I AM ELEMENTAL
Welcome to day 4 of the Post-Christmas gift reviews! Today’s entry has just a bit of backstory. A year and a half ago, I supported my very first action figure campaign, titled I Am Elemental. This campaign’s purpose was simple: action figures for girls. The action figure industry has an unfortunate history of not treating that half of the population the greatest, and I Am Elemental’s goal was to fix those in the best way possible: by making some really cool action figures! The initial set of figures arrived last year just before Christmas, and they made my list of favorite reviews for my second year of this site, so I was pretty pumped to see what was next for the line. When they started their project, the trend of figures was definitely towards the 3 ¾ inch scale. In the last year or two, thanks to lines like Marvel Legends and Star Wars: The Black Series, the trend has somewhat shifted to a 6 inch scale. I Am Elemental has followed suit, and their second proper release is in a somewhat larger scale. So, let’s see how they fared on their first venture into this new style!
THE FIGURE ITSELF
Courage is a single release figure, available in late 2015 via the I Am Elemental store, as well as several online retailers. The smaller figures were each based on one emotion, or element, which all added up to the series’ theme of “Courage.” This figure acts as an amalgam of all those separate elements, in kind of a mega-power-up form. One would presume that this is the in-universe reason for the figure being almost twice as tall as those released previously. Courage stands a little over 6 ½ inches tall and has 36 points of articulation. She’s a touch on the large side to fit in with ML or The Black Series (though you can make it work), but she fits pretty nicely with stuff from DCC and NECA, and I think she even looks pretty cool with my Ultra-Act figures. Her articulation is pretty fantastic; she has a ton of mobility, and most of the joints move fairly smoothly. Courage is the first figure in the line to possess a completely unique mold. It’s clearly based on the smaller-scale figures, which makes sense. The basic underlying body armor is all the same, just blown up to a larger scale. She’s got two main add-on parts, a helmet and chest armor. The helmet is removable, and it’s a very well designed piece. It sits nice and snuggly when in place, but comes off without damaging the figure, and the helmet is not to big, nor is her head too small. The chest piece is actually made up of three separate parts; the shoulder guards are separate, jointed pieces, allowing for unhindered movement of the arms. Near as I can tell, the chest piece isn’t removable, at least not without taking off the head, which doesn’t feel like it’s meant to be removed. That’s fine by me, because the armor’s cool enough that I can’t see myself removing it anyway. Joan of Arc has been a noted inspiration for the figures since day one, and that’s definitely apparent in the design of the armor, and really the figure in general. It’s a classic look, and it certainly won’t look dated in a few years’ time. But, she’s not just inspired by Joan of Arc, she’s also inspired by the seven smaller scale figures. Bravery and Honesty seem to show through the most, but elements of each of the Courage series figures show up on this figure, which is very nice to see. For instance, three of the Courage series figures had ponytails, so Courage has three ponytails, each one slightly different. I Am Elemental figures have all exhibited a simple, streamlined style to their sculpts. Courage continues this, but adds just enough extra detail to keep her from being too simple. The overall result is a very pleasing aesthetic. The paint work on Courage is pretty decent. It’s not perfect, but it’s above what we tend to see from larger companies, like Hasbro and Mattel. She borrows a lot of her coloring from the Courage Red version of Honesty, but, as with her sculpt, the figure has a little bit of each Courage series figure’s color scheme worked in. The color choices here are nice and bold, and she’ll definitely stand out on the shelf. In addition to the previously mentioned removable helmet, Courage includes a sword (with cool flamey bits!), a shield, and a character card.
THE ME HALF OF THE EQUATION
Courage was a Christmas gift from my parents. It was no secret how much I loved the figures I got through the Kickstarter, so it should be no surprise that I was eagerly anticipating this figure, after being wowed by it when it was shown at Toy Fair 2015. So, I was thrilled to open the figure on Christmas morning. Out of the box, she’s just a fantastic figure. She takes the already high standard set by the original figures and soars way over it. Like the previous set, she’s an awesome toy first and foremost. I really can’t ask for much more.