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Briana Banks

Vivid Girls
by Artemis

Now here's something I bet you didn't expect to see when you loaded up the OAFEnet homepage this morning.

A few years ago a whole bunch of adult movie stars (alright, porn stars) were reproduced as action figures, mostly in the various lines belonging to the aptly-but-unfortunately-titled "Plastic Fantasy" family. They attracted some attention as oddities, but then faded away as, evidently, not a lot of porn fans wanted action figures, and not a lot of action figure fans wanted porn stars. Nowadays some are still available from online stores, as the virtual equivalent of pegwarmers, but mostly you'll only find them sitting forlornly on the "random novelties" shelf of adult book stores, undiscovered by the hardcore (pardon the pun) figure collectors who either don't know they're there or are too embarrassed to go into the store anyway, and ignored by the stores' regular clientele who are largely uninterested in any figure that doesn't come with battery-powered vibrating parts.

Me, I'm not one to get embarrassed when there's action figures to be bought.

Though the trio I'll be reviewing all come from differently-titled series - Adult Superstars (Midori), Wicked Pictures (Sydnee Steele), and Vivid Girls (Briana Banks) - they're all from the Plastic Fantasy line, and as such they're all in scale with each other, at about 7½" standing upright. Which, incidentally, puts them in scale with nothing much apart from Diamond Select/Art Asylum's Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine lines, so if you ever wanted to mix in some very scantily-clad women with your Enterprise or Defiant crews, these will do nicely.

Being from the same line, all three figures are produced to roughly the same design: semi-poseable statues, with (naturally) removable clothes. They're not toys - even ignoring the obvious don't-give-them-to-kids issue - they're desktop decorations, provided your boss is easy-going about the kinds of things you have decorating your desk. For the adult movie enthusiast, they claim to be produced with laser scans of the bodies of the women in question, producing exact replicas of their figures, though I can honestly (albeit only by chance) say I wouldn't know if they're accurate or not.

Briana Banks is a German-born porn actress and model, apparently notable for having the longest legs in the porn industry. The things we learn researching action figures. She made her debut in 1999, and according to IMDb is still going strong, and germane to our purpose was one of the first porn stars to have an action figure made of herself - the very figure we're now reviewing. Briana is costumed as your typical prehistoric cavegirl hottie, with artfully wild hair, warm boots, and the kind of matching animal-skin bikini top/miniskirt combo that was all the rage back in 1,000,000 BC according to practically every prehistoric adventure movie that's ever been made.

The ever-eventful research also informs us that Ms. Banks is known for the considerable size of her enhanced breasts, relative to her slender body - not a disproportion I'm personally a fan of, and luckily her action figure doesn't go out of its way in that regard. Naturally the figure's figure is all there with regard to its assets, but the overall impression is of a proportional body, at least by movie star/comicbook heroine standards.

She's got a wide, flat stomach, some definition to her thighs, and the show-off arch to her back actually diminishes the prominence of her bust - admittedly her arms and lower legs are somewhat thin (especially for someone who's pretending to have to hunt her own dinner with a flint-tipped spear), but by and large they make her look tall rather than skinny. She's all cast in colour, a consistent mildly-tanned skin tone, and the only paint on her body besides her outfit is a fairly complicated replica tattoo on her lower back, and shiny pink nail gloss.

Her face is quite attractive, and clearly Germanic or Scandinavian - the blonde hair, accomplished with a decent wash, and the pale eyebrows and very pale blue eyes are clues, but the bone structure has strong racial characteristics too, so assuming this is what Briana looked like back in 2002 when this was made, kudos to the sculptors. I say assuming, because she's had some work done since then (to her detriment, I'm sorry to say), so it's difficult to judge the likeness. Still, we've seen plenty of failed actor-likeness faces over the years, many of them winding up not even attractive, let alone accurate, so this counts as a good effort. Her eyes are exceedingly pale - very effective for the Nordic look, and fairly accurate to judge by the photos available online - and her lips, in deference to her cavegirl attire, and painted in a restrained sienna red, rather than an over-the-top porn star glossy scarlet or anything hideous like that.

