Having been born in 1980, I was a little too young to get into Star Wars. I vaguely remember getting my dad kicked out of the movie theatre by crying during The Empire Strikes Back, and I think I remember liking the Ewoks (thus proving what a dumb kid I was), but I never had any Star Wars toys or a lunch box, and I never saw any of the original trilogy movies in their entirety until their re-release back in the 90s. I was much more of a Star Trek fan, those movies being released just as I was becoming old enough to appreciate movies. I never got into the whole Star Wars versus Star Trek thing either, though; I mean, you got one franchise with green-skinned slave girls in bikinis, and the other offers red-skinned Sith in bikinis – with a particular badass example being Darth Talon – why choose between two beautiful things?
I’ve commented before that it’s odd how Japanese and American popular cultures rarely intersect. Sometimes you get a movie like Kill Bill which combines aspects of both cultures, and on rare occassions an American property like Witchblade or Iron Man will get an anime adaptation, and fans of 90s hip hop might remember Takagi Kan and SDP appearing on De La Soul’s classic album Buhloone Mindstate. For the most part, though, they exist in their own bubbles. So it’s ironic that I learned about Darth Talon from Hobby Search‘s blog. I had only passing familiarity with Sideshow’s statues at that time and I hadn’t read Star Wars: Legacy, but I knew that this was a figure that I had to have.
Star Wars: Legacy is a comic book series published by Dark Horse. While the popular Knights of the Old Republic video games took the franchise back millennia before the events of the films, Legacy picks up the story over a century after Return of the Jedi. In this world, the Jedi have fled into exile as the Sith rise in power (as usual). The hero is Cade Skywalker, an obvious descendant of the Kwisatz Haderach of all Jedi. However, he’s more Han Solo than noble Jedi, at least in the beginning. I’m reading through the first trade paperback and the story is pretty interesting, though the dialogue is a bit overwrought. I suppose that’s par for the course for Star Wars.
I’ll be frank: when it comes to this hobby, I’ve got this dumb belief that white people don’t know beans about making figures. It’s similar to my belief that Japanese people don’t know beans about making RPGs, though the Persona games and Resonance of Fate have softened that conviction over the last couple of years. As a comic book fan, I’d like to buy figures of my favorite characters, but there are so few that I like; many of them sport flat paintwork, boring poses, and inexpressive faces. Go take a look at the comic figures section on Big Bad Toy Store to see what I mean.
Darth Talon looked like a very high quality figure to me, though, so I didn’t have any misgivings when I preordered her.
As mentioned, Darth Talon is a character from Star Wars Legacy. She serves as the personal assassin of the archvillain Darth Krayt. She is emotionless and fanatically loyal to her master, and is a fierce and highly skilled combatant, which is obvious because she’s wearing a bikini; if she were one of those tricksy Sith who stays in the back doing force persuasion, she’d wear a robe.
Another difference between Japanese and American pop cultures is the material that they build figures out of; most Japanese anime figures are made of PVC, while many American figures are cold cast. Darth Talon is made of polystone, giving her significant heft. Not only is she heavy, she is huge; she’s a titanic 1/4 scale, measuring about 43 centimeters tall, not counting the base. Here she is next to another recently-released swordsgirl:
When a figure is this large – and when it doesn’t wear many clothes – the sculpt takes on greater significance and Sideshow doesn’t disappoint in the least. While Darth Talon’s shape is slender and feminine, she still has a defined, chiseled musculature. She is sleek and sexy and powerful all at once.
I gotta admit, though, her breasts kinda have an antigravity thing going on. Hey, it’s sci fi, you know?
Darth Talon needs a bit of assembly out of the box: her head and arms attach via magnets and slide into place very easily. She comes with a large circular base patterned with simulated dirt and rocks. It’s quite realistic and looks very nice. There’s also a special surprise built into it that I’ll get to in a bit.
As a member of Sideshow Collectibles’s Premium Format lineup, part of her clothing is made from real cloth. In this case, her bikini bottom is made of thin fabric. It’s attached to her waistband so it’s not coming off unless you destroy it. And since I know somebody is going to ask, no, she does not have realistic anatomy.
The paintwork is very good, with her armor being notably nice. Paint is a bit rough on her tattoos, but given their complexity – and the fact that they’re tattoos – I’m not too concerned about that. I think the only weak part of this figure are her eyes; her pupils are pinpoint, giving her a disturbing appearance. Then again, she’s both an evil Sith and an alien, and what do I know about Twi’lek biology?
One note to anyone who is contemplating picking up this statue or one of Sideshow’s Premium Format figures: the paint that they use appears to be alcohol-soluble, so don’t use rubbing alcohol to clean it off; bad things happen if you do. Water seems to be fine, though.
Perhaps the most iconic aspect of Star Wars is the lightsaber, and Sideshow pays homage to it by providing a light-up feature for Darth Talon’s weapon. The batteries (two AA cells) are stored in the base, and presumably the contacts go up through her body. On one hand, it’s a pretty neat feature that shows off this elegant, more civilized weapon. On the other hand, you could also call it an inartful gimmick that is more appropriate for a child’s action figure (and you might wonder why Darth Talon doesn’t come with a kung fu grip). I can see both sides, and I generally don’t turn it on, since it doesn’t light up all that bright and I don’t keep a lot of alkaline batteries around. Fortunately, the power switch is cleverly disguised as the little black rock on the perimeter of the base, so it’s not particularly obtrusive and it’s easy to access should you want to light it up.
I wasn’t entirely certain what to expect when I ordered Darth Talon – she looked great but the one American comic book figure I’ve got isn’t that fantastic and I hadn’t seen much out there to convince me that that wasn’t representative of its kind. However, I’m very pleased with Darth Talon; her emotionless personality is perfectly captured in a figure that is both dead sexy and impressive as hell. The workmanship is superb, and she has an incredible presence that instantly makes her a main attraction in any collection. She’s a fantastic figure and was definitely worth her considerable cost.