Terminator 2
Sarah Connor

You can name dozens and dozens of male action stars who kick ass and take names. Since the first silent films, heroic male leads have been the norm, not the exception.

For women, the opposite is very true. Of course, for all those manly men to flex their muscles, there had to be damsels in distress, and that's the role most female leads have had through not just the course of film, but history. There are notable exceptions however, and tonight's review covers one of those. Like Ellen Ripley before her, Sarah Connor didn't need any guy with big muscles and an even bigger ego to come along and rescue her. She could do that just fine on her own, thank you very much, and you best not get in her way. This persona wasn't fully realized until Terminator 2, but in that film she was the definition of bad ass.

Sideshow has been doing a great job with the Terminator license, and the latest release is dear Sarah. She comes in a regular version (that doesn't have an edition size set yet) and the exclusive (limited to only 650). I'll be reviewing the exclusive, but I'll mention where the difference lie.

BTW, if you want to see more of Sarah on screen, you'll be happy to know FOX has announced a new fall show called "The Sarah Connor Chronicles", which will cover Sarah's life before the bombs go off, but after the government thinks she's a wack job.  It has possibilities!

Packaging - ***1/2
Packaging is generally a strong area for Sideshow, largely because of the collector friendly aspects and the well written text. This time the text is there (with a nice background on Sarah on the back and a general movie synopsis on the 5th panel), but they've taken a bit of a step back on the collector friendly part. You can still take her out and put her back, but they've got her held in with dental floss, tape and plastic bands. I ended up breaking two of the three bands just to get her out, which sort of defeats my definition of 'collector friendly' packaging. On the upside, there was no tape or ties used to hold in any of the accessories.

Sculpting - ***
I suspect that I'm going to get some disagreement in this category, at least based on some of the feedback I've seen in various forums. Perhaps it's because most (but not all) of the female sixth scale likenesses that we've gotten from Sideshow have been weak. Perhaps it's because the likenesses of Faith, Willow, Pamela Voorhees, Wai Lin and Anna Valerious are burned into the back of our retinas. Whatever the case, I think some folks are being a bit more enthusiastic about this sculpt than it warrants.

The work is by a new guy to the team, Trevor Grove. Trevor has created a nicely detailed sculpt, and in some ways it's too detailed. The hair looks great, and the eyes, nose and lips really do evoke Linda Hamilton in the role as Sarah Connor. There's no doubt in my mind that if you detached the head from the body and asked just about anyone who this was, they'd say Sarah Connor. That's obviously a huge plus.

However, this is done in an almost caricaturish way. When I first looked at the head sculpt, I was very much reminded of Sarah Connor as drawn by a carnival artist. The key elements that give her the recognizable appearance - nose, lips, age wrinkles - are so harshly defined that they go from realistic to exaggerated. Now, it's not a lot - we're not talking Mezo style here - but it's more than what you would expect in a perfect world.

The head's a bit of a bobble too, although that is as much the fault of the body as the actual sculpt. This isn't nearly as big of an issue as we've seen with some characters, but it's noticeable. The more I actually worked with the figure though, the less I noticed it or cared.

The final area that pulls this score down a bit is the hands. There's not nearly as much definition in either of these hands (see how the fingers tend to run together, without as deep of cuts between them as we've seen with past figures), and I'm not terrible thrilled with the right hand grip sculpt. I do like the left hand sculpt, which can be used in conjunction with various weapons or in a gesturing pose on it's own. But with the right hand fingers all attached, it's not easy to have a her hold the gun with a finger on the trigger. You can operate on her and free one up, but I'd prefer a hand sculpt that works slightly better for the included accessories right out of the box.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint is very clean this time around, with neatly done eyes and lips, and a slightly ruddy complexion that matches up with reality pretty well. The hair is a reasonable color with highlights that add some depth to the detailed sculpt, and there's really no slop or poorly cut edges any where.

The one issue that is more apparent with this figure than most is the difference between the painted skin on the face and hands, and the unpainted skin of the rest of the body. Most Sideshow figures have costumes that cover up the majority of the arms and neck, making it less obvious. Here, we can easily see the unpainted and painted sections at the same time, and while it's only slightly noticeable in photos (and you should be able to notice that the face and hands are darker and more matte than the neck and arms), it's quite noticeable in person.

But like some of the aspects of the sculpt, the more I played around with the figure, the less this particular nit bothered me. I suspect you'll notice it right out of the box, but pretty much forget about it once you've spent some time posing her.

Articulation - ***1/2
This is Sideshow's short female body, and it really shines here. There's all the joints you get in the larger male bodies, from ball jointed shoulders and hips, to cut biceps and thighs, to double jointed elbows and knees, and even the nifty Sideshow ankles and wrists that allow such a great range of movement. I was also able to get her body to hang quite naturally, something I haven't been always able to do with past Sideshow females. It's clear that there's been improvements in both the hips and the waist/chest area, and I was able to get her to not only tilt in appropriate ways, but to hold just about any position.

