Vampire Buffy
Sideshow 12"

We all occasionally have bad dreams. If you're day job involves killing vampires and other assorted nasty creatures, then you might guess that your nightmares could be even worse.

In the episode aptly titled "Nightmares", Buffy and the rest of Sunnydale is plagued by haunting dreams of their worst fears. For Buffy, that's becoming the very thing she hates the most - one of the undead. A bumpy forehead never looked so good.

Sideshow has been producing an excellent series of figures for almost five years now, and their latest release, Vampire Buffy, follows the pattern. There's a regular version of course, and an exclusive to the Sideshow website that includes an extra accessory. This exclusive is limited to just 750, and is the version I'm reviewing tonight.

Packaging -  ***
Sideshow does great packages, so there's no surprise here. The graphics are good, although not quite as spectacular as some of their work. They've almost completely abandoned the twisties these days, and have replaced them with a buttload of dental floss.

That's normally not a bad thing, but in this case, both axes are flossed into the tray, with no other form of support. That means returning them to the tray once you remove them is pretty much out, since they'll end up flopping around all over the package. Had the tray been formed to give them a little support, I would have been much happier.

This release sports the new "Sideshow Exclusive" sticker, which I like quite a bit. It's impossible to remember what makes each figure the 'exclusive', and without the sticker it was up to your memory to figure it out.

Sculpt - ****
This is by far my favorite Buffy sculpt so far, and it's not really Buffy. Through in some monstery goodness, and they've managed to capture the look. I'm sure it helps that this doesn't have to look exactly like Sarah Michelle Gellar, but Gellar in monster makeup.

There's more here than that though. The lower half of the face does really resemble her, especially the lips and chin. The expression is realistic without being silly, and it was smart to go with a non-exaggerated appearance.

The hair is extremely well done, and was the toughest aspect to get right. The hair that falls forward into her face does look a little like two snakes breaking free, but that's due to the simple physics of the manufacturing process. There's no way that these pieces and the overall head could have been done as a single piece, so they had to be glued on separately. Still, they've done a pretty good job of keeping the seam small, and making it look natural, particularly under normal viewing.

They've sculpted the hands to hold the accessories, but they aren't in the serious claw position that we usually get. Instead, it's a more natural hand sculpt, and they've also included her many rings.

If I had one complaint - and it's me, so of course I do - it's with the vamp ridges. While they look good, they're softer than what we see in the original prototype. Just check out the photo of the prototype on the front of the box, and you'll see what I mean. It looks like the molding process lost some of that harsher detail, and that's a bit of a disappointment.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint application is clean and neat, with a very high quality appearance. She doesn't suffer from gloss face, and the skin tone is nice and even. The eyes are fantastic, both very clean, and they have a high gloss finish to make them appear 'wet', and very reflective. Those touches make the overall appearance much more realistic and lifelike.

I do wish that the darker wash used on the vamp ridges was a little more consistent, but it's a fairly minor issue. Her makeup is perfect as well. Maybe it's Maybelline.

Articulation - ***1/2
If you like the Sideshow body - and I do - then you'll get no surprises here. All the usual articulation, including the versatile wrist and ankle joints.

I did knock off a little though due to the lack of the ball jointed neck. With the hair, it's mobility would be a bit restricted, which is probably why they skipped it, but it would have been so nice to move her head upward, even a little.

Outfit - ***
The outfit consists of the blue jacket, sleeveless sweater, and pants. There's not a lot to it - and the shoes are sculpted - but the general quality is Sideshow's usual work.

The jacket is my favorite piece, complete with little fake button holes. The buttons are even on the right side for a woman's jacket, although I'm not sure why I noticed that. It's well tailored, and fits perfectly up under the hair. In fact, it was such a perfect fit - and so tough to get back just right - that I skipped removing it to show you the sweater.

The sweater matches up with the episode as well, and is also well tailored. They've used a different material, more sweater-like, but still pulled it off in sixth scale.

Finally, there's the pants. The pants balloon up a lot around the hips, and are the one aspect of the outfit - and actually the entire figure - which really bothered me. I couldn't get them looking reasonable no matter how much I played with them, and the fit really bugged me.

Accessories - ***1/2
Sometimes Sideshow can be a little skimpy on the accessories, but that's not a problem this time around.

There's Mr. Pointy, her stake that she got from Kendra. It's in a slightly better scale than most of the stakes we've gotten with this series, but is still a smidge small.

There's also two very cool axes, both from the show. They sport terrific, brutal sculpts, and fit nicely in her hands. Some additional paint ops on either would have been nice to add some more detail, but I'm not complaining.

She also has the usual display stand, with the Buffy logo emblazoned on the top. You won't need it to keep her standing, but it's nice to have for consistency sake.

Finally, there's the extra accessory included with the exclusive version - her tombstone from the nightmare. It's not as fancy as her actual tombstone from a couple seasons later, but it's a very nice touch, and is actually pretty close to reasonable scale.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
This is a fun figure, no matter what your age. Okay, so maybe you don't want your four year old playing with the battle axe or Mr. Pointy, but for kids over 8 or so, this can be a fun toy. She's sturdy, and can take some play abuse, and while the accessories could break, it's not any more likely than most other sixth scale accessories on the market.

Value - **1/2
At $45, she's a tad expensive, at least $5 more than she should be to get an average score. However, I'm grading her at the full $45, but I have some suggestions for online retailers below who can get you the normal version as cheap as $32, which is a much, much better deal. If you can live without the tombstone, you can save yourself $13, and add another star to this score.

Things to watch out for - 
I didn't have a single issue or problem. Just have fun!

Overall -  ***1/2
Sideshow's Buffy line is one of their longest running licensed lines, and also one of their most inconsistent. It has produced some of the very finest work out of Sideshow, like Spike and Oz, and also some of the worst, like Faith and Willow. Thankfully, the Vampire Buffy falls far closer to the good side than the bad.

She has a few issues, but none of them are major, and the general overall package is about as good as we've seen for Buffy. With vampire versions of both Drusilla and Darla on the way, the vampy goodness still has some legs. And oh, what legs they are!

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - ****
Paint - ***1/2
Articulation - ***1/2
Outfit - ***
Accessories - ***1/2
Fun Factor - ***1/2
Value - **1/2
Overall -  ***1/2

Where to Buy -
The exclusive is through Sideshow only, but there are other options for the regular version:

- Sideshow has both the exclusive and the regular in stock.

- Alter Ego has the regular version for $32.

- Time and Space Toys has the regular version for $35.

- if you're a member of the Buffy Collector's Club, you can pick her up for $32.

- Dark Shadow Collectibles has her for $35.

Related Links -
Let's just stick with the 12" Buffy stuff here, since I have a billion Buffy reviews out there:

- I've reviewed Willow, Buffy and Angel, Faith, and the original Buffy and the Gentlemen.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

This page copyright 2003, Michael Crawford. All rights reserved. Hosted by 1 Hour