Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review Hot Toys: Jessica Biel as Abigail Whistler 1/6th Scale Collectible Figure!

If our recent coverage wasn't a clue, we're pretty giddy about all things Hot Toys now. Their high-end, impeccably detailed 1/6th scale collectible figures feature uncannily realistic likenesses of all our favourite film characters and we are selling all our childish toys and trading up for expensive, eerie grown-up toys. We're also smoking pipes, sipping wine, and acting haughty. Yesterday I dismissively slapped a 3 3/4 inch Spider-Man figure out of a child's hand and grew strong from his tears. And now that we're sophisticated adult collectors of premium collectibles, a couple of us are scouring through the Hot Toys back catalogue and snapping up pieces that have previously caught our refined and discerning eye.

If you examined most people's list of Top Ten Comic Book Movies of All Time you'd find that Blade Trinity consistently ranks number 43. But that didn't stop me from picking up 1/3 of the Trinity, vampire destroyer Abigail Whistler. Because regardless of what I thought of/remember of the movie, I love Hot Toys, I love Jessica Biel, and I have an undying respect for pop culture archery. How could I resist this?

Join me after the jump to find out what I thought. A NSFW warning though - because I am such a distinguished and sophisticated adult collector, I am going to show you her boobs. READ ON!

Now as much as I worship at the altar of the mighty Hot Toys, this is an older figure and I did have a few frustrations with it. But first things first. Let's check out her box...

That's one big, shiny, silvery Jessica Biel all right! The packaging is typically more evocative than informative, although for once we do get a picture of the actual figure on the back of the box...

And credits! These are crafted by skilled artisans, not magic elves. Huge props to head sculptor Lee So Young who has knocked this one out of the park. I heard that he ran his hands over Jessica's face for over three hours beforehand, just to get a feel for it. Okay, no, I didn't hear that. But once you see this thing, you'll believe he did.

There was a bit of a hunt for the accessories which were actually defying gravity and hiding on the inside of the box's lid.

There's a decent range of stuff here, including her leather jacket, two bows, arrows, and thigh holster. The arrows have chemical vials on the tips to ruin vampire's birthdays...

As I said, I have almost zero recollection of the film - which I've seen once - so they could actually be full of fruit juice for all I know. But I bet Ryan Reynolds had biceps and a real smart mouth.

More figure photography, this time it's on a protective cardboard insert that lies over the figure blister. Looks like she's shooting marshmallows into a bonfire...

And here's the figure in its tray, along with the additional accessories, including spare hands (some without gloves, and additional weaponry...

Okay so let's break her out of there and - WAIT! NOT SO FAST!

There's a very important instruction sheet that we have to read beforehand. So it turns out that Jessica/Abigail is using a rubber body which will hide all the joints on her upper half. This is great aesthetically but not without its pitfalls. According to the printed warnings we must be very careful that we only turn her head while it is perfectly upright, we can't rotate her arms out more than 45% and there's a series of circled problem areas that we have to pay particular attention to. Oh, and the clothing might stain the rubber body over time so we have to be super careful about that too.

Now, these figures are far from cheap (although worth every cent) so to read all these warnings before opening her made me extremely nervous. It's like making a teenager watching a film of graphic real-life road accidents before getting behind the wheel for the first time, or a horrendous sex ed video before a first date. I was terrified to handle this thing and we're only just getting started. I was far more timid with this one that I was with the robust Joker '89, and it definitely hampered my ability to fully test out all her features. If that rubber splits then it's game over. Many collectors partly justify the investment in these because they hold, or increase, in value. Not so once you damage them, and that can be easy to do.

It also made me nervous that the upcoming Hot Toys Avengers Hawkeye - another archer with visible arms - has ditched the rubber body and instead opted for visible articulation. What do they know now that they didn't when Abigail was made? It has me worried.

But let's push past all that sissy hand-wringing and take a look at her out of the box...

I absolutely love the sculpt here and think that Jessica Biel has been captured perfectly. The rubber body works really well and her arms look particularly great in this neutral pose (there's even a couple of raised veins sculpted onto them). The various materials used in the outfit work well together and I actually really enjoy her just like this, without all the accessories even.

Here's a closer look at the face.

