Together Forever
Tara and Willow

I'm a big fan of both Buffy and Angel.  I'd like to claim it was always so, and in truth, I did watch Buffy from day one.  But the show, like most shows, took a season to really get its legs.  It was decent that first year, but not the great show it would become.

Eventually the show was hitting on all cylinders, primarily due to excellent character driven story telling.  And one of the fan favorite characters was always Willow Rosenberg, the slightly shy and unassuming young lady who became a witch so powerful she almost destroyed the world.

Now, if you never watched the show, or missed the end of season 6, this next news might come as a bit of a spoiler.  On the other hand, if you've paid any attention to the show or the recent toy releases from Diamond Select, you couldn't not know.

Willow had two loves on the show - the first was goofy guitar playing Oz, who had an unfortunate lycanthropic incident, and left the show to find his human self, or lose his furry self, whichever happened first.

The second was Tara, another young woman fascinated by witchcraft.  Willow met her in college, and love bloomed.  Of course, a lot of right wingers also got their panties in a twist over their relationship, but I suspect it only heightened Willow's attractiveness to the male geeks.

Willow was never lucky in love though - you'll notice I'm not even discussing her long standing crush on Xander - and poor Tara met her fate when she was killed by something as mudane and normal as a gunshot from Warren.  I have a hunch that he regretted that move about the time Willow literally peeled the skin from his entire body.  Needless to say, she was unhappy.

Diamond Select Toys is pumping out lots of Buffy figures right now, focusing quite clearly on the ladies of the show.  This two pack reminds us of happier times for Tara and Willow, and is called "Together Forever".  It is a shared exclusive between and the Musicland stores (Musicland, Media Play, Suncoast, Sam Goody).  The only difference between the two is in the small sticker on the bottom right of the bubble.

Packaging - ***
I really like the earth tones that DST has gone with for the recent figures.  It's particularly good for the Willow and Tara figures, as it seems to fit their mood and personality so well.

The package also has a nice head shot of both characters/actresses on the top right, and has some additional photos and useful text on the back.  While it's not the easiest to store due to the unique bubble design, it is some sharp looking packaging.

Sculpting - Willow ***1/2; Tara **1/2; 
Both of these figures are repaints, packaged together rather than seperately.  Both are available as single card figures right now (actually, in more than one way), but this is the first time I've reviewed either in any paint version.

Therefore let me point out that this is the best Willow sculpt we've gotten so far, bar none.  It might take you a little while to get accustomed to the hair, which throws things off slightly.  I do like the short look, but it tends to sit on the head like a helmet a little too much.

Ah, but the face - that's Alyson Hannigan.  They've gone with the large, wide, grin, and captured it perfectly.  This is the way we think of Willow most often, and it's at her best.  There's a few nits you could still pick, but until someone does it better, this is the Willow figure (or another with this head sculpt) to have.

Then there's Tara.  Unfortunately, they didn't manage to capture her at the same level of accuracy.  I was fortunate enough to meet Amber Benson, the actress who played Tara, last summer at SDCC, and she's a far prettier young woman than this figure implies.

The figure is close, but like so often in this scale, fails to capture her quirky personality.  The face seems to long and thin, and the eyes are clearly off. Perhaps it's because of the close comparison to the Willow sculpt, but the Tara simply doesn't live up to the expectations that the other half of this pair has set.

The body sculpts on both are fairly standard for the new line.  Neither really needs the display stand to stay up on their own, although the stands do look good.  The hands are sculpted to hold some of the accessories, and overall the body scale and proportions are good.  You'll be able to display these with the previous MAC figures or any of the new DST figures and they scale will be fairly reasonable.

Paint - ***
The outfits are repainted to match with the Hush episode (the first episode where their physical and emotional relationship first took off), or so I'm told.  I do remember the funky shirt Willow is wearing, but it seemed to me that Tara's outfit was slightly different.  Ah well, that could be my faulty memory, and I trust the folks at Diamond more than I do my brain cells.

The paint is generally well applied, with little slop, especially in the face, eyes and hair.  The shiny appearance of Willows pants is a little odd, but it does contrast well with the flat colors that Tara is wearing.

Articulation - Willow **1/2; Tara **
The new line has decent if not stellar articulation.  Willow has neck, shoulders, elbows, hips and knees, while Tara has neck, shoulders, and elbows. Willow's articulation works a little better since she's not encumbered by a long skirt, but both figures really could have used wrist articulation.

UPDATE: A reader from BTVSFigs mentioned that Willow DOES have wrist joints!  I gave it a try...very carefully...and sure enough, they turn!  Be careful though!

Accessories - ***
The set includes a display stand for each, which can be set next to each other although they don't actually connect.  They form part of the floor, including part of the circle they used in the episode.

There is also a candle, mortar and pestle (which could double as a stake!), jug, purse, and Miss Kitty Fantastico, the couple's pet cat.  The purse is intended to work with Tara, but I couldn't keep it on either shoulder, so it ended up in the accessory box pretty quick.

The sculpting and paint work is good across the board, and I always like it when we get such show specific accessories.  All of them make sense not just for the pair, but for the particular episode. 

Fun Factor - ***
Are there kids that watch this show?  I suppose the 8 - 10 year old crowd might, but even some forward thinking parents might balk at buying action figures of a pair of lesbians.  Still, their orientation was never the focus of the show, and they were treated as people first.  If you do have someone who loves the show, these figures would provide a reasonable amount of fun - they articulation is adequate, and the accessories are good.

Value - **
Unfortunately, this line suffers from an illness that's hurting everyone right now - high prices.  With only the limited specialty retailers to sell the line through, the retail price has been around $15 for the single figures, and $30 for this pair.

It could be worse though, if you remember that this pair is actually an exclusive on top of it.

Overall - Willow ***; Tara **1/2
I was disappointed in the sculpt on Tara, and that alone pulled the figure below Willow.  And yes, I know I'm setting myself up for a joke with that sentence, but I'm not touching it.  But I'd...never mind.

Things to Watch Out For - 
Be careful with those wrists on Willow! Be sure you don't twist too hard that first time... 

Packaging - ***
Sculpt - Willow ***1/2; Tara **1/2
Paint - ***
Articulation - **1/2
Accessories - ***
Fun Factor - ***
Value - **1/2
Overall - Willow ***; Tara **1/2

Where to Buy - 
This pair is a shared exclusive between and the Musicland family of stores.  I've seen it at the local Media Play and Suncoast, but pay attention to the pegs - the cardback is only slightly wider than the single figures, so it can get lost on the pegs.  Expect to pay around $30.

I also thought I'd mention that Amber Benson has a special version of the Tara figure that she's selling, called the 'Triangle' version (with a paint scheme based on that episode).  Only 2000 were produced, and she's individually signing them and including a short note for you.  This doesn't come cheap, as I've seen them for $125 on the Cinequest site, but it will certainly be a unique figure, and the money is going to fund Ms. Benson's independent film project.  It's like you'd be a silent partner!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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