I have to admit that when it comes to girls with guns, I have a definite soft spot for. There’s something about a girl holding a firearm (and shooting one) that I find irresistably sexy. Maybe it has something to do with the feminine grace mixed in with a bit of masculinity associated with firearms? Or perhaps it’s the theme of wielding great power? Either way, there’s no doubt when it comes to girl figures with guns, it’s usually an insta-buy for me. I’m also a fan of history, particularly WWI and WWII history, so it was even more of a motivation for me to get Native’s newest figure, Elfriede.
Native, if you’re not familiar with, is a figure company that is dedicated to the Naked and Creative (thus the name Native). But if you’re reading this, you’re most likely already aware of this and just want to see more of Elfriede – and rightly so as there’s so much to see with her. Elfriede is an original character based upon the illustration of Hiroe Rae, who I have no knowledge of, though I see her being associated with Black Lagoon which I have heard of, but have no knowledge of either. LOL
Being an original character, there’s really no background behind Elfriede – so I actually did a bit of research on her in preparation for this review. Well, maybe not Elfriede per se, but what she is based on. Being a history nut, or nut for history, it’s easy to gauge what she’s wearing is of the WWI or WWII era – plus the bolt action rifle is a great indication of the time period – but more on that later.
For the most part, Elfriede comes out looking much like her illustration with a minute difference in the position of her head. The illustration version has the head tilted slightly more towards the viewer and her eyes looking at the viewer with a michievous grin. On the figure, however, her smile feels a little less mischievous but more so a happy grin. Her eyes also doesn’t look to the side as much, perhaps that’s one of the factors for not looking as naughty.
I couldn’t stop taking enough pictures of Elfriede, however, as she’s very photogenic. I can take multiple shots of her from just about any angle and she’ll look great (though I can’t say the same about my photo quality and composition). ^^
For Elfriede, I initially had the idea of taking photos of her by an oasis, but after much debate, I decided to take a picture of her in a busted down urban building. The oasis idea felt a bit more Afrika Korps which is the wrong theatre of war and doesn’t really match her gear. It would if she was German, but she isn’t though her name makes it seem so. I also toyed with the idea of getting her in a trench diorama or getting her slighly covered in mud. But she was just too awesome (and expensive) of a figure that I didn’t want to risk ruining her paint job.
So in the end, I went for an ETO urban theme – which also allowed me to dabble in the creation of a diorama-esque backdrop for the very first time in my reviews. It’s been many years since I’ve worked with painting and building up something from scratch, but thought it was a worthy attempt if I could do it right. My worst fear was spending all the time trying to complete my vision, yet coming up short of my expectations. But you know what they say, you won’t know unless you try, so I tried.
Now, you may or may not agree with me, but I think I achieved what I had envisioned and created a suitable scenario to place Elfriede in. This little venture also emboldened my confidence as I decided to dabble with different lenses for Elfriede’s shoot. Rather than strictly using my EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, I also used my EF 24-105mm f/4L and my EF 16-35mm f/2.8L. I love using wide angles for fun portraits as it gives it almost a fisheye effect, particularly on a full frame body, but I have never done it with a figure. While it does distort Elfriede’s proportions a bit, I think it helps accentuate her legs, backward lean and scale of the background.
I’m planning on doing a follow-up post about the shot break down later on though, so be on the look out for that (just cuz all the cool kids are doing it). ^^
I received Elfriede from Big in Japan a week ago, and was rather motivated to pump out her review quickly for two reasons. One, I reaaaaally love this figure and wanted to write a review of a recently released figure. Two, and the most important reason, Guild Wars 2 head-start is launching later tonight (or rather tomorrow morning) at 3AM EST with the possibility as starting as early as 12AM EST. I had planned to write the review for Embrace Japan’s Diabolus Inclinatus as a follow-up to Diabolus Ungulate, but decided to let Elfriede cut in line.
Looking at Elfriede’s face from the front makes me think of Holo (from Spice and Wolf) for some reason, maybe it’s the hair style and the smile (minus the ears)? One minor thing that I don’t like about the production model is that Elfriede’s left nipple can’t be covered by her uniform. It’s partially exposed as the uniform is soft PVC and can’t really hold its shape tightly against her breast – so there’s a bit of a nip slip compared to the prototype model. This error is much like Embrace Japan’s Ungulate that I reviewed previously. It doesn’t ruin the figure, but it would’ve been nice if I could cover her up if I decided to do display her that way. No one needs to know she’s a cast-off figure, right? ;-) Then again, this is a Native figure … so what else can I say? Briiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing on the nudity!!!
As I mentioned, Elfriede’s figure at first glance resembles that of a WWI or WWII soldier – I would’ve guessed WWII just because of its popularity in pop culture. I also didn’t know which country she is representing though – but I was guessing US, British or Russian (due to the red collar insignia). But one obvious factor gives it away and that’s her rifle – which resembles a Lee Enfield, which is a British rifle. Upon further inspection of Elfriede’s uniform and gear, it’s fairly representitive of a British World War I uniform though not entirely accurate. It could be another country, if you know what that suppose to be, I’d be interested to know!
