Sideshow Star Wars
SDCC 2008 Exclusive Aayla Secura

Most San Diego Comic Con exclusives are repaints or basic re-decos of existing figures.  Most companies can't make just a few thousand - or just a few hundred - of a never before seen figure.

Even more unusual is when you get a unique figure in a hugely popular license like Star Wars.  But unusual is just what Sideshow gave us this year with their release of Aayla Secura as one of their many SDCC exclusives.

This figure is part of their sixth scale Star Wars line, and adds yet another Jedi Master (and a prequel one at that) to the roster.  With Ki-Adi Mundi coming as well, the Jedi ranks continue to swell.

Aayla was limited to 3000 figures, and was $65 if you were attending SDCC, or $70 if you weren't.  There's still a wait list available for her at the SDCC site, or you can fish off the dock at the 'bay.

For those completely unfamiliar with Ms. Secura, she is a Twi'lek Jedi Master.  She had screen time in the Clone Wars cartoons, and I certainly expect we'll see her figure into the upcoming cartoons as well.  Unfortunately, she met a nasty and rude end when Order 66 was carried out.

Packaging - ****
It's Sideshow Star Wars packaging - does it get any better than this?  While the quality of the text and photos can vary from one package to the next, the overall representation is just about as good as you can get.  It's going to take a lot for someone (even Sideshow) to top these.

And if you haven't been paying attention to the many past reviews that included this style package, there's lots of excellent text on the interior, magnetic closures for the wrap around panel, and the packaging is completely collector friendly. Cut a couple pieces of tape, and the figure and accessories are easily removed from the package.  No damage necessary, and you can return her to her plastic tomb later for storage or sale.

Sculpting - ***
Amy Allen plays the Twi'lek Jedi, and she is a lovely woman.  This is one of Sideshow's prettier female sculpts, although it only bears a passing resemblance to Ms. Allen.  The facial structure, especially the chin and nose, are a little too long and sharp for a perfect match to the on screen portrayal.  Still, it's both a very pretty sculpt and a fairly realistic sculpt, and both go a long way to assuaging any issues over perfect likeness.

There are some annoying mold lines along her 'lekku' or tentacles.  These are not bendy, if you were wondering.

She also suffers a bit...just a bit...from big head disease.  With the tentacles and the sculpted head gear, I'm not particularly surprised, and you can fix the problem by posing her in her Jedi robes.  The addition of the baggy clothes over the thin Sideshow body really helps quite a bit.

Her hands are designed to hold accessories, and they do that well.  She stands great on her own in a number of poses as well.  The female Sideshow body is slightly smaller than the male, and fits in well scale-wise with the rest of the SS SW line.

Paint - **1/2
Most of the paint work is solid, with one glaring issue that pulls this score down.

Her blue skin tone is great, and they even managed to match the tone between the very hard plastic body and the slightly softer head.  That can be very tricky, since any differences in density in the plastic can result in differences in how much the color is absorbed and what the final look is.  I'm very happy to say there's no issue here at all.

The cut lines are all quite clean, and the brightly colored lips look terrific.  The eyebrows are thin and clean, staying right with the sculpted lines, and the eye lids match the bright lips.  Even the pupils are clean and straight.

So what's the problem?  Give this poor girl some Visine.  The red color from the eye lids has bled into the whites of her eyes, and not just a little - a lot.  It's so bad that it looks intended, but clearly it's not.  The figure would have scored another half star easily in this category if not for this major malfunction.

Articulation - ***
The Sideshow female body has been better than the male Buck body for quite some time now, at least since the changes made for the Ventress figure.  The body hangs pretty well, and can take some very natural stances.

There's a ball jointed neck, and it works quite well, giving quite a bit of personality to your poses.  There's also all the usual joints you'd expect in this scale - ball jointed hips and shoulders, double jointed elbows and knees, cut forearms, Sideshow's special wrists - but the joints that really stand out are the waist and ab crunch.

Both of these are ball style joints, and they both work great.  She can twist, tilt and pivot at both the waist and the top of the abs, which can make for some interesting poses.

I did find that the left forearm cut was a bit loose and floppy, but hopefully that's just a one off sort of issue.  This body still doesn't quite make the high end cut, but it's adequate for most of the female figures Sideshow is doing right now.

Accessories - **1/2
The low score here isn't so much an indication of the quality of the included accessories, but rather the quantity.

At almost $70, there's an expectation for a fairly decent arsenal of extras.  While I don't expect a panoply, I still expect more than what we got here.

There's one extra hand, a 'force' gesture version.  I found this one very useful for plenty of poses, although it does look a bit funky when you can see the wrist.  This is because of the angle at which the back of the hand is cut, where it attaches to the arm.

