Jun Planning Corpse Bride


"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."

Jeff Parker joins us tonight with a terrific review of a lovely couple - take it away, Jeff!

We all know Tim Burton (TB) has something of a cult, some might even say obsessive fan base. I in general really like his work and when he is good he is very, very good. But when he is bad he stinks…luckily in my opinion that ain’t too often, in fact he only truly stank once, but I’ve been down that road already.

Now when the Nightmare Before Christmas (NBX) came out back in 1993 (yes it really is nearly 15 years old) it was a slow burner that soon became something of a classic, especially in the ‘Goth’ community, a group that has long taken TB to their hearts (if you’ve read his ‘the Melancholy Death of Oyster-boy’ you’ll get an idea of his sensibilities, and why they appeal to us slightly sicker puppies). 

But funnily enough apart from a few Disney store items NBX products were pretty thin on the ground. Unless you happened to live in Japan, where NBX was pretty much an instant hit. The Company Jun Planning made a whole range of great collectables and figures, and top of this range was a set of large-scale (Jack standing around 18”) articulated semi-prop quality action figures. 

I picked up a few of these, 2 alternate suited/classic Jacks (they did a whole range with different facial expressions) Pyjama Jack, Santa Jack and The Professor with wheelchair, but the range included pretty much all the major characters. 

Then when the same production team went on to make a live action and stop motion movie version of Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, Jun Planning again made some amazing figures, I only managed to get Pirate Jack, Commodore Centipede and Grasshopper (I’m actually not sure any others were made). So it stood to reason that when Burtons much anticipated Corpse Bride (CB) was released, Jun Planning would again be on merchandise duties in the Far East. Again many of the main characters were reproduced but what I’m reviewing here is the Victor and Bride double pack.

Packaging - ***
A nice gimmicky bit of packaging, and as the Corpse Bride continues with Tim Burton’s Poe, Hammer films and Gothic obsession it was fitting they should come in a coffin built for two (much like their Jack and Sally NBX two pack). It’s made of fairly sturdy card and is printed to mimic a wood effect with large hinges. It’s held shut with three small ivory coloured plastic pegs that slip into ribbon eyelets. If you have any of the JP NBX Jack figures you’ll know what I mean, as his boxes were very similar. Inside the two figures lie side by side along with their two accessories a floral bouquet for the bride and Scraps the dog. A cute box, that’s worth a decent score for ingenuity and it made me smile.

Sculpting - Victor ***1/2 Bride ****
This is definatly the figures strongest area, and while the McFarlane 12” figures were nice, these are a whole different ball game. In fact I’d defy the untrained eye to tell the difference from these and the actual screen used figures. The fine tooling on things like the cheek cavity exposing teeth on the brides face and the whole in her side exposing ribs are exceptional.

Needles to say both faces are spot on, and the only reason Victor gets a less than perfect score is that his hands are both in a gripping position. I feel they would have looked and therefore allowed the figure to pose better had they been relaxed or better still have come with a few different sculpts.

As I said the faces are great as is their hair, Victor is a slightly easier subject to reproduce as the Bride has much more intricate hair, which they’ve done justice to with some very fine work on individual strands and curls. She also comes with a removable tiara and veil.

The Bride has a lot more visible sculpting; as Victor is mostly clothed the Bride has a lot more flesh…and bone, on show. Both her flesh arm and leg are nicely executed but the bone arm and leg are even nicer. Especially where the bone disappears into her fallen stocking and shoe. And though these elements have great sculpting the paint application lifts them even higher, but more on that

Paint - Victor ***1/2 Bride ****
I know Michael says it, but he is so right. All the great work done on the sculpting wouldn’t count for a thing if the paint application hadn’t been up to scratch. Luckily it is very much up to the job. It would seem the Jun Planning company have a good relationship with Mr Burton, as they must have had access to the original models (This is based on my assumptions rather than any researched facts) as not only is the sculpting exceptional but the painting follows up a close second. 

