Alter: Saber Alter (maid version)

Here’s another Saber review that’s been sitting on the bench for awhile – I really want to write this review but wanted to wait till after I finished the Saber Lily: Distant Avalon review. Little did I know that review would take me six months to finish – that’s gotta be some sort of horrible record. Nevertheless, I finally got that done and I feel a huge weight has been taken off my shoulders and my writing block has crumbled. I feel free, no longer bound by this nagging voice in the back of my head, I can finally move forward and get to this review I’ve been itching to write. Not that Saber Lily was a bad figure to review, but for some reason I just couldn’t find the words or inspiration to carry on in that review.

For the longest time I thought this figure only existed in the form of a garage kit. I’m not sure why I thought that, but perhaps it was because I’ve only seen E2046 advertise their kit version. But after researching some more about this figure I found out that there exists a PVC version, and to top it off it was made by Alter! Then comes the dilemma, this figure was an exclusive! /cry I can’t begin to express how much I hate Hobby Japan and their evil exclusives. Sure, it’s fine and dandy for those in the domestic market, but what about us poor saps in the rest of the world? I’m really tired of paying premiums for these exclusives (but at the same time, I just can’t stop). It’s a love / hate relationship, I swear!

Well, I eventually scoped one out on eBay for about $160, I guess that wasn’t too bad though after shipping it came pretty close to $200 for a piece of plastic. But a beautifully and artfully created piece of plastic at that! These prices no longer have any meaning to me, I’ve purchased so many collector items at stupid prices that I’ve become numb to the value. I think that’s one of the reasons my wallet has a hole the size of the Grand Canyon right about now.

One of the interesting things about this figure is its packaging. Alter decided to use a satin black finish with red and white text along with a glossy silhouette of Saber and mini Saber. The only image of the actual figure is on one of the side panels, and even so you are greeted with a red hued image of the figure. The presentation is very simple but I find it to be very effective and creates an aura of mystery. Holding it in my hands, I can’t help but feel special, like I’m holding on to something exclusive. Oh wait, it IS an exclusive. Mwuahahaha!

One thing that surprised me when I opened the box was Saber’s size. I forgot that she was made in 1/6 scale – I’ve been getting a bunch of figures in 1/8 and 1/7 lately I forgot what it was like to have a decent sized figure. Her skin tone is pale and her colour palette is pretty much non-existent, but that’s what I love about this figure – she gives off a very gothic and low key vibe. She is very different from her cheerful predecessor, and between the two I very much prefer this one. The facial expression on this Saber has a much more serious tone, from certain angles, she almost seem as if she’s pissed off about being a maid. Unlike her predecessor who seems all to eager to go mop the bathroom tiles. I’d be pissed off if I have to mop an entire castle all day long.

Just look at her eyes, staring into the corner like she’s thinking about murdering her master in his sleep. Yup, those are the killer eyes that I love about this figure, it just conveys so much emotion that many other (lifeless) figures fail to capture. There’s just so much eye candy to this figure that it’s hard for me to find a detail to focus on. Even if you don’t take into account her facial expression and nonchalant body language, you’ll still have the amount of frilly details of her dress to talk about.

Okay, so I for one, never understood what the fetish is about with the maid costume. Maybe it has something to do with being all submissive or the frilly dress? Either way, I just know it’s not for me – and this will probably be the only maid figure I’d ever get. But whatever the fetish is, there’s just no denying the amazing sculpt work on this figure. It must’ve been a pain to sculpt all the frills and creases in the dress.

Edit: Ok, I lied, this will be the second maid figure I’d ever get – I forgot I purchased the Native Shoujo M awhile back. I really don’t know why I bought that, I think I was influenced by Tier’s review. I think I only got that (on sale) because it was a collector’s item and I love Native’s quality.

From the front view, SAM has a very conservative look. She’s fairly covered up, even with a short skirt. Surprisingly there’s very little cleavage fan service either – not much of a “fetish” if you ask me. But then I turned the figure around and, wow, talk about a perspective change! Her dress is very low cut in the back and there’s somewhat of an upskirt thing going on. From behind, SAM is quite exposed compared to her misleading conservative front. I can only assume that not only does she satisfy a maid fetish but also a backside fetish (for those who likes it from behind). lol I can’t complain, the detail of her back and rump are very well defined – there’s a lot more eye candy from the rear – including her ribbons and the rusty bucket.

