Thursday 8 October 2015

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Lucina

Good Smile Company continue to expand their coverage of Nintendo properties with the long awaited arrival of Figma Lucina! After several months of delays, the time-travelling star of Fire Emblem: Awakening and fighter from the latest Super Smash Bros. was finally released in August 2015. While many other collectors (be they Fire Emblem or Smash fans) were probably hoping for different characters, considering Max Factory’s penchant for female figures and their insistence of covering the latest game in the series Lucina seems like a no-brainer for the line. So anyone desperate for a Marth figure will have to settle for the forthcoming Nendoroid instead.

With the Figma packaging still not having received any significant changes in the last few years, there’s still nothing particularly unique to say about Lucina’s box. It’s coloured with a dark blue that nicely matches both her outfit and hair, but that’s about it really. The front also features the name of the character and where they’re from, along with the Nintendo and Fire Emblem logos. Meanwhile the back and spines feature the same stock images of the figure you’ve likely been looking at since it’s initial solicitations back in December last year. The figure itself is laid on a deep clear plastic tray, with the hand tree, stand and replacement wrist joint all packed in their own little segmented plastic bag.

When it comes to female figures Max Factory usually bring their A game, and Lucina is no exception as far as the sculpt in concerned. However at the same time the body definitely has a kind of androgynous charm to it, which lends itself well to the fact that Lucina initially appears disguised as 'Marth'. The skirt section of her costume, along with other important areas, is made from a soft plastic  in order to maintain a perfect balance between accuracy and poseability. Meanwhile the cape section is much more rigid, but freely moves outward in such a way that it can be used as leverage when balancing as well as simply a tool to make things more dynamic.

However there is one element of the design that I for one am not a fan of, and that’s the way the straps attached to the sheath simply dangle from the figure in such a flimsy manner. With the way the piece moves about when posing, it feels like a breakage just waiting to happen – and in my case, it did exactly that. Upon completing this photo shoot I found the strap that connects at the back of the belt had become completely loose – although it looked as if the glue simply hadn’t fixed it into place rather than a clear breakage.

So at this point you’re probably wondering how exactly a Figma stand plugs into Lucina with that sizeable cape protruding out of the back. Swinging both sides of the cape up to either side reveals a clear plastic ‘backpack’ of sorts, which as a plug fixing it to the figure’s back. Once this plug has been removed, you’ll be able to place the stand’s port through both the backpack and into the usual designed hole in the figure, allowing it to keep the cape in place properly while giving Lucina more stability for poses.

The other thing worth addressing here is just how the sword fits in the sheath buckled to her side. The short answer is that it actually doesn’t – the hilt of the sword (the Parallel Falchion) used here is actually an entirely separate piece with clear plastic tabs on either side, allowing it to fit into the sheath nice and tightly.

However Lucina does suffer from a few notable articulation issues, most of which stem from the cape section. When in use, neck movement is pretty much nil other than a basic side to side motion. This is partly because of the thick plastic surrounding the neck, and partly because of the static hairpiece getting in the way of things. The cape isn’t without its own minor issues either, being broken two separate pieces that are jointed at either side. This means it can look like a seamless piece when both sections are positioned in the middle, but getting the whole thing to look good swooshed to either side (as it is in this image) isn’t really feasible. It’s a shame, because a simple rearrangement of the joint placement could have easily fixed this. The shoulders are also somewhat limited, both by the cape and the guard pads on the side of each arm. It's nothing completely debilitating, but getting her arms posed like they are in that picture I posed earlier is a struggle.

Of course there is an easy way of getting around these little complaints, and that’s to simply remove the cape section altogether. After popping the head off and pulling out the clear plug, the whole section can be lifted off. In turn this also exposes the hole in the back so that the stand can plug directly in there. It’s an easy fix for sure, but the figure doesn’t really have the level of gravitas without the cape and (in my opinion anyway) action poses don’t look anywhere near as impressive.

Lucina comes packed with an additional seven hands, the Parallel Falchion (both the full sword and the previously mentioned hilt), an alternate smiling/blushing faceplate and a separate “masked” head section with shorter hair to display her as she looked when disguised. The short-haired headpiece (which can be used with the front section of the long-haired to make a maskless version) instantly alleviates some of the head articulation issues the figure suffers from, allowing for a better range of movement both with and without the cape attached. Additionally, the sword holding hands might look like they’re closed too tightly to fit the handle into, but unlike other Figma they’re quite easy to pry open without breaking anything. And once you’ve done so, you shouldn’t have any trouble with them at all. 

Unfortunately the smiling face doesn’t quite live up to the promotional pictures found on the box or GSC’s website, with the blush effect on the cheeks nowhere near as prominent. The default stoic face looks great with either head, but I can’t help feel that this figure would have greatly benefited from some sort of “in battle” expression. Perhaps not as extreme as Figma Link’s screaming face, but the same sort of idea. You may also be pleased to know that Lucina did not come with any sort of exclusive parts when sold on the Good Smile online store, so no matter where you end up picking the figure up on the aftermarket you shouldn’t be missing out on any accessories.

Lucina is a lovely looking figure and a definite buy for any Nintendo fans looking to boost their collection, but she certainly isn’t without her problems. Issues like her limited articulation when caped would perhaps be easier to overlook elsewhere, but the fiddly nature of her various parts and easy to break straps really feel like they bring the quality down a bit. Whether she was truly worth the wait will ultimately depend on how big of a Fire Emblem fan you are (and how accepting you are of the fact that Max Factory probably won’t produce any other characters after her), but even the most casual of fans should find something to like here.

1 comment:

Nova said...

Great review, honestly I believe most reviews I've seen of her on Youtube overlook the faults it presents as a product. It's definitely decent, but could've been better. I guess that a majority of buyers were interested in her because of Smash Bros, and only those that played the game feel that Max Factory didn't capture the likeness of the character completely...something feels "off" or "stiff" about her.