Sunday, December 19, 2010

Electric Tiki Animated Spike Review


For the most part, I've been very happy with the Electric Tiki Animated Buffy the Vampire Slayer line. The poses have been dynamic and the character selection has been solid. I'm not sure we needed two Buffys and two Willows before we got to some other key characters (especially since they were mostly identical sculpts), but the line has been a fun extension of a property that had unfortunately stagnated in the hands of other creators.

The latest addition to the line is Spike, the first Buffy male to be turned into an animated maquette, and while he's a good enough statue on his own, he doesn't fit with the line for one major reason: scale.

I'll get to that shortly, but first I want to fairly review the statue on its own. The animated maquettes are designed to capture the feel of the character, without just re-creating a likeness duplicate, and in that sense, Spike works. He's got oversized hands and feet, but they're not so oversized as to dominate the other features.

I got the exclusive version, limited to 125 pieces, which swaps Spike's black shirt for a red one. While the black shirt version doesn't look bad, the red shirt really makes the statue pop, and I wish they'd made it more widely available. Without it, Spike's got a black shirt under a black jacket with black pants and black boots. That's a lot of black for one statue (oh, and I forgot the black fingernails). It does make for a fairly consistent paint job.
This is one of the more accessory-loaded statues from this line. Spike comes with two heads (human and vampire) and three right hands (fist, axe and railroad spike). My first impression was that I liked the human head better, because it had James Marsters's blue eyes, but after taking pictures from more angles, I think the vampire head adds a certain personality to the statue. As far as the hand accessories go, I went with the axe, since the fist is lame and despite his name, I'm not sure I can remember ever seeing Spike use a railroad spike on the show.

So, overall, as a stand-alone product this is a good statue. If I'm grading it by itself, I'd probably give it a B+. But I can't grade it by itself. It's part of a line, and as someone that has all the previous statues from the line, I noticed a MAJOR problem with Spike, and it's that he's too big.

For reference, James Marsters is 5-foot-9. Clare Kramer, who played Glory, is 5-foot-4. They've both been turned into statues in this line. If these were 1/6th scale, the height difference between Spike and Glory should be about 7/10th of an inch -- and these are actually smaller than 1/6 scale, so the difference should be smaller. And the finished products of Spike and Glory are both listed as 10 inches tall, but Glory is standing at full height in heels, while Spike is leaning forward.

As it is, Spike measures about 10 1/2 inches from head to toe, while Glory is only about 8 1/2. Take a look at them side by side:


And Spike doesn't just loom over the Glory statue. I tried putting him next to Buffy and Willow, and it was just as bad. Next to Faith, who has an even more horizontal design, Spike looks like some kind of hulking behemoth.

For anyone collecting this entire line, that one issue drops the grade of this statue to a C at best. I wouldn't say skip it, because it does look so good on its own, but you may need to consider alternate display options.

Also, with the release of Spike, we've received all the characters shown in Electric Tiki's initial concept sketches, with the exception of Caleb. I'd love to see that figure released, but it seems unlikely at this point.

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