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Captain Toy/Michael's Review of the Week

Review of Selene - UnderWorld
Sixth Scale Action Figure

Star Ace
Date Published: 2016-10-17
Written By: Michael Crawford
Overall Average Rating: 2.5 out of 4

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Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Introduction

Star Ace announced their Underworld license last year with the first figure being, of course, Selene. Star Ace has been looking to acquire licenses with strong female leads, and this was a perfect choice. Played by the beautiful Kate Beckinsale, the powerful vampire is the best known character in the Underworld universe. Technically, this version is from Underworld Evolution, although she's been the star throughout. With another film releasing in early 2017, that's not likely to change any time soon.

Star Ace announced the evil Viktor shortly after they announced Selene, but thanks to the mysteries of production he managed to ship slightly ahead of her.  I covered him just a couple weeks ago, making it possible to have a key pair of characters right out of the gate.

This figure will be shipping very soon, and will run you $235 or a little under, depending on the retailer.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Packaging - ***1/2
The exterior artwork looks great, emoting the style of this particular film in the franchise.  The weather effect looks good, and symbols are used in subtle ways.  Inside, everything is collector friendly, just like you'd expect.  I do wish they'd use a little stiffer cardboard stock, but that's my only nit.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Sculpting - **
This sculpt is going to create some debate, there's no doubt about that.  I used three stills from three different angles to compare - this one from a calm moment, this one with a little intensity, and this one that's nice and large.

Unfortunately, this one is a fail for me overall. There's three reasons for that, some more obvious than others.

Everyone is going to notice the issues with the hair.  I praised them on the great detailing in the hair on Viktor, but here they went in the opposite direction.  The detail was there in the prototype photos, but the production process softened them up, especially along the hair line. But it's not just the lack of detail - the positioning of the hair is further forward and around her face than what we saw with the prototype. Look at the early marketing photos and you can see that the hair was well behind her eyebrows, particularly on her left. Obviously the loose locks hang over her right eye, but the bulk of the hair was pulled further back, which better matches the width of her face in real life.  There's also more distance between the hair and the head in the final figure, creating a weird helmet look that hurts he overall realism.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

The accuracy is hurt by two other issues.  While I think that much of the likeness is actually there, particularly with the specific shape of the nose, there's two very obvious anger wrinkles in the forehead. It's not a look or expression that I relate to Selene, and I think it throws off the rest of the look.

Worse, it appears to me that there's a weird production problem here, similar to what we saw with Asmus' Tauriel. The forehead seems squished in slightly right at the bridge of the nose, as if you squeezed it slightly at the chin and head. It hurts the look even more in hand than it does in photos, and looks more like a production issue than an original sculpt issue.

Between the hair, the squished head, and the forehead wrinkles, the overall accuracy and realism take a big hit for me.  It's unfortunate, because their work on Victor was one of their very best.  I think this was a case where really nicely done rooted hair would have been a much better option. I've included three head shots from three different angles to go along with the other dozen photos for you to get an idea of the look with varying light, angle, and distance.

She's a taller female figure, coming in at almost 11 3/4" with the boots.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Paint - ***
The paint work is solid, although not quite as realistic as some of their other releases like Victor or Hermione. There's some subtle freckling on the skin, and the eyebrows and lips look amazing. There's a little too much bleed into the whites of the eyes, something that marketing photos always seem to be missing...hmm.

I suspect some people will question the eye color choice. When Selene is chillin', her eyes are brown, as are Kate Beckinsale's.  The color here is a pretty decent match to that reality.  However, we all know that when Selene gets pissed (or, say we say, 'emotionally excited'), her eyes turn a blazing blue, much like you see on the cover of the box. Personally, I feel they should have gone that route here. While it's not as common of a look on screen, it's the look she has in some of the most interesting scenes, and it's a striking look. Brown isn't incorrect, but bright almost white blue would have been so iconic and attention getting.

In some photos she'll have a more raccoon look around the eyes, largely due to shadowing. If you look at the photo below where there's plenty of light hitting the face on full, the paint work is only a little darker around the eyes.  But the squish effect creates deeper pockets around the eyes, which in turn creates dark shadows.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Articulation - **1/2
The underlying female body works well - almost. I had one issue that pulled this score down, and it's one that's becoming a serious pet peeve of mine.

The hair restricts the neck a bit, and the rooted hair option would have improved things here as well.  The rest of the body has all the excellent articulation you expect in a high end sixth scale figure, but this is one of those characters with a more restrictive costume. The tight leather is going to make the shoulders and hips less mobile, but I found the knees and elbows to work much better than I expected.  The leather is restrictive, but not as much as we've seen with some other tight outfits.

Ah, but those boots. Those damn one piece boots.  They look great - more on that in the Outfit section - but the soft rubber isn't soft enough to allow the ankles to do much of anything.  You can move the ankle joint, but the rubber boot just forces it back to center. A two piece boot design was possible here - the buckles could have hidden the joint - and would have been a much better approach.

