Sideshow Angel
You're Welcome Cordelia

Cordelia Chase, played by the talented and beautiful Charisma Carpenter, was a good character on Buffy, but she was a great character on Angel.  Given the chance to mature and toughen, Cordelia became a critical component to Angel Investigations, until the end of season 4, when she ends up in a coma, perhaps never to come back.

But she does come back for one episode in season 5, the 100th epsiode of the show, titled "You're Welcome". I thought this episode was one of the best of the entire series, and did a wonderful job in its treatment of Cordelia.

Sideshow continues their line of Angel figures with this version of Cordy, dressed as she was in You're Welcome. This time there's no two versions, and instead figure itself is a Sideshow exclusive, available in the U.S. only through the Sideshow website.  Obviously she's now shipping, the run size is 1500, and she costs $45. 

Packaging - ***
The graphics and text are decent this time, if a little under whelming.  The images from the show that are interspersed are a nice touch, and the box sports the usual Sideshow Exclusive sticker on the front.

Unlike some other recent releases though, Cordy is back to being tied down like Paris Hilton on a Saturday night.  And they've gone with the widest variety of restraints, using regular twisties, 'dental floss' ties, and even the wider clear plastic band around the legs.

Sculpting - ***
If I were merely grading this sculpt on it's accuracy from the neck up to the character, she would have gotten another half star easily.  It IS a very good likeness to Charisma Carpenter, and more importantly to her in the role of Cordelia in this particular episode.  It's all very close, including the tough eyebrows (it always seems so tough to get the eyebrows right), size of the eyes, shape of the nose, size and shape of the lips, and even the shape of the head, another tough area. The sculpted hair looks excellent, with the right amount of detail and an excellent match (or at least as good as you can get) to the style in that episode.

The big issue is one we've seen from Sideshow for a very long time now, particularly with female figures - she looks like a bobble head.

Okay, it's not *quite* that bad, and in person, since the figure is small, it doesn't look quite as bad as it does in any photos. But it's still apparent, and it's due to a number of factors.

First, it's the sculpted hair.  Cordy's hair was very poofy in this episode, and did at times reach out as wide as the figure here.  But it's real hair - you can see through it, it's airy, and it's always moving.  On a static figure like this, the hair is obviously not moving, and it's a solid, thick hunk of plastic.  That makes the whole head appear even more substantial than its real life counterpart.

Then there's the neck.  Real humans don't have post necks with heads that plop down on top.  The necks are wider in relation to the overall head, because it's a smooth flow along the side of the neck up to the side of the skull by the ear.

And finally, there's the height of the head.  We tend to focus on the width when talking about oversized heads, but I think it's really the height that are eyes are recognizing as being so far off.  I think the action figure Cordy has a head about thirty percent taller than it should be as compared to photos of the real thing.  I'm using the distance from the chin to the top of the head in relation to the distance from the chin down to a line through the center of her breasts. Compare that to the photo of the real thing, and you'll see that she has a much 'taller' head as well.

Sideshow has got to get the head to body proportion right.  It's an issue that continues to plague them, and really holds back the figures from the complete accolades they're looking for.

This issue isn't the fault of the sculptor either, and I bet it drives them batty to see their work turn out so disproportionate to the body.

Paint - ***
The paint is in a similar situation with the sculpt.  It's a great job damaged by one flaw.

The skin tone is excellent, and the makeup around the eyes is just right, not to much, and very realistically applied.  The lips look terrific, and there's a nice use of gloss versus matte on the lips and eyes. Perhaps the most important paint feature here is the eyebrows, and they are dead on.

Too bad she once again suffers a bit from lazy eye.  Once again, it's the left eye that seems to find something interesting over your right shoulder.  This one isn't as bad as the PF Buffy was, largely due to the scale being smaller.  It's still there though, and is another factor that Sideshow has got to reiterate with their production facilities. 

Articulation - ***1/2
It appears as though Sideshow may be making subtle improvements in the bodies as they can, as this version of the female form seems to work better.

All the joints were nice and tight, although I did have some issues with her tiny feet keeping her upright.  It looks like the wrists joints have changed slightly as well, and I didn't have any trouble swapping the hands back and forth.  The proportions on this body are very good, although the super tight thighs and huge bells on the pants make the legs appear too skinny.  I think that dressed in more accurate pants, her legs would have looked fine.

You may find that you want to pad the hip joints a little with toilet paper, similar to other past figures, to give the pants a little something more to hang on to.  But don't go nuts - Charisma doesn't do all that exercising just for you to go and fatten her up.

