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Sand Saref

The Spirit
by Artemis

The Spirit - not really that interested, to be honest. It's an adaptation of a comic I never bothered reading that, I'm told, is too hung up on trying to copy Sin City, a film I didn't really care for that much (apart from the Old Town Girls, obviously) - and apparently the internet's not that interested either, since the funnest quote I could dig up for Sand Saref (in place of a bio text, because the figure doesn't have one) is the one they put on the posters:

"Do I look like a good girl?"

Admittedly no, but I've seen plenty of badder bad girls - Sand looks more like a young Cindy Crawford posing for a Bond-themed photo shoot than an actual threat to anybody. But it takes a lot to stop me buying an action figure - generally it has to be a one-two punch of the figure itself being crap and the source material sucking likewise - so here we are anyway. For those who are interested, Sandy here is a mix of the comics' version of Sand and another femme fatale, P'Gell - she's an childhood friend of Denny Colt's, now a criminal empire-builder who plays black widow (not the Russian gal) to fund the expansion of her Turkey-based operation, marrying rich guys and then having them offed to collect the fortune. Uh, that's Turkey the country, not an operation based around criminal turkeys. You have to specify this kind of thing when you're dealing with comic adaptations - just look at the Penguin's army in Batman Returns.

Sand Saref stands 6½" tall, courtesy of block heels lifting her up a bit, and so far as costume design goes, they bought her a black jumpsuit and called it a day. I know it's not as if the action figure could've added all sorts of ninja armour and revealing cut-out bits, but she's really plain - hell, I'm wearing a more exciting outfit myself right now (don't ask). Still, as boring bodysuits go, they've done the best they can, with a smooth but not shiny-smooth texture, little wrinkles and creases around the joints to be realistic, and a decently realistic physique underneath, barring the waist which I think is a bit thinner than Eva Mendes really is. At least, I hope so.

The red stripes running the length of the suit are sculpted in, but rather than sculpting borders on each side of the narrow stripes, what we've got is a single raised sculpted line, with the red painted over it and widening it into the stripe. It looks a bit messy, I'm sorry to say - the edges of the stripes aren't as clean as they'd have been had there been sculpt to help out, and the light bouncing off the raised center makes them look subtly off as well. On the plus side the coverage is good, with the red consistent and clear over the black base.

I'm just going off the photos available on Google, but the face looks like a pretty good effort - I can clearly see Eva there, as she appears in the photos of her as Sand Saref, and all the painted elements work well, with restrained lips, decent eyes, well-judged eyebrows, and that little beauty spot on her cheek. Her hair is sculpted wavy and a little tousled, but not so far as to be messy, and it sits close enough to her back to look good, but far enough up to allow some side-to-side motion from the head.

She makes an effort at articulation, but it's not followed through well enough to be really useful. Her balljoint neck is only partially limited by the hair, but (on my figure, at least) is a bit loose, making it tricky to pose. She's got swivel/pin shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists, swivel hips (a very wide vee, in effect), pin knees and pin ankles. On a technical level the hips hurt her the most - the knees and ankles would let her take a deep stance and hold it, except that her hips can't follow suit. On an aesthetic level almost all of those joints are useless, because the red stripes are painted across them, so if you have Sandy in anything but her intended pose, they'll be broken - and being the only decorative feature on the whole costume, it's pretty noticeable.

Said pose is standing at rest with her left arm at her side, and her right extended straight ahead, aiming the pistol which is one of her two accessories. It's a simple black piece with a heavy silver drybrush, decent enough unless you go in for close inspection, and her hand is moulded specifically for it, with the trigger finger extended and the grip nice and tight. Her eyes are slightly off to the right, so if you tilt her head left a little she'll be looking straight over the barrel, in a fairly cold, menacing fashion.

Her other accessory is a trunk, heavily scuffed and bound with thick straps. The sculpt is plain and the paintwork is mediocre at best, with the drybrushing on the wooden panels amateurish at best, the paint on the straps heavy and gluggy, and the padlock not even painted. It doesn't open or anything, it's just a single solid piece of plastic.

That's it really - she's a decent if unremarkable figure of an attractive woman standing still and aiming a pistol. If that sparks your fancy I don't see any reason why she'd disappoint, but if you want more - articulation, accessories, pizzazz - you're going to be left wanting.

-- 04/12/09

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