Some time ago, when I was a fairly new OAFE, I reviewed three examples of action figures from NECA's Sin City movie line, based on Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller's hyper noir film translation of Frank Miller's graphic novels. Most of the figures in that line ranged from pretty good to excellent, and now NECA has followed it up with series 2, a line-up that features Marv, Miho, Shellie, Kevin, Wendy/Goldie, and... Marv. That's right, two Marvs... and no Dwight, no Jackie Boy, no... Rutger Hauer... well... no Dwight or Jackie Boy, anyway. I picked up Miho, and she'll be the focus of this review.
Deadly little Miho. The coldest, deadliest enforcer in Old Town, that chunk of Sin City where the ladies are the law. Don't cross her. She'll cut you quiet. You won't feel a thing. Not unless she wants you to.
In the film, Miho was played by model/actress Devon Aoki, whose father founded the Benihana restaurant chain. You might have seen her in 2 Fast 2 Furious, or if you've got any sense, you probably didn't. Either way, she's very unique-looking, and men either seem to find her strangely attractive or freakishly hideous. NECA managed to capture her likeness pretty well, but she's actually a little too "normal" looking. And, unfortunately, this figure is a fine reminder that likeness-capturing is not all there is to a figure's sculpt.
Sure, she's got a nice outfit, with well-sculpted folds in the cloth and all that, and a nice design motif painted on the back of her pseudo-prostitute-kimono. NECA has also finally made a female figure with hair that doesn't look like a hat... all in all, not technically a bad sculpt. However, I have never in all my years as a figure collector ever encountered a figure with such an aversion to standing. There is simply no way I can get this girl to stand for more than 30 seconds. On one of her many topples off the dresser, she scraped a wall and scuffed the finish on her vac-metallized sword (more on that when I discuss paint). Even if you manage to find a display base for her (which is not included with the figure), you'll have to work to avoid the figure developing a healthy lean and, eventually, another topple. I ask you, what good is a figure that cannot stand?!
As I mentioned a little bit ago, some of the vac-metallized paint scraped off the sword when it encountered the wall. Likewise, some of the black paint on the hilt scraped off when I placed the swords in her hands, revealing the vac-metallized finish underneath. Cheap paint, people. I had two black and white Mihos to choose from at the store (she comes in color or b&w paint schemes and, like Nancy, wind-swept or flat-haired variants) and I chose the one that looked like it had a little bit of a booger rather than the one that had hairline issues. My Miho also has some strange splotches on the chest that look more like globs of glue than paint. It's a mystery.
[she's a hooker; draw your own conclusions --ed.]
The paint on the outfit is fairly well done, with some very subtle washes and some intricately-designed patterns with little or no slop. The skin, however, could use some work. The gray tone of the flesh fluctuates as it moves over the figure, and on places where there are joints (namely the wrists) the tones don't match up, and create an ugly break in the flow of the figure.
Speaking of wrists joints, they're redundant and useless, since Miho also has forearm peg joints where her arms poke out of her sleeves. They serve the same purpose as the wrist joints, are far less obtrusive, and are less than a centimeter away from the wrists.
Four articulation points that do the work of two, and cause some aberrations in the paint and sculpt at that. Tsk Tsk. Miho's also got a waist, peg joints at her pant cuffs (so you can spend endless hours on unsuccessful adjustments trying to make her stand up), a balljointed head, and peg joints in the shoulders. Oh, those shoulders. The plastic used in the upper arms is very soft, so that every movement of the shoulder joints is like playing a fun game of Break-the-Figure. It took hours of freezer time to harden up the plastic enough so those joints would turn, and when they did, it only lasted about fifteen minutes. I recommend freezer time before any movement of the figure's shoulders takes place, for as long as you own the figure (i.e. until you break it).
Miho actually does all right as far as accessories are concerned. She's got a bow, two arrows, two swords, and two sheaths. The sheaths fit nicely into loops on her belt, and the swords fit in the sheaths, although the fit is VERY snug... as in, sword-snappingly snug. I've already mentioned the paint issues with the swords, but there's also some to mention with the arrows. At first I thought they were intentionally painted two different colors, but I soon realized that the shaft of one arrow had been messily painted over with a darker gray in some parts, for no apparent reason. If it's supposed to be Stuka's blood, they should have done it better.
If this figure could stand, had better paint apps, and was a bit more durable, it would be a no-brainer. However, as it stands (or doesn't -- ha!) this figure is something of a letdown, with a lot of not-so-minor nits that add up to a major muck-up of a figure. Ultimately, it doesn't matter how good a figure is in theory... in the end, quality counts.
Admit it: even after all that, you still want a Miho, don't you? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.