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The Sacrifice

Fantasy Figure Gallery
by Artemis

Ignoring the admirers of Tolkien and his ilk, you generally get three flavours of fantasy artwork: excessively musclebound men, excessively unclothed women, and improbable and fearsome creatures the size of buildings. All told, it suggests most fantasy worlds boast huge steroid manufacturing labs, a thriving lingerie industry, and farm animals that breed at meteoric rates to keep the dragons from starving, but the audience seems to be happy, so no harm done.

She offers herself to her deity, her lover and her soulmate. She is pure and true, unembellished by the ravages of society. She is life... she is the ultimate sacrifice.

Dorian Cleavenger is rather a fan of Fantasy Art Type B ("Women Unsuited To Cold Climates"), with a gallery of "pseudo-realist" works that can be best summed up as kinky erotica for the discerning sword 'n sorcery fan. Cleavenger's "The Sacrifice" is the second in Yamato's series of Fantasy Figure Gallery PVC statues, a range of 1:6 scale works that are pretty much the fantasy porn style in 3D. The original artwork depicts a sultry-looking vixen reclining luxuriously against a carved wood statue of some dark god or other, and probably would've been on the shortlist for translation into solid form even if most of Cleavenger's other work hadn't been ruled out for featuring even more nudity.

The whole shebang measures a hefty 13¾" tall, and is composed of Miss Demonology 3087 B.C. and her carved boyfriend, both sculpted head to toe (or ground, in Woody's case) by extrapolating from the original, which cuts off at about knee level. Missy herself measures about 11" tall, if she were standing upright, by my reckoning, of which a good quarter-inch is heels - she fits neatly into the 1:6 bracket, as a striking but not outright Amazonian figure. Just like her two-dimensional self, her attire consists of two elements: dark blue cloth, in the shape of a short cape, a not-particularly concealing drape about her hips, and a headdress that hangs down far enough to cover her nipples (which are sculpted and painted properly underneath), and inky black adornments somewhere between elaborate jewellery and the Witchblade in a kinky mood.

In the art she's leaning heavily over, supported by her hip against the altar and her hands on Woody's neck behind her - the statue puts her more upright, still leaning and with her right foot (which was outside the frame of the art) resting up behind her left knee, rather than on the ground, but the lean is far less severe, to bring her feet in closer to the centre, more in front of the symmetrical altar behind her rather than off to one side of it. The new stance parts her thighs slightly, leaving the sculptors the question of whether the scarab-thing preserving what modesty she has connects up to a g-string at the back - in true fantasy artist style they decided it doesn't (her bottom is bare, though largely hidden by the cape), and furthermore it barely extends beyond what the art shows. For similar (though less salacious) reasons the boots are an original invention of the statue, and for my tastes they're a bit solid compared to the very open, strand-based "gloves" encasing her hands - they're obviously items of clothing, whereas the rest of the carapace-stuff looks like something growing over her.

The carapace is almost all either sculpted as part of the PVC statue, or hard plastic stick-ons - a few spines poke out of the cloth areas, in which case they're soft plastic like said cloth, painted close to (but not exactly matching, unfortunately) the glossy finish of the majority. With so many thin strands edge coverage is a vital area, and by and large the work is good, with only a few small, hard-to-spot areas where the dark paint doesn't cover quite enough; in any case, better that than excess slop. Without knowing the lighting conditions their work would be displayed under, Yamato have toned down the art's fire-lit glow on Missy's skin, starting her off with a mid-Caucasian skin tone and adding in slightly pinker shadows where appropriate - the camera flash washes them out a bit, but to the naked eye she's quite appealing.

Her face is also slightly altered from its original, slightly longer and with slightly more slanted eyes - the sculptor (like Cleavenger, by the looks of things) still had Angelina Jolie lurking in mind, but I fancy a bit of Connie Nielsen has snuck in as well. Her hair is the major difference, though, a fairly monotone (though not completely un-shaded) chestnut brunette, lighter than the art's tone, but also missing the blonde highlights. I regret to say the result isn't that impressive, and combined with a slightly glossy finish, the hair is probably the visual weak point of the statue.

Articulation is right out the window - all Missy is meant to do is attach to her base and lean there looking sacrificial and not too upset about it. Her left foot has a long (about half an inch) metal plug, which fits very tightly into either of two holes on its side of the base - no instructions are included, but my guess is that the hole further forward on the base is intended for non-permanent display, since it puts her body further from the altar behind her. Using the rear plug-in point, she's a tight fit with her demonic buddy - her hands never actually grip the neck the way they do in the art, but they're much closer, and her hips and cape press tightly up against the altar, requiring a degree of judicious shoving and coaxing to get her into position which, if you planned to detach her again, you wouldn't want to do repeatedly for fear of bending the soft plastic parts. The drape, where it reaches the floor, plugs into a shallower hole on the right side of the base.

The altar, taken alone, is really quite impressive, although it's natural that it normally plays second fiddle to the barely-clad seductress draped across it. The whole thing is cast in rigid ABS, rather than PVC, and its sharp sculpting on the carved patterns across the altar and the demon's shoulders lends itself well to the drybrushing highlights that the paint applies. The lower part of the altar and the base are more extrapolated areas - the floor is rough stone, drybrushed much more heavily than the wood to make it look different, and the bottom of the altar repeats, at a larger scale, designs shown higher up in the art. The red cloth draped over the altar top also extends down further than in the art, and a pair of metal rings have been added on either side, keeping the bottom half from looking too bare.

The demon itself lacks the dramatic lighting of the original, but remains impressive. The echo of it is there, in the flattish shoulders catching a lot of highlight paint around the sculpted braziers, but the head, while the same shape, looks quite different without being lit from below. It's still a scary-looking beast though, and the paintwork is a little more careful and subtle around the face and horns - along with the addition of bone-coloured teeth and metallic jewels set into the head, it makes for a striking backdrop for its girlfriend.

PVC statues aren't cheap, but I have to say I'm rather taken with this one. The figure herself is quality work in most regards - only the plain hair mars her - but isn't truly exceptional, insofar as there are plenty of virtually naked PVC women around to choose from. The altar sets her apart, though, giving her her own little environment to inhabit, and creating an interesting contrast between her soft, lustrous skin and its hard-edged carved form, and the whole really is stronger than the two of them on their own.

-- 10/15/09

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