I don’t watch a lot of TV. With me a show will either click almost instantly or I’m done with it. So I’ve got to hand it to FarScape for being the exception to the rule. I made a go of it with this show on at least four separate occasions before I finally got far enough and knew that I would be sticking with it. It still takes some work to make it through some episodes, but in the end, it won me over with its ambitious effects, original alien designs, and interesting characters. And hey… there are action figures! Yes, someone consigned a pair of these figures, Zhaan and Chiana, to my local comic shop where they’ve been collecting dust for a long time now. With my new found commitment to the show, I decided to take them off his hands. He got a less than he had hoped out of me, but he seemed relieved to be rid of them. Today I’m going to check out Zhaan and I’ll put off Chiana until next week, since I’m still a few episodes away from meeting her.
This line of figures is my first encounter with Toy Vault. According to the back of the cards, their stable of licenses includes some Lord of the Rings and EverQuest figures. A little research revealed that they are still in operation, although they seem to be more into peddling novelties, plush dolls, and games, rather than any kind of cohesive action figure lines. Zhaan comes on a large, somewhat egg shaped card, which looks like a cross section of their ship Moya’s corridors. The card also features an organic deco that nicely conveys the patterns on the Leviathan’s hull. The bubble displays the goods nicely and there is a printed insert inside that has Zhaan’s name and a list of her accessories. While the front of the card is generic, the back features a few stats about the character and some screencaps showing other characters with figures available. Oddly enough there aren’t any pictures of the figures themselves. While the back of the card could use some cleaning up, the presentation here is overall quite good and really matches the feel of the show.
Zhaan is scaled just slightly larger than your average DC Universe Classics figure, which to my delight puts her right about in line with Diamond/Art Asylum’s Star Trek figures. Yes, I am actually giddy about the potential of a FarScape-Star Trek crossover on my display shelf! For some reason, I think Zhaan and Spock would like to hang together.
All nerdgasms aside, with the figure out of the package the first thing I notice… holy crap, softgoods! Ok, I noticed that before I opened the package, but I’m going for some dramatic license here. I was both surprised and impressed when I first realized it, mainly because you don’t usually see this sort of thing on figures in this scale. Nonetheless, Zhaan is indeed wearing an actual cloth outfit. The outfit is comprised of two layers: A long grey stitched robe and then a semi-transparent mesh covering. The under robe is belted with braided rope and the top garment is held in the back with a strip of Velcro. The softgoods work well to create the wispy and shimmering effect of Zhaan’s on screen clothing.
Because of her cloth outfit, Zhaan doesn’t rely on a whole lot of detailed sculpting. Her head is a pretty good likeness to the Amazonian actress Virginia Hey. Her facial deco is simplified to basically a pattern of dots, but it works well enough. Trying to accurately reproduce the amazingly complex makeup they did on her face in this scale must have been a frustrating task. Each of her individual rings are sculpted and painted onto her fingers and she has a very bland pair of shoes. Zhaan’s posture is fairly neutral. She’s standing straight with one arm cocked a bit at the elbow, and her hands are both relaxed, which is fine since her accessories aren’t meant to be held.
Speaking of accessories… Zhaan comes with two. First off, you get a trelkez, permanently attached to his perch. For the uninitiated, this is an adorable two-headed bird from the episode “That Old Black Magic,” which Zhaan is made to torture with her mind powers in order to prepare her to do battle with a space-vampire-warlock. I’ll let you digest that sentence for a moment. Ok… The other is a blue ceremonial mask that fits into a silver pillow thingy. I seem to recall this being an artifact that Crichton kept breaking as he looped through time in “Back and Back and Back to the Future.” The trelkez is a nice display bonus, but the mask is kind of meh.
With a whopping seven points of useful articulation, Zhaan isn’t exactly super poseable. I say “useful” because I’m not a hundred percent sure what else is under that robe and I’m not going to futz with it to find out. Her head can rotate, her arms can rotate at the shoulders, her wrists have swivel cuts, and her legs can rotate at the hips. The leg movement is severely hampered by the tight robe, but it helps to tweak her legs so she can stand.
All in all, I think Toy Vault did a pretty good job on this figure. The use of softgoods is a bold and interesting move, but they pulled it off and it certainly suits Zhaan well. It also allowed Toy Vault to do a number of quick and dirty episode-specific variants by just swapping a new outfit onto the figure. The sculpt and paintwork are certainly competent and I do like the inclusion of the trelkez. I would have preferred more articulation, but as we delve further into the FarScape line, we’ll see that Toy Vault takes the McFarlane approach and each figure is designed for a couple specific poses and not much else.
On a side note, folks, this is going to be my last feature on the LiveJournal version of FigureFan, and tomorrow will be my last update. I'll be back tomorrow with some explanations.