Veronica Mars Mini-busts

Just call me Mr. Grinch.  At least it seems that way to me - I've been hammering on the subject of my reviews all week.  Tonight I'm going to be a big meanie again, and tomorrow I'll get dozens of emails telling me I'm being too harsh.

This time I'm looking at the new Veronica Mars mini-busts being put out by Cinequest.  The sculpting is done by Gentle Giant...and is a perfect example of my continued disappointment in their hit and miss approach to doing work.  But we'll get to that.

There is a 'regular' Veronica and a Logan, plus an exclusive Veronica.  The regular busts are a very limited edition of just 400 each, and the exclusive repaint of Veronica is limited to just 100.  Even at those low numbers, they've already put the regular Veronica on sale.

To get the exclusive version - which is simply a repaint of the shirt in blue instead of red - you also have to be a member of their collectors club, which will cost you $50.  The one upside is that right now if you sign up for a membership, you can get the first Supernatural mini-bust ("The Scarecrow") as your free gift, a $60 value.

Packaging - **1/2
The exterior of the box shows the bust itself, with no actual actor photos.  It keeps the bust very safe inside, with sturdy styrofoam trays, but the exterior is pretty dull.  There's no window, there's no COA, and I didn't even see the edition number on the outside of the package.

Sculpting - Logan **1/2; Veronica **
I simply don't understand how the same company that produced the Gandalf or Dumbledor mini-busts can produce these.

Logan is the better headsculpt of the two.  There's enough of the character in the eyes, nose and chin to recognize him, but there's still way too many issues here.  His face suffers from distortion, with the right cheek sunk further into his face.  His head is tilted down, staring at the ground for some reason, and the entire bust lacks the sort of texturing that is necessary to make it look realistic.  The overall coating of slightly glossy paint doesn't help, but the absolutely smooth clothing and hair blend together too much.

And what is that he's holding?  Ipod?  Blackberry? Cel phone?  I'm not quite sure, because it has almost no detail - it's pretty much a black square.

I like Veronica even less.  Both versions are identical sculpts, and they are at least a decent representation of an attractive woman.  I'm not sure who that woman is - it's certainly not Kristen Bell and isn't nearly as attractive as she is - but she's not an ugly generic woman.

That's actually a tad harsh.  At certain angles you can actually see some of Ms. Bell's features.  One of those angles is NOT straight on though, the most likely way you'll be looking at her.  From the side, and from slightly below, you can get a better approximation.

The wide face, large forehead, and odd expression - the cheeks appear to be pushed up and out as part of a large smile, and yet she has just a small smile on her lips - do not make me think of the character.

There's also a bit of a weird cubic look to certain parts of both figures.  The sides of Veronica's face are long, flat and smooth, almost making her head look square from some angles.  The same effect is apparent on Logan's arms, where the forearms and upper arm muscles are more square than round.  This isn't a huge issue, but one more to add to the list of minor annoyances.

What these two do remind me of is the work you often see at a wax museum.  And that's not a good thing.

Paint - **1/2
The paint is very consistent...too consistent.  The extremely smooth skin tone, extremely smooth clothing colors, and overall gloss finish on everything makes the bust appear unrealistic and cheap.

All the busts also have problems with poor cut lines and slop.  The worst example is on the front, where the names are painted in silver.  The variant was the most sloppy, with the 'e' running together badly, but the other two had serious issues on the lettering as well.

The eyes have the flat, dead appearance of a mannequin, the jewelry and skin show poor cut lines, and the edges around the shirts and collars are sloppy.  Some of the paint work is passable, like the hair and the wash used there, but for the most part the work is mediocre at best.

Design - Veronica **1/2; Logan **
Neither design is doing much for me, largely for the reasons I mentioned under Sculpt.  The crossed arms for Veronica wouldn't be my first choice, and the weak smile doesn't do much for me either.  However, the weird tilt to Logan's head and awkward uninteresting positioning of Logan's arms leave me cold. 

Another flaw is in the edition number and info on the bottom of the bust.  This is usually painted on/printed with most mini-busts, but here they went with a paper sticker.  Cheap.

Value - **
The retail price on these is $55, or $60 for the variant. That's even more than the Malcolm Reynolds bust I reviewed recently, and these simply aren't of the quality to command that price tag.

The problem is the low edition run, of course.  With so few produced, they only way to make up the cost is to raise the price.  But convincing folks to fork out extra cash for a lower edition size is a tough sell.

It's worth mentioning though that Veronica (regular) is on sale right now, marked down to $40.  I might give her an extra half star at that price.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Nothing.  The bust are unlikely to break or have issues beyond the obvious.

Overall - Logan **1/2; Veronica **
Logan's sculpt is a bit better than Veronica's, but his overall design and paint work pulls him down.  Veronica doesn't stand a chance, although you can get her to look more like Kristen from certain angles.  In person though, you'll have a hard time seeing past the front view.

I loved the show, and was really sad to see it end.  I think Kristen Bell is not only a fantastic actress, but a beautiful woman.  Both her and the character deserved better than this.  Unfortunately, this is probably the only three dimensional version you'll ever see of the character. 

Score Recap:
Packaging - **1/2
Sculpt - Logan **1/2; Veronica **
Paint - **1/2
Design - Veronica **1/2; Logan **
Value - **
Overall - Logan **1/2; Veronica **

Where to Buy -
Cinequest has these right now, with the regular Veronica on sale for $40.  My sponsor Time and Space Toys has them for $50 each, or the pair for $90.  Your other choice is ebay, and you can use the folks at to help you find them!

- Related Links -
I haven't reviewed anything else related to Veronica Mars...which isn't that much of a surprise!

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