Astro Toy
Actsta Fate Testarossa

by David Cabrera,

Actsta Fate Testarossa
Series: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Movie the 1st
Maker: Good Smile
Cost: $100-130

Happy New Year, you bunch of toy-loving animals. How'd you celebrate? For me and the gang it was all about boozin', Deadly Prey and Ninja Terminator. Try it sometime (if you're of age!)

And to start off the year we're looking at a line we've never covered before and which may not even exist anymore. Of course I'm interested in that kind of thing! Actsta (for “action statue”) is an experimental line from Good Smile that combines elements of the posable figure and of the PVC statue. Only characters from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha have ever been released in this line, and only this May '11 release of Nanoha's dear friend Fate Testarossa as seen in the recent movie is still in production.

As you can see, it's really just a larger-than usual action figure: it's in 1/8 scale, but keep in mind that Fate is a nine-year-old girl (if the scale is correct, she stands about 4'4”?), so that's not huge. Even so, this is significantly taller than most of your action figures at about 16cm according to GSC.

I've got her next to the (non-scale) Figma of an indignant Homura here, which is about as reasonable a comparison as I have on hand. For a more direct comparison, have a look at Max Factory's Figma of the same character.

Now, let's try and evaluate this as we would a statue and see if it holds up. Perhaps some close-ups are in order. How are the sculpt and paint? This figure looks very clean: the sculpt is dead-on to the anime character design and there are none of the paint errors that have been plaguing Figma releases. The cape, subtly formed of several bits of plastic, looks particularly good.

But is this figure at a PVC level of quality? I don't think so. The level of fine detail and nuance we expect from a statue in this price range (remember, we're in over-$100 territory here) just isn't there. People pay the big bucks for PVCs because the best of them are really unique and in many cases bear the mark of the artist who sculpted them: that's why I paid up for Dizzy last year. Rather than a statue with articulation, we should think of this as simply a deluxe action figure. And even then... that's one expensive action figure. If we're paying retail price, it's just 70 more bucks from this to a Real Action Hero, you know?

That dealt with, let's look at it on the action figure side. Obviously the figure is trying to be statue-like, so there are as few visible joints as possible. Of course, it's a lucky coincidence that parts of her outfit like the skirt and the cape so effectively cover the major joints. Likewise, the skirt and (prominent; how the hell does she walk around like that) underwear are made of flexible plastic to both accommodate movement and hide the hip joints. Posability is acceptable, but this figure isn't trying to do what Figma does. Looks are top priority.

The cape is, by the way, removable. I think Fate looks significantly worse if you do so, but you make the call.

For weapons, we have the three forms of Fate's talking magical device Bardiche: axe form...

glaive form...

scythe form. Yes, sir! That's a lot of weapon loadout, and aside from faces and hands, that's about all you get for accessories. The faces are pretty lame: your choice is between “expressionless with mouth closed”, “expressionless with mouth open”, and “expressionless with eyes closed”. I know Fate doesn't emote a lot, but jeez.

Like with other figures we've seen (Gaogaigar, Eva) there's a clear plastic sheet for a magical shield effect. Unfortunately, it's floppy, completely ruining the effect.

The part that's most reminiscent of a PVC figure (as you've been seeing here) is the huge, themed stand in the shape of a magic circle. With a posing arm that allows for both the usual peg and a claw that holds the figure at the waist, it's mostly identical to what you get with a Figma. Flying poses are doable, but the stand holds poorly and the posing arm often buckles under the weight of both Fate and a weapon. Anything that can come out on this figure-- the hands, the front hair piece, the weapons-- absolutely loves to fall out. One of the bracelets went flying so far that I don't think I'll ever find it again! Setting up a display is infuriating.

Also, and this is important, Fate cannot stand on her own. Her tiny feet are simply not sculpted to keep the figure standing, no matter how you pose her. Unless you use an outside stand, this figure's going to be taking up quite a bit of space on your shelves. 

Now, here comes the real problem. We paid about $110 shipped for this figure on sale at Hobby Link Japan (and it's been available at better prices than that), but the price is up to more like $135 now. Worth the money? No way. It's not even a bad figure: that price is just ludicrous. I think the only reason this is called an “action statue” is so that GSC could charge a statue price for it. Unfortunately, this figure doesn't earn that.

If you're a Nanoha fan and you find this at a major discount-- $80 shipped at the most-- go for it. Speaking of statues, have you seen Saber and her bike yet? Daaaamn! If you offered me a choice between this and that, well, I'd take the Saber figure and laugh at you for, at the very least, an hour.

Oh, hello there, it's me Nanoha. Yes, Nanoha, that's me and my pal the uh, raised-up heart here, yes, absolutely. You've missed me so, haven't you Fate?

When he isn't killing time on fighting games and mahjong, David Cabrera gets hype about anime, manga and gaming at Subatomic Brainfreeze. You can follow him on Twitter @sasuraiger.

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