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Six

Battlestar Galactica
by Artemis

Admit it, you wish you hallucinated like this too.

Appearing only to Gaius Baltar, Six is so named due to her resemblance to the Cylon model of the same name. At times manipulative and cruel, the true origins and motivations of this strange entity remain to be seen...

Not the most extensive bio, but a fair summary. At least it didn't refer to sabotaging the "Colonel Defense Grid" like the one for Caprica Six did.

Six is going to be one of those make-or-break elements for Battlestar - she's pretty much the poster girl for the new series, and her dalliances with Baltar's psyche were one of the first really big lures for an audience asking what'd make the show worth watching. And yet, after all this time, we still don't know what she is. She's not the Cylon Baltar knew on Caprica, since we've seen her turn up elsewhere (as Caprica Six, in fact); she's not just a figment of his imagination, since she knows things he couldn't. One thing's for sure, there are going to be a whole lot of pissed-off geeks if the show ends without explaining just what the heck she is, but after all the twists and turns Six has taken, it'll have to be a really good explanation. And geeks being a picky lot when it comes to their merchandise, she'd want a really good action figure too. So let's see what we've got here...

Six (GalactiSix, ChipSix, "Head Six" among the show's producers, or "Hallucinogirlfriend" around here) has gone through a variety of looks through the seasons, since she can do whatever she likes in Baltar's head; personally I was particularly fond of the ponytailed "Sporty Six" who turned up briefly in season two. But what with the red dress being her standard wardrobe, as well as featuring in all the season one publicity images, you can't argue with the decision to make it her action figure look as well.

That said, a tight slinky red dress isn't the easiest outfit to sculpt, so it's a tough ask for Diamond Select. Physically she's sculpted fairly well. Other than being remarkably good-looking, Tricia Helfer is not physically exceptional in any way: she's thin but not skinny, fit but not athletic-looking, and the figure delivers that. She stands a touch over 6¾" tall, so she's pretty much ideal for mingling with NextGen or DS9 figures.

The dress is almost entirely rendered in soft plastic - above the waist as well as below, which is a surprise. Rather than sculpt the top of the dress onto the torso, as is usually the case with this kind of attire in action figure form, only the back of the dress is sculpted, along with the shoulder straps. The front, right to the top, is a separate soft plastic piece, attached over the top of the sculpted bare chest - very tightly attached, so don't go trying to pull it off to gawk at Cylon boobies (you can see 'em in Playboy anyway). It's an odd choice, with its own peculiar benefits and drawbacks.

On the plus side, it gives her the best cleavage you're likely to see on any action figure - no wavery paintwork at the edge, no sculpt attempting to suggest a gap between the breasts under the fabric that it can't actually create. And being fashioned from the same material, the top of the dress is of course a perfect match for the skirt section. On the down side, the soft plastic just can't be as thin as a sculpted dress would have appeared - it's a nice try, with sculpted creases showing the tightness of the cloth across her abdomen (as well as lower down on the skirt), but there's a visible thickness to it that throws off the slinky look of the garment. And the match between the front of the dress's torso and the back, which is sculpted into the torso itself, doesn't sit well - the thickness, colour, and sheen are all off, so when you see her from the side, it's not a good look.

There's nothing explicit sculpted up there, but nevertheless she is going commando; given the dress, that's no surprise, but it's nice that no one felt so prudish as to paint on some superfluous underwear. The only inaccuracy I can spot is that she's missing the silver bracelet that she's wearing in the red dress photos - not anything to get upset about, really.

Her face is very good. She's wearing a fixed stare with slightly parted lips - a reserved, dispassionate kind of expression, quite suitable for Six. That said, with the red dress being so iconic, I'm thinking it might have been nice had her facial sculpt more closely mirrored the expression she wore in the matching publicity shots - a more forceful, decisive gaze. The paint on her face is quite acceptable, with subtle lips, clean, detailed eyes, and restrained eyebrows, but her hair is a bit less impressive.

It's a single mid-yellow, and looks decent enough, but without highlighting or shading it's really not as lifelike as it could be, and lacks the silvery edge needed to really capture Six's habitual platinum blonde colour. The hair is also part of the head sculpt, not a separate soft plastic piece as is common - it lets the hair rest very close over her forehead and the sides of her face sculpturally, but it also demands very clean delineation between face and hair when it comes to the paintwork, and sadly, that's not always the case - I had four Sixes to choose from when buying mine, and the one you see here, with minor coverage issues, was far and away the best; the other three all had noticeable yellow paint infringing on the cheeks.

She's a mixed bag when it comes to articulation - some surprisingly good, some lackluster. She has the obligatory balljoint neck, although the hard hair stops her from tilting her head back at all, and imposes limits on sideways tilts depending on the turn of her head. Her shoulders are recessed balljoints, and very nice work - they're barely more visible than a swivel joint would have been, yet there's a good 30° of lift to the arm, plus the ability to tilt them forward and backward slightly, which doesn't accomplish a great deal by itself but can reduce the amount you need to use the more blatant bicep pegs to achieve a certain pose. Along with said biceps, she has pin elbows and swivel wrists, all of which are as low-profile as you can manage on bare, smooth arms - they're visible, but far from the worst we've seen.

She has a waist swivel, which is of very limited use - the inner edges of the swivel don't show too badly, but with the dress being so tight the shape of her hips is quite apparent, and she just looks wrong if her torso - which isn't sculpted with a twist - is turned more than a fraction in relation to them. Beneath the dress she has peg hips in a V configuration, and pin knees; when you take into account that her dress is shaped specifically for her to be stepping forward with her left foot, there's really not a lot you can do with her legs.

One irksome quirk of the Six I bought - and, to the best of my recollection, all those that I saw - is that the left ankle is slightly warped in the packaging, tilting her foot inward and making it quite difficult for her to stand stably, no matter what you do with her leg articulation. Both feet have peg holes, and a base with two pegs at the correct position would have fixed this problem - the plastic isn't rigid, and would have accepted the pegged position - but sadly she has no base at all. In fact, she has no anything at all - no accessories of any kind. Granted, Six doesn't really have any trademark toys besides Baltar's sanity, but if they're not going to give us a base, then something else would have been nice - that missing bracelet, perhaps.

So she's good, but is she really good? Well... no, I can't honestly say that she is. The likeness is convincing, by quality action figure standards, and her arm articulation lets her adopt nicely casual poses that make her fairly static body and legs look good, but there's nothing that wows you about her. As an action figure, she's short on the action, with limited versatility and no accessories, and as a replica there are the niggling issues with her dress, and with the face not going for the distinctive publicity photo expression, that hold her back. By all means, if you're a Battlestar fan go get her (just make sure you have a spare peg base if you want her standing on your desk without leaning on something), but selling Six to Battlestar fans is no challenge, and I find myself a bit disappointed that there's nothing really "above and beyond" about her.


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