She's my first female Hot Toys figure with sculpted hair. My Iron Man 2 Black Widow and Sucker Punch Babydoll both have rooted hair which can be problematic and a little more doll-like, especially on the former. I think the plastic hair works great hair and I really wish they were going this way on this year's The Avengers Black Widow.

She has that jacket, of course, but that's where I started to run into problems. It's a very snug fit and I was reluctant to force it over, especially while being mindful of the delicate rubber. There are zips that run along the top of the jacket sleeves and in the film she unzips these so she can fire arrows, but even with that allowance, it was still tight and difficult to even get her hair flowing over the back of it. Which is not to say it can't be done. A simple image search will show you that a lot of other people have managed it, but I didn't want to force it. I'm opting to display mine sans jacket so no pictures of it in use here.

And speaking of other problematic accessories - this figure really needed an instruction sheet for what they are and how they attach to her. Some of them had me completely bewildered and I had to research the work of others to find out what they did. For example...

She has a small blade that can be pushed into the front of her boot, just like in the film! Probably!

The boot-blade is a nice little detail but not especially practical. I'm unlikely to display her mid-kick, especially with that passive look on her face. That one's going back in the box.

Her revolver is a fantastic sculpt though and is so detailed that even the barrel slides open and shows the bullets...

She has a hand specifically sculpted to hold the gun and it fits into an obvious holster on her belt. At least I knew how that one worked!

Her quiver is simple enough. It's straight fabric - no fancy Hawkeye gadgetry here. There are six faux arrows (without tips) designed to be stored in it. They slide into three black tubes which in turn slide into the quiver...

But now my biggest headache. There are two versions of her main bow, one which is fully extended and one that is folded up (it looks like it should flip open but the instruction sheet firmly warns that this is folly and may result in an explosion). But what are we supposed to do with this thing?

Well, it turns out that a flat, strapped, piece of black plastic of indeterminate use is actually a thigh holster for the folded up bow. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out how it fits into this thing and there's a velcro strap that holds it in place. In theory. This really was my biggest issue. The velcro is weak and this thing clattered to the ground every couple of seconds. I barely managed to photograph it and then this piece is vanishing into the box until the end of time...

A gauntlet on her wrist conceals another flip out blade. For flipping out. On vampires.

And this is an interesting one - her UV bow...

What does it fire? Well, according to youtube, nothing really. She just rams the glowing string bit into vampires and they it cuts into them like they're made out of butter. So if she really held it like I've posed her in the above picture then she'd probably end up like Walrusman in the Star Wars cantina. Can't be right all of the time.

As intriguing as all that is, I'll be posing her with her more traditional combat bow, which has a lot of nifty pieces. One of which is the sight which insists on falling off every couple of seconds.

If that picture didn't give it away, I had trouble posing her in a proper archery pose. Again, I know it can be done because I've seen photos of it, but I was too careful with her arms and reluctant to bend them to any extremes. Plus I quickly realised that I don't know a single damn thing about archery. 


This is cool though...

YEEAH! So look, I did have more little hiccups and frustrations than I've had with any other Hot Toys product, but this is an older one, and I still have to admit - nay, joyfully declare - that I love this figure! 

Aesthetically, I think it's superb and an excellent rendition of the character. We're provided with enough options that I am able to disregard the parts that don't work so well and still display her exactly as I want to, and in that sense she's a real success, because to me she looks great like this...

So I'm yet to be disappointed by a Hot Toys toys. This is the sixth in my collection and I eagerly anticipate the next one. (Which I think will be Amber from Sucker Punch, but the Avengers figures are starting to roll out now as well so keep your eyes peeled for those).

And as always, our good friends at Sideshow Collectibles are your best bet for Hot Toys. They have sold out of Abigail, but you can check out their available options right here: Sideshow Hot Toys 

Do be quick though! Nick Fury and Hawkeye have officially sold out and gone to wait-list, so if there's stuff you want, don't hesitate too long. More soon!


  1. Man, sculpted hair looks so much better. I saw a couple of Black Widow photos from SDCC that have me re-thinking my decision to buy her.

    1. While I'll still buy her anyway, I totally agree that the SDCC Black Widow hair looked awful and out of control. My Iron Man 2 one looks like a frazzled Barbie already. You'd think that with Black Widow's hair being shorter in the Avengers that the sculpted hair would be a no-brainer. I really hope they reconsider in the months before release.