Season 7 Xander, Pylean Princess Cordelia

Diamond Select Toys is releasing their latest wave of 'regular' (i.e. not deluxe, super articulated) Buffy and Angel figures, due on shelves in the next week or so. This time around, Xander and Cordelia got the big treatment, with 3 versions of Cordie and 4 versions of Xander.

There's regular Season 7 Xander (reviewed tonight), the Time and Space Toys exclusive Vampire Xander, The Chosen Xander (with eye patch, comes short packed with the Season 7 Xanders), Ice Cream Vendor Xander (exclusive to Bill's Bricks). There was originally a Soldier Xander as well, but there's no sign of him on the back of the package.

Cordy's three versions include the Previews exclusive (in other words, available through all online and comic shops) Pylean Princess Cordelia (reviewed tonight), the Action Figure Express exclusive You're Welcome Cordy, and the regular release (comes in the cases with Season 7 Xander) The Wish Cordelia.

Tonight I'll cover two - Season 7 Xander and Pylean Princess Cordy - with another two coming next week. You can preorder these at lots of places, but I have some suggestions of sponsors that have them at the end of the review. Remember, those sponsors make it possible for me to continue the site!

Packaging - ***
Xander comes in the basic Buffy packaging, while Cordelia comes in the Angel packaging. Both include photos on the front of the actual actors, and there is character specific text on the back for each. There's also photos of the whole release, so you can see which other variants you'd like to pick up.

Sculpting - Xander ***; Cordelia **
I spent a lot of time looking at these figures, and looking at various photos from websites, especially for the Pylean Princess Cordelia (Thanks to Buffy World, who have an excellent set of video capture shots).

And in the end, this is the sculpting score I settled on. Xander is a pretty decent head sculpt, close to the actor's appearance in character, especially considering the scale. The expression is fairly Xander-like, and the detail is decent. It's not exceptional, and you won't see it and say "wow", but it's certainly a worthy addition to the rest of the line. The work on his body is pretty good too, although the arms seem a tad thin, and the head has been placed down on the neck quite a way, giving him a stubby appearance.

Cordy doesn't fair quite as well. At first, I was concerned about her head sculpt. But the more I compared it and pondered it, the more I thought that it wasn't too bad. Like many other beautiful women, Charisma Carpenter doesn't have a lot about her face to call out in such a small scale rendition, making it hard to go from generic pretty woman to specific babe. But compared to screen captures from all three episodes in which she was in Pylea, this really isn't all that bad. We'll talk about the paint in the next section.

But what brings down her score to below average is the work on her body. Not only do the proportions look nothing like Charisma Carpenter, they look nothing like an actual human. She has extremely wide hips, and an extremely narrow waist, with a rib cage that looks like she's part Ethiopian. It's not so much that any one part of her body looks bad, but that the diverging styles of different parts of her body simply don't come together to form a realistic - or attractive - whole. Even with an action figure that has joints, when it's half nekkid and supposed to be Cordelia, you should instantly say "homina, homina, howaa" when you see it, not "eww".

Xander stands 6.25" tall, while Cordy is almost 6.5. How well do these fit in?  Well, better with some figures, not so good with others. I'm betting you aren't surprised there.  Xander is shorter than Spike, and Cordelia is about the same height as Spike and Angel.

The work on both these figures is from Gentle Giant, and shows once again what drives me nuts about them, and about scanning in general. Scanning can work great to get a sculpt started, to get a good base for a talented sculptor to clean up and improve. It speeds up that process and reduces cost. However, without a talented sculptor cleaning things up, the end result is usually pretty bad, with a mannequin or zombie appearance. Sometimes, Gentle Giant goes all out and brings their A game, doing something like the Harry Potter busts. Other times, like here, they seem to be phoning it in.

Paint - Xander ***; Cordelia **1/2
The paint work on Xander is good, as long as you don't get too crazy with the close ups. His complexion is about right, and the eyes are fairly clean and even. The lips look good, and there's no bleed or slop on the complicated plaid lines on the shirt. Again, you won't be wowed, but he will fit in quality wise with the rest of the line.

I was originally going to be a little more harsh on Cordy's paint work, but actually realized after looking at some of the prototype photos that it improved, and that it actually helps the sculpt somewhat. It's still a little gloppy, and the eyes aren't quite as even as I'd like, but it's definitely an improvement over the early photos.

The hair color throws me a bit though. It was a lighter brown in the Pylea episodes, but this looks almost orange to me. Of course, I'm color blind, so that's not necessarily correct, but it definitely looks wrong to me, and not really a normal hair color.

The paint work on the silver jangles is well done, although the outfit in the film had far more colors in it. Perhaps the best aspect of the paint job is the skirt, which gets a cloth-like appearance from the way the colors are bleed together, even though it's plastic.

Articulation - **1/2
Both figures have fairly average articulation for the market and for the line. Unlike some of the regular releases, neither has cut biceps, and neither ball jointed neck works particularly well.

The are ball joints at the neck, but both are down so far on the neck - especially Xander - that tilting is almost impossible, and even moving forward and backward is pretty limited. You can get a little movement out of them, but not as much as you normally expect from a ball jointed neck.

