SEARCH REVIEWS    LIVING WITH LATE FEES    FEATURES    LINKS    BIO    MISSION    EMAIL    MAIN PAGE >


Queen Alluxandra's Council - The Cats
Four Horsemen

Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen

This year's entry in the Four Horsemen's FANtastic Exclusive series is Queen Alluxandra and her 'council'. The first of the 11 figures in the set debuted at San Diego Comic-Con, and I've already reviewed the two fully human ladies, Allux and her evil counterpart Izzy (Isadorra).

I thought (briefly) about reviewing all 9 remaining figures at once, but then realized that I hadn't suffered a major head injury, and therefore knew what an awful idea that was. Still, 6 of the 9 are all pretty much the same figure, with just a different paint job, so as bad an idea doing all 9 together would be, it would be equally bad (and a serious exercise in redundancy) to split up the six similar figures.

All that is the long winded way of saying that I'm covering the six cat-ladies tonight, with a future review of the mutants. Those mutants are Ccora, Silissk and Kromus, and I'll get to them sometime next week.

The six I'm looking at tonight are Badditthur (the black panther), Raavia (the darker colored tiger), D'Zwirra (the lighter colored tiger), Oktobria (the light leopard), Akkuli (the blue leopard), and Biggara (the tan tiger). Each of these are available through a different retailer, and the production run on each is quite low. You can also buy the whole set of 11 direct from StoreHorsemen, if that's the route you want to go.  The figures run $20 - $25 each, depending on the retailer. I have links to each one at the end, in the Where to Buy section.
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen

Packaging - ***1/2
The Queen's Council all come in very, very collector friendly packaging, designed to be easily opened, remove the figure and accessories, and easily replace them later if you are so inclined. While this is pretty common with statues, busts and high end sixth scale figures, it's a bit unusual for figures that come in bubble/cardback style packages.

There are a couple twisties, which are always annoying but not deadly. And if you do replace the figure in the bubble, you can always skip the twisties.

The cardback actually slides into four plastic tabs on the back of the bubble, making it one of the best designed packages like this I've seen. Obviously you can't have something like this on the peg, but for a collector's line purchased largely online, it works great.

One feature I would like to see is a bit more personalization, however. There's nothing specific about the character or the online store you get them at on the front of the card or bubble. It's particularly annoying with the cats, where it's tough enough to keep them straight.

Sculpting - ***1/2
If you've seen Allux and Izzy, then you've seen 80% of these figures already. While there are some slight changes to the armor between these six and the two humans, those changes are very slight. Obviously, the head sculpts are different, and the cat's have paws instead of feet. There's also some minor changes to the armor, particularly on the torso, making them stand out a bit from the humans.

When you compare the six cats, even those changes evaporate. Everything from the head to the toes is identical here, right down to the nifty sculpted pads on the bottom of their feet.

Thankfully, the basic cat sculpt, as well as the overall body work, is excellent. There's tons of detail in the armor, including texturing and layering. While they couldn't add fur to the body - it is re-used, remember - they did add a nice fur texture to the cat head sculpt and paws.

The cat's have a neutral expression, with hands designed to hold the accessories. They also have a sculpted 'pack' on their back that can hold the weapons, although the two small slots work much better with the sword than the spear. 

The figures stand about 6" tall, and I think they fit in better with other 6" lines - like DCUC or Marvel Legends - than 7" lines like MOTUC, but you can judge for yourself. It all depends on how big you think cat-ladies should be in relation to the men that want them.

And yes, they are all anatomically correct...they have a tail.

Paint - ***
This is the category that defines each of these figures and sets them apart from one another. Overall, the quality is good, but not quite what I'd expect at the top of the collector's market.

There's a little slop here and there, but it's much harder to notice without the eye of the macro lens. Some of the colors are a bit inconsistent, and the biceps at the swivel joint tend to have coverage issues on several of the figures.  Some of the pins could be colored more appropriately to match their respective limbs, and not all the cut lines are as clean or neat as they should be.

Still, considering the number of paint ops and the level of detail required, the work is certainly above average. The best work on all the figures is the eyes and face, a critical defining feature.

Out of the six, we're all going to have different favorites. Mine is Akkuli, the aqua cat done up in leopard spots. While not the most realistic or natural coloration, I think it really stands out on the shelf.

The two that are most redundant are Raavia and D'Zwirra. Raavia is a little darker, with a redder appearance, while D'Zwirra is a bit more orange, with cream coloration on her belly. These two are both very tiger-like, and odds are you won't be buying both unless you're a completist. If I were to pick one, I'd go with Raavia, because the darker colors look a bit less toy-like to my eye.

I suspect one of the most popular with be Badditthur, the black panther of the bunch. She's certainly the most unique of the bunch, standing out from the others due to the bold color and lack of spots or stripes.

Articulation - ***
Since these figures share a body with Allux and Izzy, it should be no surprise that they also share the same articulation.

