True 3-D Figure Reviews, Pt 1

This series is a culmination of figure reviews from over the years started by TJ and carried on by different staff such as CapCom, silvernite8 (guest editor), and Infinity’s End for various Samus figures they’ve acquired.

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

Click here to check out Part 2 of the True 3-D Figure Reviews!

VOLUME 1- The Samus Aran Action Figure

Text and Photos by TJ, MDb Webmonster (Originally posted 03.23.03)

Calling Metroid Prime on the Gamecube “3D” is one thing. But we’ve never had a Samus figure which we could hold in our hands, examine and display…in other words, Samus has never been truly three-dimensional. Until now.

It’s been a little while now since the long-awaited, first-ever Samus Aran action figure by JoyRide Studios was released. And since it’s not really a design that’s specific to any one Metroid game, I didn’t know where to put photos of it on the MDb. So, inspired by my favorite toy website, ToyBoxDX, I decided to take some nicer photos and do a dedicated pictorial feature on the Samus action figure.

The sculpt on the figure is pretty good: nice detailing, mostly accurate. My only complaint is the tiny midsection on Samus, which makes her look like she’s wearing some painful Victorian-era corset to achieve a nine-inch waist. The colors are accurate, although the paintjob is pretty simplistic. More detail on the armor’s panel lines and a flat or metallic finish would help this figure a lot, so it’s certainly a worthy candidate for some customization, or at least a little detailing-up.

Samus’ posability is extremely limited, which is the figure’s biggest problem. The arms are ball-jointed just below the large shoulder pads and have a very small range of motion, rendering Samus unable to even hold her gun arm out straight in any direction. The aforementioned tiny waist has no articulation. If one could do a little hack-job on the figure and address those two issues, that could be a major improvement. I would suggest trying to make the shoulder pads and the waist swivel.

Regardless of these issues, however, Samus looks mighty fine standing on your shelf or desk just as she is. With an interchangeable melon (helmet or head) included, I certainly can’t complain about finally being able to hold a Samus action figure after all these years of wishing there was one.


VOLUME 2- A Photo Review of the First 4 Figures Varia Samus

Text and Photos by CapCom (Originally posted 03.29.08)

Well, it’s taken about a year and a half, but the First 4 Figures Varia Suit has arrived! And let me say one thing: I’m very impressed with the work.

The first thing you’ll notice when you get one of these in the mail is the packaging: it’s incredibly impressive and is really some of the best I’ve ever seen. Not only is the figure shipped inside a custom brown box with an image of the figure on it, but the inner display packaging itself is well designed. The display box is protected by eight thick styrofoam dividers to keep it floating inside a protective cushion: my brown box took a noticeable dent in the corner, but the inner box was untouched. A+ here.

Two things you’ll notice about the figure as soon as you pull it out of its complex packaging:

  1. The figure is much larger than expected
  2. It is also astonishingly beautiful

Samus has a nice sheen of metallic paint and the colors perfectly aligned with the Metroid Prime color scheme that gives it a nice reflection in the light. This figure is based on the definitive images of the Metroid Prime model and it looks straight out of a render or Andrew Jones development art – or a high-quality piece of fanart. The figure is hand-painted, and whoever did the job was no slouch – there’s no errors whatsoever in the paint job that I could find. This certainly isn’t something that was farmed out to a sweatshop or a machine-crafted bauble.

While the pose looks a bit odd (I don’t think Samus has much flexibility or balance so it doesn’t appear to be a very good fighting stance), it is certainly dynamic and gives you a really good look at the model, which makes you appreciate it a bit more.

Samus is modeled out of some kind of polycarbon stone so it’s got some weight to it, but I feel like it could shatter if you accidentally dropped it (and that’s also probably part of why it’s so expensive). Oh yeah, there’s also some “assembly” required: the Samus part of the statue contains a little pin you have to insert into the base but that’s all that’s needed to hold her up.

In terms of collectability, the figure’s base and display box are hand-numbered, and you get a fancy registration card and a letter thanking you for giving F4F your moneys. You can go online and register the figure through your F4F account as well. I assume a lower number makes you even happier (I’ve got #22), or a special number like 255 (the max number of Samus’s missiles) but this is out of a series of 2500 and it’s something that really looks nice on display.

Now you’ll hear some people on the Internets complaining about this figure (including this website), about how the shoulders are too big or the pose isn’t in the games or that it’s just too damn expensive. Well, older Metroid fans have always complained about Samus’s Metroid Prime suit shoulders, but they actually don’t look too bad on the figure. As I said, she looks great in person and is accurate to the Metroid Prime art, which I think is a good thing (but I’m still waiting for a Super Metroid model!). In terms of cost, yeah, Samus is pretty expensive at $120 after shipping ($99.99 retail), but for me, it was worth it. In fact, I’m so impressed with the model that I’m tempted to renew my order for the Gravity Suit as well, though it doesn’t appear I’ll have the spare change any time soon. However, if you already have the Varia, you probably don’t need the Gravity Suit for its display value that much anyway – it just serves as a collector’s item to gather dust in the closet. Or I suppose you could pose them facing each other in an epic duel of Varia vs Gravity…

In the end, Samus ended up exceeding my expectations that had steadily dropped with each delay of the figure’s release (and let me say, it was a LONG wait!). F4F’s customer service was very helpful throughout and they’ll try to answer just about any question you throw at them. Though there are a few other Metroid figures announced in the series, I can’t say they’ve really caught my eye. I think the Zero Samus is kind of nice, and sure to be popular, but I was never a Trace (no longer available) fan. The Gunship looks like it would be pretty cool to have, but the $300 price tag is simply too extreme for me, and I’ve got doubts about the LED lifespan. I will say though if you’re a Sonic fan, the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog figures certainly look impressive (though they’ll likely be in the $100 range as well). (Actually a lot of the figures up there look very nicely crafted, though I’m not terribly impressed with how Link turned out).

