Figure Review: Tsume-Art’s HQF Gajeel Redfox

Gi hi hi hi!

I know I know, this figure review has long been overdue. But you can still forgive me, right?

Truth is, I already conceptualized the photo shoot for this review while doing the pilot. It was actually magnificent, as I imagine the outcome. But the execution turned out a lot harder than expected, so I had to do it in a much simpler way. And I guess this will be the best format for now, until I get a hold of my time and invest for the proper gears in the future.

Well, enough of the lame excuses. Let’s get started with Tsume-Art’s HQF Gajeel Redfox review, shall we?

 

Packaging

There are 2 kinds of figure boxes out there: one with astounding details you will opt to keep it; and one that is pretty meh you will not care at all if it ends up in the bin. And unfortunately, Tsume-Art’s HQF packaging falls in the latter kind.

Unappealing. This is the word that best describes the box containing this badass character. The color choice for the box turned out a bore and lazy, which also applies to the whole HQF Fairy Tail line from Tsume by the way (except for Gray’s blue box, which is another discussion).

In addition, some information about the character is also printed at the side of the box (character name, age, magic, likes and dislikes), which I find lame and irrelevant. It says Gajeel likes old stuff and dislikes hunger, which I have no idea where it came from. Can anyone enlighten me?

At the back features promotional image of the figure as usual. But obviously, the lack of pictures to show it in this review says a lot about how uninterested I am in the packaging. So time to take a look at the figure itself…

 

Posing

I’ve been reading figure reviews from other blogs in the past and learned that male figures share something in common: they are usually presented in a boring standing pose. And the Iron Dragon Slayer is no exception.

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Kurogane Gajeel is shown with his both arms crossed that perfectly matched his smirking face. This pose totally captured the cold side of the Iron Dragon Slayer, as he is not known to be the nicest guy in the series. However, the clothes and pose reminds me of his stint in the Phantom Lord guild rather than Fairy Tail.

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But despite the pose, the effort to show dynamism in this figure was executed through his clothes.

The fluttering tail end of his tunic suggests movement by the character, as if Gajeel just flipped his body or landed from a higher ground. This fluttering movements created an illusion of a bigger figure in terms of width, which is also one of the highlights in this figure.

It is admirable that a simple fluttering can make a big change in the total feels of a figure. From a lame standing position, the big fluttering in his clothes complemented perfectly, which I can say became the figure’s center of attraction.

However, Gajeel’s pose could have been a lot grander if he was produced a bit later in the line. Since he is one of the early figures to be released under the HQF line back in 2012, he served as a guinea pig along with Natsu to test the rough waters. I only wish a separate line will be initiated featuring a more dynamic pose for these early releases (version 2 for Natsu, Gajeel and Erza, please!), much like what they did with the recent Gray and Lucy figures.

 

Paint Job and Details

Tsume-Art, being a greenhorn company back then, initially released Natsu and Gajeel to launch their Fairy Tail HQF line in 2012. Before cashing in on this figure, I remember doing plenty of research as I learned the company producing it is quite new to the industry (that was way back in 2013, when I started my collection). At that time, both figures were already available in the aftermarket, thus reviews for this figure came left and right.

Through those reviews, I learned about some minor mass production issues (paint blemishes in particular) that I might encounter upon buying the item. Fortunately, my Gajeel turned out quite flawless… well, almost.

The HQF Gajeel has very impressive details. From the metal studs all over his body, scars on his arms, to the creases and folds in his clothes, I must say he was pretty well made.

However, some minor flaws can still be seen from the finished product. Let’s take for example the paintjob on the crossed arms. From this picture, you will notice a spot where the metal bracelet on his right arm touches the left arm. Notice the metallic paint on the bracelet did not cover the entire accessory, and was partly painted with the skin color.

The feathery part on his clothes could have been better as well if it has a nice feather touch and not as smooth as the final output. Maybe add some feathery details for a softer look?

Also not seen if you look from afar, Gajeel’s hands look weird from a worm’s eye view. His left hand looks terrible, like the thumb was not proportional to the other fingers. It could use a little detail, but since it’ not normally seen from a man’s eye view, they did not bother to add more into it.

Another noticeable thing is that the tail end of his clothing turned out a bit thicker than it’s supposed to be. It gives an unrealistic look to the tunic.

But aside from the minor paintjob issues, the shading on the other parts of the figure looks clean and well done. Well, the details in his tail end tunic actually looks very impressive.

However, it wouldn’t hurt if Tsume pays more attention to trivial QA issues like this one. The rough edges on this part of his clothes is very eye-catching.