Accessories - ***1/2
Cordy comes with several nifty accessories, and the sword is the highlight.

Her sword has a very detailed hilt and grip, approximating the look of leather wrapping quite well.  It's scaled extremely well, and most importantly, it's made of a nice stiff plastic, so it's not floppy or bent out of the package.

The sword fits nicely in the scabbard, which has a diamond pattern and red ribbon.  The look great together, and match up well with the weapon in the episode.

She also has her framed Sunndale High School diploma, which is really a stick on the frame of course.  It looks quite a bit like a framed and matted paper though, more so than the usual picture sticker.

there are also two additional hands that you ca swap out.  Neither of these hands are wearing the rings that the standard hands are.  They swap on and off easily enough, but don't fall off like some past releases. Thank you!

Finally, there's the usual display stand, emblazoned with the Angel logo.  Fortunately though, if you're like me, you won't have to use it.  I much prefer to pick the figures up once in awhile than having the silly looking stands on the shelf.

Outfit - ***
The outfit consists of four pieces - the shirt, pants, undershirt and wrist band.  Her shoes aren't getting counted as part of the outfit, because they are her molded feet.  I'm not a big fan of that choice, and would much rather see shoes over regular feet, especially considering how tiny these feet turned out.

The shirt is the best part of the outfit, matching the episode extremely well. In fact, hard core fans will be able to pick out which episode this Cordy is from without any other visual clue.  The shirt fits well, the stripes are scaled properly, and the snaps are small enough not to be obtrusive.

Under this shirt is a black half shirt.  It's well done too, and even has two little spaghetti straps that go up over the shoulders.

Then there's the pants.  As is often the style these days (thank God), these pants are very low cut, just like the hip huggers of yesteryear.  While that's nice to look at on a real woman, it's a little annoying here, because the top of the pants tends to get caught down inside the actual hip joint.  That's how low cut they are!  From the knees up, these pants seem pretty episode accurate, but the huge bells at the ankle aren't.  If you check out this photo, you'll see exactly what I mean.

Finally, there's the leather band on her left wrist.  Again, this is straight out of the episode, and matches extremely well.  It's also quite tight on her arm, and won't float up and down the forearm too much.

Fun Factor -***
The articulation is solid and feels like it could handle regular play, so if you have kids that like the show, they'll enjoy putting Cordelia into danger, only to have her slash her way out again.  Of course, the sword is a bit too stiff to be handing over to a small child, and the figure really is designed to be more of an adult collectible.  But thankfully they didn't forget that these figures are rooted in the history of the sixth scale action figure that was a toy first.

Value - **1/2
At $45, you're paying the usual for this type of Sideshow figure, and getting about what you should for your money.  The oversized head will be most folks biggest complaint, but fans of the show will be glad to have a decent 12" Cordelia.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Nada.  Everything worked smoothly, and I didn't find any gotchas.

Overall - ***
I'm happy I picked up Cordelia, and she's not the awful figure some are making her out to be.  Yes, I do wish the head was about 25 - 30% smaller, but this isn't a Willow.  The head sculpt does look like Cordy, and the outfit and accessories are great.  She'll look great on the shelf with Angel and Spike as well, and while this might not be the best of the Angel figures so far, it's a nice addition.

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

Where to Buy - 
Sideshow is the place to pick her up, where this exclusive is still available ().

Related Links:
I've reviewed an awful lot of Buffy merchandise over the years, but here's some of it:

- in the Sideshow line, I've reviewed Vamp Darla, Vamp Buffy, Willow, the original Buffy and Angel, Faith, and the Gentlemen.  And if you're looking for something a little taller, there's the Premium Format Buffy.

- there's also the 6" line from DST and MAC, including the Pylean Princess Cordy and Season 7 Xander, latest deluxe Spike and Angel, the deluxe Hawaiin Shirt Spike and Angel, the regular Buffy and Dawn figures, deluxe Buffy and Faith, Drusilla and the Gentlemen, Buffy, Giles and Oz, the recent Angel wave, more of the Angel wave, Fred and Illyria, Wesley, Willow and Tara, and the very first series of Angel figures from MAC.

- there's been plenty of busts, like the Ubervamp, the four monsters from DST, the Becoming Buffy, human Spike, and Buffy vs. Dracula.

- and then there's the Palz, like the Gentlemen, the Halloween set, and series 1.

- there's also the oddball stuff, like the Buffy and Angel Christmas ornaments, the Dark Witch Willow statue, the Welcome Faith statue, or the Johnny Lightening cars.

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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