But if you’re looking for a nice Samus trophy to sit on your desk, the F4F Varia does the job quite nicely.

Overall: A


Volume 3- A Photo Review of the First 4 Figures Zero Suit Samus!

Text and Photos by silvernite8 (Guest Editor)

Original formatting by Infinity’s End

(Originally posted 06.28.10)

It’s a very rare and much needed statue of Samus Aran without her signature Chozo Power Suit. Paint and detailing on the statue itself is very well done though there are some very minor detailing flaws, mainly the black lines on the Zero Suit.

Anyways onto the packaging:

It comes extremely well packaged. And depending on with version you purchased you either get a light blue box or purple box with the words exclusive written on it. (more on non-exclusive vs. light-up exclusive later)

There is really no way the statue can be damaged while in transit since everything fits into place very well in the packaging. Plus, Samus is a single piece statue with a base so that helps with the no damage during transit. A few comments on the boxart- the exclusive boxart pics and regular statue pics differ slightly with the exclusive showing off a light up base.

It should be noted that there is a spelling error on the box. The word “forth” is written instead of the word “fourth” the number (4th). I just thought that was kinda funny. And yes, the misspelled word is on the Exclusive and Non-Exclusive box.

Onto the statue itself:
First, the base: Its simple, circular, and extreme heavy. There is a solid hole for the peg to put Samus onto the base. The base is the only difference between the exclusive and non-exclusive versions of the statue.

Samus does fit very firmly into place on the stand. There is no wobbling with the statue on the base. This holds true for the exclusive light-up base as well. Personally, I love the stance of Samus in this statue. It’s a very fierce pose of Samus while still showing off her softer side.

Coloring and detailing of the statue is very well done. The light bluish paint has a little metallic look to it giving the statue more color. The details are just amazing and what you expect from First4Figures. The pink patterns on the Zero Suit are very well done and faithful to the game. I know some people were unhappy about Samus’ face, but comparing it to the only other Zero Suit Samus figure (Yujin’s ZZS figure), F4F did a good job on the face. It’s not perfect but it’s not bad. What I didn’t like was the way the black detail lines were painted on. I felt that those detail lines could have been done much more professionally. The paint could have been done more smooth, but that’s just me being very picky.

Finally, the F4F exclusive Vs. Non-Exclusive:
The only difference between the two versions is that the F4F exclusive ZZS statue comes with a very beautiful light-up base. The Zero Suit Symbol is what is on the light-up base. Other than the base, the statues are identical.

The Question here is probably- is it worth it to purchase the exclusive one over non-exclusive. My answer is NO. It is not worth the extra $35 just for the light-up base. It’s not worth it because the base really does not add all that much to the statue. Most important, how often do you intend to light up the base? I purchased the Phazon Suit Samus and only used the light up function a total of 4 times. Once to check that it worked, twice to show it off to people and to take pics of the statue, and once more for the heck of it. Since then, I haven’t light up the statue. I’ll probably only use the light-up base a few times with Zero Suit and never touch it again. Since the exclusive version is just a light-up base, it probably better to get the cheaper regular version if you are just looking for a very nice but expensive statue of Samus in her Zero Suit form. However, if you are a true collector, you should probably get the much more rare exclusive version since its only limited to 250 pieces worldwide vs. the regular version is limited to a much higher 2,500 pieces. Only the diehard Metroid fans should consider buying both ver. But for everyone else, regular version if you just want a statue of Samus, and exclusive version for the collectors.

And some more pics of the statue:

I guess because this is a review, people are expecting to see numbers.

  • Sculpt/ Pose: 10/10 – No flaws in the way the statue is put together since its all one piece + base. I really like the fierce pose of Samus
  • Paint/ details: 8/10 – Paint color is faithful and accurate. Detail is spot on. Just those black detail lines on Samus made me give it a lower score
  • Size: 10/10 – its not bad for the price you pay
  • Packaging and Box: 10/10 – It comes in a beautiful blue or purple box and well protected in its packaging. I’m not a prick and not gonna take points off for the misspelled word.
  • Price: 9/10 (regular version) – It’s a solid price for a high quality statue. You really do get what you paid for. Those who want a cheaper statue, you’re not gonna be get this exceptional quality for a statue of lesser price. — 7/10 (exclusive version)- It’s a little pricey for the exclusive version since you’re only paying $35 extra for a light-up base

Some comparison pics:

Statue and MP2:Echoes game

F4F ZZS and Yujin ZZS

How it compares to the Joyride Samus Figure

Finally, how it compares to the Samus Suit Statues (Gravity suit was used but Varia and Phazon suit are all the same sculpt as Gravity suit)

Just for Fun- Statue Care:
I purchase cases for all my F4F Metroid Statues. My Varia, Gravity, and Phazon suit samus all have individual glass cases protecting them. For Zero Suit I went the cheap route. I purchase an acrylic diecast model car display case (1/18 scale model) for ZZS. Even though its acrylic plastic, it does the job well for protecting and keeping the statue dust free.

On behalf of the MDb, I would like to thank silvernite8 for allowing us to publish his review. –IE