Crimson - Heroes of the North
Flirty Girl

"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."
Flirty Girl Collectables (FGC) have been in the market for some time, creating outfits and accessories aimed squarely at the adult collector market for female figures. I’m not a customizer of kit-basher, however I was forced to sit up and take notice of them more closely when they released images of FGC-DX-001, their first full-boxed figure. She was a sassy fantasy heroine dressed in a quasi Vampire Slaying/Wild West/Steampunk outfit, and the attention to detail on the costuming, not to mention the notable quality of the base figure, head sculpt and accompanying paint apps showed a quantum leap in the quality of the product that the company was capable of putting out.

Since then FGC have released or announced a number of other figures, mostly they are fantasy females free of any IP, much like the stuff released by Triad, Takara and BBi back in the day… a gap in the market that very much required filling.

However, their third release, Crimson here is in fact licensed, basing the character on the stories from ‘Heroes of the North’, a Canadian multi media series of comics, online short movies and merchandise. I freely admit I wasn’t aware of it till I saw this figure, so had to do a quick online catch-up to bring me up to speed. The webisodes leave more than a little to be desired in terms of script and acting ability, having as they do a professional, but it has to be said slightly camp, tongue in cheek set of production values… worth a quick look to see the actress who plays Crimson’s pneumatic physique, clad in ultra skin tight red latex… if nothing else!

Crimson is one of the bad guys… well, gals, and is played by Bianca Beauchamp, a glamour and fetish model (who I was also not aware of… honest!), but who I also felt the need to checkout on line… be warned… if you decide to do likewise, she works in a pretty adult orientated arena!

So, now we know a little about the background of the character, lets crack on!


















Packaging - ***1/2
This is an attractive box that does its job well in protecting the contents. It is a sturdy hard cardboard material with a lift off lid, the front bares a large full colour image of the actress dressed in the full outfit, which is handy for showing the subject matter to those unaware of the source material, and lets face it, I have a strong feeling that this will end up in the hands of many more collectors who are just buying her because she’s a cool looking figure rather than because of the specific licensed character!

Once the lid is removed the figure and accessories are all held safely in layers of die-cut black foam. On the top is the fully dressed figure alongside her wolf companion, crossbow and pistol, while the second layer holds her hooded cape and a selection of alternate hands. So considering this is only the companies third release this is actually pretty amazing quality for a product in this price range. And though not as exciting as some of the boxes other bigger companies put out in terms of graphic design, the standard of the materials easily makes up for it, even outshining the quality of some high end manufacturers. It is also worthy of praise when compared to the FGC-DX-001 which came in a shallow box, made from thin card and a simple clear vac-formed plastic stray. Don’t get me wrong, that figure was even cheaper, coming in at a mere $120, and the use of more cost effective, lighter materials would certainly have kept the weight and therefor shipping prices down… but I’m merely pointing out that this new box is far superior in every way!

Sculpting - as a generic female figure ***1/2 as Ms Beauchamp ***
We are living in a time where collecting 1/6th is increasingly a wealthy collectors game. Sure, its not too bad if you are the occasional buyer of perhaps one, two, three or maybe even four figures a year… but if you have the disease of Onesixthitis you are probably aware of symptoms like excitement at the sight of a Fed-Ex or UPS truck, cravings for the smell of a freshly opened box, a lack of room in your living space and a seriously depleted bank account… sad but true!

The reason I mention this, is that it’s nice occasionally to get a figure that doesn’t cost over $150… an increasingly rare occurrence I might add, where it seems $200 is the new ‘normal’, and many new licensed releases are far more than that. Of course you may be numb to the pain of the new prices, but there are plenty of folks out there who are not!

So, that long diatribe explains why you should not approach this with Hot Toys or ENTERBAY levels of expectation… hell this figure is only $140, you shouldn’t even have Sideshow levels in mind… yet for my money, I think you get a pretty high level of work here. I can certainly tell it’s Bianca Beauchamp, even though she’s not particularly familiar to me (here are a few publicity shots of her in character). In fact, I think it’s the fact I’m not that familiar (so lets take one more look for good measure) with her that might make me a little more forgiving, if it was Fisher as Leia, Weaver as Ripley or even Hamilton as Connor I might be a tad more emotionally invested… but as I’m not, I’m reasonably impressed! The sculptor has certainly managed to capture something of her trademark pout, arched eyebrows and the general shape of her face and configuration of her features. From some angles she looks virtually spot on, but you will need to do some major tweaking and reconfiguring of the hair, which is bright red and rooted.

