Star Wars Action Figures

Yodasnews.com Review:  Princess Leia Organa in Boushh Disguise (Regular Edition)

 Review by Jeff Gouse (SithLord0498) 

Our first female of the Star Wars 1/6th scale line.  It sure took long enough, didn’t it? 

Granted, the cinematic Star Wars universe is predominantly male-centric, but it’s a surprise that a character as iconic as Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan (or would that be of Naboo?  Tatooine perhaps???) wasn’t released sooner in the Sideshow line.  And this specific version?  Many collectors expected the classic Episode IV Leia (which is already available for pre-order) or an Empire version, but Sideshow threw a curve ball and started with a rather androgynous rendition of fans’ favorite princess: the Boushh disguise. 

It was also the first Sideshow Star Wars figure that incorporated both cloth and armor elements, something collectors had been anxious to see since the line’s inception.  And it was for one reason:  Once one armored figure is made, then more must surely be on the way.  And we all know which villains that can mean… 

But for now, we’ll take an in-depth look at Princess Leia Organa in Boushh Disguise and see if Sideshow’s first armored figure was a grand slam, a total wash-out, or just a solid addition to the ever-expanding figure line.

 

Sculpting and Portrait Accuracy Excellent 

Sculptor Andy Bergholtz truly hit this one out the park.  Besides a slight case of bobble headed-ness and a jaw line that seems a bit too soft and rounded, this is a striking resemblance to Carrie Fisher.  The waviness in the hair flows naturally, and the “dangling” curls in front of her ears add a significant dose of realism to the hairpiece (even if it does look a little plastered onto her cheek).  What really seals the deal in this portrait is the expression.  Not only did Bergholtz manage to avoid the traditional Sideshow “zombie stare”, but he also produced an expression that can convey a variety of emotions depending on lighting, overall pose, and display/image context.  This ability to capture a multitude of emotions in one shot is probably his greatest talent, and it’s one that has served collectors well in other figures such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker.  As for Mace Windu…well…that expression was a bit too stern and severe to be anything other than that. 

Sadly, Mr. Bergholtz has gone exclusively with DC Comics, so the well will soon run dry.  We can only hope that, before he left, Andy completed numerous sculpts that haven’t yet been revealed.  Quite honestly, his departure is a blow to the Star Wars line. 

As with the Leia portrait, the Boushh helmet is a tad oversized as well, but it is also equally as impressive with regards to sculpting.  Two areas that are especially noteworthy are the machined pieces on the temples and the antenna-like device protruding from the right side of the helmet.  There are so many layers and intricate details to both that they appear to be several pieces when they are really just sculpted on to the helmet.  Some areas are a little too angular on the helmet, but they are only obvious when doing a direct side-by-side comparison with images of the filming costume.  One last notable mention is the simulation of the leather in the back of the helmet.  While including pleather and creating a mixed media helmet would have been ideal, the creases and folds of real leather are more than adequately translated into hard plastic.

 

Paint ApplicationAbove Average 

If the superior sculpting wasn’t enough to capture Carrie Fisher’s likeness, then the paint application certainly cements it.  These are very clean and minimal applications, which is the logical approach because of Carrie’s then-delicate features.  The skin tones are on the pale side yet even throughout, and the lips are a scarlet shade of red that stands out against the face.  Her brown hair has subtle and consistent highlights which add depth to that area.  Lastly, the eyebrows are a good size and shape when compared against Fisher.  The only flaw in the Leia portrait is the heavy use of eyeliner.  Everything else was done in moderation, so this stands out too much in the grand scheme. 

Considering Leia’s flattering skin and lip tones and the incredulous achievement in the weathering application on Boushh’s helmet, this is a category that I desperately wanted to rank as Excellent, but Sideshow made a single error that is just too big to ignore, particularly because it is obvious the moment you compare the figure to the Boushh costume.  The mouth and neck are completely the wrong color!!  In the film, that area is orange with shades of brown intermixed.  On the figure, Sideshow used a hardwood-shade of brown.  And the prototype images show the same color, so this isn’t something that was confused during the mass production phase.  This mistake was there right from the start.  In a similar vein, the plastic parts of the gloves are too light as well and should be a darker and dirtier tan. 

