A warlock in World of Warcraft can, after reaching 20th level and completing a series of quests, summon a succubus to keep them company. Of course, if it weren't for all that time spent slouched in front of the computer questing and levelling up, they might have an actual girlfriend.
A succubus is a stunningly beautiful woman. Her voluptuous form is squeezed into a tight leather bodice. Large bat wings unfurl from her back, and she lets out a short gasp as she cracks a small whip against her milky thigh.
A succubus is pleasure and pain rolled into one deadly package. Like all demons, she enjoys bringing death and misery to the mortal races - but that doesn't mean she can't have fun with them first.
Lest you think I'm just heaping unfair stereotypes on WoWers, I should add that while I don't play it myself, on Diablo II I have an 87th level Assassin (every XP earned solo too, no multiplayer boosting), and yes, ladies, I am single. On another topic, how come warlocks can't summon incubi as well? It's not like all warlocks are male (or all males are interested in women, at that) - all things being equal, shouldn't a warlockette with a fancy for a bit of beefcake have the option of summoning up some leather-clad hardbody? Maybe there's some sexual dimorphism going in the succubus/incubus species (they're called Sayaad collectively, in Warcraft at least) and the males aren't impressive enough to warrant spending magic on. I hope succubi are bisexual though, otherwise there's potentially a lot of them getting mighty tired of having to wear the strap-on every time.
On to the action figure - there's not that many get made of succubi, so I figured I'd better use up all my jokes while I could - whose name is Amberlash, and like her predecessors (Lady Vashj aside) that's all anyone knows about her, since she was made up for the action figure line. She stands 7" tall to the tops of her horns, and for the most part she's pretty good work. Sculpted detail had never been this line's weak point,
and there's plenty - the hard edges of her (naturally skimpy) armour, the smooth curves of her shapely but powerful body, the transition from skin to scales on her lower legs, the ragged leathery texture of her wings, and the heavy, creviced texture of her cloven hooves. Thanks to the large areas of bare skin her form isn't overwhelmed by fine detail, and as a complete package she's fairly striking to look at, although the shape of her legs is a little bit strange from some angles - her thighs are spread [insert succubus joke here] the same way a human's would in a broad stance, twisting slightly outwards, but because it's an animal limb rather than humanoid lower down, the leg actually twists back inwards at the knee to keep it all moving further apart. Seen from the wrong angle, it makes her look just a little bit knock-kneed; fortunately from most angles it's not an issue unless you deliberately focus on it.
The paintwork is of a piece with DC's previous World of Warcraft figures - good on solid colours, even down to fine detail, but not so much when it comes to blending and shading.
For the most part Amberlash stays within that limitation, and thus she looks pretty good - her ocean green and gold armour is painted nice and cleanly, her pale pink skin is smooth and almost luminous-looking, and where it shades to a rich purple on her lower legs it's with a tattoo-like hard line, rather than a slow transition which, past experience suggests, wouldn't have turned out well. Below the knee an extra application has been used to bring out the sculpted detail of the scales, but it's not a dramatically darker shade to the plain purple, so while it does its job with the sculpt it doesn't create an unsightly border in the process.
The hooves and wings are the weak points - both feature drybrushed shading, blue over black for the hooves and purple over black for the wings' limbs; the membranes are translucent rich red, and look quite good. Seem from afar the highlighting looks fine, but it doesn't hold up to close inspection, which is unfortunate as other action figure lines have proven that this kind of work can be done reliably better. The wings - which, since they extend mostly backwards and increase the figure's overall volume dramatically, are packaged separately - also feature an unfortunate seam where they connect; and since it's on an area painted pale pink, it's highly visible.
Amberlash has an interesting face - it's not quite what I'd expect from a succubus, although that's not to say it's not attractive.
Rather, it's the kind of beauty we're talking about - your traditional succubus (like the Castlevania one) alluringly combines an undercurrent of kinky lust with a fine-featured, delicate visage, an idealised fairytale princess turned nasty. Amberlash is more a hot girl-next-door succubus - consistent with her powerful, combat-ready build, she's got the kind of looks you tend to see on gorgeous warrior women, rather than princesses. Again sticking with what DC Unlimited's factory people can handle, there's no shading on the face, but her luminous blue eyes and wet-looking lips are clean and well executed. Her bangs hide the join between her skin and horns, so there are no transition issues there.
By now it's no surprise that World of Warcraft figures are low-cost statues, not proper action figures - but Amberlash does have one useful joint to her name, a swivel sternum concealed beneath the bottom of her bodice. What with her prominently outstretched arm you don't so much turn the upper body as turn the hips and legs beneath it; besides minor fine-tuning, you basically have two options, either having her standing her ground heroically (if succubi can be heroic) and pointing straight ahead, or twisting her body around to point off to her left, which gives her a more duellist kind of look.
Apart from her separately-packed wings, Amberlash comes with two bases and her whip,
which is elastic-banded in place for shipping, since the handle is a slim cone rather than a full rod - it fits into her right hand well enough to not fall out on its own, but since it doesn't extend all the way through and out the other side it can be dislodged without much trouble. The whip, as is always the case with these things, tends to retain the shape it's packed in, so when first unpacked it won't look its best - time and patient coaxing will improve matters. The whip itself has a sculpted texture, heavy near the handle and more intermittently lower down where it's thinner.
The bases are identical black discs, one for each foot -
the pegs go in very tightly, and they're offset so that the discs extend backwards, to counter the imbalance of the figure's heavy wings. Given this imbalance, the thin ankles and shins, and the fact that Valeera's ankles warped after a couple of months such that she wouldn't stand upright, I'm going to keep an eye on Amberlash, and if I can find a suitable shelf spot, have her with her wings resting against something behind her - but as best I can tell her plastic is a bit harder than Val's, so this may not turn out to be a problem.
Amberlash turned up at just the right time - on the same day as I found the Castlevania succubus for one thing, but more important, just a week after Lady Vashj, who, while not the mess that Valeera was, still didn't impress me. Now I'm back in the mood I was in after Tamuura and Benedron, thinking that these ladies are pretty damn fine little statues. If DC Unlimited could get the hang of subtle shading, they'd be able to produce some real knockouts, but even so I'm looking forward to their next effort.