When Palisades gave fans an advance look at their new PALz line with the Buffy preview test shot, some problems were readily apparent: namely, the elbow and knee joints didn't stay together when the pieces were moved. Palisades assured fans that the problem would be fixed by the time the real figures were released. Well, they're out; what's the score?
Just as the line was beginning to ship, ToyFare mailed out their exclusive Vampire Buffy. Drawn from the Season 1 episode "Nightmares," this figure was available only through a coupon in the magazine. She's packaged just like the other figures (hooray for blister cards!), with a sticker in the corner proclaiming her exclusivity.
Like most block figures, all the PALz share the same body, with new details painted on to create specific characters. Palisades, however, went one step further, creating separate male and female bodies. It's just a change in the torso block, but it's so simple that you'd think someone would have thought of it before.
The basic figure is 2 1/2" tall, and Vamp Buffy's hair adds a little bit to that. The figure moves at 14 points - neck, waist, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles - just like all the PALz. What makes her unique are the paint apps and the accessories.
Since this figure is based on a specific episode of the show, it's easy to tell whether or not they got Vamp Buffy's clothes right. She's wearing a striped tank top and black pants, and comes with an interchangeable light blue jacket. Yep, that's the proper outfit, all right.
All the PALz come with plenty of accessories, including enough extra parts to give them more than one outfit. In Buffy's case, that means a light blue coat and an extra set of blue arms to serve as sleeves. She's also got two books, a purse and a tombstone that reads "Buffy Summers 1981-1997: Rest in Peace." While the regular figures each come with a tombstone, only Vamp Buffy's has any text.
Taking a cue from Medicom's Kubricks, the PALz feature two faces printed on opposite sides of their heads: with the hair in place, the second face is hidden, allowing you to choose the expression you want your toy to have. This exclusive Buffy has the vamp face, of course - that consists of little wrinkles painted on the brow - as well as her normal human look. Just think: with no nose on either face, this is probably the first Buffy figure that Sarah Michelle Gellar has been happy with.
Included in the package is an exclusive card from trading card company Inkworks. It features a picture of the Bufster and has a quote from "Nightmares" on the back. If nothing else, it makes a nice backdrop for the figure. Hey, Palisades: any chance of seeing little display stands like McFarlane Toys includes with its Classic Covers lines?
Okay, so that's nice and all, but what of the joints? Just before the official figures reached shelves, a Suncoast-exclusive "Cemetary Set" showed up, and some fans reported that the problems were still there. Well, so far Vamp Buffy seems entirely problem free. Her arms hold together tightly, but they still move well: no more falling apart the way the preview figure did. It seems Palisades delivered on their promise, and delivered us some good block figures.
What future variants could Palisades give us? Tell us on our message board, the Loafing Lounge.