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Triad Toys G4H
by Artemis

Gunn 4 Hire has been diversifying since its debut with schoolgirl-slut-themed assassin Lola: the Gunn Industries corporation's Elite Ballistic Support division (think the scene in Predator where everyone shoots non-stop for ages - like that, but more dakka) is now represented in figure form by serial excessive-force user Tyrus, and under the G4H line there are also Agents Crimson and Indigo, a pair of witness protection types from rival firm Black Wolffe International, the law-abiding David to Gunn's highest-bidder Goliath. But they're all boys, so we skip straight to Vanity, the new girl on the block.

Whether it's stealing your business partner's patented designs, frame a key shareholder, or making your competitors disappear indefinitely, Gunn Industries is here to help. The value of any business lies in its innovation and that value can be had for a price. IEA (Industrial Espionage Agent) operatives are fully trained to retrieve important data, plant evidence or documents, or remove key staff or corporate shareholders that are not a part of the company's vision. Vanity retains the highest IEA ranking for successful corporate missions with little to no casualties to date. Stealth is her specialty, but don't let that fool you because Vanity is as deadly as they come...

Vanity is based on the same Otaku 1.0 Caucasian doll as her sister-in-mayhem Lola, so if you're interested in the fine details you can just check those reviews - the high points are lifelike skin, absent torso articulation (but quite capable elsewhere), and the need for a hairdryer if you want to get her boots off. And like Lola, it's therefore the head and costume that make Vanity herself, although in her case both of those are far less eccentric - which is fair enough, since Lola's certainly eccentric enough for the whole of Gunn Industries all by herself.

Vanity's far more down to Earth, in her slightly individualized twist on the standard spy catsuit. The outfit zips tightly up the back, and is just figure-hugging enough to cling to all of Van's curves without dipping into the unsightly hollows of her knee and hip articulation - good choice of fabric, and good tailoring all around. Somewhat non-standard for a spy are the boots, which are glossy black and, more to the point, high-heeled, which you'd think would be a negative in terms of both mobility and stealth. Out here in the real world, though, they do have one big advantage, which is that their soles contain magnets - not as powerful as those in Lola's boots (not as tall a platform sole to fit them in), but nonetheless capable of stabilizing Vanity's considerable solid-gel-plastic weight even if she's only got one foot flat to the ground. Of course, you'll need a metal base - Triad's got some impressive (and appropriately pricey) scenic display bases in the pipeline, but a plain metal plate will do just fine, especially in light of Van's sleek, minimalist style.

Finishing off the ensemble are an unadorned belt and attached thigh holster - nothing fancy (and indeed both would've benefited from a loop to tuck the ends of the straps into after pulling them tight), but they're sturdy, easy to tighten, and the plastic clips holding them closed function perfectly despite their small size. The holster is quite a piece of work too, holding Vanity's pistol snug but not awkwardly tight, and the stud to hold the safety strap down over the grip is the easiest to use I've seen on any holster-equipped 1:6-scale doll. The other finishing touch to Vanity's catsuit is a colossal abundance of sideboob, which is rather puzzling from a practical standpoint, but welcome from an aesthetic one - presumably Triad felt that since they'd gone to the trouble of creating a doll with a rack Tarot would be proud of, it'd be a shame to hide it completely.

Vanity's face is more good work - Triad has improved in leaps and bounds since their first somewhat-plain Otaku 1.0 headsculpts. She's sleek and sharp-looking, with high eyes, a long nose, and narrow lips pursed in an expression of intense concentration, as if she's about to do something very, very difficult, but nevertheless has no intention of failing. Her hair is pure white, and sculpted with an interesting lack of detail - instead of trying to sculpt every strand, there are just the main features of the hairstyle, with the rest perfectly smooth. On its own it would look somewhat cartoonish, but on the otherwise realistic doll it actually blends in surprisingly well.

The hair is also removable - it fits very tightly on the scalp, so much so that it was only by accident I discovered it could move at all, but once you know it can be slipped off and on easily, with no damage or deformation in the process. Personally I'm a fan of women having hair (except in Starship Troopers, where I'd have made Denise Richards shave her head purely out of spite to get her back for her acting) but there's no denying Vanity in Alien 3 mode looks very striking, and certainly not unattractive.

In addition to the aforementioned pistol - which has a removable clip (no individual bullets this time, though) and a working slide - Vanity also has an earpiece, which is metal and thus heavy enough to sit over her ear without having to be jammed into place to stay there, and a pair of sunglasses, which are a valiant attempt but, I'd say, still suffering from the scale curse of action figure glasses everywhere, in that they're just not thin enough (they do fold up, though, so they at least score for functionalist there). Besides her standard tactical glove hands, she comes with the Otaku 1.0's trio of alternate hands - open, gripping, and fists - but they're bare, with no gloves, and since Vanity's right hand has the ideal grip for her weapons, and the left is one of the best "open but tense" hand sculpts I've seen, I never felt like getting out the heat gun to change them.

She also gets an ATAC submachine gun - recycled from Tyrus, in fact - which continues Triad's fascination with really complicated guns. Again, no individual bullets this time, but what Vanity's ATAC does have is a heavily modular construction, in this case comprising the core handgrip, an SMG plug-in, a silencer barrel, a standard short flash suppressor, a grenade launcher barrel (with a removable "double adapter" so it can be put in instead of the SMG), two separate techy stocks with adjustable lengths, a forward handle, two slide-in clip pieces, a laser, and three different sights: iron, telescopic, and digital. There's lots of potential for customization there, moreso with all the ATAC weapons (including Lola's earlier SMGs) being compatible, but I did run into a problem with the SMG plug-in, which was really tight in its socket, and once I'd got it in refused to come out again. It doesn't bother me personally, since I wanted it assembled like that anyway, but as a modular system that's a weakness, and something to pay attention to if you fancy disassembling the weapon later.

I was a bit surprised to see such a comparatively sedate offering in G4H, following Lola's over-the-top appearance - indeed, I considered skipping Vanity (I've already got an Otaku 1.0 in a sleeveless black catsuit, the "Crossfire" costume), and wound up getting her more based on Triad's general quality (and because collecting is an addiction) that her specific design. But now that she's here, I'm becoming quite fond of her - she's uncomplicated in her style, but the Straker-style white hair, and the sideboobalicious cut of her catsuit, make her stand out nonetheless. By the standards of this level of quality she's pretty affordable, and even if she doesn't grab you at first glance, she's well worth a second.

-- 04/15/10

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