Jade - Dead Cell
Triad Toys

   "The following is a guest review.  The review and photos do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Michael Crawford or Michael's Review of the Week, and are the opinion and work of the guest author."

Jeff is back with a look at the latest Dead Cell figure from Triad Toys - what's the scoop, Jeff?

A little under a year ago I reviewed my first figure from Triads original property Dead Cell. She was Dakota Jennings one of an elite group of vampire killers and occult detectives known as the Dead Cell. They were originally founded by Abigail Van Helsing (the granddaughter of the famed Professor Abraham Van Helsing), to do battle with the forces of evil, most notably the Prophets. A shadowy army of satanic occultists, hell bent on unleashing all manner of demons (here known as the Ragnoraks) to enslave humanity.
Jade here is Abigail’s great granddaughter, and as the families demon killing gene seems to run strong in the family, she now finds herself leading Dakota and the rest of the Dead Cell team in an on going war against the Ragnoraks and their diabolical unhallowed hordes.
As I said, this is all based on an original back story created by Triad, but so far there are no books, comics or movies to flesh out the Dead Cell universe any further. It’s really just a springboard to let your imagination do the rest.

For those that don't know, Triad are a relatively small company, but growing in quality with their recent releases. I guess if you thought in music terms they are to Sideshow what Rough Trade are to EMI. Meaning they still have that cool indie-vibe and manage to keep doing what 'they' want. 

And even though they are independent their list of official licenses is also ever growing, check out the website here to see more.

But now to the matter at hand, in the world of 1/6th we have more and more product coming from more and more manufacturers. So with peoples pre-orders getting increasingly stacked out, is Jade one you want to add that list?

Packaging - ***1/4
This follows exactly the same construction as Dakota’s box. So it’s a traditional 5-panel design and is full colour throughout with plenty of photos of the figure. And like the Dakota packaging the reverse even has detailed back stories of the Dead Cell group and a biography of Jade herself.

The inside of the front flap holds the collector friendly vac formed tray which houses her accessories and coat while the main box holds the figure held securely down by no less than 5 twisties, yes you read that right 5 TWISTIES!

We live in enlightened times, and I hope that some day in the future our children, or perhaps our children’s children will live in a world without the tyranny of the twisty tie!
However, that is my only real gripe, as the box is robust, colourful, informative and pleasingly compact!

(STOP PRESS- As an aside, I did get a small leaked snippet of information, those twisties, which caused me so much vexation and indignation are soon to ditched… Triad have seen the light!)

Sculpting - ***
The face sculpt here is quite similar to Dakota’s, but there are subtle nuances and differences. Kind of like the old Cy-Girls, they all looked different but were very much from the same stable.

Like I explained in my review for her fellow Dead Cell member, this is not even trying to be a Hot Toys wannabe. Triad know their core audience and collectors well. They feed a fan base that enthusiastically soaks up the cool stuff they deliver. And lets face it, there is a rabid fan-base left wanting since the Cy-Girl line dried up years ago.

You either get it, or you don’t. If original figures with rooted hair, that are unashamedly toys don’t float your boat, then you’d best move along. If however you like a well designed, well accessorised and wonderfully articulated fem action figure every now and then, you have just hit pay dirt! And the fact it’s way below the increasingly standard $150 is a big fat bonus too. But more on price later.

The face is relatively passive, but has that ‘ice maiden’ quality that means she could be thinking anything. The general sculpting is all crisp and smooth with some sweet detailing on the nose and around the eyes. The hair is rooted and has a 2-tone detailing. Meaning the main body of her black asymmetrical sharp bob has longer sections that hang down to frame the face, with the right hand side having a blond top layer to add detail and definition to her look.

She also comes with a selection of six hands, all are a re-use of the ones that came with Dakota, and seem to be the standard issue with the Alpha female base body in the Dead Cell series. All are well sculpted and hold the accessories well.

Paint - ***1/2
I gave Jade the same score as Dakota in sculpting as they are very much two peas from the same pod. But the painting is a definite improvement here.

So what’s to like? Well the lips are more refined than Dakota’s, showing greater detail and shading. As does the eye make-up, which is far more realistic and subtle. The eyes themselves are also glossier and wet looking, but on mine she does seem to have a very slight wandering left eye. It points into the nose by a whisker too much. It is however me being an anal reviewer, as from most angles it doesn’t show, and the quality of the app is the best I’ve seen from Triad so far on a female figure. If this were a $150 figure I’d perhaps be a little harder on it. But for a figure of this quality in this price range it deserves some merit.

Articulation - ****
Like Dakota, Jade is built around the Alpha female base body as seen here it doesn’t quite have the aesthetic of some of the very hi-end fem figures in terms of disguising joints. But I’ve always been a big articulation junkie, so it more than makes up for any shortcomings by displaying an absolutely awesome degree of mobility. It has all the best features we expect from hi-end figures, so you can expect double knees and elbows and a full range of movement at the shoulders and hips. The waist and the mid torso also have a good degree of movement and the wrists are a pegged ball-joint (a little hair-dryering or dunk in boiling water will make swapping infinitely easier) and the ankles can both tilt and point.  Last up is the neck, which has a peg inserted into the head, while the other end has a cup and ball joint that snaps into the top of the neck post.

