Alias Sydney Bristow

Let me start out this review by saying I do not watch Alias. I realize that this is somewhat akin to spitting on the Pope, but I watched the first couple initial episodes, and at the time it just didn't grab me. Unfortunately, I'm not one to jump in after the fact very often.

Now, I'm sure that if I started watching it, I'd love it. And yes, I know who the characters are without being a fan, since it would be almost impossible for any card carrying geek not to know the basics. And finally, I am also a man, and as a member in good standing of that organization it is required that I keep track of everything Jennifer Garner is involved in, including the God awful Elektra.

Stevenson Entertainment Group has just released their version of Alias action figures. You might remember that we got some action figures based on the show in 2003 from Mirage. Actually, you're probably better off if you've forgotten.

SEG steps to the plate with a line up of four figures - Sydney in her suit, Sydney in her rave outfit, Michael Vaughn and Arvin Sloan. They retail for around $12, and I have some suggestions at the end of the review for online sources.

Packaging - **
The good - it's a clamshell.  Of course, if you hate clamshells, this might not be high on your list of 'good' attributes.

The bad - the really dull and uninspired graphics.  There's a shot of the four figures on the back, and the front sports a photo of the actual actress (or actor).  Note to manufacturers: only do this when you are exceptionally confident in the quality of the sculpt, because it allows the casual shopper a chance to compare right on the peg.

Sculpting - **
The head sculpt on this figure isn't bad.  It won't be sitting on a pedestal in the Louvre any time soon, but from certain angles, particularly from the side, it does look enough like Jennifer Garner to get by.  If this was merely graded on the head sculpt, it would be more like a **1/2 or *** score.

But then there's the body.  And oh, what a body it is.  Now, you might say "that's exactly what I think every time I see Ms. Garner!", but that's not what I mean.

The proportions are off for the particular person - for example, the hips are much wider than the shoulders - and the proportions are also off for a normal human, with much longer forearms than upper arms, and heads on all four that are slightly to big for the bodies.

Add in some rather ugly articulation at the hips, and a really unattractive suit sculpt, and you get a much lower overall score.

I'm not sure why the jacket on Sydney's suit ends so high on her body.  Maybe it's some sort of unique fashion she has going on where the jacket ends up at the waist, well above the hips, but in a figure like this, with very obvious hip joints, it looks very odd.

Had the coat come down over the hips, perhaps being made out of the softer rubbery plastic that Art Asylum used so effectively on the Star Trek figures, it would have looked much, much better.  And considering that this is a specialty market figure that costs a decent amount of green, that's not too much to expect.

And while I don't have one to compare, I'm 99% sure this is the same body we saw on the convention exclusive version from last summer.

The one shining star is the hand sculpts, designed to work pretty well with the accessories.

Paint - ***
The paint ops aren't bad, although they aren't anything to get excited about on this particular version.  Some of the other figures, especially the rave outfit, have a lot more color and detail, but here we see a pretty basic black suit, with the only real detail work in the face.

The skin tone is fairly consistent, as is the black of the suit. The shoes are a shinier finish to imply a different material, and that works well.

Articulation - ***
In terms of sheer number of points, I almost gave this figure another half star.  She has neck (restricted a bit by the hair sculpt), ball shoulders, pin elbows, ball hips, double jointed knees, and ankles with a very, very limited range of movement.

Unfortunately, the sculpting and articulation do not work well together here, and rather than a marriage made in heaven, we have a marriage that belongs in divorce court.

Accessories - ***
She comes with three accessories - a gun, a laptop, and a base.

The base is nice enough, but not required fortunately.  I did have to lean her a bit forward in every pose due to the foot sculpt, but I had no trouble getting her to stand on her own with a little effort.  The stand will make tougher poses possible though.

The computer is acceptable, but lacks paint detail.  Something on the screen - even a sticker - would have really helped it's appearance.

The gun sculpt is good, and it fits easily in either hand.

Fun Factor - **
As a toy for kids, she has lots of articulation but isn't a character than the average 7 year old boy will be interested in.  As a toy (the fun kind) for adults, the lack of a decent body sculpt hurts her quite a bit.

Value - **
At $12 - $13, this is an average specialty market toy price.  Unfortunately, it doesn't live up to the quality of other specialty market offerings from SOTA, NECA, Mcfarlane, Mezco or Palisades.

Overall - **
I'm being particularly harsh on this figure - I know.  I almost gave it another half star, but at the end of the day, the bar is always going up.  And I can't compare a sculpt like this to something like SOTA's Street Fighter or Palisades Invader Zim and allow it to come even close.  In my world, the sculpt has the greatest weight of all, and if that fails, the figure can never truly excel even when other categories aren't as bad.

Interestingly enough, I believe these head sculpts are from the SOTA folks, but it's not their A work.  And I also suspect that they had very little to do with the bodies, the real crux of the problem.

Things to Watch Out For - 
No problems here - everything was nice and sturdy, with little chance for problems once she's free of her plastic prison.

Packaging - **
Sculpt - **
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - **
Value - *1/2
Overall - **

Where to Buy - 
I picked this one up at Media Play, but you have some online options as well:

- Circle Red has the single Sydney figures for $12 or the set of all four for just $45.

- Time and Space Toys has the single Sydney for $13, or the set of all four for $50.  They also still have the SDCC exclusive in the gray suit available for $25.

- CornerStoreComics has the individual figures for $12, or the set for $47.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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