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Whatever Works, Dude
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
"Know also, O Prince, that in those selfsame days that Conan the Cimmerian did stalk the Hyborian kingdoms, one of the few swords worthy to cross with his was that of Red Sonja, warrior woman out of majestic Hyrkania. Forced to flee her homeland because she spurned the advances of a king and slew him instead, she rode west across the Turanian Steppes and into the shadowed mists of legendry."

I have the Phicen/Executive Replicas Red Sonja. As always, click any image to get a larger version, or visit the full Flickr album for everything.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

I've been thinking about how to do a Red Sonja figure in 1/6 scale ever since seeing Blaze in the Takara/BBi Cy Girl line, so I'm way excited to finally have her as a boxed figure.

The packaging is the usual paperboard sleeve over a solid cardboard box. Sonja comes with a fair amount of stuff, so she's in the wider box with lots of the pre-release photos on it. I'm not a fan of how her logo looks on the packaging, but it's a minor thing.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Back of the box, which details Sonja's fictional history and includes the product photo (taken from a Frank Cho cover to "Red Sonja: Queen of the Frozen Wastes") that can also serve as a guide to how to assemble the figure.

They misspelled "Kulan Gath," too.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

This is the top layer of the box, containing Sonja's head, body, and hands, as well as her sword, dagger, and battle axe.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Lifting out the upper foam tray reveals the rest of her stuff: her shoulder armor, knee pads, gold armlets, pouch, leg armor, shield, and fur-lined cloak.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Sonja showing off her stuff. She comes wearing two flat hands and has a full four pairs of extras: three gripping hands (one angled, one straight, and one tight) and then two with bent fingers. The hands are made of relatively soft plastic which feels different from the stuff they use for their normal hands. Best of all, they pop on and off the wrist pegs easily and stay in place once they're on. The gloves mean you don't get any bend in her wrists, though.

One thing I noticed is that they are not very easy to rotate when they're on the figure. My advice if you're tweaking the figure is to pop the hand off, rotate the hand until it's in the position you want, and then pop it back on the wrist peg.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

I thought Sonja looked too nice when I saw her at New York Comic Con, and unfortunately I think she still does in the final product. It's an extremely good, very attractive head sculpt. It just doesn't look like Red Sonja to me. I expect I'm going to swap her head out for a different one.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Sonja's infamous chainmail bikini is made out of a stiff but still flexible plastic, and is probably the other thing I'm not crazy about in her outfit. The bottoms are fine, but the top just doesn't seem to sit right.

Phicen also opted to mirror Frank Cho's cover in giving her that one braid on the left side of her head. It looks pretty good, but Sonja wasn't usually drawn with one in the comics.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Rear-view of her "outfit." It looks like getting her outfit off will involve tweezers at a minimum, and probably a pair of pliers, However, Phicen did put a little bit of tissue to keep her chains from damaging the body in transit, which is a nice touch.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Her boots are made of a really nice felt material that looks like an animal skin. The attempt to make the little "loops" at the top of her boots weren't quite as successful.

It's not very visible from the outside, but Sonja's boots have a very subtle high heel in them, which makes Sonja look taller than a regular Phicen figure. I don't think they're quite as tall as the Armored Shi boots, but they do give Sonja a significant boost.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

The gold armbands are made of a soft plastic and slide up her arms easily. On the other hand, the shoulder armor is made of a very hard plastic, and while it's easy to get on after you remove Sonja's head, it has a nasty habit of getting out of position whenever Sonja raises her arms. I think the decision to make the whole thing out of hard plastic is its undoing -- the center bits should probably be leather or some other softer material so they can bend with her.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Sonja has two metal belts on her legs, one of which has a tiny hole where you can fit her dagger scabbard. Look close -- it's very hard to see. The scabbard fits in it nice and tight, but has a nasty tendency to fall off her leg armor once you put it on. After the third or fourth time the dagger fell off her leg, I gave up and left it off.

