A couple of years back, I was thrilled when Kotobukiya made a figure of Psylocke. Psylocke is my favorite character in all of comics and I was happy to get any figure of her. Over time, my enthusiasm for that figure – and indeed, Kotobukiya’s Bishoujo line – has mellowed to a certain degree. Not that I dislike them, but it’s clear that the Bishoujo figures are meant to be fairly inexpensive products aimed at a mass-market audience. However, this statue is an entirely different proposition, with supposedly only 750 limited edition units manufactured and a price tag that would deter most collectors. How disappointing then, that once again my enthusiasm is tempered – indeed, extinguished; this time, because of a most peculiar and most irresponsible mistake made by the manufacturer.
Psylocke is a member of the Uncanny X-Men … or at least, she was when I kept up with comics. I was an avid comic collector up until a few years ago but my interest fell off for a variety of reasons. I think I began losing interest when the creative team on New X-Men: Academy X got sacked and replaced with a pair of hacks who slaughtered the cast. Not that it was a great series, and not that it didn’t need a shakeup, but the new writers’ approach was offensively artless and inept. Then the whole House of M thing happened, which seemed like a desperate attempt to establish a new status quo. Which is what it did, I suppose. Then I think the Marvel guys saw that nobody took Cyclops seriousl; to give him some leadership credibility, they had him establish a black ops team (ooh, black ops! As if that hasn’t been done before!) called X-Force, which Psylocke became part of. Along the way, some other things happened: Wolverine started appearing in just about every Marvel book (curiously including the Avengers), X-23 kept getting solo series that would inevitably get cancelled, and a hundred Deadpool books suddenly popped up. And when the Twilight films hit theatres, they added a bunch of vampires to the X-Men books. Seriously.
I think the biggest reason I don’t really care for comics anymore is the lack of consistency from issue to issue and from series to series. Marvel continually pushed inter-series crossovers, which I didn’t really appreciate since I never read the Avengers or regular Spider-Man books. Pencillers kept changing from month to month, particularly on some of the less popular books. And a lot of the series that I did like, such as New X-Men, Spider-Girl Ms. Marvel, and Ultimate Spider-Man, got cancelled. Admittedly, Ms. Marvel had a pretty good run, particularly for a female lead character (sadly, in the current market, there do not seem to be many female characters who can sustain books by themselves), and Ultimate Spider-Man later got resurrected (the series, not the hero) in some form.
Despite all that, I’d still name Psylocke one of my favorite fictional characters in pop culture. She’s gotten a few large-sized statues over the last few years – among them Sideshow’s Comiquette version and Kotobukiya’s Danger Room version – but what I really wanted was for her to get a Premium Format statue. I was very happy with the first Premium Format statue that I purchased – Star Wars’s Darth Talon – and since Sideshow had recently made Premium Format products of the other X-Men, I had hoped Psylocke would get one as well. My anticipation was tempered by the fact that Psylocke tends to be overlooked when it comes to Marvel characters – she didn’t make it into the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 video game, nor did she appear in X-Men Legends II (and in the first game, she was one of the last X-Men to join your team), and she inexplicably appeared in one of the X-Men films as a bad guy, and apparently got killed off. When Sideshow announced that Psylocke would get her own PF statue, I was quite happy and promptly put in an order.
The main reason I wanted a PF version of Psylocke is the size of the Premium Format line. They’re made in 1/4 scale – which, as anyone who has read this site for a while knows, I’m a big fan of. Psylocke stands 44 centimeters tall – she is absolutely titanic compared to 1/8 and 1/7 scale figures. Her giant-sized base – a big, heavy disc emblazoned with a red X-Men logo – considerably adds to her impressive stature.
Psylocke has gone through a few costumes during her X-Men career, and in X-Force she’s apparently now wearing a rather boring and uninspired bra-and-leggings ensemble, but she’s shown here in what I think is the best costume in all of comics, the blue thong leotard and body strap outfit that she got upon exiting the Siege Perilous way back around Uncanny X-Men #256 or so, if I remember right. It is perhaps, a somewhat abbreviated costume but it does fit well into the tradition carried on by other sexy ninja girls like Mai Shiranui and Kasumi and Ayane from Dead or Alive.