There are still a few visible seam lines to improve.

But this figure features a lot of details to make up for the above mentioned QA issues. Like the metallic spikes on his boots, which is a personal favorite. It adds to the definition of Gajeel’s character as the Iron Dragon Slayer.

Still, the company clearly needs to work on the said issues to improve the quality of their works. And to justify the price and exclusivity of this limited figure.

 

Head Sculpt

And here we go again… Ah, the face.

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Gajeel’s face is practically Gajeel, but a little less edgier. He’s face in my observation should be more squarish, and a little contour could have pulled the trick. But aside from this fact, I must admit Tsume-Art did a good job with his face. A lot better than Natsu, which was also released along with Gajeel.

As earlier said, the details on this figure is impressive. The metal studs, earrings, and the detail-rich hair are impressive.

However, I just feel the metal studs on his face should be a little less shiny. The darker metal studs on his arms could have been better on his face. In addition, the metal studs on his nose should only have two on each side. This detail is often mistaken in the anime to have three, so it is quite understandable if it was missed out.

And the hair. Of course, it is not Gajeel without his trademark spiky, slicked back hair. Aside from the fluttering tunic, the Iron Dragon Slayer’s complex hair is also one of the main attractions of this figure.

Dust everywhere! >.<

His flowing hair is gorgeous and cool at the same time. But somehow it kinda looks unnatural. Well, it’s made from PVC so no use in complaining.

 

Base

Moving on to another uninteresting part: the base.

Gajeel’s base pretty much sums up what I think sucks about bases: the plain + huge combo.

The base is purely made up of plastic, painted black with a silver Fairy Tail mark on the surface. Two pegs jutted up on the surface which holds the figure.

On one side is a plate with a metallic silver paint. Written on it is the name of the character, which reads “Gajil”. I’m not sure but Tsume-Art is pretty consistent with the naming convention, which is different from the original Japanese name or in the English translation. This is kinda annoying for those English subbed fans, but they must be following the French sub (Tsume-Art is a French company based in Luxembourg), thus the spelling.

For what its worth, they could have use a metal plate instead of plastic to justify the exclusivity of the figure.

On another note, I’ve heard mass production issues, like paint blemishes particularly the text on the base. Fortunately mine looks good.

Another thing I noticed is that the base seems huge for the figure. Well, nothing really bad for a huge base, except it consumes too much space when you decide to display it with the figure on your shelf. However, if it is something as plain as this, I will not bother to display it especially if it will not really impress me.

This base design has been the format for the earlier releases of their HQF line, which I find rather too plain and simple to get worked up with. Good thing they stepped up the game and created much more impressive bases lately.

 

Scale and Price

Gajeel is a 1/8 scale figure available for 79.90 € (or around ¥9800).  I believe this is a bit pricey compared to the other scale figures from companies in Japan. And if you live far away from Europe, getting this figure is too much blow to your wallet. If that price made you cursed already, then the shipping fee will add to your worst nightmares.

However if you will ask me, although the price is stiff and getting him is too much of a trouble, it is still worth it. Admit it or not, this could be the only chance to own a Gajeel figure so better grab it while you still can. (Or unless other companies take the license for this series, but I highly doubt seeing him if ever)

 

Final Thoughts

If you are a fan of the Iron Dragon Slayer, getting this figure is a must because this could be the only decent figure  of him you will ever get. This is a sad truth for male characters in the figure community: they do not get much love from companies as much as the ladies, especially if they are stuck being a supporting character. Or unless the anime is too hyped to milk the franchise with, there is a very slim chance we ever get to see one.

Tsume’s take on the character may not be as impressive as the other figures in the HQF line, but if you have a few bucks to spare and a dedicated fan of the series, Gajeel is definitely a great addition to spice up your collection.

***

Ratings

Head Sculpt: 7

Posing: 8

Paintjob and Details: 8

Base: 5

Box: 5

Credit Points: N/A

OVERALL RATING: 6.6

***

Pros: First (and only) Gajeel figure available | Impressive details

Cons: Plain base | Price is stiff for a 1/8 scale | Quite hard to find if you live outside Europe | Mass production issues

 

Check out the full gallery below for more photos. (Click on any image to launch a slideshow)

 

 

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Figure Review: Good Smile Company’s 1/7 Lucy Heartfilia

(Editor’s Note: Kon-ni-ni-ni-ni-chiwa! Welcome to my first ever figure review! The article you are about to read went through a lot of self-inflicted hardships before getting published here: lazy time, panic moments beating deadlines, production costs, etc. This is the first and hopefully not the last of my monthly review of Fairy Tail figures, so I hope you get something from it and convince you to start your own collection! Now without much further ado, let’s get started!)