The arms were a little loose, especially the bicep cuts, but the rest of the joints were tight and solid. While the body is lightweight, it's also feels quite sturdy, and I was never concerned with breakage or damage.

The only thing holding her back from that extra half star here is the lack of a good ball jointed neck. The head rests on a fairly long neck, much like a Barbie, and can only turn side to side. I really wanted more posing ability here, and there were several poses that would have worked much better with some head tilt action.

Some people are going to have a tough time seeing the thinner arms and the joints they have.  If you're one of those folks, deduct as necessary.  For me, this isn't a big issue.

Outfit - ***
The outfit is a little more basic this time, and the regular lacks a key item that's included with the exclusive.

The clothing consists of a black tank top, tactical vest (with working velcro on all the pockets, and rolled up cardboard inside to make them appear full), black pants, black boots, and regular belt.

The belt and vest have excellent buckles, made from a sturdy plastic that work just like the real thing.  The scale is excellent on the grommets and buckles, and while the vest is a tad bulky, I still really like the look.  It comes off easily enough as well, leaving the decent looking tank top.

The pants have several working pockets, done in a military style and fit.  They look great, and are very nicely tailored.

The big downer in this category is the boots.  I generally love Sideshow's work on boots, but this time they really are lacking.  The sculpt is extremely soft with very little sharp detail, and the cheap material they are made from is way to shiny and plastic in appearance.  A lot of folks are swapping these boots out for better versions from other figures, and I don't blame them one bit.

That's it for the regular version.  The exclusive includes her black cap, and this is one of those rare times where you REALLY do want the exclusive version.  The cap even has a velcro closer on the strap in back so it can be used under the pony tail.  The brim on the hat is a tad long, but she really looks much better in the hat and glasses together, instead of just the glasses.

You might notice on the box the photos include a wrist band on her left arm.  Don't go looking for it, because it wasn't included with the final production release.

Accessories - ****
The accessories are really excellent this time around, and really help make this figure an excellent addition to the Terminator display.

She has her Colt, with removable clip, which has a nice heft and size to it.  The detail work both in the sculpt and paint is top notch, but I would have liked a holster for it, even if it isn't necessarily movie accurate.  She can stuff it in her belt, but that's not really doing it for me.

The knife sculpt is also quite good, and it fits perfectly in the included sheath.  The sheath is a bit thin and a little cheaper quality than the rest of the outfit and accessories, but it does the job.

She also has the unique sunglasses, and for once these actually look quite good.  Even in sixth scale, it seems almost impossible for companies to get glasses to look right, but they pulled it off here.  They were helped a bit by the unusual style of course, but these fit her face quite nicely.

The glasses really make the hat a necessity - she looks so much better in both than just one or the other.

Finally, there's her M-16, or more specifically, the M-4 A-Cog with silencer.  The gun looks terrific and fits in her hands perfectly.  The magazine is also removable, and the stock is even extendable.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
While she's not really intended as a kid's toy, she could actually pull it off.  Well, the knife is a tad sharp and sturdy to give to a five year old, and rough play could break the machine gun.  But then, you could say that of a lot of the mass market toys out there too.  This is one of those figures that might not be a 'toy' anymore, but hasn't forgotten its roots.

Value - **1/2
You would have paid around $50 for this figure had you pre-ordered it from Sideshow, which has become their fairly standard price.  You won't feel ripped at that cost, and I can guarantee that with only 650 of the exclusive versions produced, she's going to cost quite a bit more on the secondary market.

Things to Watch Out For - 
There's very little to worry about here.  The small brass colored ring on the back of the knife hilt can pop off pretty easily when you're handling it, so keep an eye on it.  And the sheath is a tad cheap, and could tear if you are a little too rough with it, but that's about it.

Overall - ***
This is a borderline figure for me.  I really do like it, and it will make an excellent addition to the Terminator display with Arnold and the T-1000.  But there are enough small issues - the boots, the head sculpt, skin color differences - that I couldn't quite go the extra half star. Depending on how much these things mean to you, you might end up going the extra half star.

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

Where to Buy -
Your options include:

- originally, Sideshow had both the regular () and exclusive () available for $50 each.  Now you can get on the wait list to see if any get freed up.

- Fireside Collectibles has her for $42.50.

- CornerStoreComics als has her at $42.50, and they still have the T-800 in stock too!

- Alter Ego Comics has the regular version for $42.50.

- Dark Figures has the regular for $45.

- Amazing Toyz has her for $45 as well.

- Dark Shadow doesn't have Sarah, but they do still have the T-1000 to go with her at $42.50.

Related Links -
I've got reviews of a fair share of Terminator goodies - 

- there's the guest review of the Hot Toys Kyle Reese, T-1000, the Kotobukiya TX, the Aoshima T-800 skeleton, Mcfarlane 12" Terminator 3, and the Hot Toys T-800.

- and for the fans of smaller figures, there's the T2 mini-figures

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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