bbi (a division of Blue Box Toys) has been best known for their 12" unlicensed war figures, both early and modern.  They've dabbled with licensed products occasionally, but they've never had great success.

They've also had good success with their Cy Girls line of female butt kicking characters, and female figure collectors everywhere consider them some of the best sixth scale ladies available today.

And so it's not surprising that bbi tried the licensed character idea again, only this time attacking it from the female perspective.  Shi is a well know comic book character, created by Bill Tucci.  There's also been talk of a movie in recent years, and the rights for a film were picked up by Gitlin Productions.

Shi is going to be a Tower Records exclusive, but I'm waiting for confirmation back from them on when and how much.  I picked up mine at the San Diego Comic Convention, where they had only brought a handful for sale in very simple boxes.  These were hand painted, done in time to get them to the show.

UPDATE - Tower Records should have her in stock by the 14th of September.  She'll retail for $30.

Packaging - *
The SDCC versions came in just a brown box with a basic label.  I haven't seen the final packaging for Tower yet, but bbi usually does a great job.  Since this is a 'special' version, I won't be putting much weight on the packaging score in my overall assessment.

Sculpting - ***1/2
It's a good sculpt, although the basic design has is fairly, well, basic.  The character has the plain, Kabuki style appearance, and therefore that's what the figure has.

But while the sculpt is plain, it's very clean and symmetrical.  The nose and lips are just right, and perfectly proportioned for the face.  What additional sculpting exists - weapons, hands, etc. - is all very well done and looks terrific.  This is some of the better bbi sculpt work, at least in terms of the head.

The hair is rooted rather than sculpted, and cut to look good.  Of course, I can never get the hair to look like they do in the promo photos, but I'm not much of a stylist. The rooting is well done, with lots of hair so there's no sixth scale pattern baldness.

Paint - ****
I can't be sure the final versions will look this good - she was hand painted after all.  But the face paint (really the only major paint application) is perfect.  The shading of the porcelain white is great, the eyes, mouth and eyebrows detailed and clean.

There are a few other paint operations, particularly on the weapons and hands, and there's no sign of any slop or inferior work.

Articulation - ***1/2
This is not the 'traditional' Cy Girl body, but the updated version with additional articulation.  While the Cy Girl body has always been the best female sixth scale body on the market, it lacked some of the ultra articulation of the male counterpart.

She has the neck, ball jointed shoulders, ball jointed wrists, chest, waist, and ankles that you'd expect.  The hips have been improved slightly in terms of the range of motion, but the legs sit farther apart than on the original Cy Girls, and some may find that less appealing.  The elbows are double jointed, and while the knees aren't double jointed technically, the range of motion has been improved.  Finally, they've added cut joints on the thighs.

All this means even more posing possibilities, but the hip and thigh articulation looks a bit odd with the thong.

Accessories - ***1/2
Shi comes outfitted with several weapons, including two swords, and one that's a cross between a spear and a lance.  I'm sure regular readers of the book will recognize it.

All the weapons are extremely well sculpted, with excellent paint ops.  There are two loops on the back of her jacket, presumably for the two swords, although it looks like she's wearing a deadly hair hair braid when they are in place.

There is a sheath for the lance/sword weapon, and it fits around her waist easily.

I'm a tad spoiled this week on accessories though with the excellent die cast metal swords from the Ignite line.  Still, as Cy Girls go, she's well outfitted and the weapons look great. 

Outfit - ***
The outfit consists of her two flags, jacket, thong and boots.  There's also a hair pin that you might miss unless you're paying special attention, and her choker is a separate piece of clothing.

The jacket and boots are the highlight and focal point of the overall costume.  The quality on both is extremely high, and the stitching and tailoring really make them stand out.  Small touches, like the gold color made from a softer material than the rest of the pleather jacket, and the sculpted hands to match the sculpted forearms of the jacket rally make the outfit well above average.

I've already mentioned the only real distraction - the odd look of the thong on this type of articulated figure.  I don't have a problem with it, but I suspect some folks will have issues.

Value - ***
I'm not sure what the Tower retail will be, although I'm betting around $40.  I paid $50 at the con, and that's too high, although having a hand painted version was worth it to me.  I'm basing this average value on a cost of around $40, and I'll update it if the final Tower price comes out well above or well below this.

UPDATE - at a retail of $30, you can add another half star to this category!

Overall - ***1/2
This is a terrific looking 12" female figure, for both fans of the license and general female figure collectors alike.  She's the best licensed bbi product so far, certainly better than stuff like the Andromeda figures.  Let's hope this is an indication of what we'll see with bbi and other licensed figures in the future.

It's too bad this is an exclusive, since that will probably drive the price up, but if that was the only way to get this figure on the shelves then I'm glad they made the decision.

Where to Buy - 
Tower Records have this figure exclusively.  You can pick it up at the web site starting sometime soon.  I'll update when I hear back from Tower.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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