SAM’s hair ribbon is very simple in design, but I can appreciate the very fine details on either ends and all the folds/creases sculpted in. It makes it look a lot more complicated than it really is. The hair colour is very de-saturated compared to Saber Maid, it looks like it sits somewhere between a platinum blonde and sandy blonde. I very much prefer this colour, I found the blonde on the predecessor a little too yellow. SAM’s hair, like the rest of the figure, contains a lot of detail unlike many figures out on the market (for example, Buddy).

The way Saber is holding on to her bucket is a little peculiar, while I get the positioning, I’m not too sure why her hand is like that. I dunno about you, but I’ve never seen anyone hold a bucket like that – maybe her unconcious cuteness is trying to surface with a little “kira” pose.

Like the rest of the figure, the bucket came fairly detailed as well. Its got a very smooth brown shading to emphasize on its rusty nature. While I think it’s nicely painted, I don’t think it was the right application. The shading seems too even and well blended – if it is indeed suppose to represent rust, it would’ve been better if they painted it unevenly with some harsh spots. But at the very least, you get a sense of what the image is trying to convey (if you’re not still intently staring at her ass).

SAM’s mop also receives some love in the details department. I’m not too sure if it’s the same mop as the previous Saber though. But instead of holding it with both hands, Saber Alter holds it one handed because she’s just THAT much cooler than Saber. I actually really like the mop, particularly the spring design and the red metallic paint. It looks a little new compared to the rusty bucket though – perhaps it is a new mop as Saber broke the old one while kicking someone’s ass. It’s definitely one spiffy looking mop, nevertheless. Also of note, this mop is red whereas the predecessor was silver. Red = evil? Maybe??

The base that comes with SAM is a very glossy checkered floor design, when I opened the package, it was rather oily from the coating the factory put on to protect the PVC. It was rather annoying as I would get my figerprint all over this display base and it was hard to wipe off. Note to self, use a pair of gloves the next time I handle this base. But once again, it beats the plain white base of its predecessor.

While we’re around this area of the figure, I might as well mention the one design I’m not as fond of – that is the footwear. The stocking looks a little too metallic and the paint around this area seems thick (up close) for some reason. It just doesn’t look as realistic as the rest of the figure. The shoes are also really plain which lacks a certain appeal compared to the other “plain parts” of the figure as previously mentioned. The only thing going for it is the highly reflective paint job, which also seems a little weird.

In all honesty, I might have purchased this figure just to get my hands on this uber cute chibi Saber. Just look at how adorable she is with that mini-mop! What’s interesting is that this chibi Saber is based on the Disant Avalon version, like the previous Saber Maid (correct me if I’m wrong). The eyes are green, yellow blonde hair with an ahoge. It’s very detailed for a figure of its size, which reflects the sculpt work on the large SAM very well. Chibi Saber looks a little disgruntled though, maybe she’s doing all the work while SAM is looming over her as if she’s saying “You’re my b`tch!”.

For the most part, SAM was much easier to photograph than Distant Avalon Saber. Not sure why, maybe because I found a suitable backdrop for SAM, which allowed for a bit more creativity. The two pics below are probably my favourite pics, particularly the black and white version – I think it might be my favourite figure photo yet (ones that I’ve taken anyway). I had tried to post the B&W version on and though it made POTD, it didn’t make POTM. Darn! =P After I took the coloured version, I had an inspiration to change it to B&W for a more gothic feel – I think I accomplished that. The backdrop just illuminated correctly, shadow in the right places and matched the silhouette of Saber very well. From past experience though, I think the MFC community prefers coloured versions over B&W as I usually get more hits with my coloured photos.

My overall impression for this figure is quite high, I can’t say it’s my favourite, but I can’t dispute the amount of detail it has and the quality finish put into it. I usually notice a lot of flaws when zoomed in with the macro lens, but this particular figure barely had any. No scars, scuff marks, seam lines, etc. If I actually put ratings on a figure, this would definitely sit somewhere between an 8 or 9 out of 10. If anyone has a chance to pick one up, definitely do so! It’s a masterpiece that I’ve come to expect from Alter figures.

Speaking of Alter, the name of this Saber Alter always confused the hell out of me, especially when it’s made by, well, Alter. I mean, come on! Alter Saber Alter (maid version), seriously?! @_@ Alter, Alter, Alter… say it enough times and look at the words enough times and it beings to sound and look very foreign. It’s come to the point where I’m wondering why my spell check hasn’t kicked in – did I spell alter right? Alter, alter, alter…. bleh!!! >_<’

I better end this while I still retain some form of sanity – but before I sign off, I just want to say I found a use for the bucket! Awwwww, just look how cute she is!!!!