The armor is held on by tiny little hooks and faux-leather belts, which keep them in position solidly.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

All Sonja's weapons are made of plastic -- no metal here. The scabbard isn't bad, but the belts on it are molded plastic and don't look very realistic.

The scabbard has a tiny chain on it, which passes through a functioning belt that's provided in the box.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Sonja's sword is a pretty nice piece -- solid looking with some nice detailing on it. I'd have preferred a true wrapped hilt, but I can live with the one she gets.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Her dagger is short and unadorned. One pair of her gripping hands are very small, and seem made for the dagger handle, since the hilt is way too small to stay in either of the other gripping hands.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Her shield looks pretty good from afar, but up close it starts looking less like stressed metal and more like painted plastic.

The other problem with the shield is the orientation of the handles. One of Sonja's gripping hands can fit into the shield well enough, but the handles mean she's either holding it way too high or holding it sideways (which would defeat the purpose of the shield). I think it's more for show than for actual use, which is a shame.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

I'm glad Sonja also comes with a battle axe, but this one is undone a bit by the molded plastic shaft. It just makes the axe look a bit too fake to my eyes, as does the molded cord on the axe head.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

The stainless steel muscle body is in suntan, and works as well as always.


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr


Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

So overall, I like but don't love the Phicen/ER Red Sonja. I'm planning to swap her head and then do something about her bikini, and may also try something with that shoulder armor to make her the Sonja I want. But it's a really solid figure that comes with a lot of decent stuff in the box. Definitely a keeper.
 

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Whatever Works, Dude
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Phicen surprised everybody by announcing the Sparta Warrior, which is a female version of the Spartans from "300" (the comic book and the movie). The box is the slimmer "shoebox" type, but it's very very deep to accommodate the surprising amount of stuff in the box.


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Rear of the box, which has some of the really terrific product photos and a parts list.


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

The Sparta Warrior actually comes in 3 layers. The top layer has her head, body, hands, spear, sword, and arm and leg armor.


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

The second layer down has her helmet (encased in a protective plastic case to make sure the horsehair plume doesn't get messed up in transit -- a nice touch), her shield, and her cloak. Under that is the figure stand.


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Here's the Spartan Warrior with all she comes with in the box. I'm not sure why, but it sure seems like she's even more muscular than the other -E series muscular bodies.


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

The helmet is a snug fit, but sits nicely on her head.

Her arm and leg armor are made of a pretty soft plastic. While her wrist guards wrap around her whole arm, the leg armor is held on only by friction. They have a tendency to pop off if you work with the figure to pose it.

Her chest armor and battle thong are solidly in place, though. They never moved or caused a wardrobe malfunction.


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Closer look at her armored bikini and war thong. Sure, it's ridiculous, but no less so than the half-naked Spartans in "300," which was this figure's clear inspiration. And at least her chest armor doesn't seem likely to spear her as much as, say, the chest armor of the Valkyrie figure.

The shield is kind of a pain to get on -- I recommend getting one gripping hand around the shield handle, slipping the wrist armor on, sliding the wrist through the shield strap, and then connecting the hand back to her arm. This is actually more of a pain than it sounds like (the wrist peg can flop around and it's hard to get leverage on it because the shield gets in the way). I'm not planning to ever take it off her arm now that I have it on.


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Close-up look at her leg armor (which looks more plastic-y close-up) and her sandaled feet. While I'm a little disappointed that she doesn't have real sandals, I think the ones we got are good enough.


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

The cloak is held on her left side by a little hook, which came undone a little too easily. You can see she's about to lose it in this photo (which is otherwise not bad).


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Her sword is made of plastic, but looks pretty good nevertheless.


Sparta Warrior by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

I was excited when they announced the Sparta Warrior, and now that I have her in my hands, I think she's one of the best figures Phicen has ever produced. Other than the clasp of her cape, she is a winner from top to bottom. Sure, it'd be nicer if some of her parts were metal or if her leg armor looked a bit nicer close-up, but overall, she's a tremendous figure and one of my favorites.
 

