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Padme Amidala

SW: Clone Wars
by Artemis

Another Ilum Padme? Crap, I already used up all my jokes for this outfit with the "Heroes of the Rebellion" one. Heigh-ho. Hey, did you know Oola's boob pops out of her costume while she's playing tug-o-war with Jabba? True - and anyone who says the "details" are obscured by body makeup has got it wrong, too. Nothing to do with Padme, but I've got to fill out the review somehow.

Quick-thinking and brave, Padme has made a career out of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. On Ilum, her sharp eye and keen mind, along with a thermal detonator, save her from an ambush by a squad of heavily armed chameleon droids.

That may be overstating the case a bit - I think for all his flaws, Anakin must've contributed quite a bit of ass-kickery to Leia's genetic structure, because her mom didn't have a great deal to go around. Oh, she acquitted herself well in The Phantom Menace, but in Attack of the Clones she didn't really achieve much beyond saving her own life a couple of times, and by Revenge of the Sith she'd become useless as anything but a mobile womb for the twins to pop out of in the end.

Still, she's the prequel trilogy's Token Female Main Character, so she gets plenty of action figure attention - I've got eight of her already, not counting the Unleashed statue or Snow Barbie, and that's far from the complete set. She's actually the second most represented character in my collection, behind all the weaponized Barbies. She's all decked out for arctic adventures, with a soft plastic hood over a fur-fringed cloth cloak, and the rest of her snow bunny gear sculpted directly onto her body. The cloak has no wire or anything like that, so unsurprisingly it floats about in a manner that'd be ridiculous for a full-size garment - though with the hood holding it down over her shoulders, it is possible to wedge it in so that it appears to be being blown to one side by a strong wind, which mitigates the silliness of it.

Beneath the cloak she's got a pretty standard body, one of her regular white jumpsuits with the rectangular seam design over her chest - barring the tight under-hood and fur-lined gloves and boots, it's her Geonosis costume all over again, although she's skipped that silver armband thing. There are a few creases and wrinkles around the joints, primarily the elbows and knees where they help to hide the articulation a bit, but in other areas the bodysuit is skin-tight verging on applied-with-spray-paint - you can even make out her navel, which raises the question of how the hell she could go to an ice planet and not have her nipples leading the way. I guess someone figured Oola's were enough for the Star Wars series as a whole.

The outer hood is removable, with a little work, revealing her head covered by the tight inner hood of the bodysuit, leaving only her face showing - and once again, we find ourselves playing that popular game with Star Wars female action figures: "Whose Face Is That?" My money's on Louise Fletcher, if she had a stroke and was paralysed down the left side. The face is quite chubby, even when its shape is partly concealed by the outer hood - with hood and cloak off, it's very unattractively misproportioned when set against her slim neck and shoulders. Possibly in an effort to recreate her glancing sideways (which led to Crazy Axe Murderer Padme in the 1:6 scale) her left eye is painted, and even sculpted, aimed off to the left, but it doesn't look so much like she's glancing as it does her eyeball is trying to make a break for freedom.

She's got a decent spread of articulation, but as is often the case with Star Wars, it's a mix of impressive pluses and frustrating minuses. She's got a balljoint neck (limited essentially to a swivel while the hood is on), swivel/peg shoulders and elbows, swivel wrists (at the glove tops), swivel waist, peg hips, and swivel/peg knees and ankles. All those pseudo-balljoints make for high mobility, and unlike early attempts in the Star Wars line they're starting to be able to blend them into the figure's slim limbs quite well. But you're always stuck with the plain peg hips, locking Pads into a wide-legged stance that looks like she's auditioning for a Peter Gabriel music video.

All the other joints offer a fair degree of flexibility in changing her pose, but it's starting to get silly to keep running into this problem - there have been figures with swivel/peg hips that look perfectly good (Rise of the Silver Surfer Sue Storm, to pick one I recently found), and everything else on the figure proves that Hasbro has no trouble engineering such joints at this scale. All the swivel/pegs are softly ratcheted, which provides stability, but limits the poses she can easily get into and hold.

Aside from the removable hood and cloak, her only accessory is one of her Flash Gordon-esque ray gun blaster pistols, all smooth cylindrical retro design with a slim black handle. It fits equally well in her right hand, where it'll remain without the need for anything holding it in place, or in her holster on her right hip. In fact, the holster works much better than Sideshow's 1:6 scale version, so you really have to wonder what they were smoking when they came up with that one. The ankle articulation makes her relatively stable, but a base is very useful if you want to pose her in anything but a neutral stance - she has peg holes in the centre of both feet.

Also included with the figure is her piece of R7-T1, the series' astromech build-a-figure - hers is the left leg. Befitting an advanced R7, the sculpt and paint are both clean and crisp, with distinct blues and tan decorating the white leg. The leg is fitted with one of the thruster jets seen in Attack of the Clones, molded from clear blue plastic and painted silver and flat blue on the jet part of it, leaving the flame clear - the jet can be removed from the leg, leaving a slim cavity in the leg that I don't think would be too noticeable on the completed droid. The shoulder is set to attach as a swivel, there's another swivel at the ankle, and the base of the foot has a little free-rolling wheel set into it. All indications are that it'll be a very nice droid figure, but I'm not buying a whole series just to find out.

I actually find I like the snow bunny outfit at this scale - the goofy cloak is still goofy, but almost all Star Wars-scale fabric-based clothing is goofy, so it doesn't stand out so much as a flaw of the design itself. If the hips were more versatile, the face better, and the outer hood a bit slimmer and sharper in its sculpt, I'd even rate it quite highly; as is, it's a decent figure, but take a long look at her face before you buy her, just so you know what you're getting.


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