Last week we looked at the clear red release, but this week I'm looking at Grey Vorin. This figure was distributed to retailers at an event at C2E2 (or so I've heard) so it's possible your local comic shop might have one to sell you. It's pretty much the same as the red one in terms of functionality, but the plastic feels a little stiffer and it does something particularly amazing in that it proves how much better a figure which is painted a single color can look compared to one which is molded in that color. In my other hundreds of toy reviews, I've noticed that a painted face often looks better than a molded face, and Vorin is no exception. The way light bounces off paint, in this case, changes a figure from pretty dang good to borderline spectacular. The candylike red figure looks nice-- don't get me wrong-- but the grey figure looks like it was painted in primer to use as a pitch sample of some sort, which I suppose it kind of is. When I have this figure in my hands, I can pretty much tell without a doubt that this line is going to be beautiful. Even with just one color (the figure is partially white plastic painted grey), the detail pops in all sorts of places. The red one is fun to play with, sure, but the grey one helps you to see all the sculpted fur, the knife on the back, and every teeny little bit of work that went into this figure.
While either unpainted figure works well from a "let's put this nifty looking thing on my shelf" perspective, I found this one to be a smidgen better overall. Maybe it's the paint, or my imagination, but the sword seems a little bit stiffer and the figure holds together just a little bit better. The joints just feel better, too, so there's a really good chance that much of this is in my imagination. The sheath seems to stay in better, too, and it's just a stronger-feeling figure.
If you told me that a figure painted in grey with no additional details would look this good, I'd have called you a liar. (I'm harsh like that.) The shadows fall on the figure in a way that makes the detail really pop, where on the clear red, it wasn't as obvious when you were looking at a sculpted detail. Obviously they're both cut from the same mold, but man oh man, this one just looks so much better. If you have to choose one or the other, go grey. Or I guess you can wait for the fully painted release (or releases) later this year, as Diamond's action figures rarely look worse than "damn good" and given the kind of time that went into developing this property, I can't assume they'll skimp on the deco. Prices have come down significantly since the convention in April, but they're still sort of expensive-- if you're a fanatic for the little guys it might be worth a premium to have one in your hand early, even if the rational collector in me wants to say "just wait until the cheaper ones are ready." I don't think I could, but then again, as I've alluded to before, I've got issues.
...I'd also like to say, I think that the idea of a "primer" figure like this one is something other toy companies should consider. I mean, how many of us have heard of a new figure line and we got so excited we would buy a test shot or pay extra to get a figure a little early? This one-color sample lets you play with the figure while the vendor works the kinks out, and it really does feel that you're holding a work-in-progress in your sweaty hands. Don't get me wrong, the clear red one is nice, but the looks and feel of the painted grey feels less like an exclusive or a promotional item and more like some lost artifact... even if hundreds (or thousands) of them were made and distributed by a major toy manufacturer. If someone announced the revival of M.A.S.K. or Crystar or whatever and you had the chance to get a "primer" figure early... you'd do it, right? Right. From where I sit, that's why this figure is so much more fun.
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