There's the true ball jointed neck, with a ball at the chin and one down inside the neck itself. The post isn't very long though, which restricts much of the tilt action.

The shoulders and hips are the traditional pin/post style of ball joints, with a good range of movement. Unfortunately, the hips are constricted by the skirt, but I was able to get some decent leg poses, particularly with Akkuli.

The elbows are double pin, as are the knees, which allows for very tight compression of the limbs. The wrists are cut joints, and there's a cut joint at the waist as well. There's the pin chest joint too, which allows the upper half of the body to tilt forward and back quite a bit.

I already mentioned the double pin ankles and ball jointed hips, but the legs also have swivel joints up near the hip, and the ankles have both pin joints AND a swivel that allows the foot to remain on flat on the floor in deep stances.

Yep, it's quite a bit of articulation, although some of it (hips, neck) is pretty restricted. The issues were more spotty, with loose joints effecting about half the figures. It wasn't a consistent problem - some had loose ankles, others had loose hips, others had loose knees - but it may be indicative of a general problem across the line.

Accessories - **
I gave their sisters an extra half star in this category when I reviewed them, but I'm dropping it slightly here because of the overall breakage problem and the heavy re-use.

All the figures come with a sword and a spear. These are identical with every figure, except for a slightly different paint job. The sculpt on the spear has enough detail and visual appeal, but the hilt of the sword is a tad bland and boring.

The big problem here is the breakage. Out of six figures, I broke the spear with four of them. And that was fully realizing how fragile they were! At times it literally felt like I had merely breathed and they broke. I was able to reglue all of them, but getting such small accessories to be perfectly straight at a glue point is always an issue. I did manage to not break any of the swords, but it certainly felt like they wanted to fall apart. I handled them with kid gloves as well, and things turned out slightly better. You shouldn't have to treat them that way though, and you certainly shouldn't have to reglue the majority of them. Take extreme care when taking the weapons out, putting them in their hands, adjusting them, putting them back in the package...just to be safe, be careful how you look at them.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
While I had some hit or miss issues with the joints, and there is the obvious problem with breaking accessories, I have to say that these figures really are a lot of fun. Kids would dig these as much as collectors, particularly kids looking for more animal warrior types for their sandbox army.

Value - **1/2
You can pick up most of these ladies for around $20 each. Normally at that price I'd dock them another half star, but the production run on any one of them is very low, only a couple hundred or so each, making each one a better deal than it would be otherwise.

Things to Watch Out For -
Take care with the joints, particularly the knees, elbows and shoulders. And if you breath in the same room as the weapons, you can expect them to break.

Overall - ***
If you're a cat person, then this is definitely the set of figures for you. I have to admit that they don't do as much for me as the previous anthropomorphic figures in the 7th Kingdom series, but I can certainly understand the appeal that they'll have for others.

The breakage issues with the accessories are the big issue this time around, with the slightly loose joints on some of the figures trailing as a distant second. Folks who love Four Horsemen figures are going to be happy with the sculpting and articulation, and these should fit in pretty well with both past series (elephant warriors should always be much bigger than cat warriors), and with other 6 - 7" scale figures.

If I weren't buying the full set, I have to say that I'd probably stick with Akkuli and Baddatthir, at least out of these six. I think both Allux an Izzy are definitely buys, with these two filling in the need for cats. Of course, everyone's tastes are going to be a tad different when it comes to paint scheme, and with this much variety in a single wave, I think there will be something for everyone.

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

Where to Buy -
SDCC was the first place to pick up Alluxandra and Isadorra, but you can get either one at the Store Horsemen right now. They also have the exclusive mutant Silissk. If you think you'd like the full set of 11 figures, you can purchase them in one shot direct from the Four Horsemen as well, and save some money on shipping.

The other 8 figures are available individually from various websites:

1 - Baddatthiir - available at Big Bad Toy Store

2 - Raavia - available at Raving Toy Maniac

3 - Ccora - available at Corner Store Comics

4 - Oktobria - available at October Toys

5 - D'Zwirra - available through Wizard Universe

6 - Akkuli - available through Action Figure Express

7 - Biggara - also available through Big Bad Toy Store

8 - Kromus - available through Fwoosh

Related Links -
I covered Allux and Izzy in an earlier review, and I've covered a few of the previous FANtastic exclusives and variants as well, including the Timekeepers, Ssejjhhorr, Xetheus, and Vaskhh.

If you'd like more background info on the first two series of FANtastic Exclusives, check out the toy wiki page.

Discussion:
Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

Enjoyed this review? Be sure to head back to the main page to find thousands more just like it!

KEEP SCROLLING DOWN FOR LOTS MORE PHOTOS!



Share this review with others! 
  Digg it!    StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!      Reddit

Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen
Queen's Councel Fantastic Exclusive figures by the Four Horsemen


This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2000 - 2009, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Click here for copyright permissions! Hosted by 1 Hour Hosting.com