Straight from the box she has the obligatory clear plastic band wrapped around her head to keep the hair in place whilst in transit, this slides off to reveal the top section held close to the head whilst the lower section falls in a cascade of curls. Once you have futzed for a while it can start to look pretty good, but as is true of all things in life, the more work you are willing to put into it, the better the results will be. So to sum up I’d say this is a clean and well defined portrait, that certainly captures the look of the actress, but lacks the skin texture and subtleties of the portraits put out by the top end companies. And if I had to have a criticism it would be that the hair is just a tad too bright when compared to the actress in the role, and it does take quite a bit of futzing to keep in place… I was tempted at one point to just tie it back…

Paint - ***
The main areas of paint are of course her face and accompanying canine companion. The apps are clean, crisp and well applied, but do lack that finesses and refinement that elevates the work of companies like Hot Toys, Enterbay and Blitzway to another level. Of course, at the risk of becoming very repetitive throughout this review that is something that has to be within your level of expectation from the price. Let’s face it, the day a competitor is delivering portraits that are as uber realistic as the companies I just listed, for a price tag of $140 is the day they lose their grip on the market. But I think what we are seeing is when the competition does up the ante and start achieving that level, so rises the price… it’s a business model we can rail against, but it seems to work, just look at recent offerings from Sideshow and Dragon in Dreams, those prices head north with each progression in quality!

So, with the clean work on Crimsons face, we also get a good crisp application on her canine companion, especially on the eyes where the down tilt of the head and eyes looking up give the creature an air of menace. The nose, mouth and ear interior are also given some attention. However the main body is left pure white, which is fine for a hound that has just departed the grooming salon, but I’d have like a tad more definition and perhaps a little dirtying up and weathering here.

All in all we get a solid and very accomplished paint app for the price, but not an exceptional one. However, seeing how the FGC quality has progressed between release 1 to 3, they are a company to watch!

Articulation - ***
The new body is described by FGC as FB02-L Large bust 2.0, and the main big improvement here is on the elbow articulation, where the double joint now affords a far great range than was available on FB01. As FGC are making their name in the world of exclusively female figures (so far), it is of course important that they have a solid, reliable and good-looking body as the basis of their releases.  

One thing I will say is that it seems to be a universal truth that most manufacturers seem to excessively represent the bosom of fantasy female characters… I’m not even going to enter the quagmire of why that should be, but in the realms of comic book heroines, the artists that bring them to life, both in 2D on the page and subsequently as a 3D action figure seem to get just a little carried away in this area of anatomy. Often you will find yourself looking at the outcome and thinking, well, they could actually do with taking down a couple of cup sizes for the real world… However, on this occasion… this very rare occasion, I think it might actually be fair to say that the figure is pretty much in the right ball park… and could maybe even be a little on the small side when compared to Ms Beauchamp’s surgically enhanced assets… I leave that for you to research yourself and ponder… enjoy!

So, now we have discussed the twin elephants in the room, lets see just how well the body functions! When naked the base figure is up there with the very good, if not quite the best of them! Good ankle motion front to back, though limited side to side, double knees, a great range at the hip. But sadly none at the waist… why I’m not sure (probably for the aesthetic when they do scantily clad figures), but this is compensated by with the upper torso movement where the bust joins the mid ribcage. We then have a good range at the shoulder, the aforementioned double elbows and a fair range at the neck and wrists. So, a pretty good base body and one that has good firm joints throughout, no droopy elbows of floppy knees, in fact just by looking at this body you can see that nothing is droopy or floppy!

However, as well made as the body is, the skin-tight outfit and solid boots do rather piss on that parade!