One subtle hint that Elfriede may be British is the chevrons on her sleeves – the two chevs pointing downwards is the British rank of Corporal. The uniform could’ve been US, but the chevrons are pointing the wrong way (US rank insignia points upwards). Also, the rank is displayed on the lower sleeves of the uniform, which was done on the British uniform up till 1916 (I believe) when it was moved up to the shoulders (due to uniforms getting dirty in the mud and ranks indistinguishable). I’m not sure which other country had the ranks on the lower sleeves with downward chevrons – so I thought this was pretty cool detail by the artist.
I checked out Elfriede’s shoulder (unit) badge, collar insignia and chest ribbon to see if they were based on actual historical unit and citations but couldn’t find out. The ribbon seems to be just a random mix of colours and not representitive of any war-time (or post war) British ribbons. The unit badge on the shoulder is probably just there for eye cand as unit insignias weren’t all that popular till later in the Great War. The insignia looks like a shield with a knight or Valkyrie charging forward.
The red collar insignia felt like a Communist flag but I found some old WW1 pics of British soldiers with red colour sigs as well, maybe for the British flag. But I have no idea what the two pips on Elfriede’s collar indicate – two pips usually indicate the rank of Lieutenant, but that’s not the case here.
Elfriede’s hat is also appears to be a loose representation – it looks shield and wings look like something a US soldier would have for their hat badge – and usually represntative of the air service. So is Elfriede part of the RAF or some sort of British Army Aviation corp? ^^’
The right shoulder yellow ribbon and long flowing strings didn’t come out as nicely as the original illustration, IMO. It looks a little messy and crudely added onto her uniform – it could be misinterpreted as her hair that was mistakenly painted yellow instead of orange like the rest of her hair. LOL I do like the amount of detail there is in Elfriede’s hair, particularly her bangs, but I’m a little disappointed at the quality of the hair. It came out a little rough, especially around the edges – I expected more from Native as they’ve been usually pretty good about the finish on a figure.
Elfriede’s boots are also representative of a British soldier’s, though usually cavalry or officers? Troops usually wear ankle boots and puttees – but I don’t mind – I much prefer Elfriede’s cool boots. I was looking at the wrinkles near the ankles and thought they make her boots look a little like anime like, but some British soldier boots back around the WW1 era had this wrinkle around the ankle as well. They kinda look like tube socks on Elfriede as well – which is pretty sexy.
Elfriede also comes with a pistol (belt) holster accessory that you can choose to wrap around her waist to her back. Unfortunately no miniature pistol. =( Not sure what pistol Elfriede might be hiding in that holster, but if she’s indeed based upon a British soldier, then I would assume it’s most likely a Webley Mk IV. I like this loose belt wrapped around Elfried, it adds to the sense of her undressing and a little seductive flavour to her presentation.
I was surprised at how well Native designed Elfriede’s cast-off clothing and the fact that the tunic and pants are separate of each other. This gives you the option to display Elfriede in different configurations - such as fully clothed, tunic off, pants off or completely nude.
Before I forget, Elfriede also comes with a little piece representing her pink pantsu – this flat piece of plastic sides into her pants so you can see part of it with her zipper open. It’s not necessary to put there as her pants still cover up her vaginal area – but if you like displaying her going commando style, the option’s there.
The tunic and pants are made of a very soft PVC material – it seems more flexible than any other cast-off figures I’ve seen thus far. Native also made the interior of the clothing very smooth and coated it with a layer of oil or some sort of coating to help prevent paint transfer onto Elfriede’s skin. It definitely helped when you’re pulling the tunic and pants off Elfriede – but after I toyed with her clothing a few times for the photoshoot, the interior coating seemed to lessen a bit (so I’m thinking it’s some sort of oil) and there were slight transfer marks onto her body, but they (luckily) easily rubbed off.
Do be careful when working with her cast-off clothing anyway and try not to do it too often, particularly if you like displaying her nude. One of the downsides to cast-off figures. =(
Elfriede’s arms separate just above the white bandages – looking at Elfriede this is definitely the most obvious spot to separate as you won’t notice the seam when piecing her back together. The arms on my Elfriede does sit a little loose though, particularly the right arm, which is a bit of a hassle as that’s the arm that is holding the rifle.
The left arm, at a glance, appears as if it is supporting the weight of the figure – but that is not true. Interestingly, Elfriede’s arm doesn’t play any part in supporting her upright, as I removed her tunic (and later her pants), I found out her weight is supported through the base, her clothing and later on, a little butt support stand.
The pants is entirely one piece, and it splits at the in-seams, which is an excellent place. There’s no gap between the cast-off portion of the pants on my figure, but there is a seam line, which looks like an in-seam unless you examine the figure up close. Otherwise, the casual viewer might not even notice her pants can be cast off.
Elfriede’s boots separates from her legs as part of her pants is tucked into her boots, peel back the clamshell design of her pants and unwrap it from her legs – sorry I forgot to take pics of this.
