Kotobukiya ArtFX: Jaina Solo

thumb_k_jaina

I swear, if it was still the 90′s you would be seeing this page while a midi file is playing in the background of the Star Wars theme.  What ever happened to embedded midi files?  That was cool, no?  Oh well, I guess you can pretend to be listening to the Star Wars theme as you’re reading through the review – it just doesn’t feel right talking about Star Wars without the iconic music running in the background.  I want to say I’m a huge Star Wars fan, but I’m not.  Compared to die hard fans out there that I’ve seen, I’m just a young padawan.  I am still a fan of the Star Wars franchise, though I have to admit I’m so sick of the Old Republic thing that’s being milked to death by Lucas Arts (and now Disney).  Episodes 1-3 really didn’t do much for me, aside from the better CG, episodes 4-6 is where my heart is at.  I’ll be honest when I say I may be  pro-Empire, I remember playing the old TIE Fighter simulator back in the day and that really got me hooked (brainwashed) as a dutiful soldier for the Emperor.  Even so, I couldn’t say no when I saw that Kotobukiya was coming out with a figure of Jaina Solo in a Rebel (scum) flightsuit.

A) I’m a sucker for cute girls (thus anime figures)

B) I’m a sucker for anything to do with an airplane / spacecraft

C) I’m a sucker for cute girls in uniform that has anything to do with an airplane / spacecraft

^_^’

I want to say I know a lot about Jaina Solo’s character, but I can’t.  Aside from her origin and name, there’s not much I know about her – I just didn’t follow the expanded Star Wars universe all that much (if at all).  When I ordered Jaina, I actually had to look up more info about her and what she’s like.  All I have to say is wow, the future (post episode six) of the Star Wars universe is pretty grim – particularly what Han and Leia’s kids had to go through.  I can say this, however, this figure of Jaina Solo doesn’t match what I’ve learned about her character – this figure is just too cheery looking.  LOL

Jaina comes in a very cleanly designed box, just Yamashita’s artwork on the sides and a brief description about Jaina on the back.  I like the small open window feature of the box, it is collector display friendly, if you’re into displaying collectibles in boxes (which I assume many Star Wars collectors like to do).

 

One aspect that surprised me was the fact Jaina comes dismembered.  It’s reminiscent of Kotubukiya’s ArtFX Iron Man, which also came dismembered in almost the same way.  Maybe it’s an ArtFX thing to prevent damage during shipping, but this is my second ArtFX figure so I can’t be certain if they all come like this.  I don’t have any problems with this, just a little surprised as all the Kotobukiya figures I’ve had in the past are all completed with the older figures already screwed into the display base.

Piecing Jaina together is fairly straight forward, Kotobukiya includes an instruction sheet in Japanese and English.  There are a few things of note that I will mention later on in the review, however.  As for the figure, I love her body language and the colours.  Jaina has a relaxed look about her and yet with all her gear, looking quite professional.

 

I do have a slight problem with Jaina’s eyes though, from certain angles they look too wide-eyed, kind of like she has the ‘crazy eyes’ or something.  The eyes just don’t replicate the same emotional response as her original artwork - then again, it could be the angle of the head that’s different that causes this wide-eyed look.  Now that I’m taking another look at the artwork, the hair on the figure also feels a little on the stiff (and thick)  side, but that doesn’t detract from my overall admiration of this figure.

The lightsaber is a bit of an oddity though, it is much different than the original artwork.  I was curious as to how it would be implemented with it floating in the air and all.  I doubted it would be like that on the actual model and I was right.  Kotobukiya decided to lay the lightsaber flat in Jaina’s hand which looks a little boring to me.  I would’ve thought they would at least make it stand upright.  The little peg in her finger doesn’t secure the lightsaber at all, it’ll fall out with the slightest touch and can be easily lost.  A little glue is recommended, that said I think I might snip off the peg on her pinky finger and glue the lightsaber upright in the palm of her hand.  I think that’ll look a little cooler and more balanced.

 

Below is a shot where I stood the lightsaber upright, but still attached to the peg in her pinky finger, it looks odd and off-centered.  So as I’ve mentioned above, I’ll probably make some modifications and move the lightsaber to the palm of her hand instead with a little help from good’ol super glue.

 

I think this is one of my favourite angles with Jaina, it matches the way her head is tilted and her eyes looking to the side – the eyes don’t look as creepy here. ^_^’

 

If I gave out scores in my reviews, I would definitely have taken some points off for the seam line as seen from the left side of Jaina’s head.  I’m not bothered by this kind of thing usually, but the seam line here on Jaina is just too obvious.  But unless you display her from this angle, you will probably forget it’s even there.  On the positive side, the detail in her tank top is done very well.  I love the wrinkles and the subtle shading in the paint work.  It’s very hard to paint in white and shade it properly, Kotobukiya did an excellent job here.  I also like the fact the sculpt doesn’t have oversized breasts or sexualized nip-tips poking out from under her shirt.