***

“Open! The gate of the Maiden!!! Virgo!”

Gracing the blog’s pilot review is none other than Good Smile Company’s (GSC) Lucy Heartfilia. Being the first ever figure that I got to own, GSC’s Lucy holds a special place in my heart, and that is enough reason for her to kickstart this blog’s reviews section.

Aside from being my first figure, GSC’s Lucy is also the first ever scale figure of the celestial wizard. That is, if we are not counting Sega’s or Taito’s prize figures Lucy. She was released in 2013 and was followed by a couple of more Fairy Tail wizards from the same company a year after.

Back in 2013, there was a limited choice of figures from Fairy Tail, so when GSC announced and opened the pre-orders for Lucy, I immediately dug in. GSC basically shed the light for us fans to actually own a decent figure from series, and eventually had us hope for more. And now that she is here, it’s a dream come true…

Having that said, let’s cut the drama and get the ball rolling!

 

Packaging

When I first laid my hands on Lucy, I was very amazed with her box. Being my first figure, it was the first time I saw an actual box of a scaled figure, so of course it was memorable. Plus, she stayed inside her box for more than 2 years, so I was only able to stare at her through the plastic window until very recently.

Anyway, I was impressed by the window on the front part with a visible Fairy Tail mark at that moment, and the printed LUCY in blue is catchy. I like how they added the logo’s “tail” on the text as well. And as usual, an image of the Lucy figure is also printed.

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The back shows more images of Lucy from the official promo shot.

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If there’s one thing to comment about the box, it’s the choice of color GSC used. I mean, why orange? I think it tells nothing about Lucy’s character. Personally, I prefer boxes that tell something about the character, so it will be worthy to keep. But anyway, it’s nothing important and looks nice so I guess that can be overlooked.

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Posing

GSC’s Lucy is based on the cover illustration of the manga’s 9th volume which shows the celestial wizard in her signature summoning pose.

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I must say Masa, the sculptor, did a pretty good job showing dynamism to the figure in some little ways. Despite the source material being just in a standing and slightly leaning position, dynamism can be seen in the actual figure with Lucy’s skirt fluttering about and her hair slightly waving in midair, thus implying movement albeit small.

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Her left hand stretching while holding one of her celestial key also added to the overall feels of this figure.

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It is a well-known fact that Lucy is not a melee type wizard that goes hand-to-hand in battling, as she relies on her celestial spirit to fight in her stead, so it is quite challenging to show her in action. But the choice of pose GSC opted to do is already satisfying for me. At least, they did not rely on Lucy’s fan-servicey side so it’s a win-win for me, who is not a fan of that aspect of the series.

In addition, the choice of clothes is a plus point for me. I like Lucy in her classic outfit better. It reminds me of how I fall in love with the show when I first watched it.

 

Paint Job and Details

As expected from GSC, they pulled off an excellent quality when it comes to the paint job and details for this figure.

The paint job was very neatly done, with very little to no messy parts at all. The shading on her outfit as well as in the other parts was nicely executed too.

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The little details in this figure like the creases on her top, the folds on her skirt and the details on her belt says a lot about the company’s top-notch works.

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One thing I really like the most about this figure is Lucy’s guild mark. In my opinion, GSC was very spot on with its color, and of course it was neatly painted on the back of her hand.

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Another exceptional work worthy of mention is the paint job on Lucy’s boots. GSC opted to listen to the fans when they pointed how off the black boots were during the announcement of the painted prototype. And so they changed it to a glossy brown paint, which added a different splash of color in this figure.

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And of course, the sculpt details is amazing.

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In addition, it’s worth noticing how GSC paid attention to little details like in Lucy’s leggings. Those were neatly sculpted instead of just painting parts of her legs black. As a result, it added a nice touch to the figure, as if her legs were being pinched by the tight leggings.

The shading, muscles and curves on her legs were also nicely done.

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In the picture below, you will also notice her pink finger nail. Each finger nail was painted with pink, which is a very nice touch. Such details are very impressive.

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Head Sculpt

After a few years in collecting, I’ve come to appreciate details and what to look for in a figure. And the head, specifically the face plays the biggest part in the totality of my satisfaction for an item.

As for this figure, I must say there are some points worthy of mentioning to improve the overall quality of Lucy.

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Looking at her face, the first and foremost I noticed was her mouth. It is very striking that it will leave an impression to you, whether it’s good or bad. And for me, it slightly put the figure off in some ways. I guess they could have just stuck with her lips just being also white, or lined it with a lighter shade of black somehow?