Having studied still images while holding up these figures to compare (yes, I am that committed…in fact my wife often says I ought a be committed) I can say the paint palette used seems incredibly close, and the accuracy of that palette caries over into their wardrobe, but staying on the paint thread, all applications are super tight making these feel very much like hand painted props, especially the Bride. Superb job.

Articulation - Victor *** Bride **1/2
Victor has a great range of movement for such a skinny figure. Shoulders and hips rotate knees and elbows bend, upper arm and thigh rotate, as do the feet and hands. OK it’s not exactly like a cutting edge 1/6 figure, but it’s good. The Bride doesn’t fair quite so well but you’ll still get tons of poses out of her. Both shoulders turn and rotate, elbows are pinned and the hands turn, her head is a limited ball joint (because of the hair) hips are ball jointed and knees pinned as well. The reason she suffers is that so many of her joints are visible, so Jun Planning have gone for that happy medium of giving us a pleasing aesthetic while making sure the function suffers as little as possible. And knowing most people will want to display just standing next to her beau. She’s more than up to the task. The only let down is some joints are a little loose on mine. The Brides ‘flesh’ arm struggles to stay at an angle and pretty much all of Victors are looser than I’d have liked. I can get him to stand and pose OK if leaning against something, but he could really use a stand, which leads us nicely onto…

Accessories - **1/2
Not an abundance but the couple you do get are nice, the bride has a nicely sculpted and painted bouquet of flowers and you also get a small glow in the dark figure of Victors deceased dog Scraps. The big omission is a stand, but sadly you don’t get one. These figure REALLY need a stand! Unless you have them leaning against something they balance precariously at best…if you can get them to balance at all. 

Outfit - ****
If I had to nit-pick here it would be that the outfits aren’t removable. But I’m not gonna nit-pick, as nowhere did it say they would be, and the NBX ones never were. 
Victor wears a very accurate representation, in both tailoring and colour scheme of his screen worn suit, and it deserves top marks. But the Bridal gown as worn by…well, the Bride, is amazing. This is one of those figures your wife or girlfriend won’t mind you displaying. It really does manage to look like an antique embroidered silk dress, and the choice of fabrics is so well considered. Delicate enough to fall and drape fantastically but strong enough to take the beautiful embroidery without falling to pieces in your hands, and believe me when you handle it you could be forgiven for thinking it will do just that.

In fact this would make a fabulous wedding anniversary present, as long as your betrothed understood your love was undying and not dead.

Value - ***
I got mine from Forbidden Planet, they have them up as the double-pack for £129.99, not cheap, but these really are premium quality figures. And as most Brits are used to spending £80 upwards on Far East imported 1/6 figures from the likes of Medicom, Takara and Hot Toys it doesn’t seem quite as bad when you consider you’re getting TWO studio scale figures for that price.

Fun Factor - ***
Definitely not aimed at kids, I’d give the outfits and fragile bodies about ten minutes with my two. But as a talking point displayed in your house a lot of people would love and appreciate these.

Things to Watch OUt For -
As I said these are delicate display items so treat with respect, but no actual problems at all.

Overall - ***
I really love these figures, mostly because of their quality, but also because they make a change from robots, superheroes and men with big guns. They’d look great displayed in most homes and my wife and two daughters love them as well….good enough for me! 

So, why not four stars? Well those loose joints and the lack of a mucho needed stand are the only real reason, other than that these are beautiful figures.

Packaging- ***
Sculpt - Victor ***1/2 Bride ****
Paint - Victor ***1/2 Bride ****
Articulation - Victor *** Bride **1/2
Accessories - **1/2
Outfit - ****
Value- ***
Fun Factor - ***
Overall- ***

Where to Buy -
I got mine from Forbidden Planet at the price I quoted above. They also have a great range of other characters from the film; I have my eye on the Priest. For collectors in North America I’d try your usual Far East importers or good ol’ eBay.

Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour