Sideshow Collectibles
Lara Croft

   Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

"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."

A new guest reviewer joins us tonight - Sam Ford!  Sam is also new to Sideshow Collectibles, receiving his first figure from them.  Tell us all about it, Sam!

Heya. Let me first start off saying that I have never ordered anything from Sideshow Collectibles before. So you are truly getting a (pardon me) virgin's point of view on everything here.    

I first saw Lara when Sideshow announced her back in April. I have always been a huge Tomb Raider fan, and my favorite is the hotly (and just plain HOT) debated Tomb Raider: Legend. I love this game. I own it on 3 systems. To me it IS Tomb Raider. Some people, however, dislike it because it does stray so far from the, uh, raiding of tombs.   

So I had few plans to actually order Lara, until I found out SSC gives a kickback to my buddies over at the Minimate Multiverse if you order through their site. So I decided to do so, figured I could always cancel later.    

Months pass, and as preview images and galleries get put up online, I start to have this sinking feeling. Not only do I not really have the money, but I'm becoming less enamored with the piece the more I see of it. Just about the time she's ready to ship, I ask my mom and for the first time in over 10 years she buys me a toy for my birthday (thanks mom!)

So, is Lara every fan boys dream? Or a nightmarish vision of reality? Let's take a look.
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles
Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

Packaging: ***
I've come to not expect a whole lot from toys and their packaging. Oh sure, sometimes you get some nice ones that are too beautiful to open. But it seems more likely than not, companies skimp on the packaging. Well, in this case it's a yes and a no. It is a simple box with high gloss, cover to cover photos. It has a simple opening panel that reveals the figure inside. The inside cover has a nice history/bio about Lara. Curiously enough, so does the back. Like they say, less is more, and this is very effective. Unfortunately, the only full body shot is the inside cover, and that is mostly obscured by text. That's a downside as you're about to understand.

Sculpt: **1/2
Why so glum, chum? Well, a couple of reasons. The sculpt by itself isn't instantly recognizable at Lara. At least not TR:L Lara. The nose is too sharp, and the eyes strike  me as a bit small. The lips suffer but only because of paint. I would have been happy with an Angelina Jolie inspired head. Heck, I'm sure a lot more people would have. As it sits, I can only say that Lara has a head.

I think I would have been happier with plug hair as opposed to sculpted. Normally I hate plug hair; it wild and unwieldy, and it brings back memories of my sister's My Little Ponies. In this case, however, I think having hard hair hurt more than helped. I'm sure the sculptors did it so they could catch Lara in her classic look. However, her ponytail is not articulated, on top of being the same hard plastic as the rest of her head sculpt. Ergo, it gets in the way of her backpack and clothes. Plus you can't put it up in any style you want. The lack of a ponytail joint means her hair hangs straight back when she's upside-down or jumping.

I like her hands though. They managed to get the nails sculpted on there, and they look just like they should. Kudos. They are a bit closed though, so it's difficult to push anything into them, even after heating them up.

Paint: *1/2
This is probably the most disappointing aspect of the entire figure. I could have forgiven everything else for 4 stars in this category. It makes me sick to even write about it.

Like her little NECA cousins before her, Lara's facial paint is awful. Unlike her cousin however, which suffered from too much paint in the wrong spots, SSC Lara suffers from lack thereof. Here eyes have this empty, hollow, zombiefied look. They aren't even close to the in-game model, which should be the standard for this figure. The eyes are small to start, but the paint just adds to the problem. The whites of her eyes are in my opinion too large, and also, get this, not white. They're tan-ish red. (again, I'm looking at you, NECA) The pupils also seem too small. Maybe if they'd been painted larger the eyes would seem better done, but I guess we'll never know. On mine her left eye seems to be looking away ever so slightly. Maybe it's just my imagination.

The lack of paint on the rest of her face is subtracted points as well. It's just the plastic that's skin colored. No rosey cheeks, no highlights. In fact, there is no muscle definition of any kind on her where it is so desperately needed. Her belly looks bare, her legs look plain. Is it so hard to get a little airbrushing on a 1/6th scale woman? It is? Oh.     

The hair is plain copper-brown washed in black. At this point I'm just as sick of writing about the comparisons to NECA as you are of reading about it. However, it's the exact same paint job, essentially. They could have come with a transparent copper and highlighted it in paint, but they didn't. They put a flat color on it and washed it. Not even any highlights.     

Again, the hands stand out. The nails are a transparent rose color, just the way nails should be. Maybe it's just mine, or even my self delusion saying "you are not a loser!" but the tips of her nails seem yellowed (like mine), like she'd been digging in the dirt or working with her hands. Then again, maybe I'm giving them too much credit.

The lips are sculpted right, but they're colored too skinny. I know from experience how hard to is to paint lips. But when they redesigned Lara back in '05/'06, they gave her these beautiful pouty lips. That just doesn't carry over here. They are also not even remotely glossed. It's a shame, really.

The shining exception is the SSC exclusive piece. Excalibur has oxidized copper highlights (or are they Jade?) just like it should. It's weathered with a blackwash. But the paint is sloppy. I have spots where the green bleeds over.

