Stargate SG-1 Series 2
Lt. Carter, Teal'c and Thor

Diamond Select has been doing a solid job with their Buffy and Angel action figure line.  Okay, so they picked up the Serenity license and let us down, but fans of Stargate should be thrilled by the work they've been doing on this license.  I give DST a hard time when they drop the ball, but this is a line that really deserves a lot of praise.

The second series should be out shortly - consider this an early review.  The second wave, like much of DST's other lines, consists of three characters stretched out to six.  There's the three I'm reviewing here, which are the 'core' assortment - Lt. Colonel Samantha Carter, Teal'C, and Thor.  There's also a chase variant of Teal'C in his black ops outfit, along with a previews exclusive version of Teal'C in the Jaffa Warrior outfit.  I'll have a review of both of those over at Quick Stop Entertainment next week.  Coming soon from Previews is the Replicator Carter, and there's a Desert Combat Carter on the back of the cards, but it doesn't appear that she'll be produced at this point.

Series 3 is scheduled for the spring, and will include Mitchell, Vala, and the Ori Prior (along with the usual variants and chase figures).

Packaging - ***
The more I see this packaging, the more it growson me.  It's not the kind of thing that visually leaps at you off the peg, but it does show off the figure and the majority of the accessories well.  The cardback shows the rest of the series, and gives the most basic info on putting together the Stargate itself.

Which is still where my major complaint lies - no instructions on just which pieces go where, and how to put it together. Yes, it's fairly straightforward, but you could save yourself some time with just a little sheet with visual instructions.

Sculpting - ***1/2
All three figures sport excellent sculpts, but my favorite for basic accuracy is Teal'C.  He looks the most like the character to me, and the managed to capture him well in profile and straight on.

His expression is a little wonky, and he looks slightly annoyed to me.  It's not a major problem, but the basic expression works better on both the black ops version and the Jaffa Warrior version.

Carter is solid work, but she's not quite as pretty as the actual actress. Still, you'll recognize her easily. It was a smart move to make the hat non-removable, so that the scale and fit look right.

Both body sculpts have good proportions, and the wrinkles and folds of the clothing look extremely realistic.  Carter has one of the best female body sculpts I've seen this year, looking tough and athletic without looking anorexic.

Thor has a nice texturing in some areas, with wrinkles and folds in his skin.  The head sculpt seems a touch elongated to me, slightly longer from chin to top than it should be, but if it is, it's only slightly.

Unlike some lines - even some lines from DST - the scale here is very good.  These are based around a 7" scale, and Teal'C tops in at about 7 1/4", while Carter is just 6 1/2". Men are not all the same body type, and not all the exact same height. And women (Carter so far) are shorter and thinner, matching up with the personas on the show pretty well.  Interal scale on each figure is excellent as well, with no pin heads or bobble heads, something even DST has had issues with in the Buffy line.

The hand sculpts of Carter and Teal'C are designed to hold the accessories, and they do that well.  All the figures stand great on their own too, and can handle multiple poses well, showing off a an excellent blending of sculpt and articulation.

Paint - ***1/2
The paint ops on the entire series are extremely good, with nice clean cuts between colors, plenty of small detail work, and no slop to be seen.

Tampos look great too, like the patches on the uniforms of Teal'C and Carter.  Teal'C's raised emblem on his forehead is painted perfectly, and Carter's fine lips and eyes are clean and neat.  No lazy eyes here!

They even went out of their way to put a gloss finish on the soles of the boots to differentiate them from the matte finish uppers.  Excellent!

My favorite work though is in the 'veining' on Thor's body. In the close up photos you can tell it's paint, but in person it looks extremely realistic.

One of the things I complained about on Jack O'Neil was the shiny face - he had a very glossy appearance to his skin.  Thankfully, that's not an issue with either Teal'C or Carter.  To see what a difference it makes, check out the group photo with them standing in front of the gate with Jack.

Thor sports that glossy look, but he's a bit of a slimy alien, so that's not just forgivable, but also works for him.

Articulation - ***1/2
I'm even being extra generous on the articulation score this time around, because these really are the best combination of great sculpts and good articulation I've seen in a long time.  Other companies have tried, but this is an almost perfect marriage.

All three of them have ball jointed necks, and the range of movement is quite good.  You know how I feel about ball jointed necks, the single most important joint in the entire figure.  No other single joint does as much for adding personality to poses.

The all three have ball jointed shoulders as well, but these don't move too far out from the body.  The desire to keep the sculpts clean renders them not quite as useful, but they do move out far enough to add some value.

There's also cut biceps on all three, and pin elbows.  Teal'C and Carter have cut wrists too, but Thor does not.

All three have a cut waist, and all three have T hips.  However, the sculpt on Teal'C and Carter does not allow the legs to make any backward movement, only forward.  They can step forward off one foot, or sit pretty well, but they can't do too deep of stances.

