Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The OTHER Woman In The Metal Bikini Top: Pylean Princess Cordelia

The Good: Interesting sculpt, Generally good posability, Decent base
The Bad: Light on articulation, mediocre accessories, Coloring
The Basics: The sexy Cordelia Chase is immortalized in plastic as the Pylean Princess Cordelia in her metal bikini that looks good, even if the colors are off.

There was a period of time that I worked in the toy department of a mall department store and I actually enjoyed the job quite a bit. I was given dominion over the toy department and that left me with enough time and authority to do my own thing. Believe it or not, I take no small delight in setting things to order. So being able to organize a whole toy department actually left me feeling very satisfied in that respect of my life. I also delighted in jerking around customers with a frequency that would have made me the envy of Dante from Clerks (reviewed here!). I happened to have the job in the toy department when the Star Wars: Special Edition films were hitting theaters and the Power Of The Force action figure line was being upgraded to support the cinematic surge. So, when a customer came into my toy department and kept asking about the figure of Princess Leia from Return Of The Jedi (reviewed here!), I knew exactly which figure he was talking about. But, until he either said "Slave Leia" or "Leia in the metal bikini," I just played dumb, like I didn't know which figure he was hunting for. And even when he said the words "metal bikini" and I got to watch him squirm, I just couldn't seem to find him one. Yeah, I was a jerk to that guy, but it was real fun at the time. It certainly made the day pass.

I suppose there will come a time that will mark the change in generations based on the cultural allusions to characters in metal bikinis. For people who grew up in the '80s, it was definitely Princess Leia in Return Of The Jedi that defined the metal bikini thing. I can only imagine that those hitting the teen years in the early 2000s, it'll be Angel that is referenced when metal bikinis are mentioned. Because at the end of the second season of that series, Cordelia ends up in Pylea and her costume is a metal bikini, in many ways like the once Princess Leia was compelled to wear.


Pylean Princess Cordelia is one of the exclusive action figures from the Angel figure line from Diamond Select toys.The Pylean Princess get up was only in Angel, NOT Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the figure comes carded on the red Angel card. She is a 6 1/2 inch tall action figure featuring a sculpt of Cordelia Chase as she appeared in the final episodes of the second season of Angel, when she was transported to Lorne's dimension of Pylea.

The sculpt is a good one, and despite the somewhat forced and toothy smile, the figure looks like Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase. As strange as it may seem to say, they got Cordelia's lips right and that's a nice level of detail. Cordelia is featured wearing her metal bikini top, complete with the draping fabric off the back and the double-slit skirt that hung low on her hips. Yes, it's a good sculpt.

The first problem with it, though, is the coloring. In the episodes the outfit was featured in, the metal bikini is gold. The action figure is adorned in a gray that is what passes for silver on most action figures. It is, most assuredly, not gold, though.


Cordelia comes with three basic accessories: the base with Pylean wall, a scroll and a covered platter of grapes. All three items fit the figure well in that they are emblematic of items from the episodes that Cordelia was a princess in.

The wall is a decent plastic base that is a 3 1/2" square base that has a 7" wall behind it. The wall has a Pylean tapestry and while it is a simple red and gold banner, the level of detail with the gold paintjob is quite decent. The base does not have foot pegs, but this is all right as the Pylean Princess Cordelia is wearing high heels and does not have a hole for support pegs to go into anyway.

The scroll is an admittedly weak accessory as the scroll is rolled up, so it looks like a hot dog in Cordelia's hand. The figure comes with the scroll in her hand, attached with tiny clear rubber bands and without them, the scroll will fall out. This is not the most exciting accessory ever and without knowing it is a rolled up scroll, it's easy to see how a collector's mind would make it into something more.

The platter of grapes is a weird accessory and is a direct reference to the first moments Cordelia is seen as an honored sage in Pylea. She is on a throne, eating green grapes. The detail work on the platter and the grapes is impressive and it is surprising that the green grapes have absolutely no color bleed onto the silver platter. What is impressive is that when not holding the scroll, the Pylean Princess Cordelia can hold the tray using the tray's handles!

Truth be told, I think I would have been more impressed had Diamond Select included a throne for Cordelia instead. All things considered, though, the accessories capture well the brief moments of Cordelia as the Pylean Princess character.


Pylean Princess Cordelia is surprisingly balanced for a toy that rests on high heels! The plastic panels that come off her back that represent the draping fabric over her back helps to counterbalance her, it seems.

But Pylean Princess Cordelia is also strengthened in posability by her limited articulation. Cordelia is articulated at only eleven points: knees, groin joint, shoulders, elbows, wrists (cleverly hidden by the bracelets the sculpt possesses, and head. The head is kept on via a ball joint, so the figure's head can move with incredible articulation and range of motion.

The skirt prevents Pylean Princess Cordelia from having an extreme range of leg motion, but this actually makes the figure remarkably stable for displaying. Stand Pylean Princess Cordelia up and she remains standing!

It is, however, difficult to see how this Cordelia would be fun for play. Truth be told the Angel audience that is likely to purchase Pylean Princess Cordelia is much more likely to leave the figure in the package (a shame given the quality of the sculpt) or set in on a shelf in a pose as a display piece than actually sit and try to play with it. The regal princess - unlike the Cordelia of Angel - acts more as a support piece than a battle action figure.


The Pylean Princess Cordelia was a PX Preview figure and was therefore more limited than many of the figures in the Angel line. Hey, it's a Hollywood beautiful woman sculpted in a popular metal bikini! Of course the value would continue to go up! This is one of the most stable and consistent figures that has been appreciating in value in the Angel line. Between its subject matter and its limited edition nature, it is a decent investment figure, though one suspects it will stay at its current secondary market price of approximately $25 for a few years.


Fans of Cordelia Chase will enjoy the concept and quality of the sculpt of Pylean Princess Cordelia as they have had to suffer through terrible sculpts that look more like Faith than Cordelia from other toy companies. Diamond Select Toys did the figure generally well and it is one that is bound to please fans, even if the general populace is unlikely to "get" the figure.

Then again, it is a woman in a metal bikini; not much to get here!

This figure represents Cordelia as she appeared at the end of Angel - The Second Season, reviewed here!

For other Buffy, Angel, and fantasy figures, be sure to check out my reviews of:
"Fear Itself" Anya
Season Five Anya
Twilight Edward Cullen "Barbie" doll


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page on the subject!

© 2011, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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