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Triad Toys G4H
by Artemis

In 1993 a group calling itself "The Barbie Liberation Organization" bought up a number of talking Barbies ("Math class is tough!") and GI Joes ("Vengeance is mine!"), swapped their voice chips, carefully repacked them, and returned them to stores in order to publicise the point that toys are stupefyingly sexist (though in all honesty the average Joe probably wouldn't be an academic whiz, and anyone who thinks women aren't interested in vengeance hasn't been to a beauty pageant). Fast-forward to today and, well, toys are still sexist - but at least if you want a dolled-up blonde with the mindset of a professional killer, you no longer have to make your own.

The operative known only as "Lola" is one of the most requested assassins for Gunn Industries. Joining the agency at an early age, Lola quickly moved through the ranks to become one of the industry's most esteemed operators. Her ever-changing appearance makes her hard to track and her skills as an EDF guarantee her the biggest pay checks with a flawless record. Her ever-changing appearance - ranging from school girls to nuns and business professionals - is Lola's most effective tactical ploy against her targets.

"EDF" is "Expeditious Demise Facilitator", which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about Lola's employers - as well as the above bio, the packaging includes a potted history of Gunn Industries (known colloquially as "Gunn 4 Hire"), which is top of the pack in a slightly alternate reality where the US government went in for outsourcing military contracts in an even bigger way than usual. Think Blackwater, except competent, and no one's bothering to even pretend that they're not into black ops as well as "security." G4H is one of Triad Toys' original lines - alongside several licenses they've acquired, and their regular to-order catalogue of 1:6 scale bodies and costumes - and Lola is its opening shot.

The body is basically an Otaku 1.0, Triad's female show-off figure designed (unlike most 1:6 scale figures) to look good no matter how many clothes she's not wearing, thanks to her remarkably skin-like semi-translucent gel body and the omission of the more unsightly torso joints that would normally make a 1:6 body look like some kind of consumer product robot. Lola uses the Caucasian 2.0 headsculpt, which makes her a kind of ersatz Cate Blanchett/Keira Knightly mix (rowr), and is far more attractive than the generic animation-esque Caucasian 1.0 face.

Clothes maketh the women though, and thus it's most the costume and accessories that make Lola Lola. She comes in her basic wardrobe, a schoolgirl fetish outfit of front-tied midriff shirt, tartan pleated skirt, knee socks, and heavy platform high-heeled boots - it's pretty outrageously over-the-top, but then again it's obvious that Lola's focus is on the "fetish" part of "schoolgirl fetish." The shirt is specially made to be tied - it's got no buttons, is only long enough to reach halfway down the torso (though the sleeves are full-length if you un-bunch them), and has long tails at the front to make it easy to tie in a nice attractive knot, despite being one-sixth the usual size. The collar and cuffs are very carefully fashioned, with just the right degree of stiffness to settle into their proper positions without causing undue problems if you want to move them around - no matter how much adjusting I've done to the shirt, including taking it right off and putting it back on again, it's always taken just a couple of minor touches to get it looking its best. Beneath the shirt Lola's wearing a black string bikini-style bra, with noticeably smaller cups than the standard bikinis the non-costume Otakus ship with. The strings are elastic, and there's enough of them at the back that they can be retied in a bow without the use of a microscope and tweezers.

The skirt too is just right in its "engineering" - the folds sit perfectly against each other, flaring just enough to show off the design but still remaining settled enough that the fabric appears to have the weight of the real thing. The only downside is that, since part of the reason for that is that it is a (comparatively) heavy, stiff fabric, the skirt can't flap up the way an ultra-light fetish skirt can do in a breeze. A pair of black panties are built into the skirt, which has the advantage of helping keep it sitting exactly right on Lola's hips. The socks have a lace top, and are slightly elastic - they'll hold their position anywhere on the legs, whether bunched up around the knees, or pulled up as high as they'll go, around mid-thigh just beneath the bottom of the skirt. The boots lace up at the insides, and are packaged loosely done up - as usual with Triad clothing they're sturdy and highly functional, so the laces can be done up nice and tight, but I've just done up the ties at the top tightly, and left the lower laces slightly loose - they're not obviously loose to look at, and it leaves the ankles very mobile. The heavy soles aren't just for show - each contains a magnet powerful enough to support the figure's weight in unbalanced stances, so long as you've got something metal to stand her on (they're removable, in case you want to put her on top of your old CRT monitor).