I also found the body on this figure to be much firmer than Dakota’s, so she gets an extra star, taking her up to a full marks. The only irony being that this time round there are no magnetic boots!

Outfit - ***1/2
When I reviewed Dakota I pointed out that her outfit wouldn’t look out of place as a back up look for Abigail Whistler, and here young Jade sports an ensemble that readily brings to mind Milla Jovovich as Alice in Resident Evil. Now obviously it’s very far from a carbon copy, but you have to admit they at least shop in the same store. And like Alice she has a penchant for twin side-arms and the occasional machete  (OK, so she uses Gurkha knives, but go with me on this!). It’s a kind of apocalypse chic meets combat catwalk, and yes, that is a good thing!
So, what do we actually get-

- Leather Wrist Gauntlet
- Two-toned coat with concealed wires in the tails for posing
- Gold Satin front-laced top
- Shorts with suspender leggings
- Leather Wrist Band
- Leather Shoulder Band
- Black Biker Boots
- Leather belt

All the parts of her wardrobe are well tailored to fit the base Alpha body, and even though designed to be close fitting they don’t hamper her poseability to any great degree. Mine had no noticeable loose threads and the general quality of finish on the seams and edges was all sharp and well defined. I have to admit I would have preferred her top to have been more ‘tactical assault’ and less ‘Saturday Disco’, but as we are strictly in the arena of hot fantasy kick ass babes, I’ll cut them some slack.

For me the standout garment is the coat, it’s cut to be worn tight and doesn’t meet around her front, but the design and finish are all well thought through, with full lining and strategically placed wires concealed in the seams to aid in those dramatic action poses. So, again, don’t expect the very pinnacle that hi-end companies offer, but for the asking price here it’s all good quality stuff. And her biker boots are pretty rad as well, with some cool steel highlighted details, not dissimilar to ‘New Rock Planet’ footwear, they don’t however have magnets in the heels like Dakota.

Accessories - ***1/4
Jade comes with the tools she needs to get the job done, consisting of-

- One pair of special custom revolvers
- One machete
- One leather effect gun holsters and harness
- One leather effect machete harness and scabbard
- One pair of gun grip hands
- One pair of sword grip hands
- One pair of gesturing hands

So, if she should happen upon one of the legions of the un-dead I’m sure she wouldn’t have too big a problem dispatching them to the depths of Hades. However, like her Dead Cell sister in arms Dakota, I do wish she had just a little more weaponry at her disposal. Maybe a rifle, crossbow, shield or even the Spear of Destiny would be cool. But enough of the wants, lets deal with what we get.

The brace of custom pistols are groovy; they have quite a steam-punk thing doing on and have an antique distressed steel and copper paint finish. Sadly none of the parts are articulated, but they certainly look the part. They also fit nicely into the leather holsters supplied. It does say on the website that they intend for you to customise and adapt the base figure as you see fit. So I removed the holsters from belt as they were in a side-by-side position to be worn at the base of the spine with the handles pointing outward, like this whereas I wanted them worn traditionally at the hip pointing backwards.

She also comes with a rather vicious looking machete/meat cleaver. It’s constructed of plastic and like the guns it fits into the sheath well. Again the positioning of the sheath belt can be altered, to be worn either around the waist or across the torso ‘bandoleer’ style.

So, the accessories are a cool and pertinent selection, and what we do get is well made, I just wish she had a little something extra.

On a side note I did also get the two ‘Zombie survival packs’, these offer a few extra options to hack/beat your least favourite monster to a pulp, and I’ll cover them soon.

Fun Factor - ***3/4
OK she’s more expensive than her comrade, but she’s just as much fun to play with. In fact, for some inexplicable reason I find her just a little bit more fun. Perhaps its because I find her just a tad easier to pose in her skimpy outfit, and lets face it, who doesn’t have a thing for hot assassin babes packing twin pistols… yeah, NOT just me then.

Value for money - ***
Dakota was a very reasonable $89.99, which I consider something of a steal in these days of $150 to $200 figures. Jade here however costs another $30 more, and I can’t really see where that hike comes from. I admit her paint app is stronger, and her coat is a more refined garment than Dakota’s jacket, but when you consider Dakota had a metal sword compared to Jades plastic machete… well it had me scratching my head.
So she doesn’t score as highly as Dakota in this category, but $120 still seems like a reasonable deal in the present climate.

Overall- ***1/2
As I already went over above, she is a little dearer than Dakota. But even taking that into account she just feels like a better overall figure. I can’t 100% put my finger on why, its just one of those intangible mysteries of the universe. The thing I do like however is the fact that Dead Cell’s ranks are swelling. Soon we’ll have Iris (with her glam biker girl chic) who will then be followed by the lady that started it all Abigail (dressed in a 1940’s inspired military outfit). So if Triad keep pumping them out, we’re going to end up with quite a comprehensive little squad, kind of like ‘Sucker Punch’ but with Vampires.

Where to buy
You can buy her direct from Triad for the RRP of $119.99 and there is also the limited edition SDCC exclusive version still available for one cent more at $120,00
Or you can try some of Michaels sponsor BBTS who have her in stock for $114.99 

Alternatively you can hit eBay where I’m seeing prices of between $124.99 up to $135.00.

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This product was provided free for the review by the manufacturer. Photos and text by Jeff Parker.

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