You’ll find that the hips, knees and shoulders do face some limited loss of mobility because of the suit, and because of its shiny ‘pleather’ nature, I wouldn’t want to leave her in too deep a bent knee stance for very long anyway, for fear of permanently stretching or damaging the fabric. These things I can live with, hell we’ve had bigger problems from high-end figure outfits in the past, even Hot Toys have struggled with some characters ‘suited and booted’ articulation. But it is the ‘booted’ part that harms another element of the articulation, as I already iterated above, solid sculpted ankles and high heels on her boots do not make for easy posing! The other thing I will mention, that isn’t really a problem for Crimson with her neck to toe fully covered outfit, is that the base body is a little on the shiny side. It’s not full on gloss, but when this finish of material is used on the more immodestly dressed figures (like the steam-punk first release), it can slightly shatter the illusion of realism. A more convincing matte tone would make for a much more satisfying look.

Accessories - ****
The figure is as I said above, based on a character from (as far as I’m concerned) a little known franchise, but that is actually of little importance to me! I collected quite a few of the old Triad figures, and they had back-stories that were created solely for the toys… a trend I for one would like to see replicated more. Toys for toys sake are commonplace in the aisles of Toys ‘R’ Us, but far scarcer in world of ‘adult’ collectables… why? Well I guess it’s because kids are more open to letting their imaginations fly, and more accepting of change and innovation. I think it’s why designers, musicians, artists and the whole spectrum of creatives are so drawn to the world of vinyl and ‘designer’ toys… I’ll avoid the use of the word ‘hipster’ which seems to have become some kind of dirty word of late, but without them we’d still all be collecting McFarlane’s, which were innovative at the time, but soon became a bit passť. Sorry, going off on one again… lets get back on track!

Crimson comes with-
•  Crossbow with bolt accessory (bolt is removable and locks back in place)
•  Pistol with removable bullet clip and sliding cocking mechanism
•  Utility webbing belt for waist with pouches
•  Left thigh pouches (3)
•  Right thigh holster
•  Pistol Grip hand set 2
•  Relaxed hand set 2
•  Knife hand set 2
•  Combat knife
•  Combat knife sheath
•  Wolf ‘Lupa’

So, I guess the fact she is equipped with a crossbow means it would have been nice to get a quiver/bolt holder with a few more projectiles… we all figured out pretty quickly that in the Avengers, Hawkeye could never possibly carry enough ammo to keep him relevant in a prolonged battle, but at least he had a state of the art ‘techno’ quiver to keep him going for a ‘limited’ while… Crimson here would sadly be out of the fight after she had both physically and metaphorically shot her bolt… were it not for her pistol! Yep, she can continue to be a bit stabby with her knife once her clip is empty… and her Wolf might afford a degree of protection, but lets just hope her fights are always close quarters… or its curtains for Crimson.

In all fairness we get a reasonable selection of weaponry for her. The selection of hands means she can use all of her goodies convincingly, whether you decide to make her a ‘regular’ user or a south-paw! And talking of paws, the dog accessory is pretty sweet. Not quite up there with the one Sideshow did for a GI Joe character a while back, I forget which character it was as GI Joe kind of passed me by (I’m the wrong age) causing naught a ripple of interest. I do remember thinking however that the articulated dog was very cool. This dog sadly has no articulation, but depending on your aesthetic preference that can be either a good or bad thing. I have no problem with visible articulation, in fact I rather admire it. However articulation does come at a price for the engineering, design and production, so I can live with a static posed wolf if it comes as an accessory with a figure that costs $140!

Lupa has a very solid sculpt, with lovely detailing on the face, and the general work on the fur that covers the creatures entire body is also expertly rendered, making this a great item to pick up as a stand alone piece if you are in the market for a 1/6th dog. I will however point out that if this is a wolf, it does seem just a tad on the small side… not ridiculously small, but one does think of a wolf as being slightly bigger in stature!

Outfit - Look/quality-***1/2, Functionality ***
In the world of super heroes there are a few given rules, and they are that clothing should be as snug fitting as is decent… and sometimes moving just a whisker beyond the realms of decency… this is evidently to show off that incredible body that you as the aforementioned super hero have worked so hard to achieve, and Crimson here, with her gravity defying, surgically enhanced frame has chosen a uniform that does its job succinctly.