Thor can, however, as his legs can move backward as easily as forward.  He can sit and even do lunges during the company sponsored aerobics hour

The figures finish off with pin knees on all three, and cut thighs on Carter and Teal'C.  That's plenty of articulation for this style of figure, and none of it damaged the look or style of the sculpting.

Accessories - ***1/2
Many of the accessories are re-used from the first assortment, but the upside here is that there's a ton.  Also, each character has at least one or two new items as well, and don't forget the pieces to build the Stargate.

Thor has the other half of the ramp to the Stargate.  Combine this with the half from the earlier Serpent Guard, and you'll have the small stairs and full ramp. Unfortunately, the half that comes with Thor isn't painted quite the same as the series 1 half, having a slightly different paint job on the outside of the railing section.  It's not a major issue though, since you can't see both outside sections at the same time.

Thor also has three of the robot spider guys (Replicators, unarticulated, but very cool sculpts and paint), and his little half egg dealio.

Teal'C has the Jaffa Warrior staff, with the alternate open head.  He also has the P-90 rifle, zat, radio, and G.D.O. that O'Neill had (along with several other figures).  The hand sculpts hold all the accessories pretty well, although the P-90 remains a bit of a trick.  He also has the tactical vest, which is made from soft rubber and can be removed.  He has one section of the round gate.

Carter also has the removable vest, resculpted and resized for her.  She has the zat and G.D.O., but also has two new guns - a handgun and a funky rifle (the 'Carter special') I don't recognize.  Hey, I'm not that regular of a watcher.  This rifle is much cooler than the P-90's though, and fits great in her right hand.  It looks very much like a futuristic version of a 'tommy gun', and has a great sculpt.  The handgun also fits nicely in her right hand, and is in perfect scale.  There's one other new accessory for her, the long yellow crayon.  I'm calling it that because a) I don't know the technical name and b) because calling it anything else might imply Ms. Carter is a difficult woman to satisfy.

She has a section of the gate as well, and one of them - either Teal'C or Carter - has the section with the three holes that line up with the plastic base.  Sorry I can't be sure which it is, since after I opened them they got mixed together.  Besides, you'll want both these guys, and I'm betting you actually need the sections of gate from each of them to get it together correctly.

Speaking of which, the gate looks great when assembled.  I don't quite have a full circle - I never bought Jackson, so I'm missing his piece.  I assumed (incorrectly) that he'd just have another round section, but it looks like his is shorter than the pieces that come with O'Neil, Carter and Teal'C.  You need all four of these unique characters (or their variant) to get a full Gate, and you'll need both Thor and the Guard to build the stairs and walkway.  But DST was nice enough to provide unique pieces only with unique characters, so you don't have to get (or open if you want to keep them carded) the variants.

The gate is a little small, scale-wise, but it's a reasonable size and the figures look good positioned on and around the walkway.

Fun Factor - ***1/2
While these aren't designed as kid's toys, they haven't lost what makes real toys fun.  Solid articulation that won't easily break, plenty of accessories, and even a cool diorama when you buy enough of them.  Big kids everywhere who love the show are going to have mucho fun with these.

Value - ***
These are a great value at just $11 - $12 each.  They are still a specialty market figure, they are low runs, and they're packed with accessories including a BAD (build a diorama!).  And yet, they're coming in a buck or so cheaper than many other specialty market figures, and even some mass market figures that have far less complexity and goodies (Spawn 30, anyone?)

Things to Watch Out For - 
Getting the Stargate together can be a bit tricky, but the round sections do connect.  You have to do it just right though to avoid damaging them, so take your time and look over the connection carefully.  Other than that, you should be gellin' like a felon. God, I hate those commercials.

Overall - ***1/2
Alright, I'm hooked.  I hadn't picked up all of series 1 (I'm still missing a regular Jackson, but one is on the way now!), and wasn't sure about series 2.  But this is an excellent line of figures, and it's just getting better.  Now I have my order in for the series 1 Jackson, plus my pre-order in for the full set of series 3.  And you think my reviews only get YOU to buy more figures!  Hell, I suck myself into new lines as well.

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

Where to Buy -
Online is your best bet these days, although some local comic shops may carry them:

- Killer Toys has the regular set of three for $33, and the black ops Teal'c for $20.

- Time And Space Toys has been carrying all the figures, but are selling out quick.  They still have the Previews exclusive Replicator Carter for $13, and they have preorders up for series 3 at just $60 for the set of 5 (includes the chase and previews exclusive!)

- Alter Ego Comics has this basic set of three figures available for $38.

- CornerStoreComics has the regular figures for $12 each, or a set of four (includes the Previews exclusive) for $44.

- Amazing Toyz also has the regulars for $12, or the set of 4 for $44.

- and if you're in the U.K., hit Forbidden Planet to pick them up for about 10 pounds each.

Related Links:
I reviewed most of the first series as well, with the exception of Jackson.  I still gotta snag one now, to finish off my Stargate!

Figure from the collection of Michael Crawford.

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