Sideshow 12" Buffy and the Gentlemen

Buffy is dead!?!?!?!  That's been all any fan of BTVS has been able to talk about for the last week, since the big season finale.  Of course we all know she'll be coming back, but second guessing Whedon and company on just how they might accomplish it is burning up more bandwidth than a dying kid's wish for email.

Sideshow released their line of 12" action figures based on the episode "Hush" (nominated last year for an Emmy) at just the right time.  There are four figures in the set - Buffy of course, along with three variations on the dapper yet deadly Gentlemen.

Sideshow now has a policy of limited editions, and the Gentlemen were limited to 5000 sets, while Buffy was a run of 20,000.  I'm pulling these numbers from memory - someone can correct me if I'm off.

The Gents only vary in head sculpt and base - they come with the same accessories, hand sculpts and outfit.  They are available from a number of on-line and comic shops for $25-$30 each.

Packaging - ***
The packages are extremely attractive.  Each figure is clearly visible along with the accessories, and along the sides of the window are an attractive gothic design.  On the back of each box is a specific description of the figure, with additional pictures.

The only other thing that Sideshow needs to do is develop more collector friendly packaging.  I realize that as some companies move from the specialty market into the mass retail market, they need to tighten up their packaging to reduce theft.  But Sideshow is moving in the opposite direction, and if they plan on being purchased specifically by collectors, as limited editions, they need to consider developing packaging that can be opened and then repacked later with no damage.

Sculpt - ***1/2
This is easily the best Buffy sculpt so far.  While MAC did a decent job with series two of their figures, the scale of these lends itself to greater detail and accuracy.  I think they've captured her face, particularly her nose and chin, extremely well.  The hair sculpt is done in a soft rubber in back, allowing the coat and shirt to be removed and put on easily, and allowing the head a little more range of motion than would have been possible with a stiffer plastic.

The Gentlemen sculpts are all excellent, and appropriately spooky.  This was an excellent episode, and these villains were standouts for their visual creepiness.  The hands on these three are also well sculpted, and can hold accessories appropriately.

The only knock here is the fact that Buffy can't hold the stake in either hand.  Perhaps an extra set of hands would have solved the problem.

Paint - ***
Some people have complained about Buffy's face paint. Mine has very good facial tones, and the hair color, while a little light, is cleanly done.  The lips, eyes and eyebrows are all painted very well, with very clean lines.  The only flaw is the heavy eye liner, which isn't a Buffy trait.

The paint ops on the Gentlemen is even better, with some very creepy eye and mouth work.  They've done an excellent job capturing the look of these unique monsters.

Outfit - ***1/2
The clothes on Buffy are simple, but well done.  The jacket is the standout, made of high quality material, nicely stitched and with a great fit.  The shirt and paints are also well done, albeit very plain.

The costumes on the Gentlemen are even better.  Somewhat more complicated, they include shoes, socks, paints, shirt, coat and tie.  The clothes are well done, with good stitching and quality materials.  Again, it's a terrific fit.

Accessories - ****
Wow.  Simply excellent accessories!  Sideshow does with crossbows and human hearts what Dragon does with military weapons.

Buffy comes with a crossbow, two stakes, and the book Vampyr.  All are excellent.  The book is large, heavy and ominous. The crossbow doesn't work, but looks excellent and fits well into her hands and across her back.  The stakes look good, but as I mentioned they don't fit into her hands well.

The Gentlemen come with a small scalpel, a fantastic glass (plastic) jar, a human heart (which fits in the jar), the strange wooden cube that was central to the story, and a soft pleather handbag.  This handbag is the nicest of the accessories.  The handle is hard plastic, and a metal top like many purses.  It closes well, and looks absolutely terrific.  The strap that goes across the top could have been a little better, but that's the only negative.

All four figures come with bases as well.  The base with Buffy is fairly average, but the three bases with the Gentlemen are used to hold them up in the air and 'float', as they did throughout the episode.  The effect works, and the stands seem sturdy enough to hold them up over time.  Each of the three bases for the Gentlemen are slightly different in appearance as well.

Articulation - **1/2
Ah, but not all is well in Sunnydale.  There's no surprise on the bodies used for the three Gentlemen if you've bought any other Sideshow figures.  The body is highly articulated, and the joints work well.  They can hold a great number of poses, and stand well on their own even without the 'floating' stand.

But what of Buffy Summers?  She isn't quite so lucky. This is the first female figure that Sideshow has produced, and while she is highly articulated, that articulation didn't work out so well in practice.

That nekkid Buffy to the left is kind of disturbing.  She has a ton of joints - neck, ball jointed shoulders, cut joints at the biceps, and forearms, double jointed elbows and knees, both cut joints and pin joints at the wrists, chest and waist articulation, hips, cut joints at the thighs and ankles, double jointed knees and another joint at the ankles!

But these all aren't perfect.  The cut joints at the biceps stand out first - they seem quite weak, and both arms on mine don't line up correctly.  The double jointed knees and elbows don't work very smoothly, and trying to get her elbows and knees to bend at the top joint was very difficult.  And then there's the ankles - if you think you'll be standing Buffy up without some sort of additional stand, think again.

The ankle joints on her are very unique - I've never seen anything quite like it.  Not only do they look odd, they are very weak, causing Buffy to fall repeatedly.  I will admit that these ankles can do almost any position, certainly more than my own ankles can.  But the weakness of the joint means it's pretty worthless.

Value - **1/2
If you purchase directly from Sideshow, they will cost $30 each, or $107 for a complete set of four.  Many stores are selling these for $25 on-line.  At thirty bucks, you're pushing it - I can only compare this value to something like the bbi F-15 Pilot or even one of the 21st Century figures.  But at $25 it's a decent value, and certainly worth it for the die hard BTVS fan.

Overall - ***
I have to be honest - while I'm thrilled with the Gentlemen, and I think the Buffy sculpt is terrific, I'm a little disappointed in her.  The ankle articulation really is a huge deal, and is something that Sideshow has to fix before they produce another female figure.

If you're a huge fan, than these really are a must buy.  The Gentlemen don't differ that much, and even I only ended up opening one.  The other two are still in the boxes, displayed behind Buffy and the one other dude.  If you're looking to save cash, just buy Buffy and the one Gentlemen that strikes you the most.

Where to Buy - 
These aren't being sold at mass retailers, but there seem to be plenty of choices on-line.

- has them for $24.99 plus shipping.  Look around the net and you may find coupons as well, especially if you're a first time buyer.   (MROTW Affiliate)
- The Toy Cellar also has them for $24.99 plus shipping, and right now shipping is only a buck a figure. That's definitely the best price I've seen them for so far.   The other advantage is that you can buy a single Gentlemen .  I've ordered from them many times and always had good luck.
- Small Blue Planet also has them for $24.99, and you can order the Gents individually, but shipping will be more than Toy Cellar.
- Hero Central is a little more expensive on the individual Buffy, asking $29.99, but you can buy the whole set of 4 for $90 plus shipping, which is less than most sites if you're looking for a complete set.
- Entertainment Earth has them for $24.99, but they only have Buffy left. (MROTW Affiliate)
- Action Figure Express also has Buffy for $24.99, and you can buy the whole set of four for $100, or the set of Gentlemen for $75.  That doesn't include shipping.  (MROTW affiliate).
- Sideshow Toy has them available directly for $30 each or $107 for a set, plus shipping.

IMPORTANT NOTE!  If you are interested in a set of these figures, head on over to the Comic Book Galaxy, where Sideshow has generously donated a complete set of four to giveaway!  Check it out under the Toys button, and fill out the short survey to be entered in the random drawing.  Good luck!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford

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