Babydoll - Sucker Punch
Hot Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

It's an early special review today - a first look at one of the newest Hot Toys figures! Jeff is going to give us the full rundown...take it away, Jeff!

Thanks as always to our grand overseer Master Crawford for keeping the faith in the world of collectible reviews, and staying fresh while those around him wilt!

This is a preview figure so it will require a quick turnaround, and as such its not a figure I’ve had time to digest fully, but I shall try to dissect it as concisely as I can as I open, un-box and set her up.

Zack Snyder seems to be one of those directors that people either love or hate. But regardless of your thoughts on the art he produces, you have to admit that guy can make a movie look visually stunning with spectacular set pieces that would have been hard to conceive, let alone commit to film (all be it digital) just a few years ago. His groundbreaking work on 300 set the benchmark for his signature style, then his work on the Watchmen proved and cemented that the unfilmable had now become very filmable. But before he took on the Watchmen movie he had another project in development that had to be put on the backburner. So as soon as Watchmen wrapped he was straight back on to what ended up as Sucker Punch. It had been a pet project of his for some time, and was his first completely original movie… perhaps a leap he wasn’t quite ready for.

I found it to be a wholly unfulfilling movie on many levels, and its flippant regard for the fetishistic abuse that the protagonists faced was hard to justify in places. It dealt with what was a pretty serious subject matter but reduced it to a seedy adolescent fantasy. In making the action take place in the character Babydoll’s head, Snyder created the ultimate licence to do just what he wanted. But it blurred the rules of engagement, while lost in her dance and fantasising about the fantastical worlds she had to face her foes in, be they hordes of Nazis, oversized Samurais or fire breathing dragons, the amount of peril our heroines were ‘actually’ in was difficult to grasp. Ultimately it was a movie that it’s just not worth getting too worked up about, you just need to let it wash over you, suspend disbelief and go with it. It looked great, had a slight story and meandered through a series of set pieces before fizzling out. The one thing I do respect about the movie that there was no set-up for a sequel, in fact it ended in such a way that you could pretty much guarantee there wouldn’t be one. But having seen its worldwide box office takings compared to the production budget… well, that’s a moot point anyway.

But enough of me picking the movie to pieces, we are here to look at the leader of the Sucker Punch gang, and I’m impressed with what I see. It’s a solid representation of the character and will be a big draw to those collectors who favour femme figures in general. However with Babydoll here and Amber being the only two figures yet announced, could we have another Watchmen situation on our hands… will we ever get Sweet Pea, Rocket and Blondie to stand by their sisters? Only time (and Howard Chan) can answer those questions, but even if these are the only figures we will see, they work well in representing the movie on your shelf (or as is more likely, in your Detolf). And for Snyder fans, when placed with King Leonidas, The Comedian and Silk Spectre you will have a small potted history of his back catalogue in 1/6th  scale, even if he does seem to be afflicted with the Hot Toys ‘unfinished line-up’ curse!

I hope my pics manage to do this figure some degree of justice, but for some shots that really make her sing check oput these amazing shots by Lukazou.

Packaging - ****
One of the other aspects I did love about this movie was the press campaign. The trailers were amazing, and the graphic design was gaudy triumph of classic typography and super hi-definition images of hot kick ass babes dressed in skimpy military and Sailor-Moon outfits… what is not to like. Well, funnily enough once we got to see the actual movie there was quite a bit… but lets just stick to the graphic design for this section.

