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Desert Combat Samantha Carter

Stargate SG-1
by Artemis

Am I the only one that would like a Dr. Fraiser figure? I mean, they have to get around to her pretty soon - how many more variants of SG-1 can there be? Standard, black ops, desert camo - what's next, "1969" variants? Of course they could go the DC Superheroes route and just make stuff up, so I may be waiting a while.

Colonel Jack O'Neill was called upon to lead an untested team on their first mission through the Stargate. Desert Combat Samantha Carter This new team was dubbed SG-1, made up of himself; Samantha Carter, a galaxy-renowned expert on the physics of the Stargate and wormhole technology; Dr. Daniel Jackson, the world's foremost expert in archaeology and ancient cultures and Teal'c, a trusted ally in the war against the Goa'uld. Later additions like Jonas Quinn would prove to be invaluable as the team worked together time and again to save, not only Earth, but the entire galaxy!

That's a generic bio for all the figures, as you probably suspected - at least it mentions Sam, though one wonders how she could be "galaxy-renowned" even before her first mission. For those who managed to miss the decade that SG-1 ran for, Sam is the team's technical genius, which - since it was a fast-paced, adventure-centric show - meant that whatever bizarre alien contraption they ran into, she'd figure it out in five minutes, and next episode be delivering lectures on how to build a better one. About the only thing she couldn't do was make Jack understand a word she said, but that's really the writers' fault for fixating on a running joke and milking it too much - it's just as well he got phased out of the show, or he'd have ended up not understanding stuff like "gun" and "bad guys."

articulation This is Sam in "desert combat" gear, as seen in a bunch of episodes where SG-1 stopped pretending a forest near Vancouver was an alien planet, and pretended a sandbox near Vancouver was an alien planet instead. She's kitted out in desert scrub camo pants - the same sculpt as her previous figure - and a buff tank top. Er, that's the colour buff, though she is looking decently physical too, with good shoulders and biceps - not exactly GI Jane, but she at least looks strong enough to take care of herself in a rough situation. Striking as they are, the bare arms are hurt a bit by the articulation, which is plentiful and plain to see. As with the previous Carter, her legs are somewhat pre-posed with the left foot slightly forward and angled off to one side - there's articulation of course, but that's the "rest position" of the sculpt. Her arms are also a bit posed, with elbows that won't quite straighten - the left nearly does, but the right will always have a bend in it.

Her face is a pretty neat piece of work - there's limits to what you can do at 6" tall, moreso in a mass-market production run, but it's good work, with a convincing likeness and a good expression that's characterful, but neutral enough that it works with a variety of poses. The paint apps are all clean and restrained - is this Sam's mother? Sam doesn't wear full makeup to desert firefights (though what with TV being TV she usually ended up with a bit, so her lips are a restrained red - she's missing the eye shadow though) - and if you're buying in person, it's worth checking all the figures on sale to see if, as happened in earlier waves, minor variations in the paint apps produce "expressions" on the faces. I can't say why it seems to happen so noticeably in Stargate figures - perhaps the sculpting precision gives a little leeway for the paint to be off-target without looking "wrong" - but I've seen a regular Sam who was looking bemused (probably by Jack not understanding her) and a desert Sam sporting a grin, both quite good expressions created purely by chance. Random emoting aside, the hair is the big paint app, a heavy drybrush of sandy blonde over a darker base, and it's a fair effort - not especially clean, but combined with a sculpt that balances well between detail and overall style, the hair looks good.

The rest of the paintwork is a mix of good, average, and lucky. The good is that colour and coverage is, for the most part, very clean and consistent. Small details like the belt are painted well enough that you don't notice anything wrong - though go in for a closer look and you can spot small flaws - and the large areas of skin and the tank top are a good colour match, and create a reasonably attractive overall look without being deliberately aesthetics-driven. The average is that there's some slop of the pants colour onto the tops of the boots - admittedly, with the loose legs overhanging the boot tops, you won't see it most of the time - and under strong light the hands are slightly paler than the arms. The lucky is that the paintwork on the camo pants is pretty shoddy, with borders all over the place, darker lines intended to be delineations petering out frequently, and patches of colour misaligned badly when the articulation is in its rest state - but because it's a camo pattern, so you really don't notice any of that at a glance.

Sam's a reasonable medium between versatility and appearance so far as articulation goes. She has the balljoint neck that all action figures must have or else their makers are taken out and shot (I'm looking at you, DC Direct), movement and with her short hair her head is free to move wherever it wants in all three axes - the sculpted tendons in her neck favour a straight-ahead position, naturally, but you have to turn her head pretty far before it starts looking wrong. Her arms are decently articulated, with peg shoulders, swivel biceps, peg elbows and wrists - with the bare shoulders extending onto the torso piece, I can forgive the absence of balljoints, and you basically get the articulation you need out of the pegs and swivels anyway. The biceps are a bit of a pain though, largely because Sam's packaged holding her rifle, which - when done by some over-worked factory packer, rather than a collector who's just laid down AU$25 for the figure and is being careful - tends to pull on the joint such that it ends up loose and highly visible. She has a swivel waist, good for a bit of turning before it becomes obvious, and the usual Stargate legs with peg hips - straight down to about 75° forward is their limit, no backward swing so as not to interfere with the aesthetic appeal of her bottom - swivel thighs, and peg knees.

Sam gets a handful of toys to keep her happy. Firstly she has the "Carter special," a heavily modified M4 (I think) shoot the cubes, Sam! with a double drum magazine and computerized sight - not a bad piece, especially with the use of gloss plastic for the magazine adding some visual interest, but the previous Sam figure had the same weapon, and personally I'm really getting impatient to get a P90. She also has a zat gun - as always, sculpted in one piece in the inactive position, again a nice accessory but I'd like to see one primed to fire - and a chunk of tech that looks like two Borg cubes stuck together, but is in fact an Orbanian naquadah reactor, which served as the template for the larger Earth-made variety.

Like previous Stargate series, this one has Build-An-Accessories - the MALP (the remote control robot thingy sent through the gate to unexplored worlds) is the one featured prominently on the packaging, there's something wrong with this picnic table but in fact there are two BAAs for this series, and Sam has part of the other, a Goa'uld ring transporter. Logically enough it's one ring per figure, so she gets a big techy-looking ring with four clear plastic rods to hold it off the ground, and slots for the next ring's rods to fit into. Like the build-a-Stargate, the ring is smaller than it generally was on the TV show - though since it was usually an effect rather than a physical prop, it tended to vary - and once all five rings are stacked, the space between each ring is probably going to seem a bit too much, since the relatively smaller ring stack has to meet the height of the figures. On the plus side, apart from the peg holes in the top surface (the bottom - or top, in the cases where the rings were shown upside-down - is undetailed), the single ring isn't a bad-looking accessory for the figure on its own, definitely better than the obviously-incomplete lump of Stargate you'd have left from previous series.

All up, she's a decent figure - good sculpt, good-enough paint, and a few nice accessories - and crucially, she's different enough to the previous Sam Carter figure that it's not redundant to have both.

...and you're SURE you're in the military?


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