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Final Fantasy 8 Squall

Mr. Saotome is back with another terrific guest review.  What's the scoop, Jin?

Why yes it’s me Jin again with another nifty review! Tonight we have the Play Arts figure Squall Leonhart from Final Fantasy 8. The Play Arts line is distributed through Diamond Comics so you can order them through your local comic shop and it’s the same line the FF Advent Children figures are in. They’re scaled seven to eight inches which makes them taller than your normal Marvel Legends figures, but matches NECA’s lines like Sin City. I want you to know this review isn’t biased, I wasn’t expecting a lot when I first heard about the new FF8 set, I mean how could they top Cloud and Sepiroth? I mean it’s freaking Sepiroth in plastic form!! Well let’s find out…




Packaging - ***
Alright, score for the collector-friendly box!! Squall’s packaging has zero twisty ties and a double-tray insert. There’s one tray to keep him from floating around and another that lies on top to keep all the pieces in place. You just take it out and open it up, genius! The box has a nice little window on the top that lets light in and shows off the figure’s detail well. The graphics are what you’d expect from any of Square Enix’s products, mainly white with their Final Fantasy logo for that particular game along with the pictures of the two other characters in the series located on the back, Rinoa Heartilly and Selphie Tilmitt. 

Sculpting - ****
Well shoot… here I was thinking, “How can they top the Advent Children sculpts? Pfft!” And well, here I am writing that they did. Squall’s sculpt is amazing, simply put. Every crevice of his shirt, the individual zipper teeth on the edges of his jacket, the seams on his gloves, the fibers of his wooly shoulder fluff, it’s perfect. His belts are extremely well done and at first I thought they were real miniaturized leather! And he DOESN’T look like a girl! You can tell he’s a pissed off male teenager with eyes directed upwards, unlike Cloud and Sepiroth who have generic ‘staring ahead’ facial sculpts. His two sets of gloved hands are closed fists or opened gripping hands that look great.

Paint - ****
Thinking I’d find some flaws since this is an American distributed version and not a Japanese import, I scoured over Squall top to bottom looking for slop or weird colors. Nothing, not even a mar from the assembly shelves. His hair is done with three different shades of brown, lighter blonde on top, leading to a deeper brown highlight for his bangs, and a dark brown for the rest. His face is perfect, his eyes, eyebrows, and scar painted on with laser precision. His chin even has airbrushed highlights underneath adding to his facial realism and giving him a living look! Squall’s uniform is top notch with shading and minute highlights like on his T-shirt, belts, even his zipper teeth. They even separated the shades of black on his uniform with a glossy black for the belts on his legs and matte for the actual suit instead of just leaving it all black plastic. 

Articulation - ***
Squall has some pretty decent articulation but nowhere near Marvel Legends quality… and we all know you’ll be comparing everything to that nowadays. He sports 20 points of articulation with an excellent ball jointed head, which you’ll need to tilt downwards to get that “I’m so pissed at the world” look. Ball joint shoulders, hips, and ankles are there along with cut biceps, waist, wrists, and mid-thighs. He’s got those strange ankle tilts that the other FF characters had, but less noticeable because they sculpted the sides of his boots to come up around it. This is the case of ‘less is more’ in articulation. Squall can get into some great poses and still look natural doing so; even his belts shift up and allow total freedom. All the joints were tight except for his ankles, which don’t affect him that much as he comes with a stand anyway. A little posing and you can find a proper center of balance.

Accessories - ***1/2
Squall comes with his trademark gunblade, an extra set of hands, and a stand. I’m also counting his necklace and gunblade tassel as they’re made of real metal and could of easily been done in plastic like the first series of figures had. They’re accessories for his accessories, hah! First tho, his Gunblade. This baby is sweet. It’s constructed of hard plastic and is actually made up of different parts, tho none move independently. The finish on the blade is different than on the revolver body, indicating a different metal for the cutting part. The etching on the blade is top notch, both sides intricate and shaded in.

Squall’s necklace needs mentioning because it’s made of very tiny metal links and is actually accurate to the larger version, clipping into the middle of the chain and hanging down with a neat little Griever medallion. Same with the chain medallion on the handle of the Gunblade, they could of easily did this in plastic but went all out! Squall also comes with the basic Play Arts stand that adjusts to different heights and looks nice with its smoky black plastic look. 

Durability - ****
The weak joints and loose sections that the Advent Children figures had have been fixed! There were breakage issues with the first series because they used a clear acrylic for the hips joints and a soft plastic for some of the biceps that led to tearing. Well Play Arts cleared that up as Squall has tough ABS hips and very sturdy PVC for his arms and wrist pegs. He’s heavy too and feels very well built when you pose him, not flimsy at all. The only thing that looks like it could break would be his necklace, but I even gave that a strong tug or two and nothing happened. Bravo! This is the way I want my figures, great looking with that feel of sturdy construction.

Value - ***
Like the other Play Arts figures Squall is $20 at most comic retailers. I’ve found him for $17 at some places and you can tack on an extra star if you find him that cheap. See, this is a figure I have no qualms about plopping a twenty down on the counter for. A figure with a great design, perfect paint work, and won’t break out of the package. 

Things to Watch Out For - 
Can’t think of much here. The Gunblade is hard plastic with a needle-sharp tip so don’t poke your eye out! Pay attention to his ankles while posing him, they’re a new design and you need to tinker with them before they keep him standing up straight. I’d check the paint job on yours but Play Arts is known for its quality control in this area, you shouldn’t have any slop.

Overall - ***1/2
Like the Final Fantasy line? Buy Squall. He’s taken over as my favorite figure from the series. He’s sturdy, detailed, and sports a neat design with character in his facial features. If Play Arts continues this kind of quality I’ll buy every one of their figures. Their new Kingdom Hearts series looks AMAZING, even more realistic than this one! Keep an eye out for those in the coming months.

This is Jin Saotome saying thanks for checking out the review and look forward to more! 

 

Score Recap
Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ****
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Durability - ****
Value - ***
Overall - ***1/2


Figure from the collection of Jin Saotome.

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