This statue is made of a rather heavy, solid material – presumably polystone. The shipping weight is listed at a hefty ten pounds, probably making her the heaviest figure in my collection. These statues are painted – presumably by hand – in China, and to be honest, I can’t say the paintwork is particularly impressive. It does the job but it’s not particularly skillful. Pretty much any Alter figure from the last few years would blow this figure away in terms of craftsmanship. What’s more, there’s this particular issue with the paint job:
Crikeys, she’s cracking! In fact, she’s cracking all over the place! Why is her paint cracking like that?
A perusal of the Psylocke thread over on Statueforum.com reveals that numerous collectors have had this issue with their Psylocke figures. One collector suggested that the cracking problem is occurring because Sideshow didn’t use any primer before painting the statues.
Oh, well, I was afraid it might be a big problem, but if that’s all that is then it’s no big deal, and …
Wait … they didn’t prime the statue before painting?
Even someone like me who doesn’t build models knows that you need to apply a primer layer to make sure that paint sticks to the model. I’m really not sure why Sideshow screwed this up, particularly being that this is a $300 statue, not some cheap Ame-Comi thing where nobody’s going to pay much attention to the paint.
To their credit, Sideshow does have a fairly liberal replacement program, where you send in photos of damage and they send a replacement product (amusingly, they also ask that you physically smash your older statue to bits and send them photos for confirmation). I e-mailed them a month ago explaining the problem and, unsurprisingly, got placed on a waitlist for a replacement Psylocke. Hopefully the next batch of statues has a primer layer under the paint.
I purchased the Sideshow Exclusive edition, which isn’t any more expensive than the regular version but comes with a couple of extra things, including a different head. I guess this head is supposed to resemble Psylocke as she appeared earlier in the comics, when Jim Lee drew her. She has a different hairstyle and a slightly different face, which I don’t like quite as much; she kinda reminds me of Chris Bosh, or maybe Ming the Merciless, so I don’t use this face. On top of that, the head that came with my statue also has a scratch high up on her left cheek. If this were a PVC figure, I’d try to remove it with some rubbing alcohol, but I think Sideshow uses acrylic paints on their statues and I nearly screwed up Darth Talon by applying alcohol to her skin while removing a blemish.
She also comes with an alternate left arm that features her psychic knife. Both her head and arm are held to her body by fairly powerful magnets, though I’ve read that some people had some problems with the magnets falling off.
It doesn’t look that bad; normally I’m not a fan of trying to sculpt special effects out of plastic but it looks okay here. Still, I like how she looks dual-wielding katana – even though I don’t remember her fighting with two swords that often – so that’s how I’m displaying her.
Psylocke’s belt is also removable.
She can wear this belt, which attaches with Velcro.
Or you can use this sash instead, which has a wire inside to maintain its shape. I’m not sure which one I like better, but I’m going with the belt for now, since I think it shows off her bodyline a little bit better.
I do like her sculpt a lot; Psylocke looks tall, graceful, and elegant, just as she should look.
She also has a very nice-looking ass – again, just as she should look.
Some angles aren’t really that flattering to her, but with her regular head, I like the way her hair covers one eye; it’s the sort of look often used in anime to signify that a female character is tough, physically adept, or enigmatic, and Psylocke is certainly all of those things.
This statue ought to be one of the best pieces in my collection, but the flaking paint obviously makes it a tremendous disappointment. Perhaps – hopefully – my opinion will shift if and when I get a replacement, but in spite of my desire to like this statue, I can’t get over the cracking paint problem. It’s really too bad since this is one of the figures I’ve been anticipating for a long time.
Since I am expecting to get a replacement, here is Psylocke with the tentacle stand. Ordinarily I would not even entertain the thought of applying the tentacle stand to a polystone or resin figure, but Psylocke seems very sturdy and is able to handle it.