Tuesday 31 January 2017

Toybox REVIEW: Figma Zero Suit Samus

The Nintendo range of Figma are arguably some of the most popular figures Max Factory and Good Smile Company have put out in recent years, and all of that began way back in 2013 with the original Metroid: Other M Samus Aran Figma. Not long after her release plans for a Figma Zero Suit Samus were unveiled, but it wasn’t until the very end of 2016 that these plans came to fruition. Now Metroid fans can jump for joy as a toy line shows more love towards the franchise than Nintendo currently are, as this second version of Metroid’s legendary heroine joins Figma’s growing collection of Nintendo characters.

Zero Suit Samus comes in the standard Figma style packaging, this time done up in a nice shade of purple which nicely compliments the predominantly blue colourscheme of the figure itself. With Figma boxes mostly lacking any sort of originality these days there’s not much else to say other than the usual figure images on the spines and back, other than the appearance of both the Nintendo and Metroid: Other M logos on the front of the box. Inside you’ll find the figure, its accessories and the basic Figma articulated display base as well as a spare wrist joint should any unfortunate breakages happen.

Whereas the Samus Aran gamers are more familiar with is an orange hunk of genderless armour, Zero Suit Samus on the other hand is all about a skin-tight bodysuit and feminine curves. Given that this is what the Figma line excels in it’s no surprise to see this figure turn out so well, even if the tight buttocks and moulded bellybutton region take it a bit too far into swimsuit territory. The paintwork on the figure is absolutely gorgeous, not only thanks to that beautiful metallic blue used for the bodysuit but also the glossy finish on the hair as well. The only real issue here is the facesculpt, which while accurate to the game model suffers from a rather distinct “uncanny realism” that isn’t anywhere near as appealing as the more rounded faces of other Nintendo Figma. I’d be hard-pressed to say Max Factory are the ones at fault because the rest of the sculpting is so perfect, but perhaps the Other M look wasn’t the best option in this regard.

HThe right leg also has a working gun holster sculpted into it, however it doesn’t exactly work in the conventional way. Rather than that the gun sit comfortably inside the holster, an additional piece (consisting only of the gun’s back half) has been included which clips onto the top of the solid plastic holster. Certainly a properly working one might have been nicer, but this is a good compromise that allows both the gun and holster to not be too cumbersome in size. Additionally, if you somehow lose the holster piece it also means Samus isn’t suddenly going to be without her weapon.

Figma articulation on the whole is usually pretty great, and while that can be said of Samus there’s still the feeling that it’s not quite enough. Samus sports standard Figma joints in her neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and feet, together with upper torso and ponytail articulation thrown in for good measure. That said, the torso articulation is so limited it barely feels worth mentioning. The inclusion of pull-down joints for the hips is a really nice touch, but that torso is seriously lacking. Adding anything better would have probably broken the sculpt up significantly so it is somewhat understandable, but her range just could have been so much better. 

Balancing is also a bit of an issue thanks to those high heels Samus is running around in (hardly practical is it?), but rest assured she is capable of holding some basic poses unaided. For everything else at least you have the stand handy.

Samus’ accessories include seven alternate hands (including that all-important thumbs up hand), Paralyzer pistol, helmet, an additional smiling faceplate and finally an alternate short-haired headpiece with exposed communicator to represent the younger Samus from the game. The short hair head is a nice addition to make this figure more Other M-centric, but doesn’t look half as good as the standard head and so is probably unlikely to be the preferred version over the other (not to mention it isn’t anywhere near as iconic). The smiling head similarly isn’t as preferable to the neutral expression, only accentuating the “uncanny valley” feel the face has in the first place. But what’s most disappointing of all is the helmet, which is hollow and so can’t even be properly worn by the figure. It’s just a nicely painted chunk of plastic for Samus to hold awkwardly. 

Expecting the whip version of the Paralyzer from Super Smash Bros might be wishful thinking, but how about in-scale Metroid for Samus to carry around instead of that helmet? Or even some effect parts like the suited Samus figure had? It’s not like there were a whole lot of options for a Zero Suit Samus figure in the first place, but still somehow Max Factory have managed to disappoint when it comes to accessories.

While it’s fantastic to see her finally released after being unveiled so long ago, all in all Figma Zero Suit Samus is a pretty average figure. With a (mostly) fantastic sculpt and paint job there’s plenty to like about her, but an awkward face, disappointing articulation and woeful accessories are pretty heavy blows against it. Perfect for a Metroid, Smash Bros or general video games display, but on its own not offering much that wouldn’t be better sated with the original Samus Figma. But who knows, maybe once Metroid Prime Samus hits the market a Zero Suit version of that could follow and turn out much better.

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