Interchangeable Portrait System Excellent 

In the earliest days of Sideshow’s 1/6th scale Star Wars line, the inevitable questions quickly came up:  When will we get Darth Vader?  When will we see Boba Fett?  When are you going to make Imperial Troopers??  Sideshow’s answer was a tad peculiar given Medicom’s offerings at the time, and that response was additional research and development needed to be done before tackling any armored and/or removable helmet figures so that neither the human heads came out undersized nor the helmets oversized.  As mentioned earlier in this review, they didn’t quite hit the mark on proper scaling, so the entire waiting game now seems like a moot point. 

A little more than a year after Luke Skywalker shipped to collectors’ homes around the world, Sideshow has delivered to us their first armored, removable helmet figure, and collectors can now see the solution that additional R&D provided.  Rather than a straight removable helmet feature, Sideshow opted to go with interchangeable portraits (heads).  Just pop the heads on and off at will.  Simple enough, yes? 

But what if you wanted the helmet to be hollow so you can have the figure carry it?  And if it’s hollow, then how does it connect to the figure?  That is where the adapter plug comes into play.  Resembling what looks to be a gigantic thumb, the flesh-colored adapter plugs into grooves on the inside top of the helmet, which secures it in place.  The bottom of the adapter is sculpted to resemble a human chin, the purpose being that, when connected to the helmet, the plug resembles the bottom portion of a human head jutting out from inside the helmet.  Once assembled, attach this now solid helmet on the figure’s ball-jointed neck post. 

While certainly an odd-looking contraption, Sideshow’s adapter plug design makes this interchangeable portrait system a stellar success.  The plug fits securely into the helmet.  Articulation is minimally restricted, and what hindrance there is can be attributed to the helmet itself.  Occasionally, it can be a pain to remove the adapter from the neck post, but at least you know it’s on tight and won’t fall off. 

Darth Vader’s three-stage helmet aside, Sideshow would be wise to stick with this base system for all other future figures that feature removable helmets.

 

 

Armor and CostumeAbove Average (Bordering on Average) 

When it comes to the armor and underlying costume, there are a multitude of examples on both sides of the coin.  However, the pros do outnumber the cons, and their overall influence weighs slightly heavier, mostly because the overall appearance of the costume is very pleasing to the eye. 

The best part of Boushh’s costume is the excellent weathering details Sideshow accomplished on both the armor and cloth components.  The tan tunic is stained soot black and looks as though it saw the same grimy sights as the fictional costume did.  The bandolier is also highly detailed with very film-accurate details sculpted into the blockier areas of the strap.  Additionally, Sideshow went the extra mile in providing individually removable canisters that slide into the loops on the shoulder region of the bandolier rather than simply sculpting permanent fixtures there.  Lastly with the bandolier, the straps and buckle are fully functional and hold together very well despite being moderately difficult to operate due to the reduced scale.  The twine belt is wound tightly, and its Velcro fastener holds together firmly.  Overall, the Boushh costume demonstrates an excellent use of mixed media in 1/6th scale. 

But there are many flaws as well, and interestingly enough the majority are components that are inaccurate to the filming model.  The boots are made from a softer plastic than usual, but analysis of the filming costume reveals that they should have been mostly cloth-based.  The details in the pants are very basic on the figure and lacking in the fine detail and texture seen on the actual costume.  In fact, a quick glance at the prototype used for the packaging images shows that this deficiency is predominantly a production model issue.  Lastly, the tunic is too short when compared to the filming costume.  Moving past film inaccuracies, the bandolier easily slides off the shoulder, the additional canisters provided as accessories fall off too easily, and the glue keeping the spikes on the gloves is far too weak.  In the process of posing and photographing the figure for this review, two of the fourteen spikes have fallen off and will never be found.  Unfortunately, both were on the same hand, so the symmetry is noticeably disrupted.  The final flaw is actually more of an irritant.  The backpack is tricky to attach because the peg is very short and shallow.  Just carefully but forcefully push the pack on very hard, and it should stay in place quite well.

