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Search 'N Protect EVE

WALL-E
by Artemis

When the WALL•E merchandise started appearing here (well after the rest of the world, but that's toy collecting in Australia for you [Doctor Who excepted]), I had a choice: buy both robots, or just the EVEs? WALL•E's pretty adorable, after all, and I've been known to allow exceptions to my girls-only rule for deserving cases. Ultimately I decided to restrict myself to the EVEs - thereby halving the cost of collecting the range - but I do wonder what the effect would be had I got a WALL•E to put among my collection EVEs. After all, the little guy learned all he knows about the fairer sex from old romance films - unless he'd also dug up some hardcore porn DVDs, he might not know what to do with six of them at once.

EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) is a sleek, state-of-the-art probe-droid. She is fast, she can can fly, and she is equipped with a laser gun. EVE, also called Probe One by the Captain of the Axiom, is one of a fleet of similar robots sent to Earth on an undisclosed scanning mission. EVE has a classified "Directive" and she is determined to complete her mission successfully.

The subject of today's review is Search 'N Protect EVE, a mid-range set including the iFemme Fatale herself plus a selection of accessories. She's a bit over 4½" tall (or 6" including the ground clearance of her hover stand), and like all EVEs, shiny white from head to... um, bottom of chassis. Like the basic EVE (EVE 1.0), her head and limbs are connected by clear plastic rods, and her "face" is an inset black piece of plastic, though in this case her eyes are a separate element, beneath transparent "sockets," to allow for their expression-changing feature.

Let's start there. Pushing EVE's head down activates a mechanism that cycles her eyes through six different expressions: regular, slitted eyes that make her look royally pissed off, a squint which I'd be inclined to dub "WTF?," sad, happy, and aggressive. The mechanism is simple and, so far as I can tell, quite sturdy - I don't foresee breakage being an issue, and thus far it's worked perfectly every time. Since the expressions are created by parts of the eye being black, but the entire oval is a lower layer than the "face," the eye sockets do have a visible edge, even when the narrowed eyes are showing - with the high reflectivity of the face surface, unless you're looking at her from directly ahead it can be difficult to tell some of the expressions apart when there's a light bouncing off of her.

The expression-changing mechanism limits EVE's neck to a simple swivel - she'll do 360°, but there's no tilting in any direction. Both arms have balljoints at both ends of their connecting rods, with excellent ranged, and the standard arms can be retracted back into the body, although the fit isn't quite as seamless as on the smaller EVE. The stand doesn't include any articulation - it just holds EVE a bit under an inch off the ground, straight and level.

The most obvious extra feature of SNP EVE is her chest compartment - EVE is a vegetation survey droid, and inside her body is a special area for storing any life she finds. Pushing a button on her back opens up the two doors on this "plant bay," revealing a black area of smoothed-off technological details, and a white hollow for the plant, decorated by a silver sticker with a green and white vegetation logo on it. When I unpacked my EVE the corner of the sticker was loose, but it was a simple matter to smooth it down, and it hasn't given any trouble since then. The bay doors are mounted on loose arms, so as not to put any stress on the opening mechanism - they sit closed nice and tightly, but don't always align perfectly, and although the errors in fit are minor, on such a sleek, simplified design as this they show up.

Search 'N Protect EVE comes with four accessories. For storage in her plant bay, she has a sapling growing out of an old boot, a simple piece moulded in brown plastic, with a plain green paint app for the sprout. It fits snugly into the bay, but not tightly - it won't rattle about too much while it's in there, but you'll have no trouble getting it out. The next accessory is a light bulb, again a simple sculpt, silver with gloss yellow painted onto the bulb. To allow EVE to "hold" it there's a slit in one side of the screw, which fits over the tip of either "arm," firm but not excessively tight. A slight downside to this is that the side then facing forwards has "CHINA" (as in "made in") printed on it for all to see. Unless you turn it to face the back.

SNP EVE's other accessories are her blaster, and a chunk of rock for her to blast with it. The blaster is an alternate right arm - the body-side end of the connecting rod is a split-end clip as well as a balljoint, allowing it to be pulled loose and switched, though with both ends of the rod being articulated, it can take a bit of delicate pressure to push the arm into its socket without it slipping out of alignment. It's a firm socket, but I don't imagine any damage could be done so long as you're careful.

The blaster arm shows its various seams, indicating where the regular arm has opened up into its new mode, and contains a black piece which protrudes at various points as the barrel, targeter, and a little stabilizer strut at the back. The rock is nothing fancy, simply a brown chunk of cartoon-esque landscape with a circular section that can be popped out by way of a small lever opposite it.

Search 'N Protect EVE isn't the largest of the EVEs I have so far, but I have to say if I had to have just one, she'd be it. The lack of a tilt joint on the head is a slight drawback, but you get her for a pretty reasonable price, and she's got the greens compartment and sapling, the light bulb (which so far I haven't gotten with any other EVE), the expression-changing eyes, which are a huge plus, and the target rock isn't unwelcome either. And though she's more a toy than a display piece, she'd do just fine as a desk decoration.


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