Secret Ceremony Padme

Sean Teeter is back with a great guest review of the new Secret Ceremony Padme Amidala - take it away, Sean!

I love Target. I have no convenient TRU and none of the other stores around carry anything even remotely new Star Wars-wise. When I stopped by the local Target today, not only were they loaded up with Clone Wars figures (including the brand-new Mace Windu) but gold-striped cards aplenty! Hot damn!

Now itís time for an action figure that every child is going to want in their toy armada: Secret Ceremony Padme Amidala! Oh boy! Does she come with a Super-Duper Bouquet-Flinging Force Action Feature? Thankfully no.

Thereís only one possible diorama you can set this figure up in, but at least the Hasbro sculptors had some fun with her design. What am I talking about? Read on dear fanboy, read on . . .

Packaging - *** Ĺ
Gold stripe, dark blue background, and faded white backside. Hasbroís also starting to use photo-art of the actors on the back as opposed to a facial close-up of the figure. A wise move since not all of the new line look as good as their movie counterparts. I hope this style sticks around for a while.

Sculpting - **1/2
Well, this definitely isnít Natalie Portman. Iím not even sure this is a girl. OuchÖ
The dress itself is sculpted pretty nicely and has some decent detail in the patterns and creases. The veilís nice too, but really impedes any head movement whatsoever. The hands are a throwback to the Droid Factory Chase Padme, as they look almost like cat paws.

This is hands-down the ugliest Padme Amidala on the market, including some of the bootlegs Iíve seen. The neck is really long and thin and the face is kind of unevenly sculpted Ėitís thinner on one side. Not too mention sheís really flat looking (her face guys, her face).

I could have ended it there and gave her the two stars I was originally thinking of, but I decided to take a peek up Padmeís dress. Hasbro has some lonely guys sculpting these things.

Hasbro really shows that theyíre not aiming their figures at kids with this one. Not only does Padme have some nice legs and a fashion modelís rear end up there, but sheís wearing matching Fredrickís of Hollywood panties and a garter belt! Iíll say it again: a garter belt! I got a good laugh out of that and appreciated the extra effort at detail and fan service to bump her up another half-star.

Paint - *1/2
Slop city is all I have to say. More care went into painting whatís under the dress as opposed to whatís out in the open. Itís even worse when a figure is almost all one color. The bust-line and sleeves bleed over onto the skin. The painters had trouble deciding where her veil ends and her hair begins. The neck is also a little slipshod. The face isnít helped much by the flat paint job.

Even worse than all of this is the veil: the gold detailing is hit and miss, and there are severe paint rubs everywhere. This is pretty piss-poor quality control. 

Articulation - **
Six points: head, shoulder cuts, forearm cuts, and waist. Not overly exciting, but then again youíre not likely to pose her in many action poses. We have to wait for the Padme Amidala Wedding Night figure for that . . .

The head articulation is almost nil because of her veil and hair sculpt. I would have liked wrist cuts, but in the end it doesnít really matter much. 

Accessories - ***
I would have like a removable veil, but Iím not too upset with whatís there. Padme comes with a Naboo section and a ceremonial bouquet. 

The bouquet is sculpted nicely enough, but the paint job is really sloppy. However, the balcony by itself is enough to save this category.

Not only is it a superbly sculpted base, but the paint wash is really nicely done. The bouquet can fit perfectly in the sculpted pot on the railing, which is a really nice touch. The base also looks like it can be connected to something else, but Iím not sure what. If you wanted to buy a few of these figures and create a long crescent balcony that would probably look pretty cool. Three might be enough.

Durability/Quality - **
Besides the rubbed-off sections of paint on her veil, her head is also loose. The rest of her is a pretty solid figure though.

Value - **1/2
Thatís assuming you pay more than $5 for her. Under $5 qualifies for a half star bump up to three because of her wonderful base. Luckily you can find her for a little over four and a half at Target. K.B. Toys has also started to get the newer figures in; I saw Padme there for $5.99.

Overall - **1/2
There are some good things here. The balcony section is a real winner and the fun details under her skirt are unusual enough in the Star Wars line that a true collector should snag one for their collection. Even with the lousy paint job, I could have bumped her up to three stars if Hasbro had given her any kind of decent head sculpt.

However, she doesnít really display well outside of one possible diorama scene, and interaction with any other figure besides Secret Ceremony Anakin is kind of limited. Itís up to you. Sheís not a great figure, but she could have been much worse. 

Where to Buy - 
If you're looking to get Star Wars figures early, Action-HQ often has them before other places.  It will cost you slightly more of course, but if you're in a hurry...

Figures from the collection of Sean Teeter.

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