Padme Amidala - Ilum

Both the original animated Star Wars cartoon and the upcoming version add plenty of new characters to the Star Wars Universe, as well as giving some old favorites a new look.  Sideshow is going to produce sixth scale action figures based on the shows, starting with Snow Bunny Padme.

Back when Sideshow first announced the Star Wars license, they had a poll to pick a character folks wanted to see.  Padme Amidala in her Illum outfit (better known as Snow Bunny Padme for obvious reasons) was the winner.  It's taken a long time for her to finally make her appearance, but she's now shipping.

They'll be producing the Clone Wars Obi-Wan as well, shipping later this year (and already available for pre-order), so Padme won't be alone on the shelf.  And while she's based on an animated look, Sideshow has gone with a realistic appearance and head sculpt.

Padme is a limited edition of 3500, and was exclusive to the Sideshow website for U.S. buyers.  She's sold out there of course, but I have some other suggestions for picking her up at the end of the review.


Packaging - ****
As usual with the Star Wars line, Sideshow does a bang up job.  Collector friendly, including the cool new snap tight tray lid.  No tape, no dental floss, no twisties...nothing to damage to get the fiure and the accessories out and put them back.  Let's not forget that damn cool magnet closure.

There's also a good use of the fifth panel, with text and info about the character.  That personalization is a big plus.  I can't wait to see what they do with the Indy boxes!

Sculpting - ***
As I mentioned earlier, Sideshow is going for a realistic appearance with their Clone Wars figures.  This is a rather interesting take on the characters, making them movie based and yet in costumes only seen in the cartoons.

This head sculpt is actually quite a bit better than I'm betting most people give it credit for.  It's tough to tell buried in the hood, and those eyes and eyebrows will throw off the look quite a bit.  But if you can look past the paint to what lies underneath, you'll have a greater appreciation. If I were basing this score on the likeness alone, she'd get another half star easy, and maybe even a full one.

There are still some minor issues, with the lips being a bit too full, and the nostrils flariing out too much for Miss Portman.  But the bone structure of the face, as well as the long slender shape of the nose, are dead on.  Given a better paint job, this head sculpt would make a great Episode III Padme.

There's no hair sculpt up under the hood, so you won't want to take it off.  Since they sculpted the back of the head in such a way as to appear as though hair is up under the hood (larger than a bare skull would be), she won't work very well as a V for Vendetta custom either.

So it's not the head sculpt that brings this score down around a B.  My bigger issue is around the sculpted forearms and hands.  Padme has no wrist joints, and her gloves are VERY long.  The arms are a little long, but these extended gloves give them the dreaded monkey arms appearance.  The hands are designed to work with the accessories, and they can pull it off although she tends to have some issues holding on to the blaster.  These dorky forearms will be one of my three big reasons this figure falls short overall.

Paint - **1/2
The paint work is very clean, with a nice skin tone, and good lips.  It's a very realistic paint job as well, especially the skin tone.  The paint work on the few accessories that are here are good as well, with consistent coverage and clean lines.

But what were they thinking with those eyes and eyebrows?  The eyebrows look painted on, as though she's plucked them clean and put them back on with a brown marker.  And not very well, giving herself a psycho look.  Yes, I know they really are painted on, but that doesn't mean they should look that way.

And those eyes!  They decided to go with her looking to her right, which is strike one.  Any time you do something like this, you reduce the number of poses and looks you can give the character.  She has to be posed in certain ways for her eyes to even make sense.

Strike two is the way they were painted.  She's wide eyed, with those funky eyebrows, making her look like one crazy ass chick.  The slight smile probably doesn't help, and as pretty as she might be, I wouldn't turn my back on her. 

These crazy eyes are big strike number two.  If your girlfriend ever looks at you like this, get the Hell out of the room as quickly as possible.

Articulation - ***
The only real issue here is the lack of wrist joints.  Otherwise, Padme has the very good Sideshow female body that we've seen with figures like Asajj.  She can take and hold quite a few poses, and the ball jointed neck gives her some additional personality.

