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Review of Visage VH02-CS (Wolverine)

Modern Life
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 4 out of 4

Modern Life Visage Wolverine action figure sculpt

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Introduction

Kit-bashing and customizing new characters for your sixth scale collection is a hugely popular past time.  Three forces tend to drive this situation, making the hobby somewhat unique.

First, action figure collectors, no matter the scale, tend to be really creative people. This is not true of all collectors. Grandma Millie never created any of her own Hummels, and Uncle Bob never printed any of his own stamps. But collectors of action figures, from 4" plastic toys to 12" high end collectibles, like to get creative and produce their own versions. Maybe this comes from the inherent creativity that action figures provided when we were kids, maybe we're just weird. Either way, this willingness to break out the paints, Sculpy and the sewing machine is a relatively unique feature of the hobby.

Second, action figure collectors have a voracious appetite. We want figures in our preferred scale of every favorite movie, television and comic book character. Since everyone has their own favorites, it's impossible - and economically unfeasible - for anyone to do this in a mass production manner. This leaves collectors wanting when it comes to most B and C listers, and even quite a few A listers.

Finally, there are a number of smaller companies out there that have recognized this voracious appetite, and made it easier for collectors to fulfill their desires. No where is this more prevalent than the sixth scale market, where companies are producing bodies, costumes, accessories and even head sculpts, all designed to make customizing and kit bashing your most desired yet unfulfilled figure needs easier.

One of the most exciting of those smaller companies is Modern Life. Since 2006, they've been creating pieces that allow you to customize your own figures, and display them in unique and interesting ways.

Recently, Modern Life started a line of head sculpts called "Visage". The first release was clearly Henry Cavill, perfect for those Superman customs. The reaction in the community was very strong, and their second release is now shipping - Hugh Jackman with just that right touch of Wolverine hair. They've already announced the third portrait will be Arnold with long hair, just right for that Conan you've been meaning to create, and the fourth is Daniel Craig. They have plans beyond that, including several female actresses.

These are not licensed products, as far as I know. Part of the reason is because, while Mr. Jackman clearly has some weird behead, they don't have anything in their marketing that claims he's Wolverine.  That leaves it up to Mr. Jackman to pursue them for using his likeness, and that would be a rare issue with most actors. I suppose that's because there simply aren't enough of these head sculpts being produced to bring down the ire of the average actor or his agent.

You can pick up the VH-02 direct from Modern Life for $54 unpainted, or $64 with the spiffy paint job you see in this review.

Click on the image below for a Life Size version
Modern Life Visage Wolverine action figure sculpt

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Packaging - **1/2
The head comes in a small blue box, with the company logo and product name. Nothing fancy here, but then you aren't buying this for the box.

Modern Life Visage Wolverine action figure sculpt

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Sculpting - ****
Since this is clearly intended to be Jackman as Wolverine, the comparisons with the Hot Toys MMS220 version, released earlier this year, will be inevitable. I've included one photo, the very last on this page, with a side by side comparison of the two. The Hot Toys version is on the left, the Modern Life take is on the right.

When I reviewed the MMS220, my biggest gripe was with the head sculpt. It has all the usual lifelike qualities, but wasn't a great Jackman likeness.

This portrait is much better, at least in terms of likeness. As a slightly older Jackman, it hits it out of the park. The face is thinner and longer, with the perfect nose, eyes and overall shape. Modern Life has also created a very, very realistic skin texture, going for that extreme detail in every wrinkle and freckle.

However, there is one area where I prefer the Hot Toys attempt - the hair. Here, they've gone for a thicker, heavier look to the hair and beard, and it just doesn't work quite as well for me. The subtle, thinner nature of the hair of the MMS220, especially on the beard, looks more like the real deal to my eye.

The neck post is designed to work with most modern 1/6th bodies, particularly the TrueTypes.

Modern Life Visage Wolverine action figure sculpt

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Paint - ***1/2
Once again, there's going to be comparisons to the MMS220. And once again, this version scores quite favorably.

The biggest reason is the skin tone. As I mentioned in my review of the standard figure, the skin tone was too 'fake tan'. Here, we get a much more realistic skin color, right down to the unfortunate freckles that are causing Mr. Jackman no end of trouble in real life.

That's not to say it's a complete home run, however. I'm not digging the shiny finish on the hair, including the beard. These hairy areas need a more matte look, not this wet appearance.

There's also some bleed into the whites of the eyes, altough the overall eye color and finish are excellent.

Modern Life Visage Wolverine action figure sculpt

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Modern Life Visage Wolverine action figure sculpt

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Value - **1/2
A good comparison for pricing is the Wolverine head that comes with the MMS220, previously discussed and pictured in the final comparison photo. This head is running $45 - $85 on ebay parted out, with average pricing in that $50 - $60 range. That makes the $54 - $64 (depending on whether you wanted it painted or not) pretty much in line. This is a better looking Jackman, increasing the overall value as well, so the current price is pretty much spot on, at least value-wise.

If you're like me and kitting up that second Wolverine using the suit, this will be the most expensive additional piece, but it is the most critical, after all.

Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Modern Life Visage Wolverine action figure sculpt

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Overall - ***1/2
If you're like me and have the terrific MMS220, you have two costumes but only one Wolverine head sculpt. Picking up this second head means I can outfit my suited Wolverine, complete with metal claws, easily and relatively cheaply.

I'm really looking forward to some of their upcoming releases, like Craig and Arnold, since we don't have any sort of decent alternatives out there right now. Modern Life is producing portraits at the same level of quality as Hot Toys and Enterbay, and doing it in a way to allow collectors to fill some of the holes in their collections.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpting - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Where to Buy
Your best bet is to order this direct from the Modern Life website, where this painted version is $64, and the unpainted version is $54. You can search ebay as well.

Related Links -
This is the first Modern Life product I've reviewed, but you should check out the Hot Toys Wolverine review for comparison.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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Modern Life Visage Wolverine action figure sculpt

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

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