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Dust Anastasia and Unmencsh

Jeff, sixth scale afficiando, is back tonight with a review of the Dust Anastasia and Unmensch figures.  He just updates my Unmensch review actually, and focuses primarily on Anastasia.  Take it away, Jeff!

Thanks as always to Michael, though there seem to be more and more review sites opening all the time, we still come back to the original and best, and as Carley Simon once said 'nobody does it better'. But any way on with the review- 

I recall being in London about a year ago and seeing the Koshka figure from this line in Forbidden Planet. It was about 75 and I remember thinking at the time 'never heard of Dust, and for 75 big ones this doesn't seem (quality wise) up there with the big boys'. So I passed. Then a few moths later I kept seeing the Sigrid figure crop up on eBay, but still I wasn't impressed (the face sculpt in particular looked pretty ropy). Then just a few months ago I saw an eBay trader selling 'The Unmensch' and suddenly I thought 'Hey', these look pretty interesting. But before I even had time to research the cheapest way of getting them, a certain Mr Crawford had a review up in full technicolour detail.









Using the links he posted I contacted the Paolo Parente site direct, and found if you ordered 4 figures you got a 10% discount, so I ordered up the two head sculpt variants of the Unmensch, with a third Unmensch (same sculpt as one of the other two) but with a bonus feature light up mechanical hand (these are sent out at random when you order, only one in every 12) and lastly Anastasia, she's one of the good guys and though the figure is in many ways cooler in the flesh than in the photos I'd seen, she didn't quite match up to the quality of Mr Parente's illustrations of her in his comic and sketch book. That said, if she had we'd probably be looking at the worlds first 1/6 X-rated restricted 18 action figure. 

Also as a bonus for ordering direct from the website you get a credit card style 'members privilege card', I'm hoping in the future this might save me some money, but at present once you've logged on you can access some pages of the comic not available in the printed version. If you do take a look you'll see why they were never printed, lets just say Paolo has a good eye for capturing the female form, and these particular ladies seem to enjoy other female company in a big way....if you take my meaning. Any way, enough of the small talk, what you wanna know is 'is she worth shelling out your hard earned'.

Packaging - ***
All in all this a pretty nice box, benefiting greatly from Paolo Parente's artwork, some nice graphic design and good quality typography (something missing all too often in so many designs these days).

It's flap fronted and utilises the one illustration Paolo has done of Anastasia* several times (* in fact, I feel a bit mean pointing it out but the illustration used is actually of Koshka as she appears on page two of the the first issue of the comic), there's a brief biog of the character on the inside panel facing the figure. Then on the BOP there are four photos of the figure (including one with a variant of the weapon not included in the box, tut, tut, tut!).

Open the top slide her out and HOORAY! no twisties. She lies securely held by a vac formed tray along side her very big gun it's ammo mag and a pair of spare ungloved hands.

Sculpt - ***
Not a bad sculpt, and it has a lot going for it in many ways, but having seen the illo on the front you're kind of left thinking 'they could have got a little closer'. She's sculpted to look hot, but the way Paolo draws her she looks even HOTTER! The spare hands are basic but the gloved ones are better, the right hand having a very pointed index finger, OK for holding the gun, but not exactly relaxed when by her side, in fact you'd have to put her in a pointing pose to get away with it.

Paint - ***
Pretty basic, the gun, boots and gloves all have some weathering, which is nice! Then the only other area is the head. All very tight, no over painting at all, but she still has that Stepford wife look, similar to cy-girls but in a different way, and she has a pout Angelina Jolie would envy. So all in all not a bad paint job at all, just lacking something.

Articulation - **1/2
Not good enough these days, restricted shoulder movement and no double elbows, so once you hit 90 degrees, that's it. And her gun though big is not that heavy, but she really struggles to get some good poses because of the limited arm articulation and lack of strength to hold it up. The legs are on the other hand fine, double knees and plenty of hip/groin movement. the head also moves pretty freely on the neck post.

Outfit - ***1/2
This is far and above this figures strongest category. She comes with boots, combat trousers, a cold weather multi pocketed (sadly no working pockets) fully lined coat/parka with a fur trimmed hood, a russian style fleece lined hat with a very dinky hammer'n'sickle badge on the front, a webbing harness holding two pouches, these can be opened but are stuffed with fabric off cuts, a tight fitting cropped vest top with matching briefs. All these items are well put together, I've seen better but at this price point they're OK. If I wanted to be picky and lets face it I do! Then like the sculpt I feel they could have got the outfit a little closer to the FOP illustration. The vest could have been a t-shirt, she could have had some goggles, a dog tag and a knife strapped to her shin. But she doesn't. Only details I know, but in 1/6 these days detail is all!