There’s a degree of play with the rifle’s positioning – you can make it so it covers Elfriede’s vaginal area – retaining the last bit of modesty she has left with her pants off. Or, you can move the rifle aside to display her in all her glory. I find Elfriede riding the stock of her rifle kinda sexy though – the lips of her vagina straddles the butt stock perfectly. (Wow, that was a hard sentance to write. ^^’ )
As I said earlier, Elfriede doesn’t sit up straight on her own – she will need some support to prop her body up. Her ass and legs don’t sit flat on the surface and her left arm doesn’t reach back far enough to support the weight of her hair. Yeah, her hair is rather beefy, probably weighs more than the rest of the figure! Without any clothing, she had a difficult time sitting on her own – so I had to find something to keep her propped up for the shoot. I rolled up a dark grey t-shirt (courtesy of my wife’s closet) to try and (loosely) simulate a war-time bed spread.
Elfried came with an instruction sheet that indicated to put this little butt stand below her ass when she’s not wearing any pants. I was hoping it would be enough to support her, but that wasn’t the case. This butt stand only fills the gap between her ass and the surface (as she doesn’t sit completely flat); she is still required to be attached to her display base with a single peg going into her right foot as the main source of “counter weight” to prevent her from tilting backwards.
Of course, what’s a Native figure review without showing off the goods just a little? I was surprised that Native decided to apply more detail to her vagina – something that many previous Native figures don’t have. My Collet only has a slit to represent the vaginal opening – but ironically Elfriede doesn’t have a butt hole sculpted. Not that it matters much as you don’t see that part of her body – but it would’ve been nice if the sculpt at least included that detail. I’ve sold all my other Native figures (Maid M and Strawberry Girl) so I can’t recall what they were like and I’m too lazy right now to go check Tier’s site. LOL
Before I forget, there’s also Elfriede’s breasts and abs which I find are pleasantly sculpted. Her breasts are the typical gravity defying breasts – but there’s still a slight droop there. They are also not extremely huge which I like, the nipples aren’t too perky nor too dark either – just perfect. The subtle shading around her abs really help bring out the detail in her body – which is good as it’s one of her main features.
More rifle straddling goodness!
Lastly, there’s the rifle – this is her rifle, this is her gun – there are many like it but this one is hers. Okay, maybe there aren’t many like it – and I don’t know why I saved the rifle till the end when it would’ve made more sense continuity-wise if I talked about it earlier on in the review. But anyway – here’s her rifle – which is still somewhat of an enigma to me. I’m not 100% sure what it is, but at first glance I thought it was a British Lee Enfield rifle – but not just any Lee, the Long Lee. I say that because the magazine resembles that of a LE rifle, yet the barrel is long – but the rest of the rifle didn’t quite match, particularly the rifle sight and the protruding clearing rod below the barrel. Then upon further examination, I’m pretty sure Elfriede’s rifle is based upon the Lee Metford rifle, which is the Lee Enfield’s predecessor. This would be further evidence that Elfriede is themed around the early parts of WW1 or perhaps even slightly earlier.
The prototype images of Elfriede’s rifle had the bolt lever on the wrong side (left as opposed to the right). Native posted a notice on their site awhile back that this would be corrected on the production model, which they did. Kudos to them for fixing the error.
The rifle comes with a sling – which is detachable. I didn’t realize the rifle came with one and it was a nice surprise to see when I opened up her box. While taking her photo, I accidentally detached the sling which I thought I had broken. Upon closer examination, the sling mount is a solid piece and the sling hook actually clips on rather loosely – so be careful with this part! It can easily come off and become lost, if you are prone to losing figure parts. =)
The bayonet also matches the Lee Metford model a lot more than the Lee Enfield, when I was looking at the LE bayonets, they just didn’t match the look of Elfriede’s rifle – but the Lee Metford does. See here for a diagram of some old rifles.
Finally, there’s the huge ass display base for Elfriede, which I avoided using for her shots in this review. Had I known how important it was to keep her upright, I might’ve done the shots a little different though I’m fairly satisfied with how most of these shots came out. I like the blue “shadow” underlay that the display disc has going on – it adds to the overall presentation of figure. Definitely beats a solid disc or an entirely clear display.
While I like how the blue lighting gel turned out with most of the photos I just wanted to add a bit more to some of the images. Elfriede is a photogenic figure and as such I had a lot of fun taking her photos. I toyed with the post processing on some of the shots to see if I can make the photos a little more unique. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s just my style of photography and imaging – well, I’d like to think I’ve come to develop my own sense of photography style anyway.
With Elfriede’s latter shots, I reverted back to a single constant light source as I wanted to try and simulate a night time or setting sun-like feel with the light casting through the broken windows. I also applied a little bit of noise and post processing to try and make it feel like a WW1 image or movie. I toyed with the saturations and vibrance a bit as well, couldn’t decide which I liked more – but reviewing the photos now I think I prefer the less saturated version below.
This last one is probably my favourite shot out of the bunch.
Elfriede is rated at 1/7 scale and sits about 12cm high – though looking at her alone she feels much larger than 12cm. She is also a limited edition and exclusive from Native that was made to order. I didn’t think I’d love this figure this much – but she’s awesome – makes me wish I had picked up two of these to keep one in mint condition. ^_^’