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Whatever Works, Dude
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·

Sparta Warrior and Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

There was some speculation that Red Sonja and the Sparta Warrior had the same headsculpt with different hair. If the Sparta Warrior is different, it might only be subtle changes in the paint job. Even so, for some reason I find I like the Spartan's sculpt a bit more than Sonja's. It might be a little soft, but I guess not having any expectations for the Spartan makes it easier to accept her as she is.


Sparta Warrior and Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Spartan and Hyrkanian. You can see how the heels in Sonja's boots make her taller than an average Phicen.

Also, your eyes are not deceiving you. I re-calibrated the white balance on my camera before this shoot, and the Spartan is ever so slightly darker in skin tone than Red Sonja is. Sonja still matches suntan headsculpts (based on how Sheena still matches), so I'd say this is just a subtle difference in skin tones between batches. Neither body is "tan," though.


Sparta Warrior and Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Full body comparison between the Sparta Warrior and Red Sonja. They are really the same body, but Sonja's outfit makes it harder to see the muscle definition. The Spartan's outfit ensures you see absolutely everything, which I think makes her look bulkier.
 

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Whatever Works, Dude
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Sheena as Red Sonja by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

My plan was to swap face plates between Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, and Red Sonja. Sheena just looks a bit more serious and like she means business. She also looks like she's wearing less makeup.


Sheena/Sonja Swap by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

What I assumed would be a 10-minute job ended up taking half a day because Phicen seems to have upgraded the glues they use to hold the two pieces of the head together. I have split heads in half before with just a bit of gentle pressure and patience, but this time I needed the use of the sharp little probe to get the faceplates loose.

The plastics for the head and neck peg are also much softer than the plastics used for the face plate, and the neck peg is glued into the hairpiece and the face plate as well. Sonja split apart relatively cleanly, but I really mangled Sheena getting her hairpiece off. Several times, I was genuinely concerned I'd end up destroying the Sheena hairpiece. You can see the ragged edge I left.


Sheena/Sonja Swap by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Taking a look at the back of each faceplate. Sonja's faceplate on the left shows little residue in the grooves where the hairpiece mates with the faceplate. Sheena, on the other hand, left behind all kinds of gunk in that little groove.


Sheena/Sonja Swap by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

This is just a test fitting of Sheena's faceplate on Sonja's head. I think I jostled the tripod a bit during the photo, but there will be better photos soon enough.


Sheena/Sonja Swap by Ed's Toy Box, on Flickr

Little bit of white glue and some headsculpt plastic wrappings to keep the halves together while the glue sets.

Stay tuned.
 

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Excellent reviews both. I enjoyed them in different ways since I've got Sparta on her way (so your review is a a teaser building my anticipation) while I'm passing on Red Sonja so your review is more like my vicarious enjoyment on a figure that's interesting but not gonna make it to my shelves. In both cases it's evident how very good a grasp you have of what makes each figure work (or not work) in the very specific details. Also excellent pics.
 

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Love the review. I have the Sonja Head sculpt, still on the fence on the box set, but you are pushing me toward getting it. again great job and thanks for the review.
I wasn't keen on the preview photos of the Sonja figure, however in hand it looks so much better, I'm starting to think I should get one before it's too late!
 

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To anyone who gets the Red Sonja be carefull with the axe and the shield, the plastic is hard and unforgiving. I broke the axe handle when I tried to straighten it because I thought it had gotten a curve in it from shipping thinking it was a softer more pliable plastic. And I broke the handle off the shield trying to fit one of the gripping hands around it.

Fortunately the shield was easy to glue back together and the axe handle only broke about 2/3s the way through and you can't even see the break unless you flex it.

Also it might just be the lighting in your pics Edwick but mine looks like it has a much darker skin tone than yours, it even looks a shade darker than your Sparta warrior.
 
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