March 14, 2006
I'm a middle aged white male, and I think Buffy and Angel were fantastic shows. There, I said it - the derisive comments can begin. I always got weird looks at work when I came in and asked who else had seen Buffy the night before...my love for these shows was not shared by my co-workers.
Thankfully, there are plenty of fans still out there, and Diamond Select continues to produce mini-busts for them. The latest release is the "Becoming" Buffy, based of course on the two part season two finale episode. In one of the better episodes of the entire show, Buffy must choose between her love for Angel and saving the world. She saves the world of course, but not without breaking your heart, and Angel's.
This bust has just started to hit online retailers (several of which I have listed at the end of the review), and runs around $40. Shop wisely though, and you can find it a little cheaper than that.
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"Becoming Buffy mini-bust"
This is the second recent bust from Diamond. The first was from "Buff vs. Dracula", which I reviewed here at the poop not too long ago.
While these generally get called mini-busts, they aren't busts at all but rather 3/4 statues, missing the legs below the crotch. This style is also being done by a number of other companies for licenses, such as DC direct, probably in an attempt to differentiate the product from the busts of the past. Too bad they feel the need to do this.
Packaging - ***
On the plus side, the box is very sturdy, and has the nice, solid styrofoam insert, not that damn soft kind that falls apart in your hand and ends up embedded in the carpet. On the minus side, you can't actually see the bust without opening the package up, so you'll have to decide from the photos on the box whether you like it or not. Worse, if there's anything wrong with yours, you won't know til you have it at home. Of course, if you have to buy online, that's the case already.
One other thing worth noting is that Diamond always does a very nice sized, classy Certificate of Authenticity. This bust is an edition of 5000, so 'limited' is not a word I'd use, but it's still a nice touch to add in the colorful COA.
Sculpting - ***
Looking back on my review of the last Buffy mini-bust, I have to admit that I think I was being a little too generous with the sculpt score. Yes, most of the issues I had with the bust were really due to the paint and not the sculpt, but that doesn't mean it was free of issues.
They've actually improved the sculpt a smidge this time, and I feel better about the three star score. The eyes are set closer together, which also makes the face appear thinner, particularly across the forehead. Even a non-fan will recognize this immediately as SMG, although it's still not quite as good as I'd like. SMG is a tough sculpt though, because she lacks any highly defining facial features that would allow the sculptor to caricaturize her a bit.
The sculpted body is fairly realistic in proportion and size, but I'm still not much of a fan of the pouty open mouth. Open mouth sculpts are really, really hard to pull off effectively, and this one misses the mark.
Another point to note is that this is essentially the same body and base sculpt as the previous Buffy vs. Dracula version. You hae a new head and arms (with jacket) sculpted over the original work.
The scale on the figure matches the recent Spike and Oz busts as well, so that this new batch will sit together nicely, even if the change in design means they won't work with the older mini-busts.
Paint - **1/2
Once again, it's the paint ops that hurt a solid sculpt. The work on her eyes always seems to suffer, but the lips and teeth were lacking as well.
Most of the colors are cut in well, with good definition between them and very little slop. There's a bit around the top edge of her shirt, but it's fairly minor.
The eyes have that flat, zombie appearance though, and really needed a little gloss to help add some depth. The black eyeliner highlights the flat appearance as well, and hurts the realism of the eyes. They did go with a gloss on the lips - very much like sparkly lip gloss - and that worked well, but the teeth tend to run together and have weak definition.
Design/Quality - ***
They went with a slight action pose, with a fist and stake raised and ready. However, without the lower body, this pose looks a little weird. What we can see of the body doesn't really jibe with the head and arm poses, and the head stone base further implies a static, straight appearance where the legs would be.
I do like the stone though, and it's inscribed with her famous epitath - "She save the world alot". Of course, that's what it said on the last mini-bust as well, and as I mentioned earlier, this is just that basic bust with a new head and arms. This incompatibility between the arm pose and the overall 'feel' of the body pose is probably due to this cost cutting measure.
Value - **
I'm ranking this at $40, which seems high at this point considering the exceptional quality coming out of Gentle Giant and others right now. However, I have some links below where it's closer to $35, and at that price, you can almost add another half star.
Overall - ***
Three stars seems a common tone for these new mini-busts, and that pretty much sums up my feeling for the line so far. None of them stand out like some of the earlier, larger, truer mini-busts did, but they aren't desperately awful either. I am hopeful that DST will knock one out of the park, but the smaller size and 3/4 body design make that more difficult.
It's still great to be a Buffy and Angel fan though, because it appears that there is no end in sight when it comes to licensed merchandise.
Where to Buy -
Your best bet is online, although some local comic shops should pick them up.
- CornerStoreComics has it at the low price of $35.
- Amazing Toyz has her at just $35.
- Alter Ego Comics has her for $38.25.
- Time and Space Toys has her for $40.
Related Links -
There's a ton of Buffy and Angel product out there, and I've reviewed an awful lot of it. Perhaps most germaine to this review though is the other mini-bust reviews:
- here at the poop, I recently reviewed the Buffy vs Dracula bust I mentioned several times above, and the human faced Spike.
- Other large scale busts include the Uber-Vamp, and these four Big Bads all released together.
- Diamond Select has also done a number of Christmas Ornaments in this same style.
- and don't forget to check out Diamond Select for more info.
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