Chosen Xander, The Wish Cordelia

Man, you would not believe just how much the reviews are piling up right now - with a dozen things sitting here from SDCC that I still want to talk about, and things like Hanna-Barbera, Corpse Bride 2, and Cult Classics 4 screaming for attention, I have more than enough to keep me busy for awhile.

But I've been teasing the poor Buffy and Angel fans about getting to these next two, so I better do it quick before they send a lynch mob. Tonight I'm covering two more of the upcoming (any day now they should start shipping) DST Xander and Cordelia wave - Chosen Xander and Wish Cordelia.

For those that might not recall, a quick recap of these two figures. The Wish Cordelia is based on the season 3 episode where she wishes Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. This was the first episode to see Anya, and was one of those 'alternate universe' sort of stories. It's one of my favorites.

Chosen Xander will be high on everyone's want list, not just because of the figure, but because of the episode it's based upon. This was the final episode of the entire series, and holds a special place in Buffy fan's hearts. Leading up to this final cataclysmic battle, the Scoobies took a serious beat down. Sure, they persevered and won the war, but not without many important casualties in the battles leading up to it. 

Several episodes prior, Xander was relieved of his left eye by Caleb, and wore an eye patch through the rest of the season. That's the version we see here, but please note that it's the shortpacked figure, at only 1 in each case of 8.

These should be showing up in stores this week, next at the latest. I have my usual sponsor suggestions for picking them up at the end of the review.

Packaging - ***
Both of these come on the Buffy packaging, not the Angel, for obvious reasons. I've been a big fan of the earthy tones from day one, but I still prefer clamshells to the more traditional card back/bubble stuff.

Both have a character specific photo on the front, with general Xander/Cordelia text on the back. While they are attractive, these awkwardly shaped bubbles can be difficult for MOCers to store.

Sculpting - Cordy ***; Xander **1/2
I'm being a little rougher on Xander this time - perhaps I should have been last time as well, but something about adding the patch reduces the likeness further for me.

He's still a reasonable proximity, but as I ponder him longer, the open mouth expression does less for me. He also has the same issue of having the head jammed too far down on the neck, which is something else that annoys me the longer I have him. Maybe I'm just wearing my crabby pants today.

On the other hand, this Cordy is an improvement over the Pylean version. I'm not a big fan of Cordy in a dress, but it was accurate to this episode, and her proportions - head, arms, torso, hips - are much, much better. The long hair sculpt works great here, and the soft material doesn't restrict the ball jointed neck much at all. In fact, this Cordy has the most range of movement in her neck of all four figures!

This figure also has a much prettier head sculpt. Now, I'm not sold that it's a great Cordelia, but it's much better than the Pylean version, and at least you can tell that this is an attractive woman. You can see Charisma Carpenter in there some place - but you could also mistake her for Laura Laughlin or Rachel Ray.

Scale is no different than the previous two. Cordy is taller than Xander, and almost as tall as Wes. Both figures stand fine on their own, even with Cordelia's tiny feet. Both can also hold their accessories quite well due to the nicely done hand sculpts.

I've included some photos toward the end of the review that show the older MAC versions of Cordy and Xander with the new DST versions.  There are pluses and minuses for both, that's for sure, but I have to say that overall, the new figures win out over the old.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint work on both of these figures was an improvement for me over the previous two. Xander's face paint is cleaner and more even, with no breaks in the eyebrows or slop anywhere, and Cordy has excellent work, especially in her eyes and lips.

Colors are appropriate to the episode, in terms of Cordy's dress and Xander's shirt, which is always critical if you're going for episode specific appearances. Plaid is always tough to do, but they've done a great job on Xander here.

There are still a couple issues, and the skin tones could be a little more even and less gloppy, particularly on Cordy's arms. But for the most part, the paint work I see here is a step up from the other two. I suspect that signals some inconsistency in the Quality Control department, so it's possible that your score could be in the *** - ***1/2 range, depending on the one you get.

Articulation - **1/2
Cordy improves here, while Xander stays the same. He has a ball jointed neck, with reduced movement, cut shoulders, pin elbows and knees, cut wrists, and a V crotch. I really would have liked cut biceps, especially with the included weapons, but he is consistent with the rest of the line.