I love this box, it has a quirky gimmick, and even thought the quality of the cardboard used isn’t quite as sturdy as some others we have had from them, it still manages a top score from me purely because of its eccentric nature. The outer box that forms the die-cut slip-case is a deep royal blur with a floral motif blind laminated over its surface. It has twin tramlines sweeping around its edge and stitch/rivet like dots tracing all of its straight edges. The front has the cool Sucker Punch logo on the front and a brief character bio on the back. All these features are printed in a dense matte gold over the blue background. The cool gimmick is the elasticated suspender that holds the outer and inner boxes together. On the left hand side is a strip of black garter elastic. It has a sliding adjustor and an S shaped hook that holds it shut, you simply slide the clip out of the loop at the bottom to release the elastic and pull the two sections apart. Once released you can slide out the inner box, which has a golden sepia colouration. The front has a picture of Babydoll from the movie in the lower left hand corner and a large die-cut window next to it, showing the fully constructed and dressed figure within. The rear has another movie still of the character alongside a full production credit list, letting us know that this boxes design was the work of Dixon Chan and Monster jr… guys you did an epic job, outstanding… I love it! I do wish the card had been of a higher spec as mine took a bit of a bashing in transit, but I’m even willing to overlook that in light of how ice cool the design is!

Sculpting - ****
Emily Browning is a very attractive young lady, no two ways about it. And the choice of story she chose to take on after this movie ‘Sleeping Beauty’ showed she was an actress willing to tackle controversial and challenging independent roles. She was already a firm favourite in our family as ‘Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events’ is a firm perennial DVD favourite for rainy afternoons in our household (if you haven’t seen it you should). A natural brunette by birth, in this part she was required to become a platinum blonde. Why? Well each of the Sucker Punch girls has a distinctive look, they’re like a comic book version of the Spice Girls mixed up in a blender with the Power Puff Girls, covering as many bases as possible in terms of ethnicity, outfit, hair colour etc, etc… something for everyone!

I’ve said before that getting a beautiful woman’s portrait right is one of the toughest jobs in 1/6th figure making. If you inject too much character or aggression into the sculpt you run the risk of losing the attractiveness and indeed the likeness. And lets face it, in this particular field of collecting everyone is a critic, and some have less realistic expectations than others. I think the choice of a relatively neutral expression was the right one here. It allows for any number of general poses and helps capture the serene, otherworldly beauty that the character portrayed. But it still manages to hint at a modicum of fragility and pain.

The complexion is flawless but exhibits gentle detailing on the skin pores, the eyes are wide and the lips full just as they should be for Ms Browning. The hair is of the rooted variety, which is another divider for collectors. Some only seem to like sculpted hair and feel that rooted is too Barbie like and girly. I disagree, there are times that both can work. Take for example Silk Spectre from Watchmen and indeed the base female TT’s reviewed here all worked well with rooted hair. And on the flip side the Abigail Whistler from Blade Trinity, Alice from Resident Evil and showed how sculpted very much has its place.

Here I’m glad to announce it works well and helps in showing the more soft feminine side of the character. It is styled in a centre parting with double ponytails at the back on either side of the base of the skull, while the front has loose sections hanging over the sides to frame the face. The styling and fineness of hair used here is top quality, and if you are one of those who thinks rooted hair is too Barbie like… look again. This hair is to Barbie what the DX PERS eyes are to Ken’s crude doll dot peepers, i.e. they hardly frequent the same universe.

There is a navy blue/black head-band included as an accessory that needs to be slid over the back of the head, over the two pony tails and pushed to just above where the hair falls into the looser front section of the parting, but the fact it has an elasticated segment makes positioning it pretty straightforward.

She also comes with a selection of six hands-
2 gun grip
2 sword grip
2 relaxed

All of the right hands are wrapped in a sculpted, textured bandage and all six of the hands are sculpted well with tight detailing and the ability to hold the accessories well.

Paint - ****
Female figures require a different, lighter touch to your big sweaty action heroes. Where as we expect to see the guys with dirty, swarthy, earthy tones, for the gals we want a more gentle and refined approach. Of course JC Hong doesn’t let us down. His brush is just as adept at being subtle as it is bold.

So what we end up with here is a beautifully handled paint job capturing Browning’s alabaster complexion with a slick and flawless make-up application. The lips are full and glossy while the eyes have that Hot Toys trademark twinkle, their ability to look wet and catch the light so convincingly being one of the factors so effective in bringing her to life. It looks effortless but also looks just right, but what did you expect?