I feel I should also point out the goggles used in a couple of the photo's are from the Hot Toys Kyle Reese, so don't expect to find them in the box.

Accessories - **1/2
As I mentioned above, one gun, but it is a very big gun. It has a sliding lock'n'load mechanism and a magazine that clips into the underside. I also said above that on the BOP one of the pics shows a variant to this magazine, instead having what looks like some kind of orange gas or liquid fuel canister. This however was not included with the figure, whether it will be in the future or was in the past with some comic con exclusive I don't know. The only other item or items are the spare hands (ungloved) pretty basic sculpt but nice as an alternative.

Fun Factor - ***
The good news is she looks like she was made to be played with. No, no ,no, not in that way, go wash your mind out!

Now I don't think many boys that are at an age of wanting military figures tend to show much interest in the female ones. It's only as you get more into collecting, older and weirder that these figures seem to become popular. And I'm never too sure how I feel about kids playing with (or even representations of) guns, that said I'm British with a pretty different attitude to firearms than most Americans, I always think the acid test should be 'Do you want a gun?' if your answer is 'Yes!' then you probably shouldn't have one. But take her gun away and I'd rather my two daughters played with this or any other Cy-girl type figure than I would Barbie. 

Value - **1/2
These are knocking around on eBay for between $59 to $99, and as I just checked the DUST website and they have officially sold out of the 600 ltd run that was retailing for $60, it looks like eBay or your local 'Armoury' dealer will have to be your first stop. When I got hold of these I was informed that variants would probably be manufactured, and as so far all the DUST releases have been low number runs for various comic cons I guess that would make sense. We'll just have to see if the game and figures generate enough interest to make the line continue. I genuinely hope it does as the whole back story has a lot of potential if handled well (though baring similarities to other stories, the Unmensch idea in particular reminds me of the characters of Dr Von Kriplow and Major Maximin in J. scott Cambells 'Danger Girl' comic). That said, at the price it is, it doesn't measure up to a company like, say, Sideshow. But Sideshow is a big company making Ltd runs of anywhere between 500 to 8000 with a price point of between $30 to $65 so **1/2 it is!

Things to Watch Out For:
On the whole a pretty robust figure but take note of the configuration of the webbing should you remove it, as it's tricky to get back on if you don't. And take care when undoing the press studs as they are plastic and one of mine has split a little.

Overall - ***
A fair figure for a moderately fair price, I'm glad I got hold of it before they ran out, and in my opinion is the best of the three female figures the line has released so far (though I do admit I've only seen photos of the Sigrid figure). For anyone interested, you can read other peoples thoughts on these figures and see a few more pics I posted over at onesixthwarriors.com, a site I know Michael drops in on from time to time himself.

And you'll find I'm aka Wookster.

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

Where to Buy - 
Well I got mine direct but that doesn't seem to be an option at the moment so check out on line traders or my ol'faithful eBay, my eBay friend Andy @ Popsalute, tells me he can still get hold of a few.

Unmensch review up date
Now I can't see any point in doing a separate review for the Unmensch, Michael has already done a great review of his, and having just re-read it I'd say it was spot on, suffice to say these are variants. With one being a different head sculpt (I have to admit the guy with one eye is my fave, he just looks like a real mean SOB) and the other has the limited light up hand, and as there are only 666 Unmensch being made with 1 in 12 having this feature, there must only be 55.5 of this variant around....I wonder who got the 0.5 figure? 

As Michael also said in his review each Unmensch has a separate number patch sewn onto the back of their boiler suit, my three being 50, 56 and 57 (so if you get any of these numbers we've been ripped off). I'd recommend these but as Michael said in his review be gentle with the heads as the paint is a bit on the fragile side, so unless you want to get your flesh, red and gray touch up paint out, be careful! The only place I would score differently is with the 'Light up hand' version I'd give him an extra 1/4 point 'overall', but have to admit it would have been nice to give them all this feature. There is no way of telling you have one either unless you know what to look for. The regular guys come with bolts to attach to the hands but the light up version comes with two all ready stuck on. Simply push the hand back into the wrist and it lights up, do the same again to switch it off.




Figure from the collection of Jeff Parker.

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