Thursday, March 26, 2015

At Long Last . . . The Sideshow Collectibles Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure Arrives!

The Good: GREAT sculpt, Stable base, Collectible value
The Bad: Erratic paint job, Very fragile
The Basics: The Sideshow Collectibles Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure Statue is not the perfect Wonder Woman collectible one might hope for . . .

This has been turning into quite the Wonder Woman-centered month for me and, frankly, I am okay with that! After seven months of waiting, Sideshow Collectibles finally managed to get the Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure released from the customs yard in California and ship them out to collectors. I was fortunate to be one of the people who snagged one of the limited release versions of the Premium Format Figure (which is, for all intents and purposes, a statue) and, in some ways, the delay and the ultimate release of the statue so late in its form, only added insult to (albeit minor) injury.

Sideshow Collectibles allow fans and collectors the ability to order their amazing collectibles (I was wowed from my first experience with their products, in the form of the Star Wars 1:6 scale Boushh doll, reviewed here!) via preorder, with a non-refundable deposit. Last year, when the Wonder Woman Premium Format figure was announced by Sideshow Toys, I was exceptionally excited. I've been waiting for Sideshow to make a 1:4 scale Wonder Woman and for them to tackle Wonder Woman at all. I was in a surprisingly good place financially when the deposit was required and so, I decided to invest. The seven month delay, alas, gave me enough time for my financial fortunes to change and for me to have to make the tough choice between forfeiting the deposit and having to spend money I no longer had. I went with the latter.

Alas, the figure is not perfect and issues with assembly, paint, and fragility make it feel less like an awesome investment or the prized collectible it ought to be. Fans who shell out $450 or more for a collectible statue have a good reason to be picky about the quality of their collectibles and for my money, I was shocked that the 1:6 Buffy The Vampire Slayer Spike statue I bought my wife for the winter holiday had more sculpted and painted details right than the 1:4 scale Wonder Woman!


The Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure statue presents Wonder Woman generally well. This version of Wonder Woman has the iconic DC super hero in her bustier outfit with the knee-high red boots, silver bracers, and golden tiara she is known for. This version of Wonder Woman has a pretty good balance between having defined muscles and feminine curves. Wonder Woman's legs are more smooth than muscular, but she has collarbones molded into the sculpt. Wonder Woman's back is fairly well-sculpted with decent musculature, but Wonder Woman's knee - especially the one for the straight leg - lacks realistic bone definition. The result is a sculpt that seems to prioritize stereotypical "sexy" qualities over the warrior aspects of the character. This Wonder Woman statue has the heroine standing on a base, looking much like the ruins of Themyscira, with one leg up on a fallen column, her left arm down and her right arm raised to the side so she can hold her spear behind her shoulder.

The statue, released in a limited and second-wave series (both are called "Premium Format Figure" and both are strictly limited, but the only real difference seems to be the numbering, the base and the presence of an alternate arm in the first-run version) from Sideshow Collectibles, is a real mixed bag in terms of the amount of sculpted details and has surprisingly erratic coloring. Measuring twenty-five inches tall, twenty-one inches wide and ten inches deep at its most extreme points, the Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure statue is one of the few DC super hero-based statues released by Sideshow Collectibles in the 1:4 scale. The Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure Statue easily sold-out from Sideshow Collectibles, at least for the 3500-piece first run and is now only available in the secondary market.

The Sideshow Collectibles Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure statue is made of fairly durable polystone that has decent weight to it and painted plastic for the iconic Lasso Of Truth. The Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure's costume is colored in bright muted white, dark red and dark blue and metallic gold and silver (for her belt, bustier, and silver for the bracelets). This version of Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure has a subtle rendition of the eagle symbol on her bustline, instead of the more simply double-W symbol some of her costumes featured. The tiara is the gold color with the red star on the forehead underneath the long, bouncing black bangs. The sculpt of the hair, which makes it look like Wonder Woman's hair is blowing in the wind is well-sculpted. The detailing for the hair texture is extraordinary for a character that came from a two-dimensional reference.

Diana’s face is angular, without looking severe and in a similar fashion, the Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure Statue did not create her with an over-the-top pair of breasts. Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure’s proportions are reasonable, but what impressed me in this regard is that the costume Wonder Woman is wearing looks sculpted on (as opposed to just painted). So, as crude as it may sound to analyze so clinically, looking down upon the statue, one can basically look down her top at the space between her breasts. Her back, however, has the gap filled in where the gap between her bustier and spine should be. The eagle emblem and belt are raised and look impressive for their armored appearance. The Lasso Of Truth is molded to the belt in a loop, as one might expect. and the sculpting details for the muscles on her back represent an impressive attention to detail.

As for the rest of the sculpt, detail-oriented people are likely to be a bit frustrated by the Sideshow Collectibles Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure. First, the Wonder Woman statue does not stand evenly on her base. The statue is rooted by the right foot; the left should rest on the fallen column on the base. The right foot has a metal rod which fits in a hole in the base and then the heel of the statue rests in a footprint in the ground on the base. Unfortunately, the Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure falls a few millimeters shy of connecting with the left foot on the column! As a result, Wonder Woman is essentially balanced on her back foot and I can only hope that over the years, the weight of the statue will subtly bend the rod so the front foot comes to rest where it is supposed to. If it does that without cracking the statue's heel, I would be impressed.