Cordelia has the ball jointed neck, and unlike her Pylean cousin, it has a very good range of movement. She also has cut shoulders, pin elbows and knees, cut waist, cut wrists, and the V crotch. Of course, with the tight dress, neither the hips or knees do a whole lot, but you can use them to get her to stand, and actually stay standing. What she has that the Pylean Princess does not is cut biceps. These are a nice addition, although on my figure they tended to gap.

Accessories - ***
Diamond continues to do an excellent job matching show appropriate accessories to each character, and giving us a decent amount.

Xander breaks recent tradition by coming with a different base - an roundish one without any backdrop. The funky artwork on the floor (right from the episode) is done with a sticker, not paint or sculpted, so it's likely to be a big disappointment for some fans. That's especially true since it did appear as a three dimensional sculpted symbol on the floor on the show.

He also comes with the knife and a sword, ready to battle Caleb. These sport good sculpts, and fit in his hands nicely even without the supplied rubber band.

Finally, there's the Shadow Casters. Now, this isn't actually from Chosen, at least not that I recall. I don't remember it making another appearance in that episode, but it was from Get It Done, another season 7 episode about the first slayer. And Xander was helping them with it, so including it with him is alright.

This is one very cool accessory, made from hard plastic with a small flame in the center and the 'dancers' around the outside. This is like the earlier Slayer's Scythe, a must have accessory for die hard fans of the show. That it's included with a short pack is going to cause some folks to double up on their prescription medications.

Cordelia comes with the more traditional base, with a sticker on the backdrop showing the swinging double doors with the port windows. These are supposed to be from the Bronze, right? She also has a stake, ready to take out Willow and Xander (this Cordelia will make an excellent pairing with the previous Vamp Willow and the Vamp Xander in this wave), a fashionable handbag, and a large book on Ethics. That was a lesson that took awhile for Cordelia to learn, but learn it she did.

She also has the very cool, tiny amulet on a chain that Anya used to grant the wish. I assumed I could pop her head off and put it on, but that wasn't working for me. I really wanted her to wear it though, and had she been able to, Cordy's score in this category would have jumped another half star. If you can manage to get the head off yours without breaking the post - and I'm not telling you to go and do that - let me know!

Fun Factor - **1/2
These aren't exactly a kid's line, but who doesn't love a guy in an eye patch? Arrr!

Value - **1/2
You're paying around $12 each for these, and that's about right. They aren't super articulated, or come with a ton of accessories, and that ten spot plus two range seems to be a pretty average market price right now. Personally, I think a price around $10 is more in line for these, but the without any big retailers carrying them, it's unlikely you'll find them that cheap unless you stumble on a sale.

Things to Watch Out For - 
If you can pick them off the peg, watch that paint application.

Overall - Cordy ***; Xander **1/2
As I ponder the Xanders, I find myself becoming less enchanted. The head sculpts are in the general vicinity, and the paint job on the plaid shirts is great, but having the head so far down on the neck is really wonking up the overall effect. If I were forced to choose one, I'd probably go with the Chosen version, although I like him overall a little less than the basic Season 7 version. Then why go with him? Because of the eye patch, baby, it's all about the eye patch.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there's no doubt that this Cordelia is better than the Pylean version. Again, I'm not a huge fan of the dress/sweater look, but it is right for the episode, and with the cut biceps you can even do the book-clinging pose from when she met Anya. The woman captured in plastic in this version is at least attractive, even if she only has a passing resemblance to Charisma Carpenter. She's a tough sculpt to capture, that's for sure.

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

Where to Buy - 
Sponsor suggestions:

- Time and Space Toys is a great spot for everything Buffy and Angel. They also run the Buffy Collector's Club. This Xander is a short pack though, so they only offer him free with a gift certificate purchase. However, they have other package deals for the various Xander and Cordelia figures on their site.

- Both CornerStoreComics and Amazing Toyz have the Wish Cordy for $12, or the shortpack Chosen Xander for $20. They also have a package deal for $60 for five of the figures that does include both of these.

- Alter Ego lists a pair of the regular Season 7 Xander with the Wish Cordy for about $25.

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 Pylean Princess Cordy and Season 7 Xander, 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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