Articulation - ***3/4
Hot Toys make a darn good base body, we all know that, but their female bodies have been in need of tweaks for some time. Sure they look good, but for kick ass heroines like the Sucker Punch femme fatales you need a body that can stand in some deep action poses as well. Well here they have addressed many of the problems from the past. We now have a much better range at the hips with ball and socket swivelling joints and the knees are now a double joint allowing for a much better bend for action and kneeling poses.

But perhaps the best innovation here are the new ankles, as a newly designed joint allows them to be angled in all directions, and also to point much further forward, this feature alone has allowed for so many more poses and makes it easier to find the centre of gravity when posing with the feet on different levels or with the legs further apart.

The torso from the waist up is covered in a rubber/silicone skin with finer definition on the abdomen, ribs and clavicles and is able to lean forward and arch right back. The bust size is also realistically sized to the character meaning everything looks well proportioned when fully dressed. The rubber skin goes right up the neck to the base of the head and this also affords a great degree of motion for turning and looking up and down.

The shoulders are a hinged universal joint letting them arch back, shrug and move forward for double grip sword and gun poses. The elbows are one area where a double-joint would have been nice, instead it’s a single swiveling hinge joint so a 90 degree bend is the best we can achieve. Lastly the wrists are a double pegged cut ball joint, so you can expect the full range as usual.

This is deffinetly the best female body from Hot Toys to date, and the subtle revisions really do make the world of difference. Though it is worth noting that the knee design can look a little odd when in very deep bends, a thing that is made more obvious on this particular figure because of the semi-opaque stockings, On Amber I think it will work even beter. But overall the proportions look great, Emily browning is pocket sized 5’ 1” so her body to head proportions work well, as can be seen here and here.

Accessories - ***1/2
In the movie Babydoll is set a number of tasks in the form of missions to retrieve five artefacts representing key items that she needs to affect her escape in the real world. So I guess it was important to include some of them… but because of the action orientated bias this movie has it is also important to arm her to the teeth with a selection of high calibre fire arms and a nice shiny Katanna.

Her full inventory consists of-

Three pairs of interchangeable hands with bandage/straps on the right 
One M1911A1 automatic pistol with engraving and ornamental accessories
One Heckler & Koch MP7A1 with supressor and sight
One Japanese-styled metal Katana with Saya and plaited strap
One hair band
One communications headset
One key with metal neck chain
One map holder with strap
One pistol and magazine harness
Two spare magazines
Figure stand with movie logo

As we have come to expect from Hot Toys all the pieces have a high level of detail and finish, with the weapons featuring articulated elements and removable magazines, the pistol even has a string of ornamental charms hanging from its handle.

The five items Babydoll needed to find were..
- fire (the lighter comes with Amber)
- a key (included)
- a knife (comes with Amber)
- a map (included here… well the holder is)
- and a mystery object (?)

The later being a thing that I won’t reveal just in case you haven’t seen the movie yet!

The detailing and subtle weathering on the map holder is worthy of note as it manages to look like antique leather and has small intricate details on the straps and end sections and also has a working adjustable strap.

The sword is very cool, as like the Goemon Katana’s it features a real metal blade and even has microscopic etching (well, probably a transfer) along the length of its blade. It fits into a brown Saya that has floral emblems along its sides and is held in place on her back with a plaited yellow lanyard.

So, a nice selection made all the more apealing by the fact the sword is real metal.

Outfit - ***3/4
Misogynistic… maybe, but that’s often the stuff that geek fantasies are made of. From Leia in a metal bikini to Uhura in a tight red mini-dress, women in sci-fi and fantasy are invariably half dressed. If that’s wrong I don’t wanna be right.  Here the outfit is straight out of Sailor Moon (hell, she even has the twin ponytails) and consists of an immaculately tailored pleated skirt and a cropped top. Both items mimic cutesy fetish wear, but with enough of an ironic knowing wink to camera that they just about get away with it.