She comes supplied with-
•  Red shiny PVC jump suit with front zipper
•  Sculpted boots
•  Black Cloak with pose-able wire in hood
•  Belts and pouches (described in accessories)

Bianca Beauchamp, the model/actress who portrays Crimson has made her name as something of a latex fetish model, so she was an obvious choice for this role, and with the base body doing a remarkable job in actually looking quite close to her build, it was paramount that the outfit be cut well enough to show that off. And show it off it does. This is a well-tailored and well-made suit, all the seams are neat and I didn’t have any loose threads or badly finished collars or cuffs on mine. The tiny-scaled zip can be unfastened, but take care with it, as the miniscule size means gripping the pull section can be tricky. Her boots look great and are well sculpted to replicate the ones she wears as the character, but they are however solid pieces of plastic, rendering all movement lost at the ankle, and the design of them is high heeled, leading to it being a bit of a challenge to get her to stand. Now I have made it a well documented fact that I seldom choose to use figure stands unless absolutely necessary, and whilst I also admit I did manage to get Crimson to stand in a number of poses, and she has been standing on a shelf now for over a week with no sign of toppling over… I still think a stand might have been a good idea for lady who chooses to totter on such heels!

Her last true garment is her black hooded cloak, which like the rest of her attire is well constructed and finished. The material hangs with a good weight and can be undone at the collar with a tiny functioning push-clip. The hood is hemmed with a concealed wire that aids greatly in getting the way it hangs to feel right, but you will still need to do quite a bit of futzing with the hair to get it looking just so.

She is also equipped with a black webbing belt with a number of utility pouches attached and a sheath for her combat knife, a drop thigh holster for her handgun on the right and a double utility pouch strapped to her left thigh. I don’t know if it was just mine, but out of the box there was no way in hell that the gun would slide into the holster, however after a small cut with a scalpel to the opening at the bottom, just to open up a couple of threads, it fitted fine… though yours might have no problem.

Fun Factor - ***
This is purely based on play value for me, so I’m taking into account the articulation and pose-ability when allowing for the outfits impact on the base body! As such, she does look great, having a shelf presence not dissimilar to a rather kinky Red Riding Hood… who grew up, swapped her suit for red, her hood for black and totally owned the big bad wolf!

Value - ****
With an RRP of $139.99 this figure feels top value for money, and the fact she comes with a fully painted 1/6th wolf as an accessory sweetens that pill even further. The head portrait is very good, the paint is excellent for this price range, the outfit is well fabricated as are her accessories.

Yes I have a couple of issues with the outfits impact on the articulation, but they are not enough to drag down just what an excellent product this is for the price… A top deal!

Overall - ***1/4
If you are a collector who is purely sticking to licensed figures from the IP’s you love, this might not be for you… though I might be doing ‘Heroes of the North’ a disservice by saying that… anyone, anyone?

I do see this figure, and indeed the main output of FGC being far more popular among the ranks of collectors who were into those early Cy/Cool Girl sets, and of course the sterling work that Triad did in this field. There is still a healthy market for this kind of stuff, with some recent outstanding releases from Original Effect, Phicen, ZC World and Play Toy, but they are all catering to a group of collectors and customizers that are not necessarily part of what is now widely regarded as the main stream big license followers. What I’m pointing out is that in the world of reviewing, it is not always a level playing field, so whilst this is not of the quality of say the recent Hot Toys Black Widow, it is over $50 cheaper… and that has to be very much taken into account! So ultimately, yeah there are a couple of issue, but they are relatively minor. What you are getting, straight from the box is well put together, well considered solid figure with a nice little selection of accessories. So, if this is your bag, I’d highly recommend her!

Score Recap:
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - as a generic female figure ***1/2 as Ms Beauchamp ***
Paint - ***
Articulation - ***
Accessories - ****
Outfit - Look/quality-***1/2, Functionality ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - ****
Overall - ***1/4

Where to Buy -
I’d like to thank Chad at SMcG Customs for sending through these figures to cast my eye over, and you can find Crimson available with them for the RRP of $139.99.

You will also find Crimson at plenty of other online retailers bobbing around a similar price as well.  Just enter ‘Flirty Girl Collectibles FGCDX-003 Crimson’ in an online search.  

Your other port of call is as always eBay where you will find the figure floating around at prices ranging from $130 to $185… but be sure to check out the shipping prices, it can make a ton of difference, and often hide behind what seems like a cool deal!

Related Links -
If you like Crimson, you should check out the older figures by Triad Toys, including Barb Wire, Ghost, Helga, and Lola.

Want to chat about this review?  Try out one of these terrific forums where I'll be discussing it!

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

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