There is also her lit and unlit lightsaber.  The unlit version fits nicely on her belt, while the lit version can go in either hand.  Since Aayla is also known for using a second green saber, that would have been a nice (and relatively cheap) addition.

Both hilts are also very plain, easily the most plain of any Jedi or Sith so far.  However, I looked at some reference photos and it does seem as though Aayla has a rather plain hilt in the films.

She also has the same display stand as all the Sideshow Star Wars figures, but that's it.

Outfit - ***
The best pieces of this outfit are the boots, which are an outstandingly cool sculpt, and the belt.  These two items raise the score up a bit for me.

As I said, the boot sculpt is terrific, and the paint ops just as good.  These are some of the coolest boots we've seen in awhile, and it seems like Sideshow always does a nice job on this particular piece of any outfit.

The belt looks good, including the soft front and back pieces of 'loincloth'.  The belt hangs loose and low on her hips, and the unlit saber can be attached to the hook on the left side.

The pants are unexceptional but functional.  They fit tightly, and look fine, but there's nothing about them that's particularly impressive.

The tunic is the biggest disappointment.  To be film accurate, the material would have needed a scale pattern, but that's lacking here.  That's not a big deal to me, but the fit is.

The shirt snaps under the arm on the right side, and has a pleather covering that runs up the left side.  This pleather is not attached to the material underneath up at the left shoulder, only at the waist.  That means the two pieces tend to float around each other up at the shoulders, but down at the waist the pleather tends to pull the tunic upward.  This weird combination of pulling at the waist but floating free at the shoulder, along with the one sleeve design, makes the tunic fit poorly.  It's very hard to keep in place, and poor Aayla has to be careful that she doesn't have a wardrobe malfunction.  Normally I'm all for a woman's breasts springing jubilantly out of her top, but I can see where some folks might have an issue with it.

The final piece of her outfit is her Jedi robe.  They cheaped out a bit this time around, leaving out any clasp for her neck.  There is a heavy wire in the hood though, and you can use that to position the robe around her neck and keep it there.  In fact, I thought she looked quite a bit better in the robe than out, and I plan on displaying her on the shelf in a way similar to the last photo on the left.

Fun Factor - ***
I don't know that I'd give a $70 figure to a 8 year old to play with, but you almost could.  The belt wouldn't last long, but the rest of the outfit and accessories are pretty sturdy.  Of course, there are all kinds of safety issues, including that wire in the hood of the cloak, but the point here is that these figures haven't forgotten their ancestry as toys first, collectibles second.

Value - **
Most con exclusives are more expensive than the same figures in the regular line.  That tends to be true because they make less of the con figure.

Here, they made quite a few.  Three thousand isn't a short amount, particularly for a second string Jedi.  On top of that, you didn't get the usual number of accessories.  This is definitely a situation where you're wallet will feel the pain.

Things To Watch Out For
Nothing in particular.

Overall - ***
The three biggest problems I had with this figure were the red eyes, cheap tunic, and slightly oversized head.  Given that two of these three are fixed in a display by putting her in the Jedi robe, they ended up effecting my overall less than otherwise.  The red eyes...those are still a big issue.

Of course, the fact that this chick cost $65 for me (and $70 plus shipping if you didn't attend the Con) is a factor as well.

The big pluses here are the boots (I really do love the sculpt), the underlying head sculpt, and the belt.  I found that in the right pose, wearing the robes, she makes a very nice addition to the display.  She's not one of my top ten, but I'm glad I picked her up.  If you have the skills to repaint those eyes, you'll be even happier.

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

Where to Buy -
The best place was a couple weeks ago at SDCC.  There is still a wait list at Sideshow's site though that could get you one at retail. You can also search ebay using the sponsor MyAuctionLinks.

Related Links -
I've reviewed plenty of Sideshow Star Wars figures, including:

- the recent Tatooine Luke and Han Solo.

- Sideshow has had a strong year so far with Commander Praji, the exceptional Palpatine/Sidous and ANH Obi-Wan, and the not quite so exceptional Ilum Padme.

- also in the sixth scale line, I've reviewed Leia and Bespin Luke, the Holo-chess set, Sideshow's Asajj, a terrific figure, Yavin Luke, the Endor Troops, Jabba the Hutt and his throne, Bib Fortuna, Jedi Luke, Darth Maul, Obi-Wan, Bespin Han Solo, regular Anakin Skywalker and Kit Fisto.

- I also have guest reviews of the SDCC Anakin Skywalker, Mace Windu, and Qui-Gon Jinn.

- in the premium format line, I've reviewed Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Han Solo.

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Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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