The shoulders are cut, as are the wrists, with pin elbows. The arms can handle basic poses, but the cut biceps would have been nice.

Legs have V hips, pin knees and no ankles. Both waists are also cut (and the pin on the Cordy is pretty short, so you might pop her apart - no biggie, just pop her back), but in general, the number of poses are pretty limited.

These are very similar to the rest of the line though, so it's pretty unlikely that a buyer at this point will be either surprised or disappointed by the articulation they find here.

Accessories - Xander ***1/2; Cordelia ***
Xander is dressed in his construction garb, so it's only appropriate that he comes with several construction related accessories.

There's a hammer or course, along with a large red tool box. The tool box doesn't open though, which was a bit of a disappointment. Both fit in his hands nicely as does the compound bow. The bow even has a somewhat rubbery string, although this is more due to the softer rubber used for all the accessories than any actual intention.

There's two arrows for the bow as well, and Xander's nifty yellow hard hat. The hat fits great, and is sized properly. Finally, he has his display base, with the "Die Cheerleaders" painted across the wall.

Cordelia comes with fewer goodies, although this is partly due to the more ornate display base. The back wall on hers has a completely sculpted curtain section that is glued to the front of the standard wall, to look like the throne room on Pylea. It looks good, and is a great addition to the display.

She also comes with a sculpted 'scroll' that she can hold (but doesn't unroll), and the silver platter with lid. Inside the platter is a pile of grape-like fruit - I don't remember these from the show, but I suppose it's possible. The scene in which you'll best remember this tray and cover is when they brought Lorne's head to Cordy, and having had a sculpted decapitated head inside the container would have been much, much more interesting.

Fun Factor - **1/2
If you actually know a kid that would want to play with Buffy figures, these aren't bad. The articulation is basic, but the figures are sturdy and there's good play potential in the accessories. Of course, it's unlikely any kids will actually be playing with these, since it's generally older fans doing the buying for themselves.

Value - **1/2
Another average category, at around $12 or so. Get them under $12 in one of the many package deals, and you can add another half star to this category.

The accessories really do add to the score here, particularly the base/backgrounds. I like these quite a bit, and they add to the display without taking up a ton of room.

Things to Watch Out For - 
If you're picking them off the shelf, go for the best paint possible of course. Also, then handle on the tool chest is a much softer plastic than what's used for Xander's hands. That means you can tear it up pretty easily putting the accessory in his paws, so take some extra care.

Overall - Xander ***; Cordelia **1/2
Xander's head sculpt is passable (although he looks almost as much like a young Bruce Campbell as he does Xander from certain angles...Evil Dead customs anyone?), and he comes with some good accessories, but his biggest flaw is how low on the neck the head is attached. 

It really gives him a stumpy odd appearance. But if you ignore that, he fits in quite nicely with the rest of the series, in terms of quality and style.

This particular Cordelia is a disappointment for me. The head sculpt, while not perfect, is at least generically attractive, but the work on the body is a big turn off. Adding Lorne's head to the silver platter would have gone a long way to improving my feelings, but even then Cordy has some basic issues. Fortunately, there's the You're Welcome Cordy, that I'll be reviewing next week, that is a big improvement.

Score Recap:
Packging - ***
Sculpt - Xander ***; Cordelia **
Paint - Xander ***; Cordelia **1/2
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - Xander ***1/2; Cordelia ***
Fun Factor - **1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall - Xander ***; Cordelia **1/2

Where to Buy - 
Sponsor choices:

- You can purchase the regular Season 7 Xander and Wish Cordelia for $25 at Alter Ego Comics, or they have the Pylean Princess Cordy by herself for $13.

- Time and Space Toys has just about everything you could ever want in Buffy and Angel product. They have the several of the single Cordelias and Xanders for $15, or a group deal of 5 of the figures for $70 ($12 each). If you're a member of their Buffy Collector's Club, they're even cheaper.

- Both Amazing Toyz and CornerStoreComics have the regular singles for $12, the pair of Season 7 Xander/Wish Cordy for $23, the Season 7 Xander/Wish Cordy/Pylean Cordy three set for $34, and a set of the main five for just $60. They also have a couple of the chase/exclusives available.

Related Links - 
I've reviewed an awful lot of Buffy merchandise over the years, but here's some of it:

- in the Sideshow line, I've reviewed Vamp Darla, Vamp Buffy, Willow, the original Buffy and Angel, Faith, and the Gentlemen.

- there's also plenty of this 6" line from DST and MAC, including the latest deluxe Spike and Angel, the deluxe Hawaiin Shirt Spike and Angel, the regular Buffy and Dawn figures, deluxe Buffy and Faith, Drusilla and the Gentlemen, Buffy, Giles and Oz, the recent Angel wave, more of the Angel wave, Fred and Illyria, Wesley, Willow and Tara, and the very first series of Angel figures from MAC.

- there's been plenty of busts, like the Ubervamp, the four monsters from DST, the Becoming Buffy, human Spike, and Buffy vs. Dracula.

- and then there's the Palz, like the Gentlemen, the Halloween set, and series 1.

- there's also the oddball stuff, like the Buffy and Angel Christmas ornaments, the Dark Witch Willow statue, the Welcome Faith statue, or the Johnny Lightening cars.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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