My pet peeve involves those damn wrists. I just complained about a similar issue with the Hot Toys Knightmare Batman. The hands here are very hard to work with. Popping them off isn't too hard, but if you don't get them firmly replaced, they fall off at the slightest touch. Getting them snapped on tightly is the problem. You might think you've put lots of pressure on, they seem like they're on, and then they fall right off when you're trying to pose her. If you do get them completely on, they stay much better, but getting them there was frustrating and annoying.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Accessories - ***1/2
The issues with this figure presented themselves in the early categories - the pluses start coming now.

Selene is well outfitted with weapons, which makes complete sense.  To work with all these deadly extras, she comes with eight hands in total. There's a relaxed grip set, a set for holding the crossbow, a set for holding the guns, an extra right for holding the sword (or knife), and an extra right for holding the shuriken. I've already mentioned my frustration with swapping them, but the sculpts and scale are all great.

She has a couple bladed weapons as well. The sword, which is the same sword that came with Viktor, has a removable pommel to make it easier to slip it inside the right hand grip.  She also has a knife, and both of these are made from plastic, not metal. That makes them thin and light weight, but they'll feel less impressive in hand.

The promo materials had originally said she would come with two shurikens, but there's only one.  It looks great though, and there's also a silver hand grenade.

She has holsters that are a permanent part of her outfit, and there are two Walther handguns that fit perfectly inside. The magazines can be removed, as usual.

The most impressive extra is her crossbow. The bowstring is permanently drawn back, and there are slots to hold all six bolts that are included. They don't snap in tightly, but the drawn string does help keep them in place. The bow features a working flashlight too, UV blue in color, but I'll discuss that in greater detail in the Light Feature section.

Finally, she has a pretty standard display stand with her name on it.  Nothing particularly special about it, but with the issues with the boots, you're going to need it to create any deeper or dynamic poses.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Light Feature - ****
This is how you do a light feature - easy to use, cool looking, and unobtrusive.

The light is a flashlight on the lower side of the crossbow. The batteries are already in place, but the compartment is easy to access.  Unscrew the one screw, and it opens right up. The switch is on the back side of the light, hidden from obvious view but easy to reach.  The blue color is perfect for the application, and it's bright and easy to see even in a fully lit room.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Outfit - ***
The outfit consists of the black zippered shirt, the buckled and tied corset, black pants, boots, and long outer coat. The quality of the materials is excellent, and the tailoring, stitching and fit are terrific.

The stitches, buckles and straps are generally in scale, and the patterns on the corset looks great.  There's a set of leather gauntlets that wrap around the forearms as well, creating a tight, clean look.

There's a thin wire in the lower section of the coat that allows for some basic posing, improving the look in more dynamic stances. 

I have two issues that pull this outfit down slightly. The biggest problem is those damn boots that restrict the ankles. At this price point, they really needed to develop a two piece alternative. The look great, no doubt about it, but they shouldn't alter the posability of a figure like this.

The other issue is a little more minor, but worth noting. The inside edge of the lapels and coat tends to fold out, which can interfere with the look in certain poses. If you remain aware of it, you can correct it and tuck everything back where it belongs. It'll pop back out again, but it's a minor nit.

The holsters are a permanent part of her outfit, and as mentioned earlier, work great with the included handguns.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Fun Factor - **1/2
The restricted articulation and frustration swapping the hands end up pulling this score down. I did find that you can get some good poses, but you'll need to rely on the display base for long term display.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Value - *
Star Ace has slowly increased their prices, and at $235, this figure is at a full Hot Toys price point. And this is NOT a $235 figure by any stretch of the imagination.

The costume, underlying body, and accessories are good enough to warrant the price.  But the head sculpt and paint operations aren't doing them any favors. If they had nailed the head sculpt, even with the light feature, most collectors would have been much more comfortable with this in the $220 range. If Star Ace wants to go above that, they have to nail all the basics AND provide something well above and beyond.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Things to Watch Out For -
The one issue to be wary of is the hilt and pommel of the sword. This removable pommel is on a very thin post.  This was also true with Viktor, but swapping his hands was a much easier proposition. Since swapping hands here requires a LOT of pressure, and since it will be common to have the sword already in her hand when you do it, take care and don't put extra pressure on the hilt of the sword.  You can easily snap this thin post when fighting with the hands.  Believe me, I know this for a fact.

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Overall - **1/2
Star Ace is going to take some heat for this one, no doubt about it. While the head sculpt isn't horrendous, it is below the level of accuracy and quality collectors will expect, particularly at this high price point. It's surprising because Viktor, the other figure from this same license, is one of their very best.

Putting the two together does improve Selene's look, and I suspect that customizers who replace the hair with another alternative will end up with a great looking figure. For those of us that lack the skill, this version will have to do.

Something weird happened with Selene's portrait, either in production or in decision.  The high helmet hair creates big issues, as does the squished look of her face at the bridge of the nose. Hopefully Star Ace will learn from this one, and avoid similar issues with their upcoming releases.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - **
Paint - ***
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - ***1/2
Light Feature - ****
Outfit - ***
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - *
Overall - **1/2

Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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Where to Buy 
Online options include these site sponsors:

- has her at $212.

- is at $235.

- Entertainment Earth is also at $235.

- Sideshow comes in at $235 as well.

- or you can search ebay for a deal.

Related Links -
If you're an Underworld fan, you need to check out Viktor as well, one of Star Ace's best.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Selene Underworld sixth scale action figure by Star Ace

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This product was provided for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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