Packaging - ***1/2
The packaging is just what you'd expect from Sideshow. However,
unlike many of the monster lines, the photo on the cover is not of the toy,
but of the lovely Ms. Hannigan. It's a perfect shot too, that pretty
much sums up her entire personality.
Once again, there's no twistie tie going through the cardboard tray, which
is a good thing. There's also a ton of those new little dental floss
type ties though, which are a tad annoying, but certainly better than twisties.
You'll have to use some tape to keep things in their slots in the tray if you
put it back, but it's not a major problem.
Sculpting - **1/2
Hmmm - what's wrong, what's wrong. I just can't quite place my
finger on it, but something went wrong from prototype to production head.
There is a bit of an issue with quality control, because there's some clear
deformation of the head, probably caused by pulling it from the mold too
soon. This deformation is around the face, particularly the cheeks, and
I'm not the only person to notice it. Trust me, it wasn't on purpose.
Even if you set that aside though, this looks like Willow at 25 or 30, not
16. You can see her in there, and if you'd gone to high school with her
and met her on the street 15 years later, you'd certainly recognize her.
But it's not her at that moment in time.
Unlike some botched looks, it's not the fault of the paint ops. I'll
get to that more in a minute, but there's no real problem with them. No,
it's a problem with the sculpt - perhaps the face is simply too thin, or
perhaps it's an issue of scale, with the mouth too small and the nose too
large. It's not one thing that leaps out and says "Hey, I'm the
problem you idiot!" but rather a combination of things that simply add up
to a missed opportunity.
However, I would like to point out that I love the hair sculpt.
Rather than going rooted, which Sideshow is experimenting with on some of the
figures with long hair, they went sculpted, and I think they captured it as
perfectly as they possibly could have.
Another plus in the sculpting department is the hands, which work nicely
with the accessories. They are also made of a softer material, so that
they can conform to a variety of items without issue.
Paint - ***1/2
The face is a much flatter finish - thank God. Rather than look like
she's been recently shellacked, she has a soft appearance to her skin tone,
and it looks great. The hair is given a slightly glossier appearance, as
is the lip and eyes, giving her a much more realistic look.
Okay, it's not all perfect - the hairline is tad fuzzy in spots, with some
paint going either way, and the paint on the fingers is a little too goopy
looking, with some chunks between the fingers. But overall the ops are
clean, neat and well intentioned.
Articulation - ***1/2
I'm a big fan of the Sideshow bodies, and this newer, smaller female body
works perfectly. Not only does she have all the articulation you could
ask for, but she's nicely in scale with the rest of the line.
The joints were all nice and tight as well, and she had absolutely no
trouble standing on her own.
I did dock them slightly this time though for something I've complained
about in the past. It seems like every figure I get these days, I have
to take the clothes off to simply try to get the hip and shoulder joints
turned into the correct position. This is particularly bad with the
hips, because if they are in the wrong position, the joint juts out
oddly. Tell those factory workers to get them in the right position
before they get dressed.
Outfit - ***
This outfit matches the particular episode extremely well. It's right
off the screen, and includes a pink, fuzzy 'love' sweater, short polka dot
skirt, old tennis shoes, and white tights.
Overall the fit is fairly good, although the sweater is just a hair
off. The skirt fits well, and the tights look great as long as she's
facing you. They have a rather large and obvious white line running up
the back however, so you'll want her to face the front of the shelf.
The shoes are a great sculpt, and are dirty and rough, just as you'd
expect. A slightly different look for the laces would have been a nice
touch, but isn't really necessary.
Willow comes with four accessories, plus the always present display
stand. The stand is labeled with the BTVS logo, and works great, but
there won't be any real need to use it.
Willow has some very show specific accessories. In Dopplegangland,
Amy is still a rat, unfortunately. Amy makes an appearance here, and
while she's a pretty big rat, I like the scale. Too often, accessories
like this are far too tiny.
There's also Willow's seemingly ever present book bag, which has a velcro
closure, and can hold fairly large objects, including Amy if you like.
It fits either over both shoulders or one, and looks terrific. It's made
from a nylon material, and the zipper pull, while not functional, is on the
outside, adding to the realism.
There's also an extra right hand, and the hands pop off easily and
smoothly. This hand is designed to work with the final accessory, the
tranquilizer gun she used to knock out her Vampire self in the episode.
I don't know if the scope is supposed to come off (it looked like there was
some glue residue), but mine popped off with just normal handling. It
didn't break though, and snapped right back on.
Fun Factor - **1/2
If you're kids are into Buffy, they'll enjoy this figure. The odds of
that are pretty slim though, and without the background, Willow is just a
better articulated (and armed) version of Barbie. Those tights also
won't hold up to a lot of play time.
Value - **1/2
At $40, she's an average value. You get a show specific costume,
with a nice set of accessories, all in a licensed line.
Overall - **1/2
I had to really agonize over this score. If you review all the
category scores, it looks more like a *** star figure, but remember, all
categories don't get equal weight. The sculpt on a figure like this is
so critical to its overall appearance, and after going back and forth for
some time, I decided the other attributes, cool as they are, weren't enough
to pull the sculpt score out of the hopper.
I'm glad I have her, but she's also such a missed opportunity. I
hated Faith last year, and still contend that she was one of Sideshow's worst
females ever. I don't have that kind of general dislike toward Willow,
but it is a little disappointing to see the final product miss the mark.