Thursday, February 10, 2011

REVIEW: Marvel Universe's Kitty Pryde

Sprite... Ariel... Shadowcat... She's gone by a lot of names but to fans of Hasbro's Marvel Universe line, she's known as Kitty Pryde or, judging by her online price ''that figure nobody can ever find.''

I want to make a quick point here: Kitty Pryde is one of those figures that's often touted as being ''rare.'' Do not believe anybody who tells you this. Obviously there are regional differences to take into account but this toy is not difficult to find if you look and are patient. If you are unable to find her in a store and you see her online for a reasonable price then by all means buy her but do not fall for the ''rare'' $20-$30 price mark hype. She may not be as common as Iron Man or Spider-Man but she's no Thanos either.

Kitty Pryde uses the standard Marvel Universe packaging. It's attractive enough and lets you see the figure inside but it must be torn-open to access the toy. There's little else to say on the matter, really - it does an acceptable job.

Kitty Pryde
So what of Kitty herself?

The figure uses that Standard Marvel Universe Female Form. Unlike many other female characters in the range, her costume is not augmented with any additional pieces such as a sash or other accessory. That's fine, as - obviously - her comicbook-counterpart's costume doesn't include any accessories, but it does mean that the figure is actually kind of dull.

There's also an odd problem I've never encountered with the SMUFF - as I'm calling it now - in that her waist articulation seems to be almost spring-loaded. No matter how much I twist her waist, it always pulls itself back to the basic position, as if there's a rubber O-ring or something in there. I've never seen this before in any Marvel Universe figure and to see it on the SMUFF is even more confusing, given how many times that mold has been used in the past.

Her hair - whilst it looks great - also limits her head articulation. In a trade-off between articulation and the figure appearing as she should, I'll take the latter, although given she sometimes wears her hair in a ponytail, I'd have liked to have seen Hasbro sculpt her with that head and then we'd have the best of both worlds.

These points aside, the articulation is fine and is pretty much what you'd expect from a Marvel Universe figure.

The problem comes though when you attempt to pose her in any kind of stance that involves trying to convey dynamism. The ping-back waist tends to make it difficult to evoke any sense of drama and - worst of all - her face has a very disinterested look upon it, so she just looks bored, no matter how you try to pose her.

Speaking of her head, it's an oddity: on the one hand it looks very realistic, probably one of the most lifelike faces I've seen on a female Marvel Universe figure. But at the same time, it's not a good likeness of Kitty Pryde. I think it's because of the expression - or  lack thereof. She just looks so utterly bored, like she doesn't want to be here. Kitty Pryde was always supposed to be a spunky, vibrant kind of gal, yet her complete lack of expression makes her appear lifeless.

The paint-job isn't great. The eyes and facial detail are fairly well-applied but her costume is blotchy in places, with the centre-stripe of her costume not having the sharp, clean edge it needs and it's very sloppily applied, especially around her boobs (which some other reviews have pointed-out are probably a little ample for a character of her age.) There are numerous spots around her boot details and her wrist-pieces - which are painted-on - do not mask the black plastic beneath.

Kitty comes with her own personalised stand (which doesn't fit very well into her feet and leaves her somewhat wobbly) and HAMMER file. The pack also includes a small Lockheed accessory, cast from a rubbery plastic with no articulation and a minimal paint-job (his eyes.) The tail is curved to fit Kitty's arm, which helps stabilise him when posed with her, so that at least is nice.

Final Thoughts
Kitty Pryde has always - to me - been something of a background character, a member of the team who's always ''just sort of there'' and, a few exceptional moments aside, is just somebody there to make-up the numbers. And in that respect, this figure captures that perfectly.

The SMUFF is as you'd expect - odd pingy waist joint aside - with a head that's schizophrenic in the way it looks realistic but nothing like Kitty Pryde. And then there's that expression of utter indifference they chose to sculpt her with that would be better suited to a Prozac-ed up housewife.

There's not really much wrong with the toy but then again, there's not much to compel you to actually want it, short of having her to complete your X-Men line-up.

Production QualityC
Final ScoreC-

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