The vest is quite detailed (in terms of replicating the Episode 4-6 era look).  The design is simple and very 80′s styled, but I like it.  It has a classic feel to it and a rawness that modern touch screens can’t ‘touch’.  The paint wor is cleanly done with very minimal overlap.  The horizontal lines on the vest also look textured and as if it’d be soft to the touch.  I wouldn’t have mind if they did a littlbe of weathering on the vest to make it look more used though.

Another accessory that Jaina has is her flight helmet, which is fairly accurate to the one seen on screen.  It looks like this was modeled after Luke’s flight Rogue squadron helmet, so I don’t know how accurate (or canon) it is for Jaina to be wearing it.  I know she becomes Rogue Leader and all, but I would’ve assumed she’d have different insignias / helmet patterns.

Minor gripe I have with this helmet is how clean it looks.  Again, if Kotobukiya added a little weathering effect to it, I think it would really help make the overall presentation pop more.  I could do it myself, but I’m too lazy to do it.  lol

 

The orange visor has a nice transparency and glow.  Not much else to say about it really, it is what it is.  :)

There is one issue with Jaina that I see a number of people are having – and this is really something you should take note of if you have this figure or planning on buying this figure.  Jaina’s torso has a difficult time fitting into the socket where her flightsuit is around the waist.  Since the flightsuit wrpas around her waist, you have to put some force to insert her torso into the flightsuit slot.  I’ve seen a number of photos where people didn’t know or didn’t push down hard enough (perhaps in fear of damaging the figure or the paint).  If you don’t fit her torso in properly, you’re left with a very ugly gap between the white and orange.

 

Some people mentioned using a blow dryer or hot water to heat up the slot to help make the insertion (tee hee) more smoothly.  I just used good old fashioned brute force, albeit wiggling it a bit as I pushed her torso in.  There were some slight white paint transfer ont the orange but I didn’t have any problems cleaning them off.  But do be careful if you’re forcing her torso in, I almost pulled her left arm out of its socket as my hand slipped while forcing her body in.  As a note, her breasts actually made pretty good leverage and you can place your thumb over them to help push down on the torso.

 

I really like what Yamashita and Kotobukiya did with the flightsuit design, the colour is bold and it looks purposeful/functional.  The wrinkles and stitching detail make it look rugged and used.  The weathering effect applied to the paint work here may be a bit on the rough side, but I think helps bring out many of the small details.  More reason why I wonder why they didn’t apply some weathering to the vest and helmet as well.

 

I’m not too sure what those are wrapped around her boots, emergency flares, ammo, some sort of utility device or just plain Star Wars fashion?

Here’s a closer shot of the stitching detail – I love how the black ink wash resides in the grooves, helping the detail pop.  The slight weathering on the surface help bringout the sculpt detail as well as some contrast instead of a flat orange painted flightsuit.  The gray strap also receives the dirty look, which is fine by me as it helps promote the overall presentation of the figure as an experienced pilot rather than a cadet straight out of the academy.

Close inspection of the black linine shows some rough paint work, but it still doesn’t appear to overlap with the orange or “drawn outside the line” so to speak.  It definitely looks great from a distance.

Overall, I still find the eyes a little weird, but I just can’t stop staring at them.  The lips are your typical Yamashita style, which is starting to feel a little redundant on these Kotobukiya Yamashita figures.  But it’s how you know it’s a Yamashita, so it really can’t be faulted.  I just personally feel a little bored of the facial style.

  

The hair has some nice detail, but it does feel a little flat and stiff looking.  Helmet hair, maybe?!  ^_^’  Maybe it’s the way it’s sculpted, the material or the colour, but it just looks hard and stiff to me, unlike esome other figures where hair appears soft and flowing.

Kotobukiya provides a transparent base (like the Liara figure) with two display sheets.  One with the Rogue Squadron emblem and one with a plain Star Wars wireframe logo.  I got lazy and decided to just combine the two and superimpose the Star Wars logo over the other one.  This will also prevent me from misplacing one of them, which I know will happen.

When I first saw this figure of Jaina, I knew she was a must-get.  I had envisioned doing a shoot of her in a hangar or even better, beside an X-Wing in a hangar.  But I have neither so I decided to just try and simulate the atmosphere.  Still didn’t quite work out the way I wanted to, but oh well.  Time constraint is probably also one reason – hate the fact that I don’t have a dedicated photo workspace to take these pictures.  Having to setup lighting everytime and take them down is a real waste of time and quite demoralizing.

 

As much as I had interest and adore this figure, I had a pretty tough time taking her photos.  Nothing was working and I just felt she wasn’t as photogenic on camera.  She’s just one of those figures (to me) that looks great in person, but hard to take pictures of.  She did get me to start working on reviews again, but lost priority to Elsa and procrastination.  LOL  I can’t believe it took me over two months to complete this darn review – so I’m sorry for the fragmentations in the review.  At this point, I just want to finish it and move on.  <_<

That said, would I recommend her to anyone?  Absolutely, even if you’re not a hardcore Star Wars fan, she’s still worth picking up as a display piece.  Kotobukiya has been really stepping up in terms of their quality, particularly the ArtFX line-up, I think they might now be the core of my collection, overtaking the amount of Alter and GSC figures I have.  o_O’  I think I need to go do some talllying…