A.J. has a great, no nonsense, but yet not grimacing look. She's a
woman not to be messed with, but still looks realistic and
attractive. I took off a little though for two counts - the makeup,
particularly the lipstick, is a little much, and I could have really done
without the earrings.
Packaging - ***
In the past, Blue Box packaging has been my favorite. Even one
better than Dragon's most of the time, they had been doing a great job of
providing excellent text and graphics, but allowing the collector to
remove the items without utter destruction.
Something happened here. The weapons that are placed in the front
flap are now stuck in with two way tape in such a way that only by tearing
the cover up could I remove them. So much for great packaging - I'm
sure the claim is that it is necessary to reduce stealing, but I think
it's just lazy engineering.
Articulation - ***1/2
If you compare the female 1/6th bodies from Hasbro, 21st Century, BBI and
Dragon, then BBI takes the prize. Interestingly enough, it isn't as
well articulated as some - there is no cut bicep joint or cut thigh joint
for example, no double joints, and the neck leaves something to be desired - but the
articulation is good enough to hold most poses, and the style of the body
is much more realistic in proportion and build than the others.
Clearly BBI's strong suit, the accessories for A.J. are no
exception. She carries plenty of heat, including a SPAS assault
shotgun (with three shells for her breast pocket), P7 sidearm, Desert
Eagle, and Scorpion machine gun. The Desert Eagle is by far the
coolest, and comes with a moveable slide.
Other accessories of note
include her holster, which is adequate, a cool stand that you really don't
need but is a nice touch anyway, and a large I.D. card. And let's
not forget to mention one of the nicest touches for this figure, three
sets of hands. Unlike Matilda, we get a set of black gloved hands
Uniform - ***1/2
Some pieces are outstanding, and others left me going 'huh?'. The
jumper, made from a soft material that looks and feels great, fits
perfectly and is extremely well made. The boots are some of the best
I've seen, with excellent hard soles that make standing in almost any
position a breeze, but they also have soft uppers that look great. Her hat,
although a bit small, can be heated slightly (use some hot water) and
molded to fit her head perfectly. The glasses have that cop feel to
them, fit well and are very sturdy.
So what's wrong? The holster
and belt are alright, although nothing to get too excited about. But
that's not the serious problem - A.J. has a real problem when it comes to
her elbow and knee pads. The nylon straps do not fit particularly
well into the clips - they slip too easily and won't hold tight.
That means the clips won't stay attached to either set of pads with the
slightest handling, and that gets very annoying, very quickly. It's
really the only flaw keeping this outfit from a solid four stars, and you
might want to consider using the pads from the 21st Century SWAT uniform.
Value - ****
How can a figure that costs $25 get four stars on value? By giving
you an excellent articulated body, great sculpting, tons of cool
accessories, and an excellent uniform. At $30, she wouldn't rank
quite this high, but she's still a good deal.
The other point at issue here is the rooted
hair. I didn't deduct anything for it, but for me it causes a bit of
a conundrum. I prefer sculpted hair to rooted, although most folks
don't agree with me. Why? Because over the long haul it looks
better, requires less effort, and fits in better with the sculpted hair on
the male figures. The rooted hair makes A.J. a little too much like
Barbie for my tastes, and not enough like Joe.
That being said, rooted
hair, when done well as these are, does look better in the short
run. That's why I didn't deduct - I'll leave it up to you to decide
which you prefer.
Overall - ***1/2
A.J. was *this* close to four stars. Only a couple minor issues held
her back. I will be picking up Shadow as well, the Ninja type, but
I'm not sure I'll be buying any of the others currently out. Why?
Other than a new head and slight outfit differences, you're
getting the same figure. The accessories are the same for other
figures like Kat and Blaze (in particular the weapons), and I think that
reduces the appeal of the overall series. They need to produce other
figures, like Shadow, that take them in other directions.