 

Articulation and Design Stability Average 

Prior to the recent revelation at SDCC 2007 that Sideshow collaborated with Hot Toys to develop new base bodies (something that many collectors have repeatedly called for in this scale), it was noted that slight modifications were made to the existing female Buck body for both Leia and the forthcoming Asajj Ventress figure.  With that in mind, it is unfortunate that the figure’s stability is absolutely awful when attempting anything beyond a standing pose.  Leia will consistently fall over very easily unless anchored to the display stand.  Queries on the www.sideshowcollectors.com forums led me to attempt a full undressing of the figure to check for twisted joints.  That helped only in the slightest.  At the end of increasingly frustrating articulation sessions, it seems as though the instability stems from weak legs combined with being top-heavy due to the armor and helmet (and the electrostaff as well, if used in the pose). 

However, if the figure stand is used, the articulation on this figure seems to be a little more we have come to expect from Sideshow figures.  Particularly impressive is the range of motion possible with both the Leia portrait and Boushh helmet.  This is likely due to the fact that the heads are designed to come off the neck posts with relative ease, so that allows one to eke out greater tilt angles than usual.  The softer boots allows for a smidge more flexibility with the ankle joints, but it’s nowhere near as capable as that found on such Medicom figures as Darth Vader and the Stormtroopers.  In the end, the articulation allows for a healthy range of display options, a portion of which is displayed in the following pictures. 

You just need to resign yourself to needing the figure stand for her.

 

Accessories:  Below Average 

The accessories are the most disappointing aspect of this figure, and the greatest of those disappointments is the thermal detonator.  Based on Boushh’s appearance in Return of the Jedi, the detonator was the most central accessory for that character, so it’s a letdown that Sideshow’s version is one molded in dark gray plastic with ZERO paint applications!!  The cinematic version was weathered and adorned with blinking and glowing lights.  All those elements were completely lost in the translation here.  Additionally, there are six additional canisters that are meant to be clipped onto the bandolier strap, but they fall off far too easily and there are too many to attach without becoming overly cluttered. 

That leaves the electrostaff, and that single accessory is what saves this category from oblivion.  It is massive and detailed, both very key elements to making the accessory work.  But even here, the paint applications are minimal at best.  It’s a tremendous shame considering how much attention has been paid to the portrait and costume (even if flawed in spots). 

“Fun Factor”Above Average 

The biggest detriment here is the lack of stability in action poses without use of the stand.  For me, that makes Photoshop work more time consuming because the stand needs to be erased and certain areas of the figure rebuilt and repainted if any part of the stand was in front of it.  Personally, that’s not a fun thing to do.  But beyond that, this figure can be put into some cool action poses, especially when incorporating the electrostaff.  And each pose automatically has two options: Boushh or Leia.  And if you have Bespin Han Solo and/or the whole Jabba the Hutt collection, then there are quite a few scenes that you can recreate as well.

 

Overall RatingAbove Average (Bordering on Excellent) 

So let’s look at what’s been covered so far… 

The stability stinks.  The costume and paint applications are riddled with inaccuracies.  Pieces fall off too easily.  Oh yeah, and the accessories are disappointing as well.  Doesn’t look too good at all, does it? 

But danged if this figure doesn’t still look absolutely incredible in person and on the shelf amidst the rest of the 1/6th scale Star Wars universe!!  It rises above all its inadequacies and shortcomings to be a terrific figure with some flaws.  Ignoring the color palette inaccuracies, the costume is a breathtaking mixed media endeavor.  The Leia Organa portrait is absolutely striking and brings out the once-upon-a-time beauty of Carrie Fisher, and the sculpting is second only to the Slave Leia statue from Gentle Giant.  The introduction of the portrait adapter system is a rousing success, and a very creative way to approach future figures of this type. 

At a price of approximately $50-55 through various Internet retailers, Princess Leia Organa in Boushh Disguise is definitely worth the price if you are one of the following:  a Princess Leia fan, a Boushh fan, a 1/6th scale fan, a Jabba’s Palace fan, or you just appreciate highly detailed Star Wars figures.  Heck, this figure is worth it if you just want a figure of a Star Wars beauty on your desk and buying the Slave Leia statue is too much for a boss or significant other to handle. 

And based on current photos, it looks immensely better than the Episode IV incarnation of Princess Leia in this scale, so this is still the Leia to buy if you’re looking for a 1/6th scale version.