Last modified: Saturday, January 6, 2001 6:20 PM

What the??? This is a freakin' DOLL!!!


Maybe I've finally snapped. Maybe I'm trying too hard to avoid starting any new projects. I saw the "1999 Portrait Edition" dolls and said "Wow!" The detail & costuming of these little 1:6th scale replicas is astounding, and for me that's more important than how it's classified. So this article is the result...

I'll confess-- I still haven't seen the movie yet (but I feel I have) because as I've said here & there, I'm not the "true fan" type. Hell, I haven't seen "ET" or "Titanic" yet. I will see it though because I like the Star Wars universe, and I respect George Lucas' design sense. Jar Jar Binks notwithstanding...

The point is, some stuff is so neat that it stands on its own, without relying on that media tie-in. As you can see, Hasbro has done a great job, and I respect that. Not only is the sculpting of the decoration incredibly detailed, but they used a mind-boggling array of materials, which aren't shown here. According to the box, "Queen Amidala wears a red velvet robe adorned with embossed rosettes and golden, triple-braided soutache. Her pleated undergown features woven iridescent taffeta and golden applique." Sounds impressive, huh? (WTF's a rosette or a soutache? Wait... don't answer that because your masculinity is safe as long as you remain ignorant of those foreign-sounding words!)

Since this is a (shudder)-- doll -- the figure itself is pretty abysmal, with minimal articulation. They do caution you on the package "to maintain authenticity and avoid damaging fragile components, it is encouraged that the costume and accessories not be removed from the doll." Actually, I don't think they want you to remove it from the box, either. They stitch all over the costuming and the box to deter you. However, once you've ignored their advice, you discover that they've padded her neck and torso with cardboard! How bizarre. I suspect it's to make the figure look more realistically proportioned, since the base figure probably has one of those pencil-thin necks and wasp-like waists. ( I didn't really care to find out.) And the box is pretty neat too-- it's designed to make you want to display it that way, but where's the fun in that?

The parts that do show look good-- the hands are reasonably sized and posed. The face is pleasantly bland, as dolls frequently are-- it's a stylistic convention, since the target consumer for this isn't looking for gritty realism. They don't attempt to capture any imperfections which are present in the actress' face.

This "Portrait Edition" is Hasbro's upscale figure line, and the box is sedately marked "For Adult Collectors". The pricing shows it too. But seeing these side by side with their "toy" line version easily convinced me that the difference was worth it.

There are three figures in this line. The one above is the "Red Senate Gown", and the one to the left is the "Black Travel Gown". I haven't seen the third one, but given her cardboard implants, I don't think it's the "Golden Beach Thong".

--Jimbob, 07/01/99