item for us slighter older girls to pass the time with while waiting for those large web sites to load all the way in. The shopping set is great for giving you all three girls in one fell swoop -- but the party set does feature glitter vinyl arms, legs and hair!

12" Black Cat (Super Hero Collectors Series, ToyBiz)

An absolute 100% improvement over the earlier 12" dolls -- this one features a new body (not the barbie knock-off the first three have), with a better figure and straight arms with ball-jointed shoulders. (I hate that 45-degree-angle barbie-style arm). She's also got shoes instead of socks, which is a big plus. Great face sculpt, with a nice paint job. Thick white hair (much better than poor "I need Rogaine" Storm), and a nicely-executed Black Cat-suit complete the picture. Unfortunately, being a fashion doll, her gloves have to be shaped like oven mitts. Here's how to improve Felicia's look: move the strap of the mask under her hair (you might need to pull a few strands under it to help hold it in place), and (if you have the nerve) undress her and spray her arms white to get the look of fitted white gloves. All in all a really great piece -- and at a great price too. I'll definitely be looking forward to more releases in this line.

The Princess Leia Collection (Star Wars, Kenner)

This series is an interesting attempt  by Kenner at making a "girl's" line -- the figures all have some parts of their clothes made from cloth, and two of them have attached doll hair. Personally, I think the attempt wasn't really succesful here -- the hair is in tiny, pre-braided strands and the clothes don't really come off in most cases, so the "playability" that is the point of doll clothes and hair isn't present. But even so, they're a nice set of figures, with new, more attractive facial features, new hairstyles and some outfits previously not made. My personal favorite is probably the "ceremonial" Leia -- a great outfit never before made.

Annalee Call and Ellen Ripley (Alien Resurrection,  Kenner)

These are both really excellent sculpts and likenesses (to a degree). Extremely realistic, aside from their not-from-life poses (what's with the trend in squatting anyway?), with great detail and in an oversized format that is really impressive. The Call figure is a nearly dead-on likeness, and the Ripley is -- well, it's like a great likeness if Sigourney Weaver was about 25. But it still captures her character and makes up quite a bit for the orginal Ripley that looked like god-only-knows-what.

Magik (New Mutants, ToyBiz)

A pretty cute figure, if a little harsh in the face. The plastic used is also weird -- almost translucent. I really liked this figure when I first saw it, but after a few days it's kind of leaving me cold. Lockheed's pretty cute, but he neither stands on his own nor perches on her arm. Stand-her-up tip: if you put her sword in her lefthand, pointing down, you can use it to balance her so she stands just fine. NOTE: Magik has been released in two different color schemes, although I can find no pattern to the releases; some people find both, some people only find one or the other. The two version are: red breastplate, red loincloth, silver "fur" on boots, speckling pattern on legs and arm; silver breastplate, yellow loincloth, white "fur" on boots, scratched pattern on legs and arm

Vam Mi (TMNT,  Playmates)

Another new female character added to the Turtles line-up, and the first evil female in the entire line. This one's a "blood sucking babe" (i.e. a vampire) brought from the past by the evil forces in the series...really a cute figure, nicely detailed but retaining a cartoonish streamlining, with a nicely done face, and blessed with a great color scheme. I'm a little perturbed by the idea of "flesh-breakin' blades" though....

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