Thursday, September 27, 2012

Collectible Value Means Nothing When Your Figure Doesn’t Stand Up! The Alias “So It Begins” Figure Falls Down!

The Good: Good sculpt, Good concept, Collectible value
The Bad: Terrible balance, Limited articulation, Disproportionately large head
The Basics: The Mirage Classified Plastic Alias Sydney Bristow figure from “So It Begins” captures one of Bristow’s most memorable outfits, but makes for a figure that is poorly engineered.

One of reviewing toys is that I have the chance to relay some fun stories from time to time. As it happens, my enjoyment of the process of acquiring the Sydney Bristow figure from “So It Begins” is much more interesting, I believe, than the figure itself. Back in the day, I was a bit of an Alias fan. I enthusiastically watched it from its first episode and I thought the idea and execution were clever (eventually, it went off the deep end, but it started awesome). The second episode, “So It Begins” featured Sydney Bristow in one of her first iconic outfits; a long blonde wig and a tight, short, vinyl dress that came after she was playing a French maid. Yup, every teenage guy’s fantasy, right?

So, when they made an action figure of it, I was casually interested. I heard about the figure in advance, but then missed its primary release in stores (though I recall finding the two-pack of her and Vaughn easily enough at the time). So, when I went to a convention that year and asked one of my dealer friends if he had any, he frowned and said that yes, he did, but the going rate (and best price he could give me) was about $95. I passed. A few years later, I was nowhere near as into Alias, but I liked it enough that when MediaPlay was closing near me and the workers began moving fixtures aside and I happened to be in the store when they did, I quickly scooped up the faded, water-warped package that housed a perfectly mint Sydney Bristow figure in it! It took the workers fifteen minutes to re-add the figure into the database, but I got my “So It Begins” Sydney Bristow figure for a cool $9.99 + tax!

That was pretty cool. Unfortunately, the figure is not.

To date, Mirage Classified Plastic Toys is the only company to make an action figure of Sydney Bristow as she appeared in the episode “So It Begins.”


Sydney Bristow from “So It Begins” is a great concept for an action figure. Mirage Classified Plastic toys clearly tried to make the figure look accurate and the facial sculpt is impressive. Unfortunately, it is slightly larger (proportionately) than the rest of the figure! However, this Alias figure has all of the key elements of Sydney Bristow from “So It Begins.” She has the blonde wig, tight blue dress, choker and a lot of skin showing!

Standing six and three-eighths inches tall, Sydney Bristow is a skinny, pleather-clad spy with shoulder-length blonde hair. With red lips and a choker that is so detailed it looks like it has tiny pedals at the throat, it is hard to deny that this Sydney Bristow is one cool looking action figure. Yes, Sydney Bristow looked pretty badass on television and in plastic, she's well-represented. The skintones look decent and the tiny blue dress has a metallic sheen to it!

The sculpt is pretty incredible; the figure looks like Jennifer Garner as Sydney Bristow. The figure is so detailed that the cheekbones and nose look just like the actress! Mirage Classified Plastic even sculpted fingernails and the hints of knuckles onto the figure! The dress even looks like it is tight, implying force from within, which is pretty impressive for such a static sculpt of a figure.


Sydney Bristow does not come with any accessories.


Because Sydney Bristow does not have foot holes and corresponding pegs, posing Sydney Bristow is based entirely on balance. Unfortunately, she has no balance! This is a ridiculous oversight in the part of Mirage Classified Plastics as they made the figure with only three points of articulation! Sydney Bristow has simple swivel joints at the shoulders and neck. That means that her feet cannot be moved and even though her platform heel shoes are flatfooted, she tips over when one attempts to stand her up. The only way I have ever gotten my Sydney Bristow to stand up is to swivel her arms so they are raised above her head – in a dancing or surrender position!

The head articulation is not at all inhibited by the hair, as the hair is made of a soft, flexible, rubbery plastic that easily moves.


Given that this Sydney Bristow is poorly articulated and comes without any accessories, she is not a decent toy for play. One suspects those who would recognize Sydney Bristow enough to enjoy the figure would not be the type to actually play with it. For those adults who might want to play with the figure instead of using it for display, it does require hand support.


Mirage Classified Plastic Toys made the right figure at the right time: when Alias was hot! This figure remains valuable, but given how few of them were made and how hard they are and were to find, it is unlikely one will find them to be a great investment figure now . . . unless they find one under some shelving somewhere!

The figure was not, however, a limited edition figure, nor does it have any sort of individual number that would make it more collectible. In general, though, the most valuable collectibles are the ones that capture well the essence of the subject and Sydney Bristow looks great as an action figure, at least in her packaging!


Given the poseability problems and the inflated price for a figure that cannot stand up, to me it matters little that the Sydney Bristow “So It Begins” figure looks good. I want my strong women of science fiction figures to actually stand up and this Sydney Bristow does not!

This version of Sydney Bristow appears solely in the first season of Alias, reviewed here!

For other toys of cool women, please visit my reviews of:
Catwoman from The Dark Knight
Illyria from Angel
Silk Spectre from Watchmen


For other toy reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2012 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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