I am no expert in proportionality or whatnot, heck I even suck at drawing and arts, but I guess the face could have been slightly improved if they made the eyes a little edgier instead of rounded. I think this aspect is slightly off from the original source, which will make you have second-thoughts if this is really Lucy, if not for her hair and outfit.

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Although one good point about the head is her hair. It is very Lucy and the bow added to the overall cuteness and appeal of this figure.

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Very nice details at the back of her head.

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I may just be being too meticulous when it comes to the face, but overall it’s not a really bad thing. GSC still did a nice work for their take on Lucy, so cheers to that!

 

Base

Another thing that catches my attention when seeing a new figure is the base. In my opinion, the base adds a lot of feels to the totality of the figure, so overly detailed bases are instant plus points for me. (I’m looking at you, Tsume’s Gray and Lucy!)

With that said, the GSC Lucy’s base doesn’t make much of an appeal since it is plain and simple. But being plain and simple has its own merits too.

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The simplicity of the base, in my opinion, suits the actual figure very well. I mean it’s not too flashy to take the spotlight away from the figure, and it’s not too boring for it to be left out. Personally, I like the color combination used in this base.

I’d also like to point out the pegs in the base. It is removable instead of the usual fixed ones, and I am not sure what it is for. I think I would have appreciated it more if it was fixed, since it’s kinda annoying that it often gets removed every time I try putting Lucy in place.

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The only thing that should have been considered carefully is the license text being clearly visible from the upper part of the base. Since the base uses clear plastic, the license text can be clearly seen from this angle.

 

Bonus Accessories and Features

GSC’s Lucy comes with a few accessories which is another additional point for me. You have the option to display her with her celestial key, a belt pouch and a hand bag.

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Lucy is not Lucy without her celestial key. Like everyone else, I also noticed how the golden key she has came simple without much detail like how a celestial key should be. It is understandable since it is really tiny, but it is always better if we get more details for things like these.

On the contrary, her matching belt pouch and hand bag are both impressive.

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The belt pouch, which holds her celestial keys, has nice details and neat paint job, although you have to take note that you cannot actually open it.

Also, putting it on her waist can be quite a challenge, since you will have to split her body in half to place the belt pouch. Pulling off her lower body from the upper part is simple, but removing and placing back the skirt is tricky. I was very careful when I’m assembling her, because I don’t want to end up ripping her skirt like what happened with my Gray’s shirt from the same company. But it seems pretty sturdy, so no worries.

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Then her hand bag, like the belt pouch, cannot be opened as well. But it is enough to appreciate the details and quality made for this accessory.

Unlike the boots, it has a matte paint which is perfect for a leather look.

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One downside of the hand bag is that it doesn’t rest perfectly on her shoulder. The strap keeps falling every time you move her that it gets frustrating sometimes.

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I was quite pleased with the accessories, since this is the only figure so far which has this much accessory that came with the character.

Moreover, this figure is also a castoff. You can actually remove her top and skirt, which requires a lot of efforts to do. However, as I’ve said previously, I am not a fan of the fan-servicey side of the figure, so I’m not putting images of her in her underwear. If you want it, then it is time to snag a copy of her and see for yourself, or search the net if you badly want to witness her in pantsu.

 

Scale and Price

I’m no expert when it comes to scale comparisons, but I think Lucy seems small for a 1/7 scale (approximately 210mm in height). She is almost as big as Tsume’s 1/8 Fairy Tail figures, and smaller compared to Kotobukiya’s 1/7 scale figure I own.

But if I will be asked, I guess her retail price of ¥8,381 is justifiable for its superb quality. I’m not really paying attention to prices when it comes to figures I like, so it’s up to you if the price is just about right.

GSC Lucy 036

 

Final Thoughts

GSC’s Lucy might not be the flashiest figure you can ever own, but she sure is a nice figure for every Fairy Tail fans out there (and I think she might be the most decent Lucy so far). She is very pleasing once you get to own her, always giving you that familiar vibe that the Fairy Tail guild is known for.

If you are planning to get Natsu and Gray from the same company, getting Lucy is definitely a MUST!

 

***

RATINGS

Head Sculpt: 7

Posing: 8

Paintjob: 9

Base: 7

Box: 8

Credit Points: +0.5 (cast-off-ability), +0.5 (accessories)

OVERALL RATING: 8.0

***

Pros: Superb quality | Nice set of accessories | Cast-off-ability

Cons: Face is a bit off (for me) | License text visible on the clear base | Height seems small for 1/7 scale

 

Check out the full gallery below for more photos. (Click on any image to launch a slideshow)