Her long legs are clad in black semi-opaque stockings that stop at the mid thigh, again evoking thoughts of clothing more suited to a nightclub or strip-joint than a combat situation. But I think we’ve decided to just go with it for now. Because if practicality for indulging in the martial arts was truly high on our agenda then the shoes she sports are also not really fit for purpose. Her skirt is short and pleated while the matching nautical shirt is also short to show off her midriff while being well detailed to replicate the over the shoulder ‘yoke’ collared design. It also features tiny sewn on buttons and double tramlines around the edges of the collar, cuffs and hemline. The shirt also incorporates a weapons harness with X shaped straps over her back and shoulder straps holding a holster for her automatic pistol on the right and twin magazine holders on the left. All the tailoring is well handled and the stitching is scaled to look convincing too.

The ‘Mary-Jane’ shoes are very cool, and though sculpted (rather than pleather) the detailing is crisp and distinct. The new ankle design (that I shall cover in articulation) works really well with them, meaning that even though they are high-heeled she can still stand solidly in a great many poses. I hasten to add that unless you can actually see a stand in my pictures then none was used, All the crouching and squatting photos were taken using the figures centre of gravity and balance.

Snyder’s movie has scant regard for real world practicality, but hey it’s a fantasy, and when it comes to getting a guy hot under the colour he certainly knows what buttons to press, and the reproduction of the screen worn outfit is near perfectly executed here.

Value - ***
I really like this figure, but the full RRP of $169.99 does seem quite a wedge. As far as the outfit goes, it may be skimpy but its well fabricated and fits the body well. The accessories pretty much cover all the bases for any pose you’d like to replicate from the fantasy segments in the movie, and the sculpt and paint are solid (after all its Yulli and JC, so what do you expect?). So to the dedicated 1/6th collectors (who are sometimes miffed at my lower scores in value) the price might not seem like such a big deal. But to the guy or gal who happens to be a fan of the movie and is new to the world of hi-end prices, well, that might be a different matter.

What I will say is that if you are of this latter category, you may just find that once you have invested in your first hi-end figure you become hooked. Finally you will see just what all the fuss is about, and you will NEED more. Welcome to a whole new world of pain (and living off cheap packet noodles for weeks on end).

Fun Factor - ***1/2
In terms of looking good on the shelf then his is a peach of a figure, and that new body means there are a huge selection poses you can get her into where she looks natural and really quite striking. On the whole she is well equipped and well built enough to strike any pose you want, for me it has to be with that Katanna drawn, ready for action. I kind of wish the movie had been a bit better and done much better box office, because if it had garnered a big enough following, not only might we get the full line up of heroines but we could also have possibly seen one of the hulking samurai warriors, lets face it, Hot Toys ambitions are far from slight, and it would have made a truly awesome display piece.

It does of course go without saying that the fragile and pointy nature of her accessories doesn’t make her an ideal plaything for kids. But the price and subject matter should really make that blatantly obvious, they are far from its intended market. But for adult collectors it’s all good, if a little kinky.

Overall- ***3/4
For many of the reasons I stated in the value section there is far more to like here than dislike. Virtually all the sections it is reviewed and rated on are highly ranked and the overall package is solid.

So, price plays a factor in keeping Babydoll from a perfect score, but also a niggling feeling that after the release of Amber we might not see the rest of the gang. It will be a shame if that is the case, but not half as tragic as the lack of a full Watchmen line-up. And while I’m at it, where is Elias from Platoon Hot Toys?

Where to Buy -
Sideshow has Babydoll available for preorder at $169.99 here. Sadly I could’t find her at many of Mike’s sponsors, but Urban Collector does have her for $10 more… (go figure) and BBTS has her for $10 less (get it while you can).

Or hit eBay where the BIN prices are between $150 to $215.

This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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