Her costume is really nice work. The boots are heavily-furred, with a wash bringing out the considerable sculpted detail, and a separate glossy dark brown paint app picking out the leather straps binding the boots together. There's also an integrated high-heel sole, which I doubt is historically accurate, but anyway. Her bikini/skirt ensemble is soft and elastic, to facilitate getting it off without ruining it, but it's held a decent amount of sculpted detail, and again a wash has been applied with some skill, producing easily-visible texture. Interestingly, though they're coloured the same, the bikini top has a different texture than the skirt - the skirt shows the fur of the animal it used to be, whereas the bra is the rough underside of the pelt. It makes sense that the softer fur would be put against her skin on the garment that's wrapped tightly around her, so nice attention to detail there. She also has a (presumably anachronistic) necklace made of silver plastic with a slim metal chain, sporting the "Vivid" logo.

She also (uniquely to the three figures I own) is sporting underwear, a light tan-coloured thong, made of the same elastic material as the rest of the outfit, though having thinner straps it's much easier to stretch (and break, so watch out). The thong sits fairly easily underneath her skirt, though if you've gone into an adult book store to buy one of those, you probably wouldn't be bothered by skipping it to have the skirt sit a little tighter on her hips.

Articulation is limited to the head and arms, and is a case of "be happy with what you've got." The arms have shoulder balljoints and bicep swivels, basically just to allow her predetermined pose to be fine-tuned - as such, they work well, but you won't be getting any dramatically different poses out of her. The neck is a balljoint, and the soft hair allows her appearance to be tweaked by turning and tilting her head a fair amount, though obviously if you go too far the strands of hair sitting over her shoulders get pushed out of place and won't look right.

Now, since I know you're curious, yes, everything but the boots comes off. With a little effort - but not so much that you risk breaking anything - the head and arms can be popped out of their joint sockets, facilitating the removal of the formerly-wildlife ensemble. It is possible, with a bit of work, to get the whole lot off and on again without removing any body parts, but even though they're elastic it's not a good idea to go stretching the costume parts too much, otherwise they'll eventually lose their tightness, or just snap at the thin points.

Stripping Cavegirl Briana down reveals light pink paint apps that pick out her areolae and nipples - though with a steady fade rather than a clear line from skin to pink, which makes the change in colour rather difficult to spot - and her ladies' bits lower down.

On that latter count anyone looking for laser-scanned accuracy will be a bit disappointed - the shape of her mons is right (one assumes), but the division between outer and (pink-painted) inner labia is barely there, and all in all there's a lot less detail than anyone who's seen her movies will be expecting. The pink, incidentally, covers only the ridges of the inner labia, not the entire area between the outer, which makes her vagina look quite minute compared to the statuesque proportions of the rest of her. And while we're on intimate anatomy, I hope she didn't eat the animal whose skin provided her wardrobe, because she's without any visible means of pooping. Mind you, this is about the same level of detail as elsewhere on her - her lips, for example (the mouth ones) - but when the whole point of the figure is that it's not just plastic underpants and a trademark down there, you do tend to notice shortfalls in this area.

Honestly, the things I end up reviewing.

Unless you count the necklace and g-string, Briana's only accessory is her base, the big plastic block with a nameplate across the front used for all these figures. There's a clasp at the back to hold an included card backplate, which is just a generic Vivid Girls graphical kind of thing - not at all suitable for a cavegirl - and the name on the front is a sticker, which hasn't really been applied that carefully to the curved surface, since there's some bubbling at the edges. There are two pegs, which fit tightly to Briana's feet - slightly narrower than her natural stance, to maintain the tightness of the fit - but she can do without the base well enough.

To be honest, I only bought these figures because, well, I collect action figures, not out of any particular fondness for the women in question - I've never even heard of most of them, though I've a notion I've heard Briana Banks's name somewhere. If there was any such thing as an Aria Giovanni figure - that wasn't inflatable and of severely limited likeness - that'd be another matter. But I really like this Briana figure. It's well-sculpted and well-painted, the lack of articulation is offset by a fairly striking natural pose, and the fact that even non-adult prehistoric movies tend to garb their heroines in improbably alluring animal-skin bikinis means that her outfit doesn't scream "I'm a porn star" - she could easily mingle with Loana or Shanna the She-Devil and not look out of place.


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