Completing the look, Lola adds her own makeup and hairdo to the basic Caucasian 2.0 face. Her lips are a more provocative red than the non-costume model, and she's wearing heavier eye shadow and a touch more blush - naturally enough, given her wardrobe, her look is calculated to hit the male libido with the force of a steel baseball bat between the eyes, and to hell with subtlety. Her hair is done up in loopy pigtails - they're packaged in soft plastic sleeves, but even so once unpacked I found my Lola's hair spread out noticeably more than Triad's prototype photos indicate. It's not unattractive, just a bit more ruffled than was the original intention - let's say this is Lola after a couple of hours raving to catch the target's attention. 1:6 scale hair, no matter what grade of fiber it's made from, is an absolute bugger to style, and - so I'm told - the distribution and length of hair over Lola's scalp is designed specifically for pigtails, so undoing the ties holding her hair up would be inadvisable to say the least.

Lola wears gloves, and comes with two pairs: standard pistol grips which are her default, and a second set designed for specific accessories. Like the bare Otaku hands the gloves are heat-reactive, and in the interests of avoiding potential damage it's best to warm them a bit with a hairdryer or heat gun before swapping them - although since the gloves have thinner edges than the hands, be careful not to overheat them, or they could deform.

And that brings us to the accessories themselves, which are Lola's real party piece. Adding to the schoolgirl look she's got a backpack made of soft felt, with fully-functional adjustable shoulder straps. It also has a front pocket (well, back pocket, when she's wearing it), intended to carry her teddy bear, which is made from the same felt, except its white muzzle, and has an adorable face done in black stitching. Besides storage for her personal Care Bear, the backpack's main pocket opens with a zip, and is about the right size for the somewhat comical (though no doubt lethal) bomb she's carrying around. It's a classic sphere with a fuse, and a skull and crossbones printed on it, and Lola also comes with a lit match to set it off - her alternate hands allow her to hold both, the right splayed open and slightly curved to support the bomb, the left with fingers pinched to hold the match.

For less visually amusing executions, Lola's also got a pair of guns (cue boob joke). They're basically souped-up Ingram MAC-10s (G4H probably bought out the company), with a whole load of bells and whistles added onto the core body - not the most practical firearm for an infiltrator to use, but if you've already got a gorgeous assassin dressed as a schoolgirl slut, you may as well go all the way and have her spraying depleted-uranium death around with a pair of chunky automatics.

Like the best 1:6 scale guns, they can be dismantled, with the stock, upper sight, lower grip, laser sight, ammo clip, and bulky silencer all removable. Unlike any 1:6 gun I've ever seen, though, even the ammo is removable from the clip - each mag contains a spring-feed, and Lola comes with eighteen individual 1:6 scale bullets, which can be slotted into the clips one by one to fill them up, just like the real thing. It's fiddly as hell, and of course once the clip's inserted into the gun you can't tell if it's full or not, but for the purists it's the kind of attention to detail that money normally can't buy. Oh, and the shell ejector is also spring-loaded. When you first open up the package and have a look at these things, you almost start to wonder if they're going to be able to fire.

Lola also comes with a shoulder harness to keep the Ingrams out of her way when she's not using them. Each gun has a hole through its butt, just in front of where the stock attaches, and the harness clips onto these from either side to hold them securely - they hang either side of her hips, and it must be said they kind of mess up the schoolgirl look. In the event that she only needs one gun, the other one can be fitted pretty well into the backpack's teddy bear pouch.

There's no denying she's a pretty insane doll - kind of like Britney Spears crossed with a Terminator - but like all the strange stuff McFarlane used to come up with before they got boring, that's really the appeal of her. She's not exactly cheap, but she's collector-quality at every level, from body to fine detail to clothing to accessories - nothing is just "good enough" where it could've been just right instead, and most dolls this size rack up comparable price tags without even approaching this level of craftsmanship. If you collect 1:6 dolls in any kind of variety, you're cheating yourself if you don't have a Lola.

-- 08/06/09

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