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Buffy The Vampire Slayer

Spike Bust Diamond Select Toys - Moviepoopshoot.com Review

Saturday 28 January 2006, by Webmaster

Everyone loves a bad boy. All the boys want to be him, all the girls just want him. In the Buffy universe, there was one ultimate bad boy - Spike.

Oh sure, Angel ended up the star of his own show, but he wasn’t really a ’bad’ boy. He was a good guy misunderstood, the Peter Parker of the blood sucking set. But Spike was bad first, and only over time did some of his more endearing qualities emerge.

It should be no surprise that some of the most popular merchandise for the show has been based around Spike. The Buffy 12" versions have been hot sellers right from the start, and the MAC 6" Spike is perhaps the best work from that now defunct company. Diamond took over the Buffy/Angel mantle from MAC in the action figure and bust world, and have been producing a ton of figures. The latest mini-bust is the normal, or un-vamped, version of Spike, retailing for around $40. Production on this guy was limited to 3000 busts.

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, you can always reach me at mwc@mwctoys.com. If you enjoy this review, take a minute to check out my other site at Michael’s Review of the Week, and let me know what you think. Now on to the review!

"Spike mini-bust"

DST has made a switch with the Buffy and Angel busts. Back when MAC was producing them, they were true busts, lacking arms and starting at the chest. DST mimiced that early on, but with the release of the latest Buffy, Oz and now Spike versions, they have switched to a more ’half statue’ appearance. These start around the waist or slightly lower, and include both arms.

I’m not thrilled about the change, since it makes the display lack consistency, but I’ll complain more when we get there in the review.

Packaging - ***

Diamond prefers boxes that don’t allow you to see the bust itself. This is a very safe box, with solid, well designed foam cradling your bust, but I prefer getting a window to be sure I like what I’m buying.

They do provide a photo of the actual bust of course, so that you will see what pose and style, even if you won’t see the specifics of your paint job. In a world that’s becoming increasingly online sales only, the window does provide less value.

Sculpting - ***1/2

When people see the initial photos of this figure, they’re going to be less than thrilled. But that’s not the fault of the sculpt, or at least sculpt isn’t the main culprit. It’s the paint that’s throwing things off a bit, especially around the eyes, but with the right lighting you can overcome that, proving the sculpt is pretty much on.

The sculpt has decent detail work in the hair and base, and the general bone structure and look of the head sculpt is quite good. This is clearly Spike, and they’ve captured the likeness here better than with the Buffy bust, for example. It’s not quite as good as the Sideshow 12" version, but it’s on par with the previous MAC action figure. Gentle Giant did the actual sculpting here, and they did a nice job.

Since these busts incorporate more of the figure, the actual scale of the bust has gotten smaller. Same size bust overall, more body to stuff into that space - that means the actual head and body are going to be smaller. That, along with the change in style, are a little disappointing, but now that we have several following this design that you can display together, it’s becoming less of an issue.

Paint - **1/2

Great paint ops can make a sub-par sculpt look great, and bad paint can ruin even the finest sculpting work. Here, the paint work on the face detracts a bit from what is a solid sculpting effort.

The paint on his face is slightly glossy, and combined with the pasty color (not that far off of course - he is a vampire after all) makes him look slightly ill or perhaps sweaty. The eyes lack much life, and the painted expression (not sculpted) appears to be more surprise than determination.

The lips are the other big issue, coming off as much too red. It’s just not a good shade for him. Of course, with less front lighting and more shadows, he looks quite a bit better, as you can tell in the photo under Sculpting. This figure reminds me of the classic Seinfield episode in which Jerry’s girlfriend looks very different depending on the lighting. Light him one way he looks great - light him another, and he’s less stellar.

It’s also worth noting that DST decided to skip painting the fingernails black on this one. Goths everywhere will be very disappointed.

Design - ***1/2

I’m marking this one high on design, not because I’m a huge fan of the half body style - I’m not - but because of the cool base.

The stained glass background really highlights the character, and makes an excellent contrast with the darker colors of his outfit. In general, it adds a ton of color and interest to the overall display of the busts so far, matching up well enough to have somewhat of a consistent feel, yet standing on its own.

Value - **1/2

Most mini-busts are in the $40 range these days, so it’s no surprise that this guy hits that mark. This bust isn’t at the top of the pack in terms of overall quality, but the extra work that went into the overall presentation and base goes a long way to adding value.

Overall - ***

Any man can tell you that lack of light and a few too many drinks can make anyone look great. You don’t have to have a few drinks to appreciate Spike, but keeping him out of harsh light will help. Of course, having a few drinks isn’t a bad idea either, but for completely different reasons.

Of the three busts released so far in this new style, Spike is my favorite, largely due to the stained glass window. It’s a nice touch that worked well in execution, and gives the character a lot more color and visual punch.