But the lack of wrist joints really does end up hurting her, making it difficult for her to hold the accessories in natural ways.  The long forearms and frozen hands hurt the ability for the figure to hang naturally and smoothly.

There is a cut forearm joint, right up at the top of the glove.  I'm not sure how much you can use it though before you start having issues with the fuzzy bands on the gloves or the white suit coming loose.

Outfit - **1/2
The outfit isn't one intended to be removed, with the exception of the outer cape.

This outer robe is quite nicely done, with a fuzzy edge, and tight fitting hood.  Oh, those big fuzzy balls on the strings are a bit off putting, but at least they're accurate.  My only complaint with the robe is that the tie string is attached too low on either side of the hood.  This makes it difficult to tie the hood near the chin, pushing it back on her head.

The body suit is perfect, with a tight fit and good tailoring.  It shouldn't be particularly tough to pull that off with a spandex outfit, but it helps that the underlying body looks good.

The gloves and boots are sculpted hands and feet, with the fuzzy edging.  The boots look great, and I've already ragged on the gloves.

The final piece of the outfit is the belt and holster.  These are made from a hard leather, and they don't look particularly good on her hips.  Because the leather is so hard, it doesn't fit her body well, and the holster doesn't hold the gun particularly well either.  There's a small sculpted pack on one side of the belt, but that's about it.  That's the third big strike.

Accessories - ***
She has a few accessories, specific to the character and the show.

There's the blaster of course, which fits in her right hand or the holster.  It doesn't fit perfectly in either one, but it's adequate.

She also has the cool binoculars, which she can also hold in her right hand.  The sculpt and small paint details are quite good.

And finally, there's the 'grenade'.  Every young lady needs one of these grenades for those long cold winter nights on Ilum.

Oops - almost forgot the always present display stand.  Yep, she's got one.

Fun Factor - ***
She's sturdier than I thought she'd be, but the holster and belt won't hold up to much play. 

Value -**1/2
At $55, she's actually looking like a steal right now.  With Sideshow's last three releases running $90 a pop, she might be one of the cheapest figures we get for awhile.

Still, with a limited number of accessories and several serious issues, I think her retail price is about an average value.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Not much.

Overall - ***
As I said, this figure has three big issues.  The long forearms give her the monkey arm disease.  The eye paint and eyebrows give her the crazy eyes.  And the holster is weak looking, with almost no detail and a cheap appearance.

On the plus side though, the sculpt is better than I think the paint allows it to be.  The rest of the outfit looks great, and while the lack of the wrist joints is annoying, the rest of the body poses great.  This is one of those disappointing figures, that had plenty of potential but falls short in a few key areas.

I waffled around between **1/2 and *** when coming up with my overall.  In the end, I found enough good poses for her that the score swung slightly higher, but I can certainly see other collectors being less pleased with the final result. 

Score Recap:
Packaging - ****
Sculpt - ***
Paint - **1/2
Articulation - ***
Outfit - **1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value -  **1/2
Overall - ***

Where to Buy -
Sideshow has her available at $55, or you can search ebay using My Auction Links.

- Related Links -
If you'd like to see some of Sideshow's offerings, check these reviews:

- the last was the exceptional Palpatine/Sidous and ANH Obi-Wan.

- in the sixth scale line, I've also reviewed Leia and Bespin Luke, the Holo-chess set, Sideshow's Asajj, a terrific figure, Yavin Luke, the Endor Troops, Jabba the Hutt and his throne, Bib Fortuna, Jedi Luke, Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Bespin Han Solo, regular Anakin Skywalker and Kit Fisto.

- I also have guest reviews of the SDCC Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn.

- in the premium format line, I've reviewed Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han Solo.

If you'd like to check out some of the 12" Star Wars offerings from Medicom, hit these links:

- my review of the 501st Clone Trooper, Jango Fett, the Sandtrooper and  Boba Fett.

- guest reviews of the VCD Yoda and Boba Fett.

- guest reviews of the ROTS Vader, Jedi Luke, and this very Trooper.

- and my review of their first release Darth Vader, the regular Stormtrooper, and Clonetrooper and Blackhole Trooper.


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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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