Sideshow got a ton of the details right. The base is immaculate and looks like rocky ground and shattered columns. The helmet and sword attach to the base, thanks to small slots in the ground, include such incredible sculpted details like rivets on the helmet, what looks like a wrapped leather grip on the sword hilt, and stiff hair on the helmet's top. The shield has immaculate sculpted details, like the stars and the filigree border! Even the sculpted spear and the scraps of a banner hanging from it are incredibly molded and make the banner is blowing in the wind, the same direction as Wonder Woman's hair. Because Wonder Woman's hair comes detached from the statue, Sideshow was able to get the ears and nose molded absolutely perfectly. What the Premium Format Figure lacks are a number of the finer details. This version of Wonder Woman does not have detailed knuckles and the knees lack realism that the rest of the statue possesses.

On the coloring front, Wonder Woman is a mixed bag in this incarnation. Amazingly, the eyes and lips are perfectly rendered. Sideshow even made them appropriately glossy opposite the statue's matte skin and lack of shine to the costume. The colors are all right on the Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure, but the level of detailing is not. The raised left boot has a paint job that features flecks of dirt, so this has a decent level of realism to it. But the fingernails are the same color as the figure's skin (a detail I was shocked Sideshow got wrong, when they managed to get that detail right on the smaller Spike statue!) and a number of the lines are not cleanly painted. The fingers on the ax and on the spear are painted so sloppily that they bleed onto the accessories! Similarly, the lines around Wonder Woman's bikini bottom, are far less clean on my statue. I also don't know of any Wonder Woman costume that features this bustier and has stars on the front of the bikini, but none on the back (the statue does not).


As a Sideshow Collectibles statue, the Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure/Statue is only accented by the collector’s number on the bottom of the base and the alternate ax-wielding arm for the original version. The ax hand is beautifully-detailed and fits the statue perfectly. Swapping out the hands is easy neither arm looks worse when attached (I keep my statue with the shield arm because I feel that more embodies Wonder Woman than the ax).

As for the base, the bottom seems not quite a perfect fit for the statue, which is frustrating. Also frustrating in an inexplicable way is how the less-limited version is brightly colored on the bottom (albeit where no one will see it) than the more-limited version. The more limited version has better coloring depth than the less-limited version, so I suppose it is a wash.


As with all statues, the intent of the Sideshow Collectibles Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure statue is to be used as a decorative collectible and this is well-balanced at the base. But, because the statue itself does not connect at more than one point, the figure has a little bit of wobble to it when it is on my shelf. The display base is augmented with four rubber discs that keep is perfectly stable, so it does not slide, tip, lean or do anything other than stand perfectly positioned on one’s shelf or display case.


Sideshow Collectibles has been making bigger and better collectibles for decades. The Wonder Woman Premium Format Figure Statue was limited to 9,500 pieces (3500 in the first release, 6000 in the second). Each one is individually numbered on the bottom of the base (mine is 3080/3500!). These statues have already exploded in value and I suspect it will continue to appreciate, but not because of its quality.

In fact, I would predict that the value of the Wonder Woman Premium Format figure will only really appreciate as more people try moving it (or, in California, suffer the wrath of earthquakes!). My limited edition Wonder Woman arrived with a broken helm (the fine folks at Sideshow Collectibles have already sent a replacement!) and I was severely dismayed when unpacking the statue for a second time, I discovered the hair had broken in two places. The hair is made of the same, solid polystone as the rest of the statue (save the plastic Lasso Of Truth). I'm not sure why Sideshow used that as opposed to a silicon that was then solidly lacquered over to protect collectors from breakage, but they did not and the hair has a surprising number of finer points that can easily break off. It looks great, but the statue's fragility cannot be understated. Given how picky (I mean that in a good way; I am one of them!) collectors of such things are, one suspects as they (or those who attempt to clean them nicely and discover how fragile they are!) discover how the finer points of this statue are less flexible and more breakable than they initially appear, they will re-buy the statue and cause it to continue to appreciate in value. The danger, of course, is that sealed statues that might have broken parts that collectors do not discover until they open and assemble them (likely at a time when Sideshow no longer has the components to replace).


For more than $400, I find myself far less impressed than I wanted to be. That Wonder Woman does not actually stand on her base and I face likely breakage in the future, is very frustrating. Lack of detailing on key elements is equally frustrating. My wife posited an interesting theory to me; she suggested that Sideshow focused on getting the breasts, butt and legs (calves, boots and toning) right because that's where guys are going to be focused. Ironically, both she and I thought the miscolored and under-sculpted hands were a focal point as well (especially the one holding the spear). Anyway, her theory was that the broad strokes of the more feminine aspects will distract the wealthier male collectors who like Wonder Woman more for sexual fantasy than her heroic qualities. Her argument is that women who spend on collectibles are more demanding in their standards - hence Spike in the smaller scale being a higher-quality collectible than Wonder Woman in the larger scale - than men who will shell out for anything that turns them on.

It's hard for me to disagree with her on this point, though I find myself wondering if instead the problem is that Sideshow Collectibles is trying too hard to produce, as opposed to producing less and making them better. The Spike and Boushh were made years ago when Sideshow Collectibles had fewer licenses and exceptionally high standards. Did Sideshow rush Wonder Woman to release because it had been delayed so long in Customs that it wanted to get it out the moment it was released? Is that why Wonder Woman has the same colored fingernails as her skin (seriously, while I'm used to her having red nails, no one has the same color skin and fingernails, so that's a pretty obvious oversight!)? I'm not sure. All I know is that the statue is far more average than it is extraordinary and Wonder Woman and collectors of her merchandise deserved better.

For other Wonder Woman collectibles, please check out my reviews of:
DC Direct Wonder Woman Series 1 Wonder Woman action figure
DC Direct Cover Girls Of The DC Universe Wonder Woman statue
2009 Wonder Woman Hallmark Keepsake Ornament


For other comic based toys and collectibles, please visit my Comic Book Toy Review Index Page!

© 2015 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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