GSC: Saber Lily (Distant Avalon)

So after months and months of procrastinating, I finally got around to writing the review of this great figure. I’m sorry Saber, please don’t don’t kick my ass!

Here we have a figure that actually didn’t cost too much for me to get – Saber was released back in September of 2009, just a few months before I started collecting. She was still floating around with a decent price, although I can’t recall how much I paid or where I got her from. Recently, she’s going around for 20,000 JPY though, which is pretty pricey but not all that bad for a great figure that’s no longer in production.

Saber comes from Fate/unlimited codes, which was a PS2/PSP game based on Fate/stay night. I’ve never played the game but I did notice it in the Playstation Store a couple of nights ago while browsing for some games my PS3. I was going to download it but got lazy when I saw that it was only for the PSP.

Since this figure’s been out for awhile, there have been plenty of reviews and photos – one of my favourites has got to be the Winged Lily by radiantdreamer. But that’s getting ahead of myself a little, let’s take a few steps back and check out the – wait for it – box. I found that the design is rather unique and elegant, quite befitting of the figure. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the interior packaging – don’t get me wrong, the figure was VERY securely packaged and I appreciate that, but there were so many twisty ties and wrapping it was a little annoying.

Once I got Saber out of the package (which I’m never going to put her back in) I was greeted with a kick ass figure in a very striking pose. I like figures that are sculpted as if “caught in motion” or when their body language tells a story. This Saber is definitely one of those figures – she looks as if she’s just completed a slash or unsheathed her sword in an en garde position. Her facial expression also says quite a bit, I’m glad she wasn’t sculpted with a smiling face, that would’ve totally screwed with the pose. That’s one thing that I really dislike about Alter’s Selvaria Bles figure, that smile is completely unbefitting of her character – but I’ll save my bitching for that review later.

Speaking of facial expression, here’s a close-up Saber’s face – which I think the sculptor did a great job. I like the green eyes and blonde hair combo, in combination with her slightly peachy skin tone, I found it really brings out her eyes. The black hair ribbon adds a nice contrast to the lighter colours that’s prodominant on this figure. It also finishes the black “outlining” theme found throughout the figure.

I’m not too sure what kind of armour Saber wears, I guess you can call it a half-plate armour, if I recall the term correctly from my role-playing days. Actually, I still play RPGs, but never did get into the pen and paper stuff – I’ve always wondered what that was like. Was it really as stereotypical as TV always portrayed it to be? Ahem, what was I saying again? Oh yeah, the armour – I really like the design of Saber’s armour, it’s not all that protective, but it is definitely stylish. The inclusion of the dress-like skirt is a really nice touch – it blends Saber’s femininity to her warrior nature. I think I’ve always been a sucker for girls in plate mail – it’s like a medieval girl in uniform – uber hotness! <3

There is very little shading on the armour, I think a little more dry brushing on the paint work would’ve been cooler. Make the armour look a little more used and not just fresh from the smithy.

The skirt, on the other hand, receives a lot more attention to detail and shading. The white is mixed in with a peachy-pink offset with a very soft blending – at least on my figure anyway. The way the dress folds and wrinkles to Saber’s motion is well done, almost looks realistic especially with more dramatic lighting.

The plate boots are an interesting design, which I like – it exemplifies strength yet feminity via the high heels. Ever fight in high heels before? Never thought it was very practical but it’s definitely hot.

The base is well done as well, the marble-like flooring matches Saber’s colour theme and the “scarring” of the tiles makes the base more interesting. I only wish the base was larger and added some 3-dimensional aspects to liven things up. I pictured taking photos of Saber with large stone or marble pillars in the background, like in front of a castle or a grand hall. Unfortunately I didn’t have the props to get this set up, so I just made due with the white background. lol

Saber’s back is fairly exposed, the skin tone is smooth and subtlely shaded. The sculpt is also very nice, which reaps the benefits of being exposed. A lot of figures out there have nice back sculpts but are usually covered up by their long hairs. I guess if there’s a weak spot in Saber’s armour, then that’d be her back and her shoulders – guess you trade (practical) protection for mobility and sensuality. lol

I think you can say that I’m a fan of Saber’s upper body sculpt, particularly her armpit areas. I find it kind of sexy with her arms stretched out as it really defines her body form. You can almost feel the tension in her muscles as she prepare for her next move, what’s it gonna be? A parry or a strike?

Under the huge puffy skirt, GSC didn’t hold back on the details even if you can’t see anything unless you tip the figure over. There’s shading on the legs and the underwear, which may be a little heavy handed compared to Saber’s upper torso. The underwear is a deep white with a lot of “ink wash” effect, it looks out of place compared to the light white colour of Saber’s garter and the rest of her dress.

Another design I find really cool is her gauntlets, I just find it interesting that the outer part is armour while the palm side is cloth (or leather). It definitely beats a pure armoured gauntlet, I guess this goes along the rest of her armour set for added mobility. The left hand can be removed and replaced with one with a hole to attach the sheath. I think I prefer the one without the sheath though – as I’ve said, I think the gauntlet looks really cool with the soft palm. With the sheath, you lose this bit of detail.

Saber Lily comes with Caliburn, Excalibur and Avalon (the sheath) – you can sort of mix and match the setup to how you want it. I prefer just using Caliburn without the sheath, it looks a little more natural. Then again, it’s not like I have much choice, since Saber can’t seem to hold Excalibur at all. Well, she probably can if it forced it into her right hand, but that would definitely damage something (especially the paint).

This looks pretty stupid, doesn’t it? I wonder what GSC was thinking when they made Excalibur’s handle so thick and huge? Why couldn’t they have made it a little thinner like Caliburn’s so it would fit in Saber’s hand? Or perhaps give us another hand to fit Excalibur in – we already have an extra hand for the sheath, why not just give another one for the sword? I’ve seen photos from other people who have fit Excalibur in, but I really didn’t want to force it. If it doesn’t want to go in, it doesn’t want to go in. =P

Edit: As some of you mentioned in the comments, I didn’t realize you could remove the pommel to make Excalibur’s handle slide into her hand. D’uh! That didn’t even dawn on me! Thanks for the comments and info, folks!

I really adore this figure and it’s definitely one of my favourites in my collection. But for some reason I found it really hard to take proper pictures – perhaps it had to do with the fact I couldn’t set up the proper backdrop I wanted – so it was very un-inspirational. I also had a really difficult time writing this review, honestly I think it took me half a year just to get this far. I worked on this review on and off, lost my train of thought so many times, so this review is really fragmented.

I had a choice between this version or the limited Golden Caliburn version, I preferred this as Saber is adorned with armour. I guess I’m a sucker for armour and girl knights. I also thought the armour might’ve been a cast-off but I was wrong. lol

I later went back and took some additional photos of Saber Lily with a castle like backdrop (which I think I’ve over-used by now). The black and white photo below was inspired by one of the pics I took of Saber Maid (which I’ll be reviewing next). Hopefully it won’t take me another half a year to write that review! Anyway, I finally got this far and I’m tired of prolonging this so I’m just gonna hit the publish button that’s tempted me for the past six months and have this half-assed written review over and done with. Cheers! ^____^