Articulation: ***
Correct me if I'm wrong, Mike, but I do not believe this is the new SSC body. The BBI bodies have more articulation it seems like. I know the 2.0 Cy Girls do for sure. So let's count. Double ball jointed neck, but she loses one of them because it's so deep set. Shoulders, biceps, double elbows, forearms and wrists. Torso, waist, hips, upper legs, double knees, ankles. That's 25. Standing that up to  that-by-which-I-measure-all-articulation, my Super POA SM2 Spidey, she doesn't fare so hot. Nor so even when compared to Cy Girls. I will say here that I about died when put her shirt on. The arms just plain out would not cooperate. An inner shoulder POA might have helped insanely there. Also, maybe it's just mine, but she's very, very loose.

Accessories/Outfit: **1/2
Guns. Check. SMG. Check. Magic sword. Check. Shotgun? AK-47? Grenade launcher? All big nopes around the board. She comes with the following: Excalibur, 3 pairs of interchangeable hands, Backpack, Pistols, MP-5 SMG, belt /w holsters, grenades, light, 2 flares, Non-grappling grappling hook, binoculars, attached headset, 12-inch Figure stand w/ the Tomb Raider logo. Legend gear, artic gear, artic jacket. Seems like a lot, right?

Her pistols, while nice, would be even nicer if they were metal. They just feel way too light. Same with her SMG. It needs more heft than what it has. The stock especially feels weak. FAIRLY BE YE WARNED! The little tab on the front of her MP-5 snaps off if you look at it funny. I barely touched it and it came right off.

Also, her holsters DO NOT fit her guns. They're about a size too small. You can get them in there looking very funny and too high up if you struggle with them. The belt is not without woes of it's own. A proper snap would have been much preferred to a pin sticking through pleather.

Her backpack is glued shut. I found that out the hard way as well. It makes a good spot for holding her extra flare though. While I'm on the subject, I do have to give props for taking the time to sculpt and detail the flares and lights. Those just was easily could have been sculpted on, but they weren't.

I would like to know why her grenades don't have any pins in them? Is she about to blow up? Also, you don't attach grenades to yourself by the firing handle. That's just not smart tomb raiding.     

The stand, which I need to use on soft surfaces (hence the photos) will absolutely 100% NOT stay attached to the base.

While I'm here, and have the moment to speak on the subject, let me just broach the horrible clothes. They're awful. Really. I've never been a fan of cloth on figures, as it usually looks fake to me. Once in a blue moon something in the Star Wars line can pull it off. (even if it is Hasbro) This, however, is not one of those times. Her jacket looks like the front piece was just a piece of fabric sewn on the front of it. Oh wait, it was. You know that nifty little flip back on the front cover that she has in the pics? Can't do that here.

Now, this is just me. But I can't stand wearing pants without a belt. Apparently I can't stand it on my toys either. Her pants kept falling down and I just wanted to scream. But again, personal taste. I decided to change her clothes (if only I could brush her hair my reversion into a little girl would be complete) The pants came off just fine. The jacket was snap on so it came off fine. A quick Nude Raider shoot and on her the legend gear. Getting her clothes on took me a full HOUR. Her shirt was nothing but trouble, and getting her boots on over her socks took an act of congress. I eventually reverted to the age old method of using my teeth. A toy that must suffer at my jaws has very low marks indeed. Needless to say she's never changing her clothes again.

Also, I have to wonder about the costumes included. Legend gear makes sense, but why not her Union Jack shirt, or her Tokyo dress? Her bare feet could have easily pulled that off. But Kazakhstan? Really? How odd.

Accessories loses half a star for breaking within the first 30 seconds of being opened and for over an hour of frustrating clothes changing.

Fun factor: **1/2
This one is for everyone. Feel free to hand this to your game loving teenager. They can't really do more hard than I already did. There's no paint to chip and nothing they can seriously damage. At least nothing you can't use a can of crazy glue on. You should never have to say that about a SSC figure ever.

A few more POA would have gone down with a smile, but I managed to play with her just fine. I saw a 1/6th scale play set at Big Lots the other day that I'll get and she can shoot through walls. I'll make the best of it. I hope.

Value: *1/2
If you're a Tomb Raider fan, you'll be disappointed. If you're a SSC collector, you'll be disappointed. At $80, you are losing money. Expect to see her on clearance at online stores very soon. Save yourself a ton of money and heartbreak, and but the 12" NECS Talking Lara Croft for about $25 online (I've seen them as low as $12) It'll be just as easy on the eyes, anda lot easier on the pocket book.

Overall: **
Horribly, horribly heart wrenchingly disappointing. Worst birthday present ever, and that's including the socks I got one year. There was so very much potential here from a company I've heard great things about. I can only hope no one else makes the same mistake I did. I will never buy anything from Sideshow ever again, this was such a terrible experience. Toner has 2 TR: Underworld figures coming out soon. Too bad they're 17". As for me, I'll be sticking with the NECA figures. Less to invest, both monetarily and emotionally.

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

Where to Buy -
You can find her at:

- CornerStoreComics has her at $72.

- Alter Ego also has her for $72.

- Showpiece Collectibles doesn't have this one, but they do have the 12" NECA talking version on sale for a limited time at $23.

Tomb Raider Lara Croft action figure by Sideshow Collectibles

Figure from the collection of Sam Ford.

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